General Studies IMedieval India

Guru Tegh Bahadur


Sri Akhand Path was inaugurated at Gurdwara Guru Ke Mahal, the birthplace of the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, to mark the 400th Prakash Purab (birth centenary) of the Guru.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Biography (1621-1675):

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur was born on 1 April 1621 in Amritsar and was named Tyaga Mal at birth.
  • His parents were Guru Hargobind and Mata Nanaki. Guru Hargobind was the sixth Sikh Guru.
  • As a child, Guru Tegh Bahadur was trained in martial arts, swordsmanship and horse riding. But despite being an able fighter alongside his father in different battles, he seemed to choose a path of renunciation and meditation.
  • He was married to Gujari in 1633. In 1656, they moved to the village of Bakala where Tegh Bahadur would spend a lot of time in contemplation and prayers.
  • Tegh Bahadur’s father had not chosen him as his successor as he felt that the Sikhs at that time needed a worldly leader and his son had chosen the path of renunciation. So, Guru Hargobind elected his grandson Guru Har Rai as his successor. After Har Rai’s death at the age of 31, his son Har Kishan became the seventh Guru at the age of five. Har Kishan, however, died of a disease at the age of 7 in 1664.
  • After that, there was confusion as to who would become the ninth Guru. Before his death, Guru Har Kishan had pronounced that the next Guru would be found in Bakala. This was followed by many ‘pretenders’ in Bakala each claiming to be the Guru.
  • As per Sikh tradition, Guru Tegh Bahadur was confirmed as the real Guru through a story involving a wealthy merchant Baba Makhan Shah Labana. Labana had once offered 500 gold coins to the Sikh Guru if his life was spared. He arrived in Bakala and offered 2 gold coins to each person claiming to be the ninth Guru. All of them accepted the 2 gold coins. When Tegh Bahadur was given the 2 gold coins, he said that it fell short of what was originally prayed and promised by Labana. This convinced Labana that he was indeed the Sikh Guru and he made it public to the world.
  • Accordingly, in August 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur was anointed the ninth Guru of the Sikhs.
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur travelled far and wide visiting many places in northern India and also Assam and Dhaka, preaching the word of Guru Nanak.
  • He started community water wells and langars (community kitchen for the poor and hungry).
  • In 1668 in Assam, he was able to preach a treaty between the King of Ahom and Raja Ram Singh of Amber who was sent there by Aurangzeb.
  • In 1672, he visited Kashmir where he saw the persecution of non-Muslims.
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur composed many hymns that were added to the Guru Granth Sahib. He wrote the Saloks, 116 shabads and 15 ragas.
  • He founded the city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab in 1665.
  • The Guru attracted huge numbers of devotees and followers. This is said to have distressed the Mughal Emperor. It is also said that the Guru’s promise of protection to the persecuted Kashmiri Pandits also led to his being summoned to Delhi by the Emperor. While the Sikh faith was gathering strength, Aurangzeb was following a policy of religious discrimination and persecution in many places. Tegh Bahadur was brought before the Emperor when he reached Delhi.
  • On 24 November 1675, the Guru was publicly beheaded on the orders of Aurangzeb for refusing to accept the authority of Mughal Emperor, at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib was built in 1783 at the place where he was beheaded.
  • His young son Gobind, who was only nine when his father was killed, became the tenth and the last Sikh Guru. The effect of his father’s cruel murder must have been profound on him. Guru Gobind Singh went on to become the founder of the Khalsa and challenged the authority of the Mughals.


  • The word ‘Sikh’ in the Punjabi language means ‘disciple’. Sikhs are the disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Sikhs believe in one God (Ek Onkar). They believe they should remember God in everything they do. This is called simran.
  • The Sikhs call their faith Gurmat (Punjabi: “the Way of the Guru”). According to Sikh tradition, Sikhism was established by Guru Nanak (1469–1539) and subsequently led by a succession of nine other Gurus.
  • The development of Sikhism was influenced by the Bhakti movement and Vaishnava Hinduism.
  • The Khalsa upholds the highest Sikh virtues of commitment, dedication and a social conscience.
    • The Khalsa are men and women who have undergone the Sikh baptism ceremony and who strictly follow the Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions.
    • They wear the prescribed physical articles of the faith (5K’s: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb), Kara (a iron bracelet), Kachera (cotton underpants) and Kirpan (an iron dagger)).
  • Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.
  • It preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God.

The Sikh Literature:

  • The Adi Granth is believed by Sikhs to be the abode of the eternal Guru, and for that reason it is known to all Sikhs as the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The Dasam Granth is controversial in the Panth because of questions concerning its authorship and composition.

Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539)He was the first guru of Sikh and the founder of Sikh religion. He started the GURU KA LANGAR. He was contemporary of Babur. Kartarpur corridor was commemorated on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Guru Angad (1504-1552)He invented the new script called Guru-Mukhi and popularized and expanded the system of Guru ka Langar.
Guru Amar Das (1479-1574)He introduced the ceremony of the Anand Karaj Marriage.He abolished the custom of Sati and Purdah system among the Sikhs.He was contemporary of Akbar.
Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)He founded Amritsar in 1577 on the land granted by Akbar.He started the construction of Golden Temple/Swarna mandir at Amritsar.
Guru Arjun Dev (1563-1606)He composed the Adi Granth in 1604.He led to the completion of construction of Golden temple.He was acclaimed as Shaheeden-de-Sartaj.He was executed by Jahangir on charges of helping prince Khusrau.
Guru Hargobind (1594-1644)He led to the transformation of the Sikh Community into a Military community. He is known as “Soldier Saint”.He led to the establishment of Akal Takht and fortified the Amritsar City.He waged wars against Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
Guru HarRai (1630-1661)He was a man of peace thus devoted most of his life in maintaining peace with Aurangzeb and doing missionary work.
Guru Har Krishan 1656-1664)He was the youngest guru of all and was given the title of Guru at a very early age of 5.He was summoned by Aurangzeb against anti-islamic blasphemy.
Guru Teg Bahadur (1621-1675)He founded Anandpur Sahib.
Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708)He founded a warrior community known as Khalsa in 1699.He introduced a new rite ”Pahul”. He joined Bahadur Shah’s as a noble. He was the last Sikh Guru in human form and he passed the Guruship of Sikhs to the Guru Granth Sahib.


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