The later gurus of Sikhism


The later Gurus became increasingly martial because the Sikhs had to fight for their survival against the Mughals. Guru Har Rai: He was very compassionate. Hunting was a common practice those days, but Guru Har Rai would not kill animals; he, instead, brought them back alive to be kept in his private zoo. He was summoned by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, to Delhi, but sensing the evil intentions of the intolerant Aurangzeb, he sent his son Ram Rai. Ram Rai became a part of the Mughal court, so Guru Har Rai made his younger son Har Krishan the next Guru.

Guru Har Krishan: He was the youngest of the Gurus. He was only five when he became the Guru on his father’s death. When he was nine, he was summoned by Aurangzeb to Delhi. He died of smallpox before he could meet Aurangzeb. Before dying, he told his associates that the next Guru would be ‘Baba Bakale’. People interpreted this to mean his uncle Tegh Bahadur, who had been living in the village of Bakala.
Guru Tegh Bahadur: He was a man of a retiring nature and when his ascension was contested by rival claimants, he moved away from Punjab.

When he came back after several years, he saw that the Mughals had been destroying Hindu and Sikh places of worship and forcing conversions. He organised the people of Punjab and Kashmir against this. He was arrested and executed by the Mughals in Delhi.

Guru Gobind Singh: He was born in Patna. He became the Guru at the age of nine and within a few months received the severed head of his father, who had been killed by the Mughals. He was brought up in the Himalayan village of Paonta. He fought several battles that he won despite being heavily outnumbered. His four young sons were all martyred while fighting the Mughals.

He gave the surname Singh (lion) to Sikhs, which is used to date. He also gave a new name to the community, Khalsa (the pure ones). On the occasion of the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, he gathered Sikhs at Anandpur and asked for volunteers to sacrifice their lives. He did not kill them but named them the first Khalsa.

Guru Granth Sahib: Guru Arjan Das, the fifth Guru, first compiled the ‘Adi Granth’ by the year 1604. It was installed at Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. In 1705, the 10th Guru Gobind Singh gave it a final shape by including hymns composed by the later Gurus and himself. He renamed it Sri Guru Granth Sahib and, one day before his death proclaimed it as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs.

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