Press Release: 3/08/2020
The year 2021 will mark the 400th Parkash Purb of Sahib Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji. The entirety of Guru Sahib Ji’s life is an epic story of generosity, bravery, and selflessness. As a child, in an act of benevolence, he gave away his clothes and jewelry to a less fortunate child, living up to his birth name Tyag Mal. As a young man, he fought in the Battle of Kartarpur with such valor that he received the name Teg Bahadur (meaning brave in a battlefield). He was deeply devoted to Waheguru and frequently practiced meditation. The culmination of his temporal life, as well as his most renowned exploit, was sacrificing his life for the principles of religious freedom and liberty. Guru Teg Bahadur gave his life for the religious freedom of those of a different faith – the Kashmiri Hindus. In fact, he was protecting a faith whose rituals the Gurus, both preceding and succeeding, often criticized. Protecting religious and spiritual freedom was the Guru’s ultimate objective and extended beyond his own agreements or disagreements with the faith.
Guru Teg Bahadur, upon pleas from Kashmiri Hindus regarding persecution, surrendered himself to the Mughal emperor, Aurungzeb. Guru Teg Bahadur was given three options by the officials of Aurangzeb; accept Islam, perform a miracle, or be executed. Guru Sahib Ji rejected the first option, given his steadfast belief in Sikhi and his view that this would be a worldly deathblow to Sikh teachings. He rejected the second option to perform a miracle as it would compromise the spiritual integrity of Sikhi, resulting in spiritual death. Given the circumstances, he would have been performing that miracle to preserve his own life, at the behest of the emperor. Guru Ji accepted the last option, to sacrifice his physical body, which he believed, rightfully so, would result in the blossoming of Sikhi.
Guru Teg Bahadur was also a masterful and accomplished poet. The writings of Guru Tegh Bahadur are deep and evocative. He instructs Sikhs to purify themselves and live a life of dedication to the creator. He preached that the creator removes all the hurdles and is the source of all strength for a devotee.
ਬਲੁ ਹੋਆ ਬੰਧਨ ਛੁਟੇ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਤ ਉਪਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੁਮਰੈ ਹਾਥ ਮੈ ਤੁਮ ਹੀ ਹੋਤ ਸਹਾਇ ॥੫੪॥
‘The Strength has arrived; the bonds are snapped asunder. All efforts are successful! Says Nanak, ‘All is in your hand, Lord. You ever support your devotees.’ The Saloks of Guru Teg Bahadur were uttered while Guru Sahib Ji willingly presented himself to the tyrannical and oppressive Mughal regime, displaying his resolve for religious freedom. These Saloks, in the words of Fauja Singh and Gurbachan Singh Talib “leave the human heart bathed in tears of emotion, which bring about enlightenment and awakening of the soul from the slumber of involvement with worldliness.”
To recognize Guru Teg Bahadur’s legacy, the World Sikh Parliament is preparing a year-long celebration of the 400th anniversary worldwide. As a first step, the World Sikh Parliament is proud to release a dedicated logo for the 400th anniversary.
Manpreet Singh & Hardyal Singh
General Secretaries World Sikh Parliament