Guru Hargobind birth anniversary: History and significance of the sixth guru of Sikhs

On 19 June, 2021 the Sikh community across the world will observe the birth anniversary of Guru Hargobind. He was the sixth of the 10 gurus of Sikhs.

Guru Hargobind is recognised for playing an important role in providing a new direction to the Sikh religion. He focused on building a strong military to strengthen the community.

As per sacred scriptures, it is believed that Guru Hargobind carried two swords along with him at his succession ceremony. One sword symbolised his authority as temporal (miri) and other sword as spiritual (piri) meaning head of the community.

Who was Guru Hargobind?

Born in 1595 in Guru ki Waḍali Amritsar, Guru Hargobind was the only son of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. From the very beginning, he started studying religious texts and received training in swordsmanship and archery. Later he became a skilled swordsman, wrestler and rider as he had received training in military warfare and martial arts.

At the young age of 11, he became guru after the death of his father Guru Arjan Dev. Guru Hargobind came up with the idea and constructed the Akal Takht, (highest seat temporal seat of the Sikhs), where spiritual and temporal issues related to the Sikh community are resolved.

Interesting facts about Guru Hargobind:

– When Guru Hargobind was building a strong Sikh army for his community, Mughal emperor Jahangir jailed him in Gwalior for 12 years. Later, he was set free.

–  After Jahangir’s death, Shah Jahan began persecuting the Sikh community. Hargobind fought three battles against the Mughal forces during Shah Jahan’s rule and emerged victorious.

–  Along with building an army, Guru Hargobind also established congregational prayers to promote Sikhism in the country.

–   As a first step towards the spread of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind sent his chosen followers to various places and cities across India to spread the word of Guru Nanak (first Guru of Sikhs).

–  There were several attempts on his life. Once Guru Hargobind’s uncle tried to poison him and another time, a cobra was thrown at him, as per hagiographies written by the orthodox Sikh tradition.

–  Guru Hargobind passed away on 2 March, 1644 at Kiratpur Sahib. He was later cremated on the banks of River Sutlej.


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