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Martyrdom Guru Teghbahadar Sahib & Gurgaddi Guru Gobind Singh Sahib

November 24, 2023
Then appeared Guru Teghbahadar, whose grace stretches across the entire creation.
Who upheld the right to faith and its practice and immortalized the Guru’s message in the age of Kaliyug.
     Sainapati, Sri Gur Sobha

Today, we remember the martyrdom of Guru Teghbahadar Sahib and his three devoted Sikhs. In Sikh history, Sahib Guru Tehgbahadar, the sword-warrior, is described with great reverence. In our attempts to praise the Guru, we use various adjectives such as Sword-Warrior, Recluse, Sovereign-Mentor, Mediator-Diplomat, and Savior-Martyr. However, when faced with the infinite persona of the Guru, which transcends human comprehension and expression, words often fall short.

In our efforts to understand, we sometimes limit the Guru's multifaceted personality by trying to confine it within temporal stereotypes. As we commemorate the Guru's martyrdom, let's remind ourselves of the limitless facets of the Guru's personality.  

As a Sword-Warrior, the Guru set remarkably high standards of warrior skills while maintaining a deep love for IkOankar (detached - udas). However, the Guru chose to live a low-profile life for twenty years in Bakala before assuming Guruship, even though the Guru never abandoned panthak (community) life. As the Guru, he continued to nurture Sikh sovereignty (millat), as documented in contemporary historical records (Haqiqat-e-Banau Uruj-e-firqa-i-Sikhan, 1783). As a Mediator-Diplomat, he played a pivotal role in brokering peace between the warring Ahoms of Guwahati and the Mughals. As a Savior-Martyr, he exemplified practicing one's faith as a Sovereign without fear.

So, how can we contextualize such a transcendent personality in our lives? Let us not forget the Guru's own revelations, which describe a personality that is aware, loving, detached, humble, fearless, and sovereign all at once—a harmonious blend of life's contradictions.

As we do so, we also mark the ascendance of the “Rider of the Blue Steed,” the Father of the Sikh Panth, the upholder of liberty and justice, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, to Guruship, who ultimately realized Guru Teghbahadar Sahib’s personality in the body of the Khalsa (collective of the initiated Sikhs).

Let’s commemorate this day by reflecting on the Sabad of the Guru:

Neither bothered by pain or fear, nor distracted by attachment or wealth,
Beyond praise, slander, greed, and pride,
Unmoved by happiness, sadness, honor, or dishonor,
Forsaken hope and expectation and not given to the worldly ways,
Untouched by lust or wrath, that individual is an abode of the Creator,
On whom the Guru’s grace befalls learns this way.
O Nanak, like water in the water, that person is merged with the Source.
     Guru Granth Sahib, 633-34

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