Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guru Hargobind ji (1606-1644)

Artist Bodh Rai's immpression of  Sri Guru Hargobind ji While in prison, before his execution at Lahore, Guru Arjun had sent a message to his son, Guru Hargobind, then aged only eleven, that he should henceforth maintain an army. At the very time of his installation as Guru, he insisted that he should wear two swords, one representing his spiritual leadership and the other his temporal and political leadership. Soon after it, he constructed in front of the Amritsar temple, another building called the Akal Takht (God's throne) as the seat of temporal power. This place continues to the present day as the centre of every sociopolitical deliberation and power of the community. There, like the two swords he wore, he raised aloft two flags representing the two aspects of his activities. He told his followers, "My rosary shall be my swordbelt and on my turban I shall wear the emblem of royalty." The Sikhs were already engaged in the trade of horses and the Guru advised every Sikh to keep a sword and maintain a horse, wherever possible. He started recruiting a regular army. He had a personal bodyguard of 57 horsemen and kept 700 horses, 60 gunmen and 500 infantry men. Thus a state within a state, started and developed by the earlier Gurus, was consolidated by him. When this news reached the Emperor, he demanded from the Guru the fine imposed on his father. The Guru was imprisoned in the Gwalior fort along with other political prisoners of high status. Later he was released.

Guru Hargobind ji in one of the battles
There is an important incident which brings out the religious policy of the Gurus. One Ram Das, a Maharashtra saint, met Guru Hargobind. He questioned him as to how he reconciled his being a successor to the spiritual seat of Guru Nanak with his living as a soldier, maintaining an army and calling himself a true Emperor. The Guru replied that Guru Nanak had given up mammon (greed for money). He had not renounced the world, and that the sword was for the double purpose of protecting the poor and destroying the tyrant. These words of the Guru most clearly bring out the religious and spiritual philosophy of Sikh mysticism, its originality and its break with the past. Persons brought up in the tradition of old beliefs and ideas of dichotomy between the religious and the temporal life find it difficult to understand and grasp the significance of the Guru's system. The problem of comprehension that confronted saint Ram Das was the same as arose with the Nath Yogis in their dialogue with Guru Nanak. It arises even now with some of our present-day academicians. But, for the Sikh mystic, participation in life is spiritually essential. Consequently, the defence of moral life, reaction and responses to challenges from the environment form an integral part of the Gurus' mystic system. The reply of Guru Hargobind is an unambiguous clarification of the system of Guru Nanak as understood by the Gurus themselves. This also explains the various empirical steps taken by the first five Gurus in order to develop their religious system and organise the Sikhs in the way they did. Saint Ram Das's meeting with the Guru had a great historical consequence, for he was so impressed by the Guru's thesis that he later trained Shivaji, the great Maratha leader, in the same manner.
Guru Hargobind sponsored the cause of the downtrodden Hindus and provided leadership to the oppressed people of Punjab. In this struggle, he fought six battles with the Mughals in the plains of the Punjab. People came to him and joined his forces because they felt that no one else had the power to stand against the Emperor. In one of these battles he defeated 7,000 Mughal soldiers. Finally, he settled at Kiratpur. His reputation as a military leader spread and ambassadors of the hill Rajas waited upon him.

The organisation of the Sikhs into a separate socio-religious group with political implications had started from the time of the very first Guru. This close and integral combination of the temporal and the spiritual life was a thesis which was foreign to the Indian tradition. No wonder that some of the people around the Sixth Guru, including his own followers, could not understand the spiritual character of these military developments. This explains two points. First, that the transformation of the community into a spirituo- political organisation could only be gradual, because the Gurus had to carry the people with them. Unfortunately, they had all been conditioned by the old traditions. The full understanding and acceptance of the new thesis could only be slow.
The Gurus, naturally, had to wait till their followers fully realised the implications of the new doctrine and owned its responsibilities. Secondly, it also confirms the view that the object was to organise a mission and a movement in the empirical world and not merely to deliver a message and embody it in a scripture or a mythical tale. The scriptural thesis had to be lived among the people and not in the seclusion of a monastery for the training of a few. The aim was to uplift everyone irrespective of caste and creed and to show that each one, howsoever placed, could tread the spiritual path. This choice was open to everyone and the Guru was there to organise and lead the movement. Hence, the progress could only be gradual both in the education of the people and in the pace of the movement. The latter could not outstrip the former. The task was stupendous. For, it had to take place in the face of the understandable opposition of one of the greatest empires of all times.

One incident is very significant of the socio-political climate in the Guru's camp. During a hunt being carried out by the Imperial party in a jungle, the Sikhs also entered the same area in pursuit of game. The Sikhs got hold of a falcon, which was claimed by the official party. A clash took place and the Imperial forces were beaten off. But, what is important is the approval of the Sikhs who stressed, "you are talking of the return of the baz (falcon), we are after your tag (crown)." It clearly shows the independence of political status claimed by the Guru and his Sikhs.

The number and areas of sub-centres of preachings were extended. The Guru himself controlled both the religious centres and the temporal centre at Amritsar. The Guru, thereby, only brought out visibly and symbolically what, in view of the steps that had already been taken by the earlier Gurus, was inherent in the integrated spiritual thesis of Guru Nanak. In fact secure and clear foundations had already been laid by him. While the Gurus, and those engaged in these developments, were fully aware of their responsibility to maintain the original spiritual purity of the religion and the entire movement, to some outsiders, including historians conditioned and committed to different doctrines and systems of religion and polity, the Sixth Guru s work has seemed to show a departure from the original growth. But, a departure, as we have seen, it was not.

Guru Arjan Dev ji (1581-1606)

Artist Bodh Rai's immpression of  Sri Guru Arjan Dev  ji Guru Arjun's multifarious activities, apart from making a very major contribution to the organisation of the mission, demonstrate, as laid down by Guru Nanak, that no field of life, whether temporal, social or political, is excluded for the operation of a mystic. Slowly but surely the movement came out with a distinct identity of its own and with clear-cut religious- and sociopolitical facets.

This system of voluntary offerings for the common cause and the sharing of one's earnings was made regular. Every Sikh was supposed to contribute 10% of his income to the common fund maintained by the Guru. The representatives of the Guru collected contributions from their respective areas and sent them to the common treasury.

The construction of the temple at Amritsar was started by the Guru and its foundation stone was laid by the reputed Muslim Sufi Saint, Mian Mir. He built another tank and temple at Taran Taran. These temples had doors on all sides, indicating that these were open to all castes and communities.

The Guru had a well-organised central establishment which included the maintenance of a contingent of horses and elephants. He encouraged his followers to trade in horses from Central Asia. For his personal maintenance, the Guru also took up the trade. As such, the Sikhs became good horsemen and formed later the nucleus of military power. All these features were important developments because they were clear preparation for the military organisation that was to follow from the time of the Sixth Guru. It was in the lifetime of Guru Arjun that his son, Hargobind, started learning to wield the sword and hunting.

Gurdwara Patshahi V at Lahore In 1598, the Guru interceded on behalf of the local peasantry with Emperor Akbar to get the excessive levy of land revenue reduced. These activities of the Guru gave him a new status. It was at this time that the Guru came to be called by the Sikhs as Sacha Patshah (True Emperor). The Guru had come to guide, govern and influence the lives of the Sikhs both in the temporal and the spiritual fields. It was a significant development The organization of the community, according to Gupta, became a state within a state.

An important step in the separate consolidation of the religion was the compilation of the Adi Granth as the sole and authentic scripture of the Sikhs. It has a significant feature. Besides the hymns of the five Gurus, it contains the hymns of Hindu and Muslim saints. The Adi Granth was formally installed at the Amritsar temple on the annual gathering of the Sikhs. From the very start it was recognized as the Sikh scripture. Emperor Akbar made an offering of 51 gold coins to the Adi Granth. Its installation at the only Sikh temple constructed then by the Guru and the appointment of the most venerated Sikh as its Granthi (minister) show that it was meant to be the exclusive scripture of the Sikhs and the embodiment of the Gurus system and thought In this way conjectures about links with the other systems or scriptures were set at rest for ever. This is an important step, especially when we find that in Guru Granth Sahib no status or sanctity has been given to any gods, goddesses or avatars.
This compilation is a landmark in the history of Sikhism. It is a clear testimony of the fact that the Guru took this vital step to emphasise that their message and mission were prophetic. This fact comes out in all its glaring singularity when we see that, in thc entire religious history of man, no other prophet felt it essential to authenticate his message so as to secure its purity and exclude the possibility of interpolation and misinterpretation. In fact, in most cases the utterances of the prophets were compiled by their devotees long after their ministry. This authentication of the scripture by the Guru himself once and for all ensured its separate identity and purity. In the case of other prophets, their opponents can say that the prophets themselves never meant to declare any new truths, but their overzealous followers made it into a separate system not intended by the prophets. Nothing of that kind can be asserted about the Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib.
It is something very extraordinary that, in line with Guru Nanak's hymn that 'with the help of other God-conscious beings he would help every one to be a God-centered person', the Guru included in the Adi Granth hymns of twentytwo Muslim and Hindu saints. It is a singular example of the Guru's sense of personal anonymity. He truly felt that in accomplishing this task he was working Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Tarntaran, got constructed by Guru Arjan Dev ji only as an agent of God's mission. We also find that contemporary saints like Mian Mir and Pir Budhu Shah, irrespective of religion and race, remained closely associated with the mission of the Gurus.
Owing to the growing religious and political influence of the Gurus, the Sikhs had got a clear consciousness of their religious and sociopolitical identity. Consequently, the position of the Gurus had naturally given rise to hostility, both in the religious and political quarters. Saikh Ahmad, the head of the Naqashbandt order at Sirhind and a leader of the revivalist movement of Islam in India, got upset at the influence of the Guru among men of both the communities. He had access to the court of Jahangir. But, probably the chief reason that upset the Emperor was that the Guru had blessed Khusro and helped him monetarily while the latter had rebelled against Jahangir. The local administration was naturally aware of the growing Sociopolitical strength and influence of the Guru. Chat this incident rankled in the mind of emperor Jahangir, is evident from his own statement recorded in his autobiography. He wrote that he had ordered the execution by torture of Guru Arjun unless he embraced Islam, because the Guru had raised aloft the standard of holiness and many Hindus and Muslims had foolishly become his followers. Pictoral representation of Guru Arjan dev ji Prithi Mal and his son Meherban called themselves real gurus and Meherban glorified his father Prithia and discredited Guru Nanak's hymns. They were both plotting against Guru Arjan. Others who were against Guru were Sulahi Khan of Batala, Chandu Shah Khatri of Lahore, Sheikh Ahmad faruqi Sarhindi, Emperor Jahangir who was unlike his father Akbar and pretty much intolerant of other faiths. Prince Khusrau who was also son of Akbar and was contesting for throne was captured by Jahangir's men. This prince Khusrau was the son of Jodha Bai, daughter of Udai Singh of Jodhpur, since he was born to a Hindu mother, was disliked by the fanatics who wanted Prince Salim who was a 100% Sunni Muslim (as oppose to the popular Hindi movie Mughal-e-Azam, where Jahangir was shown as son of Hindu mother). Prince escaped and went to Guru Arjan. Guru Arjan was moved at the 13 years old Prince and gave him help with money and shelter. Salim succeded with the title of Jahangir. Jahangir hated all those who were in Akbar's good books. He summoned Guru to Lahore, Sikhs of lahore pleaded with Jahangir to let them collect the fine and pay to him to release Guru, but Jahangir refused. Jahangir appointed Murtaza Khan to confisicate the property of Guru and hand it over to state., apart from that a fine of 2 lakhs was also collected from the Sikhs. Guru was imprisoned at Lahore fort. He was chained to a post in an open place exposed to the sun from morning to evening in the months of May thru June. Below his feet a heap of sand was put which burnt like a furnace. Boiling water was poured on his naked body at intervals. His body was covered with blisters all over. In this agony Guru used to utter.

 Tera Kiya Metha lage, naam padarath Nanak mange (whatever you 
ordain appears sweet.  I supplicate for the gift of name)

VErA BANA mITA lAgE, nAm pdArW nAnc mA:gE  
The Guru was ordercd to be executed. In addition a fine of Rupees two lakhs was imposed on him. Some historians say that, as a measure of clemency at the intervention of Mian Mir, this fine was imposed in lieu of the sentence of death. The Sikhs offered to pay the fine themselves but the Guru forbade them to do so. He replied to the Emperor, "Whatever money I have is for the poor, the friendless and the stranger. If thou ask for money thou mayest take what I have; but if thou ask for it by way of fine, I shall not give thee even a Kaurz (penny)." The Guru accepted death by torture and suffered the first great martyrdom. His sacrifice further steeled the faith of the community in the mission of the Gurus. Gupta, who considers the views of all other historians as relevant material, concludes that it was principally a political execution.

Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore A ruling administration never takes notice of a religious institution, unless it has a political complexion and potential. The Mughal emperors never bothered about any saint of the Bhakti school. The Sikh movement was growing into a clear socio-political body, fired with a religious and moral zeal. It constituted a disciplined people who were being guided and led towards their ideals by a prophetic mystic. It was this socio-political growth which no ruler or administration could fail to take note of as a potential danger and challenge to its existence and rule. It is evident that the Sikh growth was of such dimensions that it attracted the attention of the administration and also of the Emperor. In addition it is a political fact that the Guru, as recoded by Beni Prasad (the historian on Jahangir), had given a very substantial aid of Rs. 5,000/- to Khusro, leading a rebel army and claimant to the throne. Further, this organization was of such size and importance that the Emperor not only took the extreme step of the execution of Guru Arjun, so as to stop altogether this unwanted growth (as recorded by the Emperor), but also found the movement and the episode as significant enough for mention in his autobiography Jahangir was undoubtedly right that the organisation and the movement posed a political threat to the Empire. But he was mistaken in his belief that by the execution of the Guru he had nipped this growth in the bud. In this background and the context of future developments, it would surely be naive for anyone to say either that Jahangir, by this execution of Guru Arjun, converted a simple, peaceful and innocuous movement into a military organisation, or that the reaction of the Sixth Guru to his father s execution was overzealous, especially when we know that by the very nature of the Gurus' thesis, sociopolitical developments and activities were an integral part of their spiritual life. The Fifth and the Sixth Gurus had done nothing beyond the extension and development of the foundations laid and the organisation built by Guru Nanak.
Gupta calls Guru Arjun an original thinker, an illustrious poet, a practical philosopher, a great organiser, an eminent statesman and the first martyr of the faith. He completely changed the external aspect of Sikhism."

Guru Tegh Bahadur ji (1621 - 1675 )

Artist Bodh Rai's immpression of  Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur  ji Guru Tegh Bahadur, the youngest of the five sons of Guru Hargobind, was born in Amritsar in the early hours of April 1, 1621. As the news spread at daybreak, Sikhs hurried to the presence of Guru Hargobind to offer their felicitations. The Guru himself went to see the child, accompanied by two of his Sikhs, Bidhi Chand and Jetha. As he set his eyes on him, he predicted auspiciously. In the words of the Garbilas Chhevin Patshaili, he said, "Of my five sons, he shall take the of five of Guru. He shall protect the weak and relieve their distress. This shall be his principal mark." Guru Hargobind called the child Tegh Bahadur, Mighty of Sword. The mother, Mata Nanaki, felt happy to hear her son so named. Much charity was distributed and the rejoicing continued for several days.

Owing to a minor skirmish with a Mughal force, Guru Hargobind removed his family from Amritsar to the anonymity of a nearby village, called Jhabal. Tegh Bahadur was carried by Mother Nanaki in a palanquin. From Jhabal, Guru Hargobind travelled to Goindwal, sacred to theThird Guru. Goindwal was one of the important Sikh towns in the Punjab. Some other places then well known in Sikh geography were Khadur Sahib, sacred to the second Guru, Tarn Taran, Sri Hargobindpur and Kartarpur, all three founded by Guru Arjan dev, the Fifth Guru, Talwandi, birthplace of Guru Nanak, Dera Baba Nanak, Darauli and Kiratpur, founded by Guru Hargobind. Similarly, there were towns and villages made famous by the leading Sikh families who lived there. Some of the more prominent among these were Ramdas (Bhai Buddha), Sur Singh (Bhai Bidhi Chand), Bhai Rupa (Rup Chand), Kangar (Rai Jodh) and Baba Bakala (Bhai Mehra). As they reached Goindwal, Guru Hargobind, his family and Sikhs made ablutions in the baoli built by Guru Amar Das. Tegh Bahadur, then barely two, was bathed with the holy water. Ablutions were repeated the following morning before Guru Hargobind lett for Kartarpur. The family were left in Goindwal on the persuasion of Baba Sundar, great-grandson of Guru Amar Das. Upon his return to Amritsar, Guru Hargobind recalled the family from Goindwal. As says the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, four of the Guru's sons greeted their father by touching his feet. The youngest, Tegh Bahadur, arrived carried on her arms by his sister, Bibi Viro.

Tegh Bahadur was brought up in the approved Sikh style. As a young boy, he was placed under the teaching of Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. The former supervised his training in archery and horsemanship and the latter taught him the old classics. Tegh Bahadur made rapid progress and showed early promise of mastery in both fields. He also gave evidence of a deeply mystical temperament by his prolonged spells of seclusion and contemplation. This strain of his genius is best expressed in his superbly sublime poetry preserved in the Guru Granth. The father's favourable prophecies continued. Mother Nanaki, though pleased inwardly, often wondered how Tegh Bahadur, quiet and humble and devoid of all ambition, would attain the rank Guru Hargobind had predicted for him. But there was no doubt that he was his father's favourite and that mighty events awaited him.

To quote the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, "Tegh Bahadur visited Guru Hargobind but occasionally; yet he received more consideration than anyone else. Usually, he came but once in a month. He would step in softly with his eyes turned to the ground in modesty. Thus he would bow low to the Guru's feet. Guru Hargobind received his gentle son with words of affection and seated him sometimes by his side and sometimes lifted him up on to his knee... "But Mother Nanaki's perplexity was not abated. She knew that her son, Tegh Bahadur, maintained no contact with the masands, nor did he supervise the household. One day she directly questioned Guru Hargobind why he treated Tegh Bahadur with such attention. The Guru answered, 'I shall unlock the mystery for you. Tegh Bahadur can suffer what none other can. His forbearance is unsurpassed. He is master of many virtues. None else is there like him in the world. This is one reason which entitles him to acknowledgement. Second, a son will be born to him who will be mighty of limb and be the vanquisher of foe. He will take part in many a battle. He will excel in both valour and compassion. He will bring fame to the House of Guru Nanak, the world teacher."'
I The next several years were spent in Amritsar until it became time for Suraj Mall to marry. Tegh Bahadur joined his brother's wedding party and, in the description of the Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi, he was escorted by the devout Bhai Bidhi Chand. At Suraj Mall's wedding which took place at Kartarpur on April 23, 1629, Bishan Kaur, one of the bride's guests, chose Tegh Bahadur for her own daughter. Confidentially she spoke to her husband, Lal Chand, "Handsome beyond words is the Guru's son. Though barely eight years old, far excelling is his fortune. Our own daughter is five. We must act quickly and waste no time." They took the proposal to Guru Hargobind. Bhai Gurdas was sent to Tegh Bahadur whose answer was characteristic. He gently said that he would abide by the word of his father. The same day, he was affianced to Gujari, daughter of Lal Chand and Bishan Kaur. In Amritsar, Mother Nanaki received him with redoubled joy.
On February 4,1633, took place the marriage of Tegh Bahadur. Relations and Sikhs congregated in Kartarpur from Goindwal, Khadur, Amritsar, Mandiali, Batala, Kangar, Bhai Rupa, Malla, and other places. Tegh Bahadur was dressed in yellow for the occasion. He wore a wreath on his forehead and an ornamented umbrella was unfolded over him. In deference to an old Punjabi scruple, the party dispensed with carriages and preferred to walk owing to the fact that the bride belonged to their own town. In the words of Bhai Santokh Singh, "Most splendid looked Tegh Bahadur. Both men and women felt fascinated by his looks. He was tall like his father. Handsome as the moon was his face. He was long of limb and broad-chested...and he walked with gentle, graceful steps." "Like bridegroom like bride," says the Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi. "Gujari is by destiny made worthy of Tegh Bahadur in every way."
Old texts record that Tegh Bahadur took part in the battle of Kartarpur on April 26, 1635. This was the last major conflict his father, Guru Hargobind, had to engage in. According to the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, Tegh Bahadur, riding his horse, made bold sallies in all directions. Mata Nanaki and her daughter-in-law watched his feats of arms from the top of their house. When word was sent to him to retire, he, like his brothers, answered that it was not proper to turn one's back on the battlefield. Tegh Bahadur was then fourteen years old. After the battle of Kartarpur, Guru Hargobind, Nanak VI, went to live at Kiratpur. For Tegh Bahadur this meant nine years of uninterrupted happiness in the company of his father. As was his wont, "he remained always saturated in the remembrance of God and spoke but little." When his time Gurdwara Baba Bakala at City of Bakala District Amritsar, place of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji came near, Guru Hargobind asked Nanaki to go and live in the village of Bakala. Guru Hargobind appointed his elder son, Guru Har Rai as next guru. Tegh Bahadur and his brothers were present at this occasion. Tegh Bahadur and his wife Mata Gujari ji shifted to Bakala. It was at Bakala when he heard about the passing away of Guru Har Rai and appointment of Guru Har Krishan as Nanak Eight. It was also at Bakala when he heard about his appointment as ninth guru through Makhan Shah and other Sikhs.
Three successive visits were made to Kiratpur. On August 21,1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur went there to condole with Bibi Rup Kaur upon the passing away of her father, Guru Har Rai, and of her brother, Guru Har Krishan. The second visit was on October 15,1664, at the death on September 29, 1664, of Mata Bassi, mother of Guru Har Rai. A third visit concluded a fairly extensive journey through Majha, Malwa and Bangar districts of the Punjab. The first halt during this journey was at Amritsar, followed by halts at Tarn Taran, Khadur Sahib and Goindwal, all of long-standing sanctity in the Sikh tradition. Crossing the Beas and Sutlej rivers, Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived in the Malwa. He visited Zira and Moga and reached Darauli. He then sojourned in the Lakkhi Jungle, a desolate and sandy tract comprising mainly present-day districts of Bhatinda and Faridkot. According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Baisakhi of 1665 was celebrated at Sabo-ki Talwandi, now known as Damdama Sahib. This journey took Guru Tegh Bahadur up to Dhamdhan, near Jind, from where he returned to Kiratpur. On May 13,1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Bilaspur, farther up in the hills. This was to attend the mourning for Raja Dip Chand of Bilaspur. He was accompanied on this journey by his mother, Mata Nanaki, Mata Sulakkhni, widow of Guru Har Rai, Mata Hariji, wife of Suraj Mall, Bibi Rup Kaur, daughter of Guru Har Rai, and Dip Chand and Nand Chand, sons of Suraj Mall.
The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The Guru bought the site on payment of Rs 500. The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur raised a new habitation. The ground was broken on June 19, 1665, by Baba Gurditta Randhawa. Karahprasad was distributed after the ceremonies. The new village was named after Mother Nanaki. Chakk Nanaki later became famous as Anandpur Sahib.
Like his predecessors since the days of Guru Hargobind, Guru Tegh Bahadur maintained the marks of worldly dignity. But he himself lived austerely. Sikh documents, or any other, make no mention of a clash with the ruling power having occurred during his time. yet by his teaching and by his prolonged travels across the country, he created a new energy and environment for Sikh living. He was especially sensitive to the peoples' suffering and taught them to be fearless.
At Dhamdhan, Guru Tegh Bahadur was received by Bhai Daggo with exceeding joy . He put him up in the new house he had constructed. The Guru showered his blessings upon him: "For meeting me with presents, milk shall abound in thy house. Minister to the Sikhs and devotees, and remain with us during our stay in this place." Bhai Pheru was another of the Sikhs who unremittingly served the Guru and the Sikhs. He was so thoroughly devoted to his duty that he never allowed himself leisure to open his big turban and comb his hair. Guru Tegh Bahadur conferred upon him the penegyric: "Clean is thy beard, Bhai Pheru; durable is thy devotion; virtuous are thy actions; thou shalt be reckoned of consequence in the world. The Guru is a sacrifice unto thee, Bhai Pheru!" The festival of Divali brought to Dhamdhan Sikhs from far-off places. They felt blessed by a sight of the Guru and faithfully received his instruction. On November 8, 1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur reached Delhi. Rani Pushpa Devi of Amber was his host. Her family had reverenced the House of Guru Nanak since the days of the Sixth Guru, and her son, Kanwar Ram Singh, now attended upon the holy guest. Further journey lay through Mathura, Agra, Allahabad, Banaras and Sasaram. The Guru was drawn to Sasaram by the love of a Sikh, called Phaggo. Phaggo was convinced in his heart that the Guru would respond to his devotion and had, in anticipation of a visit, built a new house with a high entrance. His wish was that the Master should ride into the premises without having to dismount his horse. He cleaned the house every day and locked it, for he had vowed not to live in it until the Guru had visited it. Guru Tegh Bahadur answered his wish and, on reaching Sasaram, entered on horseback the house dedicated to him.
Guru Tegh Bahadur travelled on to Patna. There he spent the rainy season. At Patna was born his only son, then called Gobind Das. But he had by that time left the city acceding to the wishes of sangats in remoter districts. Dacca was the seat of an old Sikh sangat. Here the elderly mother of the local masand, Bulaki Das, eagerly awaited the Guru's arrival. She had spun cotton with her own hands and made a dress for him. On reaching Dacca, Guru Tegh Bahadur went straight to where she lived. For the old woman, this was like a dream come true. she felt rejoiced to seat the Guru on the divan she had kept for him and to present him with the dress she had made. The entire sangat came to see the Guru singing the sacred sabads. Guru Tegh Bahadur greeted them by calling Dacca "the citadel of Sikhism." He advised them to build a new dharamsala, assemble in it for kirtan and celebrate the holy festivals. "Thus will you be liberated; thus will your sorrows be cancelled."
Raja Ram Singh of Amber, who had been sent on January 6, 1668, from Delhi by Aurangzab with an expedition to Assam, overtook Guru Tegh Bahadur in Dacca. His mother, Pushpa Devi, had exhorted him to seek the Guru's help in his enterprise. The Raja, himself a devoted disciple, was pleased to see Guru Tegh Bahadur. He felt doubly blessed when the Guru accepted his entreaty to accompany him on the campaign. Towards the close of 1668, they set out for Assam, crossed the Brahmputra and reached Dhubri, which had also been visited by Guru Nanak during his travels in eastern India. Guru Tegh Bahadur marked out the spot where the First Guru had sat. People thronged to see him. A local chieftain, Raja Ram, came to seek blessing for a son. His wish was fulfilled and, as Sikh records tell, the son, named Ratan Rai, became a disciple and visited Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur with presents. Raja Ram Singh who was encamped at some distance from Guru Tegh Bahadur clashed with the Ahom ruler, Chakradhwaj Singh. The issue remained undecided and, according to Sikh chronicles, the Guru brought about peace between the warring forces. Guru Tegh Bahadur travelled as far as Hajo: a modern researcher traces the name of a nearby hillock, Teghpur or Tegh Parbat, to his visit.
Hajo was the farthest Guru Tegh Bahadur travelled. The homeward journey began late in 1669. It was faster than the outward journey . The longest halt was at Patna where the Guru rejoined his family and saw for the first time his son, Gobind Das. At parting, the Guru instructed the family to return to Punjab and await his arrival at Lakhnaur, near Ambala. He himself proceeded to Delhi. In the entourage on this journey was his faithful Muslim follower, Nawab Saif Khan. On the evidence on the Bhatt Vahi Talauda, Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived in Delhi on June 20, 1670. He put up in the dharamsala of Bhai Kalyana where disciples and followers flocked in large numbers to obtain his blessing. Rani Pushpa Devi came along with her daughter-in-law and felt relieved of her anxiety to hear of the well-being of her son, Raja Ram Singh.
Guru Tegh Bahadur's son, Gobind Das, had reached Lakhnaur in the care of his mother and grandmother. In this village lived Mehar Chand, Mata Gujari's brother. Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived there from Delhi and proceeded to Chakk Nanki, or Anandpur with his whole family.

Kashmiri pundits meeting Guru Tegh Bahadur ji
Kashmiri Brahmins, led by Pundit Kirpa Ram came to Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur in 1675 for protection against atrocities of Aurungzeb. They had faced stiff taxes, atrocities, cruelty under muslim Mughal governor of Kashmir. Honour of their daughters was being lost and they were losing their religion to the fanatic zeal and proletyzation activities of Islamic crusaders. They asked for a solution. Guru replied "Such activities can only be stopped by a sacrifice of a great person". Just then 8 years old son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Gobind Rai (Later Gobind Singh) came along and saw his father in deep thoughts. He enquired about the reason. He offered a possible solution by saying "who else is greater then you, O father". Guru Tegh Bahadur knew immediately about his Dharma. He told Kashmiri Brahmins "Go tell Aurungzeb that if they can convert your Guru then you will all become Muslims." Kirpa Ram obliged and Aurungzeb issued summons for Guru. Guru performed the ceromany and declared that next Guru will be his son, Gobind Rai. His three devoted disciples, Dyal Dass, Sati Dass and Mati dass insisted on going along with him, he agreed.

The rest account is from the book of "History of Sikh vol-1, by Hari Ram Gupta. His ancestors were honoured by Guru Gobind Singh himself and were given a title of Bhur-e-Shahi.

At Delhi 5-11, November, 1675

Aurungzeb had gone south, on his arrival to Delhi he demanded Guru ji at capital. (Guru ji were at Sirhind at this time) The faujdar put Guru in an iron cage and fastened it on the back of an elephant. His companions were fettered and handcuffed, and were carried in a bullock cart to delhi. They reached delhi on Nov 5 1675, and were kept at Kotwali jail. While in the cage on his way to Delhi Guru Tegh Bahadur composed the following two quatrains: The translation is
Dohra no. 53
[My strength is exhausted, I am in bondage, I have 
no resources.  Saith Nanak God is now my refuge.
May he succour me as He did the elphant] 

Then he replied to himself

dohra no. 54

[ Strength is here, bondage is broken.  All the 
resources are there. Nanak! everything is in
thy power; you are my refuge]

Aurungzeb's pressure tactics:

Syed Mohammad Latif writes: "The emperor had many religious disputations with Tegh Bahadur, and asked him to show miracles, if he was true guru, or to embrace Islam." The Guru replied that showing a miracle was to interfere in the work of God which was wholly improper. As for embracing Islam he considered his religion as good as Islam, and therefore the change of religion was not necessary. The emperor ordered that Guru be put to the severest tortures. After five day's persecution on 10th November, the most heinous and most horrible scene was enacted before the eyes of Guru who was kept in the iron cage. Aurungzeb thought that the sight of such ghastly deeds might force the Guru to change his mind for embracing Islam.

Sawing, bowling and chopping off:

Dyal Das, Mati Das and Sati Das as well as the Guru were brought to the open
space in front of the Kotwali where now stands a fountain. (Mati Das and Sati das were brothers, they were former Brahmins and belong to the area of Jammu) First of all Bhai Mati das was asked to become a Muslaman. He replied that Sikhism was true and Islam was false. If God had favoured Islam, he would have created all men circumised. He was at once tied between two posts, and while standing erect, was sawn across from head to loins. He faced the savage operation with such compusure tranquility and fortitude that Sikh theologians included his name in the daily prayers (Ardas). Dyal Das abused the Emperor and his courtiers at this atrocious act. He was tied up like a bundle with an iron chain and was put into large cauldron of bowling oil. He was roasted alive into a block of charcoal. Sati Das condemned the brutalities. He was hacked to pieces limb by limb. Jaita a Rangreta sikh of delhi collected the remains of these martyrs and consigned them to the river Yamuna flowing at a stone's throw.

The Guru's reflections
All this happened before the very eyes of Tegh Bahadur. He was all the time repeating 'Wah Guru'. He remained stonelike unruffled and undismayed. His energy, thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions had concentrated on Wah Guru, and dazzling divine light was beaming upon his face. He realized that such immortal sacrifices could not go in vain. Their name would live for ever. In this carnage he saw the rise of a new nation of heroes. Keeping in mind his promise to Kashmiri pandits, the Guru continually chanted the following hymn
 Bah Jinahn di pakariye 
 Sar dije bah na chhoriye
 Tegh Bahadur bolya
 Dhar payae dharma na chhoriye.

 [Give up your head, but forsake not those whom you have 
undertaken to protect.   Says Tegh Bahadur, sacrifice your life, but 
relinquish not your faith]

The Guru's miracle
Next morning Guru got up early. He bath and sat in meditation. He recited Japji and Sukhmani. He reflected upon the supreme sacrifice of his grandfather, Guru Arjan dev, on the duties of the office of Guruship and on his own responsibility at this crisis. His resolve was made. A little before 11'o clock Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought to open place of execution in Chandni Chauk, where Gurudwara Sis Ganj now stands. The Qazi, several high officials, and the executioner, Sayyid Jalal-Ud-Din of Samana with a shining broad sword in hand was already there. A contigent of Mughal soldiers stood on guard. A large crowd of spectators had gathered outside the barricade. The Guru stood in front. The Qazi asked him either to show miracle, or Embrace Islam or face death.

Gurdwara Sis Ganj Chandani Chowk Delhi,
Martyrdom place of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, got constructed by Baghel Singh
Syed Mohammad Latif writes: " The Guru said before the assembly of Omerahas that the duty of man was to pray to the Lord, but since he had been commanded by his majesty to show a miracle, he had resolved upon complying with the King's order. He wrote on a piece of paper, which he said was charmed, and then having tied it round his neck declared that the sword would fall harmless on it. The executiner was now summoned to test the miraculous charm. The blow was given and the head of the Guru rolled on the floor to the amazement of court." (Latif, page 260, History of PunjaB, he is famous for anti Sikh writings so please don't get offended with above)

Display in Delhi
After the execution Guru's head and body were placed on the back of an elephant and paraded into the streets and bazars of Delhi. They were kept at the Kotwali in Chandni Chauk after demonstrations. Aurungzeb then ordered that parts of his body be imputated and hung about the city. "Wajudash ra chand hisse namudah atraf-e-shahar-awezand"

A desperate struggle
Jaita and Nanu, residents of Dilwali Gali in the city, held a meeting in the house of Nanu. They were joined by Uda, a resident of Ladwa in Karnal district. They resolved that such a thing should not happen. It was suggested that Lakhi Lubana was shortly to arrive with a few cartloads of cotton from Narnaul. He was a Sikh and his guidance was sought. They waited for Lakhi on the road a few kilometrs away from the city. They informed him about the whole affair. It was decided that carts should be diverted from the side of the Red fort to Chandani chauk about midnight on Nov 11/12 1675 A.D. Near Kotwali the speed of the carts would be slowed down without stopping them. The head and body lay at the gate. The watchmen wrapped in quilts were inside. Jaita slipped out quickly, picked up the head and fled away towards Sabzi Mandi. He tied the head in a sheet, fastened it on his back and covered his body in an old, dirty blanket. He made straight for Azadpur on the road to Sonepat. Nanu and Uda kept him company at a distance.

Lakhi's extraordinary deed
Lakhi's son and servant lifted the body, hid it in cotton and rushed off to Raisina, and to their home in Rikab Ganj village. They put the body in their house, and piled all the wood, wooden articles, clothes, ghee available at home, since cremation at night is prohibited they waited for daylight.
In the morning the entire staff of Kotwali was horrified at the disappearance of Guru's head and body. The police was immediately put on alert. and a thorough search was made. (Lakhi put fire to his house and thus was as well as saved of the wrath of emperor and he also cremated Guru ji's body, at this site now stands Gurudwara Rakab Ganj)

The trio's feat of strength and endurance
Jaita carried the head, Nanu and Uda served his escorts. One walked ahead and other behind within sight of Jaita. They followed the paths throught fields and bushes, greeting Hindus by Ram Ram and muslaman by Salam. From Karnal they took the pathway to Pehowa, Ismailabad and Ambala. They reached Kiratpur on the afternoon of Tuesday, 16 November 1675. Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib They covered 320 kilometrs in five days. Guru Gobind singh was immediately informed at Anandpur, 8 Kms distant. He at once came to Kiratpur, and accorded a ceremonial reception to his father's head. He held Jaita in tight embrace and declaring Rangrete Guru ke Bete. The Guru bestowed same affection to Nanu and Uda.

Bhai Jaita ji meeting Guru Gobind Singh ji

The effect of Guru's martyrdom
Hindus, Sikhs and Sufi Muslims in the Panjab were deeply shocked at the execution of the Guru and his three brave companions. They were filled with indignation. A Sikh even made an attempt on Aurungzeb's life. On Friday, 27 October, 1676, the emperor returned from Jama Masjid. He went for an airing in a boat in river Yamuna. When he alighted the boat and was about to get on the movable throne (Takht-e-rawan) "an ill-fated disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur" threw two bricks on the emperor, one of which hit the throne. (Saqi Must-Id-Khan, Masir-e-Alamgiri translation by sir Jadunath Sarkar. page 94)
Guru Tegh Bahadur's execution turned the tide of history of the Sikhs and of Panjab. His son and successor Guru Gobind singh reflected on the history of India as well as on the history of the Sikhs. Guru Nanak had described the rulers of his time as tigers and dogs. His great Grandfather, the fifth Guru, Arjan, was executed at Lahore. His grandfather Guru Hargobind, had been imprisoned in the Gwalir fort for twelve years. His father was beheaded simply because he happened to be the head of a religious body. There had been no change in the attitude of rulers as described by Guru Nanak even after two hundred years. After a most determined meditation on this state of affairs, the Guru came to the conclusion that if the king was bad, people must rise in revolt. The greatest need of the time was to create a national army. Such an army was to be based on social justice. There should be no discrimination in the name of caste, creed or colour. The unpaid, unequipped and untrained army was to be inspired by feelings of patriotism and nationalism. This objective was achieved by creation of Khalsa. The down trodden people who had lived for centuries under complete servility turned into doughty warriors. In the course of one hundred years they not only ended the foreign rule but also put a stop for ever to the foreign invasions from the North-West.

Nanak X. Guru Gobind Singh ji(1666 - 1708)

Portrait of Guru Gobind Singh ji as painted by Bhai Sobha Singh The tenth and the last Guru or Prophet-teacher of the Sikh faith, was born Gobind Rai Sodhi on Poh 7, 1723 sk/22 December 1666 at Patna, in Bihar. His father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Guru, was then travelling across Bengal and Assam. Returning to Patna in 1670, he directed his family to return to the Punjab. On the site of the house at Patna in which Gobind Rai was born and where he spent his early childhood now stands a sacred shrine, Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib, one of the five most honoured seats of religious authority (takht, lit. throne) for the Sikhs. Gobind Rai was escorted to Anandpur (then known as Chakk Nanaki)on the foothills of the Sivaliks where he reached in March 1672 and where his early education included reading and writing of Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit and Persian. He was barely nine years of age when a sudden turn came in his life as well as in the life of tile community he was destined to lead. Early in 1675, a group Kashmiri Brahmans, drivels to desperation by the religious fanaticism of the Mughals General, Iftikar Khan, visited Anandpur to seek Guru Tegh Bahadur's intercession. As the Guru sat reflecting what to do, young Gobind Rai, arriving there in company with his playmates, asked Why he looked so preoccupied. The father, as records Kuir Singh in his Gurbilas Patshahi 10, replied, "Grave are the burdens the earth bears. She will be redeemed only if a truly worthy person comes forward to lay down his head. Distress will then be expunged and happiness ushered in." "None could be worthier than yourself to make such a sacrifice," remarked Gobind Rai in his innocent manner. Guru Tegh Bahadur soon aftenwards proceeded to the imperial capital, Delhi, and courted death on 11 November 1675.

Kashmiri pundits meeting Guru Tegh
Bahadur ji 
Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed Guru on the Baisakhi day of 1733 Bk/29 March 1676. In the midst of his engagement with the concerns of the community, he gave attention to the mastery of physical skills and literary accomplishment. He had grown into a comely youth spare, lithe of limb and energetic. He had a natural genius for poetic composition and his early years were assiduously given to this pursuit. The Var Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki, popularly called Chandi di Var. written in 1684, was his first composition and his only major work in the Punjabi language. The poem depicted the legendary contest between the gods and the demons as described in the Markandeya Purana . The choice of a warlike theme for this and a number of his later compositions such as the two Chandi Charitras, mostly in Braj, was made to infuse martial spirit among his followers to prepare them to stand up against injustice and tyranny.

Much of Guru Gobind Singh's creative literary work was done at Paonta he had founded on the banks of the River Yamuna and to which site he had temporarily shifted in April 1685. Poetry as such was, however, not his aim. For him it was a means of revealing the divine principle and concretizing a personal vision of the Supreme Being that had been vouchsafed to him. His Japu and the composition known as Akal Ustati are in this tenor. Through his poetry he preached love and equality and a strictly ethical and moral code of conduct. He preached the worship of the One Supreme Being, deprecating idolatry and superstitious beliefs and observances. The glorification of the sword itself which he eulogized as Bhaguati was to secure fulfilment of God'sjustice. The sword was never meant as a symbol of aggression, and it was never to be used for self-aggrandizement. It was the emblem of manliness and self-respect and was to be used only in self-defence, as a last resort. For Guru Gobind Singh said in a Persian couplet in his Zafarnamah:

When all other means have failed,
It is but lawful to take to the sword.

During his stay at Paonta, Guru Gobind Singh availed himself of his spare time to practise different forms of manly exercises, such as riding, swimming and archery. His increasing influence among the people and the martial exercises of his men excited the jealousy of the neighbouring Rajpat hill rulers who led by Raja Fateh Chand of Garhval collected a host to attack him. But they were worsted in an action at Bhangam, about 10 km northeast of Paonta, on 18 Assu 1745 sk/18 September 1688. Soon there after Guru Gobind Singh left Paonta and returned to Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib Anandpur which he fortified in view of the continuing hostility of the Rajput chiefs as well as of the repressive policy of the imperial government at Delhi. The Guru and his Sikhs were involved in a battle with a Mughal commander, Alif Khan, at Nadaun on the left bank of the Beas, about 30 km southeast of Kangra, on 22 Chet 1747 Bk/20 March 1691. Describing the battle in stirring verse in Bachitra Natak, he said that Alif Khan fled in utter disarray "without being able to give any attention to his camp." Among several other skirmishes that occurred was the Husaim battle (20 Februaly 1696) fought against Husain K an, an imperial general, which resulted in a decisive victory for the Sikhs. Following the appointment in 1694 of the liberal Prince Muazzam (later Emperor Bahadur Shah) as viceroy of northwestern region including Punjab, there was however a brief respite from pressure from the ruling authority.

In 1698, Guru Gobind Singh issued directions to Sikh sangats or communities in different parts not to acknowledge masands, the local ministers, against whom he had heard complaints. Sikhs, he instructed, should come to Anandpur straight without any intermediaries and bring their offerings personally. The Guru thus established direct relationship with his Sikhs and addressed them as his Khalsa, Persian term used for crown-lands as distinguished from feudal chiefs. The institution of the Khalsa was given concrete form on 30 March 1699 when Sikhs had gathered at Anandpur in large numbers for the annual festival of Baisakhi. Gurb Gobind Singh appeared before the assembly dramatically on that day with a naked sword in hand and, to quote Kuir Singh, Gurbilas Patshahz 10, spoke: "Is there present a true Sikh who would offer his head to the Guru as a sacrifice?" The words numbed the audience who looked on in awed silence. The Gurb repeated the call. At the third call Daya Ram, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, arose and humbly walked behind the Guru to a tent near by. The Gurb returned with his sword dripping blood, and asked for another head. At this Dharam Das, a Jat from Hastinapur, came forward and was taken inside the enclosure. Guru Gobind Singh made three more calls. Muhkam Chand, a washerman from Dvarka, Himmat, a water-carrier from Jagannath puri, and Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar (Karnataka) responded one after another and advanced to offer their heads. All the five were led back from the tent dressed alike in saffron-coloured raiment topped over with neatly tied turbans similarly dyed, with swords dangling by their sides. Guru Gobind Singh then introduced khande da pahul, i.e. initiation by sweetened water churned with a double-edged broad sword (khanda). Those five Sikhs were the first to be initiated. Guru Gobind Singh called them Panj Piare, the five devoted spirits beloved of the Guru. These five, three of them from the so-called low-castes, a Ksatriya and a Jatt, formed the nucleus of the self-abnegating, martial and casteless fellowship of the Khalsa. Waah Waah Guru Gobind Singh Aape Gur ChelaAll of them surnamed Singh, meaning lion, were required to wear in future the five symbols of the Khalsa, all beginning with the letter K the kes or long hair and beard, kangha, a comb in the kes to keep it tidy as against the recluses who kept it matted in token of their having renounced the world, Kara, a steel bracelet, kachch, short breeches, and kirpan, a sword. They were enjoined to succour the helpless and fight the oppressor, to have faith in one God and to consider all human beings equal, irrespective of caste and creed. Guru Gobind Singh then himself received initiatory rites from five disciples, now invested with authority as Khalsa, and had his name changed from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. "Hail," as the poet subsequently sang, "Gobind Singh who is himself Master as well as disciple." Further injunctions were laid down for the Sikhs. They must never cut or trim their hair and beards, nor smoke tobacco. A Sikh must not have sexual relationship outside the marital bond, nor eat the flesh of an animal killed slowly in the Muslim way (or in any sacrificial ceremony).

Darbar of Guru Gobind Singh ji Sacha Padishah
These developments alarmed the casteridden Rajput chiefs of the Sivalik hills. They rallied under the leadership of the Raja of Bilaspur, in whose territory lay Anandpur, to forcibly evict Guru Gobind Singh from his hilly citadel. Their repeated expeditions during 1700-04 however proved abortive . They at last petitioned Emperor Aurangzeb for help. In concert with contingents sent under imperial orders by the governor of Lahore and those of the faujdar of Sirhind, they marched upon Anandpur and laid a siege to the fort in Jeth 1762 sk/May 1705. Over the months, the Guru and his Sikhs firmly withstood their successive assaults despite dire scarcity of food resulting from the prolonged blockade. While the besieged were reduced to desperate straits, the besiegers too were chagrined at the tenacity with which the Sikhs held out. At this stagy the besiegers offered, on solemn oaths of Quran, safe exit to the Sikhs if they quit Anandpur. At last, the town was evacuated during the night of Poh suds 1, 1762 sk/5-6 December 1705. But soon, as the Guru and his Sikhs came out, the hill monarchs and their Mughal allies set upon them in full fury. In the ensuing confusion many Sikhs were killed and all of the Guru's baggage, including most of the precious manuscripts, was lost. The Guru himself was able to make his way to Chamkaur, 40 km southwest of Anandpur, with barely 40 Sikhs and his two elder sons. There the imperial army, following closely on his heels, caught up with him. His two sons, Ajit Singh (b. 1687) and Jujhar Singh (b. 1691) and all but five of the Sikhs fell in the action that took place on 7 December 1705. The five surviving Sikhs bade the Guru to save himself in order to reconsolidate the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh with three of his Sikhs escaped into the wilderness of the Malva, two of his Muslim devotees, Gani Khan and Nabi Khan, helping him at great personal risk.

Guru Gobind Singh ji in Battle  
Guru Gobind Singh's two younger sons, Zorawar Singh (b. 1696) and Fateh Singh (b.1699), and his mother, Mata Gujari, were after the evacuation of Anandpur betrayed by their old servant and escort, Gangu, to the faujdar of Sirhind, who had the young children executed on 13 December 1705. Their grandmother died the same day. Befriended by another Muslim admirer, Ral Kalha of Raikot, Guru Gobind Singh reached Dina in the heart of the Malva. There he enlisted a few hundred warriors of the Brar clan, and also composed his famous letter, Zafarnamah or the Epistle of Victory, in Persian verse, addressed to Emperor Aurangzeb. The letter was a severe indictment of the Emperor and his commanders who had perjured their oath and treacherously attacked him once he was outside the safety of his fortification at Anandpur. It emphatically reiterated the sovereignty of morality in the affairs of State as much as in the conduct of human beings and held the means as important as the end. Two of the Sikhs, Daya Singh and Dharam Singh, were despatched with the Zafarnamah to Ahmadnagar in the South to deliver it to Aurangzeb, then in camp in that town.
From Dina, Guru Gobind Singh continued his westward march until, finding the host close upon his heels, he took position astride the water pool of Khidrana to make a last-ditch stand. The fighting on 29 December 1705 was hard and desperate. In spite of their overwhelming numbers, the Mughal troops failed to capture the Guru and had to retire in defeat. The most valorous part in this battle was played by a group of 40 Sikhs who had deserted the Guru at Anandpur during the long siege, but who, chided by their womenfolk at home, had come back under the leadership of a brave and devoted woman, Mai Bhago, to redeem themselves. They had fallen fighting desperately to check the enemy's advance towards the Guru's position. The Guru blessed the 40 dead as 40 mukte, i.e. the 40 Saved Ones. The site is now marked by a sacred shrine and tank and the town which has grown around them is called Muktsar, the Pool of liberations.
After spending some time in the Lakkhi Jungle country, Guru Gobind Singh arrived at Talvandi Sabo, now called Damdama Sahib, on 20 January 1706. During his stay there of over nine months, a number of Sikhs rejoined him. He prepared a fresh recension of Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, with the celebrated scholar, Bhai Mani Singh, as his amanuensis. From the number of scholars who had rallied round Guru Gobind Singh and from the literary activity initiated, the place came to be known as the Guru's Kashi or seat of learning like Varanasi.
The epistle Zafarnamah sent by Guru Gobind Singh from Dina seems to have touched the heart of Emperor Aurungzeb. He forthwith invited him for a meeting. According to Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, the Emperor had a letter written to the deputy governor of Lahore, Munim Khan, to conciliate the Guru and make the required arrangements for his journey to the Deccan. Guru Gobind Singh had, however, already left for the South on 30 October 1706. He was in the neighbourhood of Baghor, in Rajasthan, when the news arrived of the death of the Emperor at Ahmadnagar on 20 February 1707. The Guru there upon decided to return to the Punjab, via Shahjahanabad (Delhi) . That was the time when the sons of the deceased Emperor were preparing to contest succession. Guru Gobind Singh despatched for the help of the eldest claimant, the liberal Prince Muazzam, a token contingent of Sikhs which took part in the battle of Jajau (8 June 1707), decisively won by the Prince who ascended the throne with the title of Bahadur Shah. The new Emperor invited Guru Gobind Singh for a meeting which took place at Agra on 23 July 1707.
Emperor Bahadur Shah had at this time to move against the Kachhvaha Rajputs of Amber (Jaipur) and then to the Deccan where his youngest brother, Kam Baksh, had raised the standard of revolt. The Guru accompanied him and, as says Tarzkh-i-Bahadur Shahi, he addressed assemblies of people on the way preaching the word of Guru Nanak. The two camps crossed the River Tapti between 11 and 14 June 1708 and the Ban-Ganga on 14 August, arriving at Nanded, on the Godavari, towards the end of August. While Bahadur Shah proceeded further South, Guru Gobind Singh decided to stay awhile at Nanded. Here he met a Bairagi recluse, Madho Das, whom he converted a Sikh administering to him the vows of the Khalsa, renaming him Gurbakhsh Singh (popular name Banda Singh ). Guru Gobind Siligh gave Banda Singh five arrows from his own quiver and an escort, including five of his chosen Sikhs, and directed him to go to the Punjab and carry on the campaign against the tyranny of the provincial overlords.
Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind had felt concerned at the Emperor's conciliatory treatment of Guru Gobind Singh. Their marching together to the South made him jealous, and he charged two of his trusted men with murdering the Guru before his increasing friendship with the Emperor resulted in any harm to him. These two pathans Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg are the names given in the Guru Kian Sakhian pursued the Guru secretly and overtook him at Nanded, where, according to Sri Gur Sobha by Senapati, Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, Meditation place of Guru Gobind Singh ji a contemporary writer, one of them stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart as he lay one evening in his chamber resting after the Rahrasi prayer. Before he could deal another blow, Guru Gobind Singh struck him down with his sabre, while his fleeing companion fell under the swords of Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise. As the news reached Bahadur Shah's camp, he sent expert surgeons, including an Englishman, Cole by name, to attend on the Guru. The wound was stitched and appeared to have healed quickly but, as the Guru one day applied strength to pull a stiff bow, it broke out again and bled profusely. This weakened the Guru beyond cure and he passed away on Kattak sudi 5, 1765 Bk/7 October 1708. Before the end came, Guru Gobind Singh had asked for the Sacred Volume to be brought forth. To quote Bhatt Vahi Talauda Parganah Jind: "Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master, son of Guru Teg Bahadur, grandson of Guru Hargobind, great-grandson of Guru Arjan, of the family of Guru Ram Das Surajbansi, Gosal clan, Sodhi Khatri, resident of Anandpur, parganah Kahlur, now at Nanded, in the Godavari country in the Deccan, asked Bhai Daya Singh, on Wednesday, 7 October 1708, to fetch Sri Granth Sahib. In obedience to his orders, Daya Singh brought Sri Granth Sahib. The Guru placed before it five pice and a coconut and bowed his head before it. He said to the sangat, "It is my commandment: Own Sri Granthji in my place. He who so acknowledges it will obtain his reward. The Guru will rescue him. Know this as the truth".
Guru Gobind Singh thus passed on the succession with due ceremony to the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, ending the line of personal Gurus. "The Guru's spirit," he said, "will henceforth be in the Granth and the Khalsa. Where the Granth is with any five Sikhs representing the Khalsa, there will the Guru be." The Word enshrined in the Holy Book was always revered by the Gurus as well as by their disciples as of Divine origin. The Guru was the revealer of the Word. One day the Word was to take the place of the Guru. The inevitable came to pass when Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor. It was only through the Word that the Guruship could be made everlasting. The Word as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib was henceforth, and for all time to come to be the Guru for the Sikhs.

Aryan Invasion — History or Politics?

By Dr. N.S. Rajaram
There is a great deal of confusion over the origins of the Aryan invasion theory and even the word Arya. It explains also the use and misuse of the word.

Aryans: race or culture?

Dr NS RajaramThe evidence of science now points to two basic conclusions: first, there was no Aryan invasion, and second, the Rigvedic people were already established in India no later than 4000 BCE. How are we then to account for the continued presence of the Aryan invasion version of history in history books and encyclopedias even today?
Some of the results - like Jha's decipherment of the Indus script - are relatively recent, and it is probably unrealistic to expect history books to reflect all the latest findings. But unfortunately, influential Indian historians and educators continue to resist all revisions and hold on to this racist creation - the Aryan invasion theory. Though there is now a tendency to treat the Aryan-Dravidian division as a linguistic phenomenon, its roots are decidedly racial and political, as we shall soon discover. 

Nazi Swastika
Speaking of the Aryan invasion theory, it would probably be an oversimplification to say: "Germans invented it, British used it," but not by much. The concept of the Aryans as a race and the associated idea of the 'Aryan nation' were very much a part of the ideology of German nationalism. For reasons known only to them, Indian educational authorities have continued to propagate this obsolete fiction that degrades and divides her people. They have allowed their political biases and career interests to take precedence over the education of children. They continue to propagate a version that has no scientific basis.

Nazi medal
Before getting to the role played by German nationalism, it is useful first to take a brief look at what the word Arya does mean. After Hitler and the Nazi atrocities, most people, especially Europeans, are understandably reluctant to be reminded of the word. But that was a European crime; Indians had no part in it. The real Aryans have lived in India for thousands of years without committing anything remotely resembling the Nazi horrors. So there is no need to be diffident in examining the origins of the European misuse of the word. In any event, history demands it.

Sanskrit Hindu Scripture
The first point to note is that the idea of the Aryans as foreigners who invaded India and destroyed the existing Harappan Civilization is a modern European invention; it receives no support whatsoever from Indian records - literary or archaeological. The same is true of the notion of the Aryans as a race; it finds no support in Indian literature or tradition. The word 'Arya' in Sanskrit means noble and never a race. In fact, the authoritative Sanskrit lexicon (c. 450 AD), the famous Amarakosa gives the following definition:

mahakula kulinarya sabhya sajjana sadhavah
An Arya is one who hails from a noble family, of gentle behavior and demeanor, good-natured and of righteous conduct

And the great epic Ramayana has a singularly eloquent expression describing Rama as:

arya sarva samascaiva sadaiva priyadarsanah
Arya, who worked for the equality of all and was dear to everyone.

The Rigveda also uses the word Arya something like thirty six times, but never to mean a race. The nearest to a definition that one can find in the Rigveda is probably:

praja arya jyotiragrah ... (Children of Arya are led by light)
RV, VII. 33.17

The word 'light' should be taken in the spiritual sense to mean enlightenment. The word Arya, according to those who originated the term, is to be used to describe those people who observed a code of conduct; people were Aryans or non-Aryans depending on whether or not they followed this code. This is made entirely clear in the Manudharma Shastra or the Manusmriti (X.43-45):

But in consequence of the omission of sacred rites, and of their not heeding the sages, the following people of the noble class [Arya Kshatriyas] have gradually sunk to the state of servants - the Paundrakas, Chodas, Dravidas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Shakhas, Paradhas, Pahlavas, Chinas, Kiratas and Daradas.

Two points about this list are worth noting: first, their fall from the Aryan fold had nothing to do with race, birth or nationality; it was due entirely to their failure to follow certain sacred rites. Second, the list includes people from all parts of India as well as a few neighboring countries like China and Persia (Pahlavas). Kambojas are from West Punjab, Yavanas from Afghanistan and beyond (not necessarily the Greeks) while Dravidas refers probably to people from the southwest of India and the South.

Thus, the modern notion of an Aryan-Dravidian racial divide is contradicted by ancient records. We have it on the authority of Manu that the Dravidians were also part of the Aryan fold. Interestingly, so were the Chinese. Race never had anything to do with it until the Europeans adopted the ancient word to give expression to their nationalistic and other aspirations.
Scientists have known this for quite some time. Julian Huxley, one of the leading biologists of the century, wrote as far back as 1939:

In 1848 the young German scholar Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) settled in Oxford, where he remained for the rest of his life. ... About 1853 he introduced into the English language the unlucky term Aryan as applied to a large group of languages. ...

Moreover, Max Muller threw another apple of discord. He introduced a proposition that is demonstrably false. He spoke not only of a definite Aryan language and its descendents, but also of a corresponding 'Aryan race'. The idea was rapidly taken up both in Germany and in England. It affected to some extent a certain number of the nationalistic and romantic writers, none of whom had any ethnological training. ...

In England and America the phrase 'Aryan race' has quite ceased to be used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature. In Germany the idea of the 'Aryan' race found no more scientific support than in England. Nonetheless, it found able and very persistent literary advocates who made it very flattering to local vanity. It therefore spread, fostered by special conditions.

This should help settle the issue as far as its modern misuse is concerned. As far as ancient India is concerned, one may safely say that the word Arya denoted certain spiritual and humanistic values that defined her civilization. The entire Aryan civilization - the civilization of Vedic India - was driven and sustained by these values. The whole of ancient Indian literature: from the Vedas, the Brahmanas to the Puranas to the epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana can be seen as a record of the struggles of an ancient people to live up to the ideals defined by these values. Anyone regardless of birth, race or national origin could become Aryan by following this code of conduct. It was not something to be imposed upon others by the sword or by proselytization. 

Viewed in this light, the whole notion of any 'Aryan invasion' is an absurdity. It is like talking about an 'invasion of scientific thinking'.

Then there is also the fact that the concept of the Aryan race and the Aryan-Dravidian divide is a modern European invention that receives no support from any ancient source. To apply it to people who lived thousands of years ago is an exercise in anachronism if there ever was one.

The sum total of all this is that Indians have no reason to be defensive about the word Arya. It applies to everyone who has tried to live by the high ideals of an ancient culture regardless of race, language or nationality. It is a cultural designation of a people who created a great civilization. Anti-Semitism was an aberration of Christian European history, with its roots in the New Testament, of sayings like "He that is not with me is against me." If the Europeans (and their Indian disciples) fight shy of the word, it is their problem stemming from their history. Modern India has many things for which she has reason to be grateful to European knowledge, but this is definitely not one of them.

European currents: 'Aryan nation'

As Huxley makes clear in the passage cited earlier, the misuse of the word 'Aryan' was rooted in political propaganda aimed at appealing to local vanity. In order to understand the European misuse of the word Arya as a race, and the creation of the Aryan invasion idea, we need to go back to eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, especially to Germany. The idea has its roots in European anti-Semitism. Recent research by scholars like Poliakov, Shaffer and others has shown that the idea of the invading Aryan race can be traced to the aspirations of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europeans to give themselves an identity that was free from the taint of Judaism. 

BibleDead Sea ScrollsThe Bible, as is well known, consists of two books: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament gives the traditional history of mankind. It is of course a Jewish creation. The New Testament is also of Jewish origin; recently discovered manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls show that Christianity, in fact, began as an extremist Jewish sect. But it was turned against the Judaism of its founding fathers by religious propagandists with political ambitions. In fact, anti-Semitism first makes its appearance in the New Testament, including in the Gospels. 
Nonetheless, without Judaism there would be no Christianity.

To free themselves from this Jewish heritage, the intellectuals of Christian Europe looked east, to Asia. And there they saw two ancient civilizations - India and China. To them the Indian Aryans were preferable as ancestors to the Chinese. As Shaffer has observed:

KantHerderMany scholars such as Kant and Herder began to draw analogies between the myths and philosophies of ancient India and the West. In their attempt to separate Western European culture from its Judaic heritage, many scholars were convinced that the origin of Western culture was to be found in India rather than in the ancient Near East.

So they became Aryans. But it was not the whole human race that was given this Aryan ancestry, but only a white race that came down from the mountains of Asia, subsequently became Christian and colonized Europe. No less an intellectual than Voltaire claimed to be "convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges - astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc." (But Voltaire was emphatically not intolerant; he was in fact a strong critic of the Church of his day.)

A modern student today can scarcely have an idea of the extraordinary influence of race theories in eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe. Many educated people really believed that human qualities could be predicted on the basis of measurements of physical characteristics like eye color, length of the nose and such. It went beyond prejudice, it was an article of faith amounting to an ideology. Here is an example of what passed for informed opinion on 'race science' by the well-known French savant Paul Topinard. Much of the debate centered on the relative merits of racial types called dolichocephalics and brachycephalics, though no one seemed to have a clear idea of what was which. Anyway, here is what Topinard wrote in 1893, which should give modern readers an idea of the level of scientific thinking prevailing in those days:

The Gauls, according to history, were a people formed of two elements: the leaders or conquerors, blond, tall dolichocephalic, leptroscopes, etc. But the mass of the people, were small, relatively brachycephalic chaemeophrosopes. The brachycephalics were always oppressed. They were the victims of dolicocephalics who carried them off from their fields. ... The blond people changed from warriors into merchants and industrial workers. The brachycephalics breathed again. Being naturally prolific, their numbers [of brachycephalics] increased while the dolichocephalics naturally diminished. ... Does the future not belong to them? [Sic: Belong to whom? - dolichocephalic leptroscopes, or brachycephalic chaemeophrosopes?]

This tongue-twisting passage may sound bizarre to a modern reader, but was considered an erudite piece of reasoning when it was written. In its influence and scientific unsoundness and dogmatism, 'race science' can only be compared in this century to Marxism, especially Marxist economics. Like Marxist theories, these race theories have also been fully discredited. The emergence of molecular genetics has shown these race theories to be completely false.

By creating this pseudo-science based on race, Europeans of the Age of Enlightenment sought to free themselves from their Jewish heritage. It is interesting to note that this very same theory - of the Aryan invasion and colonization of Europe - was later applied to India and became the Aryan invasion theory of India. In reality it was nothing more than a projection into the remote past of the contemporary European experience in colonizing parts of Asia and Africa. Substituting European for Aryan, and Asian or African for Dravidian will give us a description of any of the innumerable colonial campaigns in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. According to this theory, the Aryans were carbon copies of colonizing Europeans. Seen in this light the theory is not even especially original.

The greatest effect of these ideas was on the psyche of the German people. German nationalism was the most powerful political movement of nineteenth century Europe. The idea of the Aryan race was a significant aspect of the German nationalistic movement. We are now used to regarding Germany as a rich and powerful country, but the German people at the beginning of the nineteenth century were weak and divided. There was no German nation at the time; the map of Europe then was dotted with numerous petty German principalities and dukedoms that had always been at the mercy of the neighboring great powers - Austria and France. For more than two centuries, from the time of the Thirty Years War to the Napoleonic conquests, the great powers had marched their armies through these petty German states treating these people and their rulers with utter disdain. It was very much in the interests of the French to keep the German people divided, a tactic later applied to India by the British. Every German at the time believed that he and his rulers were no more than pawns in great power rivalries. This had built up deep resentments in the hearts and minds of the German people. This was to have serious consequences for history.

In this climate of alienation and impotence, it is not surprising that German intellectuals should have sought solace in the culture of an ancient exotic land like India. Some of us can recall a very similar sentiment among Americans during the era of Vietnam and the Cold War, with many of them taking an interest in eastern religions and philosophy. These German intellectuals also felt a kinship towards India as a subjugated people, like themselves. Some of the greatest German intellectuals of the era like Humbolt, Frederick and Wilhem Schlegel, Schopenhauer and many others were students of Indian literature and philosophy. 

Humboldt Friedrich Von Schlegel Wilhelm Von Schlegel Schopenhauer Hegel
Humboldt Friedrich Von Schlegel Wilhelm Von Schlegel Schopenhauer Hegel
Hegel, the greatest philosopher of the age and a 
major influence on German nationalism was fond of saying that in philosophy and literature, Germans were the pupils of Indian sages. Humbolt went so far as to declare in 1827: "The Bhagavadgita is perhaps the loftiest and the deepest thing that the world has to show." This was the climate in Germany when it was experiencing the rising tide of nationalism.

Whereas the German involvement in things Indian was emotional and romantic, the British interest was entirely practical, even though there were scholars like Jones and Colebrooke who were admirers of India and its literature. Well before the 1857 uprising it was recognized that British rule in India could not be sustained without a large number of Indian collaborators. 

Sir William Jones Colebrooke Macaulay
Sir William Jones Colebrooke Thomas Macaulay
Recognizing this reality, influential men like Thomas Babbington Macaulay, who was Chairman of the Education Board, sought to set up an educational system modeled along British lines that would also serve to undermine the Hindu tradition. While not a missionary himself, Macaulay came from a deeply religious family steeped in the Protestant Christian faith. His father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother a Quaker. He believed that the conversion of Hindus to Christianity held the answer to the problems of administering India. His idea was to create an English educated elite that would repudiate its tradition and become British collaborators. In 1836, while serving as chairman of the Education Board in India, he enthusiastically wrote his father:

"Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. The effect of this education on the Hindus is prodigious. ...... It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytize, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the project."

Christian Preaching to HindusSo religious conversion and colonialism were to go hand in hand. As Arun Shourie has pointed out in his recent book Missionaries in India, European Christian missions were an appendage of the colonial government, with missionaries working hand in glove with the government. In a real sense, they cannot be called religious organizations at all but an unofficial arm of the Imperial Administration. (The same is true of many Catholic missions in Central American countries who were, and probably are, in the pay of the American CIA. This was admitted by a CIA director, testifying before the Congress.)

The key point here is Macaulay's belief that 'knowledge and reflection' on the part of the Hindus, especially the Brahmins, would cause them to give up their age-old belief in favor of Christianity. In effect, his idea was to turn the strength of Hindu intellectuals against them, by utilizing their commitment to scholarship in uprooting their own tradition. His plan was to educate the Hindus to become Christians and turn them into collaborators. He was being very naive no doubt, to think that his scheme could really succeed in converting India to Christianity. At the same time it is a measure of his seriousness that Macaulay persisted with the idea for fifteen years until he found the money and the right man for turning his utopian idea into reality.

In pursuit of this goal he needed someone who would translate and interpret Indian scriptures, especially the Vedas, in such a way that the newly educated Indian elite would see the differences between them and the Bible and choose the latter. Upon his return to England, after a good deal of effort he found a talented but impoverished young German Vedic scholar by the name of Friedrich Max Muller who was willing to undertake this arduous task. 

MacaulayMacaulay used his influence with the East India Company to find funds for Max Muller's translation of the Rigveda. Though an ardent German nationalist, Max Muller agreed for the sake of Christianity to work for the East India Company, which in reality meant the British Government of India. He also badly needed a major sponsor for his ambitious plans, which he felt he had at last found.

This was the genesis of his great enterprise, translating the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary and the editing of the fifty-volume Sacred Books of the East. There can be no doubt at all regarding Max Muller's commitment to the conversion of Indians to Christianity. Writing to his wife in 1866 he observed:

It [the Rigveda] is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.

Two years later he also wrote the Duke of Argyle, then acting Secretary of State for India: "The ancient religion of India is doomed. And if Christianity does not take its place, whose fault will it be?" The facts therefore are clear: like Lawrence of Arabia in this century, Max Muller, though a scholar was an agent of the British government paid to advance its colonial interests. 

Adolph Hitler
But he remained an ardent German nationalist even while working in England. This helps explain why he used his position as a recognized Vedic and Sanskrit scholar to promote the idea of the 'Aryan race' and 'nation', both favorite slogans among German nationalists. Though he was later to repudiate it, it was Max Muller as much as anyone who popularized the notion of Arya as a race. This of course was to reach its culmination in the rise of Hitler and the horrors of Nazism in our own century. 

Although it would be unfair to blame Max Muller for the rise of Nazism, he, as an eminent scholar of the Vedas and Sanskrit, bears a heavy responsibility for the deliberate misuse of a term in response to the emotion of the moment. He was guilty of giving scriptural sanction to the worst prejudice of his or any age. Not everyone however was guilty of such abuse. Wilhem Schlegel, no less a German nationalist, or romantic, always used the word 'Arya' to mean honorable and never in a racial sense. Max Muller's misuse of the term may be pardonable in an ignoramus, but not in a scholar of his stature.

At the same time it should be pointed out that there is nothing to indicate that Max Muller was himself a racist. He was a decent and honorable man who had many Indian friends. He simply allowed himself to be carried away by the emotion of the moment, and the heady feeling of being regarded an Aryan sage by fellow German nationalists. To be always in the public eye was a lifelong weakness with the man. With the benefit of hindsight we can say that Max Muller saw the opportunity and made a 'bargain with the devil' to gain fame and fortune. It would be a serious error however to judge the man based on this one unseemly episode in a many-sided life. His contribution as editor and publisher of ancient works is great beyond dispute. He was a great man and we must be prepared to recognize it.

Much now is made of the fact that Max Muller later repudiated the racial aspects of this theory, claiming it to be a linguistic concept. But this again owed more to winds of change in European politics than to science or scholarship. Britain had been watching the progress of German nationalism with rising anxiety that burst into near hysteria in some circles when Prussia crushed France in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. This led to German unification under the banner of Prussia. Suddenly Germany became the most populous and powerful country in Western Europe and the greatest threat to British ambitions. Belief was widespread among British Indian authorities that India and Sanskrit studies had made a major contribution to German unification. Sir Henry Maine, a former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta university and an advisor to the Viceroy echoed the sentiment of many Englishmen when he said: "A nation has been born out of Sanskrit."

This obviously was an exaggeration, but to the British still reeling from the effects of the 1857 revolt, the specter of German unification being repeated in India was very real. Max Muller though found himself in an extremely tight spot. Though a German by birth he was now comfortably established in England, in the middle of his lifework on the Vedas and the Sacred Books of the East. His youthful flirtation with German nationalism and this race theory could now cost him dear. German unification was followed in England by an outburst of British jingoism in which Bismarck and his policies were being daily denounced; Bismarck had become extremely unpopular in England for his expansionist policies. With his background as a German nationalist, the last thing Max Muller could afford was to be seen as advocating German ideology in Victorian England. He had no choice but to repudiate his former theories simply to survive in England. He reacted by hastily propounding a new 'linguistic theory.'

So in 1872, immediately following German unification, the culmination of the century long dream of German nationalists, Friedrich Max Muller marched into a university in German occupied France and dramatically denounced the German doctrine of the Arya race. And just as he had been an upholder of this race theory for the first twenty years of his career, he was to remain a staunch opponent of it for the remaining thirty years of his life. It is primarily in the second role that he is remembered today, except by those familiar with the whole history.

Let us now take a final look at this famous theory. It was first a theory of Europe created by Europeans to free themselves from the Jewish heritage of Christianity. This was to lead to Hitler and Nazism. This theory was later transferred to India and got mixed up with the study of Sanskrit and European languages. Europeans, now calling themselves Indo-Europeans became the invading Aryas and the natives became the Dravidians. The British hired Max Muller to use this theory to turn the Vedas into an inferior scripture, to help turn educated Hindus into Christian collaborators. Max Muller used his position as a Vedic scholar to boost German nationalism by giving scriptural sanction to the German idea of the Arya race. Following German unification under Bismarck, British public and politicians became scared and anti-German. At this Max Muller, worried about his position in England, got cold feet and wriggled out of his predicament by denouncing his own former racial theory and turned it into a linguistic theory. In all of this, one would like to know where was the science?

Aldous HuxleyAs Huxley pointed out long ago, there was never any scientific basis for the Arya race or their incursion. It was entirely a product - and tool - of propagandists and politicians. Giving it a linguistic twist was simply an afterthought, dictated by special circumstances and expediency.

Europeans EurocentricThe fact that Europeans should have concocted this scenario, which by repeated assertion became a belief system is not to be wondered at. They were trying to give themselves a cultural identity, entirely understandable in a people as deeply concerned about their history and origins as the modern Europeans. But how to account for the tenacious attachment to this fiction that is more propaganda than history on the part of 'establishment' Indian historians? It is not greatly to their credit that modern Indian historians - with rare exceptions - have failed to show the independence of mind necessary to subject this theory to a fresh examination and come up with a more realistic version of history. Probably they lack also the necessary scientific skills and have little choice beyond continuing along the same well-worn paths that don't demand much more than reiterating nineteenth century formulations.

It is not often that a people look to a land and culture far removed from them in space and time for their inspiration as the German nationalists did. This should make modern Indian historians examine the causes in Europe for this unusual phenomenon. It is one of the great failures of scholarship that they failed to do so.Jha Indus Script Decipherment
We no longer have to continue along this discredited path. Now thanks to the contributions of science — from the pioneering exploration of V.S. Wakankar and his discovery of the Vedic river Sarasvati to Jha's decipherment of the Indus script - we are finally allowed a glimpse into the ancient world of the Vedic Age. The AI theory and its creators and advocates are on their way to the dustbin of history.

Conclusion: historiography, not Indology is the answer

Karl MarxThe rise and fall of Indology closely parallels the growth and decline of European colonialism and the Euro-centric domination of Indian intellectual life. (Marxism is the most extreme of Euro-centric doctrines - a 'Christian heresy' as Bertrand Russell called it.) The greatest failure of Indology has been its inability to evolve an objective methodology for the study of the sources. Even after two hundred years of existence, there is no common body of knowledge that can serve as foundation, or technical tools that be used in addressing specific problems. All that Indologists have given us are theories and more theories, almost all of them borrowed from other disciplines. If one went to botany to borrow tree diagrams for the study of languages, another went to psychology to study sacrificial rituals, and a third - followed by a whole battalion - borrowed the idea of the class struggle from Marx to apply to Vedic society. Not one of them stopped to think whether it would not be better to try to study the ancients through the eyes of the ancients themselves. And yet ample materials exist to follow such a course.    

With the benefit of hindsight, even setting aside irrational biases due to politics and Biblical beliefs, we can now recognize that Indology has been guilty of two fundamental methodological errors. 

  • First, linguists have confused their theories - based on their own classifications and even whimsical assumptions - for fundamental laws of nature that reflect historical reality.
  • Secondly, archaeologists, at least a significant number of them, have subordinated their own interpretations to the historical, cultural, and even the chronological impositions of the linguists. (Remember the Biblical Creation in 4,004 BCE which gave this incursion in 1500 BCE!) This has resulted in a fundamental methodological error of confounding primary data from archaeology with modern impositions like the AI and other theories and even their dates.

This mixing of unlikes - further confounded by religious beliefs and political theories - is a primary source of the confusion that plagues the history and archaeology of ancient India. In their failure to investigate the sources, modern scholars - Indian scholars in particular - have much to answer for.

As an immediate consequence of this, the vast body of primary literature from the Vedic period has been completely divorced from Harappan archaeology under the dogmatic belief that the Vedas and Sanskrit came later. This has meant that this great literature and its creators have no archaeological or even geographical existence. In our view, the correct approach to breaking this deadlock is by a combination of likes - a study of primary data from archaeology alongside the primary literature from ancient periods. 

Sanskrit Vedic ScripturesMohenjo Daro Archaeology site

This means we must be wary of modern theories intruding upon ancient data and texts. The best course is to disregard them. They have outlived their usefulness if they had any.       

In the final analysis, Indology - like the Renaissance and the Romantic Movement - should be seen as part of European history. And Indologists - from Max Muller to his modern successors - have contributed no more to the study of ancient India than Herodotus. Their works tell us more about them than about India. It is time to make a new beginning. The decipherment of the Indus script - and the scientific methodology leading up to it - can herald this new beginning.