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Causes & Consequences Of Guru Jee's Shahidi


Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee’s martyrdom is incomparable in history. There are many people who gave their lives for what they believed in but it is only Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur jee, who gave his life for beliefs he did not practice or condone. Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaaj gives a very interesting pankiti, when describing his father’s shahidi:


This pankiti clearly proves that Siri Guru jee laid down his life to protect tilak (sandalwood paste that Brahmins apply on their forehead) and Janjhoo (cotton thread that Brahmins wear) of Hindus. When some Sikhs or historians read these pankitis they get misled about the reasons of martyrdom of Siri Guru jee. They start assuming that Siri Guru jee believed in the philosophy of Hinduism and also believed in Tilak and Janjhoo. But nothing could be further from truth. All we have to do is read Siri Guru jee’s baani, that rejects all other means of attaining Vaheguru but the Gurmat way.

So did Siri Guru jee really give his life for the protection of the Hindu rituals and faith? The answer is yes and no. The answer is yes because shahidi of Siri Guru jee saved the Hindu faith in India. The answer is no because Siri Guru jee really gave his life not particularly for the Hindu faith but for the freedom of religion. Siri Guru jee did not support forceful conversion of Hindus to Islam. This is what Siri Guru jee stood for and laid down his life for. If Hindus had been the aggressors and Muslims had come to Siri Guru jee for help, Siri Guru jee would have done exactly what he did when Hindus asked for his help.

Siri Guru jee saw inhuman treatment of Hindus in the hands of Aurangzeb the Mughal ruler, and his soft heart could not bear the pain of suffering humanity. In order to understand the reasons of shahidi (martyrdom) of Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee, we need to understand what was political and social atmosphere of those times.


Dara Shikoh, the elder brother of Aurangzeb and favourite son of his father Shah Jahan, was being prepped up to become the next ruler of India. He was a very mild and open-hearted person and was very close to Guru-ghar. He had faith in the greatness of Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj. He kept contact with Siri Guru Har Rai jee Maharaaj.

Aurangzeb was least liked by his father and for this reason, he was sent off far from Delhi, first to South India and then to Afghanistan as a governor. Aurangzeb had religious tendency from the beginning and as Shah Jahan was getting old, he started lobbying the hardcore and strict Muslims sections, to gather support. He painted himself as protector of Islam and Dara Shikoh as an infidel. With his constant preaching and lobbying, most fundamentalist Muslims started supporting him.

Aurangzeb led his life strictly according to the code of conduct of Islam. He did not drink, maintain a harem as his predecessors and did 5 times prayers per Islamic Sharia. He led an austere life and it is said that he earned his food by money earned from binding religious books, especially Koran. All this made him a darling in the eyes of Muslims. It is true that Aurangzeb led his life strictly according to Sharia of Islam but his heart and mind was not connected to Allah. He was not into meditation and lacked any active relationship with Allah. He was only following dry rituals of Islam and they are dry rituals only, if there is not inner connection with Vaheguru.

During the war for throne, Aurangzeb, managed to get crowned but only at the expense of murdering his 3 brothers, one sister and imprisoning his father. His father stayed in his prison and all this time, he mentally tortured his father, as an enemy.

He was a strange mixture of contradictions. An English historian calls him “a complete master of art of dissimulation”. He was very cunning, treacherous and cruel. He killed his 3 brothers and ruthlessly murdered his nephews to ensure there stayed no danger to his throne.

On one hand he preached against rituals and omens, but on the other hand he used to do many Hindu rituals himself e.g. burn red chillies to ward of evil forces and wear taveeth (spell repelling armbands). He used to say that there was nothing wrong in lying in order to ensure a win. He even felt fine swearing and telling lies on Koran.

He used to call poets satanic but he himself used to write poems. He was very fond of seeing miracles and this is why he liked Baba Raam Rai so much. Baba Raam Rai displayed many miracles (karamaats) to him.

Some of the despicable acts of Aurangzeb are as follows:

1) He killed his 3 brothers to claim the throne of India. He first killed Dara Shikoh, his eldest brother. Muraad, his second brother, who had helped him against Dara Shikoh, was poisoned by him and thus murdered. His other brother Shujaah ran away to Iran, for he was scared of him. Later he also got murdered by Aurangzeb.

2) His sister Roshan Aara, who loved him very much and helped him get the throne too could not escape the paranoia of Aurangzeb. She was slow-poisoned to death by this sadist king.

3) His father, suffered immensely in his prison. He imprisoned his father and did not even provide the most basic necessities to his father. When his father wished to be placed by a window, from where he could view his wife’s Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb – Taj Mahal, Aurangzeb refused. His father stayed in his prison for many years.

4) He killed his eldest son Sultan Muhammad, when he was only 36 years old. He feared that his son may revolt against him. He poisoned him.

5) His another son Prince Akbar, fled to Iran, fearing his death.

6) His last son Muazzam who later became his sucessor, stayed in his father’s jail for 7 years because Aurangzeb suspected that his son would overthrow him.

7) He most trusted friend and general, Raja Jai Singh, suffered at his hands. He poisoned him to death.

8) He prohibited a saint like Murtaza Vayeez from even doing 5 times prayer, because he had criticized the administration of Aurangzeb.

9) He gave hard time to even fellow Muslims – Shites.

These are just few examples to prove how paranoid and sadist Aurangzeb was. He had a very long age and he accumulated countless sins that will ensure he stays in hell for a long period of time.


After he became the king, he adopted the policy of converting the whole of India to Islam. He wanted to see only one religion in India and in the world and that was the Sunni sect of Islam. In order to achieve this aim, he revamped the religious policy of his predecessors and made life for Hindus very difficult. Here are some of the examples to prove what he did to the Hindus of that time:

1) When he was the governor of Gujrat, he declared Jihad against non-Muslims. In 1645, he started razing Hindu temples in Gujrat. The famous temple, Chintamani got converted to a Mosque at this time. To humiliate the Hindus, he killed cows in their temples and washed the temples with blood of cows.

2) When he became the governor of South India, he continued his sadistic activities. He destroyed many temples there. Shah Jahan, his father sensed what he was doing there and moved him from there to Afghanistan. As soon as he left South, temples got constructed again. Aurangzeb used to say that if he gets a chance, he would eliminate all temples from India.

3) When he became the king, he doubled the road toll for Hindus while halved it for the Muslims. He was trying to create financial difficulties for the Hindus and at the same time creating incentive for them to become Muslim, by halving the road tolls for Muslims.

4) Most Hindus were employed by the civil department of the government. He passed a bill to ensure that only a Muslim could hold a civil government job. This forced many Hindus to convert to Islam.

5) He issued a decree to all his governors to raze all religious schools of non-Muslims.

6) In August 1669, he destroyed the famous Vishavnaath temple of Banaras and constructed a mosque there. Same year he razed the Gopi Nath temple.

7) The biggest temple of Mathura that was constructed by Nar Singh Bundela, a Rajput king, got razed in 1670. The official name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.

8) All temples built in the last 10 years were destroyed.

9) Aurangzeb constituted a team of Maulvis and gave them a unit of his army. This group used to go village to village and city to city and destroyed centres of non-Muslims.

10) Lala Daulat Rai, in his book Sahib-e-Kamaal, writes that Hindus were humiliated in various ways. If a Muslim felt like spitting, he had the right to spit in the mouth of a Hindu standing there. If the Hindu refused to open his mouth to accept the spitting of the Muslim, he would get punished by the authorities.

In 1674, Aurangzeb decided to destroy the root of Hinduism. The most educated and strict Hindus lived in Kashmir. He decided to concentrate in that area. Bhai Mani Singh jee Shaheed writes that Aurangzeb thought that Kashmiri Pandits were the most educated Hindus and were also teaching Hindu texts to other Hindus. He decided to bring Kashmir to the fold of Islam.

Sensing this, he dispatched Afghan Khan to got to Kashmir and convert that region to Islam. Afghan Khan used very ruthless means to convert people to Islam. He started razing temples and forcing people to accept Islam. The leader of Kashmiri Pandits, Kirpa Raam, along with other prominent pandits appealed to Aurangzeb to stop the aggression but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Then these pandits went to many Rajput and other Hindu kings for help but everyone expressed helplessness. No religious leader in India was willing to help them. Finally they decided to come to Guru Nanak Dev jee’s house for help.


Pandit Kirpa Raam, along with his group of more than hundred pandits arrived at Anandpur Sahib and with utmost humility, implored at the lotus feet of Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, “The turks (Muslims) are acting like intoxicated elephants and are trying to uproot the tree of Hindu faith. We are confident that in the presence and protection of a lion like you, they will not succeed in mission”.

They continued, “whenever Dharma gets shaken in the world, God personally looks into restoring it”

“You are the avtaar (form) of God, please hold our hands and save us from drowning. We only have one support and that is you. Hindus have no one else to go to but you. If you don’t hold our hand at this time, there will be no Hindu left in the world”.

“You are the son of warrior Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib jee. He fought for self-respect, honour and Dharma. You too are his son and hence have to follow his footsteps. Our self-respect is now trampling in the feet of Muslims. Please hold our hand”.

“We have lost all might and power. It was you alone who saved Gajj (elephant) from tandooya (crocodile). It was you who saved and protected the honour of Dropati, when she was being stripped naked. It was you who kept the honour of Sudaama and rid him of poverty. It is true that you are form of Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee but for us, you are Lord Krishna of Kalyug”.

We should remember here that they made their request in their words. This is why they referred to Siri Guru jee as Krishna. This does not mean he was Krishna’s avtaar. It was Hindu’s way for paying respect and this is how they saw Siri Guru jee.

Siri Guru jee had been thinking of doing something to stop the aggression of Aurangzeb, even before the pandits came to Guru Sahib. While this conversation was taking place, Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaaj came to the darbar and asked his father, why the pandits were crying and how their honour can be kept. Siri Guru jee explained the problem of the Hindus and then suggested the solution that for a problem of this magnitude, it was necessary for a person with Bhagtee to sacrifice his life. Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee maharaaj, promptly told his father not to delay and sacrifice himself to save the oppressed people. At such tender age, Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee was all knowing.

Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee Maharaaj, was very pleased to hear his son’s reply. He told the pandits to let Aurangzeb and other rulers know that they were in the protection of (Guru) Tegh Bahadur and if they succeed in converting him to Islam, all Hindus would accept Islam.

At the same time, Siri Guru jee gave gur-gaddi to his son, Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee, and with 5 Sikhs, left for Delhi to talk to Aurangzeb.

On his way to Delhi, Siri Guru jee did great parchaar (preaching) and informed people of aggression going on in the world. Siri Guru jee had decided to meet Aurangzeb and confront him face to face. Before Siri Guru jee could make it to Delhi, in 1675, Siri Guru jee was arrested in Agra, while he was on his way to Delhi, to see the emperor. He was tortured and coaxed for 3 months but Siri Guru jee did not accept Islam. He stayed firm in his own faith and stood for the freedom of practice of other faiths.

In short, the main reason for the shahidi of Siri Guru jee was the fundamentalist and sadistic nature of Aurangzeb and Siri Guru jee taking stand in favour of Kashmiri Pandits and freedom of religion. Siri Guru jee took a bold and open stand against the conversion policy of the government. Shortly we will read, the consequences of Guru Sahib’s shahidi.


Siri Guru jee was very well respected in the non-Sikh circles of that time. Sikhs were totally dedicated to Siri Guru jee and worshipped him. Sikhs were such who could sacrifice themselves piece by piece for their beloved Siri Guru jee. Bhai Dyaala jee let himself burn alive wrapped in cotton to fulfil Siri Guru jee’s mission of saving humanity. Bhai Mati Daas jee and Bhai Sati Daas jee too endured countless tortures before sacrificing their lives for Guru Sahib.

Siri Guru jee witnessed the horrible shahidis of his beloved gursikhs, whom he loved like his sons. Siri Guru jee stayed unmoved and unyielding. At the command of the authorities, Siri Guru jee was beheaded at Sees Ganj Sahib, in front of the Red Fort of India.

Aurangzeb and his officials had asked Siri Guru jee to perform a miracle. Siri Guru jee refused to do so but if you think, Siri Guru jee did do a miracle. Was it not a miracle or karamaat that the three Sikhs endured most cruel torture before death but stayed in high spirits? Same way Siri Guru jee stayed in Chardi Kala.

The sky was totally clear at the time before shahidi of Siri Guru jee. Right when they beheaded Siri Guru jee, the clear sky got filled with very dark clouds. Within moments a very severe storm hit Delhi. Everything in Delhi became dark. Visibility became so low that one could not see one’s hand properly.

At this time, Bhai Jaita jee quickly grabbed the severed head of Siri Guru jee and headed on to Anandpur Sahib. Lakhi Shah Vanjaara, used his cart to load Siri Guru jee’s body and cremated it in his own house by burning his house. The whole Delhi was astonished at the developments. Many thought that the end of the world had arrived. They sat down to pray for mercy.

From the day of Shahidi of Siri Guru jee, the downfall of the Mughal empire began. A Muslim Dervish who witnessed the martyrdom of Siri Guru jee declared in open, that the Mughal empire was going to be doomed after the shahidi of Siri Guru jee. The Delhi Darbar was divided in two opinions. Many resigned their posts. Abdulah, the Kotwaal (head of police) in Sees Ganj area of Delhi resigned and came to the lotus feet of Siri Guru Gobind Singh

Aurangzeb faced grave consequences after the shahidi of Siri Guru jee. Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu has beautifully written that:

(While sleeping Aurangzeb would get nightmares and he would wake up scared)

Aurangzeb faced resistance from the common person for the first time. His Hindu and many Muslim officials criticized his decision to martyr Siri Guru jee. That Aurangzeb in front of whom, no one dared to open mouth, faced stiff opposition from the common person.

One day, after Siri Guru jee’s shahidi, Aurangzeb went to do his prayers at the Jama Masjid of Delhi. As he came out and was about to get in his vehicle, a Sikh hit Aurangzeb with two stones. That Sikh was going to kill Aurangzeb right there but his bodyguards saved him. No doubt, that the Sikh was martyred but this proves that the shahidi of Siri Guru jee filled everyone with renewed energy to fight the tyranny of Aurangzeb. This incident is said to have occurred in October 1676.

Few days after this Aurangzeb was travelling through Chandini Chowk and one Sikh attacked him with a stick. He was arrested and probably martyred (history is quiet about his fate). Another Sikh, a few days later, attacked him with a sword. The attack was so severe that Mukram Khan, the personal bodyguard of Aurangzeb had his finger cut before the attacker was caught.

The reality is that after this, Aurangzeb could not stay in Delhi. The same year i.e. 1676, Aurangzeb left Delhi and was never able to return back to Delhi. He was exiled (by Vaheguru) forever from Delhi. He died in Khuldabaad (South India) in 1706. He got entangled in quelling mutinies rising in different parts of India. All his life got wasted in bloodshed. The most remarkable thing is that he never came back to Delhi after 1676.

Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee created Khalsa to fight tyranny and eventually the Khalsa uprooted the Mughal empire from India. All Rajput kings and residents of North India loved Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee. The Sikhs and Punjabis worshipped Siri Guru jee. Siri Guru jee’s shahidi brought a revolution in North India.

By Kulbir Singh