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The Early Life of Guru Gobind Singhji

December 19, 2018 11:15 AM

High in the sacred mountains of the Himalayas, where the air is cold and clear, there is a secluded place known as Hemkunt Sahib.  In this holy place saints had meditated for millennia, and yogis and rishis here had accomplished great spiritual disciplines.  In ancient days, here the exalted Rishi Dushdaman sat in deep meditation, passing the ages in love of his Lord.  

The time came when the cries of anguish on earth moved the One God to such an extent, that he called his most beloved Rishi Dushdaman to be born again on the physical plane.  Very bluntly, the Rishi replied that that he didn’t wish to be reborn.  But the Lord explained the need of humanity and gradually the Rishi bowed to the Will of God. With the mission to protect the weak and destroy the tyrants who had gripped the world, the soul known as Rishi Dushdaman took birth as the great warrior Guru Gobind Singh.  

In the year 1666, Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, the Ninth Guru of the Sikhs traveled extensively to sustain and care for the Sikh communities that were spread all over India.  He was traveling on his way to Bengal and Assam, when his saintly wife, Mata Gujri was blessed with child, and she could not continue on the journey.  He left Mata Gujri along with her brother Kirpal Chand and his own mother Mata Nanaki in Patna in the eastern part of India in August. Guru Tegh Bahadur continued on his mission.

The holy child was born on the 7th night after the new moon - Dec 22, 1666.  When the news reached Guru Tegh Bahadur, there was a great rejoicing amongst all the Sikhs.  For days on end there was celebrations through out the Panth as the announcement spread.  Guru Tegh Bahadur named the child Gobind Rai.

Just as all children are reared in the laps of their mothers, the Tenth Guru grew up kicking and playing in the lap of Mata Gujri.  His grandmother, Mata Nanaki and his uncle, Kirpal Chand loved and protected him in the days of his infancy.  

In the village of Siana there lived a Muslim saint named Shah Bheekh.  He was deep in meditation at the time of Gobind Rai’s birth, absorbed completely in the Lord’s meditation.  Suddenly, his mind was blinded with an exalted light, and he saw that a great person had just taken birth that was destined to serve humanity.  With haste, he set out on a journey of several hundred miles for a glimpse of this holy child.  

When he arrived in Patna, he sought out the house of Mata Gujri.  At first Kirpal Chand and other in the household were wary of him, but then were satisfied that he was indeed a saint who wished only for the darshan of Gobind Rai.  Shah Bheekh bowed deeply to the infant child, and presented him with two earthen pots of sweets.  The handsome prince reached forward with musical laughter, and put one small hand on each pot at the same time.  Tears came to Shah Bheekh’s face as he bowed low exclaiming, “Great you are!  You are the savior of the world.” The Shah presented generous gifts to the family and left, taking both pots with him.

When Shah Bheekh returned to his followers, they asked him, “Why have you brought back both pots of sweets?  Why didn’t you present them to the child.”  The Shah replied, “I offered the two pots to test the Guru-child, because he is destined to be a great warrior.  I wished to see who he would protect and who he would annihilate – the Hindus or the Muslims.  He showed me that he is not the enemy of anyone, and he will only battle tyrants and brutality.  Listen my disciplines!  This child was sent by the Lord himself!”

Gobind Rai grew into a beautiful child, cheerful in disposition and radiant in appearance. Everyone in Patna loved him and the entire town was his playground.  Both Muslim and Hindu holy men came to see him and they called him Bala Pritam, the “Beloved child”.  When he came of age, he would play in the streets and marketplace of Patna with his friends, commanding mock-battles with sticks and slingshots, as a prophecy of how his life would unfold.  After a long day of play, Gobind Rai and his friends would sit at the home of Raja Fateh Chand and enjoy chole (chick peas) and puri (fried bread).  Raja and Rani Fateh Chand love the young prince deeply, and considered him as their own son.

When he grew older, Gobind Rai was eager to be with Guru Tegh Bahadur.  In spite of all the pampering and affection lavished on him in Patna, he missed his father and was anxious to be with him.  Finally when he was seven years old, his father called for him and his family to return to the holy city of Anandpur Sahib.  

As Gobind Rai made preparations for the journey to Anandpur Sahib, the devotees in Patna were brokenhearted at the thought of the holy family leaving.  Gobind Rai said, “When you miss me, invite my friends to come and eat. Serve them chole and puri, and I’ll be there among them.”  The home of Raja and Rani Fateh Chand was eventually turned into a Gurdwara, and to this day, chole and puri are served at the Gurdwara in Patna.


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