Guru Tegh Bahadur - Background and Supreme Sacrifice - Book By Gurbachan Singh Talib

Publisher: Punjabi-University-Patiala
Authors: Gurbachan Singh Talib
Page: 296
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
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Foreword To The Book 'Guru Tegh Bahadur - Background and Supreme Sacrifice' By Gurbachan Singh Talib

The tercentenary of Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom that fell in 1975 inspired a tremendous amount of zeal and enthusiasm, which took concrete shape in several directions all over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and other parts of our country where his followers reside in considerable number or monuments commemorating his association with certain places exist. Plans for large religious gatherings,founding of memorials and production of literature to highlight the holy Guru's teachings and sacrfice were set afoot . It is so heartening that in these projects Hindus, Muslims and followers of other faiths participated no less reverently and enthusiastically than Sikhs. Besides the Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Memorial Trust, which is an All-India Organisation, the Punjab Government also set up a body to commemorate the great event befittingly.

In this connection, it was felt that universities and other educational and cultural institutions could render particularly useful service by reproducing literature filling up gaps in the history concerning the life and back-ground of Guru Tegh Bahadur's service to high moral and spiritual ideals, as also make studies of his Bani and the philosophical and literary aspects of his teaching. In this respects it was felt there was great scope for useful original work, as there are still wide gaps in our learning in these areas. 

Punjabi University, in its Department of Religious Studies, Guru Granth Sahib Studies and Punjab History Research conseqently, planned that each of these could profitably undertake work in respect of this great anniversary. While historical research has been set a foot to compile detailed information about the Guru's travels to spread his message of truth and heroic resistance to tyranny, it was felt that in keeping with the high learned traditions of the University in Religious Studies, books containing collections of scholarly articles on the  life, times and teaching of Guru Tegh Bahadur should be produced. The present book ,containing twenty essays, in English, is a valuable piece of research and brings in one volume material of a very high calibre about Guru Tegh Bahadur, which is sure to be valuable addition to literature on the subject . It falls into three distinct portions, concerning the life-work of the holy Guru, the essence of the teaching of Sikhism and its course uptill his day, thus relating his ideal achievements to the character of the Sikh faith and lastly , the study of his Bani from the philosophical and literary view-points. One article tracing the concept and tradition of Martyrdom within Sikhism traces this phenomenon in universal religious history to its characteristics fulfilment in the Sikh faith.

The writers of these essays are well-known scholars and In take this occasion to thank them on behalf of the Punjabi University for their labours. I also place on record my thankfulness and appreciation of the work done by the Editor, Professor Gurbachan Singh Talib, for planning and executing this work along highly useful lines. I trust the world of scholarship will find this work valuable in the study of the achievement of a most sublime personality in the history of the Sikh Religion and of our country.

March 22, 1976 I. K. SANDHU
Punjabi University, Vice-Chancellor
Patiala  

Introduction to the Book 'Guru Tegh Bahadur Background And Supreme Sacrifice' By Gurbachan Singh Talib

This book should fall into two distinct portion's in accordance with the dimensions to Guru Tegh Bahadur's achievement in history and the inspiration of spiritual experience provided by his teachings. Added to these, however, is a study of the vital features of the social and political milieu which shaped the course of events that led ultimately to his spiritual elan that ended in his martyrdom  and the historical and human significance of that great event. A biography, unless it is so planned as to touch only some particular aspect of the entire life-experience of its subject , should attempt a comprehensive view that helps to recreate a personality whose scheme of life and action fit into a total background of events, ideas and movements and reflect its deeper urges and the degree to fulfilment they might have found. While this book is not intended primarily to be a biographical narrative of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the themes attempted in its several chapter provide the kind of insight into the life of this great soul that a more formal kind of biography might be expected to put forth. The scheme adopted herein has the advantage over a biography that being attempted by several hands, a certain degree of specialization has been imported into the various aspects put forth and discussed and thus the total picture emerging is fuller and more comprehensive than perhaps in any other book attempted on this subject. This itself should be an ample justification of the scheme adopted, a few more aspects of which will be touched upon below. 

Guru Tegh Bahadur's personality, whose earlier direction had been overwhelmingly towards meditation had devotional exercises, detached except here and there from the world of events and historical movements, became in the last years of his life the centre of a great movement of resistance against aggression and oppression, (hetu iti jini kari), in the most reliable original source mentioning this great event.In Bachittar Natak, this sacrifice is stated to be for the protection of Dharma (Dharma heti saka jini kiya). While our ancestors of yesterday had little difficulty in interpreting this highly significant term, our contemporaries who are exposed to influences of modern humanist thought and certain of our present-day national ideals and objectives, may not be in full agreement with its earlier interpretation as faith, religion, belief, duty centred in piety and the religious ideal. A wide-ranging interpretation of this term, as covering the great concept of human rights and 'freedoms' particularly those emerging as an aftermath of the second World War, is what is sought to be associated with this term, embedded in the thought and sentiment, of India now for at least three millennia. At a related tangent is the socialist-democratic ideal formulated as the goel of our people's national policy. Dharma is no less emphatically sought to be interpreted as the key-term to define such a comprehensive idea.

And yet, traditionally it is believed that the Guru laid down his life in defence of all those India-born traditions and decencies which were so tyrannically sought to be uprooted by the bigoted religious policy of Aurangzed. While persecution of followers of faiths other than Islam had appeared in spurts during the centuries of Muslim rule in India, the sustained and relentless campaign by Aurangzed  to make it the pivot of state policy was an uprecedented situation in Indian history. And keeping this fact in view, the sacrifice of Guru thus took a turn, that on a casual observation would be thought unexpected. But on a deeper study of the history of the Sikh faith it would become clear that while for about a hundred years after the Divine revelation came to the Founder, Guru Nanak, its message had been non-attachment to maya or the world, it had at the same time maintained a keen social consciousness in respect of the issues of deeper and wider morality in human events and the forces that manifest themselves in history. It had thus, unlike those sages who had been led to the extreme state of renunciation and indifference to the chapter of temporal affairs, maintained an attitude of compassion towards human suffering, a strong denunciation of assertive evil exhortation to man to be a crusader in the cause of Right. All through his long period of meditation and the life of a virtual recluse, Guru Tegh Bahadur, being the son of the heroic Guru Hargobind and saturated with the spiritual impulse of Guru Nanak's teaching, had obviously directed his life along fulfilment in the direction of devotion and enlightenment , as also action in the world of human relationships.

In adumbrating as fully as possible, the greatness of the Guru's personality therefor, a fairly large span of aspects to be treated was considered necessary. This comprehensive range of themes highlights that total reality in which Guru Tegh Bahadur's personality may be placed to be better understood. The principal question with regard to Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom is the character of the socio-political situation that inspired him to take the 'extreme step' as set forth in Bachittar Natak. Sacrifice of Tegh Bahadur too was unique, as a great step to stem the rising tide of such a total campaign to make of India another Iran, Syria, or Egypt or any other such land where from all vestiges or earlier faiths had been removed by the irresistible conquering force of the new faith. Clear guidance is available in the Sikh sacred literature and the Sikh tradition as to those objectives for which the Guru  laid down his life. In Bachittar Natak, as Guru Tegh Bahadur's brief account opens, in the middle of his story so to say, mention is made of tilak (sacred paste-mark) and janju (sacred thread, yagyopavit)-two symbols of Hindu piety. And yet, in the same text, occurs the word taka  ('theirs')that is, of the Hindus with whom neither Guru Tegh Bahadur nor the Sikh tradition was identified in belief, ritual and practice.

 

 

Table of Contents Of The 'Guru Tegh Bahadur - Background and Supreme Sacrifice' By Gurbachan Singh Talib

  CONTENTS  
  FOREWORD  
  (Mrs) I. K. Sandhu, Vice Chancellor (v)
  INTRODUCTORY  
  G. S. Talib (vii)
 

I

LIFE AND THE BACKGROUND OF HISTORY

 
(1) GURU TEGH BAHADUR-A BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY  
  Hari Ram Gupta 3
(2) GROWTH OF THE SIKH FAITH-1469-1708  
  Gurcharan Singh 29
(3) GURU TEGH BAHADUR AND HUMAN RIGHTS  
  Fauja Singh 43
(4) GURU TEGH BAHADUR'S LIFE AT BABA BAKALA AND ANANDPUR  
  Kirpal Singh 60
(5) HISTORY OF GURUDWARA SIS-GANJ, DELHI  
  Mahinder Singh 72
(6) THE PROPHET OF ASSURANCE  
  J. S. Grewal 90
(7) INTER-RELIGIOUS RELATIONS DURING MUSLIM RULE IN INDIA  
  Anil Chandra Banerjee 97
(8) SOME PROMINENT FEATURES OF CIVIL LAW UNDER MUSLIM RULE IN INDIA  
  Sri Ram Sharma 114
 

II

STUDIES IN HIS SACRED WORD

 
(1) GURU TEGH BAHADUR'S BANI-SPIRITUAL AND ETHICAL TEACHING  
  Dr. Bhai Jodh Singh 131
(2) VAIRAG IN GURU TEGH BAHADUR'S BANI  
  Taran Singh 145
(3) TRANSCENDENT POETIC VISION OF GURU TEGH BAHADUR  
  Attar Singh 157
(4) CONCEPTION OF JIVANMUKTI IN GURU TEGH BAHADUR'S HYMNS  
  L. M. Joshi 172
(5) THE POETRY OF GURU TEGH BAHADUR  
  Darshan Singh Maini 185
(6) THE CLASSICAL TENOR OF GURU TEGH BAHADUR'S POETRY  
  Sant Singh Sekhon 194
 

III

THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND SPIRITUAL OF THE SIKH RELIGION

 
(1) THE CONCEPT AND TRADITION OF MARTYRDOM IN SIKHISM  
  Gurbachan Singh Talib 211
(2) PARMARTHA-THE SUPREME  OBJECTIVES AS DEFINED IN SIKH THOUGHT  
  J. S. Neki 237
(3) THE BHAKTI MARGA IN SIKHISM  
  G. R. Singh 246
(4) RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN SIKH SCRIPTURAL WRITINGS  
  W. H, McLeod 269
(5) AKAL-PURAKH-THE SUPREME BEING OF GURU NANAK'S REVELATION  
  Avtar Singh 286
  INTRODUCTION TO WRITERS 296

 

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