Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was born in 1595, in village Wadali. He was the sixth Sikh Guru, who developed a strong Sikh army and gave the Sikh religion its military character, in accordance with the instructions of his father, Guru Arjan Dev Ji(1563–1606), the first Sikh martyr, who had been executed on the order of the Mughal emperor
Up to the time of Hargobind, the Sikh religion had been passive. At his succession ceremony Guru Hargobind is believed to have defiantly borne two swords, symbolizing his twin authority as temporal (miri) and spiritual (piri) head of the community. He also devoted much time to military training and the martial arts, becoming an expert swordsman, wrestler, and rider. Despite opposition, Hargobind built up his army and fortified his cities. In 1609 he built the Akal Takht (“Throne of God”), a temple and assembly hall combined, where both spiritual and temporal matters pertaining to the Sikh nation could be resolved. He built a fort near Amritsar and named it Lohgarh. Deftly he instilled the will to fight and established high morale in his followers. The Mughal emperor Jahāngīr viewed the buildup of Sikh power as a threat and had Guru Hargobind jailed in the fortress of Gwalior. For 12 years Guru Hargobind remained a prisoner, but Sikh devotion to him only intensified. Finally, the emperor, apparently seeking the favour of the Sikhs as possible allies against the Indian states still defying Mughal rule, relented and set the Guru free. Guru Ji followed his former militant course, recognizing that a clash with Mughal power was coming.
After Jahāngīr’s death (1627) the new Mughal emperor, Shāh Jahān, persecuted the Sikh community in earnest. The Sikhs under Guru Hargobind defeated Shāh Jahān’s armies four times, crushing the myth of Mughal invincibility. To the Sikh ideals of his predecessor, Guru Hargobind thus added another: the right and duty of the Sikhs to defend their faith by the sword if necessary. Shortly before his death in 1644, Guru Hargobind appointed his grandson, Har Rai, his successor.
It is said Guru Ji visited Nadala while on way to Delhi. Gurudwara Baoli Sahib and Gurudwara Padshahi Chheiveen stand between Nadala Adda and Nadala village as sacred Memorial of that visit.
Guru Hargobind Sahib was born at Wadali village in June 1595 and was the only child of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He was invested with the Guruship on May 25, 1606 just days before his father’s martyrdom. Baba Buddha was responsible for overseeing the Guru’s religious teachings.
During the Guruship ceremony Guru Hargobind respectfully declined to wear the Seli which had been passed down on each successive Guru since Guru Nanak. Instead the Guru said “I’ll wear two swords, a sword of shakti (power) and a sword of bhakti (meditation).” One is symbolic of secular power (Miri) and another of spiritual authority (Piri).
Guru Ji gave instructions to the Masands and to all the other Sikhs that they should make offerings in the future of horses and weapons rather than just money.He encouraged Sikhs in physical activity and weapons training as well as prayers.
The Guru’s military activities infuriated the Mughals.
Guru Hargobind undertook extensive travels. The Guru founded the town of Kiratpur in 1626.
Gurus grandson sent a secret letter to Painda Khan pledging him his full support. The battle was fierce with Guru Hargobinds two sons Gurditta and Tegh Bahadur also fighting along with their father. Many great soldiers fell on the battlefield including Kale Khan. The mughal forces were decimated until among the remaining Painda Khan engaged Guru Hargobind in battle. Guru Hargobind had raised Painda Khan from a young age and loved him like a son, therefore he refused to strike the first blow. Painda Khan struck two times unsuccessfully missing the Guru both times. Painda Khan continued to taunt and insult the Guru until finally Guru Hargobind killed him with his sword. Seeing his body in the dust, Guru Hargobind clasped his old comrade in his arms and put his shield over Painda Khan’s face to shade it from the scorching sun. Guru Hargobind then wept over the death of one so dear to him and prayed that God grant Painda Khan forgiveness and a place in heaven. In another part of the battlefield Baba Gurditta also wept at killing another mughal general Asman Khan who had been his childhood friend. The mughal forces were successfully routed and retreated with heavy losses although the Sikhs suffered over 700 dead.
Immediately following the battle Guru Hargobind and his family left Kartarpur to retire to the out of the way town of Kiratpur in order to avoid further bloodshed. Here the Guru had also promised to visit a Muslim devotee of his Budhan Shah who was near death and had previously met Guru Nanak. The Gurus grandson Dhir Mal refused to move, instead he remained in Kartarpur and with possession of the original copy of the Granth Sahib which he refused to hand over. Dhir Mal had aspirations of succeeding Guru Hargobind as the next Guru because he had the Holy Granth.
Here are Kiratpur Guru Hargobind remained the rest of his life peacefully. He kept a small army of men and 900 solders as his protection. The Guru continued to receive countless devotees who flocked to Kiratpur to hear and see the Guru and Sikhism continued to spread throughout the Indian Subcontinent. The most accurate eye witness account of Guru Hargobind’s life appears in the Dabistan-i-Mazahib written by the Muslim Mohsin Fani. In this he writes about the Sikhs, “The Guru believes in one God. His followers put not faith in idol worship. They never pray or practice austerities like the Hindus. They believe not in their incarnations, or places of pilgrimage nor the Sanskrit language which the Hindus deem to be the language of the gods. They believe that all the Gurus are the same as Nanak. The Sikhs are not restricted in the matter of eating and drinking.”
Soon the Guru received the shocking news of the death of his eldest son Baba Gurditta who passed away at age 24. He passed in much the same manner as Atal Rai, having taken to heart the reprimand of the Guru for reanimating a dead cow of an angry farmer which he had accidentally killed while out hunting. Guru Hargobind was much saddened by the death of his son and requested his grandson Dhir Mal to appear for his fathers last rites and receive his fathers turban. Dhir Mal refused to come even on such a solemn occasion, only caring about styling himself as the next Guru, especially now with his fathers untimely demise.
Guru Hargobind now started training his grandson Har Rai the other son of Baba Gurditta as his natural successor. The Gurus own sons; Gurditta had passed away, Suraj Mal and Ani Rai were too worldly while Tegh Bahadur preferred solitude and meditation. Har Rai was a pious young man and Guru Hargobind proceeded to train him in the use of arms as well as spiritual matters. At the age of fourteen Har Rai was ordained by Guru Hargobind as the seventh Sikh Guru. Guru Hargobind bowed before Guru Har Rai as his successor. Soon thereafter Guru Hargobind passed away in 1644 having in his lifetime transforming the Sikhs into soldier-saints.