Devinder Pal Singh
Center for Understanding Sikhism
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji fell as a martyr to the freedom of consciousness and belief, under the orders of Aurangzeb, a ruler, who with his puritanical views had an attitude of narrow exclusiveness in the matters of religion. Sikhism, of which Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was the Ninth Apostle, has all through upheld the spiritual approach in matters of faith, and its message has been free from the rancour of any kind against any set of beliefs. The great sacrifice made by Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to vindicate the right of the people to profess and practise the faith, meant, in fact, the assertion of the principle of justice for which the ruling Mughal rulers of the day had very scant regard. For this reason, the life, career, and teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib are of immense significance even in contemporary times, when the forces of hate, fanaticism, and tyranny are still very dominant and assertive. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was a multifaceted genius. He was not only a martyr and a prophet but was also a great poet. In addition to his 57 Salokas, 59 of his other compositions (Sabads), written in 15 Raagas (measures) are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. His hymns deal with the pathos of the human predicament. Though he articulates on the unreality of human passions and possessions, yet his hymns have been a source of spiritual succour and solace to millions of people in their hours of personal grief and affliction. He brightens our awareness of the ephemerality of the material phenomena, however instead of creating a sense of despair and depression, elevates the human mind and imbues it with the hope which permeates the cosmos. He fortifies our faith in human nature and makes it possible for us to rise above the irritants of the immediate problems of existence and keep our attention focussed on the everlasting and eternal.
Keywords Sikhs  sikh Theology  Sikhs/Punjab Studies  Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji  Sikh Gurus  Human Rights  Sikhs and Worldview  Sri Guru Granth Sahib  ephemerality  sacrifice   freedom of consciousness
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