Having left the Fort of Anandpur Sahib and getting separated from Guru Sahib, the family and the rest of the Sikhs, Mata Gujri ji (whose name after taking Amrit was Mata Gujri Kaur ji) and the two young Sahibzadey (sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji) walked through the forest alone. They met Gangu, a Brahman who served as a chef in the Guru’s Kitchen.
Gangu promised to look after Mata Gujri ji, Guru ji’s mother, and the young princes aged 5, and 7. ”Let me take you to my village”, said Gangu. ”You will be safe there.” Having trust for Gangu, Mata ji agreed that she and the Sahibzadey would go to Gangu’s village. Arriving in the village, Gangu took them home and gave them beds to sleep on.
At night time when everyone had gone to sleep, Gangu sneaked into the room where Mata Gujri ji and the Sahibzadey were sleeping. He searched through Mata ji’s bag of gold coins and stole her money. In the morning Mata Gujri ji asked Gangu,’O Gangu, where have the gold coins gone?’ Mata ji knew in heart that Gangu had stolen the money. Angered by Mata ji’s discovery of him stealing her money and lured by the greed of a reward, Gangu hurried outside of his house and shouted that he had captured the Guru’s children and mother in his home.
ਮੂੜੇ ਤੈ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਰਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਓ ॥ ਲੂਣੁ ਖਾਇ ਕਰਹਿ ਹਰਾਮਖੋਰੀ ਪੇਖਤ ਨੈਨ ਬਿਦਾਰਿਓ ॥1॥
“O fool! You have forgotten Waheguru from your mind! You eat His salt (i.e. you eat everything given to you by Him), and then shamefully you are untrue to Him; before your very eyes, you shall be torn apart (by your sin). ||1||Pause||”(Maroo, Ang 1001, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
Suddenly, the police surrounded Gangu’s house, and Mata Gujri ji and the Sahibzadey were arrested and thrown in prison. Prison in those days was not a cozy place where you can have a cup of tea and read the newspaper. Rather, it was abusive, cold, with no comfort or care. Mata Gujri ji and the young Sahibzadey stayed in Thanda Buraj (The Cold Tower) at Sirhind.
As a living example of an inspirational Gursikh, Mata Gujri ji gathered Sahibzadey to around her, and together they recited Sodar Rehras Sahib (the evening prayer) afterwhich Mata ji told the stories of Guru Arjan ji, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji and other Sikhs who lived wonderful and brave lives. Hearing the stories and listening to Gurbani, the Sahibzadey were filled with courage and high spirits, and told their grandmother that they wanted to walk in the footsteps of their grandfather and great-grandfather. Mata Gujri ji was pleased to hear such affirmations of their strong faith.
The next day, the young Sahibzadey were summoned to the court of Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sirhind. The courtiers told Wazir Khan that the sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji were too young to face a fatwa, punishment in accordance to Shari’a Law. However one courtier called, Sucha Nand (known by Sikhs as ‘Jhoota Nand’) refuted these pleas to spare these young children.
Sucha Nand said, ”O Nawab Sahib, these children are the children of the Poisonous Snake. The sons of that snake are venomous as well.” Wazir Khan was convinced by his arguments.
He asked the young Sahibzadey, ”O young and innocent looking children, if I release you today, what will you do?” “We are the sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji and we are the grandchildren of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji. If you release us, we will gather an army together and attack you!” replied the young Sahibzadey.
“What if you are defeated”, asked the Nawab. ”Then we get up again, and gather another army and fight you and all those who cause tyranny and oppression. Until we are breathing, we will continue to fight for justice and righteousness.” The Nawab was shocked at the response from these two young energetic souls. ”You have insulted me! You have a choice now, you either convert to Islam or you will face the sword.” “We are brave lions of Guru Gobind Singh Ji! We are not afraid of your sword. We are lions! How can we try to pretend to be sheep!” courageously roared the Sahibzadey.
ਭੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਦੇਤ ਨਹਿ ਨਹਿ ਭੈ ਮਾਨਤ ਆਨ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਖਾਨਿ ॥16॥
“O Nanak! Listen O mind! Understand that person to be spiritually wise who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid of anyone else (or who is not shaken by threats). ||16||”
(Salok M: 9, Ang 1427, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
Sikhs have never given up their faith when threatened by the sword.
Sikhs have never turned their back to the Guru when given the temptations of wealth and greed.
Sikhs have never traded in their spirit of Sikhi in exchange for anything.
ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥2॥2॥
“That person alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of religion. He or she may be cut apart, piece by piece, but they never leave the field of battle. ||2||2||”(Maroo, Ang 1105, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
However, today we see that when fired with the arrows of modernism, fashion and false beauty, we as a Sikh community have fallen as prey. We don’t need to be threatened by a sword to shave off our Guru’s identity, instead we are prepared to pay a barber £10 to do the job for us. We turn our back on the Guru and instead follow fake self-proclaimed Satgurus, Sants and Babé.
These two young brave souls, aged 5 and 7, were not scared, tempted or lured to give up their faith. Instead they laughed and smiled and accepted death, rather than give up their priceless Sikhi. The Qazi asked Wazir Khan to get Sher Muhammad Khan, the Nawab of Malerkottla, to render punishment to these young children, because Guru Gobind Singh ji had killed the Nawab of Malerkottla’s brother in battle. Therefore, he would obtain revenge through killing the Guru’s young children. However, upon being asked, feeling disturbed and emotional he replied, ”Everyone, this is cruelty! My brother was killed on the battlefield. These innocent boys are not responsible for his death. If we have to take revenge it shall be from their father. Allah save us from this sinful act.” Saying this he got up and mournfully said, ”0 Allah, have mercy!!”
Hearing this, Wazir Khan ordered for the Sahibzadey to return back to captivity in the Cold Tower with their elderly grandmother. Arriving in the Tower, the Sahibzadey ran and hugged their beloved grandmother. They explained everything, which had happened. On hearing what they had said, Mata Gujri ji told them, ”I am proud of you, my children! You have kept your heads high and kept the dignity and honour of your grandfather. May Waheguru forever be by your side and help you.”
The next morning, the Sahibzadey came before the Nawab once more. ”I hope you have come to a decision whether or not you wish to live, by simply converting to Islam or accept death by being bricked alive.” Unshaken and steadfast in their faith and unwilling to give up their Sikhi faced with the threat of death, the executioners prepared to build a brick wall.
ਕਰਵਤੁ ਭਲਾ ਨ ਕਰਵਟ ਤੇਰੀ ॥ ਲਾਗੁ ਗਲੇ ਸੁਨੁ ਬਿਨਤੀ ਮੇਰੀ ॥1॥
“O Waheguru! I would rather be cut apart by a saw, than have You turn Your back on me (meaning, it is not as painful as the body to be sawn alive as it is to be outside the reach of Waheguru’s Grace). (O Dear Friend Waheguru!) Hug me close, and listen to my prayer (meaning, may Your simran, rememberance, remain a necklace around my neck). ||1||”
(Asa, Ang 484, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
The Sahibzadey were taken outside, and in front of crowds of people, they began to be bricked alive. People stared and cried in dismay how these young children were being tortured to death. But no one, not a single person protested or dared to speak against these horrific atrocities. As the wall was being raised the Sahibzade were offered the chance of being saved by the Qazi by accepting Islam. However with the power of Gurbani within them, and the strength of Amrit, the Sahibzadey roared a loud jaikara, ”Bolé So Nihal, SAT SIREE AKAL!!!”
How can these children be in such high spirits and unshaken when they are being faced with death, wondered the Qazi. The Sahibzadey looked at him and said, ”Raise the wall fast and bury the Moghul Raj quickly. Don’t delay for a minute.” Brick by brick, as the wall was being raised the Sahibzadey recited the prayer of Japji Sahib. Onlookers looked in dismay and tears were welling up in the eyes of men and women watching. Thinking that these young children will get frightened soon when they realise that they are going to die, the Nawab and Qazi urged the young children, ”All you have to do is recite the Kalma (a passage from the Qu’ran) and immediately this wall be destroyed.” The Sahibzadey roared, ”We are lions! We are not threatened by death! Keeping our Sikhi we will die till our last breath.”
ਆਪਿ ਲੀਏ ਲੜਿ ਲਾਇ ਦਰਿ ਦਰਵੇਸ ਸੇ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਧੰਨੁ ਜਣੇਦੀ ਮਾਉ ਆਏ ਸਫਲੁ ਸੇ ॥2॥
“Those whom Waheguru attaches to the hem of His robe, are the true dervishes (who are the one’s who ask for Waheguru’s love) at His Door. Blessed are the mothers who gave birth to them, and fruitful is their coming into the world. ||2||
(Aasa, Ang 488, Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
People watching were crying and saying, ”Blessed is the mother who gave birth to them.” They sighed in dismay, ”What cruelty! How shall they answer for their crime in the court of Allah?”
The young Sahibzadey were bricked alive and attained martyrdom at the age of 5 and 7. Some Sikhs who call themselves ‘Historians’ or ‘pracharics’ preach that Mata Gujri Ji committed suicide on hearing that the young Sahibzade had attained martyrdom. We don’t need enemies when we have Sikhs preaching this type of nonsense.
Mata Gujri ji was the proud and sincere wife of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji.
Mata Gujri ji was the loving and inspirational mother of Guru Gobind Singh ji.
Mata Gujri ji was the compassionate and brave grandmother of the Sahibzadey.
Mata Gujri ji was a living and breathing example of a true Gursikh.
On hearing the news of the death of grandchildren, Mata Gujri ji who was absorbed in Nam Abhiyas and Simran at that time, breathed her last breath. Her soul left her body and went to join the Supreme Soul.
That evening Dewan Todar Mal, a jeweller, approached Wazir Khan. He asked for permission to cremate the bodies of the Sahibzadey and Mata Gujri ji. The Nawab agreed on the condition that Todar Mal paid for the land needed for the cremation, by spreading as many gold coins, which would cover the space, needed. Having love for Waheguru and compassion for the martyred Sahibzadey and martyred Mata Gujri ji, he picked a site for cremating the bodies and covered the ground for gold coins for the Nawab to take.
The bodies of the three shaheeds (martyrs) were prepared for cremation with honour and respect. In December 1704, the 5 and 7 years old brave children and Mata Gujri Kaur ji attained supreme martyrdom and showed the world, that no power, government or fear or greed could shaken or make a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh ji tremble.
We are not being faced with the choice of being bricked alive or keeping our Sikhi.
We are not being faced with the dilemma of facing death or keeping our head high in dignity.
We are not being asked to give up Sikhi and cut our hair or be tortured.
However, have we kept hold of the support of Gurbani and the Guru’s teachings?
Have we taken Amrit and got the strength of that Amrit and Simran to be able to become fearless of death?
Have we looked after our Sikhi and educated, inspired, and involved our children in Sikhi like Mata Gujri ji did?
Let us ask ourselves, what can we learn from our history, and what resolution will we make in our lives to make our lives worthwhile, worthy, and great just as the lives of Mata Gujri Kaur ji and the Chotey Sahibzadey.