64. Death of Aurangzebe

While the Guru was on his way to the Deccan intelligence arrived of the death of Aurangzebe. This did not deter him from prosecuting the journey. He had a desire to visit Rajputana and preach his doctrines in this land of heroes; but he had hardly set his foot on the Rajput territory when a messenger from prince Muazzam arrived which led to a change of his plans. The usual sanguinary strife that invariably took place among the claimants to the throne on the death of an Asiatic sovereign divided the Moghul counsels. Prince Azam with the help of the army had himself proclaimed Emperor. Prince Muazzam, the eldest son, was at Kabul at the time of Aurangzebe's death. He, too, assumed regal honours and, under the title of Bahadar Shah, marched to Delhi to contest the throne. He sent his Minister, Diwan Nand Lal, to the Guru praying for assistance in the prosecution of his design. Diwan Nand Lal was a favorite disciple of the Guru. His mission was, therefore, successful. The Guru assured him of his sympathy and forthwith issued orders to the disciples in the whole Punjab and the frontier summoning them to Agra. In response to the summons the Sikhs mustered in force. Their command was entrusted to Pyara Daya Singh. In the battle that ensued the combatants fought bravely : but when the partisans of prince Muazzam, merely on account of the smallness of number, were giving way, the Guru's arrow, it is said, killed prince Azam. His death was a signal of flight to his army. At a Durbar, held next day, in the fort of Agra, Bahadar Shah was duly proclaimed Emperor. On this occasion he was presented with Nazars by all men of might and influence in the land. He availed himself of that opportunity to publicly acknowledge his gratitude to the Guru. The Sikh officers and men were handsomely rewarded. This done he took leave of the Guru and left for Delhi. A court notable was appointed who remained in attendance on the Guru. According to Kahfi Khan, " at the time that Bahadar Shah marched towards Hyderabad the Chief Guru of this sect came to join him with two or three hundred horsemen. For what purpose the Guru joined Bahadur Shah Kahfi Khan does not say. But bearing all things in mind one feels strongly persuaded to believe in the Sikh version of the affair and to regard the attentions of Bahadur Shah as an expression of a feeling of gratefulness or, what is not very unlikely, the Moghul Emperor might have been prompted by the ordinary dictates of policy in honouring the Guru, as he did, and kept him in close touch with himself ; for a formidable foe, removed from his sphere of influence, becomes quite removed from his sphere of influence, becomes quite harmless, in the nature of things. Leaving Agraand passing through Mathura, Brinda Ban and Gokul, places of historic renown, the Guru arrived at Delhi and encamped in the spacious lawns of Moti Bagh. The Emperor was assiduous in his attentions to him.