11. Guru at Shri Kiratpur Sahib ji

He lived in Kiratpur from 1635 to 1644. He chose Kiratpur, a city in the foothill of the Himalayas, which was not so easily accessible during those days of undeveloped and scanty means of transportation and communication, to ward off any further hostility between the Sikhs and the Mughal government after the confrontation of four battles. There were hilly Rajas who were great admirers of the Guru because he was instrumental in getting them released from the fort of Gwalior and some of them had developed veneration for Sikhism. These are some of the circumstances in which the Guru seemed to have set up his headquarters at Kiratpur. When he was busy in the battle field, Baba Gurditta was incharge to look after the organizational work. In 1636 the Guru asked Baba Gurditta to appoint four head preachers: Almast, Phul, Gonda and Baba Hasna. Almast was made the chief organizer of the proselytizing activities in the east. Baba Hasna who was the younger brother of Almast, established himself among the people of Pothohar, Kashmir, Chhachh and Hazara. Similarly Phul and Gonda were assigned the area of Doab to carry on the proselytizing work. All these four Udasis were founded in their allotted areas, preaching centers which were named as Dhuans or Hearths, to symbolize the flame of Sikhism. Besides this the Guru sent Bidhi Chand to Bengal. He had sent Bhai Gurdas earlier to Kabul and then to Banaras to enlighten the people on Guru's gospel and also to encourage trade in horses. One day Baba Gurditta went for a hunting trip. It so happened that one of his Sikhs shot a cow by mistake for a deer. The shepherds came and arrested the offending Sikh. Baba Gurditta went to his assistance and offered to give compensation. The shepherds would have from the Guru's son (Gurditta) nothing less than the restoration of the cow to life. If he restored the cow to life, the Guru would be angry as he was before in the case of Baba Atal and if he refused to satisfy the shepherds, they would detain his Sikh as a hostage. He was at last persuaded to reanimate the cow. When it was reported to the Guru, he remarked,"It is not pleasing to me that any one should set himself up as God's equal, and restore life to the dead. Everybody will be bringing the dead to my door, and whom shall I select for reanimation?" Baba Gurditta replied," Mayest thou live for ever! I depart." He went to Budhan Shah's shrine, drove his cane into the ground, lay down, and left for his heavenly abode at the early age of twenty- our in 1638. After this the Guru sent for Baba Gurditta's eldest son, Dhir Mal, from Kartarpur, and also for the Adi Granth which was in his custody. He intended that the holy volume should be read for the repose of Gurditta's soul, and also that Dhir Mal should be present to receive a turban after his father's death in token of succession to his property and position. Dhir Mal declined the invitation saying,"My father is not in Kiratpur. To whom shall I go? It is through fear of the Guru my father died. I do not desire to die yet. I will myself have the Adi Granth read for my father." Thus he kept holy scripture thinking that whosoever had its custody would be the Guru. Bhai Bidhi Chand had unfinished copy of the Adi Granth which was read at that time. One day the Guru's wife Mata Nanaki asked him,"O my lord, you always show great kindness to Har Rai, who is your grandson, but you never show regard to your own son Tegh Bahadur. Fulfil my wishes to put him on your throne." The Guru replied," Tegh Bahadur is a Guru of Gurus. There is none who can endure the unendurable so well as he. He has obtained divine knowledge and renounced worldly love. If you have patience, the Guruship shall revert to him." A day was appointed for a great assemblage. When all were present, Guru Har Gobind rose, took Har Rai by the hand and seated him on the throne of Guru Nanak. Bhai Bhana, son of Bhai Buddha, affixed thetilak to Har Rai's forehead and decorated him with a necklace of flowers. The Guru putting five paise and a coco-nut in front of him, bowed before him declaring him the Guru, and addressed the Sikhs,"In Har Rai now recognize me. The spiritual power of Guru Nanak hath entered him." Upon this the Sikhs shouted congratulations and minstrels began to sing. After this Guru Har Gobind left this world in March, 1644 at Kiratpur. When the last rites were completed, Mata Nanaki and her son Tegh Bahadur set out, according to the Guru's order, for Bakala, where they both lived until Tegh Bahadur obtained the Guruship.