19. Historical Accounts

According to historians, Guru Hargobind Ji was married thrice, but there are those who argue that this account is confusing and probably not accurate, as it is also said that the name of his bride before marriage changed after marriage in the husband's house (as was the custom at the time). Historians say that Guruji's first wife was Mata Damodari, the daughter of Narain Das of village Talla. She gave birth to Baba Gurditta, Bibi Veero and Ani Rai Ji. The second time he was married to Bibi Nanki daughter of Hari Chand of village Bakala. She was the mother of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. His third marriage was to Bibi Mahadevi daughter of Daya Ram of village Jandiyali, district Shekhupura, now part of (Pakistan). She gave birth to Suraj Mall Ji and Baba Atal Ji. Alarmed by the rapid growth of the Sikhs under the guidance of Guru Hargobind Ji, those who wished ill-upon the growing Sikh community, joined hands with the rulers of Lahore and traveled to Delhi to voice their complains against Guru Har Gobind to the power brokers in the Mughalcourt and to Jahangir himself. They told Jehangir that Guru Hargobind Sahib was gathering an army and amassing arms, with the intension of avenging his father's death. They advised him to suppress Guru Ji and the growing Sikh community immediately, but rather than sending an army to attack or arrest him, Jehangir summoned the Guru to Delhi to assess his character and aims, but rather than the hoped for confrontation and arrest of the Guru (that his ill-wishers had hoped for) a surprising thing happened when both the Emperor and his powerful wife were taken by Guru Ji's charm, grace and Godliness. A friendship and mutual respect soon followed, Guru Har Gobind, would even hunt with the Emperor on his grand Shikars (hunting was a life long passion of the Guru). On one remarkable occasion the young Guru saved the life of the Emperor, who he could have easily hated for the death of his father, by jumping beteen a Lion and the Mughal ruler.  Seeing their scheme to harm Guru ji going awry and growing fearful of his developing friendship with the Emperor, Chandu Shah used an illness of Jahangir to have the court astrologers predict that only a Holy man praying at a shrine at Gwalior Fort, for a lengthy time, would lead to the Emperor's recovery. Moved equally by his personal jealousy as well as by superstition and the predictions of his court astrologers, Jehangir ordered the Guru to be imprisoned at the Gwalior fort (other versions have the Guru volunteering to undertake the task). Though his Sikhs were worried that he would meet the same fate as his father the Guru himself was never worried over his release. The famous muslim pir Hazrat Mian Mir was amoung those who reminded Jahangir, who had long since gotten over his illness and seemingly forgotten about the Guru's confinement in the Fort, to release the Guru. The Guru's immediate release was ordered, but Guru Ji refused to leave the fort unless the fifty-two Princes who had long languished under confinement, at the fort, were released as well. Jehangir cleverly agreed that the Guru could take as many of the princes to freedom, as could hold onto the Guru's clothing. Guru ji had his darzi (tailor) prepair a coat with 52 ribands or tails and left the fort with the fifty-two rulers trailing behind him, each holding onto a piece of the Guru's coat. That is why Guru Ji is referred to as the Liberator (Bandi-chor) in history. Bandi Chhorh Divas is celebrated in honor of the day. When Guru Ji reached Amritsar his Sikhs lit lamps to welcome him. His arrival also consided with the tradional Indian festival of Diwali. Since then the festival of Diwali (lighting of lamps) is celebrated as Bandi-Chor diwas by Sikhs. From Amritsar he went to Lahore where Kaulan, adopted Hindu daughter of Kazi Rustam Khan and a follower of Saint Mian Mir came into contact with the Guru due to her dire plight. Guruji asked her to move to Amritsar, where she led a pious life. On Guruji's command, Baba Budha Ji had Gurdwara Kaulsar built in Kaulan's memory in 1681 of Bikrami calendar. On the invitation of Sikhs of central India he also travelled there where he had Gurdwara Nanak Matta completed. Later he visited Kashmir and secured many followers there. From Jammu and Kashmir, he returned to Punjab via Gujrat.