24. Kashmiri Brahmans Come to Guru

The Brahmans of Kashmir, the ancestors of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandi, suffered a particularly bad blow at the hands of Governor Iftikhar Khan - a fanatic Muslim. It is said that he had tyrannised the Brahams to such an extent that he sent to the Emperor bundles of sacred threads of Brahmans, he had either converted or forcibly killed. It is popularly believed amongst the Hindus and the Sikhs that the Emperor converted so many Hindus every day that their sacred threads, forcibly removed on conversion, weighed a "Maund and a quarter'' (approximately 47kg). When it is considered that one sacred thread weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, the extent of the tyranny can well be imagined. Literally, hundreds of thousands of Hindus were being forcibly converted to Islam. Seeing the destruction of their religion - the religion of the Vedas and the religion of Rama and Krishna; the Brahmans took a delegation to Amarnath to pray to Lord Shiva for protection. Macaliffe has described this situation thus, "They (the Brahmans) cried, 'O God. protect our honour since the sovereign of the Turks is destroying our religion and converting all Brahmans and Hindus to the Mussalman faith.' We have come to thy protection". After eight days of such prayers and supplications, invoking Shiva by his thousand names, and doing painful fasting, they decided it was better to die than to embrace Islam. The Pandits heard that Guru Tegh Bahadur was then at Anandpur on the bank of the Sutlej, and thither they proceeded in desperation to seek his help. On their way they stayed at Amritsar, where they bathed in the sacred tank of Guru Ramdas. A contingent of 500 Brahmans led by Pandit Kirpa Ram and Trilok Nath Raina reached Anandpur Sahib. On reaching Anandpur Sahib a few of their leaders presented themselves before the Guru's court. They were nine in number including Trilok Nath Raina* of Raina-wari near Hari Parbat Kashmir. After the completion of the Kirtan. Pandit Kirpa Ram told Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji their sorrowful tale. He told Guru ji how the Emperor was forcibly converting thousands of Brahmans every day, and those that had so far been spared were leading a condemned life. Pandit Kirpa Ram then told Guru ji that on seeing the destruction of their religion, they had approached Lord Shiva at Amarnath. But he had told them that in this age of "Kalijug," Guru Nanak is the Sovereign, and that it was not in his power to protect the Hindu religion. It was with this introduction from Lord Shiva that they were now approaching the Ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, on hearing the sorrowful tale of the Brahmans, prescribed a unique prescription to put an end to the miseries of the Brahmans and the Hindus. He said to the delegates of the Hindu religion that a holy man will have to sacrifice his life for the sake of Hindu religion. Suddenly, Prince Gobind Rai appeared from one corner. He had never seen such a tense atmosphere in the House of Guru Nanak. for this was the House of happiness. Seeing strange faces in the Guru's Court. He asked: "O Father, who are these men?" and "what do they want?" The Guru told His nine-year-old Son that they were the representatives of the Hindu religion; their faith was at stake, and they had come to The House of Guru Nanak to seek protection. Guru ji told His Son that the only way in which their religion could be saved was that a holy man should come forward and sacrifice his life for the cause of Hinduism. To this. Gobind Rai ji replied: "O Gurudev, who is holier than you in this age of ignorance? They have come to seek protection at your feet. Therefore. you must protect them. even though in doing so you may have to sacrifice your life." The Guru was pleased with the reply of His Son. He knew that the Saviour of the downtrodden would now be succeeding Him -The Throne of Guru Nanak. Guru Tegh Bahadur ji could visualise that His Sacrifice at Delhi would be the first of a chain of sacrifices that would follow. He could see that His Son would create The Order of the Khalsa. a group of holy men that would always come to the rescue of the downtrodden and the helpless. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib told Pandit Kirpa Ram and other delegates of the Hindu faith to go and inform the Emperor of Delhi that they have chosen Him to be their leader and that He lived at Anandpur Sahib in the Punjab. If Guru Tegh Bahadur ji accepts Islam, then all Hindus shall also embrace Islam as their faith. But until such time as negotiations were going on between the Emperor and the Guru. the Emperor should stop his crusade of forcible conversions. They acted accordingly and the Emperor was tempted and readily agreed. He thought that his job had been simplified. All he had to do was to convert one man - Guru Tegh Bahadur ji. and the whole of India would be Muslim. But the foolish Emperor did not know that the True Prophets of God stay unmoved on their ground and that the sacl1ifice of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib would cause the destruction of the mighty Mughal empire.