The Three Options
the discussions which the Great Guru had with Aurangzeb, the Emperor told
the Guru that it was his uttermost desire to see all Hindustan embrace
Islam, and that it was with this intention that he had imposed Jazia on his
non-muslim subjects; had ordered the demolition of their temples and
destruction of their scriptures (Vedas), and had ordered them to embrace
Islam or face death. The Emperor requested the Guru to embrace Islam, for he
knew that Guru Nanak's House was equally against idol worship. The Emperor
was not unaware of the tenets of Guru Nanak's religion.
Emperor knew not that it was not in the nature of the True Prophets of God
like Guru Tegh Bahadur ji to give up their ideology in order to save their
life. Such pure souls remain unmoved when made to sit on hot iron plates or
when seated on freezing ice-slabs.
it is clear from the writings of Guru Tegh Bahadur that he regarded the very
nature of this world to be transitory. His philosophy can be summarized in a
few shlokas (couplets) that were composed by the Guru at Delhi :
who is unaffected by praise or blame or honour or ignominy, with whom gold
and iron are alike; Sayeth Nanak, listen O Mind, he is liberated."
who is not moved by joy or sorrow, and to whom friend and foe are alike;
Sayeth Nanak, listen O Mind, he is liberated."
who inspireth no fear and who hath no fear of others; Listen O Mind, sayeth
Nanak, he is possessed of divine knowledge."
world is evanescent like a dream or a vision; Sayeth Nanak, there is nothing
real in it but God."
bubbles are constantly formed on the surface of water only to disappear;
Sayeth Nanak, O friend, such is the process of world formation."
passed away. Ravan also passed away with his large family; Sayeth Nanak,
nothing is permanent, the world is like a dream."
which is born shall be destroyed today, tomorrow or the day after; Nanak
sing the Lord's praises, and give up all entanglement (attachment)."
Guru who did not inspire fear into anybody nor did he fear anybody, was not
in the least bit hesitant of sacrificing his self for the great ideas of
Guru Nanak. He merely regarded the world as a dream or a vision in which
nothing was real except God, with Whom He was One. It is only egotists who
regard this world as permanent and thus fall prey to worldly temptations.
Pure souls do not go for material gains, for they regard them as transitory.
Guru told Aurangzeb, the Emperor, that he was committing these crimes and
atrocities to satisfy his own selfish ends and that he was covering them up
under the cloak of religion. The Guru told him that conversion could not be
carried out by force, threats or bribes. Conversion depends on the change of
heart. Why did not the uncle of the prophet Mohammed become a convert to the
faith of Islam? "You say your religion does not allow idol worship in any
form. Then Where is the justification to enjoin the kind of worship to be
offered to the black stone of Kaaba?"
Emperor then enquired of the Guru if He had ever had an occasion to show
swordsmanship and justify his name Tegh Bahadur (Master of the Sword). Diwan
Matidas who was standing by the Guru and who had a good command of the
Persian language at once interrupted and said that the Guru and His Father,
the Great Warrior-Prophet Guru Hargobind Sahib gave a crushing defeat to the
Imperial forces of Jehangir and Shahjehan, not once but four times. The Guru
then stopped Matidas and told the Emperor that He shall show such a mastery
of the sword, the like of which the Emperor may never have seen before.
end of these discussions the Emperor looked tired and much confused. He gave
the Guru three options :
Guru declined to accept Islam or to show any miracles. It is appropriate to
quote a passage from Raja Sir Daljit Singh's book on Guru Tegh Bahadur. He
says that the chief guard of the prison came up to Guru ji and said: "I know
you are indeed a great spiritual and holy person favoured by God most high.
I see miracles taking place every day here in this prison. Why do you not
perform some such great deed in the presence of the Emperor so that he may
release you and torture you no more?" The Master replied: "My friend,
Karamaat means favour or kindness of God. His favour is not for the purpose
of show, like a juggler. Such misuse of His blessings brings His wrath."
Guru Tegh Bahadur ji declined to embrace Islam or to show miracles but
willingly accepted the third offer - that of death.