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The Ten Sikh Gurus - Guru Hargobind (1595-1644)

Painting by Nirmal Kaur KhalsaGuru Hargobind is the sixth Master in Sikh Dharma. He was born in Wadali, India and breathed his last at Kiratpur, India. His father was Guru Arjan and his mother was Mata Ganga Ji. His wives were Mata Damodri Ji, Mata Nanaki Ji, and Mata Mahan Devi Ji. He had five sons and a daughter.

After the death of Guru Arjan, the Sikh community went through a profound change. For 100 years, they had developed a deep meditative tradition founded in peace and tolerance. After the sacrifice of his father, however, Guru Hargobind recognized the need for the community to be able to defend itself. This started the martial practice of the Sikhs. Guru Hargobind became a powerful warrior and trained the Sikhs to fight.

The Sikh martial tradition, however, stayed rooted in the principles of peace and tolerance taught by the first Sikh Gurus. The Sikh warrior would only defend - never attack. In the coming centuries, in the midst of relentless religious persecution, the Sikhs would be called upon to protect the rights of all people to practice their religion freely. The Sikh warriors never started a fight. They never took the property of others. They never used force as a means to enslave people. The Sikh warriors used their strength to defend themselves against unjust attacks, and to defend those who could not defend themselves.

Guru Hargobind created the martial art of the Sikhs - called Gatka. He also built the Akal Takhat, or the Throne of the Undying One, next to the Harimandir Sahib. The throne was a statement that the Sikh community was sovereign in its spiritual identity, and was self-governing in its social/political identity. This principle came to be known as Miri Piri. It was a direct statement to the ruling Emperor of the time that the Sikhs considered no one to have higher authority in their lives than God and Guru.

Guru Hargobind fought many battles in his life to protect the fundamental human rights of the people living at that time.

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