Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji ( 19 June 1595 to 3 March 1644)
Guru Hargobind revered as the sixth Nanak, was the sixth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He had become Guru a the young age of eleven, after the execution of his father, Guru Arjan, by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
Hargobind was born in 1595 in Wadali Guru, a village 7 km west of Amritsar, the only son of Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru. He suffered from smallpox as a child and survived a poisoning attempt by an uncle, as well as another attempt on his life, when a cobra was thrown at him. He studied religious texts with Bhai Gurdas and trained in swordsmanship and archery with Baba Budda.
On 25 May 1606 Guru Arjan selected Hargobind as his successor and instructed his son to start a military tradition to protect the Sikh people and always keep himself surrounded by armed Sikhs for protection. Shortly afterwards, Guru Arjan was arrested, tortured and killed by order of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, Guru Hargobind’s succession ceremony took place on 24 June 1606. He put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority and the other, his temporal authority. He followed his martyred father’s advice and always kept himself surrounded by armed Sikhs for protection. The number fifty two was special in his life, and his retinue consisted of fifty two armed men. He thus founded the military tradition in the Sikh faith.
Guru Hargobind and Samarth Ramdas
According to Sikh tradition based on an old Punjabi manuscript Punjab Sakhian, Samarth Ramdas met Guru Hargobind at Srinagar in the Garhval hills. The meeting, corroborated in a Marathi source, Ramdas Swami’s Bakhar, by Hanumant Swami, written in 1793, probably took place in the early 1630’s during Samarth Ramdas’s pilgrimage travels in the north and Guru Hargobind had just returned from a hunting excursion. He was fully armed and rode a horse. “I had heard that you occupied the Gaddi of Guru Nanak”, said the Maratha saint Ramdas, and asked what sort of sadhuwas he. Guru Hargobind replied, “Internally a hermit, and externally a prince. Arms mean protection to the poor and destruction of the tyrant. Baba Nanak had not renounced the world but had renounced Maya.