Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was born in June 1595 in the household of Mata Ganga Ji and Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. It was during the reign Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji that the Sikhs began to militarise leading to the Akalis, who were the predecessors of the contemporary Nihangs.
It was with the blessing of Baba Budha Ji that Sri Guru Hargobind Ji took birth. Mata Ganga Ji went to Baba Budha Ji to receive the boon of a son. Mata Ganga Ji had her helpers prepare a meal and led a grand procession on chariot to see Baba Budha Ji. When she asked Baba Budha Ji for a son, the great Sikh replied that he was a humble moral unable to grant divine blessing. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji advised Mata Ganga Ji to again visit Baba Budha Ji but this time perform the duties herself. She prepared a meal with her own hands and walked barefoot to the residence of Baba Budha Ji. Although all Sikhs acknowledge that the Guru is the giver of all treasures, it would appear that the reason Mata Ganga Ji was told by Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji to receive the blessing of Baba Budha Ji was due to Baba Budha Ji’s imminent link with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. As it was Baba Budha Ji who carried out the service of bestowing the Guru-ship upon the Sikh Gurus, by serving Baba Budha Ji Mata Ganga Ji and Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji were able to seek the blessing of the previous Gurus for the birth of their son. Having been pleased by the effort of Mata Ganga Ji upon her second efforts, Baba Budha Ji assured her that she would receive a son who would be pleasing to her heart, he also crushed an onion brought to him with his meal and proclaimed that as this onion had been crushed, so too would her son crush the heads of those who attacked him.
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji ensured that their son received a thorough education in traditional arts and sciences of India, including the art of warfare. The trusted Sikhs Baba Budha Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji, who was the paternal uncle of the fifth Guru, were responsible for the education of the young prince. Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was also trained in the art of Shastarvidiya by Baba Budha Ji who had received its knowledge from Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. S.J.S Pall writes that;
‘The Guru had received considerable martial training from Baba Budha Ji, the most venerated Sikh during the period of first six Gurus.’ (The Beloved Forces of the Guru, page 25)
The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru Ji’s life:
1. Introduced martial arts and weapons training and created a standing Military force for the defence of the masses from tyrant rule.
2. Carried 2 swords of Miri and Piri : “Temporal Power” and “Spiritual Power”.
3. Built Sri Akal Takht Sahib (in front of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar) in 1608 – which is now one of five Takhats (Seats of Power) of the Sikh Religion. Akal Takhat (Punjabi: ਅਕਾਲ ਤਖ਼ਤ, Akāl Taḵẖt) means the Throne of the Immortal and is the highest political institution of the Sikhs.
4. Founded the city of Kiratpur in District Rupnagar, (old name Ropar), Punjab
5. Held in the fort of Gwalior for one year, obstensibly to pray for the recovery of the ill Emperor Jahangir (the Guru had willingly gone to the fort), when released he refused to leave unless 52 imprisoned Hindu Rajas were freed as well. Guru Sahib earned their freedom by turning the Emperor’s own words against him. To mark this occasion the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chorr Divas and Deepa wali to celebrate his return to Amritsar.
6. First Sikh Guru (after 5 predecessors) to engage in warfare, fighting and winning 4 defensive battles with Mughal forces.