Celebration of Bandi Chhor
Sikhs celebrated Bandi chhor divas all over the world on October 23 2014. It is the festival of light. Sri Amritsir sahib and all the temples around the world were beautifully decorated with lights. The first Bandi Chor was celebrated during autumn of 1619. After Guru Arjun Dev Ji was martyred for 13 years and Mughal authorities were watching young Guru Hargobind sahib ji (son of Guru Arjun Dev ji) after he constructed Akal Takht. Chandu who was jealous of guru ji since Guru Arjun Dev ji refused Chandu’s daughter’s marriage proposal for Guru Hargobind ji. Chandu always tried to mislead the emperor against guru Hargobind ji. Chandu told Mughal emperor Jahagir that Guru ji might be planning war to avenge the death of his father. After hearing this news Jahagir called Guru ji to come to Delhi to discuss about these matters. Even though jahagir had ordered the execution of his father, the guru accepted the invitation and journeyed to the emperor’s court. When emperor jahagir met guru ji he asked guru ji which religion is better Muslim or Hindu and guru ji answered that the One Lord is within both Hindus and Muslims. The Emperor was entranced by the guru’s wisdom and prepared a royal reception for him, after which he invited the young Hargobind to accompany him on his hunting expeditions. During their hunting expedition guru ji saved Jahagir from lion attack. This incident led to good friendship between guru ji and jahagir. Where on the other hand chandu shah was a rich banker and this news did not settle with him. A little while later jahagir got seriously ill and chandu sent some corrupt pandits (Hindu priests) to Jahagir to tell him that he will only get better if he gets a holy person to meditate for his good health for 40 day and there is no other fit for this precious task other than guru hargobind ji. Thus, on the emperor’s request guru ji went to Agra, Gwalior fort with couple of companions. Gwalior fort was actually a prison where threats to the state were kept. Guru ji was kept in prison along with other innocent 52 kings for two months. Guru hargobind ji did all he could do to help emperor’s good health. Although, the emperor recovered and guru ji was still there the Sikhs got worried. The ancient baba Buddha, sofie saint Mian Mir and along with more Sikhs travelled to Agra to see guru ji. Upon on their request the emperor ordered wazir khan to free guru ji, but guru ji refused to leave without the freedom of other innocent 52 kings. Whzir khan reminded the emperor that the guru had saved his life. Then emperor decided that in order to be released from the fort each prisoner has to be holding on to guru ji’s cloak. The emperor was confident that only some kings would be able to get out. The guru delighted to this challenge by having a special cloak with a very, very long train to which were tightly attached to 52 tassels. On the day of liberation 52 kings came out of jail holding on to guru ji’s cloak tassels. Upon, guru ji’s arrival at Amritsar the Sikhs welcomed guru ji with lit clay lamps and candles.
Guru Hargobind’s actions almost 400 years ago are lessons for all of us. I must ask myself that by remembering this historical event; what guru ji tried to teach us in present. What am I doing to carry on that legacy? In present “Bandi Chhor is a reminder to look beyond oneself, and help one and other. Guru ji’s message was that our actions should be beyond our own interests where they lead positive affect for our community. Guru Hargobind’s cloak symbolizes the connections with others to work toward common goals as unity. We all must free our minds from hatred, jealously and ego. We all are created by one and the very one resides within us. Let’s all lit the candle of knowledge within.