Families of Gurus

Discussions on various aspects of Sikhi

Families of Gurus

Postby loop » Thu May 14, 2009 3:37 am

Sat Shri Akaal,

My name is Prabhjinder SIngh and i'm new to this community. I do read sikhnet forums but registered here to know something about Guru's Families. Few days back i read about Sri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji and his family.
Article never mentioned clearly that Guru ji have 3 wives. But what i saw was following..

The Guru had five sons and one daughter. They were:
Baba Gurditta was born to Mata Damodri in 1613.
Bibi Viro was born to Mata Damodri in 1615.
Baba Surj Mal was born to Mata Marwahi in 1617.
Baba Ani Rai was born to Mata Nanaki in 1618.
Baba Atal Rai was born to Mata Nanaki in 1619.
Baba Tegh Bahadur was born to Mata Nanaki in 1621.

Is this true that He had 3 wives and why? I want to know the complete story behind this. Why authors don't talk about this thing openly?
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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby KHALSA MaNNN » Thu May 14, 2009 10:27 pm

Brother yes the 6th Father had 3 wives and the story behind it is related to Shree Guru Arjun Dev Ji's Shaheedee. After listening to the bentee of Delhi's sangat, that Guru Ji should not wed his Sahibzada (Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji) to Chandu's daughter because of the ill words he used for the Guru's house and Sikhs, the 5th Father asked (in the congregation) for the hand of a Sikhs daughter for his sons marriage. Three Sikhs rose simultaneously and Guru ji said we asked for one, but all three wouldn't budge and, at that time, once a hand is offered it can't go back, and thus girl would be unwed for the rest of her life. Thus, Guru Ji just listened to what his Sikhs wanted.

listen to this katha: go to http://www.sikhee.com, go under the audio, then katha, then choose Giani Thakur Singh Ji, then Saheedi Shree Guru Arjun Dev Ji

About not talking about it openly, I don't know what you mean, nothing wrong was done; there are some moorakhs that say ill things about Guru Ji, but remember all he did was listen to us, his Sikhs.

Moderator Comment: Also see this thread
http://fateh.sikhnet.com/sikhnet/discus ... enDocument
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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby shamshersingh » Thu May 14, 2009 10:33 pm

source: http://www.sikhpride.com/old/lit/ggsjfamily.htm

"Why did Guru Gobind Singh have more than one wife? How many marriages did Guru Gobind Singh have? The wrong impression that the Guru had more than one wife was created by those writers who were ignorant of punjabi culture. Later authors accepted those writings regarding more than one marriage of the Guru and presented other important people usually had more than one wife as a symbol of their being great and superior to the common man. Guru Gobind Singh, being a true king, was justified in their eyes to have more than one wife. This is actually incorrect. In the Punjab, there are two and sometimes three big functions connected with a marriage, i.e., engagement, wedding and Muklawa. Big gatherings and singings are held at all these three functions. In many cases, engagements were held as soon as one had passed the baby stage. Even today, engagements at 8-12 years age are not uncommon in some interior parts of the country. The wedding is performed a couple of years after the engagement. After the wedding, it takes another couple of years for the bride to move in with her in-laws and live there. This is called Muklawa. Dowry and other gifts to the bride are usually given at the time of this ceremony to help her to establish a new home.

A big befitting function and other joyful activities were held at Anandpur, according to the customs, at the time of the engagement of the Guru. The bride, Mata Jeeto Ji, resided in Lahore which was the capital of the Mughal rulers, who were not on good terms with the Gurus. When the time for the marriage ceremony came, it was not considered desirable for the Guru to go to Lahore along with Sikhs in large numbers. Furthermore, it would involve a lot of inconvenience to the Sangat, young and old, who wished to witness the marriage of the Guru. Therefore, as mentioned in the Sikh chronicles, Lahore was 'brought' to Anandpur Sahib for the marriage instead of the Guru going to Lahore. A scenic place, a couple of miles to the north of Anandpur was developed into a nice camp for the marriage. This place was named Guru Ka Lahore. People going to Anandpur visit this place as well. The bride was brought to this place by her parents and the marriage was celebrated with a very huge gathering attending the ceremony.

The two elaborate functions, one at the time of engagement and the other at the time of the marriage of the Guru, gave the outside observers the impression of two marriages. They had the reason to feel like that because a second name was also there, i.e., Mata Sundari Ji. After the marriage, there is a custom in the Punjab to give a new affectionate name to the bride by her in-laws. Mata Jeeto Ji because of her fine features and good looks, was named Sundari (beautiful) by the Guru's mother. The two names and two functions gave a cause to the outsiders to believe that the Guru had two wives. In fact, the Guru had one wife with two names as explained above.

There is one more very important function in the life of the Guru and the Sikhs. It took place in 1699 when the Guru founded the Khalsa Panth. For preparation of Amrit, he took a Khanda and a Bata (bowl) and asked Mata Sahib Kaur to bring Patasas (puffed sugar) for adding to the water in the Bata. Thus, Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Sahib Kaur jointly particpated in preparing Amrit. Along with firmness like steel, sweetness is another great character of the Khalsa, gifted respectively by Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Sahib Kaur to them. Whereas Guru Gobind Singh is recognized as the spiritual father of the Khalsa, Mata Sahib Kaur is recognized as the spiritual mother of the Khalsa.

Again, people not conversant with the Amrit ceremony mistakenly assume that Mata Sahib Kaur was the wife of Guru Gobind Singh. As Guru Gobind Singh is the spiritual father but not the physical father of the khalsa, Mata Sahib Kaur is the spiritual mother of the Khalsa but not the physical wife of the Guru Gobind Singh. Because of their ignorance of the Punjabi culture and the Amrit ceremony, some writers mistook these three names of the women in the life of Guru Gobind Singh as the names of three wives. Another reason for this misunderstanding is that the parents of Mata Sahib Kaur had decided to marry her to Guru Gobind Singh. When the proposal was brought for discussion at Anandpur, the Guru said that he could not have another wife because he was already married. The dilemma before the parents of the girl was that, the proposal having become public, no Sikh would be willing to marry her. The Guru agreed for her stay at Anandpur but without accepting her as is wife. The question arose, as every woman desires to have a child, how she could have one without being married. The Guru said, "She will be the mother of a great son who will live forever and be known all over the world." The people understood the hidden meaning of his statement only after the Guru associated Mata Sahib Kaur with preparing Amrit by bringing Patasas. It is, therefore, ignorant to consider Mata Sahib Kaur as the worldly wife of Guru Gobind Singh."
"Live with pride, or die for your faith" - Sant Jarnil Singh Ji Khalsa
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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby Serjinder Singh » Fri May 15, 2009 7:15 am

Sat Sri Akal

One of the tenth Guru ji's wives was Mata Jito ji who passed away on 6th Poh (19 December ), Sambat 1757 (1701 AD ?) as per Guru Kian Sakhian (Sakhi 72, page 142, Guru Kian Sakhian, Piara Singh Padam, Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2003). She was cremated at Agampur, near Anandpur. A Dehura or Gurdwara still stands there to mark the site. It was Mata Jito ji whose wedding ceremony was held at Guru Ka Lahore not Mata Sundari ji. Mata Jito ji was the mother of Sahibzadas Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh.

Mata Sundari ji is another famous wife of tenth Guruji that was the first wife of tenth Guru ji prior to Mata Jito ji. She lived upto 1747 AD. She was guiding Khalsa after tenth Guru ji all these forty years after Guruji, and was mother of Sahibzada Ajit Singh. There are several Hukamnamas available that she sent to prominent Sikhs from time to time during the period of her guidance to the Sikhs.

If as per Guru Kian Sakhian based on the records of the Bhats in their Vahis (diaries) tenth Guru ji cremated Mata Jito ji at Agampur then surely Mata Sundari must be another person different from Mata Jito ji who lived upto 1747 and continued writing to Sikhs.

Mata Sahib Devan (not Sahib Kaur, she wrote her name in her letters to Khalsa as Sahib Devi) was known as Kanvara Dola or the virgin bride. Guru ji had declined to formally wed her but her parents dedicated her to stay and serve Guru ji and Khalsa that she continued duing till 1830's. Several of her letters or Hukamnamas are also available. A Gurdwara in her name as Gurdwara Mata Sahib Devan exists at Hazoor Sahib, Nander.

Regarding the pouring Patashas in preparation of Amrit on 31 March 1699 by Mata Sahib Devan it is a bit confusing because the date given for her arrival with her parents at Anandpur and requesting Guru ji to marry her is Sawan 6 (21 July), Sambat 1758 (long after the Vaisakhi of 1699 AD).(Gobind Sagar, Piara Singh Padam, Singh Brothers, Amritsar, 2000, page 30)

We must keep in mind that during Guru ji's time and later during 18th century it wasn's considered wrong for males to have more than one wife. Even upto 1954 it was seen as quite normal for a husband to marry again if the first wife was unable to conceive or to produce a male heir.It was only after 1954 when the Indian government passed Hindu Code Bill the practice of polgamy was made illegal and we do not see multiple marriages of males in India.

Two marriages of Fifth Guru ji

We find a less known entry by Kesar Singh Chibber mentioning in his BansavaliNama Dasaan Patshahian Ka (Chapter 5, stanzas 16 - 21) that fifth Guru ji had a first wife named Ramdevi. She was daily taunted by Pirthi Chand's wife by saying, "Carry on enjoying Guruship and amassing wealth. Since you don't have any son or daughter to carry on the line further, everything shall come to us." Mata Ramdevi had a great yearning for a son and would pray to Guru ji everyday, "True King, you see, I cannot conceive at all." So, she suggested her husband to marry again. Mata suggested to the sikhs if any of them had a daughter for offering Sahib (Guru ji) for wedding. There was a Sikh named Rikh Rao who mentioned a Sikh named Sangat Rao who had two daughters. Mata called him and he arrived with the formal offer of wedding. A brahmin priest was called and appropriated date for wedding decided. Thus Sahib (Guru ji) got this marriage carried out. The two sisters were named Ganga and Jamuna. Guru ji let Jamuna go and agreet to wed the elder Ganga. On 6th Harr Sambat 1646 ( 6th July 1589 AD) Mata Ganga arrived riding a planquin.

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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby KaurPrincess » Fri May 15, 2009 10:35 am

i thought that it's wrong to marry more than once unless they pass away or you have to divorce or something???
all the guru ji's only had one wife.
although they never contradicted other cultures, in sikh culture, you should only have one wife/husband.
guru ji would never contradict his own teachings.
its because men and women are equal in sikhism, and it wouldn't be equal if a man had three wives or somthing!
guru gobind singh ji had one wife. her name was mata jito ji, but because she was so beautiful, mata gujri ji (10th guru ji's mother) started calling her sundri. after taking amrit, she was known as mata sahib kaur.
just to make it clear =)

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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby Serjinder Singh » Fri May 15, 2009 2:26 pm

in sikh culture, you should only have one wife/husband.
guru ji would never contradict his own teachings.
its because men and women are equal in sikhism, and it wouldn't be equal if a man had three wives or somthing!


I feel we began believing this notion more and more strongly under British educational influence in later part of nineteenth century and Singh Sabha propagated it. That was why one major push by Singh Sabha was to open girls schools. And to push for right of females to receive Khande di pahul. Prior to that females were given only Karad di pahul by just one sikh.

There is a general tendency to put words and notions into Guru ji's mouth without any reference as moderator ji mentioned above and say Guru ji believed in this or that without any evidence to support.

It is difficult to find any clear reference to polygamy being not acceptable, even though denigrating females are strongly condemned as in Asa di vaar "So kiun manda akhiye jo jamme rajaan." This is not the same thing as saying a male sikh should have only one wife. But it is difficult to find anything about only one wife in Sikh literature.

Although, of course, we all educated with western values are strongly adherents and believers of one husband one wife. Yet the times during sixteenth to nineteenth centuries were not as are now or later part of twentieth century.

May be someone could thow light on this. I have been unable to trace any view on polygamy.

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Re: Families of Gurus

Postby Punjabi G » Sun May 17, 2009 12:14 am

It's funny that every single time I come across this topic, there is either an addition to the list of Guru Sahib who had more than one marriage or there is an addition to the number of wives somehwere! So far, I have not been able to find any good account which can settle this often asked question once and for all. The latest name added to the list is Guru Arjan Dev ji, as Serjinder Singh Ji narrated from Bansavalinama.

First of all, Bansavalinama itself (like many other old texts) has questionable contents such as Guru Gobind Singh Ji worshipping a devi and putting Khalsa at her feet among other things. So, that source itself is not very valid to accept that Guru Arjan Dev Ji had two wives. Second, we have all heard of Sakhi of Mata Ganga ji going to Baba Budha ji for a blessing for a child. Therefore, it doesn't make sense that Guru Arjan Sahib would ask Mata Ganga ji to go to baba Budha ji for a blessing but not his first wife Ram Devi. Another account I have read is that Guru Arjan Dev ji married Mata Ganga ji after his first wife Ram Devi passed away. Even that account does not provide whole lot of information about Ram Devi or if indeed she was married to Guru Arjan Sahib. Mahankosh by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha does not have anything to say about Ram Devi either.

Second Guru Sahib said to have multiple wives is Guru Har Rai Sahib. This one is even more questionable as number of wives is said to be anywhere from 1, 3, 4 to even 8! Some "historians" state that 7 of them were sisters and Guru Sahib married them same day when he was 11 years old! Needless to say that's pretty absurd no matter how we look at it. Once again, Kesar Singh in Bansavalinama states that Ram Rai, eldest son of Guru Har Rai ji was born to Punjab Kaur, 2nd wife of Gur Har Rai ji. That statement is incorrect as well. Punjab Kaur was not married to Guru Har Rai ji but instead was the wife of his son Ram Rai. Her smadh still exists.

Third Guru ji who is said to have more than one wife is Guru Hargobind Sahib. Even in this case, there is no agreement betseen the scholars or historians. Mcleod in Historical Dictionary of Sikhism states 3 wives Mahadevi, Nanaki and Damodri. But some other accounts state 2 wives and then there is also the similar story of a name change after the marriage per traditions of the time.

Finally, Guru Gobind Singh Ji is also said to have 3 wives. As Serjinder Singh ji stated, Mata Sahib Devan is said to be the spiritual mother and Mata Jeeto Ji and Mata Sundri Ji are said to be his two wives. Once again we hear the story of name change custom but then how do you explain two separate places of their cremations?

All, I can say is that there are still many stories circling around the marriages of Guru Sahib and we still don't have accurate answers. Maybe that's why some articles don't want to include this. As Serjinder Singh Ji stated, having mroe then one wife was the custom prevalent and should be looked within that timeframe if it was true. But regardless, it would be great to get some accurate answers either way.
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