Full Timeline of the Life of Guru Teg Bahadur

I found astonishing from looking at these original sources was an event that happened which would re-write our understan...

On this 400th Prakash Divas of Guru Teg Bahadur I wanted to create a children's story that involved the Guru when he was young. With the invaluable help of Nihang Gurbaaj Singh (London) we researched historic sources for a story: Bansawli Nama, Suraj Prakash Granth and Gurbilas Patshahi 6. In this process I got interested in getting a sense of the age of the various prominent characters in Sikh history during the life of the 9th master. Below I present my timeline of Guru ji's life which states his age and the age of others at every event I could glean from history.

Before getting to the timeline I have to share something that I found astonishing from looking at these original sources was an event that happened which would re-write our understanding of Guru Gobind Singh: The Joti Jot of Guru Har Rai. 

You see, the Bansawli Nama (Kesar Singh Chhibar, 1769) is written in chronological order and it tells the story of the birth of Gobind Das BEFORE the story of Guru Har Rai's merging. It is widely accepted that Guru Har Rai left his body in 1661. This means Gobind Das was NOT born in 1666 and is at least 5 years older than mainstream thinking. 

Taking this cue I composed a timeline with this new understanding in mind. The rest of the timeline follows sikhiwiki references and the 400 years app. Again, this is not meant to be authoritative, just an attempt to give a picture in the mind.

-Age 0 (1621) Teg Bahadur is born as the youngest son of Guru Hargobind who is 29. Guru Hargobind was about age 18 with the birth of his first son, Baba Gurditta, who is now 7-8 years old. His mother is Nanki who is age 23 at this birth (married at age 15). Mata Nanki was born in Amritsar, but her family, through her father, are from Bakala where her gentle son would eventually reside

-Age 3 (1624) Future wife Gujri ji is born in Kartarpur area

-Age 5 (1626) Is said to learn reading and writing from Bhai Gurdas

-Age 6 (1627) Atal Rai, who is two years older, leaves his body 

-Age 6 (1627) Nephew Dhir Mal is born

-Many formative years go by with death and war, and his marriage:

-Age 7 (1628) First battle of Sikhi takes place near Amritsar

-Age 8 (1629) Battle of Hargobindpur

-Age 8 (1630) Guru and family move from Amritsar to Kiratpur. He lives there for the next 14 years till moving to Bakala 

-Age 8 (1630) Nephew Sri Har Rai is born in Kiratpur from father Baba Gurditta who is apparently age 17

-Age 9 (1631) Battle of Gurusar

-Age 9 (1631) Baba Buddha passes away at age of 124

-Age 11 (1632) Marries Gujri ji who is age ~9

-Age 13 (1634) During battle of Kartarpur gentle Teg Bahadur tests his steel and “wanders onto the battlefield” (Suraj Prakash)

-Age 14 (1635) Mian Mir passes away at age of 85

-Age 16 (1637) Bhai Gurdas passes away at age of 86

-Age 17 (1638) eldest brother and would be succeeding Guru, Baba Gurditta, passes away at age of 24

-Age 17-18 (1638) Guru Hargobind prophesied about Guru Gobind Singh. This incident apparently happened right after the merging of Baba Gurditta. The date of the merging is march 15th 1638. Guru Teg Bahadur incarnation is April 18th 1621, so the passing was a month before Teg Bahadur’s 18th birthday. The conversation with Mata Nanki (age 40) could have happened when he was still 17, but he was in any case closer to 18 years of age. 

-Age 22 (1643) Baba Siri Chand merges at age 149

-Age 22 (1644) Guru Hargobind (age 48) merges and appoints 14 year old Guru Har Rai successor 

-Age 23 (1644) Is said to move and live in Bakala for the next 12 years

-Huge span of time goes without significant events

-Age 35 (1656) he is sent on a several (8) year preaching tour by the direction of 26 year old Guru Har Rai. From this point on Teg Bahadur doesn't rest long in any one place. Mata Gujri ji is 32

-Age 35 (1656) Grand nephew Har Krishan is born while Teg Bahadur is touring

-Age 36-39? In these years Baba Ram Rai impresses the Delhi court and is disowned by Guru Har Rai. The next year, when he is 40, Guru Har Rai merges and passes Guruship on to Guru Har Krishan. 

-Age 40 (1661) Gobind Das is apparently born in Patna. Teg Bahadur first heard the prophecy of his son 22 years ago, when he was 18. 

A lot of the entourage, including Gujri jis brother ‘Mama’ Kirpal ji, all stayed with Gujri ji on one of early stops on the tour: Patna. 

Mata Gujri would have gotten pregnant during the travels which started 5 years prior (Bansawli Nama says that the couple prayed for 5 years and finally God answered them with a child. According to this timeline they apparently started praying for a child when the Udasis started).

Sri Teg Bahadur continues Udasi. Wherever Mata Nanki, mother of Sri Teg Bahadur, was at this time she would be age 63. She would have waited over 2 decades for the fruition of the prophecy of her grandson the great warrior blazing with light. [From Suraj Prakash: “When the 10th king was born she was filled with bliss. She remembered and meditated on the words of her husband [Guru Hargobind], the glory increased with every passing day.”] 

-Age 40 (1661) while he’s on Udasi Guru Har Rai merges. Gobind Das is less than a year old. 

-~41 (1662) receives the delayed news of 7th guru jyoti jot. Gobind Das might be 1 years old at this time. 

-Age 41 (1662) Bhikan Shah arrives in Patna while Baba Teg Bahadur is traveling

-Age 42 (1664) he meets Guru Harkrishan in Delhi apparently for the first and only time. One week later the child Guru merges. He was Guru for about 2.5 years. Gobind Rai is 3. This means that 8th, 9th and 10th Guru were all alive at the same time, 8th Guru only being a few years older than 10th.  

-Age 42 (1664) Then Teg Bahadur received Gurgaddi on April 16th 1664 which was two days before his 43rd birthday (making Gobind Das ~3 years old). 

-Age 43 (1665) Guru ji rides the horse of destiny and does a whirlwind of activity, miracles, traveling and spreading Sikhi. Many gurdwaras are founded marking the steps of the 9th Nanak. 

-Age 44 (1665) Guru purchases the land and lays the foundation stone of Chhak Nanki (Anandpur Sahib) and leaves later that same year, continuing his travels. 

-Age 45 (1665) is arrested for the first time. The charge from Aurangzeb was that only Muslims can own and train with weapons. Aurangzeb orders death penalty but is convinced to retract. Guru is kept for 1 month then released. Gobind Rai would be 4. 

-Age 45 (1666) apparently returns to and then soon leaves from Patna to preach in Dhaka on another udasi (which ends 4 years later when he is arrested a 2nd time) Gobind Rai is 5 years old when his father makes this visit. Possibly the first time he’s seen his father since being an infant? 

-Age 47 (1669) Guru reaches Kamrup and converts witches

-Age 49 (1670) Guru is arrested a 2nd time. Guru and accompanying Sikhs were released after 2.5 months. 

-Age 49 (1670) Guru ji returns to Patna. Gobind Rai would be 9 years old.

-Age 50 (1671) Preparations for the future are being made. Guru ji spends time in Patna with his 10 year old son. For the next 4 years he may be grooming his son for leadership. Begins to move to Chhak Nanki: The next Sikh headquarters

-Age 51 (1672) Gobind Das moves to Chhak Nanki at age 11. Has an extended stay in Lakhnaur on the way.

-Age 53 (1674) Bhai Ghaneya (age 25-26) meets Guru in Anandpur which is now blossoming. Gobind Das is 13.  

-Age 54 (1675) Guru is beseeched by Kashmiri pandits. Is arrested 7 months later, for a 3rd and final time, in Agra on the way to Delhi. Gobind Das inherits Guruship at age 14. He later writes in ‘apuni katha’ (bachitr natak dasam granth) that when he had ‘began to perform the duties’ his father went to the realm of angels. Guru Teg Bahadur achieves martyrdom along with Bhai Mati Das his younger brother Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dyal Das

~Mata Gujri ji was 51 when she became a widow. She lived on for another 30 years (age 81) when she oversaw the martyrdom of the Chhote Sahibzade
~Mata Nanki was 77 years old when her son was martyred. She passed away at 80, 3 years later. In that time she could witness Guru Gobind Das presiding as Guru and become a strong young man at the age of 17. Her eyes had years to behold the fulfilment of the prophecy she heard about 40 years prior.

I know while composing this timeline it brought a certain impression in the mind, I do feel closer to Guru ji from getting into these details, I hope this effort inspires you as well.

The story that inspired this research will be released tomorrow: 'The Stillness of Sri Teg Bahadur'

Dhan SatGuru

Harijot Singh Khalsa

Harijot Singh is a graduate of Miri Piri Academy. He serves as creator of SikhNet Stories. He has also authored several research pieces on Sikh history as well as offered encouraging messages through his articles.

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