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This is a dual article. The first half is a discussion of the ages of the personalities featured in the story. The second half is the translations and historical source which everyone is welcome to read in the original Braj with Punjabi translation. 

ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਖੀ | Guru Hargobind & Spiritual Power

While making the animation the question arose what age would the Sikhs, and other characters involved, have been. The following is not an authoritative answer but is our estimation for the purpose of this project:

sketch 1 Jaitha.jpg

Bhai Jaitha we don't know when he was born but there is a gurdwara commemorating his birth place in Sidhwan village in Tarn Taran district. We know that not only was a general in the army of Guru Hargobind, but his service to Gurus goes back to Guru Ram Das where he partook in the seva of digging Amrit sarovar and the construction of Harimandir Sahib. The above source as well as this one states that Bhai Sahib became shaheed in the 2nd battle in Sikh history, battle of Hargobindpur, in 1634.  To estimate his age we look at the foundation of Harimandir Sahib which is known to have been inaugurated in 1577. This makes a span of 57 years between when he helped the digging and his martyrdom. Due to this large span let's suppose he was very young while enacting the kar seva, say age of 10, that would make him 67 at age of shaheedi. If he was 15 when digging he would have lasted till age 72 making him a very senior general and shaheed with either estimation.  Either age is impressive as history writes that in his final battle he killed an opposing general by grabbing the legs and flailing the head to the ground. This story happens at the Bandi Chhor event that is said to be either 1611 or 1619. This makes Bandi Chhor 34-42 years after Amritsar digging. The very youngest he could be imagined during this story would be 44 years old (being 10 during the digging, and using the earlier date for Bandi Chhor) to 57 years old (using the later date for Bandi Chhor and supposing he was 15 during digging). We split the difference and aimed for age 50. 

Baba Biddi Chand was among Guru Arjan Dev's panj and would likely be present during this story as well. With a birth year of 1579 he would have been between 32 to 40 years old at this time. However, he was not quoted in the history text so he was not specifically added to this story. 

sketch 2 Pirana.jpg

Bhai Piranha ji apparently also helped dig the sarovar as a disciple of Guru Arjan Dev. Like Bhai Jetha he accompanied Guru Arjan Dev to Lahore, related the news of the martyrdom to the 6th Guru, went on to become a general in the first Sikh army and also became shahid (but 13 years earlier than Bhai Jetha) during the first battle of Sikh history at Amritsar. The two Bhai Sahibs were mutually present during these events and thus could very well have been the same age. Because Pirana ji died 13 years earlier it is easier to imagine him being slightly older so instead of 50 at the time we aimed for 55

sketch 3 Bridh.jpg

Baba Buddha ji was known to be born in 1506 and would have been 105 if we use the 1611 date for Bandi Chhor and 113 years old if we use the 1619 date. He passed away in 1631, a few years before the 2nd battle and the shaheedi of Bhai Pirana, at the age of 125. 

Emperor Jahangir would be in his mid 40's at the time. With his birth in 1569 and Bandi Chhor at 1611 or 1619 we have an age range of 42 to 50 years old. 

sketch 4 Guru.jpg

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji's age is the most difficult to estimate. It is generally accepted that Guru was age 11 when his father obtained shaheedi and he received Gurgaddi. What is not as clear is how much time after becoming Guru did he eventually also travel to Lahore and then be put in Gwalior. Some put the date of Bandi Chhor say that was only 3 years later (making him 14 years old) while some say it was 5 years later (making him 16) and others have 12 years later making him 24 at the time. Not as an authoritative stance, but for the purpose of telling this story we have aimed to have Guru be around age 11 when hearing the news of his father and a late teen during the Bandi Chhor event.  


Additionally, here are the notes we used from the original source, Suraj Prakash Granth, to create this story. This can be found in its original Braj with Punjabi translation on pdf page 165 here. 

This chapter is called 'Teachings to Jaitha'. Translation summaries were made with the help of Nihang Gurbaaj Singh: 

Jahangir miracles tigers superstition Guru Hargobind Bandi Chhor needs healers.jpg

-The emperor again woken up in the middle of the night by two tigers on either side of him (in a previous chapter the two tigers appeared at his bed side and he instinctively called out to the Guru to save himself). In the same way he called out to Guru, again Guru used two scarves to redirect the tigers. The frightful event went on for 1.5 hours and the tigers finally told him, “That True Guru who has saved, why have you forgotten about him? In the night you get scared and call to him, but during the day you keep him far away. If you don’t call him out of prison your death will come soon.” and they disappeared. 

-He was scared and confused. During his next council he said that all their advice with cages, chains and guards didn’t help (in the previous chapter the emperor put an iron cage around his bed to protect against the tigers), but remembering the Guru saved him, 'If not for him I will be eaten by the tigers.'

-The astrologers told him its some kind of illness and that he needed to consult with doctors. All the doctors came and found nothing wrong in his pulse and didn’t understand his story about the tigers. 

Jahangir healer disguise miracle Bhai Jaitha Guru Hargobind Bandi Chhor.jpg

- Jaitha dressed up as a healer and offers his advice. Jaitha doesn’t take his pulse, “A real healer can tell everything just by looking at your face, that’s how good my teacher is. I already know what’s wrong, but we have to talk alone. I can give you a secret mantra but it won’t work if anyone else hears about it." 

-In private Jaitha said that he doesn’t have a sickness but in the night something that really upsets you. The emperor agreed. Jaitha gave more details, ‘Two tigers come and sit on either side of you. But Guru Hargobind saves you, otherwise the two tigers would have already killed you. Then the tigers tell you to think about the Guru. Why don’t you think about the solution the tigers have given you!?' 

-Janagir affirms he was right about everything. Jaitha tells him that if the tigers weren’t clear enough I will tell you what to do. “Yes, I know you speak the truth! Help me to understand what the tigers are saying!” 

-Jaitha says, “You sent the Guru to Gwalior, it’s been more than 40 days. So, you have lied to the Guru, and the fear you have is the result of your lies. If you don’t send for the Guru’s release today, the tigers won’t be stopped and you will be killed. Bow to the direction of the Guru, ask for forgiveness for forgetting your promise. Get the Guru’s darshan and bow to him in person. Don’t delay and don’t tell anyone about this.”

Jahangir makes order.jpg

-Jahangir recognized this was the truth and bowed to Jaitha, “I will give you a handsome reward for this!” “I will not take any money until I receive bliss, and that will only happen when I see the Guru.” 

-Jahangir tells his ministers, “Someone go without delay, bow to the Guru, give him offerings and respect and kindly ask him to bless us in the court with his darshan.” Then he faced the direction of the Guru and said, “Guru Hargobind please forgive me for my faults. I am under your sanctuary.” Then he thought to himself, “If this doesn’t work then the tigers will definitely kill me!” 

Guru Hargobind Gwalior Bhai Jaitha miracle power of Gurus House cup.jpg

-Jaitha then went to get Guru’s darshan and Guru knew what was going on, “Jetha, get up, go fill this pot up at the Jamuna river.” He did so and brought the water back. Guru said, “Now put the water back in the river.” Jetha was confused but obeyed. Then Guru asked “When you filled the pot, did the river decrease at all? And when you put the water back in, did the river increase in size?” He replied that the river didn’t change. Guru said, “The power of the Guru’s house is always flowing like a river. The river is always full, cannot be increased or decreased.” 

Bhai Jaitha river cup miracle Gurus power shakti spiritual power.jpg

-Guru continued, “You have gotten a small pot of power from your faithful service. But even with that little bit you decided to show off using miracle powers. Doesn’t the Guru’s house, from where you got your power, also have the same power? Think in your heart. Who told you to go to the emperor and show off the miracle? You require a punishment, you want to act outside Guru’s permission.” 

-Jaitha said, “I have listened and understood your words. There is no difference between you and Baba Buddha, it was from his command, and from seeing the pain of the sangat. It was for all the Gursikhs to be happy and without worry. I have not done this for myself, but as you please I accept any punishment.” 

Bhai Jaitha Guru Hargobind Bandi Chhor miracle spiritual power of a river.jpg

-Baba ji chimed in, “We listened to the command of Mata Ganga ji. She told us to do whatever it takes to get you out. She was afraid of the same fate as your father, that he didn’t use his power. So I came here with haste, she said if I don’t free you my trip is a waste. Now, whatever you think is best, we will do it.” 

-Guru said, “If Baba Buddha and Mata ji have given the go ahead, what can I do… still it’s not the right way. The greatest glory is to have power and not use it. One must bear the unbearable… saints praise those who obey the Divine’s Will.


Harijot Singh Khalsa

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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