Saturday, January 21, 2017

Self-Criticism

The highlight of my week was getting to listen to hours of katha while I was driving. In one of the kathas I heard (akath kathas from mysimran.info), Simar Singh explains that if you forget to do your simran, instead of feeling guilty just say okay now I remember, and do it. This was a light-bulb moment for me because I’ve been struggling a lot with that lately and it’s been getting in the way of being able to do more simran. I find in the winter, the work days feel like they last forever. By the time I go to bed, I usually start to feel bad about how little I got done outside of work. I find myself wasting quite a bit of time thinking about what I should have been doing (for example thinking about how I should have woken up earlier to do prayers), instead of actually just spending the time I do have in the evening. After I absorbed what he said, I decided to implement it. So yesterday every time I was at work and I remembered to do my simran, instead of feeling bad about not having done more, I just remembered God in that moment. At lunch time, I told myself it’s okay if my thoughts don’t stop entirely but I’m going to try to reduce them at least. I sat alone and closed my eyes, and I started doing simran out loud. I found myself so relaxed that I almost fell asleep! Every time I lost focus, I didn’t feel bad about it or keep dwelling on it, I just simply refocused on remembering again. I found it really helped me in maximizing the time I have.

Often times we are too hard on ourselves and we expect too much from ourselves right away. I’ve often heard people being self-critical about their lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride, to the point that all they can think about is the past. They feel so bad about themselves that they aren’t able to use THIS moment. That’s why I think it’s important to remind ourselves just not to be so self-critical, and to remember that you are learning and it’s okay!!! If we constantly feel bad about simply having thoughts then we won’t be able to move into actually using the present moment to practice simran and learn from Gurbani. We’ll be miserable. Simar pointed out in another katha that it takes practice to sit for long periods, to keep your eyes closed, to keep your attention on your voice. It doesn’t come right away. So just keep practicing a little bit each day and be kind to yourself (and understanding of other people’s life journeys too of course).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pressure to Fit In

I’ve spent the week living with complete strangers in the middle of nowhere. It was a very new experience for me, but it gave me lots of time to listen to kathas and do some reflections (especially thinking about how much I love Prince George!). I decided to write about my struggle with finding my place in medical school.

When I first got into medicine, I felt like I didn’t fit in. I was confident that I was going into the right career, but I didn’t feel that I was on the same page as the other students. Many were true type A personalities, and the expectation was that I had the same mindset as them. I’d never been in school with so many competitive people. All top students crammed into one class. They were quick to deny their competitiveness and jealousy, because they knew these were perceived as bad qualities, but the reality was different. I was afraid I would be perceived as the weak link and get stepped on. In small group discussions where we were supposed to talk about our feelings and our lives, I’d often feel like an outsider. It was as if everything I said was getting misinterpreted. People struggled to relate to the most simple things like family being very important to me, and missing them because they had moved away. I couldn’t understand why people were unable to see me as I am, and what I was doing wrong. Since I was living alone and didn’t have any time for friends outside medicine, I was pretty isolated. The only people that would see me in the day were people that didn’t understand who I am, and what I’m about.

When I started working in the hospital as part of my training, it felt more and more like I was being forced into a box that I simply didn’t fit into. For example, my life is not just about work. I know I won’t reach God living at my job 24/7. Of course I knew I would have to make sacrifices for my training, and I was willing to do that because the certainty I was in the right career deepend with each patient interaction. What I didn’t realize was that this was a LIFE-LONG expectation that I put my work before anything else; that for the rest of my life I’m supposed to put my loved ones and my spiritual life behind my job. This is what everyone else had done and was what I was supposed to do too. Frequently, I was told that whatever I was required to do was in my best interest even if it was harmful to me. I was told that going to work while I was sick was necessary because it was all for MY benefit. I remember in particular one night staying up to study until 2 am and showing up at work 7 am. I was told that I am not making an effort in my studying and I am not working hard enough. Here I was, having given up basic necessities like sleep and health, and I was told I was lazy. I was stuck in an environment where people not only didn’t see me for who I am but didn’t value me. The more I worked, the more I realized that who I am conflicts with who I am training to be. I wanted to be a well-balanced, compassionate, caring doctor who takes the time to listen. My training valued emotional detachment, fast work and ego. Each day felt like a rejection of me, and I started to think that maybe I don’t belong.

I started spending a significant portion of time in my training trying to shake people’s false images of who I am and who I am assumed to be. I tried to prove myself. I tried to show I wasn’t sheltered, reserved, just a pretty face. It seemed that no matter what I did, people still came in saying things like “your English is pretty good, where are you from.” (This individual, who had literally just met me said my parents must be dictators and when I would be married I would be a slave to my husband’s parents because that’s just how it is). I tried to fight the assumptions and stereotypes, the racism, the sexism, but I got tired of the constant battle. It drove me crazy to feel like the only person who saw the injustices I saw when a doctor didn’t think that mental illness existed, or thought that certain groups of people in society don’t deserve the care that others do. I started to feel like I was wrong about everything. Wrong for refusing to become a robotic workaholic, wrong for caring too much. It seemed like I simply saw the world wrong, like I was walking around in a blue shirt but everyone was saying it was red. Too many times I got sucked into the trap of doubting myself and focusing on what others thought of me.

I’ve realized that when we focus on proving things to other people- even if it’s your boss, it makes your life about other people. This applies even to when you are trying to “prove them wrong.” This is my example of when that went wrong for me. I spent a long time considering a particular specialty and a few months ago I realized my heart lies in family medicine. I couldn’t admit it though. I had been told by so many times that as a woman, I MUST become a family doctor, not a specialist. It made me angry, and I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that as a female minority, yes I can successfully do whatever I want and be a specialist. You can’t stop me. But I didn’t want to do a specialty anymore. If I ruined my own life trying to prove other people wrong, I would be miserable forever for nothing. It’s not my lens that needs to be changed, it’s theirs and its not my responsibility to fix it! When other people don’t recognize you for who you are, when they don’t acknowledge your story, when they twist your story, at the end of the day it isn’t you. It took me a really long time to be able to understand this properly and realize that if they aren’t able to listen and relate, it’s because they are lacking the skills to be able to do that, not because there is something wrong with me.

So what did I take away from my experiences? Keep fighting and don’t give up. Find people who support you in achieving that. It has taken me a really long time to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay if I don’t share the same ideals as my colleagues and if I don’t fit into the culture of medicine. I don’t value the same things they do, and I don’t like the culture of medicine. I want to work to change that. At the end of the day I’m trying to re-focus on my own story, and not veer into the wrong direction because everyone else is telling me to. It is extremely difficult to resist that pressure just like it’s hard for a person whose friends and family all drink alcohol, not to take a drink. Environment influences us strongly, so if you are being told you are something you aren’t, its hard not to believe it. What’s really helped me the most has just been finding the right sangat. That in itself was hard and it took two years. The first time I met someone who just “got me” it was really comforting. I felt so blessed. I didn’t have to keep explaining myself and what I’ve been through. I was believed. Getting through this has been about finding people who remind me what real compassion and empathy means, and what it means to be a Sikh. People who share my values, and remind me what’s right and wrong. It's a rare couple of people who have been able to play this role in my life, the type of people who can take my anxiety and stress about what other people have said about me and remind me how to re-channel my energy. In Gurbani it says “If you wish to swim across the water, then consult those who know how to swim.” I just think to myself, are the people that are telling me to stop caring so much, that I don’t belong in medicine, people who know how to swim? Do I desire to be like them? No. I don’t need someone who is drowning to teach me how to swim. So it’s really helped me to have people reminding me of what’s real and important in life, and how not to lose the qualities that make me who I am under the pressure of my environment. We've all experienced pressure to change ourselves, and it can be really hard to resist. Next time I get caught up in the cascade of thoughts trying to prove myself, I’m going to use the tools I have in my toolbox to remind myself of what’s true and what is false: simran, Gurbani, and Sangat with people who are on that path. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

5 Thieves


I guess I've been doing more art than writing the last little while! I'll try to get back to writing again soon. I have such a hard time focusing on simran when I am away from home and/or without sangat. The 5 win again and again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Live from Patna Sahib

Live Asa Di Vaar happening now from Patna Sahib for the 350th Prakash Divas of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It can be viewed via sikhnet.com or Sikhnet's Facebook page.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy Prakash Divas! Celebrating Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday

This upcoming week we will celebrate the 350th Anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Birth. There will be programs every evening at the Gurdwara Sahib.

Our 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and Mata Gurjri Ji. He was born December 22, 1666 at Patna Sahib. His early education in Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit and Persian was in Anandpur Sahib. Guru Tegh Bahadur’s shaheedi occurred when Gobind Rai was only 9 years old. He had not hesitated in telling his father to make this important sacrifice-“None could be worthier than you, father to make a supreme sacrifice.” Guru Ji went on to write great works such as Jaap Sahib and Chaupai Sahib which we read in our daily prayers. Guru Ji was married to Mata Jito (also known as Sundari) and Mata Sahib Devan (the mother of Khalsa).

It is Guru Gobind Singh Ji who created the Khalsa in 1699, and this is celebrated on Vaisakhi every year. Thus came the image of the Sikh you see today, with the 5 symbols of faith (Kesh, Kangha, Kara, Kirpan, Kacchera) and ready to give their life to defend the innocent at any time. Guru Ji writes in the Zafarnama “When all other means have failed, it is but lawful to take to the sword.” The Rajput chiefs of Silvalik hills were disturbed by the formation of the Khalsa as the Sikhs did not believe in their system of discrimination based on caste. They felt threatened and tried to force Guru Ji out of Anandpur Sahib, but were unsuccessful for five years. They got help from Emperor Aurangzeb and in 1705, he promised the Sikhs a safe exit if they left Anadpur Sahib. As discussed in previous posts about the history of the Chaar Sahibzaade, the Mughals did not fulfill their promise. Many Sikhs, including Guru Ji’s four sons, Ajit Singh Ji, Jujhar Singh Ji, Zorawar Singh Ji and Fateh Singh Ji were martyred. Many manuscripts were lost while trying to cross the Sarsa river.

Guru Ji spent time in Dina where he received a letter from Aurangzeb asking him to come to Deccan to meet him, however Guru Ji rejected his offer and wrote him the Zafarnama in response, delivered to Auranzeb by Daya Singh and Dharam Singh. In the battle of Muktsar on December 29, 1705, Guru Ji, Mai Bhago, and 40 Sikhs who had previously deserted the Guru Ji, faced the Mughal army led by Wazir Khan. These 40 became known as the 40 Mukhte (saved ones). Guru Ji spent 9 months at Damdama Sahibn (Talvandi Sabo) finishing the Sri Guru Sahib Ji. It is said that the Zafarnama touched Aurangzeb and he invited Guru Ji for a meeting, however Guru Ji had already left for the south. Guru Ji helped Bahadur Shah gain the throne after the death of Aurangzeb. Nawab Wazir Khan ordered the murder of the Guru Ji to be carried out by Jamshed Kahn and Wasil Beg. One of them stabbed Guru Ji, however Guru Ji killed the attacker. With the help of the Emperor’s surgeon, he was on the path to recovery. Several days later the wound burst open and started bleeding, but was again treated. Knowing that these were his last days, Guru Ji declared the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as his successor.
 
Guru Ji showed us what it means to overcome all odds and fight against injustice. Despite the martyrdom of his parents and children, and many many other Sikhs, all of which he considered his family, he stayed committed to his purpose in life and didn’t lose hope. He served as a brave and courageous warrior as well as a saint. May we remember Guru Ji’s contributions to our history as we celebrate the Prakash Divas of Guru Gobind Singh Ji!

References

Photos

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year!!!

I wish everyone lasting love, peace and contentment for this new year. Let us spend this year focused on the purpose of our life in the marriage (union) of the soul-bride with God. Let us overcome the 5 thieves (kaam, krodh, lob, moh, hankaar) by using the 5 weapons (compassion, truth, inner contentment, humility and love) to win this game of life. If we do simran and focus on our voice, we will start to hear the Divine Word (Naam). If we listen to Naam we will get Jot of the Mind, and with God's grace we will unite with Him. May we turn to Guru Ji for guidance on this path to God and answers to our questions. 

Here’s a shabad about the union of the soul-bride with God. 
 “I am not stained by only one sin, that could be washed clean by virtue. 
My Husband Lord is awake, while I sleep through the entire night of my life. 
In this way, how can I become dear to my Husband Lord?
My Husband Lord remains awake, while I sleep through the entire night of my life. 
With hope and desire, I approach his Bed,
But I do not know whether He will be pleased with me or not.
How do I know what will happen to me, O my mother?
Without the Blessed Vision of the Lord’s Darshan I cannot survive.
I have not tasted His Love, and my thirst is not quenched.
My beautiful youth has run away, and now I, the soul-bride, repent and regret. 
Even now, I am held by hope and desire.
I am depressed; I have no hope at all.
She overcomes her egotism, and adorns herself; 
The Husband Lord now ravishes and enjoys the soul-bride on His Bed.
Then, O Nanak, the bride becomes pleasing to the Mind of her Husband Lord;
She sheds her self-conceit, and is absorbed in her Lord and Master.” (p. 356-357 Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji)

Don't forget the program starts at 5 pm at the Gurdwara tonight. 

P.S. There is a live program happening from the UK (starting 2:30 pm Prince George time today) if you Facebook "Sikh Channel" and scroll down :) 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mata Gujri Ji

Mata Gujri Ji was born in 1624 to parents Bhai parents Bhai Lal Chand Subulikka and Bishan Kaur. She was the wife of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. She moved first to Amritsar, then Kartarpur and then Bakala. She spent this time doing sewa, meditating on God and performing household duties. When Teg Bahadur became Guru, they travelled to Amritsar to establish Chak Nanaki (present day Anadpur Sahib) with Mata Nanaki, and then travelled to Patna. Since Mata Ji was pregnant, she and Mata Nanaki stayed at Patna while Guru Ji continued his travels to spread the word of God. Mata Ji gave birth to Gobind Rai in 1666 while Guru Ji was away on his travels. Guru Ji returned in 1670, and left for Delhi, requesting Mata Gujri Ji, Mata Nanaki and Gobind Rai to meet him in Lakhanur. Together they continued on to present-day Anandpur.

In 1675, Guru Ji left for Delhi (see post on Shaheedi of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji). Knowing he would be marytyred, Mata Ji stood strong. As a widow, she raised the young Guru Gobind Singh Ji to be a courageous leader, while she managed the affairs of Anandpur with her brother. As Guru Ji grew up, she also inspired the army during the battles. She helped to raise her four grandchildren, the Chaar Sahibzade. In December 1705 Mata Ji and Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were separated from their family, then betrayed by Gangu and confined at Thanda Burj. Mata Ji played an immense role in providing support to the Sahibzade at such a difficult time. She too joined the Eternal Light when the Sahibzade were marytyred.

There are not enough words to describe the role that Mata Ji has played in our history. She is a source of inspiration and a role model to all of us. In even the most devastating of situations she was a pillar of support and she stood strong, brave, courageous.

References


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gifts from Family

It’s been a interesting year so I guess it didn’t really surprise me this week that I ended up getting pneumonia on my birthday! But you know I’m just filled with so much love for Waheguru, and it’s only deepening as I spend this time sitting in bed doing Simran, reading prayers, listening to kirtan, etc. Being sick also means I have time to write so I’ll write about something that happened last week.

A few of my colleagues were discussing their adult kids. One woman wondered how to force her son to go to church given the fact that he refuses, and the response from other people was they couldn’t get their own kids to go to church, mosque, etc. The words force and control were key in the conversation and kept being mentioned over and over. This got me thinking about how I was raised and why I go to the Gurdwara so I’m going to share a little reflection on what my parents have taught me.

My parents are not Amritdhari but the values and principles they live by are rooted in Sikhi. They are big believers in leading by example so while they talked about earning an honest living (kirat karni), hard work, and discipline, they also did it. Like other immigrant parents, they have their own story about how they built their life up from scratch. This story is not mine to tell here but has inspired me in how I live my life. My parents always emphasized sharing what you have (vand shakna), but it wasn’t just limited to giving money or items to charity. It was also about sharing your time in doing sewa, and sharing your knowledge and skillset. I grew up in a house where family, friends, and strangers have come over or called at all hours asking for advice or help and I’ve never seen my parents turn someone away. In the book I’m reading “Forgetting the way of Love” by Bhai Sewa Singh Tarmala it says “the purpose of our life is not limited to our family. Guru Gobind Singh Ji taught us that all humanity is our family. The Guru Ji gave us Gurbani so that we can learn how to live with humanity as one family.” This is certainly what my parents have lived by. They’ve often said that helping other people’s children is the same as helping their own. My mom also spent a lot of time teaching us about Sikh history by reading stories, teaching how to read Gurbani, and taking us to kirtan lessons. I remember the soothing sound of her voice reading Kirtan Sohila every night when we went to bed. I think this really made a big difference in inspiring me to learn more about Sihi as I grew up.

Lastly, my parents have always been huge advocates for the empowerment of girls/women. The Kaurs in our history have been a powerful force for change and I think we need to embrace that warrior spirit within ourselves. My parents raised me to be my own person, with my own goals and to think for myself, rather than being dependent on others for my survival. This mindset has definitely shaped who I am and how I’m going to raise my own children. From watching their interactions, I have learned what it means to be an equal partner and the hard work, compromise and sacrifice in working together towards a common goal.

Now having reflected on the way I was raised, I ask myself why I go to the Gurdwara. I go to visit Guru Ji, I go to learn, I go to sit in Sangat- I go because I love it! I go because Sikhism is my first priority in life. I go because I feel the difference it makes in my life. So I’d say it’s not about control and it’s not about force. If we force someone, they will send out an energy of anger and hatred, and they will only do something for so long. If we serve as role models and sources of inspiration (as my parents have been for me), that’s how real change comes about. Then people decide to change for themselves and it’s long-lasting because they themselves experience the benefit of their choice.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kirtan Art!

My favourite hobby is definitely kirtan. Since I'm sick and can't really sing, I thought it would be fun to make a clay sculpture of doing kirtan! I'm probably going to have to wait quite a while for it to dry before I can paint it but I'll post when it's actually done. 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shaheedi of the Chaar Sahibzade

Someone asked me to make a video showing how to play the poem Vatan Lamian Te Rasta Pahar Da by Bhai Harjinder Singh Ji (about the two younger Sahibzaade) on the harmonium. Unfortunately I haven't got much of a voice because I'm sick but I still posted it so people have enough time to learn it. I will eventually re-post a new video with tabla.
Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77W4AtzrYyI

Here are the words:
ਵਾਟਾਂ ਲੰਮੀਆ ਤੇ ਰਸਤਾ ਪਹਾੜ ਦਾ 
ਤੁਰੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਸਰਸਾ ਨਦੀ ਤੇ ਿਵਛੋੜਾ ਪੈ ਿਗਆ 
ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਦਾ ਸੁਣ ਲਉ ਹਾਲ ਜੀ
ਰਾਤ ਹਨੇਰੀ ਬਿਜਲੀ ਲਿਸ਼ਕੇ 
ਰਾਹ ਜੰਗਲਾ ਦੇ ਪੈ ਗਏ ਨੇ 
ਰੇਸ਼ਮ ਨਾਲ਼ੋਂ ਸੋਹਲ ਸਰੀਰ ਨੂੰ 
ਦੱੁਖੜੇ ਸਹਿਣੇ ਪੈ ਗਏ ਨੇ 
ਛੋਟੀ ਉਮਰ ਦੇ ਦੋਨੋ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਮਾਤਾ ਗੁਜਰੀ ਉਹਨਾ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਸਰਸਾ ਨਦੀ ਤੇ ਿਵਛੋੜਾ ਪੈ ਿਗਆ
ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਦਾ ਸੁਣ ਲਉ ਹਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਵਾਟਾਂ ਲੰਮੀਆ ਤੇ ਰਸਤਾ ਪਹਾੜ ਦਾ 
ਤੁਰੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਕਹਿਰ ਦੀ ਸਰਦੀ ਹੱਡੀਆ ਚੀਰੇ
ਬਾਲ ਨਿਆਣੇ ਕੰਬਦੇ ਨੇ 
ਉਗਲੀ ਫੜ ਕੇ ਮਾਂ ਗੁਜਰੀ ਦੀ 
ਰਾਹ ਪੱਥਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਲੰਘਦੇ  ਨੇ
ਕਦੋ ਅਜੀਤ ਤੇ ਜੁਝਾਰ ਵੀਰੇ ਆਉਣਗੇ
ਮਾਤਾ ਗੁਜ਼ਰੀ  ਨੂੰ ਪੁੱਛਦੇ ਸਵਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਸਰਸਾ ਨਦੀ ਤੇ ਿਵਛੋੜਾ ਪੈ ਿਗਆ
ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਦਾ ਸੁਣ ਲਉ ਹਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਵਾਟਾਂ ਲੰਮੀਆ ਤੇ ਰਸਤਾ ਪਹਾੜ ਦਾ 
ਤੁਰੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਉਮਰ ਨਿਆਣੀ ਦੋ ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਦੀ 
ਇੱਕ ਮਾਂ ਬੁੱਢੜੀ ਸਾਥ ਕਰੇ 
ਬੇਦੋਸ਼ੇ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਨਿਰਦੋਸ਼ਾਂ ਦਾ
ਕੌਣ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਇਨਸਾਫ ਕਰੇ
ਐਸੀ ਹੋਣੀ ਨੇ ਖੇਡੀ ਚਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਸਰਸਾ ਨਦੀ ਤੇ ਿਵਛੋੜਾ ਪੈ ਿਗਆ
ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਦਾ ਸੁਣ ਲਉ ਹਾਲ ਜੀ। 
ਵਾਟਾਂ ਲੰਮੀਆ ਤੇ ਰਸਤਾ ਪਹਾੜ ਦਾ 
ਤੁਰੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਗੁਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ। 

I also wanted to re-share this post from last year about the Shaheedi of the four Sahibzade. 

Here is the history of the 4 sons of our 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji: Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh. It is this time of year we remember the shaheedi of these young Sikhs.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his fellow Sikhs had been battling the Mughal Army for months at Anandpur Sahib. Emperor Aurungzeb sent a message that if they left the fort, they would be allowed to be free. On the night of December 5, 1705 Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his fellow Sikhs left Andandpur Sahib when it was raining heavily, and crossed the Sarsa river with the Mughal army pursuing them. Sahibzaade Ajit Singh (18) and Jujhar Singh (14) made it to the Fort of Chamkaur by December 6 with Guru Gobind Singh Ji and a group of 40 Sikhs.  They suffered many casualties trying to cross the Sarsa. On December 7, 1705 the enemy had surrounded Fort Chamkaur and the Sikhs had exhausted their ammunition and arrows. They were “a mere forty defying a hundred thousand,” in the words of Guru Ji. There were over 100,000 Moghul soldiers on foot and 700 mounted, pursuing the small group of 40 Sikhs. The Sikhs were left to fight with swords and spears only. Guru Ji sent out his sons to battle. Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh were martyred while leading other Sikhs into battle. Guru Ji writes in the Zafarnama (to Emperor Aurangzeb), “It matters little if a jackal through cunning and treachery succeeds in killing two lion’s cubs, for the lion himself lives to inflict retribution on you.”

On the night of December 5th Mata Gujri and the younger Sahibzaade Zorawar (age 9) Singh and Fateh Singh (age 7), and the cook Gangu were separated and as a result stayed in Gangu’s home. Gangu was greedy and stole Mata Ji’s bag of coins. Then he provided the location of the Sahibzaade to the officials- Jani Khan and Mani Khan, who arrested the Sahibzade and Mata Gujri on December 8th and confined them in Thanda Burj (Cold tower) at Sirhind. Because it was winter, the tower was freezing at night and they were allowed nothing to eat or drink. The governor of Murinda went to get the Sahibzaade to meet Nawab Wazir Khan and separated them from Mata Ji, telling them that their father and brothers had been killed. The sahibzaade did not believe him. Nawab Wazir Khan tried to get them to convert to Islam by bribing them with many gifts and riches but the Sahibzaade stayed strong, even when they faced death. They did not give up their Sikhi. They stayed another night at the Thanda Burj due to Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan’s insistence that they should not be killed. The next day Nawab Wazir Khan ordered them to be bricked alive and when he hesitated due to Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan’s pleas, Diwan Suchchanand insisted that the children would grow up to be as their father was and they should not be spared. The brick wall was made as the Sahibzade recited Japji Sahib, but when the bricks reached their chests, the wall crumbled. Nawab Wazir Khan ordered them to be beheaded. Mata Gujri Ji passed away as well. Gurdwara Fategarh and Gurdwara Joti Sarup is now standing where Mata Ji and the small Sahibzaade were cremated. 

photo from: http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Supreme_sacrifice 

When Guru Ji learned of the death of his younger sons as well he told the Sikhs “I have sacrificed four sons for the survival of the thousands of my sons who are still alive.” He wrote the shabad, Mitry Pyare Nu Haal Murida Da Kahna:
"Tell the beloved friend (the Lord) the plight of his disciples. 
Without You, rich blankets are a disease and the comfort of the house is like living with snakes. 
Our water pitchers are like stakes of torture and our cups have edges like daggers. 
Your neglect is like the suffering of animals at the hands of butchers. 
Our Beloved Lord's straw bed is more pleasing to us than living in costly furnace-like mansions."
Every December we remember the sacrificies of the Chaar Sahibzaade, Mata Ji, and the many Sikhs who fought against injustice. May we always remember the lives given so we could have the right to practice our religion today, and the bravery that these young Sahibzaade had in choosing the path that was right instead of what was easy.

References:
http://www.sikharchives.com/?p=11713
A History of the Sikhs Volume I 1469-1839, 2nd Edition by Khushwant Singh