Currently we are celebrating Miri Piri Divas at the Gurdwara Sahib. There will be kirtan every evening from 7-9 pm. This is the celebration of when Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji (our 6th Guru) wore one kirpan representing Miri (temporal authority), and another representing Piri (spiritual authority) at the Akal Takht Sahib. Miri comes from Amir meaning ruler/prince, and therefore signifies wordly/political power. Piri comes from Pir meaning saint, and therefore represents a spiritual power. Guru Ji was emphasizing that there is both spiritual aspect to life and a physical aspect to life.
Now more on Guru Ji’s life. Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was born June 19, 1595 to parents Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Mata Ganga Ji in Guru Ki Wadli, Amritsar. At the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s martyrdom, Guru Ji sent a Sikh to tell 11 year old Hargobind “let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain an army to the best of his capacity” (1). This was necessary given the injustice and oppression at the time. The Guruship was bestowed on Guru Hargobind on June 11, 1606, when he asked Baba Buddha Ji to give him two swords representing Miri and Piri. Guru Ji possessed 700 horses, and his army was trained in martial arts and weapons training. This came into use, as they fought and win 4 battles against the attacking Mughals. He also built a fortress at Amritsar called Lohgarh.
Guru Ji built the Akal Takht in 1606. Akal Takht mean’s God’s throne. Again, as the Harmandir Sahib represented spiritual authority, the Akal Takht represented wordly authority. Guru Ji also founded Kiratpur. He travelled to share knowledge about Sikhi, as did Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He even created an instrument called the Taus, which sounds like a peacock. It is unclear how many times Guru Ji was married. It appears some sources state that he was married once, but his wife changed names after marriage as was common in punjabi culture. Some sources state that he was married three times due to the circumstances- that three Sikhs rose simultaneously in sangat to respond to Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s request for a wife for his son. In those days, once it is offered, you cannot refuse or the girl goes unmarried. The names of his wives are given as Mata Damodari, Bibi Nanaki and Bibi Mahadevi. His children were Baba Gurditta, Bibi Veero, Ani Rai, Teg Bahadur, Suraj Maal, and Baba Atal Rai.
Among the individuals against Guru Ji were Prithi Mal (his uncle), Chandu Shah, and Saikh Amad Sirhandi, who all went to the emperor Jahangir and made him fearful. Once meeting Guru Ji, however, he was taken aback by his charm. Guru Ji even saved Jahangir’s life when a lion attacked him. Remember, it was Jahangir who ordered Guru Hargobind Ji’s own father (Guru Arjan Dev Ji) to be tortured. Eventually Chandu Shah came up with a new plan when the emperor fell ill, and told an astrologer to say said that only a holy man praying for the emperor can save him, and thus Guru Ji was imprisoned for a year at Gwalior fort. When he was released, he said that he would only leave if the 52 rajas imprisoned with him could leave as well, and thus this day is called Bandi Chorr Divas (Diwali). Guru ji passed on the Guruship to Guru Rai Ji in 1701 and merged with the supreme light.