To simplify blogging in my travels I've chosen to document this in summaries. Due to time and technical constraints, cohesive and detail thoughts/experiences will have to come later.
Summary of sites visited:
Bala Sahib is located at the place where Guru Harkirshan was taken near the end of his life, he was cremated at this location and also uttered the famous words ‘Babba Bakale ‘ which pointed the Sikhs towards the location of the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Interestingly this is also the cremation location of Guru Gobind Singh’s wives Mata Sahib Kaur and Mata Sundar Kaur. Mata Sahib Kaur’s cremation samad memory is located inside of the Bala Sahib Gurudwara and Mata Sundar Kaur’s is located in separate building constructed right adjacent to the Gurudwara.
Gurudwara Damdama Sahib is located near a very famous Dehli landmark and tourist attraction Humunyu’s tomb. It commemorates the meeting between the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and Bahadur Shah, who had captured Dehli. The Guru made him aware of the atrocities committed by the government, army, and Kings against the Sikhs. He made him aware of how he was forced from Anandpur Sahib only to be ambushed and to have his Sahibzadas lost. Bahadur Shah vowed to provide justice to the perpetrators of atrocities agains the Sikhs, he is said to be very impressed by the martial display of the Khalsa. It is also said that Bahadur Shah wanted to see a match between martial elephants, but the Guru sent in a martial buffalo instead. The Guru’s martial buffalo was able to chase off the martial elephant of Bahadur Shah. This made him even more impressed of the martial training and prowess of the Khalsa.
Rakab Ganj/Sikh Genocide Memorial
Gurudwara Rakab Ganj is a sprawling complex right next to the Parliament and government sector area in Delhi, another note that this will also be the location of the memorial to the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in India. Currently there is only a board but I believe eventually this will turn into something of historical reference for what transpired in the state sponsored massacre of Sikhs in 1984.
Rakab Ganj is the location where Lakhi Shah one of the devotees of the Guru, managed to steal his body on horse after the beheading of the Guru. Since the atmosphere would not allow a proper cremation last rites, Lakhi Shah placed the body of the Guru and set fire to his home to be able to cremate the body. Amazing story of scrafice and courage by Lakhi Shah who is one of the heros for Sikhs rising his life and setting his own home on fire just to be able to provide proper last rights to the body.
Gurudwara Sis Ganj stands to commemorate the site of martyrdom of the Guru Tegh Bahadur. After refusing to convert to Islam and upholding religious freedom for the Kashmiri Hindu pandit’s Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on Nov. 11th 1675. The Gurudwara is situated at the very busy and robust Chandi Chowk bazar.
Summary of Thoughts:
Guru Tegh Bahadur became the first (maybe only)religious profitr to sacrifice his life not for his own religion but another. Today in contrast I have seen Sikhs be close minded not only to other beliefs but even other Sikhs. Guru Tegh Bahadur taught in action how tolerant we should be, how much we should uphold the freedom of choice and dignity for others. Sikhs who have closed minds should reference this great action in history, a true example on how to love unconditionally, Guru Tegh Bahadur should be a beacon for all Sikhs to defend those who society may not agree with, or who may not be able to defend themselves.
Sikhs should strive to have such a heart that another’s problem becomes their own, not because they have anything to gain, but because if even one in humanity loses, humanity is lost. This universal message of love is echoed many times in Sikh history but unless we see the love our Guru’s had for a universal, tolerant and free society we constantly miss the point. Fighting against each other, trying to make others fit into what we ‘believe’ maybe right, is in stark contrast to the message Guru Tegh Bahadur provided with his extreme sacrifice.