Mata Gujri (1624 -1705) (whose formal name was 'Mata Gujar Kaur') was the wife of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur; the mother of the tenth and last human Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and the grandmother of the four Sahibzade.
She was born in 1624 and was the daughter of Bhai Lal Chand Subulikka and Bishan Kaur, a pious couple of Kartarpur, in present-day Kapurthala district of the Punjab. Her role in the development of the Sikh faith has been crucial.
She was the wife of a supreme martyr; mother of a brave saint-soldier; and the grand-mother of four amazing children who all attained martyrdom at the ages of 6, 9, 14 and 18 years. She had been close to the two younger sahibzade and took up their guardianship in the flight from Anandpur under a promise of safe passage to Punjab. Imprisoned in the Thanda Burj of Sirhind with her youngest grandsons Zorawar and Fateh Singh, she attained martyrdom, at the age of 81 years, when she was told of their execution.
Her role was pivotal during the difficult period from about 1650 to 1705 for the people of India when Aurangzeb ruled this country from 1658 until 1707 and spread his tyranny and barbaric practices to the sub-continent. She was the "iron-lady" who was responsible for giving birth to and raising the last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
She endowed in him the best qualities of the Sikh faith. Mata ji gave birth to Gobind Rai at Patna in 1666, when she was 42 and alone as her husband, Guru Tegh Bahadar was on tour across Bengal and Assam spreading the word of the Lord. She made sure that the young Gobind had the qualities of bravery and acute awareness and a highly discerning consciousness.
When she was 51 year old, her husband attained martyrdom and she had to guide the Panth and protected and guided the young Gobind to become the magnificent leader that he was. Again, her role during these years of widowhood are a clear example of how to accept the Hukam of the Lord and live a life of righteousness and chardikala.
In July 1677, Mata Gujri arranged the marriage of young Gobind (at the time aged 11 years) to Mata Jito ji (aka Mata Sundri). She was responsible for making of all the arrangement and for selecting the bride for the young Guru.
Some eight years later, in May 1685, when Mata ji was aged 61, she arranged the Maklaavaa (the formal ceremony when the wife formally comes to the husband's house) for young Gobind, who at the time was only 19 years old. She played an important part in making sure that the young couple were versed in the way of the Gurus and that the message of Guru Nanak was practiced and honoured by the young couple.
For the next 20 years from 1685 to 1705, she was a pillar of strength and a constant support for the young Gobind guiding him and his family. After arranging his marriage and maklaavaa, she guided the young couple in times of difficulties and helped to steer them in the correct path of the Panth. She subsequently helped to raise her grand-children. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was born in 1687; Sahibzada Jujhar Singh in 1691; Sahibzada Zorawar Singh in 1696; and Sahibzada Fateh Singh in 1699.
When Mata ji was aged 76, in 1700, Mata Sundri ji died. It was from then that the younger Sahibzade were primarily brought up by Mata ji. She was like a mother to the two young boys. They relied on her for support and comfort and she was just like a mother to these young kids. Mata was very close to these kids and lived and died with them in 1705.
It was because of her dedication that the young kids were so staunch in their faith and were at the young age of about 6 and 9 years able to stand up to the mighty Mughal empire and defy them. They gave up their precious lives but did not give up their Sikhi – a lot of the credit for bringing up such outstanding children must go to Mata ji.
|As a Daughter||Mata ji was brought up with the consciousness of the Guru’s light; she fulfilled her parent’s aspiration of serving the path of the Guru beyond their expectations by growing into a perfect role model of grace, strength, persistence and sacrifice.|
|As a Wife||She supported Guru Tegh Bahadur when he was deep in meditation for years, again while he was on his missionary tour, and finally, when the Guru left for Delhi to make the supreme sacrifice.|
|As a Leader||After her husband, Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom, she and her brother, Kirpal Chand had the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Panth. She also organized the langar (community kitchen) and played an important role as the administrator of the army. She had an important role inspiring the Khalsa armies during the battles Guru Gobind Singh had to fight. Her role in the battle of Bhangani is especially remembered.|
|As a Mother||She molded the father of the Khalsa, the great Guru Gobind Singh, raising him as a single mother after the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur ji.|
|As a Grandmother||and inspiration to the young martyrs: When Mata Ji and the sahibzadas were arrested and confined in Sirhind Fort, and as the children were summoned to appear in court each day, she kept urging them to remain steadfast in their faith. She constantly reminded the Sahibzadas that their Grandfather and Great-Grandfather had both sacrificed their lives to strengthen the ideals of Guru Nanak. Her support of her grandsons played such an important role in Sikhism that as Sikhs, we probably owe our existence to her. It was due to her role that the seven and nine year old children did not budge from their beliefs and attained martyrdom. If the Sahibzadas had accepted Islam on that winter day, Sikhi probably wouldn’t exist as it does today. So, in fact, we stand tall because of the teachings and the inspiration Mata Ji provided to her grandsons and thousands of martyrs who gave their heads and not their faith.|
|As a Martyr||While imprisoned on top of an open tower during the cold month of December, Mata Gujri continually did simran with no complaints about her physical being. She attained martyrdom the same day as her grandsons after hearing that her grandsons had been bricked alive rather than give up their faith. Her mission had been fulfilled.|