By Swami Harshananda
No society can survive without military power to protect it from external or internal aggression. The society should be extremely grateful to the Sikh movement led by its great Gurus which provided such protection in its critical moments.
Hargobind, Guru (A. D. 1595-1644) was the sixth Guru of Sikh Dharma. He was born as the son and successor of Guru Arjan (A. D. 1564- 1606). He took his father's place in A. D. 1606. It is said that at the time of his installation as the Guru, he refused to accept his ancestral necklace and turban. Instead, he declared that his sword belt with two swords, miri and piri were his necklace and aigrette. He explained that they symbolized both spiritual and temporal supremacy.
Through his life and deeds, he advocated that a balanced combination of kṣāttra (heroic) and brāhma (saintly) spirits can work in the best interest of a society.
The first corp of Sikh volunteers he raised was at Amritsar. He organized them to fight the Mughals beginning in A. D. 1628. He had seven hundred horses in his stables and had trained three hundred cavaliers and sixty artillery men.
Despite his military efforts to protect Dharma, he remained a saint and Samarth Rāmadās is reported to have been inspired by him to fight against Muslim oppression.
His other efforts included establishing sanctuaries for travelers, restoring leprosariums and spreading Sikh Dharma beyond the borders of India. His son, Tegh Bahadur (A. D. 1621-1675) became the ninth Guru of Sikh Dharma.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore