Takht Sri Patna Sahib is a Gurdwara in the neighborhood of Patna Sahib, Bihar, India. It was built in remembrance of the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs on 22 December 1666.
Guru Gobind Singh spent his early years in Patna Sahib before moving to Anandpur Sahib. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Patna was also honored by visits from Guru Nanak as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji visited Patliputra (one of the old names used for Patna), during his first journey to the east, in the beginning of 16th century. There were 64 gates and 670 towers protected by moat and wooden walls. Guru Nanak entered Patna through the western gate and stayed at Bhagat Jaitamal's House now called Gurdwara Sri Gau Ghat Sahib.
Salis Rai Johri (a middle aged jeweller of Patna City) was influenced by the divine personality of Guru Nanak, through his follower Mardana, requested Guru Ji to sanctify his home. Salis Rai Johri was religious with an interest in poetry so was naturally drawn to Guru Nanak.
Due to his true devotion Guru Nanak accepted his request and stayed for about four months at Salis Rai's house. A congregational center was established and people of locality used to attend it daily in the morning and evening. At the time of Guru Nanak's departure, Salis Rai Johri's trustee servant Adhraka by name was appointed as head of this congregational center with the purpose to continue the propagation of Guru Nanak's mission.
The site where the present Harmandir stands was originally called the haveli of Salis Rai Johri. Salis Rai was so influenced by the teachings of Guru Nanak that he converted his palatial house into a dharamsala (dharamsala's became Gurdwaras). When Guru Tegh Bahadur visited Patna, he stayed at the same place. A magnificent new house was built above the dharamsala of Salis Rai by Raja Fateh Chand Maini to accommodate the Guru's family.
Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Sikh Guru, along with his family members started a preaching tour to the East. At the beginning of 1666 AD they reached Patna and stayed at Jaitamal's house where Guru Nanak had made a dharamsala. The fourth successor of Salis Rai Johri's Sangat (dharamsala) namely Ghanshyam the great grandson of Adhraka was also ambitious to get blessing from the ninth successor of Guru Nanak. When he heard of Guru Tegh Bahadur's visit to Patna, he brought Guru's family in a procession from Jaitamal's House to Salis Rai Johri's sangat. (Now the birthplace of Sri Guru Gobind Singh is called Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib).
When Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived at Allahabad, with the will of God, the spirit and light of Guru Gobind Singh had descended and manifested itself in mother's womb. Mata Gujri had conceived this great son of God namely (Guru) Gobind Singh. Guru Tegh Bahadur while leaving his family at Patna proceeded on tour to Assam and Bengal. All types of facilities were provided to Guru's family by the local devotees of Patna.
Guru Gobind Singh (named as 'Gobind Rai') was born in Patna Paus Sudi 7, Sambat 1723 corresponding to 1666 AD (Guru) Gobind Singh also mentioned the name of Patna in his autobiography (Bachitra Natak).
'It was there that my light had appeared I was born at Patna city.'
This holy birthplace Patna is renamed Patna Sahib keeping in view its sanctity. Gobind Rai spent about six and half years of his childhood here in Patna. According to the chronicles of hindu devotee Pandit Shiv Dutt and Rahim Bux, Nawab of Patna Pir Arifudin and Syed Bhikham Shah became his earliest admirers.
Guru Tegh Bahadur traveled through Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Delhi, Agra, Etawah, Kanpur, Allahabad, Banaras, Sasaram, Gaya, and then reached Patna in 1666 AD. He mostly traveled along on the path of Guru Nanak and visited the congregational centers, which had been already established by Guru Nanak.
After Guru Nanak's planned departure from Patna, his followers asked when he would visit again. Guru Nanak predicted he would retuen as the 9th Nanak (Guru Tegh Bahadur). When the 9th successor of Guru Nanak reached Patna the Sikhs gave them the warmest of welcomes, providing all they could for his family.
Mother Gujri, the wife of Guru Tegh Bahadur was chose to stay at Patna to give birth to her only child. In accordance with the circumstances, the family was given everything they needed. Guru Tegh Bahadur, while leaving his family under the supervision of Bhai Kirpal Chand, his brother-in-law and devoted Sikhs, proceeded on his journey to the east ie. Assam and Bengal.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was at Dhubri (Assam) when he received the happy news of the birth of his child at Patna. Great rejoicing took place and donations were given to the poor and needy on a large scale. Sikhs and other admirers travelled to Patna to see the sacred soul (Gobind Rai).
A muslim Sufi saint of great repute Pir Bihar Shah of Guam bowed his head towards East (Patna). At this, his muslim disciples demurred that being muslim in the true sense he should not make such a respectful gesture except towards Kawa in the west. Pir Bihar Shah could feel the presence of the newborn child (Gobind Rai). He had not paid any homage to the mortal or man-made God (statue). It was homage to the great soul.
After few days hard journey on foot, Pir Bihar Shah reached Patna to seek the blessings of new child prophet. Pir was in a confused state of mind as to whether the new child prophet would protect the hindus or the muslims. The child Gobind Rai was too little to be placed in the hands of an outside visitor or devotee. After two days hunger strike and resistance, Pir Bihar Shah was allowed to see the child.
Pir Bihar Shah devised a test. He put two sweet pots in front of the child with intention that if Gobind Rai put his hand on the right, he would protect hindus. If Gobind Rai put his hand on the left, he would mean to protect the muslims. Pir Bihar Shah was surprised to see that Gobind Rai placed his both hands on both the sweet pots to show that he would protect both hindus and muslims. Guru Gobind Singh would establish the righteousness to protect the meek and punish the evildoers.
From childhood the saint and warrior activities of Gobind Rai had become the object of wonder and adoration for many admirers in Patna. Gobind Rai's favorite toys were bows, arrows, swords etc. The daily games for Gobind Rai were to make artificial fortifications and the art of war. The defensive party was to take protection in the fort. Under the directions of Commander Gobind Rai the instructions were given how to attack and the methods to make it successful on the defensive side. The winning party was awarded and all the playmates were served with delicious food at the end of day's play and fighting. Gobind Rai's great pleasure consisted of leading his companions through mock maneuvers. Both mother Mata Gujri and grandmother Mata Nanaki Ji were delighted to see and serve the companions of Gobind Rai. They both prayed daily to the almighty God for the protection of the child.
There was a small well of sweet water in the courtyard of Mata Gujri's house. Ladies of the locality would take water from the sweet well daily. Gobind Rai would pierce the pitchers with earthen golies. The ladies did not enjoy this, however Mata Gujri pacified them and replaced the broken pitchers. When Gobind Rai was asked not to break the pitchers, he replied that he did not damage the pitchers rather killed the snake in it, otherwise the poisonous water would harm the family. When the pitcher was checked the snake was found pierced by the arrow of Gobind Rai. All were astonished on the farsighted activity and divine teaching of Gobind Rai.
Admirers saw the sign of eternity in the innocent face of Gobind Rai. An old brahman of Patna City, Pandit Shiv Dutt was deeply impressed by the divine personality of child Gobind Rai. His long outstanding spiritual quest was quenched when he saw the image of child prophet in his contemplation. To whom Pandit Shiv Dutt was worshipping for the long past had appeared personally before him.
Before this Pandit Shiv Dutt believed in idol worship for his mental peace and practiced many rituals and ceremonies and austerities. He was popular among his society members but inspite of this his religious performance could not satisfy his inner thirst and he was feeling emptiness in his heart and duality in his mind. One day during contemplation on the bank of river Ganga Pandit Shiv Dutt realized the divine image of Gobind Rai in his sub-consciousness. The light of the sacred soul and his very presence fulfilled the long desire of Pandit Shiv Dutt. The lovely divine face of child prophet now was the focus of meditation.
Guru Tegh Bahadur had returned to Punjab in April 1671 leaving his family behind at Patna. It was only after he had been at Kiratpur and Chakk Nanaki for a few months that he sent for the rest of the family to return. Young Gobind Rai's departure from Patna caused great displeasure and sorrow to the inhabitants of Patna City. On the day of his departure, men and women, hindus and muslims, old and young, rich and poor, and his playmates came a considerable way out of the city to see off the revered young prophet Gobind Rai.
It was the most torturing scene when they bade farewell to Gobind Rai and his family members. All the admirers and Sikhs prayed for their happy journey. The perennial consolation left behind for Sikhs in Patna are sacred relics, which were dear to Gobind Rai during his playtime with his companions. When Gobind Rai would return home in the evening their would be late evening prayers. This has now become a tradition with evening and before bedtime prayers.
The first stop after departure from Patna, was made at Danapur in the little house of an old lady called Mai Pardhani. This devoted old lady prepared Khichri (rice and lentils) for Gobind Rai in a little earthen pot (Handi). The remaining Khichri was served to a large number of Sikhs and did not finish until everyone was satisfied. The house of the lady became Gurdwara Sri Handi Sahib after the pot named 'Handi'. An annual function is held under the management of the prabandhak committee of Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Old Original Gurdwara Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib
"Sri Guru Granth Sahib" called Bare Sahib containing signature of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.
"Chhabi Sahib" oil painted very big picture of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji of his young age.
"Panghura Sahib" a small cradle with four stands covered with gold plates on which Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji used to sit or sleep, when he was a boy.
A small "Saif" (Sword) of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Four iron "Arrows" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One earthen round "Goli" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One small iron "Chakri" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One small iron "Khanda" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One small iron "Baghnakh-khanjer" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One wooden "Comb" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Two iron "Chaker" of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
One pair "Sandal" made of ivory of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji' childhood.
One pair "Sandal" made of sandalwood of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
Three wooden spinning instruments of Sri Kabir Sahib.
One book containing "Hukumnamas" of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and their pictures, writings etc.
The local chieftain, Raja Fateh Chand Maini and his consort were part of the Sikh congregation. Raja Fateh Chand renovated the house of Salis Rai Johri for the Guru's family.
In the beginning of 19th century, a devastating fire broke out and the old edifice was considerably damaged. The second construction was carried by Maharaja Ranjit Singh from 1837 to 1839. However, ninety-three years later in 1934 an earthquake caused damage to the Gurdwara. Sikhs started the construction of new building in November 1954. With the collective efforts of the Sangat it was completed within three years in December 1957.
Being a historical Sikh shrine its management was taken over by the East India Company through the board of Revenue, Bengal and this power was transferred to Mahant Ganda Singh on 11th March, 1865 under the religious endowment Act, XX of 1863. Under provision of section IV of the Act district judge, Patna was authorized to appoint a manager who was to look after the endowment to discharge their duties or to supervise religious worship.
The management remained in the hands of the mahants from 1797 to 1930 AD and then the supervisory committee and trustees appointed by district judge Patna, looked after its management.
1. Mahant Nawal Singh (1797 AD)
2. Mahant Dayal Singh (1797 - 1832)
3. Mahant Sukha Singh (1832 - 1861)
4. Mahant Didar Singh (1861 - 1865)
5. Mahant Ganda Singh (1865 - 1875)
6. Mahant Dharam Singh (1875 - 1882)
7. Mahant Sumer Singh (1882 - 1903)
8. Mahant Dalip Singh (1903 for six months)
9. Mahant Bachitar Singh (1904 - 1930)
Rai Ishwari Prasad, Bulaki Rai, Jai Narian and Vijay Payee had been jointly appointed as trustees in place of Mahant Dharma Singh- a committee of fifteen members was formed for the help of last sarabrahkar Bedi Kartar Singh who worked from 1930 to 1954. Due to mismanagement sarabrahkar was removed and a committee of fifteen members was formed from the following representative bodies.
In 1956 the constitution was framed and got it approved from the district judge Patna. In accordance with constitution a committee consisting of fifteen members was formed by election, nomination and co-option and by majority of votes to elect five office bearers(President , Sr. Vice-President, Jr. Vice-President, General Secretary and Secretary) for two and a half year duration. They may continue if majority favors them for further two and a half years.
1. Nominated by the District Judge, Patna - 3
2. Nominated by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Amritsar - 1
3. Nominated by the Chief Khalsa diwan, Amritsar - 1
4. Nominated by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Board - 1
5. Nominated by the Sikh Pratinidhi Board, UP - 1
6. Nominated by the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Calcutta - 1
7. Nominated by the Sanatani Sikh Sabha, Patna City - 1
8. Elected member from North Bihar Singh Sabhas - 1
9. Elected member from South Bihar Singh Sabhas - 1
10. Elected member from the Sikhs of Patna District - 3
11. Co-opted member by above 14 Members - 1
Total : 15
Charles Wilkins was one of the pioneering orientalists of the 18th century. With his help Sir William Jones, founder of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta, learned Sanskrit. Later, he earned the title of "Father of Sanskrit" in the eyes of his contemporaries by writing a grammar of the Sanskrit language. He was the first to design and manufacture the type for production of Sanskrit and Persian grammars and proved to be a pioneer in the typographic art in the oriental language.
Born in 1749 in England, Wilkins joined the service of the East India Company at the age of twenty. He made the suggestion to the Governor General, Warren Hastings, to establish a printing press in 1778. Wilkins translated the Manusmriti, Mahabharat and Hitopdesh and the later years of his life were devoted to the revision of Richardson's Persian, Arabic and English Dictionary. He died in 1836 in England.
Charles Wilkins was one of the earliest Europeans to write about the Sikhs. He wrote on March 1, 1781:
"Before I left Calcutta a gentleman with whom I chanced to be discoursing of that sect of people who are distinguished from worshippers of Brahm and followers of Mohamed by the appellation 'Seek' (meaning Sikhs) informed me that there was a considerable number of them settled in the city of Patna."
Since he was proceeding on leave to Benaras he stopped at Patna. Following is the description of Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, Patna and the daily routine there:
"I found the College of the Seeks (Sikhs) situated in one of the narrow streets of Patna, at no very considerable distance from the custom house. I was permitted to enter the outward gate; but as soon as I came to the steps, which led up into the Chapel, or public hall, I was civilly accosted by two of the Society; I asked them if I might ascent into the hall. They said it was a place of worship open to me and to all men; but at the same time, intimated that I must take off my shoes…I did not hesitate to comply, and I was then politely conducted into the hall, and seated upon a carpet, in the midst of the assembly, which was so numerous as almost to fill the room.
The congregation arranged themselves upon the carpet, on each side of the hall, so as to leave a space before the altar from end to end. The great book, was brought, with some little ceremony from the altar, and placed at the opposite extremity of the hall. An old man, with a revered silver beard, kneeled down before the desk with his face towards the altar; and on one side of him sat a man with a small drum, and two or three with cymbals. The book was now opened and the old man began to chant to the tune of the drum and cymbals; and, at the conclusion of every verse, most of the congregation joined chorus in a response, with countenances exhibiting great marks of joy. Their tones were by no means harsh; the time was quick; and I learnt that the subject was Hymn in praise of the unity, the omnipresence and the omnipotence, of the Deity.
I was singularly delighted by the gestures of the old man; I never saw a countenance so expressive of infelt joy, whilst he turned about from one to another, as it were, be speaking their assets to those truths, which his very soul seemed to be engaged in chanting forth. The Hymn being concluded, which consisted of about twenty verses, the whole congregation got up, and presented their faces with joined hands towards the altar, in the attitude of prayer. A young man now stood forth; and, with a loud voice and distinct accent, solemnly pronounced a long prayer, or kind of liturgy, at certain periods of which all the people joined in a general response, saying Wa Gooroo. They prayed against temptation; for grace to do good; for the general good of mankind; and a particular blessings to the Seeks; and for the safety of those who at that time were on their travels. This prayer was followed by a short blessing from the old man, and an invitation to the assembly to partake of a friendly feast. The book was then closed and restored to its place at the altar.
The two men entered bearing a large iron cauldron, called a "curray", just taken from the fire, and placed it in the centre of the hall upon a low stool. These were followed by others with five or six dishes, some of which were silver, and a large pile of leaves sewed together with fibres, in the form of plates. One of these plates was given to each of the company without distinction; and the dishes being filled from the cauldron, their contents were served out until everyone had got his share. Myself was not forgotten; and, as I was resolved not to give them the smallest occasion for offence, I ate up my portion. It was a kind of sweetmeat, of the consistence of soft brown sugar, composed of flour and sugar mixed up with clarified butter, which is called "ghee". Had not the ghee been rancid, I should have relished it better. We were next served with a few sugarplums and here ended the feast and the ceremonies of the day. They told me the religious part of the ceremony was daily repeated five times.
In the course of the conversation I was engaged in with the two Seeks before the service, I was able to gather the following circumstances. That the founder of their faith was called Naneek Sah, who flourished about four hundred years ago at Punjab, and who before his apostasy, was a Hindoo of the Kashetry, or military tribe; and that his body disappeared as the Hindoos and the Mussulmans were disputing for it; for upon their removing the cloth which covered it, it was gone; that he left behind him a book, composed by himself, in verse, and the language of Punjabi (but a character partly of his own invention) which teaches the doctrines of the faith he had established. That they call this character, in honour of their founder, Gooroo-Mookhee: from the mouth of the preceptor.
That this book, of which that standing near the altar, and several others in the hall, were copies, teaches that there is but one God, omnipotent and omnipresent; filling all space, and pervading all matter; and that he is to be worshipped and invoked. That there will be a day of retribution, when virtue will be rewarded and vice punished; (I forgot to ask in what manner).
That it not only commands universal toleration, but forbids disputes with those of another persuasion. That it forbids murder, theft, and such other deeds as are, by the majority of mankind, esteemed crimes against society; and inculcates the practice of all the virtues, but particularly a universal philanthropy, and I next inquired why they were called Seeks, and they told me it was a word borrowed from one of the commandments of their founder, which signifies "Learn Thou," and that it was adopted to distinguish the sect.
I asked what were the ceremonies in admitting a proselyte. A person having shown a sincere inclination to renounce his former opinions, to any five or more Seeks assembled together, in any place, as well on the highway as in a house of worship, they send to the first shop where sweetmeats are sold, and procure a small quantity of a particular sort, which is very common, and, as I re-collect, they call "Batasa"; and having diluted it in pure water, they sprinkle some of it on the body and into the eyes of the convert; whilst one of the best instructed repeats to him, in any language with which he is conversant, the chief canons of their faith, exacting from him a solemn promise to abide by them the rest of his life. They offered to admit me into their society, but I declined the honor; contending myself with the alphabet, which they told me to guard as the apple of my life, as it was a sacred character.
I find it differs but little from devnagur; the number, order, and powers, of the letters are exactly the same. The language itself is a mixture of Persian, Arabic, and some Sanskrit, grafted upon the provincial dialect of Punjab, which is a kind of hindovee.
Gurdwara Sri Bal Lila Maini Sahib marks the house where young Sri Guru Gobind Singh used to play and sit in the Rani's lap.
When Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji first arrived in Patna with Bhai Mardana, he stayed here at Bhai Jaita Mal's house. Later, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji also visited.
This Bagh (garden) was where Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji first met his son, young Gobind Rai, who later became Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
After departing their home in Patna, a devoted old lady prepared Khichri (rice and lentils) for Gobind Rai in a little earthen pot (Handi).
Young Gobind Rai did not value maya (material possessions) and threw his Kangan into the river, teaching people to reject maya.
The site of the Gurdwara relates to a sakhi of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji where Guru Ji teaches us to recognise the true value of life.
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