Kids Corner

Above and below: some of the renditions of Mata Gujri by different artists - alone, with her son, Gobind, and her younger grandsons, Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh.

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Ma Gujri

by HARVIND KAUR

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Recently, we commemorated the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur and the two younger Sahibzaday, and celebrated the Gurpurabs of both Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. While we remember the sacrifices and other important crossroads of our past, it is always a good time to reflect on the various other figures that are fundamental to the making of our history. The very memory of the Younger Sahibzaday, for example, immediately brings to mind the extraordinary life and sacrifices of the Grandmother, Mother and Wife who nurtured the souls that shaped the Sikh Nation.  

I am touched by the life of this noble soul. It is her life that guides me, as I search in my heart for what it is that the Guru expects of me. I resonate with her experiences because in this world, she was a daughter, wife and mother. I relate to her because she is a Sikh. How can I match her undying faith?

She was a Guru-inspired Sikh, imbued with the spirit that would allow her to fulfill her destiny. What is it that makes her so remarkable? Could it be the many years she lived in silence with her God-conscious husband?

Imagine the daily sangat of a man that belonged to a legacy so remarkable that it changed the face of our world forever. How do you live alongside someone so enlightened unless you yourself are imbued with the Name? 

She did not live in the shadow of her husband; she lived alongside him, as a disciple of the Guru. This Sikh spent endless years preparing for the role she would play in Sikh history   -  our history.

She spent more than twenty years contemplating the Almighty, as did her husband. She did this without abandoning the necessary responsibilities of daily life. It can only be these years of meditation that gave her the strength to endure her God-gifted fate.

What did this fate include? She lived to see her husband beheaded and her son take on the mantle of Guruship. She prepared her grandsons for their great sacrifice. She ultimately ended her days alone in a cold and isolated place, the Thanda Burj.

You can still visit it today. When the wind blows, it chills your spine and you remember her, the one who groomed the father of a great nation. She died there, alone, in silence but in glory.

She was the model for the strong Sikh mothers who, during the Holocausts, prepared their children to take on tyrants. These women remained steadfast and had the courage to sacrifice their children for their faith and love for God and Guru.

They did not turn away from their beliefs as their children were hacked to pieces and then hung around their necks. This was not a simple rosary of sweet-smelling beads, but a rosary that bled, with the warm, sweet blood drenching their clothes.

She is the model for the Sikh women who sowed the fields while their husbands went to battle. She is the model for the young Sikh women who relayed messages and didn't fear the late night curfews or the possibility of being caught by the police who were stationed at every street corner all across Punjab. They knew the risk, but carried her strength inside them. She is the model of an ideal Sikh.

She is among the many other brave Sikhs who teach us that we have the power to endure and succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds.

I wonder at how a mother nurtures a soul who she knows is endowed with God's grace and who is destined to lead a great nation. How do you raise a son who will become your Guru?  Which lessons of love did she teach him?

The awesome task of motherhood did not end with her son.

She also nurtured her grandsons. What words of inspiration dripped from her mouth as she knowingly sent her two young charges to their test and ultimate death?

The questions are never-ending, but the answers are near at hand.

Instead of wondering at her convictions, I tell myself, it is time to sit in contemplation and create my own relationship with the Guru.

 

Conversation about this article

1: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), January 23, 2008, 6:08 AM.

An absolutely beautiful rendering of motherhood, women, children, and the continuity of life.

2: Satvir Kaur (Boston, U.S.A.), January 23, 2008, 7:28 AM.

Very sweet, very inspiring! Very nicely written.

3: Prabhu Singh Khalsa (Española, New Mexico, U.S.A.), January 23, 2008, 9:37 AM.

Nice article. I'm inspired that your conclusion has been to create your own relationship with the Guru. Here's another nice article which mentions Mata Gujri Ji: http://gurmeetkaur.blogspot.com/2006/06/todays-status-of-sikh-women-in.html

4: Manjit Kaur (North Potomac, MD, U.S.A.), January 23, 2008, 11:48 AM.

Thank you, Harvind Kaur. A short and sweet article to remind us how our Guru created women to be special (no offense to men). The silent sacrifices made by Mata Gujri created the kings of tomorrow. Reading this article, suddenly all my daily worries vanished and reminded me how strong and noble Sikh women have always been.

5: Amreeta Kaur (Los Angeles, U.S.A.), January 24, 2008, 10:27 AM.

Very inspiring article. Mata Gujri ji sacrifed her life and family for us, inspiring us to live in the spirit of Sikhism and to be strong Sikh women. Thank you, Harvind Kaur.

6: Maninder Singh (Markham, Canada), January 25, 2008, 9:10 AM.

Wonderful portrayal of "Ma Gujri". Thank you.

7: Tejwant (U.S.A.), January 25, 2008, 12:16 PM.

This shows that behind every successful man there is a woman that is even more successful.

8: Bhupinder Singh Sian (London, United Kingdom), March 07, 2008, 3:23 PM.

I have been searching for a song sung by Jagjit and Chitra Singh on Ma Gujri on the net, and came accross your writing - what a great piece. The pictures are great too. We are celebrating the mothers of the Gurus as a national programme at the Namdhari Gurdwara in UK. The mothers are the great torch-bearers of our great Gurus.

9: Gurcharan Singh Sian (London, United Kingdom), July 02, 2008, 8:16 AM.

I was unfortunate in not having learned about all the great Singhs and Kaurs of our history. I grew up in Africa and am very proud of my faith. Please tell us more of these stories.

10: Parminder Kaur Khalsa (Canada), September 22, 2011, 8:30 PM.

Mata Gujri di shahadutt assi kaddey vi nahi bhul sukkdey. Dhan hai mata Gujri ji.

11: Damanpreet Minhas (England ), November 13, 2014, 9:39 AM.

Mata Gujri is our mother.

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