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Summary of Question:Re Guru Gobind Singh's "3 Wives"- He Had Only One Wife
Category:The Sikh Gurus
Date Posted:Sunday, 11/17/2002 5:16 PM MST

"Why did Guru Gobind Singh have more than one wife? How many

marriages did Guru Gobind Singh have?

The wrong impression that the Guru had more than one wife was
created by those writers who were ignorant of punjabi culture.
Later authors accepted those writings regarding more than one
marriage of the Guru and presented other important people usually had
more than one wife as a symbol of their being great and superior to
the common man. Guru Gobind Singh, being a true king, was justified
in their eyes to have more than one wife. This is actually incorrect.
In the Punjab, there are two and sometimes three big functions
connected with a marriage, i.e., engagement, wedding and Muklawa.
Big gatherings and singings are held at all these three functions.
In many cases, engagements were held as soon as one had passed the
baby stage. Even today, engagements at 8-12 years age are not
uncommon in some interior parts of the country. The wedding is
perfomred a couple of years after the engagement. After the
wedding, it takes another couple of years for the bride to move in
with her in-laws and live there. This is called Muklawa. Dowry and
other gifts to the bride are usually given at the time of this
ceremony to help her to establish a new home.

A big befitting function and other joyful activities were held
at Anandpur, according to the customs, at the time of the engagement
of the Guru. The bride, Mata Jeeto Ji, resided in Lahore which was
the capital of the Mughal rulers, who were not on good terms with
the Gurus. When the time for the marriage ceremony came, it was not
considered desirable for the Guru to go to Lahore alongwith Sikhs in
large numbers. Furthermore, it would involve a lot of inconvenience
to the Sangat, young and old, who wished to witness the marriage of
the Guru. THerefore, as mentioned in the Sikh chronicles, Lahore
was 'brought' to Anandpur Sahib for the marriage instead of the Guru
going to Lahore. A scenic place, a couple of miles to the north of
Anandpur was developed into a nice camp for the marriage. This place
was named Guru Ka Lahore. People going to Anandpur visit this place
as well. The bride was brought to this place by her parents and the
marriage was celebrated with a very huge gathering attending the
ceremony.

The two elaborate functions, one at the time of engagement and
the other at the time of the marriage of the Guru, gave the outside
observers the impression of two marriages. They had the reason to
feel like that because a second name was also there, i.e., Mata
Sundari Ji. After the marriage, there is a custom in the Punjab to
give a new affectionate name to the bride by her in-laws. Mata
Jeeto Ji because of her fine features and good looks, was named
Sundari (beautiful) by the Guru's mother. The two names and two
functions gave a cause to the outsiders to believe that the Guru had
two wives. In fact, the Guru had one wife with two names as
explained above.

There is one more very important function in the life of the
Guru and the Sikhs. It took place in 1699 when the Guru founded the
Khalsa Panth. For preparation of Amrit, he took a Khanda and a Bata
(bowl) and asked Mata Sahib Kaur to bring Patasas (puffed sugar) for
adding to the water in the Bata. Thus, Guru Gobind Singh and Mata
Sahib Kaur jointly particpated in preparing Amrit. Alongwith
firmness like steel, sweetness is another great character of the
Khalsa, gifted respectively by Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Sahib Kaur
to them. Whereas Guru Gobind Singh is recognized as the spiritual
father of the Khalsa, Mata Sahib Kaur is recognized as the spiritual
mother of the Khalsa.

Again, people not conversant with the Amrit ceremony mistakenly
assume that Mata Sahib Kaur was the wife of Guru Gobind Singh. As
Guru Gobind Singh is the spiritual father but not hte physical
father of the Khalsa, Mata Sahib Kaur is the spiritual mother of the
Khalsa but not the physical wife of the Guru Gobind Singh.
Because of their ignorance of the Punjabi culture and the Amrit
ceremony, some writers mistook these three names of hte women in the
life of Guru Gobind Singh as the names of three wives. Another
reason for this misunderstanding is that the parents of Mata Sahib
Kaur had decided to marry her to Guru Gobind Singh. When the
proposal was brought for discussion at Anandpur, the Guru said that
he could not have another wife because he was allready married. The
dilemma before the parents of the girl was that, the proposal having
become public, no Sikh would be willing to marry her. The Guru
agreed for her stay at Anandpur but without accepting her as his
wife. The question areose, as every woman desires to have a child,
how she could have one without being married. The Guru said, "She
will be the mother of a great son who will live forever and be known
all over the world." The people understoon the hidden meaning of his
statement only after the Guru associated Mata Sahib Kaur with
preparing Amrit by bringing Patasas. It is, therefore, ignorant to
consider Mata Sahib Kaur as the worldy wife of Guru Gobind Singh."

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Thank you for sharing your knowledge about Guru Gobind Singh and the three wives.

GPK



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