Sikhs and the Decisive Battle for Ayodhya
a_1  H x W: 0 x
Gurudwara Brahmakund  

In the history of Bharat, Brahmakund holds a very special place, as that’s where Saint Vaishnavadas chalked out a strategy to defeat the army Aurangazeb sent to destroy the altar at Ram Janmabhoomi


 Prabhakar Patwardhan

I have been to Ayodhya a few times, even when the disputed structure had been there. During those visits, I have seen some important places. But some I have missed. One of those is Gurudwara Brahmakund.
This Gurudwara is situated on the banks of River Saryu and a few hundred metres east of Ram Janmabhoomi. The Brahmakund is much older than the Gurudwara itself. It is believed that the water of this kund has some miraculous properties to cure certain ailments. Brahmakund these days is protected by a Meghadambaree erected above it. The Gurudwara is looked after by chief Prabandhak Gyanee Gurujit Singh Khalsa. I was fortunate enough to have a talk with him on my last visit to Ayodhya on 28 to 29 September, this year. The talk was fruitful in many respects. This is the information I gathered from Gyanee Gurujit Singh Khalsa.
Guru Nanak Dev ji, the founder of Sikhism, considered himself the descendant of Lav, the son of Sri Ram. According to Guru Granth Sahib ji from 3rd Guru Amardass ji to 10th Guru Govind Singh ji, all were descendants of Kush, the 2nd son of Sri Ram. Period of Guru Nanak Dev ji was from 1469 to 1538. While travelling from Hardwar to Jagannath Puri, he came to Ayodhya and visited Ram Janmabhoomi to pay his respect to his ancestors. Later on he condemned Babar for the destruction of Ram temple there. While in Ayodhya, he also visited Brahmakund. After him, the 9th Guru Tej Bahadur had also visited Brahmakund. But the important visit was by 10th Guru Govind Singh ji.
Before giving the details of visit of Guru Govind Singh ji to Brahmakund and reason behind it, I would like to present a word picture of Ram Janmabhoomi before it was destroyed. The picture is based on the information I gathered from different sources. (Ram Janmabhoomi by Late R.G. Pande Sahityaratna, and The Guide to Ayodhya by Acharya Sharma.)
Ram Janmabhoomi was not confined to 2.77 acres as is believed, but was spread over 60 acres of land. Apart from Sri Ram temple, there were several small ones dedicated to different deities. Also there were many Path shalas, Yagya shalas, hostels for students, and quarters for teachers. There were several vatikas and latakunj (small patches of garden). In the evening Gauri and Shyam Kalyan ragas were sung in praise of Sri Ram. It was a big complex, an area of the finest architectures.
In those days, a fakir named Khwaja Fazal Abbas Musa Ashikan came to Ram Janmabhoomi and became a disciple of Shyamanandajee. As he did penance he got some elementary siddhies (occult power). But beyond that, he could progress no further. To achieve more siddhies, he was ready to become a Hindu. Musa Ashikan was not fascinated by Vedic philosophy but siddhies for selfish purposes. Seeing through his selfish acts, Shyamanadajee refused to convert him. He said that nothing could be achieved by merely becoming a Hindu. The conditioning of mind (Sanskars) can only lead to further progress. And these conditioning cannot be achieved by just becoming Hindu. The only alternative for Musa Ashikan was to remain what he was, and do penance for remaining years, and expect further progress in his next life.
Musa Ashikan was not ready to wait that long. Neither did he believe in rebirth. He was interested in achieving only a few more siddhies. He decided that if he could not, then no one should get anything from this place. So he left Ayodhya for Delhi. He struck friendship with another fakir named Jalalshaha, who was a guru to Babar. Through him he prevailed upon Babar to destroy Ram Janmabhoomi in 1528. And from that time on, the struggle for Ram Janmabhoomi starte. It still continues.
Many battles were waged till the time of Akbar. So Akbar erected an altar before the disputed structure allowing the Hindus to install an idol over it to be worshipped. This arrangement continued till the times of Jahangir and Shahajahan. But when Aurangazeb became a ruler, he destroyed that altar built by Akbar. During the inhuman rein of Aurangazeb, a saint named Vaishnavadas came to Ayodhya. He was a disciple of Samarth Ramadas, who was guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Vaishnavadas was not alone. Ten thousand chimatadhari sanyasis also came to Ayodhya. Outwardly they were looking like sanyasis, but they were expert in warfare, espionage, and inspiring and organising masses. Vaishnavadas did not waste any time. Soon he created a fighting force of five thousand Suryavansh Kshatriyas. After that he erected a new altar over the same place and installed an idol of Sri Ram over it. When the news of this development reached Delhi, Aurangazeb sent an army of twenty thousand men under the command of Jambazkhan, which was defeated by Vaishnavadas. News of this defeat enraged Aurangazeb. He organised even a bigger army of fifty thousand men under the command of Sayyad Hasan Ali. This army was further reinforced by an artillery battalion.
The strategy of Vaishnavadas was so superb that the news of Aurangazeb’s army reached Ayodhya before its mobilisation started in Delhi. It was a real grave situation. Guru Govind singh ji was somewhere near Agra at that time. Vaishnavadas contacted him, explained the situation, and requested his assistance. Guru Govind Singh without wasting any time rushed to Ayodhya along with his 5000 Nihangas. Both Guru Govind Singh and Vaishnavadas met at an isolated place. That was at Brahmakund. They discussed how to defeat the Mughal army, and chalked out a strategy.
According to their plan, Sikh Nihangas were to wait in the jungle near Shahadatganj. Kshatriya army should keep themselves in readiness near Rudauli. And chimatadharis were to wait in Sarapat jungle near Jalpa. (In those days apart from sparsely spread small hamlets the area was covered by jungles only).
The first encounter of Mughal army took place at Rudauli against Suryavanshiya Kshatriyas. According to the plan, after the first few skirmishes Kshatriyas retreated and disappeared into the jungles. Later they resurfaced to join the Sikh army. Syed Hasan Ali thought that the Hindu army was defeated. He was elated with this easy victory. He thought that the road was clear to Ayodhya ; and so gave order to march ahead. But this happy state of mind did not last long. As they moved a few miles further from Rudauli and reached near Sarapat jungle, they were furiously attacked by Chimataadharis. It was an unexpected by the Mughal soldiers. Their trouble was further compounded when their rear was also attacked by the combined forces of Sikhs and Kshatriyas. The situation became so awkward that they could not manoeuvre their artillery also. They were practically ambushed. And a further blow to Mughal army was the loss of Sayyad Hasan Ali. He was killed near Jalpa by Chimatadharis. It happened in the initial stages of battle, and it was a mortal blow to the Mughals. The mughal army was left leaderless. Their liaison was broken. No one knew who to listen to. There was total chaos. They had no opening also run away. The result was an ignominious defeat. According to historical record only 47 soldiers reached back Delhi. It was a severe shock to Aurangazeb. But he remained quiet for some time. Vaishnavadas remained for another four years in Ayodyha. Altar and idol remained intact till then.
A total of 76 battles were fought over Ram Janmabhoomi. But only two decisive battles were won by Hindus. And the strategy for them was planned at Brahmakund. I consider myself fortunate because I could see the place where Guru Govind Singh ji and Vaishnavadas met. As I drank the water from Brahmakund, I applied the dust of the very place on my forehead.