GURDITTĀ, BĀBĀ (1613-1638), the eldest son of Gurū Hargobind (1595-I644), was born on 15 November 1613 to Mātā Damodarī at Ḍaraulī Bhāī in present-day Farīdkoṭ district of the Punjab. He had his training in religious lore and in the martial arts under the supervision of his father. He was married on 17 April 1621 to Anantī alias Nattī, daughter of Bhāī Rāmā of Baṭālā, an ancient town in Gurdāspur district. According to Gurbilās Chhevīṅ Pātshāhī, relations from Ḍaraulī, Maṇḍīālī, Goindvāl and Khaḍūr Sāhib accompanied the marriage party. Bābā Buḍḍhā and Bhāī Gurdās, however, stayed behind in Amritsar to look after the Harimandar and the Akāl Takht. On returning to Amritsar, the family and the guests offered thanks giving ardās and prashad first at Akāl Takht and then at Harimandar. From 1626-27, Bābā Gurdittā lived at Kartārpur in Jalandhar district as directed by his father. During this period he founded under his father's instructions a habitation, the present Kīratpur Sāhib, in the Śivālik foothills. He also took part in the battle at Kartārpur against Pāindā Khān who was supported by the Mughal faujdār or garrison commander of Jalandhar. Bābā Srī Chand, the aged son of Gurū Nānak, appointed Bābā Gurdittā to succeed him as head of the Udāsī sect he had founded. Bābā Gurdittā proved worthy of the choice, and left a permanent mark on the history of the sect. He is best remembered for having reinvigorated missionary activity to which end he established four dhūāṅs or Udāsī preaching centres.
Bābā Gurdittā died at Kīratpur on Chet sudī 10, 1695 Bk/15 March 1638. As the legend goes, he had resurrected earlier on that day a cow which he had inadvertently killed while out hunting. Gurū Hargobind, it is said, admonished him for thus displaying a miracle. Bābā Gurdittā, overtaken by remorse for causing annoyance to his father, quietly retired and betook himself to a lonely place outside Kīratpur where he quit the earthly frame. A dehrā or mausoleum now stands on the spot.
Bābā Gurdittā had two sons - Dhīr Mall and Har Rāi. The latter donned the spiritual mantle of his grandfather whom he succeeded as Gurū Har Rāi, Nānak VII, in 1644.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)