NĀNAKĪ, MĀTĀ (d. 1678), mother of Gurū Tegh Bahādur, was born to Harī Chand and Hardeī, a well-to-do Khatrī couple of Bakālā, in the present district of Amritsar. She was married to Gurū Hargobind in April 1613. Tegh Bahādur, the youngest of the five sons of Gurū Hargobind, was born to her on 1 April 1621. It is said that the Gurū on seeing the newborn babe predicted auspiciously: "Of my five sons, he shall take the office of Gurū." The fond mother rejoiced at the prophecy, but, although Tegh Bahādur grew up into a healthy youth and even exhibited military prowess in the battle of Kartārpur, he seemed to take little interest in worldly affairs. He remained always saturated in the remembrance of God and spoke but little. This raised misgivings in Mātā Nānakī's heart about her son succeeding his father on the throne of Gurū Nānak. Besides, her husband had lately started bestowing special favours upon his grandson, Har Rāi. However, when she unburdened her heart to Gurū Hargobind, he simply repeated his prophecy and advised her to rejoice in God's Will.
Gurū Hargobind passed away on 3 March 1644. Mātā Nānakī, obeying her husband's command, removed to Bakālā along with her son and daughter-in-law. Twenty years later, the prophecy was fulfilled and her son was anointed Gurū on 11 August 1664. The family moved back to the Śivālik foothills where Gurū Tegh Bahādur founded, on 19 June 1665, a new habitation which he named, after his mother, Chakk Nānakī. Soon after this, however, the Gurū set out on a long journey, through the Mālvā region and what is now Uttar Pradesh, to the eastern parts visiting old saṅgats. Mātā Nānakī accompanied him.
Gurū Tegh Bahādur had been married since his early youth but had been without offspring. Mātā Nānakī had longed to see a grandson, and none was happier than her when Gobind Rāi was born on 22 December 1666 at Patṇā. But as the family returned to the Punjab in 1670, the shadows of a gathering gloom were already appearing in the distant horizon. Gurū Tegh Bahādur's increasing concern at the bigoted policies of the Delhi ruler gave rise to forebodings also in the mother's heart. Her worst fears proved true when, on 16 November 1675, she saw the severed head of her martyred son brought to Chakk Nānakī. The grief-stricken mother was consoled by her grandson, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Mātā Nānakī, reassured by the quiet dignity of the young Gurū, lived on for another few years. She died in 1678.
A. C. Banerjee