Sardar Chiranjeev Singh
The establishment of the Khalsa Panth is not only a new turn in the Guru tradition, but a great national movement in the history of India's awakening. The gathering of Baisakhi on March 30, 1699 at Anandpur Sahib is the drumbeat of the religious, social and political revolution in Bharat. Tenth Guru Gobind Singhji manifested the meeting of the Sikh gurus – the Abhibhajya Bhakti – along with the huge divine power through an unworldly incident. His clear announcement surprised the world when he said, “My Sikh will seek the devotion along with the force. When he is one with devotion, he will be a saint. When he takes the form of a brave to finish the enemy, he will be a soldier. He will be saint and soldier at the same time”.
“I will unite all four varnas|
And make them recite Satnam||”
The Tenth Guru united the four varnas and dissolved them in the fathomless personality of his Khalsa and made a gesture. “When my Sikh rises in the wee hours and sing Gurubani, the five Vanis, he will be a Brahmin. When he earns with honest, sings God’s praise and name, he will be Vaishya. When he performs Karseva, serve the Guru's langar and the footwear of the devotees and the distressed, he will be Shudra. When he faces war with the enemies of the nation and faith to protect the borders from the tyrant and evil ones, he will be Kshatriya.” The Bharatiya society was divided in such fashion and had forgotten its varnas and duty.
अपना वर्ण, धर्म भूल चुका था।
कालु नाही जोगु नाही,
नाही सत का ढबु।
थानसट जग भरिसट होए,
डूबता इब जगु॥1॥
खत्रीआं त धरमु छोडिआ,
मलेछ भाखिआ गही॥
स्रिसटि सभ इक वरन होई,
धर्म की गति रही॥3॥
(Dhanasri Mahala 1, pg662)
Inspiring Shri Gobind Singhji united all four varnas in his Khalsa to fulfil the requirements of time and demands of the age. Khalsa became dear to Shri Gobind Singhji, who believed more than his life that there was no difference between one person from another. It was as if Guruji saw the timeless being in his Khalsa.
He sang the praise of Khalsa in
खालसा मेरो रूप है खास॥
खालसे महि हौ करौ निवास॥
खालसा मेरो मुख है अंगा॥
खालसे के हौं सद सद संगा॥
खालसा मेरो मित्तर सखाई॥
खालसा मात पिता सुखदाई॥
खालसा अकाल पुरुख की फौज॥
प्रगटिओ खालसा परमातम की मौज॥
Thus, the Sirjana of the Khalsa Panth came to fore to Bharatiya society in the form of religious and social revolution. It is a common belief that Khalsa Panth was formed to protect the Hindu faith. However, Guru Gobind Singhji did not approve the social and religious downfall of the Hindu society. Rather, he established an ideal in the form of an ideal society free from the discriminations and useless rituals. Guruji did not tolerate the social atrocities based on the inequalities decided by the leaders of the Hindu society. Rather, Guruji gave a war cry against the religious and political atrocities against the ancient life values and onslaught on the Bharatiya culture.
It is necessary to appraise the condition of Bharat prior to understand the fact why Guruji chose the path of sacrifice while treading the way of love.
Guruji had seen the sacrifice of his father Guru Shri Tegbahadurji in 1675. He himself had inspired his father to fulfil the duty. The atrocities in Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab were on the rise. These famous lines on the great passing of Guru Tegbahadurji have commonplace in the Gurusikhs’ homes.
साधन हेति इती जिनि करी॥
सीसु दीआ परु सी न उचरी॥
धर्म हेत साका जिनि कीआ॥
सीसु दीआ पर सिररु न दीआ॥
तेगबहादुर के चलत भयो जगत को सोक।
है है है सभ जग भयो जै जै जै सुरलोक॥
Guruji was getting information on the atrocities by Mughal outside of Punjab also. When Shivaji’s son was defeated in Maharashtra (1689 AD), Aurangzeb ordered to cut Sambhaji’s and his minister poet Kala’s tongues so that they could never speak against the Badhsah who was a representative of Hazrat Muhammad Sahib. Then their eyes were gouged. Another 10 of his colleagues were subjected to cruel tortures and then killed. Thereafter, the heads of Sambhaji and poet Kalas were paraded in all cities in the south India accompanied by the sounds of drums. (Cambridge History
According to Kafi Khan and Dr Gokul Chand Narang, idols in ancient Hindu temples were broken and removed. Those idols were fitted in the steps of Jama Masjids at Agra and Delhi to insult the people. The knowledge of Raagas, which were a part of social life of Gursikhs and other Bharatiyas, were prohibited as per an order in 1699.
An order sent to the border province in 1693 said, “No Hindu can keep the weapon and beard or hair”. The Muharram of the Shia Muslims was banned in 1699. A Sufi saint was beheaded in public. According to ‘Ahkam-e-Alamgir’, Aurangzeb even recalled his order to make his loyal Rajputs the fauzdars and subedars. Only those Hindus were assured of the jobs in government service who became Muslims. This prohibition was applicable to Shia Muslims as well. Guru Shri Gobind Singhji was given order through the border province on November 20, 1693 to spend his life as a saint or ascetic. If he was to unite the forces, observe the army through the windows of Anandpur fort, the fort of Anandpur was to be razed. Guru was to be arrested.
When this order failed to impact Guru Shri Gobind Singhji, a general decree was issued to murder the Sikhs and eradicate them by all sorts. A Sikh gurudwara was razed and converted into a mosque. When the Sikhs assumed power, it was reconverted into Gurudwara. The Sikhs killed the Imam.
After some time, the fidel Muslims attacked 20 thousand Sikhs who were taking shelter in Afghanistan and killed them.
Ahkam-e-Alamgir, pg 29
Aurangzeb ordered Prince Alam to drive out Sikhs from all Afghan districts and arrest them. Historian Gopal Singh writes in his book ‘History of Sikhs’, “Guru Shri Gobind Singhji’s taking up the arms against Aurangzeb and fighting against him was not unnatural in such circumstances”.
Acceptance of Challenge
Guru Shri Gobind Singhji was disobeying one after the other dictat. “My Sikh will ride a horse, will keep weapon, will keep hair. We will strengthen the army to end tyranny and atrocities. ‘Khalsa is the army of Timeless Being’. It will conquer. This victory is that of army not mine but of Timeless Being. This victory too is not mine. It is of Wahiguru. Khalsa is of Wahiguru, victory is of Wahiguru.”
Guruji ordered the devotees coming from all over the country and overseas not to bring garlands, cloth or beautiful kerchief but to bring good arms, swords, spears etc. Horses and elephants started coming obviously. However, Guruji was not satisfied. He thought that he had to fight against the mightiest power of the world that had the force of trained army of 600-year old state. His Sikhs were common people. His Sikh was not to be only a salaried soldier but a brave,
fearless warrior ready to sacrifice
Guru Shri Gobind Singhji made a grand plan and decided to follow it. The day of March 30, 1699 was chosen for this. This day falls now on April 13 after the modifications in the English calendar. At this occasion, 80 thousand devotees were present. The historians may differ over whether these devotees gathered after sending official invitations or through following the tradition. However, it is true that the day radiated with glory. The decoration of the podium, beauty of the tents and pandals were especially centre of the attraction. Devotees were curious to see Guruji. However, Guruji was busy in some celestial play. Suddenly the drum started beating. Guruji appeared in full radiance with his shining sword. He called aloud “Devotees! the faith is in danger. We have to fight tyranny. You have given me the elephants, horses and arms but I want the heads of the Sikhs.” Guruji wanted to have fire-test of his followers. “If you want to offer me something, give me your head. Nothing less than the head”.
The entire gathering became still. Some thought of walking out. Some went to Mata Gujariji with complaint. “Please convince Guruji. Today Guruji is not normal”. The Mother refused to intervene. Elsewhere, Guruji again shouted, “I want head. My Sikh should offer head as offering to the Guru”.
The Khatri youth from Lahore Daya Ram rose in such a void atmosphere. “O Guru get the head of this servant is here. Tell me, how I should give it”. Guruji held his hand and took him into a tent at the back. The devotees heard a sound. After some time, Guruji came with bloodied sword in hand and addressed gathering again to say that he wanted head. After a lull, the Jat youth from Hastinapur Dharmdas said with bowed head, “This head is yours”. Guruji took him also to tent. Again the same loud voice rose from Guruji but seeing that nobody was coming forth, Guruji cried out in anger,
“Is there any Sikhs’ son who wants to offer head|”?
Mohakam Singh, the youth from the Chhipa community in Gujarat came to fore after this appeal. “Guru Maharaj, the servant's head is here”. The devotees heard same sound of attack on him in the tent. However, when Guruji did not return, the barber youth from Karnataka, Sahib Chand and later Zeevar Himman Singh from Jagannathpuri rose. Guruji took all five Sikhs inside and did not come out. The devotees were waiting with bated breath. The devotees’ surprise knew no bounds when they saw five Sikhs with Guruji in the full Singh attire with weapons and embellishments.
Later other Sikhs expressed wish to come forward. However, Guruji declared that these are my dear five (Panj Pyare) ones. These are true to
However, Guruji's play did not end here. He declared My Sikhs will now drink the Amrit instead of water of washed feet. A big bowl was brought. Five vanis were sung. The sword was rotated in the bowl. At the same moment, Mata Sahib came with the sweet patashe. She said that she wanted to mix the sweet in the Amrit. Guruji accepted the request of Mata Sahib and thought, “My Khalsa should be a warrior like sword and carry sweetness and humility in voice”.
Guruji was bent on ending the caste discrimination and cowardice from life. He made all to drink Amrit from the same bowl. “Oh Khalsa, you become pure and achieve the post of Guru. However, I did a drama. Now make me pure like you”. With these words, he sat down. Along with other Panj Pyare, Daya Singh made Guruji drink Amrit. Guruji made a Sikh the Guru and himself became Sikh. Seeing Guruji’s this play, Bhai Gurudas pronounced following Vani. Seeing this divine play, Bhai Gurudas said:
वह प्रगटिओ मरद अगंमड़ा वरियाम अकेला।
वाहु वाहु गोबिन्द सिंह आपे गुरु चेला॥
हरि सच्चे तख्त रचाइआ सति संगति मेला।
नानक निरभउ निरंकार विधि सिंघा खेला।
गुरु सिमर मनाई कालका खण्डे की बेला।
पीवहु पाहुल खण्डे धर होए जन्म सुहेला।
गुर संगत कीनी खालसा मनमुखी दुहेला।
वाह वाह गोबिंद सिंह आपे गुर चेला॥
(वार 41, पउड़ी 2)
With the completion of this incident, a new dimension – force – was added to the devotion tradition of Guru Nanak. A gathering of saints turned into a crowd of brave soldiers. Some foreign scholars alleged that Shri Guru Gobind Singhji abandoned the path of Guru Nanak and turned religious Sikhs into fighting soldiers. They remained to be soldiers only.
Noted scholar Dr Gokul Chand Narang has replied to this falsehood saying that the iron with which Shri Guru Gobind Singhji sharpened his sword was made by Guru Nanak. Khalsa Panth is not just a sect or a religion. It is a great national movement. It has become more relevant today.
(The writer is volunteer of Samajik Ekta)