Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti or Prakash Purab is celebrated on the birth anniversary of the tenth Guru – Guru Gobind Singh every year. He was one of the most renowned Gurus of Sikh traditions. He symbolises the Spirit of Righteousness, Bravery and Justice.
Birth and Childhood
Gobind Rai alias Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708) was born in Patna, Bihar to Guru Tegh Bahadur ji (Ninth Guru) and Mata Gujri. According to Hindu Calendar, Guru Gobind Singh ji was born on Saptami Tithi of Shukla Paksha 1723 Samvat in the month of Pausha. As per new Nanaksahahi calender this year’s birth anniversary is falling on December 29, 2022 and it’s his 356th birth anniversary. His birth name was Gobind Rai and a shrine named Takht Sri Patna, Harimandar Sahib marks the site of the house where he was born and spent the first four years of his life. Guru Gobind Singh Ji and their family returned to Punjab in 1670. After Guru Tegh Bahadur’s visit to Assam, Bengal and Bihar, the Guru visited Rani Champa of Bilaspur who offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The Guru bought the site for 500 rupees. There, Guru Tegh Bahadur founded the city of Anandpur Sahib in the foothills of Himalayas.
In 1675 his father Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was petitioned by Kashmiri Pandits for protection from the persecution by the Mughals. Guru Tegh Bahadur considered a peaceful resolution by meeting Aurangzeb but because of conflicts between them and Islamic empire Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in Delhi on November 24 under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. After Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom, the young Gobind Rai was installed as the Tenth guru on Vaisakhi 1676.
He stood up against those who oppressed others. He is also remembered for the ultimate sacrifice which no living being can imagine. For this sacrifice, he is often known as ‘Sarbans Dani’ which means Supreme Sacrificer as his whole family including his father, mother and all four sons attained martyrdom in the religious war against emperor Aurangzeb. This war was waged by emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb demanded that all Hindus including Sikhs should be converted to Islam otherwise they will be killed. At the battle of Chamkaur in December 1705, the two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzaade Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh attained martyrdom while battling. Guru’s younger sons Sahibzaade Zorawar Singh (9) and Fateh Singh (7) along with Mata Gujri were captured by Wazir Khan, the governor of Sirhind.
Both Baba Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were told to convert to Islam or face death but they remained steadfast in their convictions. The two sons were ordered to be bricked up alive in a wall, but, since the masonry crumbled before it covered their heads, they were executed the following day. Mata Gujri ji were imprisoned on top of a tower which was opened from all sides without any warm clothes in very cold month of December. She continued the tradition of Sikhism and without complaints give her body singing ‘guru ki bani’. Mata Gujri ji attained martyrdom the same day as her grandsons.
Foundation of Khalsa (Order of the Pure)
Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded Khalsa in 1699 at Anandpur on Vaisakhi. The Guru with a sword in hand called for a volunteer from among the crowd who is ready to sacrifice his head. On his third call Daya Ram (later called Bhai Daya Singh) came forward. The Guru took him in a tent and returned alone to the crowd with blood dripping from his sword. Another volunteer was called by the Guru who was again taken inside the tent and after some time the Guru returned alone with the bloody sword. He continued the process with three more volunteers but after the fifth volunteer went inside the tent, the Guru came out with all the five volunteers unharmed. The Guru blessed the five volunteers namely Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Sahib Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhai Himmat Singh and called them the Panj Pyare (the five beloved ones) and the first Khalsa in the Sikh tradition.
The Guru then took an iron bowl and prepared a solution of water and sugar stirring it with a double-edged sword calling it Amrit. A new surname of “Singh” meaning lion was given to them by the Guru. The Guru then asked the five baptized followers of Sikh traditions to baptize him as a Khalsa and with this the Guru became the sixth Khalsa and from this time he came to be known as Guru Gobind Singh.
He introduced five K’s, the five articles of faith that Khalsa Sikhs wear at all time which includes KESH (uncut hair), KANGHA (a wooden comb), KARA (an iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist.), KACHERA (short breeches) and KIRPAN (a sword or dagger)
Assassination of the Guru Ji
Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind had felt concerned at the Emperor’s conciliatory treatment of Guru Gobind Singh. Their marching together to the South made him jealous, and he ordered two of his trusted men with murdering the Guru before his increasing friendship with the emperor resulted in any harm to him. These two pathans Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg are the names given in the Guru Kian Sakhian pursued the Guru secretly and overtook him at Nanded, where, according to Sri Gur Sobha by Senapati, a contemporary writer, one of them stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart as he lay one evening in his chamber resting after the Rahras prayer. Before he could deal another blow, Guru Gobind Singh struck him down with his sabre, while his fleeing companion fell under the swords of Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise.
As the news reached Bahadur Shah’s camp, he sent expert surgeons, to attend to the Guru. The Guru’s wound was immediately stitched by the Emperor’s European surgeon and within a few days it appeared to have been healed. The injury had been contained and the Guru had made a good recovery.
However, several days later, when the Guru tugged at a hard strong bow, the imperfectly healed wound burst open and caused profuse bleeding. It was again treated but it was now clear to the Guru that the call of the Father from Heaven had come. He prepared the sangat for his departure; instruction were given to the immediate main Sewadars and finally he gave his last and enduring message of his mission to the assembly of the Khalsa.
He then opened the Granth Sahib, placed five paise and solemnly bowed to it as his successor, GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI, saying ‘Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh’, he walked around the Guru Granth Sahib and proclaimed, “O beloved Khalsa, let him who desired to behold me, behold the Guru Granth. Obey the Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Gurus. And let him who desires to meet me, search me in the hymns.”
He then sang his self-composed hymn: “Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koe Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe.”
Guru Gobind Singh fought 13 battles against the Mughal Empire and the Kings of Shivalik hills:
- Battle of Bhangani (1688)
- Battle of Nadaun (1691)
- Battle of Guler (1696)
- Battle of Anandpur (1700 and 1701)
- Battle of Nirmohgarh (1702)
- Battle of Basoli (1702)
- First Battle of Chamkaur (1702)
- Battle of Anandpur (1704 and 1705)
- Battle of Sarsa (1704)
- Second battle of Chamkaur (1704)
- Battle of Muktsar (1705)