Friday, December 02, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

CREATION OF THE KHALSA:

Guru Gobind Singh Ji, at Fatehgarh Sahib asking for a head. Here he beheaded the Five Piaras and with the 'Amrit', he again gave them life - A new Life - A new Spirit infused into the dead concious of the Hindu Dharma.

The Guru sent Hukamnamas to his followers all over the country to visit Anandpur at the Baisakhi festival to be held in Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.). It seemed as if the whole of Punjab was on the move; and they came from all parts of the country.

A small tent was pitched on a small hill now called Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur and an open air dewan(assembly) was held. The Guru drew his sword and in a thundering voice said," I want one head, is there any one who can offer me?" This most unusual call caused some terror in the gathering and the people were stunned. There was dead silence. The Guru made a second call. Nobody came forward. There was still more silence. On the third call there rose Daya Ram, a khatri of Lahore who said," O true king, my head is at thy service." The Guru took Daya Ram by the arm and led him inside the tent. A blow and thud were heard. Then the Guru, with his sword dripping with blood, came out and said," I want another head, is there anyone who can offer?"

NOTE: Most of the writers including many Sikh writers, state that the Guru had concealed five goats inside the tent on the previous night without letting anybody know. Therefore, when he took Daya Ram inside the tent, he cut off goat's head instead of Daya Ram's. It is difficult for these writers to perceive Guru's supernatural acts. They cannot comprehend that the Guru could behead Daya Ram, and then bring him back alive from the tent. They need to understand that the Guru was a Divine Jot, sitting on the Divine throne of Guru Nanak. They are showing complete disrespect to the Guru by implying that he was incapable of performing supernatural acts. With these types of thoughts, these writers are committing sacrilege upon the Guruship. The Guru had the power to raise the dead. The Divine Word confirms:

"Satgur mera mar jiwalei." (Bhairon Mohalla 5, p-1142)

'My lord can raise the dead to life.' (Translation of the above)

This was not an ordinary feat, this was the most unparallel and supernatural act which was performed

through the direct Will of God. The Guru himself authenticates this act:

"Khalsa is the army of God

Khalsa is created with the Will of God."

(Guru Gobind Singh- Sarbloh Granth)

Again on third call Dharam Das, a Jat from Delhi came forward and said," O true king! My head is at thy disposal." The Guru took Dharam Das inside the tent, again a blow and thud were heard, and he came out with his sword dripping with blood and repeated," I want another head, is there any beloved Sikh who can offer it?"

Upon this some people in the assembly remarked that the Guru had lost all reason and went to his mother to complain. Mohkam Chand, a calico printer of Dwarka (west coast of India) offered himself as a sacrifice. The Guru took him inside the tent and went through the same process. When he came out, he made a call for the fourth head. The Sikhs began to think that he was going to kill all of them. Some of them ran away and the others hung their heads down. Himmat Chand, a cook of Jagan Nath Puri, offered himself as a fourth sacrifice. Then the Guru made a fifth and the last call for a fifth head. Sahib Chand, a barber of Bidar (in central India), came forward and the Guru took him inside the tent. A blow and thud were heard.

The last time he stayed longer in the tent. People began to breath with relief. The Guru clad them in splendid garments. They offered their heads to the Guru, and the Guru had now given them himself and his glory. When they were brought outside, they were in the most radiant form. There were exclamations of wonder and the sighs of regret on all sides. Now people were sorry for not offering their heads.

Since the time of Guru Nanak, Charanpauhal had been customary form of initiation. People were to drink the holy water which had been touched or washed by the Guru's toe or feet. The Guru proceeded to initiate them to his new order by asking five faithful Sikhs to stand up. He put pure water into an iron vessel or Bowl (Batta of Sarbloh) and stirred it with a Khanda (two edged small sword). While stirring the water with Khanda, he recited Gurbani or Divine Word ( Five Banis- Japji, Jap Sahib, Anand Sahib, Swayas, and Chaupai). Sugar crystals called 'Patasas' which incidently the Guru's wife, Mata Sahib Kaur, had brought at that moment, were mixed in the water.

The Guru then stood up with the sacred Amrit ( nectar) prepared in the steel bowl. Each of the five Faithfuls, by turn, each kneeling upon his left knee, looked up to the Master to receive his Eternal Light. Hegave five palmfuls of Amrit to each of them to drink and sprinkled it five times in the eyes, asking them to repeat aloud with each sprinkle, "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh." (This meant: Khalsa belongs to God and all triumph be to His Name) Then he anointed with five sprinkles in the hair. In this way Amrit was administered to the five faithfuls from the same bowl. After that he asked them to sip Amrit from the same bowl to signify their initiation into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa. All the five faithfuls were baptized in this way by the Guru who then called them 'PANJ PYARE' or Five Beloved Ones. He gave them the appellation of SINGHS or lions and they were named from Daya Ram to Daya Singh, Dharam Das to Dharam Singh, Mohkam Chand to Mohkam Singh, Himmat Chand to Himmat Singh, and Sahib Chand to Sahib Singh. The Guru then addressed them as the supreme, the liberated ones, pure ones and he called them THE KHALSA.

He then ordained them to do the following:

I. First they must wear the following articles whose names begin with 'K':

1. Kes- unshorn hair. This represents the natural appearance of saintlihood. This is the first token of

Sikh faith.

2. Kanga- A comb to clean the hair.

3. Kachha- An underwear to denote chastity.

4. Kara- A steel bracelet on the wrist, a symbol of dedication to the Divine Bridegroom.

5. Kirpan- A sword for self-defence and a symbol of dignity, power and unconquerable spirit.

II. They must observe the following guidelines:

1. Not to remove hair from the body.

2. Not to use Tobacco or other intoxicants.

3. Not to eat 'Kutha', a meat of an animal slaughtered by slow degrees as done by the Muslims.

4. Not to commit adultery- 'Par nari ki sej, bhul supne hun na jayo' (never enjoy, even in dream, the bed of a

woman an other than your own wife) (A supplementary ordinance was issued that any one who did not

observe any of the four directives, must be re- baptized, pay a fine, and promise not to offend

any more; or he must be excommunicated from the Khalsa).

III. They must rise at dawn, bathe, meditate on Gurmantar- 'Waheguru', Moolmantar- the preamble of

Japji, and recite five banis- Japji, Jap Sahib and Swayas in the morning; Rehras in the evening; and Kirtan

Sohela at bed time at night.

IV. They must not have matrimonial relations with smokers, with persons who killed their daughters, with

the descendants or followers of Prithi Chand, Dhir Mal, Ram Rai, or masands who had strayed away from

the tenets and principles of Guru Nanak.

V. They must not worship idols, cemeteries, or cremation grounds, and must believe only in One Immortal

God. The Guru further spelled out that they should practise arms, and never show their backs to the foe in

the battle field. They should always be ready to help the poor and protect those who sought their protection.

They were to consider their previous castes erased, and deem themselves all brothers of one family. Sikhs

were to intermarry among themselves.

 

THE MASTER BECOMES THE DISCIPLE:

Guru Gobind Singh with the Panj Pyaras

After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and withfolded hands, begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized them. This was the height of this remarkable episode setting up unparallel example in the world that first as Guru, he created the Khalsa blessing them with power, supremacy and glory, and then he himself became their disciple- Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple. In the annals of human history a disciple could become a Guru but never a Guru became a disciple. The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such a proposal, and represented their own unworthiness, and the greatness of the Guru, whom they deemed God's Vicar upon earth. They asked him why he made such a request and why he stood in a supplicant posture before them. He replied," I am the son of the Immortal God. It is by His order I have been born and have established this form of baptism. They who accept it shall henceforth be known as the KHALSA. The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is no difference between you and me. As Guru Nanak seated Guru Angad on the throne, so have I made you also a Guru. Wherefore administer the baptismal nectar to me without any hesitation." Accordingly the Five Beloved Ones baptized the Guru with the same ceremonies and injunctions he himself had employed. The Guru was then named Gobind Singh instead of Gobind Rai.

Guru Gobind Singh was the first one to take Amrit from the Khalsa, the Five Beloved Ones. About 80,000 men and women were baptized within a few days at Anandpur. By creating the Khalsa, the Guru embedded two qualities in one person. A Khalsa is a Saint-Soldier. A Sikh is a saint because he worships the All-Pervading Divine Spirit and in whom that Spirit shines day and night like a full moon. A Sikh is a soldier because he is ever ready to take up the arms to uphold righteousness.

The Guru promised the Five Beloved Ones (The Khalsa) that whenever they called upon him, he wouldagree to their proposal. This was the establishment of democratic Khalsa. The Guru fulfilled this promise by submitting to the demand of the Five Beloved Ones at the battle of Chamkaur and left the Garhi. The Guru himself gives the definition of his beloved Khalsa:

"He who constantly keeps in mind Intent upon Ever Awake Living Light of Consciousness And never

swerves from the thought of One God; And he who is adorned with full faith in Him And is wholly

steeped in the Love of the Lord, And even by mistake never puts his faith in fasting Or in worship of

tombs, sepulchre or crematoriums, Caring not for pilgrimages, alms, charities, Penances or austerities;

Or anything else but devotion to One God; And in whose heart and soul the Divine Light Shines forth

as the full moon He is known as Khalsa, the purest of the pure."

(Guru Gobind Singh- Swayas)

The Persian historian Gulam-ul-din, the newswriter of that period, sent Emperor Aurangzeb a copy of the Guru's address to his Sikhs on the first of Baisakh, Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.) which reads as follows:

"Let all embrace one creed and obliterate differences of religion. Let the four Hindu castes who have

different rules for their guidance abandon them all, adopt the one form of adoration, and become

brothers. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Let none pay heed to the Ganges, and other

places of pilgrimage which are spoken of with reverence in the Shastras, or adore incarnations such as

Rama, Krishna, Brahma, and Durga, but believe in Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus. Let men of

the four castes receive my baptism, eat out of one dish, and feel no disgust or contempt for one

another."

When the Guru addressed the gathering, several Brahmans and Khatris stood up and accepted the religion of Guru Nanak while others insisted that they would never accept any religion which was opposed to the teachings of the Vedas and Shastras.

So far the leadership had remained in the hands of non- militant urban Khatris from whom the majority of the masands were drawn, but now the situation had completely changed. Peasantry and other classes of rural areas formed the bulk of the converts. Even those people who had been considered the dregs of humanity were changed like a magic into something rich and super. The sweepers, the barbers and confectioners who had never touched a sword and whose whole generations had lived as slaves of the higher castes, became doughty warriors under the stimulating leadership of the Guru.

Ideologically, the Khalsa was created to be aimed at a balanced combination of the ideals of Bhakti andShakti, of moral and spiritual excellence and militant valor or heroism of the highest order; or in other words the Khalsa was to be a brotherhood in faith and brotherhood in arms at one and the same time. The Khalsa symbolized in itself the determination to complete the social and religious revolution inaugurated by Guru Nanak. The code of conduct prescribed for the newly created Khalsa was so devised as to impose a strict discipline on the Sikhs to ensure firm coherence and commitment on their part to the holy and lofty ideals of Sikhism.

With the creation of the Khalsa, some new doctrines were also established. The first doctrine of the Khalsa was the doctrine of the theocratic democracy by his selected, not elected, five representatives of the people from amongst the thousands of the devotees from all over the country while second was the doctrine of collective responsibility by authorizing the Five Beloved Ones only, in the presence of the holy Guru Granth Sahib to assume authority implicitly to be obeyed by the whole nation.

The Guru set the souls of the Khalsa free and filled their hearts with a lofty longing for religious and social freedom and national ascendancy. The Khalsa, therefore, accepted the challenge to combat terror inspired by tyranny of he powerful Mughal empire and embarked upon a national struggle of liberation.

 

BHAI NAND LAL:

A Gutka with the sacred autograph of Guru Gobind Singh Ji given to Bhai Dharam Singh (Pyara) and now with his descendents at the house of Bagrian. (Courtesy- Nishaan)

Bhai Nand Lal Goya, born at Ghazni in Afghanistan in 1643, was an accomplished persian scholar who composed verses in praise of God and Guru Gobind Singh. He was hardly nineteen when his parents passed away and after that he moved to the city of Multan. The Nawab of Multan being impressed with his scholastic talents and personality, appointed him as his 'Mir Munshi' (Revenue officer). At the age of 45 Nand Lal left the service and set out in pursuit of peace. At last he reached Anandpur. Nand Lal wanted to test the Guru before he could accept him. He took a small house and started living quietly in that and made up his mind that he would go to the Guru only when the Guru beckoned him. The Guru did not call for sometimes. During this period Nand Lal became very restless which he recorded:

"How long shall I patiently wait? My heart is restless for a vision of thee, My tearful eyes, says Goya,

Have become flooding streams of love Flowing in a passionate affection towards thee."

(Nand Lal- Translated)

At last the Guru called Nand Lal. When he reached there for his holy sight, the Guru was sitting in a trance with his eyes closed. As Nand Lal saw the Master, he was wonder-stuck and he recorded:

"My life and faith are held in bondage,

By His sweet and angelic face;

The glory of Heaven and earth,

Is hardly worth,

A hair of His golden looks.

O! How can I bear the light,

Shed by the piercing glance of His love,

To ennoble and enlighten life,

A glimpse of the Beloved is enough."

(Bhai Nand Lal)

 

After a short while the Master opened his eyes and smiled as he looked towards Nand Lal. By mere opening of his eyes, he enabled Nand Lal to see the Divine. His one glance of Grace opened the spiritual eyes of Nand Lal. He bowed down saying,"Lord, my doubts are dispelled. I have known the Truth. The doors of my heart are opened and I have attained peace."

Nand Lal, thus, continued to live at Anandpur in the service and love of the Master. One day the Gurucommanded him," You left the home and renounced the world; such a renunciation is not acceptable to me. Go back and live in the world, work for your living and serve the humanity; but remain unattached to Maya (materialism), keeping God alive in thy mind." Nand Lal asked," Whither should I go, O Master?" The Guru replied," To whichever direction your feet carry thee."

Bhai Nand Lal bowed and left Anandpur and after sometimes he reached Agra, the city of Taj Mahal where Prince Bahadur Shah was holding his court. There were some poets, scholars and artists patronized by the prince. Nand Lal was soon recognized at Agra as a great scholar which earned him a high office and emoluments from the prince. It is said that Emperor Aurangzeb had to send a letter to the King of Persia and Nand Lal's draft of that letter was deemed as the most suitable. Upon this Aurangzeb sent for Nand Lal, and after an interview he remarked to his courtiers that it was a pity that such a learned man should remain a Hindu. Aurangzeb told Prince Bahadur Shah to convert Nand Lal to Islam by persuasion if possible, and by force otherwise. This news leaked out and Bhai Nand Lal with the help of Ghiasuddin, a Muslim admirer and follower of him, escaped from Agra one night, and fled to Anandpur, the only place where such refugees could find safe asylum.

Enjoying the blissful life at the Master's feet at Anandpur, Bhai Nand Lal then settled down to a routine of a devoted disciple. He presented to the Guru a Persian work called Bandagi Nama in praise of God, a titlewhich the Guru changed to Zindagi Nama, or 'Bestower of Eternal life'. The following few extracts are from that work:

"Both worlds, here and hereafter, are filled with God's light; The sun and moon are merely servants

who hold His torches.

They who search for God are ever civil.

(Bhai Nand Lal- Translated)

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