Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


14th January

1553 Guru Amar Das visits Kurukshetra.

The solar eclipse of "Abijit Nakshatra (recurring after about 25 years) brought Guru Amar Das and his Sikhs to Kurukshetra for preaching Guru Nanak's mission to the vast multitude. It led to discussions with yogis, naked ascetics, sanyasis and the followers of all the six schools of Hindu philosophy. The earlier solar eclipse had taken Guru Nanak to Kurukshetra, known as a big centre for pilgrimage on such an occasion.

==> GURU AMAR DAS (1479-1574), the seventy-three years old disciple who had distinguished himself for his humility and simplicity in Guru Angad's holy company was nominated Guru in 1552.

Born of orthodox Hindu parents in Baserke, a Punjab village, in Vaisakh sudhi 14th sunmat 1536 (May 5, 1479) to father TaejBhan and mother Sulakhani, Guru Amar Das married Srimatti Mansa Devi Ji on Magh 11th sunmat 1559. The marriage resulted in two daughters, Bibi Dani and Bhani, and two sons, Baba Mohan and Mohari.

Guru Amar Das was a great pilgrim. Once he happened to listen to a rapturous chanting of Guru Nanak's Japji by Bibi Amro, Guru Angad's daughter and his nephew's wife. He was so much enthralled by its supernal note that he repaired instantly to Guru Angad, the Second Master. He spent about 12 years, from 1540 to 1552 in selfless service and deep meditation, amidst an aura of holiness and splendor radiating from his beloved Guru. Amar Dass became a sikh of Guru Angad Patshah in sunmat 1597 and ascended to Guru Gadhi on Vaisakh 3rd sunmat 1609.

While expounding the gospel of Guru Nanak, the Third Master laid special stress on the service of the Guru and contemplation of the Lord's Name. He asserted that man could attain "Sahaj" (tranquility) through the path of the holy name. All doubts disappear and he attains Ananda (bliss) a stage achieved by the Bhakts through God-realization. He also held that these values could be acquired only through the Guru's grace.

During the 22 years of his ministry, Guru Amar Das took quite a few significant measures to consolidate the Sikh religion, as also to endear it to the masses of men. To widen the scope of the movement, he made Goindwal his missionary centre. Here he caused a big "bavalli" (a sort of well) dug and organized festivals on the occasion of "Deepavall" and "Baisakhi". A large number of Sikhs from far-flung places flocked to Goindwal. Indeed it became the first place of pilgrimage.

Besides, the Guru set up twenty-two manjis, or dioceses in different parts of the country where Sikhism had taken roots. Each Manji was placed under the charge of a pious Sikh with whose effort the Sikh Sangats (congregations) met daily and chanted the Guru's hymns.

The Third Master invested the institution of langar with a kind of inviolable sanctity. Thus, no one could, have darshan of the Guru without first partaking of food in the langar. This had the desired effect of proclaiming and establishing the essential equality of all mankind. In the Guru's Temple of Bread, the rich and the poor, the high-born and the untouchable, ate together as members of an integrated human family. The Guru also fought other rampant social evils like "Sati", drink and Purdah. With a view to marking out the Sikhs as a distinct people, Guru Amar Das prescribed a set of rites to be followed on occasions such as birth and death. The Guru also visited Hindu cities of pilgrimage and there, too, he propagated the gospel of Guru Nanak.

Guru Amar Das Patshah left for heavenly abode on Bhado Sudi 15 sunmat 1631 (Sept. 1, 1574 after serving 22 years, 5 months, and 23 days as teh third Guru of GurSikhism.

"Guru Amar Dass Jini Saewiyo Tin Dukh Darad Parhar Parae"
(sawia M. 3 Kae)

-Ref. "Guru Granth Ratnavali," (pp. 142) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh
Mahan Kosh (pp. 74)

1705 Maela Maaghi (Mukatsar) in remembrance of 40 Muktas

Maela is observed every year at Mukatsar. Guru Gobind Singh cast off the blue dress that he used for his escape at Dhilmi. He then moved on to Talwandi and was at Rohi when a group of 40 Sikhs from Majha, accompanied by Mata Bhag Kaur, visited him. They were visiting to convey their condolences at the death of his four sons and his mother, and also to offer their services to mediate a compromise between the Guru and the Mughal authorities. However, the Guru put them on the defensive by narrating the series of Mughal atrocities from Guru Arjan's martyrdom through Guru Hargobind's incarceration for several years at Gawalior, Guru Tegh Bahadhur's martyrdom to the laying of the seige of Anandpur. Where were they, all this while? Were they not ashamed to talk of mediation?

Bhag Singh Jhabalia gave lead that it was not within their means to carry forth their faith in the Guru. The Guru reminded them that he had not called them and they should write a disclaimer which was signed by another four, all from Jhabal. The rest 35 did not. The Guru at that moment got the information of advancement of Mughal forces in hot pursuit and he along with those accompanying him moved on to take their positions by the side of a mound.

It was at this stage that Mata Bhag Kaur put the 40 men from Majha to shame and told them that their action would be a disgrace to Majha. They would not be received with equanimity by the society including their own families. It was her challenge that made the 40 to grid up their lions and face the upcoming Mughal force of the Nawab of Sirhind.

Of the forty, only three (Rai Singh, Sunder Singh, and Mahan Singh) were in their last breath, while Bhag Kaur lay injured, when Guru Gobind Singh blessed profusely those dead and reached those injured - none of whom had signed the disclaimer. Their only request to the Guru was to tear the disclaimer. He did that and blessed them as Muktas, the saved ones, whose cycles of birth and death was over. He also changed the name of Ishar Sar to Mukatsar in their honour.

-Ref. "The Sikhs in History", by Sangat Singh, 1995

==> MUKATSAR is a historical city in Ferozpur district. SriMukatsar Sahib encompasses a pool of water that is sacred for the Sikhs. It was previously known as "Khidrana Ki Dhab" or "Ishar Sar". Rain water from the surrounding area used to collect in abundance here. It served as the only source of drinking water for all the surrounding areas. Throughout the year, people travelled far distances to fulfill their water needs.

In Vaisakh of sunmat 1762, when the Sirhind Subhaedar Wajir Khan enter Malwa, in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Sikhs immediately seized control of this water source and faced the enemy forces. Mai Bhago and the accompaning Sikhs were first to catch up with the enemy. They fought so bravely that the enemy was forced to leave the battle grounds. Among the fallen were 40 Sikhs who were honored as Muktas.

WHO WERE THESE 40 SIKHS? These Sikhs were the same ones who had submitted a written petition in Anandpur Sahib, breaking all their associations with Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. The petition was submitted prior to Guru Gobind Singh's reluctant departure from Anadpur Sahib. However, after the enemy's retreat from the battle fields, the wounded Mai Bhago and Bhai Mahan Singh successfully convinced Guru Gobind Singh Patshah to withdraw and tear up their disassociation petition (Bedeva). Guru Gobind Singh tore the petition minutes before Mai Bhago and Bhai Mahan Singh took their last breaths, thereby accepting them back in the Khalsa fold. Further, Guru Sahib honored these 40 Sikhs as Muktas (Immortals) and personally conducted their cremation. The cremation place, on the banks of the water pool, is marked as "ShaheedGanj". Henceforth, Ishar Sar came to be known as Mukatsar.


ShaheedGanj: where Guru Gobind Singh Ji personally cremated the 40 Muktas and other shaheed Sikhs.
Tibhi Sahib: a moundhill, half mile north of the city which was used by Guru Gobind Singh to shower arroes upon the enemy forces.
Tambhu Sahib: camp ground for Sikh forces.
Wadha Darbar: place where Guru Gobind Singh stay. This gurdwara is on the banks of the sarowar. Under Sikh Raj, this gurudwara received an annual jagir of Rs. 4300/-.

Maela celebrations are held every year during the month of Maagh at Mukatsar, in rememberance of the 40 Muktas.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh

1761 Abdali destoyed Panipat but the Sikhs faced him in Goindwal and rescued their honor.

-Ref. "Amritsar Ji Dae Darshan Eshnan Utay 500 Sala Di Ethasak Directory," Satnam Singh Khalsa Advocate, pp 83

1761 Marathas defeated by Sikhs in the battle of Panipat.
1841 Sher Singh marched on Lahore with his troops against Chand Kaur.

Sher Singh marched on Lahore, and "panchas" or deputies of Khalsa troops (who had increasingly come to exercise power) extended their support to him. They were led to believe that Chand Kaur like Kharak Singh earlier had offered the British 37.50 percent of revenue to keep herself in power. Suchet Singh Dogra and General Ventura also joined Sher Singh, tilting the balance in his favour. However, Chand Kaur decided to defend with the help of Gulab Singh. Fort well defended by Gulab Singh and Gardner. Dhian Singh returned to Lahore. Sher Singh lost about 5000 men. Gulab Singh left fort and Lahore and carried away great wealth.

1967 Punjabi became official language at district level in Punjab.
1974 Sewa of Mahant Tirath Singh "SewaPanthi" place was assumed by Jagata.
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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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