Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


6th June


1628 Guru Har Gobind Sahib fought and won the first battle of Amritsar against the Mughal army.

==> Guru HAR GOBIND PATSHAH (1595-1644) was born on Hadh 21 sunmat 1652 (June 14, 1595) to father Sri Guru Arjan Dev Patshah and mother Matta Ganga Ji, in village Vadhali. He received his religious education from Baba Budha Ji. Guru Sahib married three time:
1. Damodari Ji, daughter of Dalha resident Narayan Das on Bhadho 12 sunmat 1661;
2. Nanaki Ji, daughter of Bakala resident Hari Chand on Vaisakh 8 sunmat 1670;
3. Mahadevi Ji, daughter of Mandiyala resident Daya Ram on Sawan 11 sunmat 1672.

Guru Sahib had five sons (Baba Gurditta Ji, Suraj Mal, Aani Rai, Atal Rai, and Guru Teg Bahadhur Ji) and one daughter (Bhiro). On Jaeth 29 sunmat 1663 (May 25 1606), while ascended to Guru Gadhi, Guru Har Gobind Patshah changed the previous tradition of wearing "Saeli toppi" (cap) and replaced it with wearing "Kalgi". At the same time, he started the tradition of wearing two swords of "Miri Piri". Observing the prevalent conditions of the nation at that time, Guru Sahib started teaching self-protection skills along with the religious preaching.

Guru Sahib,
* in sunmat 1665, constructed the Takhat "Akal Bungha", in front of Sri Harmindar Sahib,
* in sunmat 1669, established Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib's Dehra in Lahore,
* from sunmat 1670-71 flourished the forest region of Daroli, etc. by residing there,
* in sunmat 1624, helped Mohan and Kalae in establishing Maehraj in Malwa,
* in sunmat 1624, constructed the Kolsar sarowar in Amritsar,
* in 1685, constructed "Bibaek Sar" for Bibaekae Sikhs.

When the Akbar's policy of assimilation changed to Jahagir's propaganda against the Sikhs, resulting in the martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Patshah, Guru Har Gobind Patshah urged his followers to pick up weapons for their self-protection. He preached self-protection along with his religious message. Upon hearing this, Jahagir arrested and jailed Guru Sahib in Gawalior fort. However, instead of losing popularity, as expected by Jahagir, this action immensely increased the popularity and following of Guru Sahib. Many renowned muslims issued a call for Guru Sahib's release. As a result, Jahagir not only released Guru Sahib but actively sought to establish some level of friendship. However, when Shahjahan came to power in sunmat 1685, the government policy went strongly against the Sikhs. As a result, Guru Sahib fought the following four wars with the mughal forces:

  1. Amritsar war with General Sukhlis Khan in sunmat 1685.
  2. Sri Gobindpur war with the ruler of Jallandar in sunmat 1687.
  3. War of Gurusar near Maehraj with General KamarBaeg in sunmat 1688. After this war, Guru Sahib blessed Phul with sovereign rule that subsequently emerged as the Patiala rule.
  4. Kartarpur war with Kalae Khan, Pandhae Khan, etc. in 1691. Subsequent to this war, Guru Sahib moved his resident to Kiratpur.

However, Guru Sahib continued with his active propagation of Sikh faith. He traveled to Kashmir, PiliBheet, Baar, and Malwa and enlightened thousands on to the correct path. As a result many muslims came under the fold of Sikhs. He also encouraged Udasis to travel throughout the world to propagate Guru Nanak's message.

Guru Sahib left this materialistic world for heavenly abode on Chaet 7 sunmat 1701 (March 3, 1644) after serving as the sixth Guru of GurSikhism for a total of 37 years, 10 months, and 7 days. Guru Sahib's entire journey through this planet amounted to 48 years, 8 months, and 15 days. Guru Har Rai Patshah ascended to Guru Gadhi after Guru Har Gobind. "Arjan Har Gobind Nu Simaro Sri Har Rai" (Chandhi 3)

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 265)

1663 Janam, Bhai Mohkam Singh, one of the first five GurSikh initiated into the Khalsa order.

Bhai Mohkam Singh was born at Dwarka to father Teerath Chand Shanbae and Mata Dev Bhai. Bhai Mohkam Singh was one of the first five GurSikhs initiated into the Khalsa order. Bhai Mohkam died while fighting at Chamkaur.

1711 The Khalsa Dal forces, under the leadership of Banda Singh Bahadur, defeated the forces of Delhi emporer, Bahadhur Shah, at Behrampur.

==> BANDA SINGH BAHADHUR: born on KatakSudhi 13 sunmat 1727 to Rajput father Ramdev who was a resident of the Rajori village in Jammu. He was named Lashman Dev by his parents. Since childhood, he exhibited extremely fondness for sanskrit literature and hunting. However, he plunged into deep remorse after killing a pregnant deer. As a result he discarded all his hunting tools and became a disciple of Vaesnav JankiPrasad. He shed all his material wealth, started onto the seekers path for enlightenment,and adopted the new name, Madho Dass.

Wondering in search of enlightenment, when he traveled towards south India and reached the banks of Godawari, he fell in love with this beautiful new place. He established his Ashram and started living here. In sunmat 1765, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji reached Nandaedh, he was extremely impressed and influenced by Guru's preaching. He offered himself as "Satguru Da Banda" (Satguru's person). Guru Gobind Singh Ji introduced him to Amrit and changed his name to Gurbakash Singh. However, he remained popularly known in our Panth as "Banda".

To eradicate the prevalent injustices, Guru Gobind Singh sent Banda accompanied by the following five GurSikhs to Punjab:

    1. Baba Binod Singh
    2. Baba Kanh Singh
    3. Baba Bajh Singh
    4. Baba Bijae Singh
    5. Baba Ram Singh

Banda went to Punjab in sunmat 1765 accompanied with a Hukamnama from Guru Gobind Singh addressed to all the GurSikh. In this Hukamnama, Guru Gobind Singh asked GurSikhs to help Banda in his efforts. Before departure, Banda received three arrows from Guru Gobind Singh and the following instructions:

  1. Remain celibate ("Jatt rakhana")
  2. Live, operate, and act under the dictates of Khalsa ("Khalsae dae Anusari hokae rahna")
  3. Never consider yourself to be Guru ("Aap nu Guru na manenna")
  4. Eat only after serving others ("Vartakae Shakana")
  5. Help the orphas, poor, unprotected, helpless, destitute, or disolate. ("Anatha di sahiata karni")

Upon reaching Punjab, Gurbakash Singh strictly followed Guru Sahib's instructions and successfully punish all who had previously mistreated the Khalsa Panth. On the 1st Hadh sunmat 1767, after conquering Sirhind, Wajir Khan was punished and eventually killed for the mistreatment of Sahibzadas.

However, Gurbakash Singh became popular among the Khalsa Panth, his self-godliness started awakening. As a result he started adopting and engaging in practices that were against Gurmat. In sunmat 1771, Banda Bahdhur expressed desires to establish his own Gadhi in Sri Harmindar Sahib and sought his self-worhsip. He started a new slogan of "Sachae Sahib ki Fateh" in contrast to the traditional "Vaaheguru Jee Kee Fateh". This resulted in a severe split among Khalsa Panth. Those following the principles as laid by Guru Gobind Singh came to known as "TattKhalsa" while the followers of Gurbakash Singh were known as "BandaiKhalsa". Today there are very few Bandai Sikhs. They do not believe in any other holy scriptures other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib. All their practice are according to Gurmat principles.

Eventually, Banda Bahadhur was cornered by the pursuing enemy forces at "Gurdaspur de Gadhi". It is also popularly known as Bhai Duni Chand di Hawaeli. After months of sustained attacks from AbdalSamadKhan and others with a force of over 20,000, Banda Bahadhur was arrested along with his companions and taken to Delhi. He accepted Shahadat on Chaet Sudhi 1st sunmat 1773.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh

==> BAHADHUR SHAH: second son of Aurangzeb, born at Burhanpur on October 4, 1643. He was initially named Muyajam and Shah Alam. He assumed the Delhi throne in 1707 and subsequently changed his name to Bahadhur Shah. He spent most of time fighting in southern part of India against the Bijapur and Goalkunda dynasties. Upon learning about the rising Sikh power and death of WajirKhan, Sirhind Governor, he attempted to return back to Punjab. However, he was unsuccessful in establishing any form of peace in the country and subsequently died on Feb. 18, 1712.

- Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 827)

1737 Martyrdom Bhai Mani Singh Ji, cut to pieces in Lahore.

Bhai Mani Singh accepted martyrdom over forceful conversion. in Lahore. In the process, his body was cut to pieces. Bhai Mani Singh had asked for and was granted permission to organize a 10-day fair on the eve of Diwali at Amritsar on payment of a fee of Rs. 5,000. Harghabat Narajania of Jandiala, Karma of Chhina and others suggested to Zakharia Khan to use the occasion to put to the sword teh entire Khalsa gathered for the fair. Diwan Lakhpat Rai who was part of the Hindu conspiracy undertook to execute the orders when issued by the Governor.

The Sikhs got wind of the mechinations of the Mughal authorities and ill-disposed Hindus. They informed Bhai Mani Singh who passed on the word to the Sikhs, not to visit Amritsar for the occasion. Some of them who could not be informed reached Amritsar and were attacked and put to death while taking bath in the sacred tank. Harmindir was taken into government possession and Diwali could not be celebrated.

Bhai Mani Singh protested against the conspiracy and the attack. He was instead called upon to pay the fee of Rs. 5000. That was part of the story. What rankled in the mind of ill disposed Hindus were his proselytising activities. They were in the forefront in suggesting to his being converted to Islam or put to death. As such, Bhai Mani Singh was ordered to be cut to pieces, limb by limb. That was accomplished at Nakhas, hore market, outside Delhi Gate, Lahore, where Gurudwara Shahid Ganj stands now.

1923 Ata Mohammed Patwari of Nandachaur, murdered by the Babbar Akalis.
1984 Operation Bluestar: Indian Army occupied the Sikh Shrines, archives, libraries, museums. Most of them were later set abalze.

The fascist Indian Armed Forces, under the orders of Indira Gandhi (then prime minister) and Zail Singh (then President) launched the final assault on the Golden Temple complex

Today, the whole Sikh Nation salutes all those GurSikh martyrs who gave their lives while protecting the sanctity of Sri Akal Takhat and Sri Darbar Sahib. So many GurSikhs were killed that although the army paid Rs. 50 for picking up a dead body and loading it onto the awaiting trucks, there weren't enough people to get this work done. People clearing dead bodies were also given permission for retain all valuables recovered from the body. The most notable GurSikhs included Jarnail Singh Bhindrawalae, Amrik Singh and General Shahbeg Singh.

Giani Puran Singh, Darbar Sahib's high priest, was told by the soldiers that the bodies of Bhindranwalae, Amrik Singh and General Shahbeg Singh were found in the courtyard of Sri Akal Takhat. Ropes were tied to the body of Gen. Shahbeg Singh. His body seemed to have been dragged from Sri Akal Takhat.

Additionally, the indian army occupied the Sikh Shrines, archives, libraries, and museums. Most of them were later set abalze. In contrast, the Hindus of Amritsar welcomed the Indian Army with garlands, sweets, and dances. (see description below on operation Bluestar. NOTE:- brief biographical description with appropriate references for Jarnail Singh Singh Ji, Amrik Singh Ji, and General Shehbeg Singh Ji are sought).

==> BLUESTAR OPERATION is the code name for the June 1984 attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar, by the Indian Armed Forces. This attack was conducted under the pretext of flushing out terrorists but was designed for maximum damage. The attack took place on the day of Guru Arjan Dev Patshah's Shahadat Gurpurab observations. Further this operation was sanctioned under the direct orders of Indira Gandhi (then prime minister) and Zail Singh (then President). The Golden Temple Complex was attacked by the Indian Armed Forces using tanks, helicopters, and other heavy artillery, under the command of Major General Kuldip Singh Brar. Sri Akal Takhat was desecrated during this attack. Sri Darbar Sahib sustained at least 300 bullet holes. Thousands of innocent people were murdered in cold blood. Their fault? They were attending the Martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The brave GurSikh soldiers in the Akal Takhat, numbering about 250, gave extremely tough resistance to the Indian army. However, their resistance was no match to the large number of tanks, helicopters, bombs, and other heavy artillery that destroyed the Akal Takhat. The whole Sikh nation rose as a whole to protest against this ghastly attack. Thousands of Sikhs were martyred in the holy precincts of Darbar Sahib. Many gave their lives in attempts to reach for Darbar Sahib's protection. All roads to Amritsar were blocked. Every Sikh approaching these blockades were asked to remove their kirpan and turban. Those refusing were immediately killed or arrested. Anyone with blue or saffron turbans were particularly targeted and killed. Those arrested were blind folded and their hands tied behind their backs with their own turbans. Arrested Sikhs were packed in groups of 60-70 in small rooms with liitle room for any mobility.

In protest, many respected Sikhs returned their Padam Bushan medals/honors bestowed upon them by the Indian government and sacrificed their high positions. Several Sikh Army personal deserted their posts in protest and marched straight to protect Darbar Sahib. However, Indira Ghandhi did receive retribution for her black deeds on Oct. 31st, that same year.

For detailed description of events surrounding this attack, readers are referred to the following:

Gurbhagat Singh, "Kommi Ajadi Wal - Panjab Tae Punjabi Sabhiyachar Da Bhawish," Vichar Prakashan, 1993
Major Singh, "Punjab Khuni Dahakae Di Ghatha," Vichar Prakashan, 1993
Naraen Singh, "Kau Kito Visahau?" Singh Brothers, Mai Sewa, Amritsar, ISBN 81-7205-003-8, 1986, 1990, 1992.
Naraen Singh, "Sikh Vira Nu Haluna," Singh Brothers, Mai Sewa, Amritsar, ISBN 81-7205-085-2, 1987, 1989, 1993.
Harbir Singh Bhanwer (Tribune reporter), "Diary de Panne," This book is in Punjabi. It is hard to come by. I found it to be most authoritative books on this event. Mr. Bhanwer was the person who provided quite a bit of basic information to Mark Tully and Mr. Jacob for their book "Amritsar: Indira Gandhi's Last Battle."
Dr. Mohinder Singh, "Blue Star Ghalughara," This book was published in 1991 (several years after Dairy de Panne), but is more detailed.
Jathedar Kirpal Singh, "Saka Neela Tara." This book is written by thim when he was the Jathedar of Akal Takhat. I have not read it, but I think it has extremely valuable information.

==> SRI DARBAR SAHIB also known as Harminder Sahib and Golden Temple was constructed by Guru Arjun in the middle of an sacred water tank (sarowar).
"Har Japae Har Minder Saajia, Sant Bhagat Gun Gawae Ram" -Suhi Shant Mahala 5

In sunmat 1621, with Guru Amar Das's permission, Guru Ram Das started the digging of a tank (Taal) near villages Tugh, Gumtala, and Sultanwind. This digging was completed by Guru Arjun Dev in sunmat 1645 and named "Santoksar".

Simultaneously, with Guru Amar Das's permission, a village was established nearby and named "Guru Ka Chaak". Guru Sahib's residence in this village were popularly known as "Guru Kae Mahal". To the west of these residences, next to the tree known as "DukhBhanjani Baeri", the digging of a tank was started in 1634. However, this digging remained incomplete and was eventually completed by Guru Arjun Dev after he ascended to the Gur Gadhi. Guru Arjun Dev vigorously pushed all of the projects initiated by Guru Ram Das. He invited business people, scholars, and skilled people from all over, to come and settle around this area and establish new markets. As a result this area came to known as "Ramdas Pur". Bhai Sallo is especially noted for his hard work in establishing and populating this area. His contributions are extremely noteworthy.

In sunmat 1643, the construction of permanent sarowar began and its name changed to "Amritsar". As a result the surrounding city also adopted the "Amritsar" name. On magh 1, sunmat 1645, Guru Arjun Dev Patshah asked Sain Mian Meer to lay the foundation stone of Harminder Sahib. The foundation stone was laid right in the middle of the sarowar and upon completion of its construction, Sri Guru Granth Sahib's prakash was established in sunmat 1661.

Harminder Sahib is the most prominent among all Sikh gurudwaras, where Akhand Kirtan is performed for most of the day. The Vaisakhi Maela celebrations in Harminder Sahib were established by Guru Arjun Dev, while the Diwali Maela celebrations were instituted by Baba Budha Ji, immediately upon the release and safe return of Guru Hargobind from the Gawalior fort.

In Sunmat 1818, Ahmad Shah Abdali blew up the Harminder Sahib with explosives and leveled the sarowar. However, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia once again laid the foundation stone on 11 Vaishakh, sunmat 1821. And through Dees Raj's diligent efforts Harminder Sahib was reconstructed in a few years. Abdali, on three occasions, 1757, 1761, and 1762 pulled down Harimandir Sahib and defiled the sacred tank by caracases of cows. The Sikhs for the first time in 1757 defeated Afghan forces at the battle of Amritsar. The following year, they captured retreating Afghan forces and made them clean Harimandir and the sacred tank.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh took control of Amritsar in sunmat 1859 and decorated Harminder sahib with white marble and gold. Additionally during 1805-9, "Ram Bagh" was developed in remembrance of Guru Ram Das and "GobindGadh Fort" was established in remembrance of Guru Gobind Singh. Khalsa College was established by the Panth in 1892.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 267)

For further details on Harminder Sahib, interested readers are referred to the following:

Madanjit Kaur, "The Golden Temple: Past & Present", Guru Nanak Dev university Press, Amritsar, 1983
Patwant Singh, "The Golden Temple", Time Books International, New Delhi, 1988
Patwant Singh, "Gurudwaras in India and around the world", Himalayan Books, New Delhi, 1992
"Sri Harmandir Sahib Da Sunehiri Itihas" by Late Jathedar (of Akal Takaht Sahib) and former Head Granthi of Golden Temple) Kirpal Singh. pp. 389-390.
This is the most authoritative book so far on the Golden Temple.

After midnight tanks are used to break down the steps leading to the parkarma from the hostel side and an 8-wheeled Polish-built armored personnel carrier makes it's way towards the Akal Takht. It is destroyed by a Chinese-made rocket propelled grenade launcher. Six or more Vijayanta tanks enter the temple complex crushing the delicate marble inlays of the parkarma and plow their way towards the Akal Takht. Orders arrive and the tanks start firing their large 105mm cannons equipped with high explosive squash-head shells into the Akal Takht. These shells are designed for hard targets like armour and fortifications. When the shells hit a target, their heads spread or squash on the hard surface. Their fuses are arranged to allow a short delay between the impact and the shells igniting, so that a shock-wave passes through the target and a heavy slab of armour or masonry is forced away from the inside of the target armour or fortification.


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