Historical Sikh Events: The Creation of Khalsa 1699
Aurungzeb’s religious policy was totally against Hindus, they had to pay more taxes then Muslims. Sir Mohd. Latif writes "He discouraged the teaching of the Hindus, burnt to the ground the great Pagoda near Delhi, and destroyed the temple of Bishnath at Benares, and the great temple of Dera Kesu rai at Mathura, said to have been built by Raja Narsingh deo, at the cost of 33 lakh rupees. The gilded domes of this temple were so high that they could be seen from Agra 54 kms distant. On the site of temple he built a mosque at a great cost. About year 1690, the emperor issued an edict prohibiting Hindus from being carried in palanquins or riding on Arabian horses. All servants of state were ordered to embrace Islam religion, under pain of dismissla, those who refused were deprived of their post.
Hindu Revolts suppressed
(1)The jats : Gokal, a Jat of Tilpat revolted against the governer of Mathura, Abdu Nabi, and shot him dead in an encounter. Aurungzeb defeated Gokal, his womenfolk were given to Muslims. Five thousand jats were killed and seven thousand taken prisoners. (Jadunath Sarkar, page 152)
(2)The Satnamis : One day in 1672, a Satnami picked up a quarrel with a Mughal soldier and soldier broke his head with a batan. Other Satnamis beat up the soldier. This riot became a revolt against Aurungzeb and he sent a 10,000 strong force. All Satnamis were killed and no trace of their sect was left. They lived around the area of Narnaul in Haryana and UP.
(3)The Sikhs : Aurungzeb dealth with the Sikhs in same manner, In November 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur was called upon to embrace Islam or death. His companion were most cruelly murdered.
(4)The Rajputs : In December 1678, Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur passed away. Aurungzeb annexed his kingdom and killed his two infant sons. A revolt spread out against Aurungzeb and annexation of Marwar was followed by Mewar. Maharana Raj singh of Udaipur was defeat. Chhittor was seized, 63 temples here and 173 temples in Jodhpur were demolished.
(5)The Marathas : Aurungzeb reached Aurangabad on March 22, 1682. Shiva ji’s son Shambu ji was arrested and tortured to death by him, so were many Marathas all over the current day ‘Mahrashtra’
(6)Unorthodox Muslims : Aurangzeb was equally uncompromising against Shias, Sufi saints and liberal minded religious leaders. A few examples. In 1659, Mullan Shah Lahori, a disciple of Mian Mir was persecuted. In 1661, Mansur-e-sani Sufi Muhammad Said Sarmad and later another Sufi Saint Qalandar were beheaded for believing in Sufi principles. The famous sufi saint Yahiya Chisti was badly maltreated for holding a musical gathering. (ali mohd. khan, Mirat-e-Ahmadi). In 1669 Muharram was banned, many Shia Imams were executed. The religious head of Bohras and his 700 followers were shot dead. In 1670, wearing of Zarbaft clothes, embroided in golden threads was forbidden, even the son of Aurungzeb, Sultan Mohd. was killed for not following this order. The length of beard of all muslims was fixed at four fingers or eight centimeters, extra lenght was to cut off. in 1772 Diwan Mohammad Tahir was executed for liberal interpretation of Islam. In 1683, Mir Hussain was exiled from Kashmir. (PAges 256-257, of ‘History of Sikhs vol-1’ by Hari Ram Gupta).
Guru Gobind Rai’s contemplation.
Slowly but steadily these news were trickling down to Guru Gobind Rai. A moment of reflection reminded him that Guru Nanak had described the rulers of his time as tigers and dogs. That situation has not changed in 200 years. The policy of non-violence submisssion and surrender had produced no effect upon these ferocious tigers and mad dogs. After the most determined meditation on this sad state of affairs, the Guru came to the conclusion that to tyrannise was bad, but to bear tyranny patiently was worse. The country did not belong to the king. The king belonged to the coutry. If the king was bad, people must rise in revolt. Without political liberty, religious, intellectual, social and economic freeddom could not be achieved. Political freedom could be won by armies. The armies of suppressed people were non-existent. The spirit of brave Jats of Mathura and Delhi had been crushed. The heroic Satnamis had been completely wiped out of existence. The Rajput resistance was broken. The noble Shivajji had died young. His eldest son Shambuji had been hacked to pieces. His only son Shahu was in captivity. The Guru’s own house was no exception. His great grandfather, Guru Arjan, was tortured to death at Lahore. His grandfather Guru Hargobind had suffered 12 years of imprisonment. His father Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed. His most faithful follower, Bhai Mati Dass was sawn across from head to loins, while others were boiled or cut to pieces.
Thus, Guru sat about planning and preparing himself for the struggle to win freedom. His army was to be based on social justice. There could be no discrimination in the name of caste, creed and colour. His soldiers unpaid, ill-armed, poorly equipped and untrained were to be inspired with feelings of patriotism and nationalism. In Krishna Avtar
Guru says :
Kou kise ko rajnade hai,
ja lai hai nij bal sit lai hai
[no people can have self-rule as a gift
from another. It is to be seized
through their own strength.]
Without freedom there is doom. When doom stares in the face, gloom engulfs even the bravest. But between doom and gloom bloom some of the noblest specimen of humanity. Guru Gobind Rai was cerainly one of such specimens. God’s choice has always fallen upon men who can wield arms and armour with a single-minded devotion to their noble cause and who can successfully resist all temptations for Zan (woman), Zar (money), and Zamin (land) from the devil.
Was Guru Gobind Rai an enemy of Islam?
Guru Gobind Rai was determined to exterminate the religious oppressin of the Mughal Government. He concentrated against the cruel government and not against Islam. There is no word in his speeches and writings to prove this baseless charge. He was embodiment of love and affection for all. His instructions to his sikhs were to treat everybody with courtesy and consideration. (he specifically forbade sikhs to have carnal knowledge of Muslim women) It was for this reason that both Muslims and Hindus were attracted towards him. Muslim Sufi saints and Muslim commanders of note, and hundreds of muslim soldiers fought under his banner. Pir Buddhu Shah of Sadhaura, together with his sons and 700 followers fought hard in the battle of Bhangani in which Pir lost two of his sons and hundreds of disciples. In the battle of Anandpur in 1702 (after the creation of Khalsa) Mir Beg and Mamun Khan commanded Guru’s forces in fighting against Mughal forces. At the same place General Sayyid Khan of Mughal forces considered it improper and unjust to wage a war against the Guru. He deserted his post and joined the Guru. Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan saved Guru from the capture by Mughal army. Qazi Pir Mohammad who knew Guru, did not confirmed Guru’s identity in front of Mughals, while Rae Kalha offered him refuge and entertained him generously.
In Akal ustat Guru says
1: "Some are Hindus while other Muslims.
of the latter some are Shias and
others are Sunnis. Man’s caste should be
considered as one" (Manas ke
jat sabhai ekai pahchanbo)
2: "Karta Karim Rajak Rahim is the same.
3: "Temples and Mosques are the same. Hindu worship
and Muslim prayer are the same. All men are alike,
but they are under delusion.
4: All humans are composed of same elements.
5: All the knowable, the Puranas and the Quran are
the same. All are manifestations of one, and one
is the creator of all.
In the Jap Guru Gobind Rai has given 735 names to God. Of these 30 are of Islam.
He further says:
"Even in error deem not the God of the Hindus,
To be other than God of the Muslims;
Worship the one God,
Recognize the englightener;
All men have the same human form,
In all men blazes the same divine light.
(From Akal Ustat, swayyas)
In Bachitra Natak Guru Says that there is no enmity between the successors of Baba Nanak and of Babar. The former are religious leaders and the latter are political rulers. He declared: "The house of Baba Nanak and of Babar both derive their authority from God. recognise the former as supreme is religion and the latter as supreme in secular affairs."
This clearly shows that Guru admitted the secular authority of Emperor over his Sikhs. Sujan Rae Bhandari wrote in 1696, "In their eyes their own people and others as well as friends and foes are all alike. They love their friends, but they do not illtreat their enemies."
Guru Gobind Rai as a Saint-Soldier
A true soldier is a saintly person, and a true saint is a mighty warrior, a powerful hero. The hero is a person who can restrain the natural outgoing tendency of the mind and the senses. He is a seeker after truth. Through spiritual discipline he enjoys eternal bliss and is ever immersed in perennial peace. He wages a war in order that the good and innocent people of the world might live in peace, and enjoy reasonable happiness. The self is the fountain-source of immortality, eternal bliss and enduring tranquality
The Guru’s mission
Guru Gobind singh decided to create a national awakening in Panjab. The time chosen was oppurtune. Aurungzeb was involved in life and death struggle in the Deccan with the Marathas. Panjab was in charge of Prince Muazzam who lived in KAbul (this prince later became emperor withe the name of Bahadur Shah) Guru first tried to plant his ideas in the mind of the warrior class of Rajputs of the Shivalik hills. He soon discovered that the caste ridden and class dominated feudal lords would not respond to his appeals and they would not fit in his idealogy. He therefore turned his attention to down-trodden masses.
While reading the Puranas,the Guru realized that God was the wielder of arms to punish tyrants and destroy evil-doers. He was also, the bestower of gifts and fountain-head of mercy. Further, the Guru had been deeply struck by the idea that God had been sending a saviour at critical times to save the virtuous and destroy the wicked. He knew that he had been sent to this world for the same purpose. In Bachitra Natak the Guru says:
1.Hum eh kaj jagat mo ae
dharam het gur dev pathae
jahan tahan tum dharam bitharo
dusht dokhian pakar pachharo
[for this purpose I came into this world.
God sent me for the sake of Dharam. Whereever
you are spread dharam. Root out the
oppressors and the wicked]
The guru then invokes for the long life of all
those who ever remember God and fight in the
righteous cause. In Krishna avtar he
Dhan jiyo tih kau jag main
mukh te Hari chit main yuddh bichare
[blessed are they in this world, who have
Hari on their tongue and
war in their heart]
Foundation of the Khalsa, 30 March, 1699
At the behest of the Guru, the congregation sauntered down the hill and a multitude mustered on the hill of Anandpur where stands Gurudwara Keshgarh. The Guru remained busy in meditation and contemplation. He told the congregation that 1000 years ago Brahmins had created the brave community of Rajputs by performing hom of fire on Mount Abu. The Rajputs were valiant people, but they had failed in preserving independence of Indian people from foreign oppression. He was going to perform the Hom of blood to create a new community braver and bolder than Rajputs to liberate the country from foreign oppression and tyranny. On the morning of 30th March Guru sought God’s blessings:
Thad bhayo main jor kar bachan kaha sar nyae
Panth chale tab jagat men jab tum ho sahae
[I stood up with folded hands and head
bent down and said, Panth
can flourish in the world only with your help.
He entered a specially constructed canopy where a huge congregation was seated. Behind it there was a small tent which was closed on all sides and it could be entered from the canopy alone. The Guru asked them to utter the following call after him: (The salute of Sikhs was invented by him right then)
Jo bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!
[whoever utters ‘The immortal God is true’ will
The Guru then made the most stirring oration on saving religion which was in great peril, and about his divine mission. The Guru narrated the stories of Government’s tyranny, humilatin, tortures, forcible conversions, destruction of temples and schools, brutal persecution of those who protested and of destruction of Satnamis and Jats. He depicted the miseries they had suffered from and presented pictures of fresh horrors and tribulations which lay in store for them at the hands of the emperor and his officials. He aroused their enthusiasm to get ready to fight against those who trod upon their beliefs and on their very existence. He expressed great faith in the power of the common people. The discuorse first excited the whole audience, then enthralled and terrified them and eventually thrilled them. He criticised the Hindu view of life. They believed in non-violence [ahimsa paramo dharam]. They would do no wrong to others. They thought that the oppressor would get the punishment of his evil deeds in the next world. Instead of self-help and resistance they practised patience, non-violence and renunciation. For want of organization the Hindus could not resist the onslaught of the invaders and government who called Hindus sparrows and themselves hawks, meaning thereby that they could cut up Hindus as a hawk mutilated sparrows.
The Guru explained that in order to safeguard their spiritual and temporal rights the people should not depend on fate. They ought to entrust this duty to themselves. They should individually feel any national wrong done, and colectively organise means to resist it.
In his ecstasy the Guru sang the praises of the sword. "God subdues enemies, so does sword, therefore Sword is God, and God is the sword. Addressing the Sword he said:
"I bow with love and devotion to holy sword.
assist me that I may complete this work.
Thou art the subduer of countries.
Destroyer of the armies of the wicked in the battlefield.
Thou greatly adornest the brave.
Thine arm is infrangible,
Thy brightness is refulgent,
Thy radiance and splendour dazzle like the sun.
I bow to sword, spotless, fearless and unbreakable.
I bow to the Sword and Rapier which destroy the evil.
In this kal age and at all times there is great confidence in the
powerful arm of the Sword
The demons who could not be drowned in the sea,
and who could not be burng by fiery arrows,
on beholding thy flash, O Sword, cast aside shame and fled.
Thy greatness is endless and boundless;
No one hath found its limits.
Thou art God of gods, King of Kings,
Compassionate to the poor, and cherisher of the lowly."
Addressing the fighting weapons the Guru said:
jite shastar nam
jite astar bhen
Namaskrayan mor tiran tufang
Nomo khag, Adang Abhen Abhang,
Gadaen Grishtan namo saithiyan,
Jinhai tuliyan bir biyo na biyan.
[I salute arrows and gun.
O Sword! you are powerful and relentless,
I salute thee. I salute the heavy
Gada and scimitar. Like them
no other hero is born.]
After his exciting oration, the Guru flashed his sword and said that every great deed was preceded by equally great sacrifice. The holy Sword would create a heroic nation after supreme sacrifice. He said that Dharam thirsted for sacrficial blood. The Guru demanded a devotee in whose heart he would plunge his sword. This sent a thrill of horror in the audience. He repeated it in a sterner and more sonorous voice. All were terror-stricken and there was no response at the first and second call. At the third call, Daya ram, a Khatri of village Dalla in District Lahore, rose in his seat and expressed willingness to lay down his life. He was led into an adjoining tent and asked to sit there quietly. He dipped his sword blade into vessel full of goats blood. The general belief is that Guru had tied five goats, and he killed them one by one with a single stroke. This assertion does not appear to be plausible. At the first killing the goats would have bleated loudly which could have been easily heard in the open ground where Guru was conducting the meeting. He came back with dripping sword, and asked for another head, one by one Guru stopped at Five. He then ordered the curtain separating the tent from the canopy to be removed. All were wonder struck to see the five men standing hale and hearty. The whole area rang with loud applause and thunderous clap of hands.
All the five men were robed in similar new dresses and garlanded and then brought into the assemble. They were as follows.
1. Daya Ram, a Khatri of Village Dalla in Lahore.
2. Dharam Das, a Jat of village Jatwara in distt. Saharanpur.
3. Sahib Chand ‘nai or barber’ of village Nangal Shahidan, Hoshiarpur.
4. Himmat Chand ‘Kahar or water carrier’ of village Sangatpura, Patiala.
5. Mohkam Chand ‘Chhimba’ of Buriya village in Ambala.
The Guru declared that Baba Nanak had found only one devoted Sikh in Guru Angad, while he had found five such Sikhs. Through the devotion of one true disciple Sikhism had flourished so well. By the consececration of five Sikhs his mission was bound to spread all over the world. He further said that since the time of Guru Nanak Sikhs took Charanpahul. The newly initiated Sikhs drank water in which Guru had dipped his great toe. It was derived from an old Indian tradition where Students will drink the water in which teacher’s feet were washed. It developed spirit of humility and meekness. The times had changed. In place of humility and meekness, boldness and pluck were required. He would there fore change the form of baptism, and would administer to his warrior Sikhs water stirred with a double edged dagger in an iron vessel, with continuous recitation of hymns from Adi Granth. [this is what is called "Khande Baatte da pahul"] In the double edged dagged (Khanda) Guru Gobind Sing combined the two swords of Miri and Piri of his grandfather (Guru Har Gobind ji, Sixth Guru) into one and would change the name Sikh to Singh or lion. This title previously was exclusively confined to the noble Rajputs, the second military class of Hindus after Kshatriyas. His Singh would look upon himself as inferior to no other. Every man was a sworn soldier from the time of his baptism. His Singhs would fight against the enemies of their faith and freedom like lions. They would be heroes in this life and would attain salvation and bliss thereafter.
Mata Jito did not like that the five Sikhs who had offered their heads to Guru should be given plain water. She immediately brought a plate full of sugar cakes (patashas) and with the approval of Guru put them in water. The Guru observed: "We filled the Panth with heroism (Bir Ras) by stirring it with double edged dagger, you have mixed it with love (Prem-ras)." While stirring water the Guru recited the sacred hymns of the holy Adi Granth. The following five banis were recited by the Guru while preparing the Amrit or the Nectar Guru Nanak’s Japji, Guru Amar Das’s Anand, and his own Jap, Chaupai and Ten swayyas. The five Sikhs were asked to kneel down on their left knees and look into the eyes of Guru. The Guru then gave every one of them five palm fulls of sweet water called Amrit or netcar to drink, and five times was the holy water sprinkled over their heads and faces. The Guru said that the five beloved ones were his sons. Their mother was Jito. Individually each was called a Singh and collectively they were given the name of Khalsa.
After administring baptism, the Guru stood before these five beloved ones and requested them to baptise him in the same manner. They pleaded their unfitness for such a performance. The Guru replied that he was not superior to his devoted disciples. His superiority lay in one thing. The Guru had attained salvation, nirwan or Sachkhand. While his disciples were in the process of attaining it. The Guru said "The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is no difference between me and you." They baptised him, everyone of the five giving one palmful of nectar and sprinkling it on his head and face turn by turn. He added Singh to his own name in place of Rai and henceforth came to be caled Gobind Singh.
Somebody in the congregation observed:
"Waah wah Guru Gobind singh.
ape Guru te Ape Chela"
[Bravo Guru Gobind singh! himself divine
as well as disciple] This was spiritual socialism.
The Guru then addressed the five beloved ones:
"You are now of one creed, followers of one path.
You are above all religions, all creeds, all castes,
and all classes. You are the immortal soldiers of
true dharam. You are messengers of God. This
country’s honous and liberty is entrusted to you
by Wah Guru. Mix freely with the world, but remain
of one soul, one ideal and one mind, so you
posses one sould and one mind in the service of
Wah Guru, dharam and your country. You are members
of the Khalsa brotherhood. Anandpur is your
birthplace. Gobind singh is your father. Jito is
your mother. In you four classes have been merged into
one. You are all brothers, all equal. No one is
superior to the other. Eat from one dish. The
independence and security of your country is entruested
upon you. Work for it with one mind. Success is sure.
From today your saluation will be,
Wah Guru ji Ka Khalsa, Wah Guru ji ki Fatah.
Meaning of Khalsa
Kavi Churamani Bhai Santok singh in Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, Rut V Sai and VI Jari, published by Khalsa samachar in March 1933, Kha means yog or Jap, l means bhog mahin, and sa means sagarhane majh or IKATH or MEL. Thus khalsa implied yog+bhog+mel or spirituality, worldly enjoyment and unity, all combined into one.
Why number five in Sikhsim:
The number five has always been a sacred one in India from time immemorrial. The best form of self-government provided by ancient sages was Panchayat or council of five, Panchon men parmeshwar (God is present in the council of chosen five) was common saying in those days. Guru Nanak also laid emphasis on number five. In Japji he says:
Panch Parwan, Panch Pardhan,
Panch Pawen dargah man,
Panche so hai dar rajan,
Panchon ka Gur ek dhayan.
Each Guru offered his successor five paise with a coconut or bel fruit followed by five circumbulations around him, in token of his becoming the next Guru. Sawa rupaya, Sawa man, Sawa sau, Sawa lak each consisting of five quarters is common in Sikh terminology.
Guru Gobind Singh made the best use of this spiritual sentiment. According Giani Kartar singh Kalaswalia in Sri Guru Dashmesh Prakash, Guru ji sent from paonta five Sikhs to Kashi to study sanskrit. He built five forts at Anandpur. He selected five beloved ones at Anandpur. He read five banis while preparing amrit. He administered to each of them five palmfuls of amrit or holy water. Then "Wah guru ji ka khalsa" and "Wah guru ji ki fatah" had five words in each line. Guru Govind singh was in search of a word which could have the sanctity of five and the presence of God. He adopted the word Khalsa for his Singhs because it fulfilled both the conditions in the most appropriate manner. Besides this word had already been used by Guru Hargobind for his Sikhs.
In Persian script Khalsa conssist of five letters:
(i) Khe or Kh stands for Khud or oneself.
(ii) Alif or A represents Akal purukh, Allah or God.
(iii) LAM or L signifies Labbaik, which means
"What do you want with me? Here am I. What would
(iV) Swad or S alludes to Sahib or Lord or Master.
(v) it ends with either A. Alif or A points to
Azadi or freedom.
The word Khalsa, therefore has the sacredness of number five as well as the presence of God with his singhs both engaged in a pleasent conversation. God himself asks the singhs:
"What do you want from me? Here am I. What would you have?"
The Singhs reply: "Lord! give us liberty."
Then Sikhs also got the five symbols from Guru Gobind singh ji Bhai Nand lal wrote
Nishan-e-Sikhi ast in Panj har kaf
Hargiz na bashad azin panj muaf
Kara, Karad, Kacha, Kanga bi dan,
Bina kesh kes hech ast jumla nishan.
[These five letters of K are emblems of Sikhism.
These five are most incumbent, Steel Bangle,
big knife, shorts and a comb; without
unshorn hair the other four are of no
In those days Hindus of respectable families wore five ornaments: gold ear rings, a necklace, gold or silver bangles, finger ring and a waist belt of gold or silver. The wearer felt proud of displaying his superior social position. At the same time he ran the risk of losing these articles as well his life into the bargain.
Guru Gobind Singh provided to his followers five jewels which were within reach of everybody down to the poorest peasent and the lowest labourer. Instead of creating fear in the mind of the wearer of losing these jewels, Guru ji’s five jewels made his Singh bold, brave and awe-inspiring. These jewels were kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kirpan or dagger, Kara or steel bracelet and Kachcha a pair of knickerbockers. These symbols gave Khalsa a sembelence of unity, close brotherhood and equality. They developed group consciousness. Guru Gobind singh gave the Khalsa a new uniform. This was the spiritual uniform which at once lifted one to be able to hide their identity and face danger boldly, and to remain united in close affinity.
Several arguments in favour of unshorn hair, beards and moustaches: (From ‘Creation of the Khalsa’ History of the Sikhs, page 274, Hari Ram Gupta)
1. That it was a general practice with Hindu sages
and ascetics and Kshatriya princes to keep long hair
tied in a knot on top and flowing beard, and that
Guru Gobind singh wanted his disciples, in spite of their
being house-holders, to be Karam yogis or practical
saints like Ram, Krishna and Bharat or the five pandavas.
2. That the warlike tribesmen of the North-West frontier
kept long hair though trimmed, and the Guru wished his
followers to have a similarly impressive and alarming
3. That the previous Gurus also kept long hair and
Guru Gobind singh wanted his Singhs to develop like Gurus.
4. The most reasonable explanation is that Guru Gobind
singh desired to provide his Khalsa a natural military
uniform, the least expensive and most impressive permanent
costume. Besides he deemed it necessary that
their heads should be properly guarded from sword
cuts and lathi blows by means of long hair and turbans.
Comb indicated cleanliness and purity. Steel bracelet developed an iron will and grit. It was a permanent substitute of Rakhi, a thread tied by sisters on the wrists of their brothers, reminding them of their duty to help and protect them. Similarly the Kara served as a reminder to the Sikhs that they had promised to be true to the Guru and the Panth and that promise must kept at all costs.
Dagger depicted power and prestige. Wearing arms was the privilege and pride of only Kshatriyas and Rajputs. The Khalsa was lifted to the status of Kshtariya, Rajputs and princes. The pair of knickerbocker aimed at agility and frugality. It was more convenient for fighting that the long dhoti of Hindus or loose trousers of Muslims. Thus the five symbols of Guru Gobind Singh gave strength to the body, mind and soul and developed an integrated personality of the wearer. And Khalsa was born