Guru Gobind Singh: Prophet of Peace
Dr Karam Singh Raju
IAS (retd.), # 315, Sector 35-A, Chandigarh
The most charismatic, Guru Gobind Singh was a versatile genius. He had wonderful contrasting qualities. He was an invincible war hero and prolific writer of great eminence. He had captivating aura of valour and virtue. He was prophet of peace and love and above all a spiritual enlightener. His short span of barely 42 years of worldly life is vibrant with marvelous eventful role in the world religious history. Bhai Gurdas (II) epitomizes his magnificent qualities, so eloquently and beautifully, as below:
Lo, a man unfathomable is born
Chivalrous, singular and unparallel.
Guru Gobind Singh was unrivalled for all times. By ‘he’ I mean all ten Gurus. He himself says so:
“Thy holy Nanak was revered as Angad.
Angad was recognized as Amar Das.
And Amar Das became Ram Das.
The pious saw this, but not the fools.
Who thought them all distinct;
But some rare person recognize and that they all were one.
They who understand this obtained perfection,
Without understanding perfection cannot be obtained.”
– Bachitar Natak,Ch IX
Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh alone proclaim that their mundane mission had the divine sanction. No other prophet of the world made such a proclamation. However Jesus did claim before them that he had been declared beloved son of God. But Jesus did not mention about the purpose of his human incarnation. I would therefore reproduce their holy declarations in this regard:
Jesus Christ: He was baptized by John the Baptist in Jorden River and after the baptizing ceremony it is said “After His baptism, as soon as Jesus came out of water, the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the spirit of God coming down in the form of a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son and I am wonderfully pleased with him.” Mathew: 4.16, 17. Guru Nanak:
Me, the bord out of work
The Lord has applied to His service.
In the very beginning He gave me
The order to sing His praises night and day.
The Master summoned the ministrel to His True Court.
He clothed me with the robe of His true Honour and eulogy.
Since then the True Name has become my ambrosial food.
They, who under the Guru’s instruction eat this food
To their satisfaction, obtain peace.
By singing the Guru’s hymns
I, the ministrel spread the Lord’s glory
Nanak, by praising the True Name
I have obtained the perfect Lord.
– Guru Granth Sahib, p. 150
Guru Gobind Singh states very clearly about the nature of the work ordained to him by the Supreme Truth as below:
“I have manifested thee as my own son,
And appointed thee to establish a perfect Panth (sect)
Go in to the world, establish virtue expel vice.
For this sole purpose, to establish virtue
Was I sent into the world by the Guru Divine.”
– Bachittar Natak 29.42 and 43
Divine pronouncements of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh are first hand whereas the experience of Jesus is recorded by his apostle Mathew. Nevertheless Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh are specific and categorical in the statement of the mission assigned to them by the Supreme Lord. Lord Jesus is silent in this regard.
Guru Nanak visualized and planned the entire work quite precisely which was to be done during the next 200 years. He had come to help the humanity as a whole to wriggle out of the agony and distress. He, therefore took the whole universe as his village and humanity as his family. In order to bring men close to each other in affinity and unite the divided humanity, he preached fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. He was the first spiritual head to have given the concept of universal brotherhood – Sagal Jamatee in Japuji, 28. Enchanted with His philosophy Dr Zakir Hussain, former President of India said, “Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism is respected by all religious sects for being the god of peace, love for humanity and universal brotherhood.
It is not the real sublimity of “Univesal Brotherhood” and “Universal Love” that the holy hymns of saints of all denominations – Brahmin Hindu, Muslim and Sudar enjoy the same honour in the Adi Granth, the living Guru of the Sikhs. Dr S Radhakrishan, former President of India the greatest exponent of Hindu philosophy has therefore, said, “Sikh Gurus were the first to originate the philosophy of Sagal Jamatee – Universal brotherhood and universal love, which is becoming so popular these days.”
Guru Gobind Singh further gave the concept of “Universal Love”. He was himself love and peace personified. He says categorically that God is Love and He pervades every where:
“And who here as well there,
And in all directions hath
Spread out as love.”
– Jap Sahib, p. 80.
Similarly God has no religion:
“Greetings to Thee, O Beneficent One,
Greetings to Thee, O One without lineage
Greetings to Thee, O thou without religion.”
– Jap Sahib, p. 16
Guru ji, therefore, told the world that mutual human love alone could unite man with God. He said:
“I speak verily, hear me all ye people,
They who love God have attained.”
Guru Gobind Singh was not only a man of prayer but also he was a man of action and feats. He was harbinger of a new era. He was beacon light of inspiration and source of peerless courage. He breathed new life into the meekest, slighted by the Hindu society. He strove for the achievement of “liberty, equality and fraternity” which became the bedrock of French Revolution in 1789 and formed the basis of UNO Charter in the prerequisite. But the Indians were terrified so much so that they considered the King of Delhi as great as God – Ishwaro va Dillishwara Va. Consequently they were incapable of resisting tyranny and injustice. They were mere walking carrion or corpse. They thought themselves to be worst than sparrows. Guru Ji reminded them that their India was considered “Sparrow of Gold”, when they were themselves the rulers. They should therefore regain their lost glory. For this purpose Guru Gobind Singh infused such incredible courage in those sparrows that the world was wonder struck to see frail sparrows (sweepers, barbers, carpenters and shopkeepers) tearing the ferocious hawks (Pathan traitors and mighty hill rajas) when Guru Gobind Singh was suddenly attacked by the rajas at Paonta where he was busy in creative work of writing and studying along with his 52 poets and scholars far the last four years. Formidable army of the enemy was out numbering and out weaponing the few sparrows of Guru Gobind Singh still they won to prove:
“Sawa Lakh se ek ladaun, tabhi Gobind Singh naam kahaun.”
Guru Gobind Singh fought and won all battles thrust on him, nevertheless Guru ji never ignored high principles of war ethics. Because Guru ji considered those battles as “Dharma Yudh” much after his ministry. Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India for the seventh time in 1764 and he was accompanied by a writer Qazi Nur Mohammad who gave eye witness account of the fighting Sikhs. Though he contemptuously writes about them “SAGG-Dogs” but pays glowing tribute to them by saying “leaving aside their mode of fighting, hear you another point in which they excel all other fighting people. In no case would they slay a coward or put any obstacle in the way of fugitive. They do not plunder the wealth and ornaments of a woman be she a well to do lady, or a maid servant. There is no adultery amongst these dogs nor are these mischievous people given to thieving.
Whether the woman is young or old they call her “Budhiya” an old lady, and ask her to get out of the way. The word “budhiya in Indian Language means “an old lady”
Apart from the observance of war ethics scrupulously he never ignored his belief of human love during fighting those battles considered Dharma Yudh for having been thrust on him. He desired Bhai Kanahya to serve water for drinking to all the injured soldiers without any discrimination. Pleased with his devotee's impartial Guru ji gave him balm for application to the wounds. This very concept, later, developed into the “ international Committee of the Red Cross” The idea of the Red Cross work was born from the dreadful sight of thousands of unattended wounded soldiers witnessed by Henry Dunant in the vicinity Solferina in 1854 AD. As father of Red Cross Dunant was awarded the first peace Prize by Nobel Committee in 1901.
Guru Gobind Singh discarded all distinction based on caste, creed, sex and religion. Manu had created social hierarchy based on birth which resulted in social degradation and national disintegration. Guru ji stood far national unity and emotional integration. He admitted the out castes in his fraternity at equal level. The first to be baptized by him were sudras: they along with one alone of the upper caste were declared five beloved ones of the Guru. Not only this they were given the honour to baptise Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh.
Women like Sudras were also religiously discriminated in the Hindu Social Order. Manu would not allow them to listen to the Vedas and wear sacred thread, although some of the Vedic hymns were composed by them. Guru Nanak condemned this injustice and discrimination against women and posed a very significant question, as to how a woman can be said to be bad who gives birth to all emperors and beggars except God. Guru Gobind Singh restored to the woman her social and religious dignity when he prompted Mata Sahib Devan, his wife to bring sugar plums (pattashas) and mix the same in the Amrit (Elixir) prepared by him and said “Your coming is opportune.” Now a Sikh woman is an equal partner in “The Khalsa Fraternity.” She can study Sikh Scripture Guru Granth Sahib and become a preacher. This status is not enjoyed till today by a Christian or a Muslim woman.
Wondrous creation of Khalsa as per divine command during his communion with the supreme Lord, Guru Nanak planned precisely the whole strategy to awaken the people of India to a new life. After the long span of 200 years, Guru Gobind Singh brought to culmination this process of regeneration with the miraculous creation of Khalsa. This order instilled spirit of heroism in the Indian community and inspired them to prepare themselves for waging ruthless war against the imperialists who were vandalizing the Hindu temples and their deities and were forcibly converting them into Islam. The emperor Aurangzeb was at his zenith and hell bent to obliterate the infidels to make India an Islamic State. With the creation of Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh abolished all distractions based on caste, creed, sex and integrated people into one homogenous fraternity and engrafted chivalry into their religious zest.
Guru Gobind Singh called the Khalsa as army of the Supreme being created at his pleasure, “Khalsa Akal Purakh Kee Fauj; Pargatayo Khalsa Parmatm Kee Mauj” Hence it was based on the cardinal principles of Daya (compassion) Dharm (Righteousness) Himmat (courage) Mohkam (Determination) Sahib (Master) which the Khalsa followed scrupulously in war and peace. Hence the Guru called the Khalsa his own form (the Khalsa is my determinate, I am incarnate in the Khalsa) Khalsa was always filled with incredible fortitude, patriotic fervour and implacable resentment against the tyranny oppression and fanaticism of the Mughal officers and for redress they fought valiantly and always won with the patronage of Guru Gobind Singh. They never fought for high salaries and high position in the Khalsa hierarchy. They always fought for the pleasure of their Guru. Nevertheless Guru ji gave the whole credit to them for those victories:
I Have won my battles through the favour of my Sikhs
Through their favour have I been able to dispose largesse
Through their favour I subdued my enemies
Through their favour I am exalted
There are, else millions of such humble
Persons likely my self
Let my body my mind my head my wealth
And all that is mine be dedicated to their service.
– Khalsa Mehma
Guru Gobind Singh said Khalsa belongs to the Supreme Lord, so these victories all belong to him.
The Guru created Khalsa without being inimical to Islam. He believed that the whole humanity is the same to him “some men are Hindus and others are Musalmans, among the latter are Rafazis, Imams and Shafas. Know that all men are the same caste” he loved all irrespective of caste and creed. Muslim also loved him Pir Bhikham Shah of Kohram(Haryana) was the first to identify the light-Noor of his Allah in Gobind Rai immediately on his birth and bowed to the Noor from distance of 1000 kms contrary to his religious practice to bow to the west. He also covered this long distance to see the Divine Noor himself. No Sikh or Hindu had this realization at Patna where Gobind was born. Then the first gift of one village and garden still bear the name of the gurudwara Patna on his birth came from Nawab Rahim Bakhsh and Karim Bakhsh of Patna. Later at the age of three Pandit Shiv Dutt saw Lord Rama in the playing child Gobind and Rani Fateh Chand was overjoyed to find Gobind as her son in her lap. Again enroute was Pir Arif Din to find the divine light in Gobind at village Lakhnaur and he bowed before it to the annoyance of his disciples who objected to his saluting a Hindu infidel. Subsequently Pir Budhu Shah came to the help of Gobind Rai in the battle of Bhangani (Paonta) with his 700 disciples and scarified his two sons in the fight for Guru ji General Panj Hazari Syed Beg Mainum Khan, Nabi Khan Ghani Khan Pathan brothers Pir Mohd. Rai Kalha of Jatpura (near Raikot; Jagroan) and above all Prince Muazzam, son of Aurangzeb who won his throne with the help of Guru Gobind Singh and became Bahudar Shah and presented Khilat to Guru ji in gratitude, are some of the names of the famous Muslim devotees of Guru ji . He was love personified. “He was a friend and supporter of the meekest of the meek whom helped none else. He was pious and mirror of Divine grace. He had malice towards none he was loved by all as the soul of their body and as the light of their eyes - Bhai Nand Lal Goya.
Guru Gobind Singh was Apostle of peace and came to convey the message of love for bringing man nearer to man. Wars were compulsion on him which he fought and won all. Because love does not mean weakness. He drew sword when peaceful means failed. It was the message conveyed to Aurangzeb in Zafarnama sent from Dina. Reading Epistle of Victory - Zafarnama the ailing and aged Aurangzeb requested immediate meeting to which Guru ji responded favourably but he was still at Baghaur when the emperor expired in the South.
Dr. S Radhakrishanan President of India wrote in 1966 on the 300th birth Guru anniversary of the Guru Gobind Singh “Founder of the Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh preached truthfulness, sincerity and humility and fought against religious fanaticism , caste distinctions and superstitious beliefs. Swami Viveka Nand visited Punjab and said “ It was here the last Guru one of the most glorious heroes of our race Shri Guru Gobind Singh shed blood and that of his dearest and nearest for the cause of religion. He was the beacon light to inspire the Indian nation to revitalize and take over again its distinctive role in civilization of mankind.”
With uncountable tears and trembling pen Karam Singh Raju writes that on 7.10.1708 Guru ji deprived us from his physical Darshan with his soothing holy message to be followed for ever:
Hear Ye all, I utter nothing but truth that
He alone attains God who loveth.
Copyright Institute of Sikh Studies, All rights reserved.
Designed by Jaswant (09915861422)