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  Gur Panth Parkash
Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh




Guru Gobind Singh and His Mission

Dr Madanjit Kaur
Prof. (retd.), Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

Guru Gobind Singh (original name Gobind Rai) was born at Patnal on Poh Sudi 7, 1723 Bikrami corresponding to 22 December 1666.2 He had realised from his childhood that he was living in troublesome times, where civilized life on a spiritual plane was impossible due to ideological bigotry practised by a tyrant state. It is said that during his childhood he used to play the commander, while his playmates acted as soldiers. His favourite games were sham fights, military exercise and manoeuvres. The child Guru had proved that his dispensation was that of a warrior and he evinced all the propensities of a martial character.3 Pandit Shiv Dutt was appointed his tutor.4 It is said that the local Raja Fateh Chand Maini was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur. His Rani was issueless. She was fond of the child Gobind Rai and treated him as her own son.5 Gobind Rai’s upbringing is said to have been reared up under the supervision of his maternal uncle, Kirpal. When he was six years old (1673) Gobind Rai was sent for by his father Guru Tegh Bahadur to Sri Anandpur Sahib.6 Soon after he reached Anandpur, his father appointed Bajar Singh Rajput and other trainers to give him instruction in riding, archery, hunting and other martial arts. Chaupa Singh was appointed as his attendant. Gobind Rai was a gifted child and had high aptitude for knowledge of classical languages, poetics and other subjects of secular education. Kirpa Ram Brahmin and Qazi Pir Mohammed of Saloh were appointed to teach him Hindi and Persian script and Bhai Chaupa Singh, Bhai Gurbaksh Singh and Sahib Chand were given the charge of teaching him Gurmukhi and Gurbani respectively. Proper arrangement for the teaching of Sanskrit and ancient Indian literature was also made under the supervision of Pandit Har Jas Rai. Ram Ji Vashishat and Krishan Ji Sandipan were the instructors of Gobind Rai. Special and suitable arrangements were made for training him in horsemanship and the use of arms games and horse riding. Training in martial arts was given to him by his sports instructor Phulha.7 These were serious occupations of the young Gobind. Besides education and hunting, writing or poetry became his passion. There Guru Teg Bahadur took every care to prepare Gobind Rai to meet the future responsibilities of the Sikh community.

Gobind Rai was a precocious child. At an early age he began to show signs of being endowed with noble ideals and a strong personality of high spirit and noble aim. When less than 9 years old he counselled to his illustrious father, Guru Tegh Bahadur to sacrifice his head (sis) for the sake of protection of the freedom of worship, truth and righteousness.8 The occasion was the arrival of a deputation of Brahmins from Kashmir seeking support of Guru Tegh Bahadur for the protection of their faith against the policy of forcible conversion of Hindus initiated by the fanatic Emperor Aurangzeb. The Guru made the supreme sacrifice for the protection of freedom of conscience and Dharma.9Gobind Rai was only nine years old when his father was executed at Delhi in 1675 by the order of Emperor Aurangzeb. This shocking incident steeled his spirit and inspired him to resist the forces of evil and tyranny.10 His hour had arrived, he felt that he would have to be the saviour of all the Sikhs who had assembled under his banner as well as of all the Sikh sangats spread all over India. Like his grandfather, Guru Hargobind, he issued edicts, hukamnamas (letters), that presents of arms, armaments and horses would please him.11 The aim was to arouse the interest of the Sikhs in martial training and equip them to fight the oppression in all its forms-societal, political religious, and material.

Gobind Rai grew into a very handsome and well built youth and was the object of adoration and admiration of all who came into his contact. As he grew into manhood he decided to resist the tyranny of the reigning authority. The execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur was very staggering for the young Gobind. He soon realised that the adversary meant to destroy the very essence of the secular, humanitarian and universal doctrines of the Sikh faith and it was his duty to resist the enemy with all means at his disposal, for it was the battle of survival not only of life but of idealism.12 He openly and publically held daily darbar (court) at Anandpur Sahib. ‘Asa di Var’ was sung in the morning, after day break he imparted religious instructions to the congregation. ‘Rehras’ was recited and diwans were held in the evening. Alongwith the spiritual development of the community the Guru took special care of the physical fitness of his Sikhs and let it be known that he would welcome able bodied men to join his crusade. His mission of life became clear. Guru Gobind Singh began to prepare himself for the future responsibility of the Sikh Panth and to take up the cause of the oppressed against the tyranny of the autocratic State which was imposing forced conversion and all sorts of atrocities on the people. The sixth chapter of the Dasam Granth describes in Guru Gobind Singh’s own words, the mission of his life in this world and helps us to understand and interpret certain events in his life. The seventh chapter of Dasam Granth includes autobiographical monologue of the Guru, his birth at Patna and the death of his father, his visit to Paonta and hunting excursions on the banks of river Jamuna, the battles of Bangani, Nadaun and GuIer, and the march of Prince Muzzam (Emperor Bahadur Shah) on the Punjab.

In his autobiography (Apni Katha) which forms a part of the ‘Bachitra Natak’ (The wondrous Drama), incorporated in Dasam Granth, the idea of Dharam Yudh (the battle for the sake of righteousness) is clearly evident in his compositions. Guru Gobind Singh announced:
                I came into the world charged with the duty,
                to uphold the rightous in every place, to destroy sin and evil,
                O Ye holymen, know it well in your hearts that the only reason,
                I took birth was to see that righteousness may flourish,
                that good may live and tyrants to be torn out by their very roots.13
This revolutionary Mission was enshrined in the Divine Will. Describing the attributes of God, Guru Gobind Singh emphatically points to the implied meaning of the Ordain of God:
                Thou bestowest happiness on good.
                Thou terrifiest the evil.14
                Thou scatterest sinners ­
                I seek thy protection.15
                To save the saints, and destroy the enemies.
                God is compassionate to the poor, He is the cherisher of the lowly.16
Thus cherishing the poor and destroying the tyrant are according to Guru Gobind Singh, God’s own mission. It was in the pursuance of this mission that God sent Guru Gobind Singh to this world. In Guru’s own words the Divine Commandment of his mission was:
                I have honoured Thee as my son
                and created Thee to extend my religion.
                Go and spread my religion there,
                And restrain the world from senseless acts.
(Dasam Granth- p.57)17
Guru Gobind Singh started defensive preparation for his mission. He had already let it be known that he would welcome offerings in arms and horses. In the background of the Sikh traditions, he made it sure that his crusade was not to be wrongly interpreted as that of the Sikhs against Muslim. Within a few years of his succession to guruship, Guru Gobind Singh had enlisted a large number of men, ­Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims for his army. The Guru’s intention always stood on the defensive, he never took the offensive. But there was radical change in the political situation. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb confronted his non-Muslim subjects with a policy of forceful conversion as a political challenge. The resistance to state oppression meant direct confrontation. The Guru was expecting such a situation. The trouble enhanced when the Rajput Rajas of Shivalik Hills grew hostile to him. These hill rajas proved the greatest obstacle to the Guru. They became jealous of the Guru’s phenomenal success and owing to petty selfishness, they perpetually fought against him and would not let him rest in peace and do his constructive work in rehabilitating the suppressed and downtrodden Hindu people of the hill area. These rajas were scarred of losing their feudal prerogatives on account of social reforms and intellectual awakening being initiated by Guru Gobind Singh. They were humbled down on many occasions by superior wisdom and fighting strength of Guru Gobind Singh. These Hindu rajas also proved to be traitors of their own people as they invoked the aid of the fanatic Mughals to crush the power of the Guru who had heralded a reformatory movement for the protection of the people against the Mughal State. The hill rajas had no ethics of diplomatic relationships. They had promised to support the Guru earlier against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb; their common enemy but soon they turned against the Guru. Thus creating a serious problem of defence and security for the Guru and his organisation. Guru Gobind Singh retired for some years to the State of Nahan, where on the land offered by its ruler, Raja Medni Prakash he founded a fort called Paonta. There, the Guru kept busy in inspiring his Sikhs with courage and heroism to get ready for the coming struggle. Military training and martial feats were performed daily at his Darbar. Poets and dhadis used to sing heroic ballads to arouse the spirit of patriotism and chivalry among his followers. The Guru had a war drum installed, it was called ‘Ranjit Nagara’ (the drum of victory). It was beaten up daily in the morning and evening after the routine prayers and its beating was regarded as symbol of sovereignty.
All these measures infused the Sikhs with self-confidence and gave them an exalted sense of their own worth. Observing Guru’s growing power, prosperity, progress and military strength as well as his increasing popularity in their areas, the hill rajas got scared. Raja Bhim Chand of Bilaspur in whose territory, Anandpur Sahib was located successfully pressed neighboring hill chiefs to expel the Guru from their region. Guru Gobind Singh met the armies of the hill chiefs at Bhangani (near Paonta). The battle of Bhangani was fought in 1686. Although, the Pathan mercenaries and a large number of Udasis deserted Guru’s camp but their leaders ­Budhu Shah and his sons, and Mahant Kirpal Chand Udasi fought with bravery, devotion, success and sacrifice. This was the first battle fought by Guru Gobind Singh against the confederacy of the hill chiefs. Guru Gobind Singh had given a vivid account of the battle of Bhangani in his composition ‘Bachitar Natak’. In the Dasam Granth this battle is referred to as the Hussaini Yudh after the name of the Mughal commander Hussain Khan who was heading the Mughal troops.
The victory at Bhangani encouraged Guru Gobind Singh to leave the mountains and to return to his ancestral home in Anandpur Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh’s second battle was fought at Nadaun in 1687 in collaboration with some of the hill chiefs against the Mughals, who had invaded their territory for forceful collection of revenue. In this battle the Guru’s army won rebounding victory over the Mughals despite their superiority in numbers and arms. However, soon after the victory, the hill chiefs decided to come to terms with the Mughals, but Guru Gobind Singh did not like the idea of negotiating with the enemy who had no morals and integrity. He retired to Anandpur Sahib where he lived peacefully for a number of years. During this period Guru Gobind Singh devoted all his energies to strengthen his community. He fortified his headquarters at Anandpur Sahib and also built a chain of fortresses of Anandgarh, Kesgarh and Fatehgarh to keep the hill states in check. Gradually, the Guru firmly consolidated his hold in the area and became more powerful than the hill rajas.
The Guru got respite of more than a decade. Secured in his territory the Guru started the task of consolidation of the Sikh organization with greater vigor and care. Guru Gobind Singh’s stay at Anandpur Sahib was filled with intellectual and literary activities. He had  been taught Hindi, Punjabi, Sanskrit and Persian languages in childhood. The classical education and the life of seclusion in the mountain retreat at Paonta earlier had encouraged the growth of talent of a poet in Guru Gobind Singh.
Now he began to compose verses in four languages he had learnt. The Guru was a prolific writer and a poet of rare sensibility. He wrote in many languages. Although substantial portion of his literary work was lost in river Sarsa at the time of his retreat from Anandpur to Chamkaur. What survived is enough to establish him as a high rank litterateur. It has been estimated that some of his works deserve the highest place in the realm of Braj Bhasha of the narrative poetics and epic style.
According to one opinion all the works incorporated in Dasam Granth are attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. However, it is generally accepted that eleven works of poetry which emanated from Guru Gobind Singh are compiled in Dasam Granth or Dasam Patshah Ka Granth which is a collection of various compilations produced by the Guru and by his court poets. In order to avoid the cult of personality, the Guru took care not to incorporate his works in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.
In the writings of Guru Gobind Singh we have a full insight into the mind of the Guru-as a poet, as a mystic as well as a scholar of philosophy who had studied thoroughly the classics’ of Puranic Literature. A deep probe into the central theme of these writings explore the unity of monotheism which transcends the plurality. The moral of the story is given in each case in a very subtle manner either at the end or nearer the conclusion of the episode. The coded message should be decoded in its syntax in order to get the real meaning and purpose of the author which he wishes to convey to the reader through the text. But more striking is the fact, how thoroughly the Guru had realized what a vital role literature could be made to play in rousing the dormant energies of vanquished and a degenerated people who had lost heart and hope in the betterment of their condition because of religious and political oppression. Selected heroic stories and episodes from Hindu mythology in Sanskrit also were translated and recomposed in easier dictum for the understanding of the masses. Besides, Guru Gobind Singh composed his own poetry which is equally great and strong. Through his composition the Guru enunciated a doctrine of armed struggle for the protection of truth and justice. His poetry proved a turning point in the realm of Hindi literature.
His Ode in blank verse in Punjabi, Chandi di Vaar, is a unique example of personification of a myth into deity of power, symbolic of the victory of virtue over vice’s’ and glory of righteousness in this mundane world. In Hindi (Braj) he developed a style and form, which for its martial format, richness of imagination and variety of similes and metaphors from old Puranic literary tradition has remained unsurpassed since his times.
Guru Gobind Singh has greatly enriched the literary heritage of India. His poetic vision depicts the glorious epitome of medieval Indian literary traditions. His creative genius formulated in emotions motivates for higher action and breaks out against superstition and hypocrisy with humour and irony as we find in his Chaubis Avtar. His emotions, often projected with intellectual exercise by the lessons of wrongs done by the past, is raised to the highest pitch of ecstasy when he communes with God in Akal Ustat and points to the eternal unity of human existence with the Cosmos.
The idea of Divine Intervention in Human history, is deeply rooted in his writings. In his ‘Bachitra Natak’ he declared that God had commissioned him ‘to uphold righteousness and to destroy all evil-doers root and branch’. Guru Gobind Singh fully enhanced the importance of patriotic genre as motivating force. He placed literary activity in the forefront of his programme of national reconstruction. He translated classical and ancient stories of Indian heroes as found in the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharta into vernacular. The Guru extended generous patronage to scholars and men of letters. Under his patronage considerable literature was composed at his court. The keynote of this vast literature, some of which is preserved in the Dasam Granth is optimism, freedom from superstitions, rituals, polytheism and a strong faith in the unity of God and mankind. The Guru recognized oneness of all humanity irrespective of racial, genetic, linguistic, geographical and cultural plurality. At that time, the country was passing through a crisis of political and religious disintegration. The writings of Guru Gobind Singh specifically stress the need to revive the inherent pluralistic society of our cultural heritage. Guru Gobind Singh was fully aware about the crucial issues of integration and harmony in our pluralistic society. For the purpose of national unity he repeatedly stressed on the need to strengthen the spirit of unity in diversity in our pluralistic society. Besides, his purpose in producing patriotic literature was to infuse a feeling of confidence among his countrymen to help them come out of despair and then like men of action, steel their hearts against oppression and fight for righteousness against injustice and tyranny.
In his poetry, Guru Gobind Singh created a new metaphor of the sword. The sword was the symbol of Shakti, Kalika or Durga and of Akal Himself. God has been described as Sarbloh (All-steel). In fact, the selection of this symbol was intended to give a new orientation to the psyche of the people, demoralized by subjugation to foreign rule and streak of passivity in their very nature. The people yoked to slavery of the alien rule needed a new forceful vocabulary and a new principle of faith. This incentive was provided by Guru Gobind Rai by introducing new signs and symbols as medium of communication for spiritual inspiration. In the opening part of the ‘Bachitra Natak’ the sword has been divined as God. The Guru invokes the Almighty as:
                I bow with love and devotion to the holy Sword.
                Assist me so that I may complete my task.
God and sword are mentioned here synonymously. Then follows a ringing and soulfully rendered invocation, to the sword. The diction, a form of Prakrit, is so powerful that it reproduces the clangorous rhythm of clashing swords with such a verna that the mere recitation of verses inspires heroic endeavour and chivalrous action. For example in ‘Bachitar Natak’ the Guru acclaims:
                Thou art the Subduer of kingdoms,
                the destroyer of the armies of the wicked
                In the battlefield Thou adorenest the brave.
                Thy arm is infragile, Thy brightness refulgent
                 Thy radiance and splendour dazzle like the sun.
                 Thou bestowest happiness on the good and virtuous,
                Thou terrifiest the evil. Thou scatterest sinners.
                I seek Thy protection.
                Hail Hail to the Creator of the World
                The saviour of creation, my cherisher,
                Hail to Thee O Sword.
(Dasam Granth, p.39)
In the poetry of Guru Gobind Singh God is predominantly symbolized as a weapon of war to fight injustice. He is depicted as the Punisher of the evil and the Destroyer of tyrants. But the benevolent aspect is also simultaneously and equally forcefully emphasiscd. God is invoked as the Fountain-head of mercy, the Kingman of the poor, and the Bestower of felicity. Thus fusion of the devotional and martial, of the spiritual and the heroic ethos was the most important feature of the literary works of Guru Gobind Singh as well as that of his chrismatic leadership. The Guru made all sorts of arrangements to generate this spirit among his followers. At his Darbar (court), every evening, the Sikhs heard ballads extolling the deeds of warriors who had defied tyranny by the power of arms. A martial atmosphere blended with spiritual fervor came to pervade the Guru’s Darbar at Anandpur Sahib.
The patriotic literature popularized in Braj, a kind of early western Hindi mixed with dialects of Punjabi served as an effective handmaid to his constructive works and at the same time created a demand for literacy, education, moral and ethical value system among his followers. The style of his poetics is grand while the imagery used is acute. His themes are religious and the Guru was basically the poet of the Divine. His famous compositions are Jaap Sahib, Akal Ustat, Bachitra Natak, Chandi Charitra (Var Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki), Khalsa Mahima, Chaubis Avtar, Gian Prabodh, Shastar nam mala, Sabad Hazare, Sawayyas, Khalsa Mahima, Zafarnama and Hikayat. All these are in Braj or Punjabi languages except the last two which are in Persian. Guru Gobind Singh’s compositions are considered to be most remarkable and integrating compositions in the realm of medieval Indian religious poetry and are unique examples of the medieval vision with modern outlook aimed at bringing about a spiritual awaking and social transformation.
For the inspiration and motivation of people to prepare themselves for the heroic deeds when fighting in support of righteousness, the Guru had engaged 52 talented poets of high calibre at his court at Paonta Sahib. These poets came to the Guru’s darbar from various parts of India. They were provided lavish patronage. Guru Gobind Singh’s preference for the heroic poetry set the pattern for the compositions. These poets reset in Braj Bhasha stories of those ancient Indian warriors who had faced dare-devils. They also dealt with history and the wars between Gods and demons (Virtue and Vice). The works of some of the Guru’s court poets have come to us. Among them Sainapat’s Gur Sobha is the primary source of information on the creation of the Khalsa, battles of Guru Gobind Singh and his demise and proclamation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the future Guru of the Sikhs. The Guru rewarded his poets generously for their creative writings. They also translated several books from classic literature. Bhai Nand Lal ‘Goya’ (previously a Governor at the Mughals posted in Multan and frontier province) was one of the well known poets of his court, he was a great Persian scholar. Bhai Nand Lal had composed many works. His most famous works are Bandgi Nama (Zindagi Nama), Jyot Vigas and Guzalliat.
Guru Gobind Singh sent five of his scholars to Kashi (Varanasi) to learn Sanskrit and Hindu religious texts so that they could be well equipped to interpret the Puranic mythology and Vedantic Philosophy in a better way. These five disciples established the school of theologians known as the Nirmalas (the unsullied). The first five Nirmals were Karam Singh, Ganda Singh, Vir Singh, Saina Singh and Ram Singh. Later on these Nirmalas became the foremost interpreters of the Sikh scripture and Sikh Theology. Guru Gobind Singh also engaged ballad singers at his court. The Guru gave military training, organised his followers into an armed unit with martial zeal and discipline. The writers and musicians at his court were involved in the task of creating a cultural background for preparing his followers to get ready for the coming struggle. On the practical side mock battles were fought at Paonta and Anandpur Sahib to give his Sikhs the chance to practise their manoeuvres, battle and strategy of war. His Sikhs flocked for his darshan with presents of horses, swords, precious articles and war material for they had realised that the survival of their community was at stake. On account of these well planned activities, a martial atmosphere blended with spirituality came to pervade in the Guru’s darbar at Anandpur Sahib. The Guru had built Anandpur as a great centre of the Sikh organisation.
For some years, Guru Gobind Singh carried on his programme of reorganising the infrastructure of the Sikh community undisturbed. Busy in his engagements, the Guru produced literary works and also reared his family in Anandpur Sahib. Four sons Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh were born to his two wives, Mata Sundari and Mata Jeeto. He spent much time pondering over the causes of weakness and disunity in the Sikh organization and decided to reorganize the internal set up of the Sikh community.
Before giving practical shape to his ideas, Guru Gobind Singh decided to abolish the corrupt institution of the Masands (representatives) of the guru appointed earlier for preaching the message of Sikhism and collecting offerings from the Sikh sangats of their areas.
The masands had become greedy, oppressive and degenerated and immoral. Most of the masands were behaving independently and no longer been serving the cause for which they were appointed. They had set up their independent establishments and extorted money from the Sikh sangat for their personal use. The masands had became a cause of disruption in the unity of community. Guru Gobind Singh was also well aware about the corrupt practices which had crept into the organisation of the Sikhs and had caused internal disruption in the community.  Many masands had set themselves up as Gurus in their own districts and had began to nominate their own successors. Instead of propagating Sikhism and forwarding the collection and offerings from the devotees to the Guru’s treasury, they were engaged in money - lending and trading on the offerings, which they extorted from the local Sikhs.
Guru Gobind Singh decided to abolish the institution of masands and to reorganise the ‘Guru-Sikh’ relationship on direct lines. He did not compromise on half-measures like trying to reform the masands. With one stroke of his pen the Guru exposed their hypocrisy and pronounced excommunication of the masands.18Many of the culprit masands were dealt with severe punishments. The Guru established direct relationship between himself and Sikh sangats. The Hukamnamas of the Tenth Guru bearing statement, sangat meri Khalsa hai stand evidence to this development in the Sikh organisation.
Guru Gobind Singh had to take strong measures to accept the challenge of the time and respond boldly to the situation. He had already done basic exercise and created a spiritually inspired martial atmosphere to meet any expectancy of military action. The Guru had a trained army of devoted Sikhs who agreed with his mission; still he needed a large number of committed followers to pursue his struggle. The execution of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur (1675) had made it clear to Guru Gobind Singh that peaceful resistance to oppression had proved abortive. He gave recognition to recourse to the sword as a lawful alternative. A new policy of self-defence and creation of a final institutional structure was proclaimed by Guru Gobind Singh which was the result of a long term plan and preparation.
Guru Gobind Singh decided to provide his people something positive to replace what he had taken away. The Guru was very clear in his mind about his plan. He had created a spiritually inspired martial atmosphere and an expectancy of military action. The heroic literature produced by him and under his patronage had proved a successful motivating force for the people to rise in action against injustice, exploitation and religious persecution of the orthodox State. The platform was ready for the future proclamation. Now, he decided to proclaim it and take practical steps to fulfill it.
In early 1699 he sent messengers inviting his followers from all over India to come to Anandpur Sahib for a meeting on the occasion of the festival of Baisakhi with hair and beard unshorn. The response was very encouraging. So on 30th March, 1699 thousands of Guru’s followers gathered at Anandpur. As soon as the morning prayer was over, Guru Gobind Singh stood before the congregation and drew his sword and asked: ‘Is anyone here prepared to die at my command’ and demanded five men who were prepared for this sacrifice to come forward. He repeated the question for three times. After some consternation one Sikh got up and offered himself to the Guru and thereafter one after; another four more disciples stepped forward. These five disciples belonged to different castes and different regions. They were Daya Ram, a Khatri of Lahore (Pakistan), Dharam Das a Jat of Delhi, Mohkam Chand - a washerman of Dwarka, Himmat Rai- a cook of Jhivar
caste from Jagan Nath Puri (Orissa) and Sahib Chand a barber from Bidar. It was the basic inequality of the caste society that the Guru wanted to eradicate. Therefore the fourfold social stratification of the Hindu society was brought to an end and the Khalsa brotherhood based on the principle of equality was created as an instrument of revolution.
The story associated with the initiation of the Khande di pahul (stirred with double edged sword), is a remarkably beautiful one with significant symbolism. It relates that when Guru Gobind Singh put two edged sword in water in an iron vessel, it changed the mere cold water into elixir of power which when drunk by two sparrows, turned them into relentless fighters upto death attacking each other. Then before Guru Gobind Singh administered this miracle-offering water to his initiates, his wife Mata Jeeto came with some patasas (sugar puffs), which the Guru appreciated and mixed them with the water, and declared that the strength and courage and spirit of dauntless fight which the holy water; stirred by the divine sword, ensured, would now be sweetened by kindness and charity and all human virtues. This he declared to be the character of the Khalsa. In his disciples strength and fearlessness, courage and graciousness he said would be combined. And this was as great an ideal as we could imagine-true spirit of the knight (sipahi) with the spirit of service (sewa). The Guru wanted to inculcate in his Khalsa both absolute fearlessness and at the same time the utmost humility and gentleness to serve the suffering humanity in all circumstances. The Guru declared these five disciples as Panj Piyaras (five beloved ones) and they were to be the nucleus of the Khalsa (the pure). The Guru baptised these Panj Piyaras in a new manner. The initiation ceremony called Khande-de-pahul was administered with amrit (sugar in plain water) and churned with a double edged dagger, to the recitation of hymns from Sri Guru Granth Sahib including ‘Jap Sahib’. The five beloved ones were then made to drink Amrit out of one bowl to signify their initiation into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa.
The baptism of the Khande-de-pahul was a process of social transformation of the initiates to bring about a new social order. At the Amrit ceremony all distinctions of caste and creed were wiped off, and it has been appropriately termed as the Nash doctrine in Sikh theology. The membership of the Khalsa was restricted to those who were not only alive to the objectives of the movement but were also willing to make sacrifices for it. At the time of the initiation each entrant to the brotherhood of the Khalsa gained five freedoms- freedom from the shackles of earlier Dharma (creed), earlier Karma (deeds), Kirt (previous occupation), Kul of having severed the family ties related to Brahmanic belifs), varan and jati (caste, clan and race, earlier taboos and customs, superstitions and rituals etc). Thus the baptism symbolised a rebirth. The Hindu names were changed and the initiates were given one family name ‘Singh’ (Lion). The Guru gave him a distinct identity of keeping the ‘Five Ks’. These emblems were prescribed for the Khalsa as obligatory symbols. These were- Kesh (unshorn hair), Kangah (comb), Kach (underwear), Kara (iron bangle), Kirpan (sword). The Guru intended to create the Khalsa as an armed body of revolutionaries who were to carry out his mission by open profession thereof. In addition, the converts to the Khalsa fold were to observe strict rules of code of conduct rahit and were not to use tobacco or any other sort of intoxicants and not to eat meat of animals, slaughtered by being bled to death, as was customary with the Muslims called Halal but to take only Jhatka meat, where the animal had been’ dispatched with a single blow.
The Guru wanted to preserve and,. develop purity in the Sikh character. He emphasized on the cultivation of virtue and moral behaviour. Family life and domestic stability were regarded as necessary to the basic development of moral character of the Khalsa. With the above injunctions Guru Gobind Singh put a ban on adultery. The worship of idols, graves, cenotaphs and cremation grounds was forbidden.19 The Guru preached the Khalsa to live in harmony and mutual cooperation. At the end of the Oath taking of the Amrit ceremony, the Guru hailed the converts with a new mode of greeting:
                Wah Guruji ka Khalsa
                Wah Guruji ki Fateh
                (The Khalsa belongs to God and so does victory belong to Him).
This motto generated a spirit of optimism and humility because the Divine cause was bound to succeed sooner or later and the spirit of total surrender to God’s Will. Therefore the Khalsa was deeply grounded in the spirit of humility and service to humanity. The acceptance of Khalsa ideology naturally meant becoming full time revolutionaries. An important part of the Khalsa discipline was the dedication of one’s body, soul and belongings to the Guru and God. It was Guru Gobind Singh’s unique way of creating a commune. Therefore, dedication of oneself to the Khalsa was dedication to God. Having initiated the Panj Piyaras Guru Gobind Singh stepped up before them with folded hands; and asked them to baptize him into the new fraternity in the same way as he had baptized them. After this there remained no difference between the Guru and his baptised Sikhs. They were supposed to be his other self and beloved ideal:­
                            Khalsa mero roap hai khas.
Thus was created the Khalsa. The court poet of Guru Gobind Singh, Kavi Sainpat records in his account Gursobha that, the Khalsa was created to destroy the evil-doer (asur and durjan). Koer Singh the author of Gurbilas Patshahi 10 writes that after the initiation ceremony of the Khalsa, the Guru gave instructions to initiates to destroy the (tyrants) the Mughal forces and rule for ever. The later Sikh historical sources record the same tradition.
The creation of the Khalsa was a historic event unrelated to any local situation. It was in fulfillment of the Guru’s divine mission to propagate righteousness and to destroy evil.
Guru Gobind Singh bestowed sovereignty on the Khalsa for plebian objective. The Khalsa owed allegiance to God and to none else. In its social implications, it meant loyalty only to the Guru’s mission which had been sanctified by God Himself. The Khalsa was imbibed with the spirit of liberty and independence and disclaimed all earthly masters. They were the servants of God.
Guru Gobind Singh issued Hukamnama to the ‘Sangat’ (congregation) of Kabul on 26 Jeth, 1756 B.K. (23 May, 1699 A.D.) only four weeks after the foundation of the Khalsa in which he mentioned the Rehat and five symbols (ks) in clear words.20 It is to be pointed out that at the time of the creation of the Khalsa, there was a rift on ideological grounds in the Sikhs ranks. Some people expressed their inability to forgo traditional customs and practices and they protested against the strict code of conduct (Rahit) of the Khalsa. The Khatris and the Brahmins remained aloof. Sikhs drawn from higher castes disassociated themselves from the Khalsa. But this attitude did not effect the process of recruitment to the Khalsa fold and after sometime this spirit of defiance gradually died down?21
Right from its foundation, the Khalsa had become popular. It is said that about eighty thousand Sikhs were converted into the Khalsa followed by mass baptism all over northern India.22 The Guru had dinned into the timid peasantry of the Punjab that they must:
Take the broom of divine knowledge in hand, and sweep away the filth of timidity from the mind.23
Thereby, Guru Gobind Singh trained the sparrow to haunt the hawk and one man to fight a legion. Within a few months the chosen people of Punjab, were ready and fully armed and with a crusader’s zeal to build a new commonwealth. They implicitly believed:
               The Khalsa shall rule. Their enemies will be scattered. Only they that seek refuge will be saved.24
These lines have become an integral part of the Sikhs ethos. They are repeated every time after the supplicatory prayer of the Sikhs, the Ardas.

Notes and References
          1.      In most of the contemporary and near contemporary sources the name of Guru Gobind Singh has been referred as Gobind Rai, but in the Hukamnamas (epistles) of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the name of Guru Gobind Singh has been given as Gobind Dass, see Hukamnams ed. Ganda Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1967, Hukamnamas No. 21, p. 103, No. 23, p. 107.
               The place of birth of Guru Gobind Singh has been authenticated by the autobiography of the Guru itself:
                w[o fgs g{op fe:f; g:kBk ..
                GKfs GKfs e/ shofE BkBk ..
                ip jh iks fsqp/Dh GJ/ ..
                g[zB dkB fdB eos fpskJ/
                sjhA gqekô jwok G:’ ..
                gNBk ôfjo fpy/ Gt b:’ ..
-Apni Katha, Bachitar Natak, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, p. 59.
          2.      This date has been corroborated by a numbers of Sikh sources see Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi Das, (1751), ed. Shamsher Singh Ashok, Published by Punjabi University, Patiala, 1968, p. 30; Sukha Singh, Gurbilas Dasvin Patshahi, (1797), Lahore, 1912, p. 41 Bhai Santok Singh, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth also gives the same Thit and month see Vol. 10, p. 4272 (Pub. Bhasha Vibhag Punjab, Patiala) 1992; Ganda Singh (ed., Makhiz-i-Tawarikh-i­-Sikhan, Amritsar, 1949; p.7; Gian Singh Giani, Tawarikh-Guru-Khalsa, Bhasha Vibhag Punjab, Patiala 1970, Vol I, p. 743; M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, S. Chand & Co., New Delhi, 1963, Vol. IV, p. 344, Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, A Short History of the Sikhs, Orient-Longmans, Bombay, Vol I, 1950, p. 54.
               On the site of the house at Patna in which Gobind Rai was born and where he spent his early childhood now stands a sacred shrine, Takhat Sri Harimandar Sahib, one of the five most honoured seats of religious authority (takht, means throne) for the Sikhs.
          3.      Koer Singh, op. cit., p. 32, Sukha Singh op.cit., p. 39, Santokh Singh, op. cit., Vol. 12, Ansu 16, 17, 18.
          4.      Sohan Singh Sheetal, Manukhta De Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Pub. Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, 2nd edition, 2000, pp. 16-18; D.K. Verma, Guru Gobind Singh, On the Canvas of History, Pub. Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1995, p. 33.
          5.      Gurdwara Sangat Maini Sahib, Patna commemorates the site of the Palace of Raja Fateh Chand Maini.
          6.      His father, Guru Tegh Bahadur intent on his all round developments so that his genius might grow in full and multifacets personality. Guru Gobind Singh himself confirms this arrangement:
      7.      Information about the training of Gobind Rai has been collected in a fragmented form from various Sikh sources. See Chaupa Singh Rehatname in Guru Khalse de Rehatname (unpublished MS, ed. Shamsher Singh Ashok), Sikh History Research Board, Amritsar, 1979. Preserved in Sikh Reference Library, Golden Temple Amritsar; Kesar Singh Chhibbar, Bansavalinama Dasan Patshahian Ka (1769), ed. Ratan Singh Jaggi, Published in ‘Parakh’, Research Bulletin of Punjabi Language and Literature, Punjab University Chandigarh, Vol. II, 1972, p. 99; Koer Singh Gurubilas Patshahi 10, p. 48, Gian Singh Giani, Sri Guru Panth Prakash (1874 A.D), Pub. Bhasha Vibhag, Punjab, Patiala, 1970, p. 181. Kartar Singh, op. cit., p. 25; Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, op., cit., p. 69, D.K. Verma Guru Gobind Singh on The Canvas of History, pub. Harnam Publishing House, New Delhi, 1995, pp. 33-36.
          8.      Bhai Sarup Singh Koshish, Guru Kian Sakhian, (1790) (ed. Piara Singh Padam), Pub. Singh Brothers, Amritsar, Third edition, 1995, Sakhi 28, pp. 78-79. Macauliffe, op.cit., Vol. IV, pp. 371-372; Kartar Singh, op. cit., pp. 28-29; See also P.N.K. Bamzai, History of Kashmir, p. 371.
                   To protect their right to wear their caste mark and sacred thread.
                   Did he (Guru Tegh Bahadur), in the dark age, perform the supreme sacrifice.
                   To help the saintly, he want to the utmost limits
                   He offered his head but heaved not a sigh of regret
                   He offered martyrdom forthe sake of his moral principles,
                   He lost this life but not the celestial horizon of his communion with God.
                   He disdained to perform miracles or jugglers tricks. For these fill men of God               with shame.
                   Having broken the potsherd (of his body) on the head of the ruler of Delhi.
                   He went to the abode of the Lord.
                   None has ever performed such a unique deed, that Guru Tegh Bahadur has.
                   When Tegh Bahadur passed away, there was mourning through the world.
                   The world was stunned and amazed (at his laying down his life forother’s religion).
                   While the shouts of glory, glory, glory rent the whole heaven,
               (English Translation by Sangat Singh, The Sikhs in History, First edition,
Pub, by author, New York, U.S.A., 1995, p. 51.)
-Bachitar Natak, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, Vol. I, p.
        10.      It is said that when the head of the martyred Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought to Guru Gobind Singh by Bhai Jaita at Anandpur Sahib, he asked the Ranghreta Sikh (converted fromlow caste) who had brought it fromDelhi; ‘how many Sikhs had sacrified themselves alongwith the Guru?’ He was told ‘only two (three) sacrified themselves.’ The Guru remarked; ‘But the Sikhs are so many in number?’ The answer given was, ‘All turned their back to the faith. All slipped back in the populace.’ There was no distinguishing mark fora Sikh to prevent that fromhappening. This provoked the Guru to say. ‘I shall assign such distinguishing, marks of the Sikhs that a Sikh would be recognizable even among thousands.’ Rehatnama Bhai Chaupa Singh, op. cit., p. 19.
               There are two incidents recorded in the contemporary Persian sources which throw light that Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom led to the first acts of militancy at the people, level. Maasir-i-Alamgiri (p. 94) records two such incidents - the first one in June-July 1676 when a campaigner flung a stick at Aurangzeb when he was mounting a horse in the compounds of Dewan-i-­Aam, and the other on Friday, October 27, 1676, when a disciple of Guru Tegh Bahaur flung two bricks at Aurgangzeb, one of which reached the chair where he was sweated. The attempts by the common man to punish the ruler of Delhi were symptomatic of the change that was taking place in the Sikh society. It blazed a new trail of commitment to an open struggle against organized oppression of the state. Guru Gobind Singh had to build from that. That led to his evolving the doctrine of dharammayudh, of waging righteous war against the forces of evil, tyranny and oppression of all sorts using religion as a social catalyst. - See Sangat singh, The Sikhs in History, pp. 51-­52.
        11.      See Hukamnama Dasvein Guru Gobind Singh Ji da. addressed to Bhai Rupa, asking Bhai Rupa to care for the pasturing of the horses, mares, cows, oxen etc. of the troops (Laskar) of the Guru. - Hukamnama No. 34, Hukamname ed. Ganda Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1967. See also Hukamnama No. 35 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to the Sangat of Dacca, Chatgaon, Sondeep, Silhat etc. for procuring a war elephant of good quality. Hukamnama No. 37 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to the Sangat of Dacca to send arms and armour. Hukamnama No. 42, addressed to Bhai Sangatia dated Phagun Sudi 5, Samvat 1750 (19 Feb 1694 AD.) asking for a canon (Tupak) ancillary material. Hukamnama No. 43 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to Bhai Taloka and Bhai Rama, dated Bhadon 2, Sam vat 1753 (2 August 1696 AD.) asking to came alongwith horsemen (aswar). Hukamnama No. 44 addressed to Sangat Rupe Ki, dated Bhadon 2, Samvat 1753, Bikrami (2 August 1696 AD.) asking for horsemen (aswar), foot soldiers (piayada), gunner (bandukchi) etc. Hukamnama No. 54 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to Bhai Mehar Chand Peshkar Kufia Nawis (intelligence reponer), dated Phagun 10, 1758 Bikrami (6 Feb, 1702 AD.) asking the Sikhs to come fully armed (hathiar ban ke awana). Hukamnama No. 57 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to Bhai Brindaban Gulal Chand, dated Phagun 10, 1758 Bikrami (6 Feb, 1702 A.D.) asking to come fully armed (hathiar ban ke awana). Hukamnama No. 60 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to Bhai Sukhia, Bhai Prasa, dated 1761 Bikrami (1704 AD.) asking for horsemen (aswar), Foot soldier (piyada) gunner (bandukchi) and able bodied youngmen (bhale bhale juwan). Hukamnama No. 61 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to Sangat Chole di (Majha) dated Chet 6, Sam vat 1762 Bikrami (4 March, 1706 AD.) asking to come fully armed. Hukamnama No. 63 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to the Sangat of Dhaul dated Katak 1, 1704 Bikrami (2 Oct, 1707 AD.) asking to come fully armed. Sainapat, the court poet of Guru Gohind Singh testifies the action taken by the Guru against the Masands.
               Hukamnama No. 64 of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to the Sangat of Khara dated Katak 1, Samvat 1764 Bikrami, (2 Oct 1707 A.D.) also ordains Sangat to come fully armed.
        12.      Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Vol. I, 1469-1839, pub. Oxford University Press, Bombay, 1977, p.77.
        14.      ‘Jaap Sahib’, Dasam Granth, pp. 7-8.
        15.      ‘Ramavtar’, Benati Chaupai, Ibid., pp 1386-87
        16.      dhBB eh gqfsgkb eo? fBs ;zs UpkoB rBhwB rko? .. Tavprasad Sawayya, Ibid., p. 34
18.      See Hukamaname of Guru Gobind Singh addressed to various Sikh Sangats denouncing the Masand system and commanding his followers to establish direct contact with the Guru. See Hukamname Nos. 21, 46-59; in Hukamaname. Ed. Ganda Singh, also see Hukamnama of Guru Gobind Singh denouncing the Masand system dated Samvat 1758 Chet 2, Friday (A.D. 1701), Personal collection of Madanjit Kaur gifted to Government Museum and Art Gallery Sector 10-C, Chandigarh.
        19.      Dasam Granth, p. 712.
        20.      For full details about this Hukamnama See foot note 51, Chapter IV.
        21.      Detailed narration related to this reaction within the Sikh community has been recorded by Sainapat, the court poet of Guru Gobind Singh in his work Gursobha in Chapter VI and VII.
        22.      See Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Vol. I, pp. 85-86.
         23 r:kBfj eh pYBh wBj[ jkE b? eksosk e[stko p[jko/ ..  - Dasam Granth, p. 57.
            24.       Bhai Nand Lal, Tankhahnama, verse 62, p. 199 in Bhai Nand Lal Granthvali, Ed. Ganda Singh, Malako, Malaysia, 1968.




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