Guru Gobind Singh Ji
Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born on December 22, 1666 in Patna. His father was Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Guru, and his mother was Mata Gujri Ji. He had four sons, namely Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. He was barely ten years old when he succeeded his father and was formally installed, on November 11, 1675, as the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh spent his early life in retirement in the lower hills of Punjab, occupying himself in hunting, studying history, Persian literature and military science. He also learnt the Punjabi, Sanskrit, Braj and Persian languages. He gave a lot of attention to the mastery of physical skills and literary accomplishments. He also composed many poetic verses. The glorification of the sword itself which he acclaimed as Bhaguati was to secure fulfillment of God's justice. The sword was never meant as a symbol of aggression, and it was never to be used for self-aggrandizement. It was the emblem of manliness and self-respect and was to be used only in self-defence, as a last resort. Guru Gobind infused a new spirit of fearlessness and courage in his devotees. He began raising an army of his own. The Panth needed brave and fearless soldiers to take a firm stand against the unjust Moghul rule. At a special congregation held on Baisakhi Day in 1699, at Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind established the new order named the Khalsa Panth. The Guru had asked for five people who were willing to sacrifice their life for the Guru and out from the crowd came Daya Ram, Dharam Das, Muhkam Chand, Himmat and Sahib Chand. All these five were then dressed alike in saffron-coloured raiment topped over with neatly tied turbans, with swords dangling by their sides. Guru Gobind Singh then introduced khande da pahul, i.e. initiation by sweetened water churned with a double-edged broad sword (khanda). Each of these Sikhs was given a new surname, Singh (lion). Guru Gobind Singh called them Panj Piare (the five devoted beloved ones of the Guru). The Panj Piare formed the nucleus of the self-abnegating, martial and casteless fellowship of the Khalsa.


Guru Gobind Singh Ji

They were required to wear the five symbols of the Khalsa.

Every Sikh baptized as Khalsa vows to wear the Five "K's":

Kesh - uncut hair and beard, as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality.

Kangha - a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness.

Katchera - specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.

Kara - a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement.

Kirpan - the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.

Guru Gobind Singh, then himself received initiatory rites from the same five disciples, now invested with authority as Khalsa, and had his name changed from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh.

Further injunctions were laid down for the Sikhs. They must never cut or trim their hair and beards, nor smoke tobacco. A Sikh must not have sexual relationship outside the marital bond, nor eat the flesh of an animal killed slowly in the Muslim way.

Guru Gobind infused the heroic spirit among them so that each Singh was said to oppose a hundred and twenty five opponents (Sawa Lakh). He laid down, for the community, the ideal in his well known hymn Deh Shiva.

Guru Ji, organized his brave devotees into a well-knit fighting force, and took up the sword against the tyranny of the Moghul rulers. Many battles were fought and may Sikhs soldiers became martyrs, fighting bravely and fearlessly all for a noble cause. In 1705, in the battle of Chamkaur, the Guru's two elder sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh and many other Sikhs fought bravely, till their last breadth, protecting their faith. The Guru bore the death of his two sons with a calm spirit as the death of heroes.

The Guru's two younger sons Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh along with their grandmother, were staying at the village of Kheir. Being a treacherous man he betrayed them and informed the local Moghul officials of their stay. They were all captured and were asked to give up their faith and accept Islam. The two sons were made to stand in a wall being constructed. They were asked to accept Islam. But the two of them were determined and were not afraid of anything.

They shouted out, "We shall not give up our faith; death does not frighten us. The wall continued to rise until it finally covered them. The wall was then pulled down and the executioners brought the unconscious boys and slew them with swords. They attained martyrdom at a very tender age, setting an example of steadfast devotion to their faith which will serve as a beacon light for younger generations.

Guru Gobind Singh was a unique religious guide, a brave fighter with a vision. After the death of all his four sons, he still did no lose heart and continued protecting others and fighting for his faith.

Guru Gobind wrote Aurangzeb a letter, in Persian, called Zafarnama (Epistle or Message of Victory). In this letter he wrote, "You take pride in the fact that you are the ruler and have a huge army. My Protector is Akal, the Immortal God. No doubt you are a king, but sincerity and true religion are far from you. You cannot put out the fire of revolt by extinguishing a few sparks. A huge fire will blaze. What if four of my sons are killed, I am still alive to carry on the fight."

In the meantime, Guru Gobind Singh Ji told Banda Singh Bahadur, a hermit turned heroic soldier, to raise an army and avenge the death of his sons and to destroy the Moghul rule. Banda Singh attacked the towns of Samana and Sirhind, the places where Guru Ji's sons were murdered, and was victorious.

On September 15, 1708, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was stabbed while completing his evening prayers and was seriously injured. This injury was the cause of Guru Ji's death.

Realizing that his end was near, the Guru called his devotees and proclaimed that thereafter the Guru Granth Sahib will be their Guru and guide forever. The Sikh congregation assembled in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib will called Guru Panth and represent Guru.

Addressing his devotees the Guru said, "Guru Granth will be your guide in whom resides the divine spirit of all the ten Gurus. The Sikh Sangat symbolizes their teachings and looks to Waheguru for sustenance and support. The Guru's word, as revealed in the Shabad, will ever be the source of inspiration for the community. Meeting his brethren Khalsa will be regarded as a great privilege by every member of the community.

Poetic Verses