Guru Nanak Ki Bani

Articles on Sikhism written by Sujan Singh

Birth of Khalsa

Birth Of Khalsa

By

Sujan Singh

It was a usual Baisakhi day on April 13, 1699. Lakhs of people had gathered at Sri Anand Pur Sahib to pay their obeisance to their great guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth guru of the sikhs. The guru had, however, a different vision  for his sikhs on that day. Within a few hours, a new nation took its birth,  a new religion came into existence in a dramatic manner. The guru came with a naked sword, brandishing in the air, and demanded five heads, one after the other. The five devoted sikhs came forward and offered their heads. These five chosen ones were then baptised to become the first five members of the new nation, named by guru as KHALSA PANTH. To the great surprise of all, the guru himself became the sixth member of Khalsa being baptised by the first chosen five. The Khalsa was born but the birth of Khalsa was not spontaneous. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji  was closely watching the important events that ultimately materialised his ideas for the foundation of Khalsa Panth. These events are briefly discussed below.

Martyrdom of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji

On the repeated requests of Kashmir Brahmins, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, the ninth guru of sikhs, agreed to sacrifice his life on the altar of service to Hindu religion. The Brahmins had suggested that the sacrifice of only an eminent person could  halt the forcible conversion of innocent Hindus to Islam by the then mughal emperor, Aurang Zeb. To this, the guru’s son, aged just eight years at that time, the young  Gobind Rai, had replied that none else could  be more eminent than the guru himself. The guru was pleased with the suggestion of his young son and he immediately agreed to offer him for that supreme sacrifice. A letter was sent to the  emperor by the leaders of Kashmir Brahmins stating that they would all embrace Islam  if the emperor could convert their guru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur, to Islam. The ninth guru was thus summoned to the court of mughal emperor. The guru, with his few followers started for Delhi, the then capital of mughal empire, by a circuitous  route visiting a large number of villages, towns and cities on the way. He gave his sermons to large gatherings on the way explaining his cause. Ultimately the guru reached Agra. The guru was by now a disappointed person. The people whom he addressed on the way did not show any enthusiasm to continue the struggle after his sacrifice. They were scared to come in the open to oppose forcible conversions. They were powerless, weak. meek and cowards. They were mortally afraid of reprisals from mughal army. Even his supreme sacrifice could not enthuse courage in them. Before further proceeding to Delhi , the guru thus wrote a message to his young son, Gobind Rai, which read as under:

                              Bal chhutkeo bandhan pare kachhu na hote upae.

                              Kauh Nanak ab ote her gaj jeon hohon sahae.

Young  Gobind Rai promptly understood the message which his revered father, the ninth guru, intended to convey to him. The guru had said that the Hindu nation has lost its strength. It is bound in the strong bonds of slavery. Nothing could be done to free this nation from the foreign domination. God only could help this nation to fight the tyrant king. To this, the young Gobind immediately sent the following reply:

                              Bal hoa bandhan chhute sab kichh hot upae.

                              Nanak sab kichh tumre hath mein tum hi hote sahae

Thus the young guru conveyed his determination to his father, the ninth guru, that the strength would be there. The dead Hindu nation would be rejuvenated. The helpless nation would be made so strong that it would break the shackles of slavery. Ways and means would be devised to achieve this objective. But all this would be accomplished only when God’s blessings would be with us. God would help us and we will achieve our objective. The ninth guru was immensely satisfied when he read this message from his young son. He was now sure that the mission which he had started would be successfully completed by his son. A divine smile appeared on his face. He gladly started his further journey to Delhi to pay his supreme sacrifice. At Anand Pur Sahib, the young guru had started thinking on founding of a new nation which could free his country from foreign rulers.

Last rites of Sacred Remains of the Ninth Guru

The ninth guru paid his supreme sacrifice. People were afraid to go to the place of assassination and there was nobody to collect the mortal remains of the guru. A strong storm blew at that time and under the cover of high winds , a devoted sikh carried the headless body of the guru on his bullock cart, placed it in his cottage and  set his cottage on fire for cremation of his guru’s body. An out caste sikh belonging to the lowest caste took the sacred head of the ninth guru and under the cover of darkness dashed to Sri Anand Pur Sahib on the back of his horse. Sri Gobind Rai Ji, now anointed as the tenth guru, came to Kirat Pur along with his number of sikhs to receive the head  of his revered  father for performing the last rites. The guru embraced this low caste sikh and said “Rangrete Guru ke Bete” The guru declared that from then onwards all sikhs irrespective of caste and creed would be his equal sons. The guru had then laid the foundation stone of his new Panth. The Panth would have no distinction between different castes. People of all castes will have equal status in his Panth. His Panth would be a classless nation. Members from all castes, communities and religions would be eligible to embrace his Panth.

Battle of Bhangani

After staying for some time at Sri Anand Pur Sahib, the guru came to Sri Paunta Sahib on the request of his devoted sikh, the Raja of Nahan, now in Himachal Pradesh. Here the tenth guru started preaching sikhism to the people. The sikhs  started thronging to Sri Paunta Sahib to pay their obeisance  to their guru. This was not liked by some Hill Rajas. Many of them joined hands to hatch a conspiracy against the guru. They gathered their armies and attacked the guru to drive him away from Sri Paunta Sahib. The guru had no regular army with him. One of devoted sikhs of the guru, Pir Budhu Shah, gathered his own army and hired five hundred Pathans and sent them under the command of his four sons to fight the Hill Rajas. The Pathans were out numbered by the combined forces of Hill Rajas. They fled away from the battle field. All the four sons of Pir Budhu Shah were killed in the battle field. Then came the time for the guru to test his own experiment for fulfilling his dream of creating a new nation. Prior to that time, out of four castes, namely Brahmins, Kashatryas, Vaish, Shudras,  only Kashatryas were allowed to enrol themselves in the army, The guru gathered all his sikhs of nearby areas from all castes and asked them to prepare themselves to fight the combined armies of Hill Rajas. Sikhs from all castes and religions gathered at Sri Paunta Sahib in large numbers. There was a tremendous enthusiasm in them. They took this as an opportunity to sacrifice their lives for the guru. Some came with swords, some with iron rods, some with wooden sticks, some with axes, some with spears and many others with whatever implements they could lay their hands on. They all gathered at a place called Bhangani and sprang on the forces of the enemy like hungry lions pouncing on the flocks of sheep and goats. The guru himself was supervising the entire operation sitting on the top of a hillock. His arrows were hitting where they were needed most. Each one of the sikhs was roaring like a lion among enemy groups cutting them into pieces. The enemy was surprised by the ferocity of the attack. They could not face this unusual storm which they had never experienced in their lives. The enemy forces were badly defeated and they took to their heels. The guru was happy. His had a broad smile on his face. His experiment was successful. He said that though the victory in the battle field was his but it was possible only due to the blessings of God. The guru had laid another stone in the foundation of his proposed Panth. His Panth would be a fighter nation. Every member of his envisaged Panth would be a fighter, a soldier. In the need of an hour, his entire Panth would be available to fight in the battle field. He had thus started rejuvenating the dead Hindu nation.

Study of Ancient Literature

Now the guru was free from the interference of the Hill Rajas. He started  having a deep study into the ancient Hindu literature. He sent four of his sikhs, one each from each of the four castes, to Varanasi to study Vedas and other religious literature. During those days, only the Brahmins were allowed to study Vedas and other religious books. Other castes were not allowed even to touch Vedas. The guru allowed people of all castes and religions to have a free access to all the religious literature. The guru himself translated a huge ancient literature from Sanskrit into Punjabi language and made it available to his sikhs. The guru had 52 poets in his court. These were from all castes and religions. He ordained that from then onwards the knowledge would not be the property of one caste. Every one would have the liberty of acquiring religious knowledge. The guru wanted that the members of his proposed Panth would be the men of letters. They would be scholars, poets. writers and religious preachers. Another step was taken by the guru to crystallise  his views for his future Panth. His new Panth would be both a soldier and saint. They would be fighters in the battle field and saints in their daily lives. His sikh would thus be a saint-soldier, sant sipahi.

Worship of Goddess of Power

Now the guru had a clear vision about the creation of a new nation. He moved from Sri Paunta Sahib to Sri Anand Pur Sahib. Here the guru called a meeting of all his devoted sikhs and priests and solicited their opinion about his future action to fight the tyranny of the mughal king, Aurang Zeb. The priests suggested to hold a yagya  to appease the Hindu goddess of power to attain divine strength. Many kilos of yagya ingredients were collected and the yagya was started. The priests, called  masands in those days, had promised that the goddess would appear and would bless the guru. The yagya continued for 40 days but the goddess did not appear. The guru asked the head masand as to why the goddess has not appeared so far. The head masand suggested that the goddess wanted a sacrifice of one of guru’s dearest one. His indication was towards eldest son of the guru, sahibzada Ajit Singh ji. But the guru said that the dearest person to him was none else but the head masand himself. The guru asked the head masand to prepare himself for the supreme sacrifice and the sacrifice would be offered  tomorrow morning. The head masand, however, disappeared the same evening. In the morning the guru was told that the masand had disappeared. The guru then poured the entire remaining yagya ingredients in the yagya fire. A huge flame of fire emerged and in the dazzling light of the yagya fire, the guru pulled his sword from the sheath, brandished it in the air and declared that from then on the power would flow from his sword. His sword would be the goddess of power for him. The guru had also found a solution of one of his important question. The masands would have no place in his proposed new Panth.

Symbols for his New Panth

By now, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had finalised the concept of his proposed new Panth. Now he wanted to give a separate ,distinct identity to his Panth so that every member of his new Panth should be able to stand out distinctly among the crowds without any fear. The members of the Hindu community are identified by wearing a sacred thread across their shoulders and a red tilk on their forehead. The number of threads in their sacred thread determines the caste of the bearer of that sacred thread. The guru wanted different symbols for his sikhs. From ancient literature the guru had found that all scholars, saints and sadhus supported long hair on their heads and flowing beards on their faces. Also, the ancient philosophers, astronomers and scientists supported flowing beards and hair on their heads. The guru was also the ardent follower of preserving mother nature. He knew that the hair are given by God to us and it is our duty to preserve them. As he had visualised the members of his new Panth as soldier-saints, he decided that his sikhs would support hair on their heads and flowing beards on their faces. The hair on the head and the beards should be kept clean. He, therefore, decided that his sikhs would keep a comb in their neatly  tied head hair to clean the hair whenever needed. He also decided that the head should be protected from dust, heat of the summer and freezing cold of the winter by a neatly tied turban. The turban can also protect the bearer in the battle field against the enemy. As a soldier, his sikh will keep a sword on his body as a symbol of power. This sword was meant to defend against a tyrant and to help the weak and oppressed but not to gain the personal ends. The guru visualised his sikhs to be the strict adherents of Sri Guru Nanak’s teachings. He should lead a pious family life remaining true to his family and wife. He should treat other women as his mother, sister or daughter according to their ages. To maintain chastity, the guru decided that every sikh should wear an underwear at all times. According to Sri Guru Nanak’s teachings, a sikh should be above five evils namely sex, anger, greed, attachment to his dears and self conceit. He should keep these evils under his complete control and properly use them for leading a pious life. Ancient saints, sadhus, scholars and rishis used to wear an iron bangle called Kara on their arms as a symbol of their being above worldly pleasures. The guru decided that his sikhs should wear an iron Kara on their arms to remind them of remaining above five evils. After selecting  these five symbols for his sikh, the guru saw in his sikh a picture of a pious person, a person pure at heart, pure in thoughts, pure in actions and pure in living. The guru, perhaps, at that time named his new Panth as KHALSA. His Khalsa would look as an elegant personality with his neatly tied hair on his head supported by a comb and beautifully tied turban, a flowing beard, a sword on his right shoulder dangling on his left side, an underwear and an iron  kara on his arm.

Birth of Khalsa

Then the time had come for the guru  to bring his dream of Khalsa into reality. Before that the guru first sought the blessings of God and said :

                              Thadh bhaio mein jor kar bachan kaha sir niae

                              Panth chale tab jagat mein jab tum karoh sahae

“I stand before you, O God, with my folded hands and bowed head and implore upon you that the Panth can only prosper in this world when your help is with the Panth.”

The guru then sent invitation to all his sikhs to gather on a Baisakhi day of 1699 for a special convention. When the huge congregation was waiting for the guru to give audience, the guru came out of his tent with a lions face and brandishing a naked, unsheathed sword in his hand. His towering personality, glittering face, lightning eyes, awe inspiring posture and radiant dress mesmerised all attending the congregation. In a loud, thundering voice, the guru said, “I demand a head of a sikh.” Every one in the congregation was awe stricken. But one sikh, Bhai Daya Ram, came forward, bowed his head and said, “Sire! My head is there for you.” The guru took him to his tent. A stream of blood flowed from the tent. The guru again appeared with blood stained sword in his hand in the congregation.

He demanded another head, then another, then another, then another and Bhai Himmat Rai, Bhai Muhkam Chand, Bhai Dharam Chand and Bhai Sahib Chand offered their heads one by one. All  were taken to the tent in the similar pattern. There was a pin drop silence in the congregation. Then, to the surprise of all, the guru appeared with all the five chosen ones, his most dear ones in the congregation hall. All the five were baptised to become the first five of Khalsa Panth. The second name of all of them was changed to Singh.  The guru then became the sixth member of the Khalsa when he was baptised by the  his five  dear ones and thus became Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Khalsa was thus born. A new nation was born. Millions then embraced Khalsa. The numbers continued to swell till to day. The foundations of the Khalsa were strengthened by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji by giving sacrifices of his father, mother, his four sons and  his five dearest ones. After establishing Khalsa, the guru surrendered  his Khalsa to God and said,”O’God ,this Khalsa is yours. Any achievements or victories the Khalsa will have will be yours.”

WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA       WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH

Haukum

Daily Hukamnama in English

  • DHANAASAREE, FIFTH MEHL: I am satisfied and satiated, eating the food of Truth. With my mind, body and tongue, I meditate on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. || 1 || Life, spiritual life, is in the Lord. Spiritual life consists of chanting the Lord’s Name in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. || 1 || Pause || He is dressed in robes of all sorts, if he sings the Kirtan of the Lord’s Glorious Praises, day and night. || 2 || He rides upon elephants, chariots and horses, if he sees the Lord’s Path within his own heart. || 3 || Meditating on the Lord’s Feet, deep within his mind and body, slave Nanak has found the Lord, the treasure of peace. || 4 || 2 || 56 || Hukamnama from SikhNet.com

You are here: Home Birth of Khalsa