Articles: Essays on Sikh
Values: Man of the Era
Man of the Era
Guru Gobind Singh
More than three hundred years have not been able to produce
the lofty personality of Guru Gobind Singh. Ranbir, author of “Hemkunt
Ka Musafir,” in Urdu language, called him the “Yug Pursh” - Man of the
Era. He was a deft general, an apt leader, unique philosopher, learned
scholar, Sarbans-dani (one who sacrificed his family), and rolling all
these in one, a venerable Tenth Master - the great Prophet, the light of
Guru Nanak Dev and other Gurus following him (Nanak).
He knew Sanskrit, Persian, Biharee, Devnagri, and Punjabi.
He was not very tall but was robust, stout, very active, and had such an
intense aura that no one could fix gaze on his glowing face. He became
Guru at the age of nine and the King of the time was Aurangzeb, a Mogul.
Problem of the Time
Whenever a common man thinks of Guru Gobind Singh, he
imagines him and his Sikhs engaged in the struggle against injustice, discrimination,
and for the liberty of the faith, humanity and country.
His fights were not for money, woman, or land. These were
against cruelty - human torture, injustice, discrimination, slavery, inequality,
suppression, and all other negative forces let lose against the human beings.
The sword was the last resort when the predecessors of the Guru could not
curtail tyranny with their preaching and sacrifices.
The Fifth Guru Arjun Dev, forefather of the Tenth Guru,
and his own father the 9th Guru Tegh Bahadur, gave their lives
to keep up the principle of justice, and non-violence (non-reaction). We
need not entertain doubts about his mission and the actions of his followers.
It is a historical fact that he was compelled to be in the battle fields,
and he lost his four sons fighting injustice. Battles were forced on him.
All along, he kept preaching about God. He himself became a sacrifice crusading
for the Truth. It was appreciation of his mission that a Muslim Peer Budhu
Shah, Mahant Kirpal Chand, some Muslim generals and Pathans were with him
in his fights. It was a struggle between virtues and vices.
Singh - Literature
From 1666 AD, to 1708 AD, the Guru graced this mortal
world for about 42 years, and although imbued with a constant struggle
for the liberty of the humanity, in his short life, he produced so-called
tons of literature. In his court were 52 renowned poets like Bhai Nand
Lal Goya and Sainapati. To boost up the spirit of the downtrodden, the
10th Guru got many heroic Hindu epics translated into the simple
language like Devnagri. Guru Gobind Singh followed the philosophy of his
preceding Nine Gurus.
Tenth Guru added the Hymns of his father Gur Tegh Bahadur
to the Adi Granth. A day before his death in 1708, the Tenth Master declared
this Holy Book Guru of the Sikhs, and it became Guru Granth Sahib,
or Adi Guru Granth Sahib. He proclaimed that after him, there would be
no more a human guru for the Sikhs, and they will follow Guru Granth Sahib
- the `Word Guru.'
Bani (Hymns) of Guru Gobind Singh was compiled after his
death by Bhai Mani Singh, in a separate book called Dassam-Granth (Book
of the Tenth Master).
Methodology - Amrit
When the Guru was about 32-33 years old, for his followers
to survive with dignity, he put a new life into his followers by a sort
of baptizing ceremony by giving them Amrit - the Holy Drink. They had to
follow a strict discipline of the noble living.
Taking Amrit eliminated personal distinctions
of those who took it. Discriminations of caste, class, and sex were wiped
out, and women became equal to men.
Pangat and Sangat - Community kitchen -
eating together sitting on the floor at one level, removed discriminations.
Selfless service, helping and protecting the needy (weak and women), education,
and the art of self-defense, were given great importance. All this was
for the dignified, collective coexistence. Those who did not get inducted
into the Sikh faith by taking Amrit, but followed the philosophy and discipline
of the Guru, were equally his Sikhs and dear to him. These were Sehjdhari
Sikhs, living as usual, free from the bindings of Amrit.
Singh - Mission
The Guru banished superstitions of every kind, advocated
the right use of weapons, stressed on the ethical and God-oriented honest
living, preached the policy of his father “Fear none and frighten none,”
and believed in “When all your resources and efforts fail to work out,
only then it is right to use the force.” He stressed, “ Recognize all human
beings as one.”
Mission of the Guru was to uplift the suffering humanity,
to make the downtrodden realize their rights and duties, to attain equality
and freedom, to get rid of the sorrows and bindings of the lower nature
(Maya), and to keep evolving by worshipping God. He awakened the humanity
and its self respect.On the `Baisakhi 1999' day, the world celebrated 300th
year of such a change in the human mind - awakening of the human dignity,
and spiritual emancipation i.e. the change of the human head!