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The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh)
The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh)

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh):

The Birth of the Khalsa

The Birth of the Khalsa

"The Khalsa is my own form;
I manifest myself through the Khalsa.
So long as Khalsa remains distinct;
I bestow all glory on them."
(Guru Gobind Singh)
Every day parties of Sikh pilgrims arrived in Anandpur. The leader of one group, on seeing the Guru, made this request.
"O true King, the Muslim tyrants have made the life of the common people very difficult. They can't move as they wish. They are not allowed even to make pilgrimages to the holy places. Only yesterday as we were on our way to you, a party of Mughal soldiers stopped us and robbed us. They took some of our party and cut of their hair and when we resisted some of our friends were killed. Where can we look for assistance?"
The Guru listened to the Sikhs and calmly replied, "Wait and pray to God. Very soon you will find guardians for the people everywhere." The Guru sent messages to all his Sikhs to come to a great fair at Anandpur. He instructed them to come along with unshorn hair. Thousands of the Guru's followers arrived at Anandpur on the appointed day. They all came together in front of a specially pitched tent which was beautifully decorated for the occasion. The bards sang martial songs which was unusual. In the afternoon there was still more excitement in the Guru's Darbar. That day, the Guru had put on an exceptionally colourful uniform with a sword hanging on the left side. He looked every inch a great general. Now he stood up on a platform, the bards stopped singing, the people were quiet and looked at the Gurus expecting that he would preach to them. Guru Gobind Singh calling for a HeadBut instead the Guru drew out his sword and said in a thundering voice, "Is there any one of you who will give his head to prove his faith in me? I want a head." The people were utterly astonished. There was silence on all sides and nobody dared to speak. The Guru repeated, "I want a head." A Sikh from Lahore named Daya Ram stood up. He folded his hands, bent his head low and said, "O Lord, you can have my humble head." The Guru took him by the arm and led him into the tent. A thud was heard and a stream of blood flowed out from the tent. At once the Guru came out holding the sword dripping with fresh blood and once again he shouted, "Is there any other true Sikh of mine who will willingly offer his head?" The people were certain that the Guru had killed Daya Ram. No one moved and no one dared to reply. The Guru repeated his call a second time and then a third time. It was then that Dharam Das, a peasant from Dehli stood up with folded hands and said, "O my true Guru, take my head. I have full faith in you." The Guru took him into the tent. When the people saw blood streaming out of the tent again, they were sure that the Guru had killed Dharam Das. Again, he came out looking fierce and terrible and thundered, "I want another Sikh of mine who will give me his head. I have still not had enough." The people were terrified and began to slink away. Some of them felt in their hearts that the Guru had gone mad. Some even ran to tell the Guru's mother about this. His mother sent a message to try to stop him but he paid no attention to it. Once again he called aloud, "My dear Sikhs, I want another head. Come on, make me another offer and don't just stare at me." Hearing this Mohkam Chand of Dwarka walked up to the Guru and offered his head. The Guru did with him as he had done with the other two. Again, he came back to demand yet another head. The people who stayed and watched this strange performance wondered when the Guru would stop demanding heads. Sahib Chand a resident of Bihar stood up, clasped his hands as if in prayer and said, "My head is at your disposal Lord. Use it as it pleases you." Sahib Chand went the same way. Now only the very faithful dared to stay. Himmat Rai of Jagan Nath answered the Guru's fifth call. The Guru led him to the same tent and this time stayed there longer than before. Everybody was alarmed when suddenly he came out of the tent followed by the five Sikhs. They were all dressed in saffron uniforms, like the Guru himself, and carried swords. The Guru seated them on the platform. When the gathering saw them alive they all cheered, shouting "Sat Siri Akal." Many people who had run away to hide heard these cheers and came back to see what was happening.

The Guru spoke to the Sikhs:

"My brothers, I have made you the same as I am. There is no difference between you and me. You have passed my toughest test with honour. You are my five beloved ones."
Then he turned to the crowd and spoke: "In the time of Guru Nanak it was Lehna alone who passed the Guru's test. Now two hundred years later five followers have passed the test. I think the five Sikhs are strong enough to support the edifice that Guru Nanak planned. I am creating the Khalsa, an army of saint soldiers which will spread through the country and abroad to proclaim Guru Nanak's message of peace and brotherhood. Through the Khalsa I shall work to bring about an Age of Peace, in which all virtuous people will be exalted and the evildoers will be destroyed. Hail to the Khalsa panth." So saying, the Guru embraced the five Sikhs and said, "O Beloved Ones, you are the foundation of the Khalsa. How blessed I feel to pledge my head to you as you did for me. Believe me, all that is mine is yours. I will never flinch from sacrificing my life for you. After your supreme sacrifice it is only befitting to baptise you with a sword. The baptised Sikhs will change from jackals (cowards) to lions (Singhs). They will not only enjoy this life with dignity but also obtain bliss hereafter."

Khande di pahul CeremonyThe Guru and the five beloved ones sat around an iron bowl in which he put pure water to which his wife added some sugar cakes. He stirred the water with a Khanda (Double edged sword) while the five Sikhs recited the live sacred verses (the Japji, the Jap Sahib, the Anand Sahib, the Swayye and the Chaupai). Thus the Amrit was ready and the Guru asked the five to repeat "Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh" while he took the Amrit in the palms of his hands and baptised each one of them with it. Five times he sprinkled Amrit into their eyes and on their hair. Having finished this, he changed their values :

Daya Ram became Daya Singh,
Dharam Das became Dharam Singh,
Mohkam Chand became Mohkam Singh,
Sahib Chand became Sahib Singh and
Himmat Rai became Himmat Singh.
He then announced that if any one accepts Sikh religion his name will end in "Singh," if a man, and "Kaur" if a woman. He then ordered his followers to adopt the five Ks- Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a comb), Kirpan (sword), Kachha (pair of shorts). and Kara (a steel bangle). They were instructed to practise the use of arms and never to turn their backs on the enemy in the battle. They were always to help the poor and to protect the weak. They must not believe in castes but look upon all human beings as equals. They must not worship idols nor the graves of the ancestors but believe only in the one God. They must not smoke, or use drugs or eat meat prepared by ritual slaughter.

The Guru now becomes DiscipleHaving baptised the five chosen Sikhs, the Guru stood up before them, folding his hands, and begged them to baptise him in the same way in which he had baptised them. Hesitatingly the Beloved Ones did as he bade them. Then he declared, "The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is absolutely no difference between me and my Khalsa." The five Beloved Ones changed the Guru's name from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. In this way the Guru not only became the leader of the Khalsa but also accepted that his Khalsa could lead and order him whenever they so desired. In memory of this great event the Guru renamed the place of baptism as Kesh-Garh (the fort of uncut hair).

It is interesting to read a part of the secret report describing the birth of the Khalsa which was sent to Aurangzeb by one of his spies:-

"... when the Guru had thus addressed the crowd several Brahmans and Khatries stood up and said that they accepted the religion of Guru Nanak and the other Gurus. Others said that they would never accept this religion as it was opposed to the religion of he Vedas and the Shastras and that to renounce the religion of their ancestors on the bidding of a mere boy was a folly. Though several refused to accept the Guru's religion, about 20,000 men stood up and promised to obey the Guru. as they had the fullest with in his divine mission."
According to another source about 80,000 people had received baptism of the sword before sunset.
"Great is Guru Gobind Singh
who is the Guru and the disciple in one."
(Bhai Gurdas Singh)
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