THE BATTLE OF BHANGANI:
One day the Guru received an invitation from Fateh Shah of Garhwal to his daughter’s marriage with the son of Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur who nursed enmity with the Guru. He decided not to attend the ceremony himself but sent his Dewan, Nand Chand and Daya Ram with costly gifts for the princess.
|The Guru riding out with his army to battle the evil forces of the Mughal Empire|
The shortest route for the marriage party was through Paunta Sahib; the Guru refused to give them the passage because he had no faith in Bhim Chand who was accompanied by a large number of soldiers. After a lot of negotiations, the Guru permitted the bridegroom and a small number of his companions to cross the ferry near Paunta Sahib. The rest of the party including Bhim Chand had to follow a circuitous route to Srinagar, the capital of Garhwal state. This happening made Bhim Chand very mad and he began to look forward to the opportunity to give vent to his anger. He became still more enraged when he learnt that Guru’s envoy was present at the bride’s place to attend the marriage. Thus he refused to accept Fateh Shah’s daughter for his son, if he continued his friendship with the Guru. Bhim Chand, therefore, asked Fateh Shah to choose between himself and the Guru. Fateh Shah was obliged to yield. Nand Chand and Daya Ram had to bring their presents back as a result. On their way back Nand Chand and party were attacked by Bhim Chand’s troops but they were able to return safe and sound. After the marriage was over, Bhim Chand held a conference with Fateh Shah and other hilly Rajas- Kirpal of Katoch, Gopal of Guler, Hari Chand of Hadur and the Raja of Jaswal who were present there. They all decided to attack the Guru on their way back.
The hilly Rajas ordered their troops to march upon Paunta Sahib. The news of the impending attack came fast before the army could move and so the Guru was not taken by surprise attack.
On the recommendation of Pir Budhu Shah, 500 Pathans were enlisted in the Guru’s army under the command of five chieftains- Kale Khan, Bhikan Khan, Nijabat Khan, Hyat Khan, and Umar Khan. The Pathans became apprehensive of the scanty resources at the disposal of the Guru and they all except Kale Khan with one hundred men, deserted the Guru at the eleventh hour, and joined the hill Rajas. The Udasi Sadhus except their chief Mahant Kirpal, also took to their heels. The Guru informed Budhu Shah of the misconduct of the Pathan soldiers. Pir Budhu Shah looked upon their behavior as a personal disgrace. In order to compensate this loss, Budhu Shah accordingly placed himself, his brother, his four sons and seven hundred disciples at the Guru’s disposal.
The Guru stationed his troops at an eminent place near Bhangani village about six miles from Paunta Sahib. The five sons of Bibi Viro- Sango Shah, Jit Mal, Gopal Chand, Ganga Ram and Mohri Chand organized the attack for the Guru’s forces. They were ably backed by Bhai Daya Ram, Dewan Nand Chand, Guru’s uncle Kirpal and Mahant Kirpal. While repeating his orders the Guru buckled on his sword, slung his quiver over his shoulders, took his bow in his hand, mounted his steed, and shouting ‘Sat Sri Akal’ in his loudest voice, proceeded to confront his enemies. It is recorded that the hoofs of the Guru’s horse in their quick movement raised clouds of dust which obscured the sun, and that the cheers of his men resembled thunder in the stormy and rainy season. As mentioned Guru’s forces were also joined by Pir Budhu Shah’s troops and one hundred Pathans under the command of Kale Khan.
|Sayyed Pir Buddhu Shah presenting his sons to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, prior the battle of Bhangani.|
The enemy forces were led by Raja Fateh Shah who was joined by Raja Hari Chand of Hadur, Raja Gopal of Guler, Raja of Chandel, Rajas of Dadhwal and Jaswal, and four hundred Pathans who had deserted the Guru’s side. A severe and bloody battle was raged. Many brave soldiers were killed on both sides. Although the opposite army far outnumbered the Guru’s men, but they did not have the same spirit of sacrifice, nor did they have the same devotion to their leaders, as the Sikhs had. Mahant Kirpal hit Hayat Khan, Pathan chief, and killed the deserter. Jit Mal and Raja Hari Chand engaged in a single combat. The arrows lodged in their horses’ foreheads and both horses fell. After a short breath when their swords clashed, Hari Chand fell fainting to the ground and Jit Mal dropped down dead. Sango Shah, another cousin of the Guru, and Pathan chief Nijabat Khan were engaged and both fell dead. Upon this the Guru mounted his charger and rode into the thick of the combat. He discharged an arrow at Pathan leader Bhikan Khan. It missed him but killed his horse, and Bhikan Khan fled away. Upon this Nand Chand and Daya Ram launched a fierce attack on the demoralized Pathans which resulted in great slaughter of the treacherous Pathans. When the hillmen saw the defeat of the Pathans, they began fleeing from the battle field. By this time Hari Chand regained his conscious and reappeared on the scene and shot many brave men with his arrows. On seeing this the Guru confronted Hari Chand and he describes the combat in Bachitar Natak:
“Hari Chand, one of the hill chiefs, in his rage drew forth the arrows. He struck my steed with one and
then discharged another at me, but God preserved me and it only grazed my ears in its flight. His third
Who protected me, His servant. When I felt the touch of the arrow, my spirit was kindled. I took up
my bow and taking aim killed the young chief Hari Chand with my very first shot. I discharged arrows
in abundance. Upon this my adversaries began to flee. The chief of Korari was also seized by death.
Upon this the hill men fled in consternation and I, through the favor of God Almighty, gained the
The Guru went to the site where lay the dead bodies of Sangho Shah, Jit Mal and other brave Sikhs. Two sons of Budhu Shah were also killed. The Guru ordered the slain on both sides be disposed of with great honor. The bodies of the Sikhs were cremated, of the Hindus thrown into the river and of the Muslims buried with all solemnity. Pir Budhu Shah presented himself and his two surviving sons to the Guru. At that time the Guru was combing his hair. Budhu Shah begged of him to give him the comb with his loose hair as a sacred souvenir. The Guru gave him the turban, the comb with hair and a small sword. The greatest gift of all, the Guru blessed him with Nam.
Significance of the battle of Bhangani:
The victory in the battle of Bhangani was of far reaching importance. It uplifted the spirit and strengthened the moral of the Sikhs. Since the Guru did not acquire even an inch of the territory or gained any material advantage, the cause he championed, received added strength. His fame spread far and wide with the result that the supply of arms and horses to the Guru increased abundantly and hundreds and hundreds of persons offered themselves to be enlisted in his army. The Guru’s victory also did not go without causing concern to the Mughal rule at Delhi. The hilly Rajas also viewed the whole issue afresh. Although the Rajas and the Guru were poles apart in ideology, yet the Rajas being goaded by their self-interest of thwarting the Mughals over lordship and thus to be relieved of the burdens of payment of annual tributes to the Mughal Emperor, wanted cordial relations with the Guru. Therefore, their leader Raja Bhim Chand entered into agreement with him.
RETURN TO ANANDPUR:
The Guru remained about three years at Paunta Sahib and his fame attracted poets, singers and learned people to his court. During this period he composed Jap Sahib, Swayas and Akal Ustat. He ordered his army to return to Anandpur and he came back via Sadhaura and th en encamped at Laharpurfor a few days. Raja of Nahan sent his envoy to convey his desire to meet the Guru but he never did. Leaving Nahan the Guru entered Ramgarh state and stayed at Tabra for more than a week. He then went to Raipur in response to the invitation of the Rani of that place. She showed him the greatest hospitality and presented him a beautiful horse with costly trappings, and a purse of Rupees as an offering. He gave her son a sword and shield. After this he continued his journey to Anandpur and passing through Toda, Nada, Dhakoli, Kotla, Ghanaula, Bunga, he reached Kiratpur. From there he reached Anandpur in October, 1687. The eldest son, Ajit Singh was born on the fourth day of bright half of Magh, Sambat 1743 (1687 A.D.).
EXPEDITION OF ALIF KHAN:
The south India was up in the arms. Emperor Aurangzeb, therefore, remained busy many years in suppressing the revolt in southern India. All the expenditure of such a long war was met by levying heavy tribute on the northern and eastern provinces of the country. At that time Mian Khan was a viceroy of Jammu. He sent his commander-in-chief, Alif Khan to levy tribute on the hill Rajas. First he addressed Raja Kirpal of Kangra,” Either pay me the tribute or contend with me in arms.” Raja Kirpal gave him certain presents and then told him that Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur was the greatest of all the Rajas. If he pays the tribute first, all the rest will follow him. If Bhim Chand refused to pay, he (Kirpal) would support him. Raja Dayal of Bijarwal was persuaded by Kirpal to meet Alif Khan’s demands.
Alif Khan adopted Raja Kirpal’s suggestion and proceeded towards the capital of Bhim Chand’s state. He halted at Nadaun and sent his envoy to Bhim Chand with his demands. Bhim Chand replied that he would defend himself rather pay the tribute. However his prime minister advised Bhim Chand that if he desired victory, it would be assured only if he had obtained Guru’s assistance. Upon this Bhim Chand sent his prime minister to the Guru to seek his active support. The Guru agreed to support the movement of non- payment of tributes which symbolized the spirit of defiance against the Mughal imperialism. The Guru came in person as the head of a strong contingent. The Rajas of Jaswal, Dadhwal and Jasrot also came to participate in the impending war.
Bhim Chand opened the attack with sharp arrows but the shots could not make any impact on the enemy because of their position and they struck only the wooden rafters of the fortress. The troops of Bhim Chand began to grow indifferent. At this critical juncture the Guru played his part most effectively. He took his gun and aimed at Raja Dayal. Fighting bravely the Raja fell to the ground. The Guru shot arrows one after the other on the enemy. Arrows and bullets flew in abundance and the battle turned in their favor. Alif Khan and his men fled and Bhim Chand won the victory. He remained at Nadaun for sometimes where he reached an understanding with Alif Khan through Kirpal who acted as intermediary.
The Guru after staying about a week there, returned to Anandpur. His son, Jujhar Singh was born on the seventh day of month of Chet, Sambat 1747 (1691 A.D.)
DILAWAR KHAN’S ATTEMPT TO WEAKEN GURU’S POWER:
Dilawar Khan who attained power in Punjab while Aurangzeb was in the Daccan (south), became jealous about Guru’s fame and success. He sent his son Khanzada with a force of one thousand men to curb the power of the Guru at Anandpur. Khanzada crossed the river Satluj under the cover of the darkness at about midnight when Guru’s scout, Alam Khan hastened to give information to him about the approach of a hostile force. The drum (Ranjit Nigara) was immediately beaten and Guru’s men at once marched to the river. The quick formation of the Sikhs bewildered the enemy and the guns which began discharging volleys of shots, terrified Khanzada’s men so much that they were constrained to reel back. However they plundered the village of Barwa on their way back. Khanzada through shame, could not answer to his father when he censored him for his cowardice. This happened at the end of 1694.
HUSSAIN KHAN’S EXPEDITION:
|Guru Gobind Singh leading his army to battle|
Dilawar Khan had a slave called Hussain who boasted that if he were given a command, he would sack the Guru’s city of Anandpur and exact tribute from Bhim Chand and other hilly Rajas. The failure of Khanzada provoked Dilawar Khan to plan for a bigger attack on the Guru. So he sent Hussain Khan with a force of two thousand men. Hussain brought the Raja of Dadhwal to his knees and plundered Dun. Raja Kirpal of Kangra joined him. Bhim Chand too cast his lot with Hussain. He then with the help of Kirpal and Bhim Chand, planned to proceed to Anandpur. The Guru kept his troops ready for any eminent attack.
When Hussain was preparing to march towards Anandpur, Raja Gopal of Guler sent his envoy to make peace with him. Hussain replied that he would be glad to meet with Raja Gopal if he gave him a subsidy as other Rajas had done. Gopal went with some money but Hussain was not pleased with his contribution. Hussain’s terms were payment of ten thousand rupees or he would put Gopal and his troops to death. Gopal pleaded his inability to pay that large sum of money and thus came back. At this point Gopal sent his envoy to the Guru to pray to him for a negotiated settlement with Hussain. The Guru sent his agent, Sangtia with an escort of seven troopers to negotiate a peace settlement between Gopal and Hussain. Two parties could not reach any settlement with the result that a battle ensued between Hussain, Kirpal and Bhim Chand on one side and Raja Gopal and Raja Ram Singh on the other. Having fought very bravely Hussain perished in the battle field. Raja Kirpal of Kangra was also slain. Himmat and Kimmat, two officers of Hussain Khan were also killed. On the other side the Guru’s envoy Sangtia and his seven troopers were all killed. On seeing this Bhim Chand fled with his army. After his victory Raja Gopal went to the Guru with large offerings and thanked him for his grace which made him successful in the battle field.
A third son, Zorawar Singh was born to the Guru on Sunday, the first day of the second half of the month of Magh, Sambat 1753 (1697 A.D.).
The defeat irked Dilawar Khan and he then sent Jujhar Singh and Chandel Rai to Jaswan but they could not achieve the purpose. They, however, captured Bhalan, a strategic place in that state. Before they could proceed further, Gaj Singh of Jaswal fell upon them. Jujhar Singh and Chandel Rai both fought like lions but Jujhar Singh as killed and Chandel Rai fled from the field.
The defeat of the imperial forces caused anxiety to Aurangzeb and he sent his son Prince Muazzam, later known as Bahadur Shah, for restoration of order in the hills. The Prince took charge in August, 1696 and deputed Mirza Beg to teach lesson to hill Rajas. He inflicted defeat after defeat, set up villages on fire, plundered the territory. After Mirza Beg, the Prince sent four more officers who, side by side, chastised the hill Rajas, plundered the homes of the apostates who had escaped destruction at the hands of Mirza Beg.
In due time a fourth son, Fateh Singh was born to the Guru on wednesday, the eleventh day of Phagan, Sambat 755 (1699 A.D.). In the state of seclusion and tranquility of the mountains, the Guru translated Sanskrit works in Sambat 1755 ( 1698 A.D.). It was on the 14th of June of that year that the Guru according to his own version, completed his translation of the Ram Avtar from Sanskrit into Hindi. Most of the compositions that are said to be of the tenth Guru, are not his. Macauliffe writes:
“What is called the Granth of the tenth Guru (Dasam Granth) is only partially his composition. The
greater portion of it was written by bards in his employ. The two works entitled Chandi Charitar and
the Bhagauti ki Var found in it are abridged translations by different hands (any one even moderately
acquainted with Hindi can tell from inner evidence of style that these translations have been done by
different persons) of the Durga Sapt Shatti, or seven hundred sloks on the subject of Durga, an
episode in the ‘Markandeya Puran’ on the contests of the goddess Durga with demons who had made
war on the gods.”
There were fifty-two bards in the court of Guru Gobind Singh to translate the Mahabharat, the Ramayan, and the gallant achievements of Rama, Krishna, Chandi, and others. It does not follow from this that the Guru worshipped those whose acts were thus celebrated; this was only done for the purpose of inciting bravery and dispelling cowardice, and filling the hearts of his troops with valor to defend their faith. This the Guru himself declares in his translation of the tenth canto of the Bhagwat,” I have rendered in the vulgar dialect the tenth chapter of the Bhagwat with no other object than to inspire ardour for religious warfare.”
The Guru never put faith or worshipped anyone other than the One Immortal God. In Akal Ustat he writes:
“Without Thee (God) I worship none Whatever boon I want, get from Thee.”
The Guru makes the above point clear in his thirty-three Swayas:
“Some fasten an idol firmly to their breasts; some say that Shiv is God; Some say that God is in the
temple of the Hindus; others believe that He is in the mosque of the Musalmans;
Some say that Rama is God; some say Krishna; some in their hearts accept the incarnations as God;
But I have forgotten all vain religion and know in my heart that the Creator is the only God.” (Swaya-
“Why call Shiv God, and why speak of Brahma as God?
God is not Ram Chander, Krishan, or Vishnu whom ye suppose to be the lords of the world.
Sukhdev, Prasar, and Vyas erred in abandoning the One God and worshipping many gods.
All have set up false religions; I in every way believe that there is but One God.”
(Swaya- XV, Guru Gobind Singh)
CREATION OF THE KHALSA:
|Guru Gobind Singh Ji, at Fatehgarh Sahib asking for a head. Here he beheaded the Five Piaras and with the ‘Amrit’, he again gave them life – A new Life – A new Spirit infused into the dead concious of the Hindu Dharma.|
The Guru sent Hukamnamas to his followers all over the country to visit Anandpur at the Baisakhi festival to be held in Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.). It seemed as if the whole of Punjab was on the move; and they came from all parts of the country.
A small tent was pitched on a small hill now called Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur and an open air dewan(assembly) was held. The Guru drew his sword and in a thundering voice said,” I want one head, is there any one who can offer me?” This most unusual call caused some terror in the gathering and the people were stunned. There was dead silence. The Guru made a second call. Nobody came forward. There was still more silence. On the third call there rose Daya Ram, a khatri of Lahore who said,” O true king, my head is at thy service.” The Guru took Daya Ram by the arm and led him inside the tent. A blow and thud were heard. Then the Guru, with his sword dripping with blood, came out and said,” I want another head, is there anyone who can offer?”
NOTE: Most of the writers including many Sikh writers, state that the Guru had concealed five goats inside the tent on the previous night without letting anybody know. Therefore, when he took Daya Ram inside the tent, he cut off goat’s head instead of Daya Ram’s. It is difficult for these writers to perceive Guru’s supernatural acts. They cannot comprehend that the Guru could behead Daya Ram, and then bring him back alive from the tent. They need to understand that the Guru was a Divine Jot, sitting on the Divine throne of Guru Nanak. They are showing complete disrespect to the Guru by implying that he was incapable of performing supernatural acts. With these types of thoughts, these writers are committing sacrilege upon the Guruship. The Guru had the power to raise the dead. The Divine Word confirms:
“Satgur mera mar jiwalei.” (Bhairon Mohalla 5, p-1142)
‘My lord can raise the dead to life.’ (Translation of the above)
This was not an ordinary feat, this was the most unparallel and supernatural act which was performed
through the direct Will of God. The Guru himself authenticates this act:
“Khalsa is the army of God
Khalsa is created with the Will of God.”
(Guru Gobind Singh- Sarbloh Granth)
Again on third call Dharam Das, a Jat from Delhi came forward and said,” O true king! My head is at thy disposal.” The Guru took Dharam Das inside the tent, again a blow and thud were heard, and he came out with his sword dripping with blood and repeated,” I want another head, is there any beloved Sikh who can offer it?”
Upon this some people in the assembly remarked that the Guru had lost all reason and went to his mother to complain. Mohkam Chand, a calico printer of Dwarka (west coast of India) offered himself as a sacrifice. The Guru took him inside the tent and went through the same process. When he came out, he made a call for the fourth head. The Sikhs began to think that he was going to kill all of them. Some of them ran away and the others hung their heads down. Himmat Chand, a cook of Jagan Nath Puri, offered himself as a fourth sacrifice. Then the Guru made a fifth and the last call for a fifth head. Sahib Chand, a barber of Bidar (in central India), came forward and the Guru took him inside the tent. A blow and thud were heard.
The last time he stayed longer in the tent. People began to breath with relief. The Guru clad them in splendid garments. They offered their heads to the Guru, and the Guru had now given them himself and his glory. When they were brought outside, they were in the most radiant form. There were exclamations of wonder and the sighs of regret on all sides. Now people were sorry for not offering their heads.
Since the time of Guru Nanak, Charanpauhal had been customary form of initiation. People were to drink the holy water which had been touched or washed by the Guru’s toe or feet. The Guru proceeded to initiate them to his new order by asking five faithful Sikhs to stand up. He put pure water into an iron vessel or Bowl (Batta of Sarbloh) and stirred it with a Khanda (two edged small sword). While stirring the water with Khanda, he recited Gurbani or Divine Word ( Five Banis- Japji, Jap Sahib, Anand Sahib, Swayas, and Chaupai). Sugar crystals called ‘Patasas’ which incidently the Guru’s wife, Mata Sahib Kaur, had brought at that moment, were mixed in the water.
The Guru then stood up with the sacred Amrit ( nectar) prepared in the steel bowl. Each of the five Faithfuls, by turn, each kneeling upon his left knee, looked up to the Master to receive his Eternal Light. Hegave five palmfuls of Amrit to each of them to drink and sprinkled it five times in the eyes, asking them to repeat aloud with each sprinkle, “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.” (This meant: Khalsa belongs to God and all triumph be to His Name) Then he anointed with five sprinkles in the hair. In this way Amrit was administered to the five faithfuls from the same bowl. After that he asked them to sip Amrit from the same bowl to signify their initiation into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa. All the five faithfuls were baptized in this way by the Guru who then called them ‘PANJ PYARE’ or Five Beloved Ones. He gave them the appellation of SINGHS or lions and they were named from Daya Ram to Daya Singh, Dharam Das to Dharam Singh, Mohkam Chand to Mohkam Singh, Himmat Chand to Himmat Singh, and Sahib Chand to Sahib Singh. The Guru then addressed them as the supreme, the liberated ones, pure ones and he called them THE KHALSA.
He then ordained them to do the following:
I. First they must wear the following articles whose names begin with ‘K’:
1. Kes- unshorn hair. This represents the natural appearance of saintlihood. This is the first token of
2. Kanga- A comb to clean the hair.
3. Kachha- An underwear to denote chastity.
4. Kara- A steel bracelet on the wrist, a symbol of dedication to the Divine Bridegroom.
5. Kirpan- A sword for self-defence and a symbol of dignity, power and unconquerable spirit.
II. They must observe the following guidelines:
1. Not to remove hair from the body.
2. Not to use Tobacco or other intoxicants.
3. Not to eat ‘Kutha’, a meat of an animal slaughtered by slow degrees as done by the Muslims.
4. Not to commit adultery- ‘Par nari ki sej, bhul supne hun na jayo’ (never enjoy, even in dream, the bed of a
woman an other than your own wife) (A supplementary ordinance was issued that any one who did not
observe any of the four directives, must be re- baptized, pay a fine, and promise not to offend
any more; or he must be excommunicated from the Khalsa).
III. They must rise at dawn, bathe, meditate on Gurmantar- ‘Waheguru’, Moolmantar- the preamble of
Japji, and recite five banis- Japji, Jap Sahib and Swayas in the morning; Rehras in the evening; and Kirtan
Sohela at bed time at night.
IV. They must not have matrimonial relations with smokers, with persons who killed their daughters, with
the descendants or followers of Prithi Chand, Dhir Mal, Ram Rai, or masands who had strayed away from
the tenets and principles of Guru Nanak.
V. They must not worship idols, cemeteries, or cremation grounds, and must believe only in One Immortal
God. The Guru further spelled out that they should practise arms, and never show their backs to the foe in
the battle field. They should always be ready to help the poor and protect those who sought their protection.
They were to consider their previous castes erased, and deem themselves all brothers of one family. Sikhs
were to intermarry among themselves.
|Guru Gobind Singh with the Panj Pyaras|
After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and withfolded hands, begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized them. This was the height of this remarkable episode setting up unparallel example in the world that first as Guru, he created the Khalsa blessing them with power, supremacy and glory, and then he himself became their disciple- Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple. In the annals of human history a disciple could become a Guru but never a Guru became a disciple. The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such a proposal, and represented their own unworthiness, and the greatness of the Guru, whom they deemed God’s Vicar upon earth. They asked him why he made such a request and why he stood in a supplicant posture before them. He replied,” I am the son of the Immortal God. It is by His order I have been born and have established this form of baptism. They who accept it shall henceforth be known as the KHALSA. The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is no difference between you and me. As Guru Nanak seated Guru Angad on the throne, so have I made you also a Guru. Wherefore administer the baptismal nectar to me without any hesitation.” Accordingly the Five Beloved Ones baptized the Guru with the same ceremonies and injunctions he himself had employed. The Guru was then named Gobind Singh instead of Gobind Rai.
Guru Gobind Singh was the first one to take Amrit from the Khalsa, the Five Beloved Ones. About 80,000 men and women were baptized within a few days at Anandpur. By creating the Khalsa, the Guru embedded two qualities in one person. A Khalsa is a Saint-Soldier. A Sikh is a saint because he worships the All-Pervading Divine Spirit and in whom that Spirit shines day and night like a full moon. A Sikh is a soldier because he is ever ready to take up the arms to uphold righteousness.
The Guru promised the Five Beloved Ones (The Khalsa) that whenever they called upon him, he wouldagree to their proposal. This was the establishment of democratic Khalsa. The Guru fulfilled this promise by submitting to the demand of the Five Beloved Ones at the battle of Chamkaur and left the Garhi. The Guru himself gives the definition of his beloved Khalsa:
“He who constantly keeps in mind Intent upon Ever Awake Living Light of Consciousness And never
swerves from the thought of One God; And he who is adorned with full faith in Him And is wholly
steeped in the Love of the Lord, And even by mistake never puts his faith in fasting Or in worship of
tombs, sepulchre or crematoriums, Caring not for pilgrimages, alms, charities, Penances or austerities;
Or anything else but devotion to One God; And in whose heart and soul the Divine Light Shines forth
as the full moon He is known as Khalsa, the purest of the pure.”
(Guru Gobind Singh- Swayas)
The Persian historian Gulam-ul-din, the newswriter of that period, sent Emperor Aurangzeb a copy of the Guru’s address to his Sikhs on the first of Baisakh, Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.) which reads as follows:
“Let all embrace one creed and obliterate differences of religion. Let the four Hindu castes who have
different rules for their guidance abandon them all, adopt the one form of adoration, and become
brothers. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Let none pay heed to the Ganges, and other
places of pilgrimage which are spoken of with reverence in the Shastras, or adore incarnations such as
Rama, Krishna, Brahma, and Durga, but believe in Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus. Let men of
the four castes receive my baptism, eat out of one dish, and feel no disgust or contempt for one
When the Guru addressed the gathering, several Brahmans and Khatris stood up and accepted the religion of Guru Nanak while others insisted that they would never accept any religion which was opposed to the teachings of the Vedas and Shastras.
So far the leadership had remained in the hands of non- militant urban Khatris from whom the majority of the masands were drawn, but now the situation had completely changed. Peasantry and other classes of rural areas formed the bulk of the converts. Even those people who had been considered the dregs of humanity were changed like a magic into something rich and super. The sweepers, the barbers and confectioners who had never touched a sword and whose whole generations had lived as slaves of the higher castes, became doughty warriors under the stimulating leadership of the Guru.
Ideologically, the Khalsa was created to be aimed at a balanced combination of the ideals of Bhakti andShakti, of moral and spiritual excellence and militant valor or heroism of the highest order; or in other words the Khalsa was to be a brotherhood in faith and brotherhood in arms at one and the same time. The Khalsa symbolized in itself the determination to complete the social and religious revolution inaugurated by Guru Nanak. The code of conduct prescribed for the newly created Khalsa was so devised as to impose a strict discipline on the Sikhs to ensure firm coherence and commitment on their part to the holy and lofty ideals of Sikhism.
With the creation of the Khalsa, some new doctrines were also established. The first doctrine of the Khalsa was the doctrine of the theocratic democracy by his selected, not elected, five representatives of the people from amongst the thousands of the devotees from all over the country while second was the doctrine of collective responsibility by authorizing the Five Beloved Ones only, in the presence of the holy Guru Granth Sahib to assume authority implicitly to be obeyed by the whole nation.
The Guru set the souls of the Khalsa free and filled their hearts with a lofty longing for religious and social freedom and national ascendancy. The Khalsa, therefore, accepted the challenge to combat terror inspired by tyranny of he powerful Mughal empire and embarked upon a national struggle of liberation.
BHAI NAND LAL:
|A Gutka with the sacred autograph of Guru Gobind Singh Ji given to Bhai Dharam Singh (Pyara) and now with his descendents at the house of Bagrian. (Courtesy- Nishaan)|
Bhai Nand Lal Goya, born at Ghazni in Afghanistan in 1643, was an accomplished persian scholar who composed verses in praise of God and Guru Gobind Singh. He was hardly nineteen when his parents passed away and after that he moved to the city of Multan. The Nawab of Multan being impressed with his scholastic talents and personality, appointed him as his ‘Mir Munshi’ (Revenue officer). At the age of 45 Nand Lal left the service and set out in pursuit of peace. At last he reached Anandpur. Nand Lal wanted to test the Guru before he could accept him. He took a small house and started living quietly in that and made up his mind that he would go to the Guru only when the Guru beckoned him. The Guru did not call for sometimes. During this period Nand Lal became very restless which he recorded:
“How long shall I patiently wait? My heart is restless for a vision of thee, My tearful eyes, says Goya,
Have become flooding streams of love Flowing in a passionate affection towards thee.”
(Nand Lal- Translated)
At last the Guru called Nand Lal. When he reached there for his holy sight, the Guru was sitting in a trance with his eyes closed. As Nand Lal saw the Master, he was wonder-stuck and he recorded:
“My life and faith are held in bondage,
By His sweet and angelic face;
The glory of Heaven and earth,
Is hardly worth,
A hair of His golden looks.
O! How can I bear the light,
Shed by the piercing glance of His love,
To ennoble and enlighten life,
A glimpse of the Beloved is enough.”
(Bhai Nand Lal)
After a short while the Master opened his eyes and smiled as he looked towards Nand Lal. By mere opening of his eyes, he enabled Nand Lal to see the Divine. His one glance of Grace opened the spiritual eyes of Nand Lal. He bowed down saying,”Lord, my doubts are dispelled. I have known the Truth. The doors of my heart are opened and I have attained peace.”
Nand Lal, thus, continued to live at Anandpur in the service and love of the Master. One day the Gurucommanded him,” You left the home and renounced the world; such a renunciation is not acceptable to me. Go back and live in the world, work for your living and serve the humanity; but remain unattached to Maya (materialism), keeping God alive in thy mind.” Nand Lal asked,” Whither should I go, O Master?” The Guru replied,” To whichever direction your feet carry thee.”
Bhai Nand Lal bowed and left Anandpur and after sometimes he reached Agra, the city of Taj Mahal where Prince Bahadur Shah was holding his court. There were some poets, scholars and artists patronized by the prince. Nand Lal was soon recognized at Agra as a great scholar which earned him a high office and emoluments from the prince. It is said that Emperor Aurangzeb had to send a letter to the King of Persia and Nand Lal’s draft of that letter was deemed as the most suitable. Upon this Aurangzeb sent for Nand Lal, and after an interview he remarked to his courtiers that it was a pity that such a learned man should remain a Hindu. Aurangzeb told Prince Bahadur Shah to convert Nand Lal to Islam by persuasion if possible, and by force otherwise. This news leaked out and Bhai Nand Lal with the help of Ghiasuddin, a Muslim admirer and follower of him, escaped from Agra one night, and fled to Anandpur, the only place where such refugees could find safe asylum.
Enjoying the blissful life at the Master’s feet at Anandpur, Bhai Nand Lal then settled down to a routine of a devoted disciple. He presented to the Guru a Persian work called Bandagi Nama in praise of God, a titlewhich the Guru changed to Zindagi Nama, or ‘Bestower of Eternal life’. The following few extracts are from that work:
“Both worlds, here and hereafter, are filled with God’s light; The sun and moon are merely servants
who hold His torches.
They who search for God are ever civil.
(Bhai Nand Lal- Translated)
- Brief Introduction
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