Saturday, April 13, 2024

Guru Govind Singh, initiated “Khalsa” on this day in 1699

“Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa; Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” is a term which denotes the image of a congregation of Sikh, praising the virtues of the Supreme, their Gurus. Waheguru Ji” and Sikhism became interchangeable after Shri Guru Govind Singh Ji introduced the new form of initiatory rites “Khande di Pahul” or “rites by double-edged sword in 1699. 

The word Khalsa derive from the Arabic word Khalis which literally means “pure”. Khalsa word appears only once in Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Bhagat Kabir’s vani. It reads, “Kahu Kabir jab bhaye Khalsa prem bhagat jih jaani”, which means, “Kabir says those people who know the Lord’s love and devotion are the purest.”

It was the death of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur, ninth Guru of Sikhs, that led to the formation of Khalsa. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji became the ninth Guru on April 16, 1664, after the death of his grand-nephew and eight Guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Har Kishan Ji. In 1675, Hindus of Kashmir approached Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and sought his help against the forced conversions initiated by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji went to Delhi with a delegation to meet Aurangzeb, where he challenged him that if he could convert Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to Islam, all the Hindus in Kashmir would convert as well. Aurangzeb ordered his disciples to convert Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at any cost. They used every possible torture to force him to convert but failed. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was tortured to death.

Three other Sikhs, Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das, and Bhai Dyal Das, who were part of his delegation, were also executed by Aurangzeb before beheading Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Gurudwara Sis Ganj and Gurudwara Rakabganj in Delhi mark the place of beheading and cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur in Delhi on order of Auragzeb.

The birth of Khalsa

After the execution of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, his son Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji (formerly known as Gobind Rai) became the tenth and last Guru of Sikhs. Several months before the formation of Khalsa, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had sent an invitation to all his followers to come to Anandpur Sahib on Baisakhi in 1699, which fell on March 30. Thousands of devotees gathered at Anandpur Sahib for the auspicious event.

Notably, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had not detailed his intentions to formulate Khalsa in the invite but mentioned a religious congregation. Shortly before Baisakhi, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji abolished the institution of masands. They were basically intermediaries of Guru’s agents. Every Sangat of a different region had its own sand. In the hukumnamas of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the de-recognition of masands was mentioned. With the abolishment of the Masand system, a direct relation between the Sangats and the Guru was formed.

On the day of Baisakhi, many came as a sign of respect to the Guru, and the rest came out of curiosity. Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji addressed the mass with the most memorable oration in Sikhism. He informed them about his mission to restore faith and preserve Dharma or righteousness.

After his address, he flashed his naked sword in the air and asked, “I need one head. Is there anyone among you who is ready to die for his faith?” The people present in the congregation were speechless. Some of them left the congregation, and others looked at each other in confusion and amazement. A few minutes later, Daya Ram, a Sikh who came to attend the congregation from Lahore, stood up and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh Ji asked him to follow him in a tent. After a short while, he came out with blood dripping sword. Everyone thought Daya Ram was sacrificed.

The demand was repeated four more times by Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The second Sikh who sacrificed his life was Dharam Das. The Third was Mohkam Chand, followed by two others, Sahib Chand and Himmat Rai. Everyone outside could hear the sound of ‘Thud’ from inside the tent as if their heads had fallen on the ground.

There was pin-drop silence all around. A few moments later, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji came out. There was no sword in his hands. Five Sikhs, who were believed to be sacrificed, came out wearing decorated robes. Guru Ji announced that they were Panj Pyare or the Five Beloved Ones. They were baptized as the first five Khalsa with the administration of Amrit. He said, “From now on, the Khalsa shall be baptized with Amrit created with water stirred with a double-edged sword – Khanda while the words of Gurbani are uttered.” Today, if someone wants to get baptized in Sikhism, he or she follows the process known as ‘Amrit Chakhna’.

The ceremony of baptization was named Khande Di Pahul, which means baptism of the double-edged sword or Amrit Sanchar. He stirred the water with the sword in an iron blow while reciting five major compositions that are Japji, Jaap, Savaiyye, Benti Chaupai and Anand Sahib. His wife, Mata Sahib Kaur, added sugar puffs to the water. It was then called ‘Khande Da Amrit’ or just ‘Amrit’.

After administering Amrit to the Panj Pyare, he asked them to baptize him in the same manner. The aim was to establish equality between the Guru and his followers.

Creation of the Khalsa

The creation of Khalsa is based on the training and teachings of the ten Gurus to the followers of Sikhism. Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted every Sikh to be perfect in all ways, i.e. the combination of Bhakti and Shakti or Devotion and Strength. The main principles of Sikhism include Deg or charity and Tegh or sword, which were embedded in the roots of Khalsa.

He inculcated five virtues in every Sikh that are sacrifice, cleanliness, honesty, charity and courage. He also prescribed the Sikh code of discipline. He asked every Sikh to recite the five sacred compositions or Banis every day.

Khalsa can use the sword only in times of emergency, which means the sword cannot be drawn unless all the peaceful methods have failed. It can be used only for self-defence and to protect the oppressed.

The Five Ks

Every Khalsa must follow Panj Kakka, or the Five Ks that, are Kesh, Kanga, Kaccha, Kara and Kirpan.

Kesh: A Khalsa is not allowed to cut the hair as it represents the natural appearance of sainthood.

Kanga: A small comb to maintain Kesh.

Kaccha: It does not specifically mean the undergarment, but it denoted the short trousers of the warrior. It also denotes celibacy.

Kara: The steel bangle represents the dedication toward the Guru. Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had said by wearing Kara, all the fears in Khalsa would disappear.

Kirpan: The sword for defence. The word comes from Kirpa, the Sanskrit word for kindness and Aan, the Persian word for self-respect. It is the symbol of power, courage and dignity.

According to the basics of Sikhism, a true Khalsa does not discriminate or see anyone as a demeaned soul. He or she will rise in defence of the oppressed and will do charity to help the needy.

(This piece is taken with gratitude from OpIndia.)

(Panchmukha is interesting content floating on internet, brought by NewsBred for its readers. They don’t necessarily reflect our views but make our platform diverse.)

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