Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy Prakash Divas! Celebrating Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday

This upcoming week we will celebrate the 350th Anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Birth. There will be programs every evening at the Gurdwara Sahib.

Our 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and Mata Gurjri Ji. He was born December 22, 1666 at Patna Sahib. His early education in Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit and Persian was in Anandpur Sahib. Guru Tegh Bahadur’s shaheedi occurred when Gobind Rai was only 9 years old. He had not hesitated in telling his father to make this important sacrifice-“None could be worthier than you, father to make a supreme sacrifice.” Guru Ji went on to write great works such as Jaap Sahib and Chaupai Sahib which we read in our daily prayers. Guru Ji was married to Mata Jito (also known as Sundari) and Mata Sahib Devan (the mother of Khalsa).

It is Guru Gobind Singh Ji who created the Khalsa in 1699, and this is celebrated on Vaisakhi every year. Thus came the image of the Sikh you see today, with the 5 symbols of faith (Kesh, Kangha, Kara, Kirpan, Kacchera) and ready to give their life to defend the innocent at any time. Guru Ji writes in the Zafarnama “When all other means have failed, it is but lawful to take to the sword.” The Rajput chiefs of Silvalik hills were disturbed by the formation of the Khalsa as the Sikhs did not believe in their system of discrimination based on caste. They felt threatened and tried to force Guru Ji out of Anandpur Sahib, but were unsuccessful for five years. They got help from Emperor Aurangzeb and in 1705, he promised the Sikhs a safe exit if they left Anadpur Sahib. As discussed in previous posts about the history of the Chaar Sahibzaade, the Mughals did not fulfill their promise. Many Sikhs, including Guru Ji’s four sons, Ajit Singh Ji, Jujhar Singh Ji, Zorawar Singh Ji and Fateh Singh Ji were martyred. Many manuscripts were lost while trying to cross the Sarsa river.

Guru Ji spent time in Dina where he received a letter from Aurangzeb asking him to come to Deccan to meet him, however Guru Ji rejected his offer and wrote him the Zafarnama in response, delivered to Auranzeb by Daya Singh and Dharam Singh. In the battle of Muktsar on December 29, 1705, Guru Ji, Mai Bhago, and 40 Sikhs who had previously deserted the Guru Ji, faced the Mughal army led by Wazir Khan. These 40 became known as the 40 Mukhte (saved ones). Guru Ji spent 9 months at Damdama Sahibn (Talvandi Sabo) finishing the Sri Guru Sahib Ji. It is said that the Zafarnama touched Aurangzeb and he invited Guru Ji for a meeting, however Guru Ji had already left for the south. Guru Ji helped Bahadur Shah gain the throne after the death of Aurangzeb. Nawab Wazir Khan ordered the murder of the Guru Ji to be carried out by Jamshed Kahn and Wasil Beg. One of them stabbed Guru Ji, however Guru Ji killed the attacker. With the help of the Emperor’s surgeon, he was on the path to recovery. Several days later the wound burst open and started bleeding, but was again treated. Knowing that these were his last days, Guru Ji declared the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as his successor.
 
Guru Ji showed us what it means to overcome all odds and fight against injustice. Despite the martyrdom of his parents and children, and many many other Sikhs, all of which he considered his family, he stayed committed to his purpose in life and didn’t lose hope. He served as a brave and courageous warrior as well as a saint. May we remember Guru Ji’s contributions to our history as we celebrate the Prakash Divas of Guru Gobind Singh Ji!

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