SRI GURU GOBIND SINGH JI: AN EMBODIMENT OF THE GREATEST VIRTUES-Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji embraced his parents Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and Mata Gujri Ji in December, 1666 in Patna, Bihar. It was a Muslim Saint Pir Bhikan Shah who saw a bright star in Patna at the birth of Sri Guru Gobind Singh. Soon after, the Saint set of to Patna to pay homage to the Divine child. He was a spiritual master, a divine being, warrior, poet and philosopher. His father Sri Guru Teg Bahadur was martyred by Aurangzeb and Sri Guru Gobind Singh was formally crowned as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine. He was the tenth and the last Sikh Guru in human form. He was tied in a nuptial not to Sahib Kaur and Mata Jito and they were blessed with four sons-Ajit Singh, Fateh Singh, Zorawar Singh and Jujhar Singh.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji moulded the Sikh Religion into its present shape with the institution of the Khalsa Fraternity and the completion of the sacred scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Before leaving his mortal body in 1708 A.D., he decreed the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the next and perpetual Guru of the Sikhs.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji appreciated Sri Guru Teg Bahadur as the supreme defender of religion. He clarified his own mission stating that he intensely wished to spread ‘dharma’ so that people are saved from doing evil acts. He sought to protect the religious principles enunciated by Sri Guru Nanak. He created the ‘Khalsa’ to annihilate the wicked and the sinner and to dispel darkness. He named the Ideal Man as Khalsa. To the Khalsa his basic command was to worship one formless and indestructible God. He abolished the agency of ‘Masands’ and established direct links with disciples because ‘Masands’ had become corrupt. He was divinely inspired to uplift the holy, destroy the wicked and free mankind from fear and tyranny. So his creation of ‘Khalsa’ was meant to be defended with the strength of arms if needed.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh was unique as a prophet whose teachings are scientific and most befitting for all times. He never called himself God or the only son of God. He called all people as the sons of God and sharing His Kingdom equally. He uses the word ‘slave’ or ‘Servant of God’ for himself.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji by creating the Khalsa Institution imbibed the dual energy and enthusiasm with the spirit of a saint and a soldier in the minds and hearts of his followers to face oppression so as to restore righteousness (Dharma) and uplift the downtrodden people in the society. Guru Ji’s teachings as a prophet are very logical and scientific and fit in the framework of all situations and times.
There was been no individual in the chronicles of human history who led a life of more valour and bravery than Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. That is why he is revered, respected and held in very high esteem ‘as Sarbans Dani’ (the merciful donor who sacrificed all,) ‘Mard Agamra’ (unparalleled man), ‘Shah-e-Shahenshah’ (emperor of emperors), ‘ Bar do-Alam-Shah (ruler of both worlds) and many others. He said about himself:
“Jo hum Ko Parmeshwar Uchar Hai
Tay sabh narak kund mah par hai
Mo ko daas tavan kaa jaano
Yaa mai bhed na runch pachhaano
Mai hun parm purkh ko dasa
Dekhan aayo jagat tamaasa”
“Those who call me God, will fall into the deep pit of hell.
Regard me as one of His slaves and have no doubt about it.
I am a servant of the Supreme Being;
and have come to behold the wonderful drama of life.”
He embraced this earth with a holy and pious mission entrusted to him by the Divine and credited all his accomplishments and achievements to Divine Grace and to the Khalsa:
“Inhi ki kirpa kay sajay hum hai
Nahi mo so gareeb kror paray.”
“It is by virtue of his Grace that I have been elevated to this glorious position.
Otherwise there are crores of mortals like him.”
That is why he emphasizes.
“Sab Sikhon ko hukam hai
Guru maneo Granth
Guru Granth Ji maneyo
Pargat Guran ki deh.”
Guru Gobind Singh Ji states that he was engaged in meditation in the seven peaked Hemkunt mountain. As he merged with God, He commanded him:
“I have cherished thee as my son, and created thee to
establish a religion and restrain the world from senseless acts.”
Sri Gobind Rai was ordained as the next Guru before his father departed Anandpur Sahib. He was formally installed the next guru as Sri Guru Gobind Singh on the Baisakhi Day of March, 1676. He lived peacefully at Anandpur Sahib for twenty years and completed his training in arms. He gained sound knowledge of Sanskrit, Persion, Braj languages and engaged 52 poets in his court. He also created the martial spirit among the Sikhs. He composed ‘Jaap Sahib’, ‘Akal Ustat’, ‘Bachittar Natak’, ‘Chaupai Sahib’, ‘Chandi di Vaar ’, ‘Zafar Nama’. His ‘Zafarnama’ to Aurangzeb touched his heart and invited him for meeting. But Aurangzeb could not meet Guru Ji as he left this world in March, 1706 before meeting. He addressed to Aurangzeb: “Chun kaar az hameh heelate der guzasht; Halal ast burden beh shamsheer dast”. (When all has been tried, yet justice is not in sight; it is then right to pick up the sword, it is then right to fight). Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji after performing his duties as ordained by God merged with the Eternal on 7 October, 1708 at Hazur Sahib, Nanded.
The teachings of Sri Guru Gobind Singh are applicable to all human beings. His life resonates with a universal message who promoted social institutions and taught the people to rise against tyrants. He also established a Gurudwara at Paonta sahib on the banks of the Yamuna River.
He preached love and equality and a strictly ethical and moral code of conduct through his poetry. The glorification of the sword itself which he praised as ‘Bhagauti’ was to see fulfilment of God’s justice. It was to be used only in self-defence. He fought many battles like Battle of Bhangani, Battle of Nadaun, Battle of Nirmoh, Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, Battle of Khidrana, Battle of Muktsar. He fought about twenty battles in all in his life-span of 42 years. He created ‘Panj Pyaras’ (The Five Beloved Ones) and followed the process of ‘Amrit Sanchar’. He persuaded the Sikhs to follow the 5Ks: (1) ‘Kesh’ (unshorn hair), (2) ‘Kanga’ (A comb to clean the hair), (3) ‘Kachha’ (underwear) (4) ‘Kara’ (An iron bracelet on the wrist), (5) ‘Kirpan’ (A sword to symbolize dignity, power and strong spirit).
Guru Gobind Singh Ji was a prophet, a great social reformer, an excellent statesman, unparalleled administrator and an adept householder. He was a patriot to the core. He was an ideal of everyone and a perfect example of an exemplary ‘Karam Yogi’. He sacrificed his whole family, his father, his mother, his four sons or everything else he owned. When the time of his last departure came, he told his followers not to mourn for him and he instructed them to do as follows:
“I have entrusted you to the immortal God. Ever remain under his protection and trust no-one-besides. Wherever there are five Sikhs assembled who abide by the Guru’s teachings, know that I am in the midst of them. He who serves them shall win his reward – the fulfilment of his hearts’ desires. Read the history of your Gurus from the time of Guru Nanak. Henceforward, the Guru shall be the Khalsa and the Khalsa the Guru. I have infused my mental and bodily spirit into the Granth Sahib and the Khalsa.”
Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.) who was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Dr. S.S. Johal, awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2004. Smt. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.
(The views expressed are personal)