सवा लाख से एक लड़ाऊं,
चिड़ियन ते मैं बाज तुड़ाऊं,
तबै गुरु गोबिंद सिंह नाम कहाऊं!!”
Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna on 22nd Dec 1666 & was the only son of Guru Tegh Bahadur & Mata Gujri, in Takht Sri Patna Harimandar Sahib, where he spent his first 4 years of life.
Early Life and Family
His name at birth was Gobind Rai, a spiritual master, a great warrior, poet & philosopher.
In 1670, his family returned to Punjab, and in March 1672 they moved to Chakk Nanaki in the Himalayan foothills of North India, where he went to school, where he went to school & excelled in reading, writing as well as martial arts such as horse riding and archery.
Guru Gobind Singh had two wives, the same girl, with two names, Mata Jito & Mata Sundari.
It was a practice in those times to arrange marriage & perform an engagement at a young age, but the wedding itself took place when the couple was older when the girl actually moved in with her husband. The names were often changed at the wedding.
They had four sons:
Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh & Ajit Singh, who all died during his lifetime – two in battle, two executed by the Mughal army.
Chandi di Var
In 1684, he wrote the book, Chandi di Var in the Punjabi language – a legendary war between the good and the evil, where the good stands up against injustice and tyranny.
This book is also known as ‘War Shree Bhagvati Ji’.
Mother of Khalsa
At age 33, Guru Govind Singh married Mata Sahib Kaur, due to coercion. They had no children, Gobind Singh proclaimed her as the Mother of the Khalsa.
Tenth Guru- Guru Govind Singh
Guru Govind Singh played a vital role in the defense of Sikhs and Hindus against the Muslim assault of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor.
His father, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam & he was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, on Vaisakhi, 29 March 1676, becoming the tenth and final human Sikh Guru.
What is the story of Khalsa?
One of his biggest contributions to Sikhism is that the founder of the Sikh Warrior community called Khalsa, or “the pure ones” in 1699, called the Khalsa movement.
Guru Gobind Singh finalized and enshrined the Guru Granth Sahib as Sikhism’s primary scripture & eternal Guru.
He is credited with Dasam Granth, whose hymns are a sacred part of Sikh prayers.
In 1699, Guru Gobind ji asked for volunteers who would be willing to have their heads cut off.
Five men stood forward, whom he called the Panj Pyare & the first Khalsa in the Sikh establishment.
Guru Gobind Singh then mixed water and sugar into an iron bowl, stirring it with a double-edged sword to prepare what he called Amrit.
He then administered this to the Panj Pyare, accompanied with recitations from the Adi Granth, thus founding the initiation ceremony of a Khalsa – a warrior community.
The Guru also gave them a new surname “Singh” (lion). After the first five Khalsa had been baptized, the Guru asked the five to baptize him as a Khalsa. This made the Guru the sixth Khalsa, and his name changed from Guru Gobind Rai to Guru Gobind Singh.
The duty of the Paanj Pyare was to uphold & protect the Khalsa movement.
Before the Khalsa movement, the “Sikh” name was derived from the Sanskrit word, Sishya, meaning disciple or student. Thereafter the Sikh movement was called Khalsa.
What are the 5 K of Khalsa?
Guru Gobind Singh initiated the Five K’s tradition of the Khalsa,
- Kesh: uncut hair. Long hair & turbans were meant to protect against sword cuts
- Kangha: a wooden comb.
- Kara: an iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist, a symbol that sikh spirit was strong & unbending. It also protected the right hand during sword fights.
- Kirpan: a sword or dagger.
- Kacchera: short breeches, which more practical in fighting than dhotis or loose trousers of muslims
He also forbade
- ‘halal’ meat (slow slaughter of animals)
Khalsa । Khalsa Sikhs । Sahajdhari Sikhs
Prior to the Khalsa, the Sikh congregations across India had a system of Masands, who wasappointed by the Sikh Gurus, who led the local Sikh communities, local temples, collected wealth and donations for the Sikh cause.
Guru Gobind Singh concluded that the Masands system had become corrupt; he abolished them and introduced a more centralized system with the help of Khalsa that was under his direct supervision.
These developments created two groups of Sikhs, those who initiated as Khalsa, called Khalsa Sikhs, and others who remained Sikhs but did not undertake the initiation, called Sahajdhari Sikhs.
The Muslim-Sikh conflicts kept increasing & Aurangzeb issued an order to exterminate Guru Gobind Singh and his family.
Guru Gobind Singh believed in a Dharam Yudh (war in defense of righteousness).
He said one must be prepared to die to stop tyranny, end persecution, and to defend one’s own religious values.
He led fourteen wars with these objectives, but never took captives nor damaged anyone’s place of worship.
Gobind Singh’s two younger sons, aged 5 & 8 were captured, tortured & then executed by burying them alive into a wall for refusing to convert to Islam by Wazir Khan, the Mughal governor. Mata Gujri collapsed on hearing her grandsons’ death and died shortly after.
On 6th December, Guru Gobind sahib and his family accompanied by the 400 Sikhs arrived at the Chamkaur. Here, the Mughal Army of over 100,000 soldiers, led by Wazir Khan attacked them. Most of the Sikh soldiers died, including his 2 sons, Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jhujhar Singh. Only 40 Sikhs remained after the fight.
Here at Chamkaur, on 22nd December, the Mughal forces tried to capture the Anandgarh Fort.
Every time they tried to do so, the 40 Sikhs showered arrows on them. Impatient and humiliated that a force as strong as theirs could not capture a fort guarded by 40 men, the Mughal Forces came ahead to break into the entrance of the fort. The Sikhs gave them a strong resistance and killed many Mughals in the effort.
35 Sikhs died on that night & only 5 survived. Sensing the danger to Guru’s life, the five survivors, of whom, two were the surviving ‘Panj Pyaare’, pleaded to the Guru to leave the fort and save himself.
They knew that the Khalsa is yet to shake the roots of the Mughal Empire and that if Guru Gobind Singh doesn’t survive, that goal would not be achieved.
At first, Guruji rejected these requests.
The two Pyaaras now reminded the Guruji that he had bestowed upon them the authority to make decisions for the welfare of the Khalsa Panth.
As such, they commanded Guru Gobind Singh to leave the fort and save his life, and that of the Khalsa movement. The Guru, now duty-bound, decided to leave the fort in the darkness of the night.
Zafarnama / The Victory Letter (1705)-
Guru Gobind Singh saw the war conduct of Aurangzeb and his army against his family and his people as a betrayal of a promise, unethical, unjust, and impious & wrote a defiant letter in Persian to Aurangzeb, titled Zafarnama
The Guru’s letter was stern yet conciliatory to Aurangzeb. He indicted the Mughal Emperor and his commanders in spiritual terms, accused them of a lack of morality both in governance and in the conduct of war.
The letter predicted that the Mughal Empire would soon end, because it persecutes, is full of abuse, falsehood, and immorality.
The letter is spiritually rooted in Guru Gobind Singh’s beliefs about justice.
Guru Gobind Singh, who knew he did not have many days to dwell in this world, appointed Banda Bahadur as the commander of the Khalsa forces.
He achieved great success in crushing the Mughal Empire in the North.
The Khalsa Forces, under his leadership, captured Delhi and the Sikh Empire began to substitute the Mughal era.
Aurangzeb died in 1707, and immediately a succession struggle began between his sons who attacked each other.
The official successor was Bahadur Shah, who invited Guru Gobind Singh with his army to meet him in person in the Deccan region of India, for reconciliation but Bahadur Shah then delayed any discussions for months.
Two assassins were employed by the Mughal army to kill the Guru. One of them, named Jamshed Khan stabbed & killed Guru Gobindji on 7th Oct 1708.
Guru Gobind Singh ji, the Tenth Guru, was an outstanding example of the Sikh ideal of the “Soldier-Saint.”
A courageous warrior will be remembered as a valiant defender of the poor, the meek, and the oppressed masses of India.
He was crucial to the destruction of the Muslims so that Sikhs & Hindus could follow their faith.