Guru Gobind Singh — A Prophet With Difference
Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian
All the major religions of the world are from two cultural backgrounds. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are of Jewish stock. These are also referred to as Semitic religions or Semitic thought. The other three, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism are products of Ganga Jamuna culture. But the place where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism was born, belonged to neither of these two cultures. Sikhism is not an elite Religion. It is evident from History that Sind and Multan were under Bagdad Caliphate till the ninth century and this State, Punjab, of Ranjit Singh was the one that he conquered from the Ruler of Kabul.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharāj was a prophet of his own kind. Being tenth and last of the Sikh Guru tradition, his life and doings were illustration and demonstration of what his predecessor Gurus had initiated during their respective Guru Period.
Guru Gobind Singh is only known as saint-warrior but very rarely, if at all, as a scholar also. His contribution to literature is unparallel and that too coming from a soldier. His compositions like Jap Sahib and Akal Ustat presents his poetic mindset which has not been properly pursued. This scholarly aspect of His character has not been given to requisite attention.
His life of sacrifice starts at his tender age of 9 when he innocently asked his father ‘indirectly’ to sacrifice his life to save the religious right of another community – the Hindu Brahmins. Baal Gobind Rai (Singh) hardly enjoyed 4-5 years the company of his father. Stoically he sees off his father and after a while, he received his decapitated head. His words that “ਜੰਝੂ ਤਿਲਕ ਰਾਖਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਾਂਕਾ” (“Janju Tilak Rakhā Prabh Tānka”). “ਤਾਂਕਾ” means theirs. This sacred thread is the same that Guru Nanak refused to wear clearly indicate resistance against the imposition of another religion, i.e. forceful conversion. Kashmiri Pandits seeking Guru Tegh Bahadur help to save their religion could also be influenced by the fact that Guru Tegh Bahadur along with his soldiers accompanied the Mughal forces under Raja Ram Singh’s mission to Kamrup (Now Assam). This showed Guru Sahib’s influence in the ruling quarters.
He lived his life full of sacrifices as ordained. The first battle was forced upon him by the Hill Rajas which was fought at Bhangani. When Rajas did succeed to throw him out from Anandpur Sahib, a place which was bought by his Father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, they invited Mughal forces to attack Anandpur Sahib in 1703. In the protection of Anandpur Sahib, a Muslim Commander, Sayyed Beg stood firm on the Guru’s side. Another Muslim noble was Maiman Khan joined Guru. It is clearly shown that the ideology of Guru Gobind Singh was not against any religion. He was fought against tyranny.
Guru Gobind Singh completed the mission of creating a character – in human form, who was to be “God-fearing, fearless man”. We find this in the form of Banda Bahadur and his 740 co-soldiers. It is a mystique that his creation –Banda Bahadur – we can interpret as not being a person because Banda, Singh, Bahadur do not give a reflection of a person’s name form. These are the character of a fine person. This character is reflected in one and all 740 and fit into the definition of Banda, Bahadur, Singh/ Banda Singh Bahadur.
When Banda Singh Bahadur conquered Sirhind, he ordered the Sikhs not to destroy any Mosque or disrespect any women. In the religious domain, Sikhism was a way of life to be easily adhered to by the people.
When Sikhism came into being, the ruler belongs to the Islamic religion and the public majority was non-Muslims. Sikhism mission as conducted by the Gurus between the two religious ideologies never came into conflict with either. We, under the present circumstance, must take a lesson from the Sikh movement which never took communal colour. Two example of Guru Period – After the execution of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, communal antagonism was unseen. The evidence is given by MA Macauliff in his History of the Sikhs: “The Empress Nur Jahan and her co-Queen went again to visit the Guru and also went to see the Temple (Harimandar Sahib) and ended by visiting the Guru’s mother (Mata Ganga Ji). She gave them religious instructions.” (MA Macauliff, p. 33, Vol 6). The Second example is Gift of sacred relic ‘Saif’ (sword) of Hazrat Ali presented to Guru Gobind Singh by Bahadur Shah. That relic could not be gifted to a person not worthy of that. This ‘Saif’ is among the relics of Guru Gobind Singh at Sri Kesh Garh Sahib.
Now we are celebrating the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, that was the time when Guru Tegh Bahadur leaving Mata Ji at Patna Sahib and preceded on to Kamrup. This is evident from his two hukamnāmās issued where is mentioned he mentioned his Camp as “Chhauni” (army camp). I feel proud that my ancestor Bhai Rup Chand was left in Mata Ji’s service along with Mama Kirpal Chand and his son Bhai Dharam Chand accompanied the Guru Tegh Bahadur on his mission. Bhai Rup Chand, who was later baptized by Guru Gobind Singh himself in 1705.
Guru Gobind Singh’s life sacrifice for the creation of Khalsa order cannot be better explained in the world, Alla Yaar Khan:
ਪਹਿਲੇ ਪਿਤਾ ਕਟਾਯਾ ਅਬ ਬੇਟੇ ਕਟਾਊਂਗਾ।
ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾ ਬਾਗ਼ ਖ਼ੂਨੇ-ਜਿਗਰ ਸੇ ਖਿਲਾਊਂਗਾ।
(First I sacrificed my father and now I offer my sons
Sikhi, Nanak’s Garden will blossom with their blood.)
Bhai Sahib Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian
# 1557, Sector 36, Chandigarh