By virtue of his most outstanding qualities and excellent accomplishments Guru Gobind Singh occupies a unique position in world history. He stands unparalleled in world history by his achievements. He was a highly creative and versatile genius.
Political domination of India by invaders and foreigners for nearly 700 years prior to the time of Guru Gobind Singh had demoralized the people who were afraid, submissive, and hopelessly unable to face the situation with determination and fearlessness. The greatest task before the Guru was to transform the impoverished and downtrodden man into a courageous and self-respecting patriot, who could dare to sacrifice his all for the honor of his mother land. Guru Gobind Singh performed a miracle and a rare-wonder in the annals of history by ‘“‘effectively arousing the dormant energies of a vanquished people and filled them with lofty longings for social freedom and national ascendency.”’
(Cunningham. History of the Sikhs)
Guru Gobind Singh was a staunch believer in democracy and secularism. He was a man of action and a foremost political, social, and religious emancipator of India. He had great faith in the people and he was a great leader of men and masses. He preached the equality of mankind. He also brought Guru Ship on a level with his followers. It was essentially a highly democratic step on his part when after initiating his Five Beloved Ones he himself begged from them his own initiation into the Order of the Khalsa. The memorable words of the Guru that “Khalsa is Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa” amply go to prove in what high esteem the Guru held his followers. The Guru wanted his Sikhs to lead a corporate life. The abolition of physical Guru Ship and in its place his asking the Sikhs to assemble together and decide matters by gurmattas or resolutions testify to the fact that he was an advocate of sovereignty of the people. He gave to the world the very essence of democracy by himself following the mandate of the Five Beloved Ones. Adopted nationalism to be his creed and infused it in the blood of his disciples. He believed in the welfare of all and worked and sacrificed his father, mother, four sons and his very self for the nation. History cannot present any other personality who might have given so much for his mother land.
Guru Gobind Singh fought fourteen battles in his brief life span of 42 years (1666-1708) and the curiosly significant fact is that he fought all of these battles in defense. He was not a war monger, nor was war a pastime with him. He cherished no imperialistic ambitions. In the words of Metcalfe “prior to the time of the Sikh Gurus no general ever conceived the idea of raising an army from men who were believed to be unclean and polluted from their birth.”’ In elucidating his mission the Guru had said; thus did I take birth, Master sent me for propagation of Dharma, for dissemination of truth all over and to defeat the evil-doers in the world, this was the purpose of my birth. Understand ye all men of God, Spreading righteousness, honoring saints and uprooting of the vicious.
Even in his prayer he begged from the Lord that he be granted this favor that he should never refrain from righteous action and that he should fight without fear of all foes in the battle of life with confident courage, faith and determination in the ultimate victory of truth. He wished that when his mortal life comes to an end, he should die fighting (against evil) in the battle field of life. Guru Gobind Singh was a karam yogi and insprer of action. He was a defender of human dignity, fought against exploitation of man by another man. He felt convinced that when all other means fail, it is righteous to take sword in hand. In the words of Sadhu T. L. Vaswani he was a “Warrior of the Spirit.
“Unlike the philosophy of Machiavelli is faith in the concept of taking revenge. He believed in forgiving his enemies and he never attacked his enemies in offense throughout his life. Indeed he would not permit his followers to pursue the defeated and fleeing enemy. It was he who Initiated the consent now associated with Red Cross, by encouraging Bhai Kanhiya not only to serve water to all in war without distinction or discrimination of friend or foe but also asked him to apply first aid to all alike. Guru Gobind Singh was the forerunner of India’s freedom. He infused the spirit of independence amongst his countrymen and taught them that if they wanted to live with honor and dignity they must be ready to die also for it.
Article extracted from this publication >> DECEMBER-28-1984