The Sikh Gurus (Prophets) had intended to give such a life style to the Sikhs which was to be studded with characteristics that are necessary for the evolution of one united family of Man on earth apart from the characteristics that delimit races and nations. They have called that universal type of man a “Khalsa” (Pure One). A well-known Sikh scholar Prof. Puran Singh says in his book ‘‘The Ten Masters”:
“In the Khalsa is “their” type of the Universal Super-man, dead drunk with the glories and powers of the infinite yet sweet as a woman, innocent as a child, the “Bhai” brother of all, striking fear in naught nor himself afraid of aught.
‘The Prophet, Guru Gobind Singh emphasized also that the development of a Sikh into a ‘‘Khalsa”’ is the result of one evolutionary process starting from the first Guru to the Tenth Guru, and that we should not differentiate one Guru from another; i.e. they have one common soul in them souls that are fully developed and merge with God completely become one with another also;
“Only those will catch the truth. (of what they said and did), Who will realize all ten Gurus as one, having the same Light’? (Guru Gobind Singh)
Once Guru Nanak DEV the founder Prophet of the Sikhs happened to go to Mecca, the holy city of the Muslims and there he had a discussion with Kazi Rukin Din who posed a question namely, “Who is better, a Muslim or a Hindu?”’, the two main communities of India at that time. Guru Nanak Dev replied,
“Both will have to repent if they are devoid of good deeds”
As God judges a person from his/her deeds and not from his religious label, the same is true in case of all other religions including Sikhs, Christians, etc. God sees his children all alike and judges them all with the same yardstick.
Guru Nanak DEV in the holy scripture of the Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib has written;
“The Guru or Pir (Prophet) stands by Thee only, if thou usurpest not another’s due”
that means only those have the blessings of the Gurus/Prophets or God who lead a virtuous life. So much so, Guru Nanak Dev at another place in the Holy Scripture says;
“Yea he whom the Lord wished to destroy, his goodness, He destroyed first.”(Page 417).
So to have a pride of religion in one’s mind is equally bad. Pride and jealously in all forms are undesirable and cannot be considered as virtues in any case whatsoever. Therefore the Sikhs consider every religion as good and that all of them have produced great virtuous people. We can become great virtuous people too provided we become true followers of our respective Prophets and surrender’ our “Selves” (Body, Mind, and Wealth) to them completely and obey everything that they have said in their respective scriptures. The third Guru, Guru Amardass says;
“The world is on fire: O’ God, Save it Thou in Thy Mercy. And through whichever door, it is saved, save it that wise, pray.”(Page 853).
The tragedy is that while we claim to be the followers of our Prophets, we do not entrust our “selves” to them completely as desired by them and tread not the path laid down in the scriptures. Hence no change occurs in our habits and we continue to live in the animal or subhuman state and behave in the same manner as before like the non-believers in God. Thus our religion is unable to play any part in changing our life style. It so happens that like non-believers in God such irreligious people of a faith also sometimes indulge in the persecutions of religious people of other faiths for their own selfish ends which may be political, economic or social. Some people due to anger and with the spirit of taking revenge dub the whole of the other religious community as bad. But this is not a Sikh like attitude. The Sikh Gurus and their Sikhs suffered atrocities of the Mughal Emperors and Hindu Hilly Rajas. Guru Hargobind Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh fought battles with them but they never said that all the Muslims or Hindus were bad. Many of the Muslims and Hindus fought by the side of the Gurus and helped them at times of need.
Moreover it is a Sikh way of life to hate the sin and not the sinner. The moment the sinner begins to repent for his sins we also begin to befriend him but we have no dealings with the wicked and the oppressors. Guru Gobind Singh told us in his autobiography about his mission in this world as follows;
“For this very reason I have incarnated on this earth. O Saints; bear this fact in your minds. To revive the righteousness and to install the Saints and to root out the wicked from the earth. Sikhs do not run after the fleeing enemy to kill him, they also do not kill innocent people, women and children. Nor do they destroy temples of other faiths even in war times, because it is considered mean and coward like and against faith. A well brought up religious man will never do it. No Sikh did it even in the recent provocations and killings in India and the true Sikh will always tread the path shown by the Gurus and abstain from such acts.
The fight of the Sikhs with the oppressors and aggressors is one of Self-defense and of high spiritual quality. It is neither based on anger nor on greed, nor is it the result of lust, attachment or pride. It is not for ones own selfish ends but for the good of many. The fight is there not because the Sikhs seek it but because it has been thrust upon them by circumstances created by the oppressors. Faced with such Situations, a Sikh makes use of one of the following three alternatives:
(1) A Sikh prays to God with one mind and God looks after the devotee Himself, and the devotee is also blessed with the faculty to foresee what is going to happen.
One of the officials of Emperor Jahangir named Sulhi Khan came to Amritsar with his men to kill the fifth Guru. The Guru did not do any kind of preparation for fighting with him and his men and instead advised the Sikhs to rely on God and have complete faith in His protection. It so happened that Sulhi Khan who was on horseback fell into the Kiln and died before he could harm the Guru orhis Sikhs.
(2) A Sikh prays to God with one mind and also resorts to peaceful persuasion and rational argumentation with the aggressor hoping that good sense will prevail on him through God’s blessings and for that purpose, while arguing he remains in tune with God. The Sikh Gurus resorted to this method and talked with Mugha Emperors and their officials very often. After suffering a lot, sufferings unparralled in the history of mankind in the form of Martyrdoms of fifth and ninth Gurus and other dear Sikhs including the four sons of the Tenth Guru, the Sikhs felt that the second method had been fully exhausted and so they resorted to the third alternative.
(3) A Sikh prays to God with one mind and also makes use of the same language of force which the oppressor is using on the aggrieved and oppressed ones and only which he is habituated to understand. In its use, however, there being a possibility of going astray from the divine path of righteousness and compassion, it has been laid down that it should be used for defense purposes only and that too keeping oneself in tune with infinite and all-pervading Lord.
The role of prayer and remembering God all the time is however very important and vital in all the three cases mentioned above. This makes a Sikh a true Saint-Warrior, a well-wisher of everyone, yet fearless and dauntless to fight out treachery and oppression. Thus he is the real soldier of the Army of God, always at his biddings to do each and everything that He wills. He is the right type of person who always wins and never loses any battle as victory is of God and such a person belongs to God.
DEFENDER & CHALLENGER
Below) consolidating and gathering the Sikh folds, so that the clear light and meaning of Sikhism continue to grow.
Time did not permit Guru Gobind Singh to cross the Sutlej and visit Amritsar, as the events of his days being too demanding. He was kept on the move by the dual hazards of the Mughal putting a price on his head and hunting him, and the local rajahs threatening him as they were unable to bear his immense pop mark able development is so dramatic and real, that within the next three hundred years, the Sikh nation has come into being, a distinct body of nearly fourteen million people. Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), the glory of Sikh secular administration forged for itself a unique place in the history of Northern India. Many British were cautious in dealing with the Sikhs, as personal experience had taught them that a Sikh made the best of friends, but the worst of enemies.
In the Zafarnama, Guru Gobind Singh has fearlessly and deliberately challenged the imperial power of Aurangzeb, with regard to its devious, treacherous, moves calculated to destroy Sikhs. The pure truth of this message was so strong, that Aurangzeb changed his attitude completely and from that time on declined to molest the Guru.
Can Sikhs of today link up to Guru Gobind Singh’s qualities of character and his true principles of Sikhism? To- day’s challenges are as crucial as the challenges faced in the Guru’s time. The devious political moves and blatant oppression are really no different today than they were in the past. Now, the Sikh struggle has become more sophisticated; the modern political struggle of the Sikhs need not (cannot) be fought with the old traditional weapons. Sikhs must develop new weapons, new tools, and new imagination. Guru Gobind Singh’s Sikhs must be as creative and innovative as he was in meeting challenges, as caring and protective in defending the Sikh fold as he was. The celebration of his birth is the reef- firming of his noble ideals and principles. Sikhs will always need to draw upon the inspiration of his velour, courage and faith. Oppression and injustice have not been eradicated from this world.
Guru Gobind Singh loved literature, music, beauty, organization, aesthetics, horses, fine weapons and dedicated per- sons of courage; Sikhs have much more in store for them in the discovery of their Guru.
Article extracted from this publication >> DECEMBER-28-1984