Prithvi Pal Singh, M.D
Baisakhi for us the SIKHS, is an auspicious day. It is our great day. It was the day of culmination and perfection. The Satguru’s mission after 200 yrs. of calculated, persistent and planned effort of sacrifices and hard work came to be fulfilled, and the ideal set by the Satguru reached perfection this day. It is the birthday of the Sikh Khalsa. On this day the GURUSHIP was passed on and entrusted to the Khalsa under the Supreme instruction and guidance of GURBANI of the Akalpurakh.
The Khalsa was created at the pleasure of The Akalpurakh’? KHALSA AKAL PURAKH KI MAUJ and as ordained by him 200 years before, Siri Guru NANAK had made the call and set the ideal, in the first Sloka of The ASA DI VAR Balihari Gur apne diohadi sadvar, Jini manas te devte Kie Karat na lage var.
(I sacrifice to my Guru myriad times a day, who turned men into Gods and without delay).
The ideal was to turn men into Gods. It was to create Nation of God conscious men out to do service to the humanity and be ready to offer sacrifice for an ‘approved cause’ and to uphold Godly Virtues and extract Justice where it was denied.
The details of that dramatic scene enacted on the ‘Baisakhi’ day of 1699 —are now a part of well-known history and are repeated every year in congregations to inspire the present generation of Sikhs. We have however got to look into implications of Supreme Sacrifice made by the five beloved ones.
It was Baisakhi of year 1699. A congregation of several thousand had come to listen to the holy words of the Guru. The Kirtan was over. Full of expectation of the darshan of the Guru. When all of a sudden, a cold shudder (chill) ran through the congregation; fear gripped their hearts, when they saw the dazzling glare of the naked sword which hit their eyes. The 10th Master’s flashing sword stood before them in awesome glory. Then a loud clear voice ripped the silence of the atmosphere. “I demand head of a Sikh.” The call rang in their ears once, twice and then the third time. They were stunned, unable to move, unable even to blink their eyes. The crowd of thousands seemed to have turned to statues. After a little while stood up one Bhai Daya Ram a Khatri from Lahore, who had clear vision in his mind of Guru Nanak’s call 200 years earlier. ie.
“Sir Dhar tali gali mori ao.”
(If desireth thou to play the game of love, for the Guru, come to me with the offering of thy head.)
Bhai Daya Ram was ready to offer his head to the Guru. Holding him by his arm, The Guru took him inside the tent. They heard a sound of swish of the sword and a thud of the dropping head. The Guru came out with blood smeared sword. They were mortally terrified when the chilling call for another head was repeated; the audience was struck dead silent. Again after a while Dharam Dass; a jat Sikh of Delhi came forward. He was the true devotee of the Guru and was aware of the teachings of the previous Sikh Gurus i.e. “Tan man dhan sab saump Gur Ka huKam manai piare.””
(By surrendering the body, the mind, and material wealth to the Guru, and submitting to His will one achieves the objective of life. — Guru Amar DassAnand Sahib).
Bhai Dharam Dass was also taken inside the tent where the same sound of the blow of the sword was heard and the Guru was back again demanding another Sikh head. Terror had struck again in the minds of the Sikhs gathered there, and many had already slipped away. But again to the surprise of the many, a devotee MohKam Chand, a washer man from Devarka stood up, he too was not an ordinary Sikh. He knew very well that the human body is transitory and the human Soul is eternal. He had learnt his lesson well as taught by the Gurus i.e.
“Deh anit na nit rahe jas nav chele bhav sagar tare:” — Nanak.
Bhai MohKam Chand was taken in the same tent and met the same fate at the hands of the Guru as the other two. Guru still demanded two more heads, and Himmat Chand (a water carrier from Jagan Nath) and Sahib Chand (a barber from Bidder), came forward fearlessly and offered themselves to the Guru. Both these disciples of the Guru were also men of faith and were true Sikhs i.e.
“Sar agar dari biro sar ra binih bar paio
“Jan agar dari nisarash Kun agar darKariosati:”
(If you are bearing a head on your body, go and offer it at the Master’s feet, if you are still alive then sacrifice your life, if He needs it).
Thus that Historical Baisakhi Day at Anand Pur, five heads were demanded in this manner, five taken lead by Guru Gobind the five came out in Safron dress with heavenly born resplendent faces. They, the audience, saw the five looked like The Guru Himself. These five were immediately baptized by the Guru with the Amrit (Nectar) prepared by sweetened water and reciting the AkalpuraKh’s Gurbani and stirred with the double edged sword: The five drank from the same cup. The five became immortal. The Guru Gobind himself was also baptized by these five beloved ones. Later thousands took double edged sword’s baptism the same day. Thus a new Humanity a Casteless, Classless Society was born. The five came from different Hindu Strata and mingled into one Humanity.
The birth of The Khalsa was reported to the Royal Court at Delhi as follows:
“He has abolished the Caste and Custom, old rituals, beliefs and the superstitions of the Hindus and banded them in one single brotherhood. No one will be superior or inferior to another. Men of all castes have been made to drink out of the same bowl. Though orthodox men have opposed Him, yet about 20,000 men and women have taken Baptism of The Steel at His hands on the first day: “I will call myself Gobind Singh only if I can make the meek Sparrows pounce upon the Hawks and tear them; Only if the combatant of my force equals a lakh and a quarter of the enemy…”
Creation of the Khalsa brotherhood was no magic or a miracle. It was plain and simple Surrender. They obeyed the Guru, obeyed. The Guru’s order, His HuKam, obeyed Him with complete faith, obeyed without questioning, without reasoning, obeyed with the will to do and die, and they live forever, they conquered death by drinking the immortalizing Nectar. The Amrit which has its very origin in death. Guru made them immortal by giving them a taste of death. ‘“A coward dies thousand deaths.” All human weakness arise directly or indirectly from the fear of death, so He gave them death to start with, and with it He uprooted weakness, uprooted with His naked sword. That is how weakness was transformed into strength.
Guru’s call for heads has a much deeper meaning and significance than it might appear to a casual viewer, for it is the head that puts questions, starts reasoning and concocts excuses to serve its own punny existence, when one is willing to surrender his head to the Guru, it automatically means the acceptance of death of individuals Ego, the “Iamness” which stands as the only barrier between man and The Guru and The God:
“Haumai jai tao Kant samai,
“tao Kamani piari navnithi pai.”
The same lesson was taught by all the Gurus. The path of the Khalsa is difficult indeed. It is sharper than the Blade of the Sword and finer than the hair breadth. From the gathering of the several thousands only five who could rise and offer their heads without questioning. Today it seems far more difficult, not because the mountain peaks have gone loftier, but because we have broken our covenant with the Guru. We have become calculating with Him and have got hopelessly involved with the fleeting values. We argue, we reason, we question, we find excuses to evade orders of The Guru, little reasoning that when the Day comes, than all this intellectual gymnastics will be of no use.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave His name, His appearance and His spirit to the Khalsa; — “Khalsa mero roop hai Khas, Khalsa me hou Karo nivas.”
Look at our heritage, whose sons and daughters are we? Whose name have we inherited, whose appearance?
We belong to Him, who was at one with God. He came to extend His helping hand to the man to realize the Truth which He did by breaking the barrier of Ego. He identified with the Sikhs: “Khalsa mero pind paran, Khalsa mari Jan Ki Jan.”
What a heritage, what a glorious parentage, and what have we done with it, one honest look within our mind is enough to realize “How have we fallen.” We betrayed the One who sacrificed everything He had, for us all, so that we could live.
The Guru raised the Khalsa not because that was the need of the day, but because it is the requirement for all times. This world is a battlefield, where wars between the right or wrong are fought every day. I need not elaborate this, the events of last year are in front of everyones eyes. In such wars not only the martial strength but clear vision and benevolence is equally important.
“Dehu shiva bar mohe hai
“Shub Karman te Kabhu nataru”;
(Let me never hesitate in fighting for the right cause). This is the motto and aim and the prayer of the true Sikhs. The Sikh brotherhood was organized not to fight one Aurangzeb but Aurangzebs of all times to come. Khalsa is the army of the Lord, Guru di clearly said so: “Khalsa AkalPurakh Ki fauj.”
What constitutes the army is not its meer numbers or weapons but the morale and also the discipline and the mission of the army. The Guru stressed the later qualities of the army more i.e. “Rahit Piari mujh Kau, Sikh piara nahe:” This Rahit is more important for us for inspiration, identification, and for distinction. The Guru gave everything to His followers that He had and that are why He made a unique promise to us i.e.:
“Jab lag Khalsa rahe niara
“tab lag tej dio mai sara
“jab eh gai bipran Ki reet
“tau mai na Karo in Ki partit.”
Look what has been happening to us, the events of the last year should be enough for us to look back. We must come to grips with the problems and come in The Guru’s fold He is waiting for us right now.
He no doubt has given us free will to make our own choice. It is for us to choose between the Hukam of the Guru or the fashions of the day, His discipline or the whims and the wanton’s of the heart. It is for us to choose between Guru’s Amrit or the sparkling Cup of Wine, it is for us to
choose between the strength and the weakness, right or the wrong.
We are free to choose and we are clever enough to give reasons for our choice, but let each one of us pause for a second and think what makes life sublime:
“Pio pahul Khande Dhar Hoi Janam Suhela…”
Let us rededicate ourselves to the Sikh way of life, s taught by the Gurus.
(Prithui pal Singh, M.D.)
St. Louis, Missouri