VAISAAKHI AND PUNJAB
‘Vaisakhi marks the first day of the month of Vaisakhi and the new year’s day of the Bikrami ‘calendar. People of Punjab have ‘celebrated Vaisakhi from ancient times as a day of rejoicing it is the time of the year when wheat and other winters crops have been harvested the granaries are full ‘and there is still some time before serious work for the summer crops ‘will be required. This is the time for farmers and their families to relaxant and drink sing and dance. It is the season for fairs and marriages. It has been a joyous occasion for universal merrymaking it is also said to be the day Budd received enlightenment
(1). VAISAKKHIINEARLY SIKH HISTORY
For the Sikhs Vaisakhi has historical as well as spiritual significance In 1565 A.D. Siri Guru ‘Amar Dass Ji declared this to be day for Sikhs to assemble at Goindwal. Siri Gur Arjan Devi later moved the place of this assembly to Harmandir Sahib. Later Kartarpur Sahib and ‘Anandpur Sahib has also served as venues for the Vaisakhi gatherings. Some writers 2) are of the ‘opinion that this was following the Hindu practice of gathering a Hardwar. ‘The similarity appears to be merely a coincidence The Sikh gathering was timed to match the season when the farmers free after harvest were in the best position to take a few days of and travel to see Guru Sahib Masands ‘used to bring their collections to Siri Guru Arjan Dev Ji on aakhi. Till 1699 A.D. ‘Vaisakhi was an occasion to come to Guru Sahib and receive his blessings. Among the historical events of this period was the proclamation (1) of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib as Guru on Vaisakhi 1655 and Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib’s assumption ‘of Gurship in 16760on Vaisakhi day.
‘THE VAISAAKHI OF 1699 – CREATION OF THEKHALSA ‘
Vaisakhi of the year 1699 A.D. celebrated on March 30th in ‘Anandpur Sahib is landmark in the history of the Sikh faith. On this day Siri Guru Gobind Singh ‘Sahib created the Khalsa and formally made His Sikhs into saint soldiers. He asked for the head of a Sikh. Bhai Daya Ram Ji a Khatri from Lahore volunteered for the sacrifice. Satguru Ji took Bhai Daya Ram Ji into a tent People heard the sound of a fall Sath guru emerged from the tent with His sword dripping blood. Then ‘one by one Guru Sahib asked for four more heads. Bhai Dharam ass Ji a Jat of Hastinapur Bhai Himmat Rai Ji a cook from Jagannath Puri; Bhai Mohkam Chand Ji a washer man from ‘Swarkar and Bhai Sahib Ram J a barber from Bidar; in tum volunteered Each was taken into the tent the same way Bhai Daya Ram Jihad been. Gurus Sahib prepared “Khanda Da Pahul” and administered into these five men who had sadly offered their lives. They ‘were designated the “Pan Piyaare
(five beloved ones) Guru Gobind Singh Sahib bestowed upon then the code of conduct of the Khalsa and the Khalsa appearance. H ‘gave them the last name “Singh representing a complete break with their past and the star of anew life as saint-soldiers’. They became ‘Bhai Daya Singh i Bhai Dharan Singh Ji Bhai Himmat Singh J and Bhai Sahib Singh J. He also authorized them to initiate other supplicants into the Khalsa fol the same way as He had initiate them Then in what may beter me one of His greatest miracles Gun Sahib asked them to administer ‘Khande da Pahul” to Him and so ‘make Him their Sikh. In doing so He gave the Panj Piyarre a status ‘comparable to that of the Gur Gobind Himself. All persons when took “Knande da Pahul” acquired the last name “Singh” made « complete break with their past cast and rank and became member of a new community of saint soldiers. Satguru Siri Guru Gobind Sahib the A declared: ““
Khalsa is my own form. In Khalsa live.
Khalsa is my face and form. I am always with the Khalsa.
Khalsa is my beloved friend Khalsa has my nature.
Khalsa is my support and honor. Khalsa is my comfort.
Khalsa is my friend and companion.
Khalsa is my comforting mother and father
Khalsa is my fame and repute. Khalsa is my friend and strength Khalsa is my honor and in 1 am born of the Khalsa. Khalsa is my palaces and wealth Because of the Khalsa I am honored. Khalsa is my family. I am fulfilled by the Khalsa.
Khalsa is my body and soul Khalsa i the life of my life. Khalsa is my tue pride and greatness. Khalsa is my true purpose.
Khalsa is my support. Khalsa is ‘my body and breath.
Khalsa is my belief and action Khalsa is my own secret.
Khalsa is my perfect Satguru. Khalsa is my valiant friend Khalsa is my wisdom and knowledge. Khalsa is on my mind Khalsa praise cannot be spoken. ‘On tongue cannot comer it all If had the tongues of Shesh Naag and the wisdom of Saraswati even then the praise could not be said completely.
I have not said anything false in this. May God and Gura Nanak be my witnesses
If each hair on my body were a tongue even then I would sing Khalsa’s prise belongs to the Khalsa and Khalsa is mine. We are intertwined like the ocean and a drop
Khalsa is God’s army Khalsa ‘appeared through God’s will
So long as Khalsa stays distinct save it all the glory.
When it adopts the ways of Brahmins I shall not recognize them SOME _ HISTORICAL VAISAAKHIS
At the Vaisakhi of 1709 celebrated at Amritsar the Sikhs were plundered and harassed (2) on the basis of a complaint lodged by on am Ji Mal son of Chuhar Mal ‘Ohio a Mina who was Masand of Sodhi Niranjan Rai who refused to sell mulberries from a garden ‘he owned to the Sikhs. A strong detachment command by Aslam Khan the Nazim of Lahore was sent to suppress the Sikhs.’ The Sikhs however prevailed and Harmandir Sahib was saved from Restriction. In 1713 Banda Singh Bahadur visited (I) Amritsar on Vaisakhi and held a Darbar. At the occasion of Vaisakhi in 1721 Bhai Mani Singh Ji (I) united the Bandai and the Tat Khalsa. In 1734 Bhai Mani Singh sought permission (2) of the government. To hold the Vaisakhi festival in 1734 near Harmandir Sahib The Sikhs were asked to pay Rs. 10000 as Tizia. Under the pretext of keeping peace in the city a contingent of Mughal troops under the command of Diwan Lakh pat Rai was drafted at Ram Tirath. Because of the troop movements the Sikhs stayed away and the collections from the few Sikhs who were able to come being in sufficient Bhai Mani Singh was unable to pay the Jizia. The Jagir given earlier to the Sikhs was confiscated ‘and oops moved into Amritsar to Punish the Sikhs. Bhai Mani Singh Ji was arrested by Lakh pat Rai on March 29 1734 and executed on 24 June 1734 being cut joint by joint
‘This marked the beginning of a ‘new chapter in the history of Sikhs and of their Vaisakhi Tirlochan ‘Singh (4) writing about the historical significance of Vaisakhi for Sikhs states: “Vaisakhi acquired stupendous importance through unforeseen events which suddenly overtook the destiny of the Sikhs to test their unshaken ‘determination never to surrender to despotism and tyranny of any regime however powerful and ‘great. Even when their homes and fields were burnt their women ‘and children mercilessly massacred in wave of barbaric atrocities the Vaisakhi spirit inflamed their ‘unconquerable aspirations to fight ‘oppression cruelty injustice and assert their moral power over forces armed to the teeth.”
On March 30 1747 Sikhs assembled at Amritsar and a Gurmata ‘was passed to build a fort at the site of Ram Rauni (5). Harmandir ‘Sahib was liberated in 1748 when the Sikhs led by Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia defeated Salabat Khan’s troops and took possession of the city. Vaisakhi was celebrated with great rejoicing 2). ‘The Khalsa was declared to be a state and Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was chosen as the ‘Commander-in-Chief of the united Dal Khalsa. A small writer was built at Ram Tauni. The Gurmata also possessions of each group in ‘separate files (misls) Sardar Charat Singh Sukerchakia again liberated joyous occasion. It was resolved to clean out the Sarovar and rebuild Harmandir Sahib The Khalsa also took action again: Usman Khan of Dasur who had kidnapped the wife of a Brahmin ‘Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India again but as soon as he had lf the Sikhs reappeared on the scene to celebrate Vaisakhi in 176 ‘They decided to conquer Lahore and achieved their objective of April 16 1765. After this Vaisakhi was regularly celebrate in Amritsar and Gurmata passé from 1765 A.D to 1805 A.D.
After a century of struggle there was space in Punjab. Maharaj Ranjit Singh used to vi Harmandir Sahib on Vaisakhi and a also Diwali and Dussehra. H chose the Vaisakhi day in 180 to declare himself the Maharaja Punjab (1). Exactly forty-eight years later on Vaisakhi day i 1849 lord Dalhousie declared that the British would rule supreme ‘over the land of five rivers (1).
‘On Vaisakhi day 1867 BhaRam Singh (1) “attempted are venation of the Punjabis by en: thusing the people with a new piri ‘of the gospel of independence” Maharaja Dileep Singh chose the Vaisakhi of 1886 to become 4 Sikh 33 years after he had been converted to Christianity. On Vaisakhi of 1913 (1) the Ghadrites decided and planned at ‘Vancouver there volt of the Indian army at Lahore Ferozepur Ludhiana Meerut and other North Indian cantonments. The Jallianwala massacre occurred on Vaisakhi of 1919.
Vaisakhi has been a significant day in recent Sikh history t00. On Vaisakhi day in 1978 the ‘Nirandari Madal fired upon ting to demonstrate! In March 1983 the police ambushed and killed ‘Sardar Hardev Singh and his co leagues in what was intended to be an attempt on Sant Jamail Singh Bhindranwale life. The Vaisakhi of that year was marked by over 10000 persons takings “Knande da Pahul” at Amritsar.
In 1986 the Sarbat Khalsa at Darbar Sahib endorsed the creation of Khalistan The Five-Member Panthic Committee was ‘authorized to pursue this goal.
THE CELEBRATION OF VAISAKHI
Many Sikhs at many places celebrate Vaisakhi by organizing and Participating in riotous memory- making. ‘They even use intoxicants In the name of Punjabi culture they party drink overeat perform Bhangra Gidha and sing lewd songs. This is not the Sikh way. In fact it is the route to destruction.
Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi: Not merely song and dance but ‘centers around prayer It is a day ‘of thanksgiving. The Guns taught the Sikhs not to celebrate occasions with frivolity but to observe them as days of prayer. Describing happy days of the year Satguru Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has the following instruction for Sikhs:
O Nanak only that day is full of happiness on which we remember God. The day we forget God the season is ‘how Regarding Vaisakhi Satguru J has the following message:
“How can those who are separated from their love be console in Vaisakhi?
Forgetting the Beloved God Who pervades all they are attached to Maya.
“Neither son nor wife nor we all stay with one only the Immortal God (is here).
Involved in false concerns the en tire creations is lost.” Everything except the one Name of God i taken away from one before (entering God’s presence). Forgetting God leads to misery Besides God there is none other. ‘Those who attach themselves t feet of the Beloved (God) are known for their purity.
Vaisakhi is pleasant only if on meets God.”
“Obeisance to the lotus-feet (of God) transcends (human) reach ‘and comprehension. (Worthwhile) speech is one that you like: for Nanak Your Name is the support.
My friend seeks the protection of Saints and remembers the Boundless God. It is the sweet season of spring. It is the joyful ‘month of Chet and Vaisakhi I have met God my Beloved Hus- band; my mind body and breath become alive
My friend: my ETERNAL Husband is home the lotus of my heart has bloomed upon contact with His lotus-feet.
God is beautiful elegant wise ‘and enlightened: priceless are the qualities of God.
By good fortune I have Round Him. My sorrow has vanished and my ‘with has been fulfilled.
‘Nanak prays: “In your protection I have lost the fear of death.”
‘And: “”Vaisakhi is nice the branches
(of trees) are dressed up (in new growth of leaves)
‘Standing in the door the wife (soul) is waiting:
God have mercy come to me. Come: home my Beloved take the across the difficult to-cross (ocean of life without you 1am not worth even half a shell. Who could assess: my worth if I receives Your love: it Someone could see the Beloved and show Him tome. ‘If knew that you are not far that ‘You are inside me and recognized God’s abode ‘Nanak: one whose mind is absorbed in the Word finds God during Vaisakhi”
For the conduct of a Sikh Satguru Siri Guna Granth Sahib Ji has described a Gur Sikh. Some references are given here:
“We are blind and ignorant en- grossed in the poison of evil how shall we follow the path given by Guru?
Only if Satguru the Giver of happiness is merciful he can attach us to himself.