The 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born on December 22nd, 1666. This date is in accordance with the Julian calendar which converts to January 5th according to the Nanakshahi calendar. Guru Gobind Singh, the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs ascended his father at the age of nine. This year Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti falls on the 2nd of January.
How he came to be a Guru?
In 1675 a small group of Kashmiri Pandits visited Anandpur to seek assistance from Guru Tegh Bahadur against the persecution from the Islamic Mughal rulers. This group of Kashmiri Pandits was led by Pandit Kirpi Ram. Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Delhi, the Mughal capital to discuss Aurangzeb’s policies towards the non-Muslims. There he had refused to convert to Islam and was beheaded at Chandani Chowk in 1675 where his head was put on a public square to frighten the people from objecting to follow Aurangzeb’s policies.
Guru Gobind Singh succeeded his father at the age of nine as Guru Tegh Bahadur had ordained his son to be the next Guru before he visited Delhi.
How the Khalsa order came to be?
Addressing a congregation from a small tent pitched on a hill, Guru Gobind Singh drew out his sword and asked for a volunteer willing to sacrifice his head. Initially, no one stood up but at the Gurus third call, a man named Daya Ram came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh took him inside the tent and came out with blood dripping from his sword. He then asked for another volunteer for the same which continued for a total of five rounds. After this, the five volunteers came out of the tent unharmed and came to be known as the Panj Piare which means ‘the beloved five.’
They came to be the first Khalsa Sikhs and were designated with the name Singh which means lion. These five members considered the Guru as their father and Mata Sahib Kaur, Guru Gobind Singh’s wife as their mother. Later on, women were also initiated into the Khalsa and those who initiated were called Kaur which means princess.
The Guru mixed sugar in clean water in an iron bowl and mixed it with his double-edged sword simultaneously reciting excerpts from the Adi Granth Sahib. He asked the Panj piare to drink the water which he called Amrit and recited the line Wahehguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji Ki Fateh meaning Khalsa belongs to God; Victory belongs to him.
He also commanded them to wear five items that came to be known as the five K’s namely:
- Kesh (uncut hair)
- Kangha (a comb)
- Kara (an iron bracelet)
- Kachera (undergarment made of cotton)
- Kirpan (an iron dagger for self-defence)
Guru Gobind Singh
Other than establishing the Sikh warrior community of Khalsa and introducing the five K’s, Guru Gobind Sigh was a warrior, philosopher and poet. He created the Guru Granth Sahib which is the sacred book of the Sikhs. Guru Grant Sahib is the expansion of the Adi Grant Sahib which is a compilation of Hymns of previous Gurus and saints and traditions and teachings of saints which had been declared as the 11th and eternal Guru of the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh.
He had studied Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian and Arabic in his early years along with being trained as a warrior and died in October 1708 by wounds inflicted by an assassin.