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Sikhism: Guru Gobind Singh Ji
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Guru Gobind Singh Ji  
 Father Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
 Mother Mata Gujri
 Date of Birth and Age Jan 5, 1666 - Oct 31, 1708: 42 years
 Time Period as Guru Nov 24, 1675 - Oct 31, 1708: 33 years
 Place of Birth Patna, Bihar, India
 Wife Mata Sunder Kaur
 Children Zorawar Singh (M), Ajit Singh (M), Jujhar Singh (M), Fateh Singh (M)
 Known For Establishing Khalsa, creating Amrit - Sikh Baptism Ceremony, and making the Sikh Religion official. Fighting Aurengzeb and protecting the weak and the oppressed. Making each Sikh a warrior in addition to being spiritual to protect himself/herself and the ones in need. Composing the Dasam Granth.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born in Samvat 1723 (1666 A.D.) at Patna.  His father's name was Guru Tegh Bahadur and mother named Mata Gujri Ji. At that time India was politically divided and religiously degenerated.  Guru Sahib ushered in a new era of hope and rising spirit.  Guru Sahib was founder of an secular ethical socialistic democracy and tried to remove castism.  Guru Sahib was a great thinker, a writer, a philosopher, a soldier and a saint. Guru Sahib displayed extraordinary courage at a critical period of his life.  Even as a child Guru Sahib considered no price too great to pay for one’s principles.  When Guru Sahib was only nine years old, Kashmiri Pandit approached his father Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib to save Hindu dharma.  The Guru Sahib remarked that only the supreme sacrifice made by a pious soul could protect them.  Guru Gobind Rai (Childhood name) asked his father who was more suitable than him for this sacrifice.  This shows his sincerity of purpose and spirit of self sacrifice.  Consequently Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib marched to Delhi where he was martyred in 1675 at Chandani Chowk (Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib).

"Guru Gobind appeared in the world as the tenth incarnation. he recited the name of the creator who is unseen, eternal, and saintliness. He established the Khalsa, a sect of his own, and gave it great glory. Wearing long hair he grasped the sword and smothered his enemies. He put on the breeches of self-restraint and practiced arms. He established the Sikh was-cry and was victorious in mighty battles. thus arose the race of Singhs who wore blue clothes. Gobind Singh! You were both Guru and disciple!" (Bhai Gurdas Singh)

Like the sixth Guru whose father was also executed by a Mughal Emperor, Gobind Rai was still a boy, only nine, when his father's head was delivered to him from the Mughal court in Delhi, and he became the tenth Sikh Guru.

"Who like him was there ever in the world,
Who sacrificed his head that others might live?" (Bhai Santokh Singh)

Khanda of Guru Gobind Singh Ji since the condemnation of the Mughal invasion by Guru Nanak nearly two centuries earlier, the Sikhs had fought numerous battles against aggressive neighbors. Following the death by torture of his father, Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru, had introduced military discipline and the arts of war into the Sikh psyche and spirituality. This, then, was the legacy inherited by Guru Gobind Rai. It was also a legacy of fearless assault on caste, sexism, religious intolerance and all forms of bigotry, of mystical union with God, and of exquisite poetry and music.

Anandpur in the foothills of the Shivalik hills, became the fortress where the young Guru Gobind Rai lived and was instructed in the military sciences and in the rich languages, music, literature, arts and religions of north Indian cultures. His skill with the sword and bow and arrow, his horsemanship and knowledge of the art of art were matched by his literary talent and his powerful sense of God's presence in his life. All three came together in his heart-pounding, skin-tingling poetry that could effortlessly carry the listener into the very heart of battle and into cosmos held in the eternal embrace of a loving and terrifying God - both Mother and Sword of the Universe.

"I bow to You, who are the wielder of the sword.
I bow to You, who are the possessor of the arms.
I bow to You, who knows the ultimate secret.
I bow to You, who loves the world like a mother."
(Guru Gobind Singh-Jap Sahib)

Guru Gobind's use of the sword as a metaphor for the power of the Divine Creator, and sometimes for the Divine Creator for Himself, was one of his many deeply original and creative contributions to Indian culture. In his autobiography Bachittar Natak (Wonderful Dharma), he opens with a prayer to the Sword: 'I bow with love and devotion to the Holy Sword,' he writes, and goes on to spin out this imagery to all forms of weaponry in a song of divine praise that is breathtaking in its intensity. In his battle epic, Chandi Di Var, the sword is the primordial symbol.
"After  the primal manifestation of the sword the universe was created."

For Guru Gobind Rai, God was Sarab-Loh (All Steel), The sword in its mundane sense is the image the Guru used when he sanctioned the use of force against injustice.

"When all other means have failed, It is then righteous to take the sword in the hand." (Zafarnama)

Matchlock gun of Guru Gobind Singh JiBy the time he reached adulthood, Guru Gobind Rai's presence was making the hill rajas and Mughal vassals nervous and envious. Despite efforts by the Guru to build friendly relations, a number of rajas eventually launched an unprovoked attack. The battle of Bhangani in 1688, in which the Sikhs drove off the rajas' trained forces and five hundred Pathan Muslim mercenaries who decamped from the Sikh side, was a first and satisfying victory for the 22 year old Guru. His description of the battle in Bachittar Natak is notable for its open admiration of bravery and battle skill, whether among his own or his enemies' soldiers.

In the early days of the tenth Guruship, the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, was preoccupied with campaigns in south India, but in March 1691, Guru Gobind Rai and his army assisted the Rajah of Bilaspur against imperial troops who were dispatched when the Rajah stopped paying the Mughal tariff. The battle was brief and Mughal commander Alif Khan fled, according to the Guru, without having the chance to care for his camp.

Talwar of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji It was shortly after this that an imperial edict from Aurangzeb prohibited Sikh practices such as addressing Guru Gobind as Saccha Pattshah (True King). Mughal troops could now actively interfere in Sikh life, but edict had no impact in Sikh confidence and a series of imperial expeditions aimed at destroying Guru Gobind Rai ended disastrously. In the first, the Mughal army fled before the fight had a chance to begin at the sound of the Sikh drums and war-cries breaking open the silence of the night. The next two expeditions collapsed when the armies were waylaid by battles against hill rajas who were not paying their levies. Both battles were lost, one with the assistance Sikh warriors. The next expedition in 1699, this time led by Aurangzeb's son, Prince Muzzam, brutally brought the rebellious hill rajas back into line, but at the intervention of his Sikh secretary, the Prince desisted from attacking Anandpur.

For a few years, there was an uneasy truce, but the Guru sent out Hukamnamas (Gurus commands) to his follower calling for weapons and horses. In the same period, he abolished the system of local Sikh leaders, the Masands, many of whom were exploiting their congregations financially while encouraging subservience. In March 1699, Guru Gobind sent for Sikhs from all over Punjab to gather at Anandpur for the festival of Vaisakhi. They were to come armed, and with their hair and beards uncut. Tens of thousands of Sikhs heeded this call.

As recounted by the chronicles of the day, Guru appeared before the assembled pilgrims dressed in steel blue and wearing the tall peaked turban of Akali Sikh warrior. To the expectant mass, he said 'My sword wants a head today. Lat any one of my true Sikhs come forward.' The stunned crowd was silent. 'Is there no Sikh of mine who would sacrifice his life for his Guru?' Gobind Rai repeated his request twice while an uneasy murmuring ran through the crowd. Then, Daya Raam, an untouchable, stepped forward and offered his head. The Guru took him into a small tent and reappeared a few minutes later his sword dripping blood. The Guru called again for a head. The crowd began to melt away at the edges. Some people went to remonstrate with the Guru's mother. The Guru called again, and again he had volunteer to take into the tent. Five times the Guru called for a head and five times he went into the tent with a volunteer and came out with a bloody sword.

The spectacle ended, however, with the five 'sacrifice' being led out, very much alive, and wearing a new uniform that spoke of military life: the dhoti, the traditional Indian wrap, was replaced by Kachhera, knee-length breeches that gave the warrior flexibility and ability to move and ride without hindrance; they were armed with Kirpans or swords; in their hair, Kes, they wore a comb, Kangha, a symbol of the spiritual and physical cleanliness that an efficient guerilla warrior must observe. Finally, on their wrists, Karas, or iron bracelets, replaced the Hindu sacred threads.

The baptism ceremony that followed initiated these first five, the Gurus Panj Pyare, the Five Beloveds, into the Khalsa, literally the Guru's Own. Each man drank the sugared water that had been prepared by the Guru in an iron bowl, stirred with the steel of a double-edged sword. The five then vowed to live by principles that the Guru laid down.  Significantly, at the end of the ceremony, the Guru himself took baptism from the Panj Pyare and then invited the assembled men and women to take baptism into the Khalsa. It is estimated that eighty thousand did so on that day and more over the next few days. The new Sikhs were renamed, replacing the men's name with Singh (Lion) and women's with Kaur (princess). These ruling class names for everyone, no matter their caste, made the new Sikhs equal members of one family, that of the Guru. Guru Gobind Rai became Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Gobind Singh established Khalsa whom he called Akaal Purakh Ki Fauj (The Army of God).  It was a Vaisakhi day in 1699 at Anandpur that Guru Sahib laid down the foundation of the Khalsa Panth and appointed Five Beloved Ones (Panj Pyares).

Bhai Daya Singh Ji
Bhai Dharam Singh Ji
Bhai Himmat Singh Ji
Bhai Mohkam Singh Ji
Bhai Sahib Singh Ji

The Khalsa was created as a Divine dynamic force to lead the hymen race to strive forever to achieve excellence in human relationship for establishing a society of equals without any discrimination of caste, creed and country.  The Khalsa was designed to be an army of winners, fearless and pure in service of God and man.  Guru Sahib gave his followers a new greeting : “WAHE GURU JI KA KHALSA, WAHE GURU JI KI FATEH” (The Khalsa belongs to God and victory is of God).

Almost overnight, the Khalsa became synonymous with being a Sikh and with a military spirit that would hold centre stage in Sikhism for centuries. the trained corps of Akalis, the Immortals now also known as Nihangs, who had constituted the Sikh army since it was established by the sixth Guru, were at heart of a huge martial force, the Khalsa. At Vaisakhi 1699, Guru Gobind Singh declared that henceforth the Khalsa was to carry collective responsibility for the leadership of the faith and championing of its value of equality and freedom of all - even if that meant death. Any five initiates could administer baptism into Khalsa.

At the age of thirty three, Guru Gobind Singh had created a movement that spread like wildfire among a peasantry whose lives were tough, physical and never far from a fight. He struck a chord. Even the greatest hardships and dangers were now matters for jest within a self-confident community that was at once royal, chivalrous, moral, daring and spirituality centered. The loyalty of the local hill rajas to the caste system and the safety of allegiance to the Mughal Empire, along with their jealousy of Guru Gobind Singh, prevented them accepting his invitation to join the Khalsa. The Guru worked hard to maintain his peace with the rajas, but the exuberant growth of Khalsa prompted two of them, Balia Chand and Alam Chand, to stage an ambush on a hunting party of the Gurus. It cost Alam Chand his arm and Balia Chand his life. Alarmed, other hill chieftains wrote to the Mughal emperor for help, warning the emperor that the Guru was up to no good within his Empire.

In June 1700, two Mughal commanders and their forces were sent to join the hill rajas against the Sikhs. The ferocious battle that ensued was interrupted for a single combat between one of the Mughal commanders and Guru Gobind Singh resulting in the death of the Mughal. The fight continued until the hill rajas and their troops fled, and the Guru called off his pursuing men. The next four years saw a series of skirmishes, battles and sieges and of intrigues in which the rajas were sometimes with the Guru and sometimes against. At this time, even Mughal generals were incapable of giving up their posts and faith to join the Sikhs. In December 1703, 10,000 men of the hill chieftains besieged the Anandpur and were driven off by 800 Sikhs.

Shamshir with steel inlaid hilt.. By now, Aurangzeb was taking no chances, and in 1704 he ordered his governors of Sirhind and Lahore to lead an expedition against Anandpur and capture the Guru. Many hill rajas joined the Mughals. This was the greatest onslaught the Sikhs had yet faced. The losses inflicted by the Sikhs on first day were heavy - an estimated 900. the story is told how second day of heavy fighting, a Sikh called Kanhaiya moved among the wounded giving water to friend and foe alike. When he was criticized by other Sikhs, he told the Guru: "I saw neither Mughals or Sikhs there. I saw only the Guru's face in everyone". Guru Gobind Singh blessed him.

Talwar made by EuropeansThe Sikhs were seriously outnumbered, but their defense strategy was meticulous and their spirit zealous. The enemy, however, knew that it was a matter of sealing them in waiting. As the siege wore on, acquiring precious food and water from beyond the city walls cost lives. The city was parched and famished. At last, the Mughal generals, the rajas and Aurangzeb himself gave their word on their holy books that the residents of Anandpur would remain unharmed, as would the Guru, if he and his family departed the town. Guru Gobind Singh didn't trust their words but the Sikhs and Guru's mother insisted to leave and Guru Ji left the city in early December 1705.

However, the promises were betrayed and the Guru's party was attacked soon after leaving the city. under siege at the village of Chamkaur, the Guru saw his two teenage sons struck down in battle. meanwhile, the advance party, which included the Guru's two younger sons and his mother, was betrayed and delivered into the hands of Wazir Khan by Brahmin Gangu (pappi). The tale of the execution of Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, aged seven and nine, after they repeatedly refused to convert to Islam, has remained one of the most tragic events in Sikh history.

At the same time, the Guru was being hotly pursued by Mughal troops. Two Muslim horse traders and a Sikh woman smuggled the guru past the troops disguised as a Muslim Holy man. An old Muslim teacher of the Guru also stepped in to divert the troops. It was while the chief of Rai Kot was harboring him that news of the fate of the Guru's younger sons and mother was brought by a weeping servant.

As the Guru began gathering Sikh forces again, he received a conciliatory letter from Emperor Aurangzeb inviting him to meet in the Deccan. The Guru responded with a letter in Persian verse, which he entitled the Zafarnama (Epistle of Victory), and which is now preserved in the collection of his writings, the Dasam Granth. The epistle condemns the cruelty and lies of the emperor and declares morality as the supreme law and the ultimate criterion by which victory or defeat is judged.

    "Fortunate are you Aurangzeb, king of kings, expert swordsman and rider,
     Handsome is your person and clever are you.
     Emperor and ruler of the country, you are adept in administering your kingdom and skilled in wielding the sword.
     You are generous to the members of your faith and prompt to crush your enemies,
     You are the great dispenser of kingdoms and wealth.
     Your generosity is profuse and in battle you are firm as a mountain.
     Exalted is your position, your loftiness is as that of the Pleiades.
     You are the king of kings, and an ornament of the thrones of the world.
     You are monarch of the world.
     But religion is far from you." (Guru Gobind Singh, Zafarnama, sent to Aurangzeb)

The Sikhs from entire region began to gather again around the Guru and there were more converts. The inevitable battle that ensured with Wazir Khan is remembered to this day in Sikh daily prayer because it was on this occasion that forty Sikhs who had disowned and deserted the Guru during the siege of Anandpur, returned, with the words of shame from their own womenfolk ringing in their ears. They willingly gave their lives to provide a decoy for the attacking Mughals. Only one of these Sikhs survived: the woman-warrior Mai Bhago who had led the deserters back to the Guru. On December 29, 1705, after a battle in which both sides fought to near-collapse, the Mughal troops retreated.

The Guru now traveled around the Malwa region of the Punjab regenerating the community. Tradition says that one hundred thousand people took baptism into the Khalsa in the town where he compiled a new edition of the Sikh holy book to include the verses of his martyred father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. On October 30, 1706, Guru Gobind Singh set off to complete unfinished business with the dying ninety-year-old Aurangzeb who, unknown to him, was showing signs of remorse and making efforts to have the Guru come to his court. However, the emperor was dead before the Guru reached Delhi. In the ensuing battle for the throne between the three sons of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh provided military support to the Prince Muzzam, who had chosen not to attack Anandpur when sent by his father to deal with the reprobates in Punjab.

Prince Muzzam saw one brother into the next life and the other into rebellious exile, and in 1707 ascended the throne as emperor Bahadur Shah. thus began the next stage of the Guru's life as his camp traveled with the new emperor and talks began on the subject of religious freedom and the punishment of Wazir Khan. However, the soldiers of the two armies were not fond of each other and a fragile peace was barely maintained.

For Wazir Khan, this new Sikh-Mughal cordiality was a dangerous development. He assigned two of his Pathan soldiers to assassinate the Guru. They attacked him while he was sleeping and stabbed him under his heart before he struck down one assailant with his sword; the second was killed by Sikhs who rushed to the scene. Emperor Bahadur Shah sent his own surgeon to save the Guru. The wound was staunched and began to heal over, but too soon afterwards, the Guru arched a large bow and reopened his wound. He departed from this world on October 7, 1708. The previous day he had declared as his eternal successor to the Guruship the Granth Sahib.

At the age of forty two, Guru Gobind Singh had become Guru Granth Sahib. His life had been a battleground, and this was undoubtly the milieu in which he thrived; yet he had never instigated a battle nor sought power through domination. His integrity and foresight is shown in his Epistle of Victory to Aurangzeb, in which he tells him that the only true victory is a moral one. three hundred years later, when the Mughal emperor and his allies are remembered only as tyrants or turncoats, the legacy Guru Gobind Singh gave to India and the Sikh people and the love that he inspires among millions mark true victory of the Guru.

"For this purpose was I born,
Understand all you pious people,
To uphold righteousness, to protect the worthy and
To overcome and destroy evildoers." (Guru Gobind Singh, Bachittar Natak)

Guru Sahib believed all strength is the gift of God and if God is on your side, you can never be weak.  God gives strength to the pure the Khalsa.  So long as there is piety in the soul, there is strength in the body to bear all hardships.  Guru Sahib sacrificed his father, four sons and his life for sake of the nation.

Guru Sahib synthesized Bhakti (Devotion to God) with Shakti (Power) and charmed Sikhs (disciples) into Singhs (Lions).

Guru Sahib’s life and message have meaning for everyone.  Guru Sahib said “Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Ek Pehchanbo” consider Whole humanity the creation of one God.
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