Guru Arjan Dev Ji:
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji is Sikh’s fifth Guru. He was the youngest of the three sons of the fourth Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji and Bibi Bhani.He bacame Guru on 16th September 1581, born in Goindval, Punjab, india.
Guru Ji was born on 15th April 1563, he was the youngest of the three sons of Guru Amar Das ji.
Guru Ram Das had envisioned heavenly qualities in his youngest son Arjan. From his earliest childhood the Guru had found him to be imbued with the Name, and immersed in tranquillity. Almost since his birth it seemed that the Guruship was destined to be bestowed upon Arjan. One day baby Arjan had crawled up onto the Divine throne of his grandfather, Guru Amar Das the third Guru, and sat there comfortably. Seeing this the Guru Ji smiled and prophesied, “My maternal Grandson will ship the Name across.” But growing up Arjan was always well aware that despite his Grandfather’s prediction, it was the service to the Sangat, not their lineage that had bestowed Guruship on the previous preceptors, Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das. With this in mind, he indulged in Seva (service) most ardently. But his emotive intentions were always quite perceptible to his father, Guru Ram Das Ji and, all to apparent to his eldest brother, Prithi Chand, who suspecting the consequence of their Grandfather’s prophecy, indulged in numerous means to disrupt the life of Guru Arjan, that ended in bringing about what he had feared.
Guru Arjan Dev was married to Mata Ganga ji on 19 June 1589. Mata ji was the daughter of Bhai Krishan Chand of the village of Mau, 10 km west of Phillaur in the state of Punjab, India. The now famous historical town of Doaba (Bilga) is where the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji arrived the day before the wedding. He stayed in this village for two days to take rest while going to village Mau Sahib for wedding ceremony. The village now a town is famous as the holy clothes of Guru Arjan Dev ji are kept here in the memory of this wedding. The people of Bilga served the Guru heartily and Guru Ji was pleased and blessed them. Gurdwara Bilga Sahib stand in memory of the Guru’s visit. On his departure, the Guru presented the following personal item of his clothing: Saili (cap), chola, pyjama, Batva, Dushala, Simrana Mala and Chandan ki chawanki after taking bath. Every year on the occasion of marriage of Guru Arjan Dev and Mata Ganga ji, a great fair is held here over 3 days. On the last day of these celebration, the holy clothes of Guru Sahib are shown to general public before the closing ceremony of Diwan.
The Basics of the new religion had been defined by Baba Nanak, and the groundwork was carried out by three of his successors. Guru Arjan Dev Ji set upon a mission of putting it on a solid footing. As ordained by his predecessors, Guru Nanak through Guru Ram Das Ji, he took the task of the completion of the place where his father had constructed a clay tank of Nectar. In the true spirit of “I am neither Hindu, nor Muslim…” Guru Arjan Dev Ji invited Mian Mir, a Muslim Saint from Lahore to lay the cornerstone of the foundation of the Harmandar, the present Golden Temple. The doors on all four sides of the building signified its acceptance of all the four castes and every Religion. Contrary to the requests of the congregation, the floor of the Harmandar Saheb was kept lower than the surrounding area; as the water flows downward so would the seekers of God’s blessings. Along with God’s House came the existence of the City of Amritsar with all its reverence, amenities, and gaiety.
The preparation of the Holy Book is the most valuable achievement of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. With three things in his mind he initiated the compilation of the Holy Book, the present Guru Granth Sahib. Unfortunately the Hymns and teachings of the first four Gurus were being added to and even distorted by impostors. Seeing such things going on Guru Arjan wanted to preserve these original treasures. Not only fixing the path of the efforts of his predecessors, but also bestowing, on the Panth, an ever-lasting guiding light that was to serve as both a physical and spiritual phenomenon. And most of all he wanted to establish the credibility of the Sikh Religion as a casteless and secular society. Laced among the Hymns of the earlier Nanaks he added his own compositions as well as, the celestial utterances of Sheikh Farid and Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Ravi Das, Dhanna Namdev, Ramannand, Jai Dev, Trilochan, Beni, Pipa and Surdas. All of whom belong to different times, beliefs, sects, and Castes from high and low. The poetic revelations of Guru Arjan are of the greatest aesthetic calibre. More than half of the Guru Granth Sahib is constituted of his own holy renderings. The Granth Sahib is not only a collection of the revelations but also it throws considerable light on the contemporary political and social life; the physical being and spiritual awareness are fused into one. Among his other equally important accomplishments are the creation of new cities at Kartarpur, Tarn Taran with its magnanimous Tank of Salvation and the construction of the Baoli at Lahore.
Khalsa – Birth of Sikhs (Vaisakhi)
Khalsa was founded by Sikh’s tenth Guru – Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699 on the day of VAISAKHI.
On 30th March 1699 Guru Gobin Singh Ji requested his followers to congregate at Anandpur Sahib. Guru Ji had a small tent pitched on a small hill called Kesgarh Sahib. Guru Ji then said that today he need something from his followers, then drawing his sword Guru Ji asked for a volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head.
No one came forward either on his first or second call but on Guru Ji’s third call Bhai Daya Ram came forward, Guru Ji took Bhai Daya Ram into the tent and then came outside again to ask for another Volunteer, this happened until Guru Ji got 5 followers.
In the tent Guru Ji poured clear water into an iron bowl and added Patashas (Punjabi sweeteners) into the water, which was stirred with double-edged sword accompanied with recitations from Adi Granth.
This mixture is called Amrit (Nectar). Guru Ji gave Amrit to the five volunteers who were willing to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, and were given the title of PANJ PIARE (the five beloved ones) by Guru Gobin Singh Ji.
The first five Sikhs of the Khalsa: Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai DHaram Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh.
Guru Ji then had Amrit from Panj Piare and became Guru Gobin Singh Ji from Guru Gobin Rai Ji.
Guru Gobin Singh Ji then recited a line which has been the rallying-cry of the Khalsa since then: Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh (Khalsa belongs to God, victory belongs to God)
Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave the title of SINGH(lion) to male and and Kaur(lioness/princess) to females. There are 5 K’s which should be observed as a pledge of dedication to Khalsa:
1) Kesh: uncut hair is a symbol of acceptance of your form as God intended it to be.
2) Kangha: a wooden comb, a symbol of cleanliness to keep one’s body and soul clean.
3) Kara: an iron or steel bracelet worn on the forearm, to inspire one to do good things and also used in self-defense.
4) Kacchera: undergarment reminding one to live a virtuous life and desist from rape or other sexual exploitation.
5) Kirpan: a sword to defend oneself and protect other people regardless of religion, race or creed.
Guru Gobind Singh’s respect for the Khalsa is best represented in one of his poems:
” All the battles I have won against tyranny
I have fought with the devoted backing of the people;
Through them only have I been able to bestow gifts,
Through their help I have escaped from harm;
The love and generosity of these Sikhs
Have enriched my heart and home.
Through their grace I have attained all learning;
Through their help in battle I have slain all my enemies.
I was born to serve them, through them I reached eminence.
What would I have been without their kind and ready help?
There are millions of insignificant people like me.
True service is the service of these people.
I am not inclined to serve others of higher caste:
Charity will bear fruit in this and the next world,
If given to such worthy people as these;
All other sacrifices are and charities are profitless.
From toe to toe, whatever I call my own,
All I possess and carry, I dedicate to these people.”