..........BOOM OF BAISAKHI AND BIRTH OF KHALSA
...................By S.P. Attri (USA)
1. The thirteenth day of April, is a day of marvellous merry-making, patently noticeable with glee and gladness rendered by festivity and observance of Baisakhi-Festival, and highlighted by music on Giddha-Beat by women, and Bhangra-Dance by men ( and some women). Bhangra-Dance is from Panjab in source and origin, but it has been pressing forward and gaining globally.
2. Tidings and Testimony relating to "Baisakhi And Birth Of Khalsa."
The hurricane that hit India, with a Dreadful and Shocking Misfortune, came in the year of 1657, when Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb installed himself as Emperor of India, after extirpating almost all his family opposition. Because Aurangzeb had no use for Hinduism, he wanted to reduce Hinduism to nothing, immediately after becoming Emperor, Aurangzeb started Islamization of India, with full and flushed efforts, with Brahmins as Primary-Target, convinced by his clerics that once Brahmins accepted Islam, rest of Hindus would follow suit. To make absolutely clear that he meant business, Aurangzeb levied Jaziya-Tax (a Poll-Tax) against Hindus, shut down Hindu-Temples, Hindu-Schools, and all institutions of Hindu-Learning. These actions and working conditions were designed to speed up Islamization-Process in India, a land that he regarded as Kafir-Hindustan/Non-Moslem Infidel Hindustan, labelled in Islam as Dar-Ul-Harb or Battle-Ground.
3. Seeing the Hindu-Doors breaking down, in utter desperation, the Brahmins of Kashmir approached Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs, for guidance and enlightenment, to combat Aurangzeb's Tyranny. Guru's nine year old son, Govind Rai was sitting beside him, during this conference. Guru Teg Bahadur said that posture, predicament, and plight of Hindus, are in real bad shape, but no stalwart and stout-hearted man is rising from his seat, to sacrifce his life to free the earth, from the Burden of Aurangzeb's Barbarism and Brutality. Young Govind Rai replied: "For that purpose, who is more worthy than thou, you are un-stinting, and extra-ordinarily valiant and valorous. "
Upon hearing this gutsy and intrepid answer from Goving Rai, Guru Teg Bahadur entrusted the Guruship to Govind Rai, and proceeded towards Delhi, the seat of Aurangzeb's Empire. Immediately after arrival in Delhi, Guru Teg Bahadur and his loyal attendants, were promptly arrested and imprisoned.
4. The martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur was daring, dauntless, galant, and un-exampled. Guru Teg Bahadur's punishment began in real earnest, in Islamic-Style. The process consisted of Slow-Slaughter, that goes by the name of Halal, the purpose of Halal is to inflict maximum pain on the victim (Guru Teg Bahadur). Red-Hot Sand was poured over Teg Bahadur's head, but Guru did not flinch an eye, and refused to convert to Islam. Guru Teg Bahadur sacrificed his life, un-flinchingly and un-shrinkingly, for the defense of Dharma and the freedom of his people, and for the sovereignty of his conscience and conviction.
Hundreds of people gathered togather in Delhi, around the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred, with the greatest of suffering and agony. After martyrdom, the executioner departed from the scene, leaving behind Guru's body, out in the open. Due to shortage of courage, fear of sudden and violent end, dread and disquietude of piquiing and provoking the Moslem-Rulers, no Hindu came forward or frontward, to openly claim Guru's Body, to perform religious rites. The Hindus were so smashed, and so smitten with utter fear of Moslem-Rulers, that none of them, not even ardent disciples amongst them of Guru Teg Bahadur, moved forward and they disappeared into sunset, un-discovered and un-recognized. But stormy-weather immediately followed Guru's Martyrdom, taking advantage of this downpour of storm, under cover of stormy-weather, two persons stealthily removed body of Guru Tegh Bahadur for cremation.
5. Govind Rai was a man of Powerful-Passion, his Un-Equalled Fearlessness, Pluck and Spunk, are frozen in time. When story of the act of chickenheartedness and crude-cowardice, in removing Guru Teg Bahadur's dead body, in a concealed and clandestine manner, reached him, the story hit Govind Rai with an epitome of outrage. Govind Rai was incensed and infuriated intensely. There and then he resolved that he was going to solve the fundamental problem of Hindu's Cowardice. He decided on a drastic change of course, and made up his mind, to transform and toughen his Sikhs in totality, to effectuate and infuse in them, qualities of dauntlesssness, daring, boldness, spunk and spirit, to enable them to boldly and bravely confront and combat (without vacillating or wavering, faltering or fluctuating) evil forces of injustice, tyranny, oppression, barbarism, and brutality.
Govind Rai became the tenth Guru of Sikhs. As he reached the age of 33, he had Divine Inspiration, with Creative-Flash, Strong and Sudden-Spur, to arouse and actuate his designs NOW. Every year, at the time of Baisakhi (in spring), thousands of devotees would come to Anandpur-Sahib (Panjab), to pay their homage and seek his guidance. On 30 March 1699, as hundreds of thousands of people gathered around his divine seat at Anandpur-Sahib, the Guru delivered a Stirring-Oration and told the congregation, about his sacred and celestial assignment of safeguarding and shielding their faith. After the speech, he flashed his un-sheathed sword, and demanded one head for sacrifice (oblation, donation).
6. After some trepidation one person offered himself. The Guru took him inside a tent. A little later he reappeared with his sword dripping with blood, and asked for another head. One by one four more earnest devotees offered their heads. Every time the Guru took a person inside the tent, he came out with a bloodied sword in his hand.
Thinking their Guru had gone berserk, and was out of control, the congregation started to disperse. As this began to happen, before any body knew it, the Guru suddenly and un-expectedly emerged, in the twinkling of an eye, tranquilly, collectedly, calmly, and serenly, with all five men dressed piously in white. He initiated all five of them, in a new and unique ceremony called Amrit. After drinking Amrit the Sikh was required to utter "Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa-Wahe Guru ji ki Fateh (The Khalsa are the chosen-people of God- and Victory be to God)."
Summoning those five Initiated-Sikhs, the Guru asked them to initiate him as well. He then declared those five Initiated-Sikhs as Panj-Pyare (Five Beloved Ones), and made public that they would be the embodiment of the Guru himself:
Said he: "Where there are Panj-Pyare, there am I."
Said the Guru: Whenever and Wherever five Initiated (Amrit-dhari) Sikhs come together, the Guru would be present. All those who receive Amrit from five Initiated-Sikhs, will be infused and imparted with the essence and intellect of fearlessness, pluck, and spunk, and derring-do to take on the evil forces of oppression, injustice, and barbarism. Thus with these principles he established Panth Khalsa, the Order of the Pure Ones.
He also offered five "signs and symbols" of posh-purity, pluck and spunk. These symbols, worn by all Initiated Sikhs of both sexes, are popularly known today as Five Ks (or Kakaas): Kesh, un-shorn hair; Kangha, the wooden-comb; Karra, the iron (or steel) bracelet; Kirpan, the sword; and Kachera, the underwear.
Said the Guru: Since Sikhs are now clearly-connectable, decisively-detectable, expressly and explicitly identifiable, henceforth no Sikh (man or woman) would conceal himself behind camouflage, nor hide behind dastardliness and cowardice. No more hideous game of hide, cover and cloak, veil, screen or shroud!
7. Who were among the Original Panj Pyare? One was one Khatri, shopkeeper; one Jat, farmer; one Chhimba, washer-man; one Ghumar, water-carrier; and one Nai, a barber. The Guru also lionized all Sikhs by giving the immortal-surname of Singh (Brave-Lion) to each and every Sikh, he also took this name for himself. From Guru Gobind Rai he became Guru Gobind Singh. He also declared and decreed that all Sikh women exemplify and typify royalty, he gave all Sikh-Women the surname of Kaur (Princess).
8. Thus final and ultimate transformation of Sikhs, into a fighting and fighter force, came with the Tenth-Guru (the last of the Sikh-Gurus), Guru Gobind Singh. Unparalleled in courage and confidence, Guru Gobind was a Vital-Spark, Flame, and Force, with rare ability, genius, and dignity, who came into this world, to protect the fearful and frightened humanity, to make it alive and kicking, and take on the wolves of Islam's Barbarism. He realized that to raise a fighting force from the peaceful followers of Nanak, he had not only to teach them the use of arms, but also to convince them of the morality of use of force. He set about ardently and assiduously to "teach the sparrow how to hunt the hawk, one man to have courage to take on a regiment". The Guru gave a hero's welcome to each and every Sikh, and psychologically infused a new life in him. Sikhs fondly quote Guru's statement that:
.........."One Sikh is equal to 125,000 opponents."
Thus with the birth of Khalsa, a new nation of Dharma-Defenders emerged in India.
9. The birth of the Khalsa is celebrated by Sikhs every Baisakhi Day on April 13. Baisakhi 2004 marks the 305th anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh's gift of Panth-Khalsa to all Sikhs everywhere.
Considered a holy day, the devout celebrate the Baisakhi with a dip in the holy rivers just around the break of dawn. It is on this day that Sun enters Aries, the first sign of Zodiac. This signifies ushering of the new year. Baisakhi, marks the beginning of New Year, particularly in the northern part of India. It is among the few Indian festivals that has a fixed date. Based on the Indian solar calendar, this festival falls on April 13 every year, and on April 14 once every 36 years.
In Punjab (the land of Green Revolution) particularly and in northern belt of India in general, farmers perform their own prayers and rejoice. From this day on, they commence cutting their harvest. Their fields can be seen full of nature's bounty, dressed in their typical folk attire, both men and women, celebrate the day with Bhangra and Gidda.
10. This day (April 13) outclasses other days. Reason: This day has "Additional and Appended" Sense, Status, and Weight, because:
a. On this day, Guru Arjan Dev was martyred by the Muslim rulers who, in barbaric cruelty, threw him alive into a cauldron of boiling oil.
b. On this day in 1875, Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded Arya Samaj, this is a reformed-religious subgroup of Hindus, that is devoted to Vedas, for spiritual guidance and has relinquished idol worship.
c. On this day, Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment or Nirvana, under the Mahabodhi tree in the town of Gaya. This day is known as Buddha-Purnima, in some parts of India.
11. Most of the states of India, celebrate this time of the year, to witness the rich tradition and colorful festivities of Baisakhi, but Panjab is the place to be. The Traditional Bhangra and Gidda, Procession of Panj Pyaras, and Taste of Kada-Prashad can be beheld, encountered and experienced only in Punjab.
*** Notice sameness or similitude with Moses telling Jews of Egypt: "You are Jehova's (God's) choosen-people."
......................(SP ATTREE, USA)