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Gurus The Tenth Sikh Guru Sacrificed His Four Sons To Defend His Ideals

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh(then Guru Gobind Rai) sent hukmanamas (letters of authority) to his followers, requesting them to congregate at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, the day of Vaisakhi (the annual harvest festival). He addressed the congregation from the entryway of a small tent pitched on a small hill (now called Kesgarh Sahib). He first asked everyone who he was for them Everyone answered – “You are our Guru.” He then asked them who were they, to which everyone replied – “We are your Sikhs.” Having reminded them of this relationship, He then said that today the Guru needs something from his Sikhs. Everyone said, “Hukum Karo, Sache Patshah” (Order us, True Lord). Then drawing his sword he asked for a volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call, nor the second call, but on the third invitation, Daya Ram (later known as Bhai Daya Singh) came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Rai took the volunteer inside the tent. The Guru returned to the crowd with blood dripping from his sword. He then demanded another head. One more volunteer came forward, and entered the tent with him. The Guru again emerged with blood on his sword. This happened three more times. Then the five volunteers came out of the tent in new clothing unharmed.

    Gobind Rai then poured clear water into an iron bowl and adding Patashas (Punjabi sweeteners) into it, he stirred it with double-edged sword accompanied with recitations from Adi Granth. He called this mixture of sweetened water and iron as Amrit (“nectar”) and administered it to the five men. These five, who willingly volunteered to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were given the title of the Panj Piare (“the five beloved ones”) by their Guru. They were the first (baptized) Sikhs of the Khalsa: Daya Ram (Bhai Daya Singh), Dharam Das (Bhai Dharam Singh), Himmat Rai (Bhai Himmat Singh), Mohkam Chand (Bhai Mohkam Singh), and Sahib Chand (Bhai Sahib Singh).

    Guru Gobind Singh 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). He gave them all the name “Singh” (lion), and designated them collectively as Khalsa (the Pure Ones), the body of baptized Sikhs. The Guru then astounded the five and the whole assembly as he knelt and asked them to in turn initiate him as a member, on an equal footing with them in the Khalsa, thus becoming the sixth member of the new order. His name became Gobind Singh.

    Today members of the Khalsa consider Guru Gobind as their father, and Mata Sahib Deva as their mother. The Panj Piare were thus the first baptised Sikhs, and became the first members of the Khalsa brotherhood. Women were also initiated into the Khalsa, and given the title of kaur (“princess”). Guru Gobind Singh then addressed the audience -

    The formation of the military order Khalsa alerted the Rajas of the Sivalik Hills. They united to evict the Guru from the region, but their expeditions during 1700-04 proved futile.

    Balia Chand and Alim Chand, two hill chiefs, made a surprise attack on the Guru, while he was on a hunting expedition. In the ensuing combat, Alim Chand managed to escape, while Balia Chand was killed by Guru’s aide Ude Singh.

    After several failed attempts to check the rising power of the Guru, the hill chiefs petitioned the Mughal rulers to help them subdue the Guru. In response, the Mughal viceroy of Delhi sent his generals Din Beg and Painda Khan, each with an army of five thousand men.The Mughal forces were joined by the armies of the hill chiefs. However, they failed to defeat the Guru’s forces, and Painda Khan was killed in the First Battle of Anandpur (1701).

    Alarmed at the Guru’s rising influence, the Rajas of several hill states assembled at Bilaspur to discuss the situation. The son of Bhim Chand, Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur, suggested forming an alliance to curb the Guru’s rising power. Accordingly, the Rajas formed an alliance, and marched towards Anandpur. They sent a letter to the Guru, asking him to pay the arrears of rent for Anandpur (which lay in Ajmer Chand’s territory), and leave the place. The Guru insisted that the land was bought by his father, and is therefore, his own property. A battle, dated from 1701 to 1704, followed. The hill Rajas were joined by a large number of Gujjars, under the command of Jagatullah. Duni Chand led five hundred men from Majha region to assist the Guru. Reinforcements from other areas also arrived to help the Guru. The conflict, known as the Second Battle of Anandpur, resulted in retreat of the hill Rajas.

    Later, the hill Rajas negotiated a peace agreement with the Guru, asking him to leave Anandpur temporarily. Accordingly, the Guru left for Nirmoh village. Seeing that Nirmoh was not fortified, Raja Ajmer Chand and the Raja of Kangra launched an attack on the Guru’s camp. However, they were not able to defeat the Guru. Meanwhile, Raja Ajmer Chand had sent his envoys to the Mughal viceroys in Sirhind and Delhi, seeking their help against the Guru. The army of Sirhind viceroy Wazir Khan arrived to assist the hill Rajas. The assault by Wazir Khan’s army forced the Guru to retreat to Basoli, whose Raja was on good terms with the Guru.

    After staying for a few days at Basoli, the Guru marched back to Anandpur, and the hill Rajas decided to make peace with him. However, after two years of peace, the hostilities between the Rajas and the Guru reappeared due to Guru’s rising power, and clashes between the Rajas’ men and the Sikhs. Raja Ajmer Chand allied with the Rajas of Hindur, Chamba and Fatehpur, and attacked Anandpur in 1703-04. They failed to oust the Guru in the Third Battle of Anandpur, and retreated.

    After repeated pleas for assistance from the hill Rajas, the Mughal emperor sent a large army under Saiyad Khan’s command, to check the Guru’s power. Saiyad Khan was a brother-in-law of Pir Budhu Shah, and defected to the Guru’s side, after the Pir spoke highly of him. Ramzan Khan then took the command of the imperial army, and allied with the hill Rajas to attack Anandpur in March 1704. It was the crop-cutting time of the year, and the majority of the Guru’s followers had dispersed to their homes. Although the Guru was assisted by two of his Muslim admirers, Maimun Khan and Saiyad Beg, his men were outnumbered and he decided to vacate Anandpur. The Mughal army plundered the city, and then proceeded to Sirhind. On their way back, they were caught in a surprise attack by the Guru’s forces, who recovered the booty captured from Anandpur. The Guru then returned to Anandpur.

    Evacuation from Anandpur

    The hill chiefs then decided to approach the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, through his Governor in Punjab, Wazir Khan, to help them subdue the Guru.
    The Mughal emperor ordered the viceroys of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir to proceed against the Guru. The Mughal forces were joined by the armies of the hill Rajas, the Ranghars and the Gurjars of the area. The Guru also made preparations for the battle, and his followers from Majha, Malwa, Doaba and other areas assembled at Anandpur.

    The imperial forces attacked Anandpur in 1705, and laid a siege around the city. After a few days of the commencement of the siege, Raja Ajmer Chand sent his envoy to the Guru, offering withdrawal of the siege, in return for Guru’s evacuation from Anandpur. The Guru refused to accept the offer, but many of his followers, suffering from lack of food and other supplies, asked him to accept the proposal. As more and more followers pressurized the Guru to accept Ajmer Chand’s offer, he sent a message to Ajmer Chand offering to evacuate Anandpur, if the allied forces would first allow his treasury and other property to be taken outside the city. The allied forces accepted the proposal. The Guru, in order to test their sincerity, sent a caravan of loaded bullocks outside the fort. However, the allied forces attacked the caravan to loot the treasure. To their disappointment, they found out that the caravan had no treasure, just some rubbish articles. The Guru then decided not to vacate Anandpur, and refused to accept any further proposals from the allied forces.

    Finally, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent a signed letter to the Guru, swearing in name of Quran, that the Guru and his followers would be allowed a safe passage if he decided to evacuate Anandpur. The Guru, hard pressed by his followers and his family, accepted the offer, and evacuated Anandpur on 20–21 December 1705.

    On the first night after they left Anandpur, the Guru’s contingent was attacked by the imperial forces. Following a few skirmishes, the Guru and his followers reached the banks of Sirsa river. The group could not keep together while crossing the flooded Sirsa (or Sarsa) river. The Guru’s mother, and his two younger sons, Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh, strayed away from the main group. Guru’s old servant, Gangu, escorted them to his village, Kheri. His wives – Mata Sundri and Mata Sahib Deva – were in another group; this group was escorted to Delhi by Jawahar Singh. The flood in the river resulted in several of the Guru’s followers getting drowned, and there was heavy loss of property and literature.

    The Guru, with his two elder sons, and some other Sikhs, managed to cross the river and reached the Ghanaula village on the other side of the river. He instructed a band of hundred followers under Bachitar Singh to march to Rupar. The Guru, with the remaining followers, marched towards Kotla Nihang near Rupar, to stay with his trusted acquaintance Pathan Nihang Khan. From there, he proceeded to Machhiwara and Raikot, halting at Bur Majra. He was informed that a large body of troops from Sirhind was chasing him. He decided to face the enemy troops at the fortress of Chamkaur.

    The imperial troops besieged the fortress at Chamkaur in December 1705, leading to the battle of Chamkaur. The two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, fell in the battle. The Guru asked the remaining disciples to get ready for the final charge, and die fighting. However, his disciples insisted that the his survival was necessary for the survival of the Khalsa, and planned his escape from Chamkaur. It was decided that Sant Singh and Sangat Singh would stay in the fortress, while Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and Man Singh would accompany the Guru out of Chamkaur. The Guru gave his kalghi (plume used to decorate headgear) and his armor to Bhai Sant Singh, a Sikh who resembled him. Sant Singh was seated in the upper room where Guru was stationed. The Guru marched out of Chamkaur in the night, along with some followers. Next day, the Mughal army, which still believed that the Guru was inside the fortress, attacked the fortress, and killed all the Sikhs inside the fortress.

    The Guru separated from his companions, and reached Machhiwara, after passing through Jandsar and BehLolpur. There, his three companions, Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Man Singh rejoined him. Gulaba, an old masand of Machhiwara, gave them shelter, but feared for his own safety. Two Pathan horse merchants, Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan, decided to help him. The Khans, who were old acquaintances of the Guru, disguised him as the Pir (Sufi saint) of Uchh village, and carried him to safety, in a palanquin. At Alam Gir, Nand Lal, a zamindar decided to help the Guru. From Alam Gir, the Guru proceeded to Raikot. At Silaoni, Rai Kalha III, the Muslim chief of Raikot state, received him warmly. The Guru stayed there for some time.

    Meanwhile, Guru’s mother Mata Gujri and the his two younger sons were captured by Wazir Khan, the governor of Sirhind. The two boys were killed after refusing to convert his faith, and Mata Gujri died soon after hearing of her grandsons’ death. Rai Kalha’s servant Noora Mahi brought this news to the Guru from Sirhind. As a token of appreciation for Rai Kalha’s efforts, the Guru gifted him Ganga Sagar, a sword and a rehel (small wooden stand used to read religious scriptures).


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  3. Ishna

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    May 9, 2006
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    Is it true that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was lost in the river crossing and that Guru Gobind Singh Ji had it rewritten from his memory?

    Many thanks
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