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Opinion

The Zeal of the Saints

WebdeskJun 09, 2021, 08:35 AM IST

The Zeal of the Saints

 -Rajan Khanna

Guru Tegh Bahadur

Amar Das ji, the third guru, emphasised on more social reforms and perpetuated the Langar tradition which was started by Shri Guru Nanak Dev; besides he vehemently tried to abolish Sati tradition which was increasing due to indiscriminate killings of Hindus by the invading Turks, Mughals and Afghans and the widows of the vanquished were self-immolating in order to save themselves from getting forcible induction into the Harems of the perpetrators.

The fourth Guru Shri Ram Das ji laid the foundation stone of the Golden Temple and settled in the city of Amritsar. Hindu traders, who were facing persecution at the hands of Muslim rulers in the cities like Multan, Peshawar and Lahore, were called to Amritsar and the city emerged as a big trading hub in North India. Priests, many a times, were not ready to solemnise marriage rituals of the so called lower castes; Guru Ram Das ji created Laavan Sahib (Shabad for marriage ceremonies) which is so easy to recite and freed the downtrodden from the shackles of religious clergy.

The fifth Guru Arjan Dev ji compiled the first edition of Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji in 1604. If the events which happened during his lifetime are properly studied, many wrongs which were written by the British sponsored historians will be corrected. Guru ji had incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib ji sermons of Bhagats who were worshippers of the Nirakar Parmatma ( The formless God) from the length and breadth of India. Emperor Jehangir cajoled him to incorporate some Islamic verses also which he firmly declined. Therefore, it will not be wrong to term Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji as a true national Granth. Jehangir could not tolerate the rebuffand had written in his autobiography,” There lives a Hindu named Arjan in Goindwal on the banks of Beas river and pretends to be a spiritual Guru.......”. Guru Arjan Dev ji was martyred on the banks of Ravi river near Lahore for defying the emperor.

The sixth Guru Shri Hargobind ji openly challenged the tyrannical rule of the Mughals and their satraps. He exhorted his followers to wear two swords: Miri and Piri. One sword signified royalty and the other spirituality. He had already started engaging Muslim Nawabs in various battles much before the tenth Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji had bestowed upon his followers the Kirpan (Sword) as a symbol of protection of Dharma.

The martyrdom of the ninth Guru Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji in 1675 proved to be a watershed event in respect of near cessation of religious conversions. Guru ji alongside with his three disciples, Bhai Matidas, Bhai Satidas and Bhai Dayala gave their lives and challenged bigotry of Aurangzeb knowing fully well that the Hindu society will come out of hibernation and stand up against Jihad unleashed by the Mughals after he sacrifices his life to save Dharma. It is noteworthy that the Jihad of converting Kafirs to Momins which was started with Turko-Afghan invasions on India continued unabated for centuries before Sikh Gurus resisted it spiritually, socially and later militarily in the north and Shivaji did the same in western and southern India.

Tenth Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji established Khalsa Panth which truly demolished casteist barriers and exhorted India to start thinking as one nation. The Panj Piyaras (First Five Khalsas) had come from all the directions of India and belonged to various castes. Guru ji administered Amrit to them and added the suffix Singh to their names and the tradition of protection of Dharma was consecrated on the Baisakhi day in 1699 in Anandpur Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh ji compiled the final edition of Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji and said, "Aagya bhayee Akal ki tabhai chalayo panth, sab sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth”. That means, Almighty God directed me to start the Panth and now all the Sikhs will consider Shri Guru Granth Sahib as the last Guru. He did not incorporate his own teachings in the Granth and wrote the Dasam Granth in which his own teachings and hymns are included.

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