Updated: Jan 15, 2019
In the year 1666 on Diwali day, a great and revered Muslim holy man, a Sayyid, Pir Bhikam Shah, at Thaksa (Haryana, India) was offering Namaz facing west towards Mecca, when he suddenly turned east towards Patna (India), bowed with great humility and offered Namaz.
He explained to the stunned crowds, "God's light has descended on earth, I must leave, to go there immediately." Guided by a divine light Pir Bhikam Shah set off for Patna about 1100 kms (700 miles) away.
Travelling by foot he arrived in Patna after 8 months, at the residence of Guru Tegh Bhadur ji, the 9th Sikh Guru. He requested to see the child that had arrived recently, for he was not an ordinary child but the light of God.
Bhikam Shah offered two pots filled with sweets, to Gobind Rai. One purchased from a Muslim and the other purchased from a Hindu eager to see which faith the child would choose.
The infant Gobind Rai, pushed down simultaneously both pots breaking them causing the sweets to mix. Pir Bhikam Shah interpreted this to mean, that Gobind Rai did not belong to any faith but to the one true God who is the benefactor of all. He payed obeisance to the infant, kissed Gobind Rai's feet and set off for home a delighted Pir.
Gobind Rai was 5 years old when his father the Guru returned back to Patna to meet his son for the first time. In the meanwhile, Gobind Rai ji had grown and flowered. He was already fluent in Panjabi, Sanskrit, Farsi, Bhojpuri and Hindi. He was an expert horseman, archer and could wield a sword with great skill and balance. He already demonstrated remarkable intelligence, compassion, wisdom and leadership qualities far greater than even great men.
Soon after the Guru's return, he accepted the request of Gobind Rai, to be permitted to attend the discourses and meetings which his father held daily at the congregation hall to guide people on spiritual and worldly matters.
In May 1675 when he was just 9, Gobind Rai was present when a delegation of Kashmiri Hindus led by Pandit Kirpa Ram ji called upon Guru Tegh Bhadur ji.
They implored the Guru to help and save them, for they were terrified by the rampant abduction and rape of their sisters and daughters, the high taxes, looting, killing and destruction of all they held precious, and the looming end of Hinduism. They saw no merit in Islam and were not willing to embrace it, but they did not want to die either.
Guru Tegh Bhadur ji decided to confront Aurangzeb to stop the atrocities. He challenged Aurangzeb to convert him failing which Aurangzeb would leave the Kashmiri's in peace. It was a case of noble divinity, challenging satanic cruelty.
After Aurangzeb agreed, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji knew he would be going towards certain physical death, but the soul never dies. Anointing his young son The light of God, Gobind Rai as the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bhadur ji left for Delhi accompanied by 500 Sikh disciples on 11 July 1675.
497 of the Guru's companions grew terrified and retracted their claims as being Sikhs. Three great souls proudly claimed they were Sikhs of the Guru's. For their refusal to yield to Aurangzeb and Islam they were horribly tortured, and finally martyred.
Guru Tegh Bhadur ji had promised to save the Hindus and to vanquish evil and injustice. He refused to yield to both inducements and tyrannical pressure. He remained as a true Guru does, fearless and dignified.
When all attempts physical and emotional, to convert the Guru failed, at the place called Chandni Chowk (Delhi) the great Guru Tegh Bhadur ji was publicly beheaded on 24 Nov 1675. on instructions of Aurangzeb.
Guru Gobind Rai ji knew, that his father would not return, but when he came to know of all that had transpired, the greatness of Guru Tegh Bhadur ji, the 3 noble Sikhs, and the cowardly behaviour of the 497 so called Sikhs he thundered,
"With the blessings of Almighty, I will create a race of people, so courageous that they will fear nothing and even face death with joy.
He meditated for many years on how to build a new and noble humanity. Then in 1699 at the age of 33, hundreds of thousands of Sikhs gathered at Anandpur Sahib on Baisakhi (New year day, 14 April) as per the wishes of the Guru.
There he first baptised 5 volunteers who offered to without question do as the Guru commanded including give up their life. Then he baptised tens of thousands that day, who made the same pledge.
The Guru called them the 'Khalsa' the pure ones. He infused in them by divine grace, the strength and courage of Lions, that is why each of the Khalsa Sikh is called a 'Singh'. The Gurus also stressed on equality and respect for women and therefore, each Sikh female is given the title of 'Kaur', meaning princess.
The Guru then requested the 'Panj Pyare' (the beloved 5) to then baptise Him. They baptised the Guru and gave him the name 'Guru Gobind Singh ji'.
With this the Guru himself became the disciple of the 'path of the Khalsa'. To bind himself and all future Sikhs by the same traditions and values that he had ordained. A true democracy for a noble, humanity.
This is why the proud Sikhs have a distinctive look of long unshorn hair, do not shave, and even nowadays carry a 'Kirpan' (Dagger) at all times. The Sikhs are unimaginably courageous and loyal unto death, friends of humanity, and destroyers of injustice and evil.
Blessed by the Gurus and baptised into the Khalsa, the Sikhs have never looked back. They have excelled in every field, be it military, agriculture, academics, engineering, medicine etc. The Sikhs have served India and humanity with joy, nobility, courage, love and sacrifice. If India is today a free and prosperous land, its in no small measure due to the contribution of the magnificent Sikhs.
Next time you meet a real Sikh, take a good hard look, befriend and embrace the Sikh, for there can never be a greater and nobler people than the Sikhs and the Khalsa. The inheritors and custodians of a great and noble heritage.