When Prime Minister, Narendera Modi in a series of recent tweets said, âGuru Gobind Singhâs entire life was devoted to serving the people and fighting for values of truth, justice and compassion. He was blessed with indomitable courage and tremendous knowledge and his bravery is etched in the heart and mind of every Indian,â he was obviously referring to the Guruâs relevance to the world in the present times.
The 350thÂ Prakash Parv birth anniversary of Guru Gobind SinghÂ ji was celebrated on January 5, 2017 in Patna, the birthplace of the Guru,Â and elsewhere in India and the world over. A spiritual master, warrior, poet, social reformer and philosopher, Guru ji is known to have fought bravely against injustice, social differences and tyrannical establishments.Â The first ever International Sikh Conclave held at Patna from September 22 to 24, 2016 was a precursor to the mega event. Most of the events for celebrations were scheduled in the neighbourhood of Patna City, close to Takht Sri Patna Sahib Gurudwara.
The famous Takht Sri Patna Sahib Gurudwara is an important shrine for Sikhs from all over the world and is considered to be the second most important Takht, according to religious importance. Patna City is the old area of Patna, located on the eastern side of the state capital.
Contribution to Sikhism
Guru Gobind Singh was born as Gobind Rai in Patna to the ninth Guru of Sikhs who was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam. He was appointed as the spiritual leader of the Sikhs at the tender age of nine. He spent the formative four to five years in Patna and in 1670 his family returned to Punjab. Guru jiâs father Guru Tegh Bahadur founded the city, Anandpur Sahib, on the land purchased from the ruler of Bilaspur (Kahlur).
The education of Guru Gobind Singh continued after he became the 10th Guru, both in reading and writing as well as martial arts such as horse riding and archery. In 1684, he wrote the Chandi di Var in Punjabiâ a legendary war between the good and the evil, where the good stands up against evil, injustice and tyranny, as described in the ancient Sanskrit text Markandeya Purana. the Guru ji stayed in Paonta, near the banks of river Yamuna, till 1685.
Foundation of Khalsa Panth :In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh requested the Sikhs to congregate at Anandpur on Baisakhi (the annual spring harvest festival). According to the Sikh traditions, Guru Gobind Singh asked for a volunteer from those who gathered someone willing to sacrifice his life.Â One came forward, whom he took inside a tent.
The Guru ji returned back, but but with a bloody sword in his hand. This exercise went on for four more times. After the fifth volunteer went with him into the tent, the Guru
returned with all five volunteers. He called them the Panj Pyare and the first Khalsa in the Sikh tradition.This place is also known as Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib.
A spiritual master and social reformer, Guru ji was known to have fought bravely against injustice and tyrannical establishments
Guru Gobind Singh then mixed water and sugar into an iron bowl, stirring it with a double-edged Khanda (sword)) to prepare what he called nectar (amrit). He then administered this to the Panj Pyare, accompanied with recitations from the Adi Granth, thus founding the khande ka pahul the (baptisation ceremony) of a Khalsa â a warrior community. The Guru also gave them a new surname âSinghâ (lion).
After the first five Khalsa had been baptised, the Guru asked the five to baptise him as a Khalsa. This made the Guru the sixth Khalsa, and his name changed from Guru Gobind Rai to Guru Gobind Singh.
As identity symbols of the Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh gave them five âsymbols that the Sikhs devotedly abide byll today â Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb), Kara (an iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist), Kirpan (a sword) and Kacchera (short breeches).
Celebrations at Patna
Sikh devotees the world over were in Patna to participate in the historic 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh and to offer prayers at the holy Takht Shri Harimandir ji at Patna Sahib.
Some people said the kind of arrangements made by the Nitish Kumar government for the Guru Gobind Singh Prakash Utsav celebrations were unique. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar commented that Sri Patna Sahib is like a Mecca of the Sikh community and it was important to develop and maintain it for the lakhs of devotees, who visitÂ every year. He had personally supervised arrangements for the Prakash Parv and took an aerial view of three tent cities located at Gandhi Maidan, Bypass and Kangana Ghat where Sikh
devotees stayed during the Prakash Parv.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also paid obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh in Patna. She hailed the Guru ji âfor fighting against injustice, tyranny and social differences. Guru Gobind Singh ji was not only creator of the Khalsa, but was also a renowned spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher. He sacrificed his entire life at the altar of safeguarding the rights of underprivilegedâ.
She went on to add, âGuru Gobind Singh fought against injustice and social differences. It is a day to
re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals of equality,of leading an honest, truthful and virtuous life continues to guide and inspire entire humanityâ.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior Congress leader and chief ministerial candidate of Punjab Capt Amrinder Singh visited Patna to pay obeisance at Takht Shri Harmandir Sahib. The Punjab government had also arranged six buses for Patna for pilgrims to attend the 350th birth
anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.
A US-based Sikh organisation gifted a diamond-studded sabre with a silver hilt at Takht Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, during the celebrations of the 350th âPrakash Utsavâ. The âKhalsa Rajâ sword presented by the Sikh Dharma International (SDI) is plated in 24-carat
gold and costs more than one crore. Hymns from the Sikh scriptures, both in English and Gurmukhi, have been engraved on both sides of the sabre.
On the occasion, the American Sikhs associated with the religious organisation showcased their skills with gatka (Sikh martial art). A delegation of more than 125 American men, women and children
associated with the SDI Patna Sahib to pay obeisance. Apart from this, the birth anniversary of the 10th Guru was also celebrated at the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib), Anandpur Shaib, Talwandi Sabo and
Hazoor Sahib (Naded) besides several other countries and different states in India.