Wednesday, 08 January 2014 07:44

Baisakhi - New Year

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Baisakhi is the Sikh New Year and the founding of the Khalsa Panth.

The festival originated in 1699 when the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, formed a Khalsa (Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers) to fight against


tyranny and oppression.  Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, was publicly beheaded by the Aurungzeb, the Mughal ruler, who wanted to spread Islam in India. 

Because Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs, the Mughals saw him as a threat. 

Guru Gobind Singh became the next Guru of the Sikhs. He wished his fellow men to have courage and strength to sacrifice. He visited the historic Baisakhi Day congregation of Sikhs at Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur on March 30, 1699.  Thousands of people assembled for the Guru's blessing. 

Guru Gobind Singh carried an unsheathed sword and gave a powerful speech to inspire the congregation.   He said that every great deed was preceded by equally great sacrifice and demanded that anyone prepared to give his life come forward. A young man finally stepped forward.  The Guru took the man inside a tent and reappeared alone with a bloodied sword.  Guru Gobind Singh recruited another four volunteers in this way.  The crowd believed that the Guru has killed five Sikhs.  However, the Guru presented all five men before the people, alive and wearing turbans and saffron-coloured garments. 

The Guru blessed these five men, and called them Panj Piara or 'Beloved Five'.  The congregation recited verses from scriptures as the Guru performed the sacred ceremony of Pahul. 

The water in which a sword was stirred was now considered the sacred nectar of immortality called amrit.  The Guru gave the water to the five volunteers, then drank some himself and distributed the rest amongst the crowd. With this ceremony, the entire crowd, irrespective of caste or creed, became members of the Khalsa Pantha (the Order of the Pure Ones).  

The Guru gave the surname of Singh (Lion) to every Sikh and also changed his own name to Guru Gobind Singh.   Guru Gobind Singh also directed Sikhs to wear five K's: Kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kripan or dagger, Kachha or shorts and a Kara or bracelet.

Guru Gobind Singh also discontinued the tradition of Gurus and asked all Sikhs to accept the Grantha Sahib (the Sikh holy book) as their eternal guide.

Read 2798 times Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:54
Elsabe Smit

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