Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the 10th and the last human Guru of the Sikhs. He was the son of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, the 9th Guru and took the guruship in 1675, aged 9. Guru Gobind Singh Ji held the guruship for 33 years, until he left for heavenly abode in 1708.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji was a great scholar studying Persian, Sanskrit, Brig Bhasha and Arabic but also a great military genius. Guru Gobind Singh Ji accepted the use of power and the sword to fight tyranny in defence of religious freedom when other approaches failed. He fought twelve battles and the Guru’s four sons (Char Sahib Zaday) were killed in campaigns against tyranny.
The Char Sahib Zaday were:
- Baba Ajit Singh (18 years old)
- Baba Jujhar Singh (14 years old)
- Baba Zorawar Singh (8 years old)
- Baba Fateh Singh (6 years old)
On the 13th April 1699, the first day of Vaisakhi, Guru Gobind Singh Ji transformed the Sikh community into the Khalsa Order or saint-soldiers. He asked for five volunteers who would give their lives for the Guru. The five that accepted Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s call were all from different castes:
- Dharam Das was a jat (farmer)
- Daya Ram was a khatri (soldier)
- Mokham Chand was a dhobi (washermen)
- Himmat Rai was a jhir (water carrier)
- Sahib Chand was a nai (barber).
Guru Gobind Singh Ji initiated these five Sikhs in the Khanday Di Pahul (initiation by the double-edged sword) ceremony. Guru Gobind Singh Ji prepared amrit by stirring water in an iron bowl with a Khanda (a special double-edged sword) whilst reciting the five baanis (scared prayers);
- Jap Ji Sahib
- Jaap Sahib
- Tavprasad Sawaiyas
- Chopai Sahib
- Anand Sahib
Mata Jeeto Ji added “patasse” (sugar sweets) to the water to signify the balance of humility and sweetness to go with courage and bravery that the Khalsa would have to show. Guru Gobind Singh Ji named the five volunteers the Panj Pyarey (five beloved ones) and in doing so gave concrete shape to Guru Nanak’s foundation – that we are all equal irrespective of caste.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji received amrit from the Panj Pyarey and gave the Sikhs the new greeting of Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji Ki Fatech, meaning “The Khalsa belongs to God; all victory is the victory of God”, the Sikh National Anthem along with the name Singh to males meaning lion and Kaur to females meaning princess.
After taking amrit both the Panj Pyarey and Guru Gobind Singh Ji took the name Singh. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was Guru Gobind Rai before he took amrit and the Panj Pyarey became:
- Bhai Daya Singh
- Bhai Dharam Singh
- Bhai Himmat Singh
- Bhai Mohkam Singh
- Bhai Sahib Singh
Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordered everyone in the Khalsa to obverse the five “Ks”
||Uncut hair and beard. Symbolises acceptance of God’s will.|
||A small wooden comb to groom the hair.|
||An iron or steel bracelet to be worn on the right hand.|
||Small sword 9 inches long, symbolises courage, strength and kindness.|
||Shorts, symbolises modesty and morality.|
*images from www.sikhnet.com
Guru Granth Sahib Ji
In 1706, Guru Gobind Singh Ji compiled the second edition of the Granth at Damdama Sahib. The scribe for this edition was Bhai Mani Singh, a classmate of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
In 1708, Guru Gobind Singh Ji passed the Guruship to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the 11th Guru of the Sikhs and serves as the source of spiritual and moral guidance.