35. The propagation of the Gospel

The new creed was named "Khalsa Panth " (pure way). The persons baptised were called Khalsas. (pure ones). According to the Gurn " the man who meditates day and night on the Ever Shining Light and does not give place in his lie art to any one except the One ; who adorns himself with the belief in the love of the Perfect One ; who discards fasts and tomb worship; who in alms-giving, commiseration, asceticism and continence recognizes not any other save the One ; in whose heart burns the light of the Perfect One alone deserves to be known as a true Khalsa. The baptism of the spirit and the sword did produce such men. Possessed of an iron-will the baptized easily conquered their passions and thus acquiring supremacy over the enemy within thorn they became conquerors of the world outside. In response to a proclamation issued by the Guru multitudes of people came to Anandpur to receive baptism and parties of the disciples were sent all round the country to spread the new Gospel. These itinerant preachers met with considerable success and not many years elapsed before a band of earnest men gathered round the banner of the new creed. The rise of the new creed, however, failed to elicit a feeling of gratitude or even of admiration from the breasts of high caste people generally. On the contrary it provoked hostility in all conservative centres. Converts to the new Gospel increased their open disregard of old beliefs and rituals engendered a bitterness which soon assumed a serious form. People forgot the blessings they had received from the Sikh Dispensation. The purity and soundless of its basal principles was ignored. They regarded the new doctrines as heresies and thought it an act of merit to do all they could to prevent their getting hold over men's minds. But as has been the case everywhere the opposition of the conservative element strengthened still more the hearts of the reformers and bound them more closely together. The mere sight of a Sikh gladdened another Sikh. A Sikh way-farer finding. a co-religionist lying wearied and exhausted on the roadside at once laid down his things, shampooed the man and shared with him the loaf of bread or roasted corn that he carried with him for his own use. In a word, the Sikhs of those times shared their sorrows and pleasures with one another and as they were devoutly religions, sacrificing and confiding, they were able to take united action in many a concern of life. Special festivals were organized which were largely attended. Men came from distant lands to meet in " a common-worship and share in a common amusement," and just as these great national gatherings were of peculiar importance in Grecian history they played not a small part in the history of Sikh progress. In the words of a European historian they were of great use in " fostering a common national pride, a sound physical training, intellectual vigour and emulation and a healthy desire for success in every kind of competition, where the reward consisted chiefly in the high opinions won from their fellow-men.