7. Guru Govind
Singh's aims and Methods
Guru Govind Singh sought to
organise his followers, who were scattered far and wide and who belonged to
the various grades and castes of the Hindus, into a real brotherhood united
by not only a community of beliefs but by that of other worldly interests.
Mere singing of hymns and recitation of the scriptures did not satisfy him.
He yearnt for the adoption of the means wherewith he could inspire his
people with the feelings of love, manliness and sacrifice.
It was when he was engaged in
such mental pursuits that the Pandit whose duty was to recite Kathas from
Maha Bharata, while lecturing to the Sikhs, dwelt on the manifold advantages
that resulted from the performance of ' Havan.' The mighty Kshatrya princes
of yore, said he, owed their strength and valour to the performance of '
Havan. From Rama and Lakshmana down to Bhim and Arjun all the great warriors
were blessed by the goddess Kali, invoked during the performance of this
The Guru had no faith in such
superstitions ; but pressed by a number of disciples and particularly to
show the absurdity of the notion he gave his consent to the performance of
the ceremony. Preparations were elaborate and expenditure profuse. Days,
weeks and months passed, but the goddess did not appear. Some ingenious
reply or other was given to the Guru's impatient enquiries. At length the
cunning old priest, Kesho Das, who presided at the ceremony declared . that
the goddess would not appear unless the Guru scarified some sacred person
at her altar.
The Guru understanding what was
passing in the man's mind observed that so far as he could think the
presiding priest himself was the only person qualified to receive the
distinc- tion suggested. The night following the Pundit took all: that he
could and fled for his life. The Guru, thereupon, threw the whole samigri (ingredients) of ' Havan ' into the fire. The night was pitch dark.
The flames rose high and their
fragrance pervaded the whole atmosphere. People on the distant hills
ascribed this unusual illumination to the appearance of the goddess. Large
crowds poured into Anandpur to congratulate the Guru on the successful
termination of the ceremony. No time was, however, lost in making the proper
explanation and exposing the deceitful behaviour of the runaway priest. By
this time a complete change came on the Guru.
He was no more a jolly,
communicative, dashing prince. His smiling face gave place to sadness and
gloom. He shunned society and loved retirement. His admirers were filled
with a feeling of alarm. The Masands who inwardly disliked him for the
reprimands they had so often received rejoiced at the change which they
thought would soon lead to insanity. But the Providence had decreed
otherwise. The patient, if so he may be called, was, all this while, in
communion with the Creator.
He was suffering. from an acute
pain at the sight of so many of his countrymen and countrywomen sunk in deep
ignorance and reduced to slavery. He prostrated himself before the Father
Almighty and prayed for grant of power where with he could put life into his
people. The prayer was heard. A voice from on high told hina that he had
been anointed as God's son and commissioned to save humanity from sin and
suffering. Thus strengthened by divine support he came out of his place of
retirement and taking a naked sword in hand and addressing a large assembly
of his followers he told them that this was the goddess that had appeared to
him and enquired if any one was ready to sacrifice his life at its altar for
the sake of the Guru and the communality.
All was quiet. Not one out of
the thousands assembled responded ta the call. Colour vanished from the
cheeks of many. The call was repeated. This time there was a response. Daya-Ram
Khatri of Lahore stood up and offered his head. He was taken into the
adjoining tent. Down came the sword. A body fell with a thud. Blood flowed
in torrents. The whole assembly was speechless with horror. In a couple of
minutes the Gura came out and demanded another sacrifice. Dharma Jat boldly
came forward and offered himself to be sacrificed. Ho, too, was taken
The sound of the sword, as it
was brandished in the air, and the thud were again heard from the tent and
blood flowed out in larger quantities. Struck with terror the 'Masands ran to
the Guru's private 'residence and reported to mother Gujri that her son had
actually became mad, that he was killing his disciples by his own hand and
that if she did not interfere in time there was no knowing how many more
lives would be lost.
The good lady was naturally
pained to hear all this; but, before her messengers arrived to find out what
the matter was, three 'more bravo men ,.. Himmat, water carrier, Sahiba,
barber, and Mohkam, washerman, had offered themselves to be sacrificed and
had been treated like Daya Ram and Dharma. A few minutes more elapsed. The
five brave man stood in new attire before their bewildered brethren.
The Guru followed and seated
the Five Pyaras (five loved ones) as thenceforward they were destined to be
remembered in Sikh history on the dais alongside of himself. He
congratulated the assembled Sikhs on their possessing such brave men. He was
sure that these five were not the only gems they possessed. When so many
were ready to give away their very lives for the sake of dharam. Sikhism was
a real force destined to .work wonders. They saw that instead of taking the
lives of the Five Pyaras he had killed goats. He had resorted to this
procedure to know if his people were ready to give their lives at his
bidding. The device had succeeded to his immense satisfaction.
The disciples now gave free
vent to their long peat up feelings and the air resounded with the cries of
" Sat Sri A.kal ! " (The Timeless One is t rue !) Some regretted that they
should have failed in offering their lives and earning this unique honour.
Others were glad that the awful scene they had witnessed a few moments
previous was at last over. In this way the evening passed off pleasantly.