martyrdom of Guru Arjan was an unparallel act in the history of mankind. The
Guru had all the superpowers. He could have averted the situation in any way
he liked, but he went through all that torture to show to the world how in
all thick and thin one should cheerfully submit to the sweet Will of God. As
a atter of fact, the contents of the Adi Granth were not meant for the
Yogis, Sidhas and Sanyasis or the Muslim Suffis only, who sit in seclusion
in the caves of the Himalayas and worship the Almighty by denouncing the
world. Instead the teachings of the Adi Granth were meant for the family
men. Leading the family life, the Gurus gave practical examples as how to
live according to Guru's Word.
cruel and torturous execution of Guru Arjan aroused a very strong wave of
angry feelings among the masses. The enlightened, but not passive,
sufferings of the Guru instilled a new spirit and life into the people and
they resolved to exert and sacrifice themselves for the sake of
righteousness. For centuries, countless Hindu men, women and children had
fallen under the Muslim sword and this did not soften the stone hearts of
their oppressors; but rather they had become more cruel and brutal.
Sometimes it might be possible to reform the evil doer by opposing untruth
and injustice through non-violent methods.
The silent resistance and suffering for
righteous cause might sometimes enable the tyrant to see his evil actions
and he might be improved. History stands witness that no amount of non-
violence can succeed against a tyrant who is hardened and steeped in
criminal oppressive ways and who pays no heed to basic values of moral and
civilized conduct. Against such men, non-violence is only another name of
disgraceful cowardice in their dictionary. Such power drunk men must be
faced bravely with a stick bigger than theirs.
After the inauguration, some Masands
represented to the Guru's mother that the preceding five Gurus never handled
arms; if Emperor Jahangir heard about this, he would be angry and where
would they (Sikhs) hide? She showed courage to the Masands, however, she
remonstrated with the young Guru,"My son, we have no treasure, no state
revenue, no landed property and no army. If you walk in the way of your
father and grandfather, you will be happy." The Guru recited the following
"The Lord who is the
Searcher of all hearts Is my own Guardian."
(Bhairon Mohalla 5, Page 1136)
and said,"Have no anxiety and everything shall
be according to the Will of God."
Guru issued an order to the Masands that he would be pleased with those who
brought offerings of arms and horses instead of money. He laid down the
foundation of Akal Takhat (Timeless Throne) in 1606 (the fifth day of light
half of month of Har, Sambat 1663) just in front of Hari Mandar, and it was
completed in 1609. Akal Takhat was built of solid bricks on a raised
platform of about ten feet in height and looked like a throne. The Guru took
his seat on it. He built Akal Takhat a few yards in front of Hari Mandar
with a view that a Sikh at Akal Takhat should not forget that spiritual
elevation was as essential as his social obligations.
a matter of fact, the Guru wanted his followers to be 'saint-soldiers',
extremely cultured, highly moral with spiritual height and be ever-ready to
measure swords with demonic forces. Bhai Buddha on seeing the Guru in
military harness, mildly remonstrated with him. Instead the Guru replied,"In
the Guru's house religion and worldly enjoyment shall be combined- the
caldron to supply the poor and the needy, and the scimitar to smite the
oppressors." (This should be noted by those Sikhs who say that worldly and
practical affairs should be kept separate from religion in our Gurdwaras).
warriors and wrestlers came to the Guru for service. He enrolled fifty-two
heroes as his body-guard and this formed the nucleus of his future army.
About five hundred young persons came from all over the Punjab to enlist in
his service. He made Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jetha, Bhai Piara, Bhai Langaha,
and Bhai Pirana, each captain of a troop of one hundred horse. People began
to wonder how the Guru could continue to maintain such an army. The Guru
"God provideth every one
with his daily food; why, O man, art thou immersed
planning; He putteth their food even before the insects which He created in
(Gujri Mohalla 5, Page— 495)
Takhat grew into an institution which symbolized in itself the idea that the
use of sword for the protection of righteousness and for self-defence was
called for. Here the Guru sitting on his throne, would watch wrestling bouts
and military feats of his disciples performed in the open arena opposite to
the Akal Takhat. As all intricate cases and disputes were finally decided
here by the Guru, the Akal Takhat served the purpose of a Supreme Court for
throne, the Guru adopted all other emblems of royalty- the umbrella, the
swords, the crest and the hawk, and thus the Sikhs called him a true king or
'Sacha Padshah'- a king in all appearance but in deeds and in purity as holy
and great as previous Gurus. People looked towards Akal Takhat for guidance
in their secular affairs. This custom became so significant that the
decision once taken at Akal Takhat was followed by the Sikhs
enthusiastically and this was the reason that they were always able to
overcome every peril. The development of this custom contributed a lot
towards the consolidation of the Sikh Movement.
writers charge that lure of politics and glamour of arms led the Guru away
from the true path of a religious and spiritual leader. Their judgement is
altogether unfounded. There was no political motive of Guru Har Gobind and
there is nothing else to substantiate this allegation. Secondly his daily
routine was to go to Hari Mandar, listen Asa di Var and then give religious
instructions to his followers. He took keen interest in propagation of his
religion and appointed preachers in the various regions of the country. He
himself undertook tours to various places in Punjab to propagate his faith.
However the policy of the Guru symbolized in itself the response to the
challenge of the time. Bhai Gurdas justifies the Guru's change in the policy
under peculiar circumstances:
"Just as one has to tie pail's neck while
taking out water, Just as to get 'Mani', snake is to be killed; Just as to get Kasturi from deer's neck, deer
is to be killed; Just as to get oil, oil seeds are to be
crushed; To get kernel, pomegranate is to be broken; Similarly to correct senseless people, sword
has to be taken up."
(Bhai Gurdas, Var: 34, pauri 13)
Har Gobind appears to have been the first Guru Who systematically turned his
attention to the chase. His daily routine at Amritsar was:- He rose before
day-break, bathed, dressed in full armor, and then went to Hari Mandar to
worship. There he heard Japji and Asa di Var being recited. He then preached
to his Sikhs. After the concluding prayer, breakfast was served
indiscriminately to the Guru's troops and followers as they sat in rows for
would rest for some time and then would go to the chase, accompanied by an
army of forest beaters, hounds, tamed leopards and hawks of every variety.
Late in the afternoon he sat on his throne and give audience to his visitors
and followers. Minstrels sang the Guru's hymns and at twilight the 'Sodar'
was read. At the conclusion of the service musical instruments of many sorts
were played. At the end all adjourned for their evening repast. A sacred
concert was afterwards held in which hymns were sung. Next followed the
minstrel Abdulla's martial songs to inspire the Sikhs with love of heroic
deeds and dispel feelings unworthy of warriors. The Sohila was then read
after which the Guru retired to his private apartment.