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  In the Guru's footsteps
In the Guru's footsteps

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: In the Guru's footsteps:

The Warrior Guru

The Warrior Guru

Guru Arjan, the prophet and poet, was the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. Mata Ganga was his wife. One day Mata Ganga said that she wanted to go and offer a special dinner to Bhai Buddha, a holy Sikh who had been a close companion of the first five Gurus. Bhai Buddha lived on a farm, earned an honest living, and meditated on the divine Name. This is why he was very popular among the Sikhs, who had great respect for him. Guru Arjan agreed to Mata Ganga's request but said, "My dear, if you really want to please the old Baba, do as I tell you. Don't put on a special show. Prepare a simple meal yourself and serve it with a little salt and a few onions. This will be just the kind of meal he loves. Do not forget to take him a lot of buttermilk."

Baba Budha enjoying the simple food and blessing Mata Ganga while smashing an onion.Mata Ganga did as she was told. When the simple meal was placed before the old Baba, he looked very happy. He started eating joyfully and as he was about to crush the onions he said, "O mother, I am only a slave of the Guru. I like your meal very much. I foresee that you will have a son who will be a great man. He will be the true king of the people. He will crush the power and the pride of the tyrants as I smash these onions under my fist. The people will gather round him and he will make them free and fearless."

Mata Ganga came back happily with the blessings of the old Baba. After some time, a baby son was born in the Guru's house. He was named Har Gobind and he grew up into a promising boy. Guru Arjan was very fond of him.

By the time Har Gobind was nearly nine years old, Guru Arjan had completed The Granth (The Sikh Bible) for the Sikhs. He had also built the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Moghul Emperor Jahangir did not like all this. So he arrested the Guru and tried to force him to accept Islam and make changes in the holy Granth. This the Guru would never do. He was therefore starved for many days, made to sit in hot water and finally roasted on a red hot iron plate. The Guru remained perfectly calm and peaceful until the end. He sacrificed his life on 30th May, 1606, and became the first martyr in Sikh history. Before he died, he left this last message to the Sikhs and his son, Har Gobind.

"Go and name young Har Gobind as your Guru. Tell him not to mourn for me but to sing God's praises and live in the same way as the first four Gurus and I. Let him sit fully armed on his throne and keep an army."

The words of Guru Arjan rang through the bazaars and streets of India. People looked up to the new Guru for guidance.

Bhai Buddha came as usual to invest young Har Gobind as Guru. Thousands of Sikhs came to watch the ceremony. Har Gobind sat on a throne decorated for the occasion. A seli (a woollen rosary) and a turban were brought for the Guru. When everything was ready, Bhai Buddha got up and offered them to the Guru. The Guru accepted the turban but he refused the Seli.

"I don't want to wear a Seli," said the Guru, "My sword belt shall be my Seli, and I shall wear my turban in the same style as an emperor."

A sword was immediately brought and offered to the Guru but he said that he wanted two swords instead of one. When the two swords were brought, Bhai Buddha offered them to the Guru and said, "My Guru, your new way looks rather puzzling to many of the Sikhs, but I am sure you know best."

The Guru wore the two swords, one on the left and the other on thy right. He tied his turban in a new style and decorated it with a band of diamonds and other gems. Dressed like this the Guru looked every inch a warrior. He stood up and said, "My dear Sikhs, don't be surprised that I have begun to wear two swords. The sword which I wear on my right, stands for Bhagti (spiritual power). It is a symbol of my Guruship. It means that I shall strike at superstition and lead my Sikhs to light and true knowledge, about God. The second sword, which I wear on my left, stands for Shakti (worldly Power). It is a symbol of your freedom. This sword will protect you from tyranny and injustice. It will make you free and fearless."

All the Sikhs were very pleased with this new way of the Guru. Soon after this the Guru gathered many Sikhs at his court and trained them as warriors. They would sing God's praises and spend the evenings in physical exercises. The Guru began to receive offerings of horses, bows, arrows, swords and shields. The Sikhs never doubted that this new way would succeed, and in a very short time a regular army was to be seen at the Guru's court. The Sikh warriors travelled up and down the country in full freedom and without fear. Thus the Sikhs became the Robin Hoods of the Punjab.

"When all efforts to restore peace
Prove useless, and no words avail,
Lawful is then the flash of steel,
And right it is, the sword to hail."
(Guru Gobind Singh)
"He alone is the seasoned warrior;
Who fights for just causes.
He fights to the last drop of blood;
And never accepts defeat."
(Guru Granth Sahib)
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