- Religion and Philosophy
Guru Gobind Singh and his message' If all else Fails its Righteous to draw the Sword'
Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th Sikh Guru. He was a poet, philosopher, and warrior who left an indelible mark on the Sikh psyche. Guru Gobind Singh was the last guru as after him as per his injunction guruship was abolished and as instructed by him the holy book the Adi Granth was recognized as the guru.
The guru took over the temporal reins of the Sikhs at a critical time in Indian history. this was the period when the bigoted Aurangzeb the 6th Mughal emperor ruled. Aurangzeb had come to power after a bloody war in which his 3 other brothers were all killed after they were defeated. Aurangzeb executed his captured brothers. His killing of his brother Dara Shikoh was particularly abhorrent. Dara's eyes were gouged out, his tongue cut before he was beheaded. Aurangzeb also started a campaign to destroy Hindu temples and convert the Hindus to Islam. His campaign in Punjab was particularly gruesome as Hindus were killed for not converting and Hindu women were carted en masse to populate the harems.
Rise of the Guru
At this critical juncture, Hindus approached Guru Gobind for a way out. In 1699 the Guru replied with a stern message. He would create a sword arm of the Hindus. he also penned his famous couplet " If all else fails, it is but righteous to draw the sword.".
In 1699 the Guru called a vast congregation at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. Hindus and Sikhs from all over Punjab flocked to the venue. There was a sense of urgency as the reign of terror of the Mughals had gone overboard. Historians now estimate that the Hindu population decreased by 10-80 million during the days of Muslim rule.
The Guru donned the robes of a warrior and drew his sword before the congregation which waited with baited breath as to what the guru was going to do. the Guru asked for 5 volunteers who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of the Sikhs and Hindus. Five men volunteered and one by one they were taken behind a curtain and each time the Guru returned with his sword dripping with blood. To the assembled people it appeared Guru Gobind Singh had executed the men. The guru returned after the last man and it transpired that the Guru had only cut the heads of goats. the purpose of this ceremony was to steel the men and women in the congregation and give them a new resolve. The Guru now created the "Khalsa' or the pure who would fight Aurangzeb and his soldiers.
This is a poignant moment in Indian history as the Guru galvanized a defeated race and infused them with resolve and fortitude. He began his campaign against the Mughals with the war cry ' Sat Sri Akal'. History records that by the middle of the 18th century the foundation of the Sikh empire was laid as the Mughals were defeated and vanished from the scene.