What is the meaning of Baisakhi in Sikhism?

      BAISAKHI IN               SIKHISM

We are here to celebrate the founding of the Khalsa on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. It is my pleasure to share with you the significance of Baisakhi for the Sikhs, specifically the youth. Let us discuss the history of the faith and its uniqueness so that the youth know their heritage. This will help them to enjoy the self- esteem of being Sikhs instead of feeling em- barrassed of their distinct identity granted to them on this day by Guru Gobind Singh.

Baisakhi

What is faith meant in Sikhism?

Guru Nanak Dev, upon coming out of the river Bein, in 1499 delivered his first formal sermon, a message given to him by God; ” Na Koi Hindu Na Musalman” Do not divide humanity into Hindus and Muslims. We are children of the same Father, hence we are equal. We can love him by any Name; Allah, Ram, Gobind, Guru, etc. To understand this message, we must remember that people were divided not only into different religions but also into many castes and sub- casts, some of them considered low or even untouchable.

Baisakhi

Followers of each faith claimed a franchise on God and preached that unless a person accepted their faith, he or she would not be permitted to enter into Heaven; one could enter it through their prophet only. Obviously this is an untenable belief which unfortunately prevails even today. As a result, there prevailed serious interfaith and inter- caste hatred causing continuous tension among the people. Bhai Gurdas, the scribe of the Guru Granth Sahib, in his first Var, describes thus irreligious and anti social behaviour of the people.

Baisakhi

According to Guru Gobind Singh, what is meant by the principle of Sangat and Pangat? The “plant”, called the Sikh faith, was nursed by the ten Gurus with great devotion and many sacrifices, even at the cost of their heads. The faith of the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of humanity was introduced through two Sikh institutions, namely Sangat and Pangat.

How could we care of the faith?

Everyone, including Hindus and Muslims, high caste and low caste, rich and poor, men and women was welcome to sit together as equals without any kind of discrimination. They were to love God by any and all names Allah, Ram, Gobind, Guru, etc. This congregation was given the name Sangat. These people were also welcome to partake of free food, Langar, together as equals. It was called Pangat.

Later, during the times of the third and the fourth Gurus, the followers were required to use water from the same well and bathe in the same pool to abolish from their minds the feeling of otherness for persons of a different caste, community or faith. This was unimaginable during those days in India, where some persons were considered untouchable and were not allowed to come close to a person of a higher caste.

The fifth Guru, compiled the holy scripture. Not only the hymns of the Gurus but also hymns composed by Muslim, Hindu and many so- called low caste holy persons were included in it. They all preached that there is the same reflection of God in every human being. This message was not to the like of the authorities or the people proud of their high caste. All Gurus were harassed by the misuse of political authority. The fifth Guru and the Ninth Guru, were arrested, tortured and murdered. The sixth and the tenth Gurus were repeatedly attacked by the army.

 

How can faith be enlightening?

A special gathering of the Sikhs was called to this day. They were invited from all over India for this great occasion. In the general gathering, the Guru, with a glittering sword in his hand, gave a call for those who would protect the truth and live the faith at the cost of their lives. The devotees joined it in thousands. According to the intelligence report sent to the Emperor in Delhi, about 20000 persons took Amrit and became members of the Khalsa Panth on that day. The first five who offered themselves to the Guru were called Panj Pyaras. They were requested by the Guru to admit him into the Panth by administering Amrit to him. The Sangat founded by Guru Nanak was transformed into the Khalsa Panth on the day of Baisakhi, 1699.

The mandate to the Khalsa is:
ਧਰਮ ਚਲਾਵਨ ਸੰਤ ਉਬਾਰਨ, ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਸਭਨ ਕੋ ਮੂਲ ਉਬਾਰਨ।।
To spread the righteousness, protect the human rights of the truthful people and destroy the tyrant.

Every disciple was required to wear the five articles of faith, called the five Kakaars, the identity and pride of a Sikh. To be a member of the Panth, one was also to follow the life of Sewa- Simran and wish well for all humanity.

 

This revealed Guru, is beyond the danger of being “killed” by any king because it is not an individual human being but a philosophy, the fellowship of all those who promise to practice the Truth at any cost. It is the installation of this Guru that we celebrate on this day of Baisakhi. Holding of high level functions all over the world, wherever the Sikhs are, remind us of this day. The Sikhs under the guidance of this Guru, the Guru Khalsa Panth, continued their struggle for securing human rights for the weak.

During the 18th century, becoming a Sikh was against the law of the land. The Delhi government ordered that anyone who could find a Sikh and chop off his head could ex- change it at any police station for about one year’s wages. Sikhs not only survived this elimination planned by the mighty Government, but before the turn of the century, became the formal rulers of the Punjab. Actually, they write prevailed over major parts of the region during the latter half of the century. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, with the guidance and help of his mother in law, Sardarni Sada Kaur, coordinated the different units of the Panth. He took over Lahore in 1799 and thus became the first Sikh ruler of the Punjab.

The reason for the success of the Khalsa was their love for humanity and the protection they provided to the poor and helpless at the cost of their own lives. The high character of the Sikhs was so popular with the people that even a Muslim historian, Kazi Noor Mohammed, could not help recognizing it and recording it in his book. Though he nursed an extreme hatred for the Sikhs and referred to them as Sug instead of Singh, he could not help admitting their high character. He writes:

” In no case would they slay a coward, nor would they put an obstacle in the way of a fugitive. They do not plunder the wealth and ornaments of women, be she a well- to-do lady or a maid servant.”

Baisakhi

What is the meaning of Baisakhi in Sikhism?

Now, a few words about how Baisakhi should be celebrated. There is a very simple answer for this we know that the Guru founded the Khalsa Panth on this day by inviting the believers in equality of humanity to accept Amrit. Every disciples was welcome to become a member of the Akal Purakh ki Fauj to protect and propagate this wave. The Guru himself underwent the ceremony, took Amrit and became the first member of this “army” of holy people. Therefore the true celebrations of the day is that we ourselves take Amrit and join the Panth.

           The rest of the activities planned for this day are also good and necessary. They bring a spirit of “Chardi Kala” to the Panth and remind them of their great heritage, inculcating self- esteem among the individuals.

We have discussed the high esteem in which the Sikhs were held by their opponents. It is this spirit that we should carry from the auditorium and spread among the Sikhs, particularly the youth.
They need to learn about the features of their faith and the contributions of the Sikhs to society as observed by many modern NonSikh scholars.

Baisakhi

Further, when they hear about the actual experiences I have shared with you they will know the greatness of being born into a Sikh family and would love to live a Sikh way of life. This is the objective of celebrating Baisakhi by us.
Please excuse me if I have made any omissions or statements which do not agree with the principles of Gurmat.

For more knowledge (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Vaisakhi&ved=2ahUKEwjyod6lrdDtAhWLXSsKHWoQDgQQFjAuegQIOhAB&usg=AOvVaw1ae4tWSmeRWuxW3DIBllNL)

(https://ethicalpunjabi.com/the-significance-of-the-baisakhi/)

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