Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
Writing about Guru Gobind Singh isn’t easy. Known mainly as a warrior, amongst Sikhs and those belonging to other Faiths, this Warrior Prophet, was first and foremost a Prophet, who inherently was a poet, a prolific author, mystic, a philosopher and lastly a warrior.
He was very clear about one thing, and that was His place in The Sun and larger scheme of things. He made it clear to one and all, that if anybody considered Him as God or The Son of God, that person would go straight to hell, no ifs and buts. He considered Himself as a slave and servant of God and made it clear that all Prophets, like all of mankind, were children of God, but He was The Lord’s servant and slave. “He who calls me God will surely burn in the fire of hell. For I am only the servant of God.”
For Guru Gobind Singh, God was all merciful. No matter what sin one could have committed, if one truly repented and called out to The One, the individual would feel the presence and Love of The Creator. According to This Guru, The One was beyond The Trinity and beyond The Goddess Herself. According to Him, The One created The Gods and Goddesses and the worlds and the very play that continues to take place. He was of the opinion that this wasn’t the only universe, there were universes beyond this one and thus it is mentioned in the Holy Guru Granth, which eventually was dictated by Guru Gobind Singh from memory and edited and reworked by Him, that, ‘Millions of Vishnu has It created, millions of universes has It spawned, millions of Shivas has It raised and assimilated’. The philosophy of Guru Gobind Singh was very clear; go beyond form, shape, ritual, ideologies, parochial philosophies, Religions, collective sets of norms and customs….go beyond universes and Gods and Goddesses and all that which one follows, and go directly to The Source; The Creator; The Boss Man; The Chap Who Started All This Natak.
He also believed that each human being had The One within oneself, and thus if one lived in constant meditation of The Name and meditated on The Name, The Light which resided and glowed within each one of us was bound to radiate with such intensity that one needed nothing more to reach The Source. Nothing else was required but genuine Love to reach The Creator. All prayers said from the heart reached Him, and constant chanting of The Name (whichever Name one desired to call Him and Her), cleansed one’s Karma, lightened one’s burden (or gave the strength to lift the Karmic cross) and slowly made The Divine Radiance shine through and pave the path for merger. There was no particular diet to follow, no Religious rituals, no pilgrimages, no rules set, nothing required but just the chanting of The Name to make the seeker reach his or her Destination. The Name becomes A Sword that cuts through all the illusions, all the Karmic baggage, all weaknesses and limitations, all the shadow boxing and bull shit that one inculcates within and surrounds oneself with and makes the individual free to soar and reach The Cosmic Shore. And all this is possible with just chanting of The Name with pure child like love. The One was a Mother, Father, Lover, Guide, Mentor, Protector, all rolled into One and one just needed pure love and the constant chanting of The Name.
Guru Gobind Singh lost His father and all His children in the most brutal manner and He continued to go about exuding Oneness and Centeredness. He was a warrior but He truly didn’t hate the enemy. He was clear, that if one did not stand up against tyranny, injustice, ungodliness; then the weak, the meek, the innocent, the householder trying to keep body andSoul together with all honesty, the men and women and children of God, all would perish under the despotism of a bully, and that was not acceptable. We all are One and each one has the right to choose his or her Religion, way to live and most importantly self respect and freedom. Thus, Guru Gobind Singh fought twenty wars and most of them were against Hindu tyrants and the remaining against the Mughal oppressors. He did not fight against Hinduism or Islam. He did not fight against followers of other Faiths. He only fought against those who had drifted away from Oneness, purity of intent and wellbeing for one and all. If you were against what God stood for, then you my defrosted gnome stood against Guru Gobind Singh; which was not according to either me or history, a very bright idea.
For instance Guru Gobind Singh often commented that during the tenth century, in Punjab there were mainly Buddhist devotees. Buddhism was the main Religion of Punjab in those days. It is said that in Jallandhar itself 150 Buddhist monasteries and Saiva monasteries existed. But as the Buddhists were not able to protect themselves, the invaders and enemies wiped out everything; their monasteries and their Holy Scriptures. Thus This Guru believed that if there is something worth protecting and fighting for, go ahead protect and fight for it.
God isn’t going to come down and do the needful. It is your duty to fight and protect for what you believe is pure and right and then make it your Dharma and duty to fight for the good, the right, the innocent, the pure and what you stand for. Thus, The Sword became such an important analogy for The One. But He was also clear that the sword should be lifted and used only for the right, the protection of the meek, the weak, the innocent and not become some trademark of masochism or use the sword or now guns in His Name, all the while becoming a fugging despot, looting the poor, raping, maiming, indulging in filth, but giving the analogy of Guru Gobind Singh and The Sword to further your manic and malevolence intentions. But we don’t even leave God for our demonic intentions, thus, very often I feel the true essence and philosophy of Oneness and The Sword has been misused and abused by the latter generations.
The reason Guru Gobind Singh shall first and foremost be remembered as a warrior is that very often He described The One Creator as The Sword. For Him, The Sword represented The Lord and Creator in many ways.
“Sword Almighty! You cut to pieces the wicked and the depraved. You scatter and annihilate the armies of the haughty. You make the battlefields glorious by bestowing victory on the righteous.
Sword Almighty! You are the bestower of peace, happiness on saints. You strike terror into the hearts of the tyrants and annihilate the wicked and the vile.”
So, one must understand what The Sword and battle meant for Guru Gobind Singh. He fought for Oneness and to protect the weak and the innocent. He never occupied any territory He captured. He fought for a cause and when He felt that what He fought for was achieved He did not bother with the land won, riches procured, the army captured. For Him, it was the cause. He wanted to teach one and all that life often becomes a battle field. Fight for what you believe in and what you think is right, but don’t operate from false ego, lust, power, mindless games of false one-up-man-ship.
So Guru Gobind Singh’s point is, if the use of the sword is inspired by the purpose of protecting the downtrodden, it is right to use it. He Himself had fought about twenty battles. Unfortunately, the first fifteen battles He had to fight against the Hindu rulers. They thought Guru Gobind would occupy their territories. This Guru won the battles, and yet did not occupy a single territory. He had to fight against the Muslims also. Emperor Aurangzeb sent a very large army to attack Guru Gobind Singh. His son, Bahadur Shah, was in command.
The best part of it all was that He made it clear to His people that whether in life or in warfare, not one single innocent person or (wo)man of God was to be harmed irrespective of the individual’s Faith. Also, if it meant to save an innocent person, no Sikh should hesitate going to war.
Once the ruler of Kasur, for some God forsaken reason had kidnapped a woman, and the Sikhs came to know about this, and they decided that this wasn’t kosher, and after some brain storming they decided that the woman had to be rescued, and thousands of Sikhs attacked the kingdom of Kasur. The king, the clueless bastard, eventually had to surrender. The innocent woman was rescued. Now there lived a Sufi Saint and many of His well wishers told The Saint that the Sikhs had gone ballistic and it would be best for the welfare of one’s body to wear one’s sprinting shoes and run like hell. The Saint told the folks that if the men were real Sikhs nobody would harm Him and if He was harmed, one thing was for sure, those men were not Sikhs but just imitators of Sikhism. Anyway, while returning home, the Sikhs having heard of The Sufi Saint, halted outside His modest residence, removed their footwear, took The Saints blessings and made offerings and then left homeward bound. This is the philosophy that Guru Gobind Singh inculcated and followed all through His physical life.
Don’t hate your enemy, hate the evil within. If the enemy doesn’t understand reason and calm conversation, then pick up the sword and then make sure to release the man’s southern part of the anatomy from the chap’s upper part.
There is much debate about Sikhism not tolerating anything to do with Hinduism and the Gods and Goddesses; that the vast majority of Hindu worshippers pay obeisance too, and surprisingly Guru Gobind Singh has written extensively about Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Maa.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote The Dasm Granth, a one thousand four hundred and twenty eight page personal eulogy of The One, and in This Work of His, the name Maa Durga occurs over one hundred and twenty times along with Chandi, Bhavani, Chandika, Devi, Ambika, and many more.
In the very onset of His epic poem Chandi di Vaar He invokes the Power of Adi Shakti in the form of Pritham Bhagauti. After that He invokes The Spirit of The Guru, writing about the Nine Gurus. This prayer or Ardas is mandatory and in reality has to be recited in the original Gurmukhi. This prayer begins by placing Sri Bhagauti (The Divine Mother) foremost, above all else, and then calling upon The Nine Gurus for protection and assistance.
“God is One. All victory is of the Wondrous Guru. May the respected Shri Bhagauti (Divine Mother) help us! Ode of the respected Shri Bhagauti recited by the Tenth Guru. First call up Bhagauti (The Divine Mother) in your mind, then meditate on Guru Nanak.”
That Guru Gobind Singh was a worshipper of The Divine Mother is also evident in the fact that He called upon Her to Help Him in His work and to complete the holy Granth Sahib:
“ Kripa kari hum par Jag Mata, Granth kara puran subh rata” (Divine Mother of this universe shower Your blessings on me, so that I shall be able to complete this Granth.)
He makes it amply clear in His autobiography when He writes that, “In my previous life, I did lot of penance at Hemkunt, and worshipped the primordial Mother (Mahakal Kalka).” In fact He performed a one year long Chandi Havan at Naina Devi before He set out for His work, both on the physical and spiritual plane. Thus there are no two doubts that Guru Gobind Singh worshipped The Goddess, though of course not many Sikhs, who I know of want to acknowledge their Guru’s love for The Universal Mother. This is the sad part of all Religions and the teachings of all our Gurus. Very often the obvious remains, the essence is lost. All the ancient Religions are a case of ‘lost in translation’. We, the human race do not deserve The Perfect Ones. We deserve the conmen and the spiritual discards posing as The Real Ones; time and again I keep telling you, the Giants are gone, the dwarfs remain, because earlier there were more disciples, now there are only devotees.
His praise for Her is evident in His works but one thing is clear, He was of the firm belief that even Maa Durga and Lord Rama and Lord Krishna owe it all to The One. “It is through Thy power, O God, that Durga destroyed the demons like Sumbh, Nisumbh, Dhumer and Lochan, Chand and Mund. It is through Thy power, O God, that Rama destroyed Ravana.” So though He translated the works on Maa and The Avatars and Gods, He was very clear, that The One was beyond all, and The One was beyond all Names and Forms and Religions and that He was The One and only One to be revered and prayed to and it was the duty of each individual to go beyond Names, Idols, Rituals, Worship, to get immersed in The One, via Name Chanting and Pure Love. That is why though He translated various ancient Scriptures, He was clear that if a human being wanted true salvation each one of us had to even go beyond our Gods and Goddesses to the Nameless One, the One and Only One, beyond all perceptions and conceptualizations. “It is Thou who created Durga and had the demons destroyed. From Thee derived Rama all the strength to kill the ten-headed Ravana. From Thee derived Krishna all his strength to catch Kans by the hair and dash Him to the ground. Great seers and sages in all ages strained hard in penance to know Thee. None, none has attained Thy end.”
But then one should also realise that one has to go beyond all The Gurus, including The Ten Gurus of Sikhism, as The One is beyond even The Guru. That is why Baba Sai of Shirdi so often says to go within and go within and go further within to The Source, The One resides there and in That One you will find Me and all The Gurus and The Gods and The Goddesses.
So who is Guru Gobind Singh? He was born to The Ninth Guru Teg Bahadur. The Father realised The Oneness in His young son and at the age of nine itself appointed the young Boy as the Tenth Guru of Sikhism. When He was born, in Patna, many Sufis mystics and Fakirs realised that The Radiance has entered the Infant. As a child He was taught various languages including Persian and Sanskrit, warfare, music, literature and then of course His inherent Sainthood and thus He lived His life, filled with poetry, warfare and Godhood.
Guru Gobind Singh fought twenty wars but always against tyrants and despots. He created the Khalsa fraternity and became the first disciple of the Khalsa tradition, thus being The Prophet and Disciple of, espousing the fact that nobody came before The One. He not only completed the Guru Granth Sabib, the Holy Book of all Sikhs, but wrote innumerable works on everything that made an individual move towards The One and merge with The Absolute Authority.
The Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of hyms and prayers by The First Five Gurus, in Their own words, beginning with Babaji Nanak Guru. The Guru Granth Sahib, known also as the Adi Granth, is one thousand four hundred and thirty pages and has five thousand eight hundred and sixty four verses. Initially the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by The Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. He not only compiled the sayings and prayers of all Gurus who preceded Him but also called upon Sages and Sufis and Fakirs and took the most profound prayers from Them that He felt would help all Sikhs for all of eternity.
When Guru Gobind Singh wanted to rework the Granth Sahib, He was refused the Holy Scriptures. Thus. He sat and dictated the Granth Sahib by heart and included His father’s, The Nineth Guru’s words too. Guru Gobind Singh was so humble that in the complete Granth Sahib, there is only one verse of Guru Gobind Singh. The most important act after this was that, Guru Gobind Singh, ended the line of Gurus in Sikhism, making it clear that the one who wants blessings, love, protection and wisdom of all The Ten Gurus, should look no beyond the Granth Sahib. He put an end to the line of living Sikh Gurus by raising the Granth Sahib known as the Adi Granth as The Permanent Guru, accessible to all those who looked up to The Book and if one had The Book at one’s place of abode, it meant in reality one had The Ten Gurus residing with the family too. “He who would wish to see the Guru, let him come and see the Granth. He who would wish to speak to him, Let him read and reflect upon what says the Granth. He who would wish to hear His word, He should with all his heart read the Granth.”
Guru Gobind Singh’s Godhood was so evident that eventually even Aurangzeb recognized His Divinity. Even Prophets and Avatars need an excuse to leave the body. The end came when Guru Gobind Singh while resting after His prayers was stabbed in the left side below the heart. Before the attacker could strike again, Guru Gobind Singh killed the assailant down. Though Bahadar Shah sent his personal surgeons, to attend to The Guru, the beginning of the physical end had already taken place.
The Guru knew His physical end was nearing. He opened the Granth Sahib, placed five coins, a coconut and bowed to it as His successor. He said the immortal words, ‘Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh’ ( Victory and the Khalsa belong only to The One), and then He walked around the Guru Granth Sahib. His walk was still majestic. Only those who truly knew the extent of His injury knew the pain He must have gone through making the round of The Guru Granth Sahib. The prophet, the poet and the warrior walked His last walk around The Holy Book.
“Let him who desires to see me, see the Guru Granth. Always obey the Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Gurus. And let him who desires to meet Me, search Me in the hymns.”
Saying this Guru Gobind Singh’s Soul left the body. He was a Prophet who sought Oneness for all. Who beseeched all His followers to go beyond the beyond to The One, through chanting of the Name and through pure, selfless love. The Poet who wrote innumerable treatise once again on The One and selfless love and often travelled with as many as fifty odd poets and scholars who translated Hindu scriptures and then He worked on Them, giving the scriptures His magic Oneness touch. He was the Warrior who fought only against injustice and never against an individual, but for the false cause the tyrant or despot espoused very often winning them over too with His divinity and larger than life persona. He was Guru Gobind Singh, The True Lion of The One.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha