.Bishwa Nath Singh
Let me greet all of you on the eve of Baisakhi which is a seasonal festival with a special accent! It is celebrated all over the country especially in the State of Punjab on the first of Baisakh. This is the time when harvest is gathered in and the farmer exults in the fulfillment of his year's hard work.
(Photo of Golden temple of Amritsar)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
:The story of Baisakhi Festival had begun with the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru who was publicly beheaded by the Aurungzeb, the Mughal ruler. The Mughal Emperor Aurungzeb wanted to spread Islam in India and Guru Tegh B...ahadur stood up for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs and the Mughals therefore saw him as a threat.After the death of Guru Teg Bahadur, his son, Guru Gobind Singh became the next Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Har Gobind Singh wished to instill courage and strength to sacrifice among his fellow men. To fulfil his dream, Guru Gobind Singh called on the historic Baisakhi Day congregation of Sikhs at Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur on March 30, 1699.When thousands of people assembled for Guru’s blessing, Guru Har Gobind Singh came out of the tent carrying an unsheathed sword. He gave a powerful speech to infuse courage amongst fellowmen. He had asked five men to come up for sacrificing their life. Five men followed Guru who was prepared to sacrifice their life. The people present there were having notions that those five people must have been killed by now. At this point Guru presented all the five men before the people. Every one present was surprised to see all five men alive and wearing turbans and saffron-colored garments.These five men were called Panj Piara or 'Beloved Five' by the Guru. The Guru blessed them with a Pahul ceremony. In an iron vessel, the Guru stirred with a sword called Khanda Sahib, the batasha that his wife, Mata Sundari Ji had put into water. The congregation recited verses from scriptures as the Guru performed the sacred ceremony. The water was now considered the sacred nectar of immortality called amrit. It was first given to the five volunteers, then drunk by the guru and later distributed amongst the crowd. With this ceremony, all those present, irrespective of caste or creed, became members of the Khalsa Pantha (the Order of the Pure Ones). The Guru regarded the Panch Piaras as the first members of the Khalsa and the embodiment of the Guru himself. With the constitution of the Panj Pyare the high and low castes were amalgamated into one as among the original Panj Pyare, there was one Khatri, shopkeeper; one Jat, farmer; one Chhimba, calico printer; one Ghumar, water-carrier; and one Nai, a barber. The Guru gave the surname of Singh (Lion) to every Sikh and also took the name for himself. From Guru Gobind Rai he became Guru Har Gobind Singh. This was seen as a great step in national integration because society at that time was divided on the basis of religion, caste and social status. Guru Gobind Singh had also bestowed on Khalsa, the unique Sikh identity. He directed Sikhs to wear five K's: Kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kripan or dagger, Kachha or shorts and a Kara or bracelet. Guru Gobind Singh also discontinued the tradition of Gurus and asked all Sikhs to do them. Panth.The tenth Sikh Guru,Har Gobind Singh is remembered for forming Khalsa Panth- Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against tyranny and oppression. Let us join to celebrate it on the first day of Baisakh that falls on April 19, 2011 with gaiety and resolve to be good and do well to others!
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