Poetic Appreciation of

Guru Gobind Singh

By Jaswinder Singh Chadha

" Chu kar az heelte dargujusht, halal ast burden ba shamsheer dast", Guru Gobind Singh

(When all other means fail, it is just to unsheathe the sword.)

Birth of the Khalsa

Sanctity of Work

Boy Gobind

Bhai Kanhiaya

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The Birth of the Khalsa

Turn of the century, the year 1699
the Vaisakhi festival was coming
Spescial arrangements were ordered
Anandpur was ready and humming

Sangats were invited from afar
to join this spescial occassion
a sea of humanity came flooding in
it was like a sikh invasion

Huge crowds of sikhs had gathered
anxious,something was in the air
Bhai Mani Ram started the prayers
the great Guru Gobind was there

In the glorious robes of a General
advanced the Guru and on the dias stood
unsheathing his sword, he raised it
there was a stir, no one understood

The master spoke, pathos in his voice
"I want a head, yes a gallant head
the sacrifice of a life is needed
for the great cause that lies ahead"

Silence fell on those assembled
the sikh sangats were stunned
the weaker ones were scared and left
Guru's voice rose above everyone

Daya Ram from Lahore made a move
he stood tall in the gathering's eye
" take my head, my Lord", he said
" by thy sword , I shall gladly die"

The Guru lead Daya Ram to a tent
a thud was heard and as they eyed
The Guru's sword was steeped in blood
"I need another head", he cried

More sikhs left the gathering
and only the brave ones stayed
the lot were in the midst of a shock
as Dharam Dass got up and obeyed

Once again, they entered the tent
a thud and the Guru emerged repeating
yet another brave son is needed
it was hotting up in the meeting

Mokkam, Himmat and Sahib Chand
offered themselves for the cause
each in turn was lead to the tent
but after Sahib Chand came a pause

This time, the Guru and the five
they all emerged ,neatly attired
the sikh sangat jumped with joy
thrilled at what transpired

There they stood those gallant men
in saffron robes and turbans blue
the sangat looked admiringly
and relished the precious view

Guru Gobind now thanked the men
praising their courage and devotion
the men stood bowed in humility
the air was charged with emotion

"Panj Pyaras" or the beloved five
declared the Guru,loud and clear
shall belong to an order of "Khalsa"
who shall be true and free from fear

The Khalsa was in the making
a task assigned by God to the Guru
who prayed now for God's blessings
to imbue the Khalsa with virtues true

Guru Gobind devised the Amrit
an elexir to baptise the true
to impart valour, caring love
and bestow the grace of the Guru

Amrit was made in an iron urn
wherein pure water was poured
sugar was added to sweeten it
stirring it with a double edged sword

Hymns were recited all through
sugar added on Mata Jeet's behest
as the Guru himself wanted to blend
sweet female virtues with the rest

In a ceromony that followed
which the Guru himself devised
the beloved five went through
and were with Amrit baptised

Holding swords in their hands
and on their left knee poised
Like soldiers in a combat pose
the five were now baptised

Palmfuls of Amrit were passed
given to each one in turn
they sipped it whilst they uttered
these blessed words in unison

"Waheguru ji ka Khalsa", they said
and then, "Waheguru ji ki Fateh"
to wonderous God belongs the Khalsa
so does with Him the victory stay

They sipped palmfuls of Amrit
and Amrit was sprinkled on their face
their hair and body were anointed
with Amrit concluded the final grace

They drank from the common urn
which was passed around in turn
Khalsa brotherhood was fostered
and thus the new values were won

The Guru got himself baptised
the five assisted as they were told
and thereafter others were invited
to partake and join the Khalsa fold

Thousands of sikhs on that day
were baptised into the Khalsa fold
the order of Khalsa was ready
an order of the kind and the bold


Sanctity of Work

the Guru felt thirsty
and made a request
for a drink of water
to the Sikh sangat

a khatri youth
was rather fast
he stood up quickly
and paid respects

may he be allowed
to fetch the water
he shall be honoured
by this favour

the Guru looked
saw a young lad
he seemed tender
and rather well bred

your hands are soft
and seem rather tender
have these been used
for doing any work

the youth replied
very seldom before
we have servants
for every chore

when the youth
brought the water
the Guru refused
the boy was shattered

the Guru declared
the water was impure
though the youth
vouched it was pure

the master explained
the water wasn't pure
for it was handled
by the hands impure

then he addressed
the Sikh sangat
on the sanctity of work
in the Sikh context

hands and body
are purified
by honest work
by service unqualified

the khatri youth
had learned
the purity of body
has to be earned

he got busy now
in the langar
working and serving
for endless hours

whenever now
he served the water
the Guru drank it
with pleasure

-LONDON, 1996.


Boy Gobind

Gobind and his mates
often enjoyed a treat
boat ride in the Ganges
a respite from summer heat

together they will play
nothing else did matter
but the soothing wind
the cold Himalayan water

as they rowed one day
the boat sort of tripped
Gobind hardly noticed
his bangle had slipped

it was a bangle of gold
that fell in muddy water
the mates were scared
to him, it didn't matter

and his darling mother
showed much concern
did the bangle slip
or was it thrown in fun

as she wanted to see
the place it was lost
the kids were excited
took her to the spot

the mum looked around
and asked her little one
where did it fall
'Gobind, my darling son'.

tossing the other bangle
in the swirling river
shouted the boy Gobind
" dear Mum, its there"


Bhai Kanhiaya

Yet another battle was fought
in high spirts like the rest
the Sikhs, the soldier- saints
swung into action, full of zest

The dazzle dazed the men deployed
the weapons glared in the sun
the battle cries were deafening
angel of death, hovered on everyone

The swipes of swinging swords
swept swiftly, inflicting fatal blows
the arrows aimed at the enemy
tore through the wanted foes

Dead and the wounded had fallen
as muskets fired the rounds
smoke and dust obscured the vision
heat and blood fouled the ground

Hours later, as the horror settled
the nature was rendered mute
when the peace and quiet returned
the demand for water was acute

Some soldiers had fallen dead
but the wounded needed tending
from the injured and the exhausted
the cries for water were unending

There moved a lonesome figure
amidst the injured and the dead
Bhai Kanhiaya, a Guru's soldier
served water, in this dread

Deftly, the man drifted around
nursing the wounded he was tending
you could see him serve them water
watch him, his tall frame bending

Lost in the love of his Guru
Bhai Kanhiaya served everyone
he served the enemy injured
as he would serve his brethren

Kanhiaya's strange behaviour
was brought to the Guru's attention
when the Guru summoned the man
he showed no fear or apprehension

" I did serve them all," he said
"as I didn't see any Sikh or enemy
all I could see in those faces, Lord
were you, a picture of thee"

The Guru smiled for he was pleased
the burden on his mind had eased
Bhai Kanhiaya had understood
whatever is bad and what is good


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