After, the festivals of the Gudi Padva, the Cheti Chand, Ramnaomi, commemorating the birth of Shree Ram, the northern Indians herald the harvesting season known as Baisaakhi.
What many people are probably unaware of, is the fact that, it was on April 13th,the day of the Baisaakhi, that Guru Govinsinghji, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, assembled his Sikhs at Anandpur, and constituted the ‘Khalsa’ order.
He called the Sikhs ‘Khalsas’ the pure ones.
It is interesting to learn why and how the title of ‘Singh’ came into being.
No Sikh prayer is complete without remembering the 5 Pyaaras. Let me tell you about their bravery. These 5 demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were not afraid of death.
It was a practice for the Gurus to hold annual conferences on Baishaakhi day. In one such meeting in the year 1699, Guru Gobind Singh asked for 5 volunteers who would be willing to give their life for a just cause. He took the volunteer to a nearby tent and returned with a sword dripping with blood. He repeated the same process with 4 more volunteers, much to the consternation of the congregation. Then, Guru Gobind Singh surprised the multitude, by returning with the five volunteers alive and well. These ‘five’ were honored by being conferred the title of ‘5 Pyaaras’ meaning ‘The 5 loved ones’ He gave them a new surname ‘Singh’ (Lion) to be connected to their name. Kaur (Princess) was the suffix to be added to the girls’ names as they grew up.
Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism. The followers of Guru Nanak and the 9 succeeding gurus came to be known as ‘Sikhs’
Sikh means those who learned, or followed the teachings of the Great Gurus. Sikhism appealed to the masses because of its simplicity. Sikhism propagates the message of Universal Brotherhood. It asks his community members to serve: (Seva), Share their meals: (Pangat) and Pray together: (Sangat)
The Punjabis will dance the ‘Bhaangra’ to the cry of ‘Jattaa aayee Baishaakhi’ In the fields, new crops will be sowed.
It is believed that the holy Ganga descended from Heaven on Baishaakhi day. So most Indians will take a ritual dip in the Ganga or in any river closest to them. Some will climb the nearest hill, hoping that they scale new heights in the coming year.
Let us start this coming year, remembering the last Guru of the Sikhs Guru Govind Singh. He stood for national unity and fearlessness in the face of adversity. Guru Govind Singh prayed: “…Shubha Karman Te kabahoon na daroon” (Grant me the boon, that I am never afraid of performing good deeds)
So let us pray together for national unity and International Brotherhood and may God grant us the Will to do everything in our power to uplift the physical, emotional and/or spiritual state of all, irrespective of caste, creed, race or sect.