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❝Good company is one of the best medicines. If you have consciousness of failure, associate with those who have the consciousness of success.
The company you keep is important. If you leave your coat in a room where people are smoking, pretty soon it will smell of smoke. If you leave it outside in the garden, later on, when you bring it indoors, it will carry with it the fragrance of fresh air and flowers.
Such is the case with the mind. Your garment of thoughts absorbs the vibrations of those with whom you mix. If you mingle with pessimists, in time you will become a pessimist. And if you mingle with cheerful, happy people, you yourself will develop a cheerful, happy nature.
Whether one becomes a saint or a sinner is to a great extent determined by the company he keeps.❞
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...continued from above
The Tenth Guru
This courageous young guru established himself at Anandpur and built forts at Pounta and Chamkaur. His inspiring leadership prompted his soldiers to exemplary bravado, earning them the distinguished title of ‘Sava Lakh’. In the ensuing battles, Guru Gobind Singh lost two of his sons in battle and other two, who retreated to Sirhind were captured and bricked alive by Wazir Khan, the Mughal governor of Sirhind. Guru Govind Singh retreated to Muktsar and after a fierce struggle, retired to Talwandi Sabo, Dam Damma Sahib, also known as the Kashi of Sikhs. He was stabbed and he passed away on October 7, 1708, at Nanded. He was succeeded by his chosen disciple, Banda Singh Bairagi, who carried out guerilla warfare against the Mughals, till he too was captured at his fort near Gurdaspur and killed.
The period between 1716 to 1738 was one of wilderness for the Khalsa Panth, but the faith survived. The death of Aurangzeb in 1707 started the gradual break-up of the Mughal Empire. Subsequently, the Sikhs reorganized themselves into confederacies called Misls. This rejuvenated Sikh Army or Dal Khalsa, and it withstood repeated invasions of Persians under Nadir Shah and Afghans under Ahmed Shah, till their man of destiny, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, came on the scene to lead them.
Guru Govind introduced a large number of social, religious and military reforms and stamped Sikhism with the mark of his personality. On Baisakhi we remember and re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals, ethos and values propagated by him and the Gurus.
Time For Celebration
So, year after year, Sikhs around the globe celebrate Baisakhi with great enthusiasm, gusto, hope, and all-night revelries called ‘Baisakhi di raat’. In the Punjab, the Rabi crop is ready for harvesting. This year too the COVID 19 pandemic may dampen the festivities but not their spirit and beliefs.
Baisakhi is a time for celebration, but it also reaffirms the faith in the teachings of Gurus -- oneness of God, social and economic equality and service to the community.
~ Prof Gopal K Piplani
Part 2 of 2
A FESTIVAL OF HOPE
What makes Baisakhi so special
Spring-time is festival-time in India. Early spring is ushered in our country with Holi, the festival of colours in March end; Ugadi and Gudi Padava follow in mid-April. And then comes Baisakhi, the harvest festival which derives its name from the Vikram Samvat month of Baisakh. It falls on April 13 every year, but on April 14, once every 36 years.
This harvest festival is celebrated with gusto by Sikhs and Hindus all over the world. Change of weather, fresh rains and a forecast of a good Rabi crop are reasons enough for happiness and celebrations -- with song and dance.
Special significance of Baisakhi
Baisakhi is also the beginning of the traditional Indian (solar) New Year. For Hindus too this festival has a special significance. It is believed that thousands of years ago, Goddess Ganga descended to earth on this day and in her honour Hindus take sacred bath in the River Ganga on Baisakhi. It also coincides with Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha in Bengal, and Vishu in Kerala. In Himachal Pradesh, this festival is also celebrated in the honour of Goddess Jwalamukhi. The Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka, and Jur-Shital --the Mithila New Year in some regions of Bihar and Nepal -- too are celebrated now. For the Sikhs, this day is about worshipping their Gurus, feasting, merriment, holding processions and performing the dances -- Bhangra and Gidda.
Khalsa Panth established
On this auspicious day in 1699, Guru Govind Rai, the 10th Sikh Guru, founded the Khalsa Panth, community of the pure, at Keshgarh Sahib, near Anandpur. He baptized his chosen faithfuls, Panj Piaras with Amrit, and hailed them as Singhs, lions. He gave his followers a military zeal and orientation, so that they could defend their faith, in times of need. He ordained them to carry five visible symbols of faith, the five K's -- Kesh, Karra, Kirpan, Kanga and Kachhera. He also proclaimed himself to be the last Guru and declared that, henceforth, ‘the Adi Granth’ would the future guru of the Sikh faith. He ordained them to believe in the oneness of God and to serve the followers of the community. The Guru thus transformed the Khalsa, a spiritual and social entity, into a forceful religious group with a new political and military orientation.
The creation of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Govind Singh was a by-product of the sacrifices made by the Gurus who preceded him. The celebrations of Baisakhi would be incomplete without remembering those noble humans.
Contributions of the Sikh gurus Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru, shown a new light in an era of conflicting religious beliefs and Sikhism was born. Guru Ramdas, the fourth guru, gave the Sikhs a rallying centre at Amritsar and built the Golden Temple. The fifth guru, Guru Arjun Dev, compiled the teachings of the gurus into a sacred book called the ‘Adi Granth’. On September 1, 1604, the holy book was installed at the Harmandir Sahib in the Golden Temple. The holy scripture propagated three principles of the Sikh community -- Naam Japo, remember God; Kirat Karo, earn livelihood by honest means; and Vand Chako, share with others.
The Mughals in the post-Akbar era were not secular minded and their forcible conversions brought them into conflict with the Sikh Gurus. Guru Arjun Dev was tortured to death by Jahangir. His martyrdom was the beginning of the Sikh transformation to militarism. Aurangzeb's repression peaked with the execution of the ninth guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, on November 11,1675. His teenage son, Govind Rai succeeded him as the tenth guru.
~ Prof Gopal K Piplani
Part 1 of 2
Greetings to All on the
Auspicious occasion of Baisakhi