By Bayant Singh (President-Sikh Association Of Fiji)?And Senator Sarwan Singh (USA)
Vaisakhi is celebrated at the end of harvesting in Punjab when people are happy, free and relaxed. Our Tenth Master-Guru Gobind Singh planned this occasion very carefully, setting the stage at Anand Pur ,his headquarters.
If we take ourselves back to 1699 and the birth place of the Khalsa perhaps the real significance of Vaisakhi can be comprehended. During the period around 1650, the country around Punjab was in turmoil; the rulers were corrupt; there was no rule of law; the rights of the common people were tramped on; justice did not prevail. The strong imposed their will and their way without question; the weak suffered constantly and quietly; there was misery everywhere.
The weakest were slaughtered daily and no one heard their screams; the rich were accountable to no one and their wishes prevailed; higher authority could be easily bought with money and wealth; for the average person, no peace could be guaranteed; people lived like animals; fear gripped many nations. The minority ruled by imposing terror upon the common people; death was never far away from one’s thoughts.
Guru Gobind Rai was 33 years old when he had Divine inspiration to actuate his designs.
It was under these circumstances that Guru Gobind Singh rose to the occasion and chose to create the Khalsa ? the pure saint soldier. The Guru was looking for special people within the community who would take on the challenge and rise above the weakness of the common people; to be strong and fearless; to be prepared to face these challenges without reservation and without resorting to injustice; to be fair and even handed at all times; to be prepared to die for the truth.
His image, reputation and popularity arising from his spiritual leadership, heroic, personal example and complete love for the community were already established not only among the Sikhs but the whole of India.
So the tenth Guru chose April and in particular Vaisakhi in 1699 to ask for the Sangat (congregation) to make a commitment to the Panth (community) and join his army of Saint Soldier. Their mission was to help in the spread of Dharma and to stop the spread of evil and sin. The passage of time does not diminish the significance of this call from the Sikh master. It is a call to all the peoples of the world. His call requires the community to join his specialist army unit to defend and nurture the high principles set by the Gurus.
Massive gathering, secrecy of his agenda, spiritual and marshal setting, his regal attire, wielding naked sword and asking for the head of a volunteer, made it very dramatic.
Coming forward of the Five Beloved ones to answer the Guru?s call and then his asking them to initiate him as he did them was unprecedented(Saint/Soldier Ordination). Giving all inductees the surnames of SINGH made each a person full of confidence, self-respect, fearless and symbol of self-sacrifice. There was total submission on their part to their Guru. This is the true significance of Vaisakhi which made the Sikh community feel as one family(The Commonwealth Of the Sikhs),outstanding and upholding honor and engaging in social work with utmost endeavour.
The important thing to remember about that day is that the five volunteers and the whole sangat thought or were “under the impression” that the five Sikhs were really walking to their deaths–being killed, one by one. The Sikhs who volunteered, had demonstrated their willingness to give their heads–in the same way that Guru Tegh Bahadur had done that day in Delhi. The Guru’s bit of showmanship, his seemingly–all to real test, was performed to prove the devotion and dedication of his Sikhs. Those who were ready to give themselves up to their Guru were the bravest and most devoted. These brave men had unkowningly chosen to be part of a new panth – the Khalsa Panth.
The Guru?s teachings and personal exemplary deeds set new standards for all to follow ever after. He set down a list of required qualities, personal conduct patterns and social and spiritual behavior. Visible apparent dress code was only element of it. The essential quality for each individual is the conduct towards each other based on honesty and service to the community.
Guru Gobind Singh gave each one of Sikhs the surname of Singh (Lion) and Kaur (princess).We are forever inspired and reminded to renew our commitment to the Vaisakhi induction ceremony. Our honor and strength lie in and spring from this dedication. In fact our very being is nurtured by it.
Whenever a Sikh feels that he or she is ready to commit to the strict discipline of dharma and feels the deep love and affection for the Guru, he or she will undergo this baptism ceremony of the Khanda (or double-edged sword).
Fiji Sikh Community will be having dedicated celebrations on Sat 13 Apr 2013 at Samabula,Tagitagi,Labasa and Lautoka Gurudwaras,with joyful attendance of His Excellency,Mr.Vinod Kumar,The Indian High Commissioner at Lautoka Gurudwara.