Guru Gobind Singh is known as a supreme hero and a great man. Guru Gobind Singh is also revered and respected by Indians as one who, throughout his life was ready to make the highest sacrifice to protect the harmonious, inclusive and development-oriented culture of Hindustan and the Indian way. Swami Vivekananda had said about him, “A great man like Guru Gobind Singh was never born (in the world), nor will be born like him again.”
Guru Gobind Singh was an outstanding social-reformer. He criticised orthodox socio-religious traditions. He continuously and actively opposed such conservative practices. He called upon the people to make service of fellow beings as their prime duty and protecting the weak and helpless as their Dharma. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had said about Guru Gobind Singh, “Guru Gobind Singh fought against the atrocities of the invaders; he struggled against enemies, internal and external, both, to protect Indian culture and values. The great men like him will rarely be found in the entire history.”
There was also another important aspect of Guru Gobind Singh's life. He founded the Khalsa at Anandpur Saheb in the year 1699 AD with Panj-Pyare –five beloveds (Dayaram a Khatri, resident of Lahore, Dharmadas a Jat, resident of Meerut, Mohkamchand a tailor, resident of Dwarka, Himmatrai a water-bearer, resident of Jagannathpuri and Sahebchand a washerman, resident of Bidar). The purpose of founding the Khalsa was to protect people from atrocities of tyrants and to free them from fear.
The Khalsa, founded by Guru Gobind Singh, had certain very important things as its foremost purpose also and we all should be familiar with them:
1- Establishing equality in society and rejecting caste-class discrimination was the first objective of the Khalsa. The Panj-Pyare included in the Khalsa were representing various classes and castes of the Indian society. Through this, Guru Gobind Singh accomplished an unprecedented and historic task discarding the artificial discrimination of low and high in society. He, thus, initiated a new institution to establish the truth of human equality through the establishment of the Khalsa.
2- The Panj-Pyare, included at the initiation of the Khalsa, came from the different corners of India. They represented all parts of the country. The Khalsa reflected the cultural heritage of India dedicated to unity in diversity. In this regard, the Khalsa, founded by Guru Saheb was a key event in the Indian history. It was, along with assuring people’s safety and providing service to them, protecting national values, basics of Indian culture and philosophy of human equality to strengthen the foundations of national unity as its objective. In this regard, it was also to pave the way for the integrity of India in the future. The statement of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Maker of United India, regarding Guru Gobind Singh should be seen in this perspective as well.
3- The Guru-Shishya (disciple) equality prevailed in the Khalsa was an excellent example of co-ordination and harmony. It was a sign of preventing the absolutism of any party and indicated to full respect for the democratic way and values.
Guru Gobind Singh was the last Guru of the Sikh tradition established by Shri Guru Nanak Dev as the first Guru. He was the one who fulfilled a great mission started by the first Guru having unitarianism in the centre of his teachings with the purpose of bringing humanity within the fold of equality and the large scaled human welfare. Guru Gobind Singh was a scholar par excellence and also a philosopher. There was monotheism in his thoughts. His life and works were fairly devoted to human love and service of one and all without any form of discrimination.
Guru Gobind Singh considered righteous acts of one to be the basis of making his life meaningful and worthy. He declared such acts to be Dharmic. He said, “Indulge in righteous acts so that they could pave the way for the greater welfare of the people. Continuously do good work so as not to face the darkness again. Always be inactive in sinful deeds; renouncing desire of action-fruit –Karma-Phala, be active in virtuous acts only. Be passive in the action-lust –Kriya-Wasana of taking-giving; always be enthusiastic in giving. Keep delusion –confusion and illusion separate from Karma. Do not let the righteous acts be lax. Keep the deeds out of unrighteousness; always engage in acts with purity and strength. Do acts as Godly devotion; do indulge in deeds with understanding.”
Guru Gobind Singh presented examples of love and protection of the. He made the highest sacrifice to defend the Dharma. His behaviour and treatment even towards his rivals or those against whom he fought was humane. He was always forgiving and compassionate.
Guru Gobind Singh was a matchless hero – a Paramveer. He was an unsurpassed warrior who fought against atrocities and injustice. He was the patron and protector of Indian culture. He was also, as has been said, a great scholar and a thinker. He had a unique combination – confluence of valor and knowledge - in him. On the basis of these great characteristics, he became a man of the era. He proved himself to be one of the greatest Indians.
*A Padma Shri and Sardar Patel National Awardee Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Global Peace International Journal.