Sunday, March 26, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji and Bhai Gonda

This is an amazing sakhi about Satguru Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji, the King of Kings and the Saint of Saints and his beloved sikh, Bhai Gonda.

A devout Sikh called Bhai Gonda abode with Satguru Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji Maharaj. He was a saint in thought, word and deed. Guru Ji was very much pleased with his sincere devotion and said, 'Bhai Gonda, go to Kabul, instruct Sikhs over there in the worship of the true name and preach the faith of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Feed holy men and pilgrims with the offerings that you recieve, and send what remains for the maintenance of my kitchen. These are your duties, and I am confident that you will perform them'.

Although Kabul was a foreign country and there was danger from Muslim bigotry in residing there, yet Gonda cheerfully accepted the task which was given to him by his beloved Guru. On arriving in Kabul he built a Gurudwara, and carried out all Guru Jis instructions. In other respects the following lines of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj which he was accustomed to repeat, served him as a guide:

Meditate in your heart on the Guru's image;
Regale your mind with the Guru's word and spell,
Put the Guru's feet into your heart,
And ever bow to the Guru, the Supreme Being.

One day while Bhai Gonda was reciting Japji Sahib, he thought he was clinging onto Guru Jis feet. He was in such a state of abstraction that he became quite unconscious. He grew as absorbed in the sight of Guru Ji as a drop of rain in the ocean.

All knowing Guru Ji, knew what was passing in Gonda's mind, and sat firmly on his throne keeping his feet together. When dinner was annouced, as usual at mid-day, he made no response. When the annoucement was repeated about an hour afterwards, he still remained silent. A third time after a longer interval dinner was annouced and the sevadaars asked permission to serve it, however, still Guru Ji did not speak.

When several sikhs were on the point of making a representation to him, he broke his silence and said, 'My Brothers and Sisters, Bhai Gonda is in Kabul. He is in thought, word and deed, a sikh of the Guru. Today he has clasped my feet. How can I withdraw them from him? And how can I go and take my dinner until he lets go of my feet? I am therefore waiting until the conclusion of his meditation and obeisance.'

Bhai Gonda did not awake from his trance, before twilight, and it was only then that Guru Ji felt free to take his repast.

DHAN DHAN SATGURU SRI GURU HAR RAI SAHIB JI MAHARAJ

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

mith bolarraa jee har sajan suaamee moraa

Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your service is useless and fruitless. ||1|| (Guru granth Sahib ji – pg 1253)

Once Guru Gobind Singh was out camping and a man brought a bear and wanted to show the play, everybody got very excited to see what the bear could do. The man did so many acts with the bear that it pleased the Guru and the sangat.

Immediately after the show, Guruji asked the Sikhs to prepare karah prashad and did ardas. After which Guruji said to his chauria(the bear's caretaker), "Bhai, please give prashad to the bear also". But surprisingly after eating the Parshad the bear died on the spot. The bear's caretaker now started crying. Guruji then asked the 'Kazanchi' (the man who was in charge of the cash) to give him some money with which he can survive and start doing Kirt again.

The Sikhs were puzzeled and requested Guruji to explain the episode.

Guru said, "The Bear was a great Gursikh and sewadar. Once when he was serving prashad in the congregation when another sikh who was bringing the wood to the city, and to the langar, thought he can just go in the congregation and pay obeisance to the Guru, get the prashad and run. So he left his bullock cart working(un-attended), and ran over to the Gurdwara and asked the sewadar to please give him prashad first. On this the sewadar (bear) asked him to "Sit down and wait his turn"

But the Sikh just clamped on him. The sewadar got irritated and said, "Why are you clamping on me like a bear?" "Don't you understand, you sit down and I'll give it to you !!" Meanwhile a little prashad fell down and the Sikh quitely picked it up and left.

It was because the sewadar had caused distress and used foul language for a sikh (sangat) that he himself became a bear. And since he was a Sikh and had done sewa in Guru ghar he was redeemed now by giving prashad and doing Ardas.

imT bolVw jI hir sjxu suAwmI morw ]
m i t(h) bo larraa j ee har sajan suaa mee m o raa ||
My Dear Lord and Master, my Friend, speaks so sweetly.

hau sMmil QkI jI Ehu kdy n bolY kaurw ]
ho sa(n)mal thhak ee jee ouh u kadh ae n bo l ai ko u raa ||
I have grown weary of testing Him, but still, He never speaks harshly to me.

kauVw boil n jwnY pUrn BgvwnY Aaugxu ko n icqwry ]
ko u rraa b o l n j aanai p ooran bhagav aa nai ao u gan k o n chi th aar ae ||
He does not know any bitter words; the Perfect Lord God does not even consider my faults and demerits.

piqq pwvnu hir ibrdu sdwey ieku iqlu nhI BMnY Gwly ]
path i th paavan har b i radh sadh aaeae e ik th i l nehee bha(n)nai gh aalae ||
It is the Lord's natural way to purify sinners; He does not overlook even an iota of service.

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Battle Of Saragarhi

Dehi Shiva Bar Mohe Ihe (O Almighty God, give me this boon)
Shubh Karman Se Kabhun Na Taron (That I never desist from doing good deeds)
Na Daron Ari Son Jab Jai Laron (I be fearless when I fight the enemy)
Nischey Kar Apni Jeet Karon (And that I certainly attain victory)
- Guru Gobind Singh ji

INTRODUCTION
Saragarhi is the incredible story of 21 men of the 36th Sikh Regiment (currently the 4th Sikh Regiment) who gave up their lives in devotion to their duty. In keeping with the tradition of Sikhism and the Indian Army, they fought to the death rather than surrender to the enemy. The Battle at Saragarhi is one of eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It has been mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the world which includes the Saga of Thermoplyae associated with the heroic stand of a small Greek force against the mighty Persian Army of Xerxes in 480 B.C.

THE BATTLE
The British colonial rulers had constructed a series of forts to control the NWFP (North West Frontier Province - today a state in Pakistan) and to provide security to troops against marauding tribesmen and their lashkars (large body of troops). Most of these forts had initially been built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh as part of the consolidation of the Sikh empire in Punjab and the British added some more. The British had only partially succeeded in gaining control over this region, consequently, skirmishes and sometimes serious fights with the tribals were a frequent occurrence. However, the NWFP was a good training ground for the Indian Army to hone its skills and techniques.

Two such forts on the Samana ridge of the Hindukush & Sulaiman ranges that is Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan were a few miles apart. Since these forts were not inter-visible, a signalling relay post called Saragarhi was located mid-way on a bluff to provide heliographic communications between them. This post or picket had been fortified to provide safety and protection to the signalling detachment. In 1897 there was a general uprising in the NWFP engineered by Afghans as part of their policy, which came to be known as the 'prickly heat policy' to direct the wrath of the tribals against the British. In this uprising, Mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) played a prominent role. It was the duty of the 36th Sikh Regiment to occupy Gulistan and Lockhart forts. On 3rd and 9th September 1897, Orakazai and Afridi lashkars attacked Fort Gulistan. On both occasion the attacks were beaten back. A relief column was sent from the fort to assist in beating back these attacks.

The Saragarhi Post after the battle
The relief column from Lockhart on the return trip reinforced the signalling detachment at Saragarhi making its strength to 1 NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) and 20 ORs (Other Ranks). In a renewed effort, on 12 September 1897, hordes of tribesmen laid siege to Fort Lockhart and Saragarhi, with the aim of overrunning the latter and at the same time preventing any help from the former. The Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh, Lt. Col. Haughton, was at Fort Lockhart and was in communication with the Saragarhi post through helicograph. The defenders of Saragarhi under the indomitable and inspiring leadership of their detachment commander, Havildar Ishar Singh, resolved to defend their post in the best tradition of their race and regiment. They were not there to hand over the post to the enemy and seek safety elsewhere. Havildar Singh and his men knew well that the post would fall, because a handful of men in that make-shift fort of stones & mud walls with a wooden door could not stand the onslaught of thousands of tribesmen. These plucky men knew that they will go down but they had resolved to do so fighting to the last.

From Fort Lockhart, troops and the Commanding Officer could count at least 14 standards and that gave an idea of the number of tribes and their massed strength against the Saragarhi relay post (estimated at between 10,000 to 12,000 tribals). From early morning the tribals started battering the fort. The Sikhs fought back valiantly. Charge after charge was repulsed by the men of the 36th Sikh. The tribal leaders started to make tempting promises so that the Sikhs would surrender. But Havildar Singh and his men ignored them. For quite some time, the troops held their own against the determined and repeated attacks by the wild and ferocious hordes. A few attempts were made to send a relief column from Fort Lockhart but these were foiled by the tribals.

At Saragarhi, the enemy made two determined attempts to rush the gate of the post and on both occasions the defenders repulsed the assault. While the enemy suffered heavy casualties, the ranks of the defenders too kept dwindling as the fire from the attackers took its toll and their ammunition stocks were depleting. Unmindful of his safety, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh kept signalling a minute-to-minute account of the battle from the signal tower in the post to Battalion HQs. The battle lasted the better part of the day. When repeated attacks failed, the enemy set fire to the surrounding bushes & shrubs and two of the tribesmen under cover of smoke, managed to close in with the post's boundary wall in an area blind to the defender's observation and rifle fire from the post holes. They succeeded in making a breach in the wall. This development could be seen from Fort Lockhart and was flashed to the post.

Cairn on the Site of Saragarhi Post

A few men from those defending the approaches to the gate were dispatched to deal with the breach in the wall. This diversion by the enemy and the defenders' reaction resulted in weakening of the fire covering the gate. The enemy now rushed the gate as well as the breach. Thereafter, one of the fiercest hand-to-hand fights followed. One of the Havildar Singh's men, who was seriously wounded and was profusely bleeding, had taken charge of the guardroom. He shot four of the enemy as they tried to approach his charge. All this time, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh continued flashing the details of the action at the post. Beside this the Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh and others at Lockhart Fort also saw his unique saga of heroism and valour unfold at Saragarhi. The battle had come too close for Sepoy Gurmukh Singh's comfort, so he asked Battalion HQs for permission to shut down the heliograph and take up his rifle. Permission was flashed back. He dismounted his heliograph equipment, packed it in a leather bag, fixed bayonet on his rifle and joined the fight. From this vantage point in the tower he wrought havoc on the intruders in the post. He died fighting, but took 20 of the enemy with him.

The tribals set fire to the post, while the brave garrison lay dead or dying with their ammunition exhausted. Next morning the relief column reached the post and the tell tale marks of the epic fight were there for all to see. The tribals later admitted to figure of 180 dead and many more wounded.

This episode when narrated in the British Parliament, drew from the members a standing ovation in the memory of the defenders of Saragarhi. The story of the heroic deeds of these men was also placed before Queen Victoria. The account was received all over the world with awe and admiration. All the 21 valiant men of this epic battle were awarded the Indian Order of Merit Class III (posthumously) which at the time was one of the highest gallantry awards given to Indian troops and is considered equivalent to the present-day Vir Chakra. All dependants of the Saragarhi heroes were awarded 50 acres of land and 500 Rupees.

Never before or since has a body of troops - that is, all of them won gallantry awards in a single action.

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Guru Ji's Protects His Children…

guru myrY sMig sdw hY nwly ] ismir ismir iqsu sdw sm@wly ]1] rhwau ]
g ur maer ai sa(n)g sadh aa hai n aal ae || si mar simar th is sadhaa samhaal ae ||1||
My Guru is always with me, near at hand. Meditating, meditating in remembrance on Him, I cherish Him forever. ||1||

After the assassination of Indra Gandhi on October 31, 1984, Sikhs were butchered across India.
This is a story about a Sikh couple living in an isolated village outside of Punjab. The couple was young and were amritdhari. The Singhni wore a dastaar and they had a young child.

The Sikh couple had an isolated farmhouse in a Hindu dominated area. When news of the assassination reached the area, and it was found out that Sikhs were being killed, some local thugs also decided it was the perfect chance to loot the farmhouse.

The Singh found out about these plans from some well wishers and told his wife that they had very little time and an attack was coming. The Singh said that they should leave their farm and escape to save their lives. The Singhnee however reminded him that they had done Parkash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib on the top floor of the house and how could they run away from Guru Sahib? The Singh again repeated that there was an attack coming and said that their young child would be killed. Singhnee jee insisted again that it would be wrong to run away from Guru Sahib and let the mob disrespect Guru Sahib's saroop.

The Singh in frustration then said, "Once they kill us, they will disrespect the saroop anyways so what is the point in staying? We can't save the saroop if we're dead. The best we can do is save ourselves now. There is no benefit in staying! You are being stubborn and stupid."

The Singhnee replied that while she had breath in her body, she would not abandon Guru Sahib, even to save her life and while she was alive, no one could dare do any disrespect.

With the mob now on its way, the Singh in frustration told his Singhnee that she could do what she wanted but he was leaving with their son. He then took the infant and escaped.

Singhnee jee went to Guru Sahib's room, and did ardaas. She asked Guru Sahib for protection and for the courage to, if need be, become Shahid in this seva. She then took a kirpan and waited.

When Singhnee jee saw the mob arrive, yelling and carrying weapons, ready to attack the house. She came down and stood at the door holding her unsheathed Sri Sahib. All of a sudden, the thugs in the mob began to turn around and run away, looking back in terror and then continuing to run. Singhnee jee was confused but amazed at Guru Sahib's kirpa as the mob retreated and did not return...

Some days later, the Singh came back to the village to check on the fate of his wife and their property. He fully expected that his wife would be assaulted and killed and their home looted. As he was nervously walking to his home, a Hindu acquaintence stopped him and asked, "Singh, where did you gather all those Nihangs from so quickly that day???!"

The Singh was confused and asked, "What do you mean?"

The Hindu replied, "That day, when the mob went to attack your house, your wife came and stood in the door and she was surrounded by so many massive Nihangs who were so tall and carrying all kinds of weapons. Where did you gather all of them from so quickly?"

The Singh realised that Shaheed Singhs had themselves come and protected Guru Sahib's saroop and his Singhnee's courage had been rewarded . He went home and begged for forgivness from his Singhnee and told her about how all the villagers were talking about the army of Nihangs that had protected their house.

1984

so siqguru ipAwrw myrY nwil hY ijQY ikQY mYno ley CfweI ]
so sathigur piaaraa maerai naal hai jithhai kithhai maino le ae shhaddaaee ||
That Beloved True Guru is always with me; wherever I may be, He will save me.

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Effect Of Taramati Rani's Saadh Sangat

Raja Hari Chand had a wife named Taramati Rani. She was quite beautiful and Raja Hari chand was happy. However, he did not like to do sangat or being in the company of God oriented saintly people. Taramati Rani, on the other hand heard of a holy congregation which would meet daily at amritvela or in the early hours of the morning prior to dawn.

Taramati Rani would awaken each morning in the early ambrosial hours. She would bathe and then dress nicely to join the congregation of holy sages. She would walk the distance and after spending a few hours in the sangat, she would return home before Raja Hari chand would awaken to start his day.

One night after Taramati Rani had left to join the holy congregation Raja Hari chand woke up suddenly. He looked around and found his wife missing. He searched all throughout the palace but could not find her anywhere and the guards would not reveal the truth to him either. They knew that the queen went out in the early morning and were been given strict orders by her not to tell the King this secret.

Later in the morning Raja Hari chand asked his wife where she had been in the night but she did not tell him and brushed the topic aside. He devised a plan to find out where she went in the late night hours.

The following morning, Taramati Rani awakened at her usual time, took a bath and got dressed to go join her holy congregation. After she left the palace, Raja Hari chand followed her. He expected to find that she was seeing another man at night after leaving his bed. But he was surprised to find her joining the company of holy sages and saints.

For the few hours that Taramati Rani was in sangat enjoying Naam, Raja Hari chand stood outside listening and enjoying as well. He dared not enter but he also did not want to leave yet. So he stood there and let his ears enjoy Naam and have his mind washed clean.

raanee pahuthee sa(n)gathee(n) raajae kharree kharraa(n)o neesaanee||
The queen reached the holy congregation and the King lifted one of her sandals from there (so that he could prove the infidelity of the queen).

saadhh sa(n)gath aaraadhhiaa jorree jurree kharraaou(n) puraanee||
When about to go, the queen concentrated upon the holy congregation and the one sandal became a pair (Vaaran Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Vaar 10).

As the hour was coming to an end, Raja Hari chand returned to his senses and remembered why he had followed his wife here. He took one of her sandals with him so later at home he would show it to her as proof that he had caught her going out at night. He quickly left and returned to the palace awaiting the queen’s arrival.

When Taramati Rani came outside she found one sandal missing. She and the sangat searched but could not find the missing sandal. She was deeply worried because she was worried that the Raha might discover about her doing sangat and would stop her in future to continue. Alas, the sangat suggested praying (doin ardas) and God willing a solution would be found.

Together they supplicated in prayer and asked that the missing sandal be found. In answer to this prayer a sandal just like the one missing appeared next to the lone sandal.

raajae ddit(h)aa chalith eih kharraa(n)v hai choj viddaanee||
The king upheld this feat and realized that there her matching sandal was a miracle.

saadhh sa(n)gath vittahu kurabaanee ||a||
I am sacrifice unto the holy congregation.

When Taramati Rani arrived at the palace, Raja Hari chand followed her in and asked her to show him her sandals which he had given her before as a gift. Taramati pulled out her sandals to show him and he was deeply shocked at seeing she had a full pair when he he was sure he had taken one of the sandals. He then proceeded to tell her that he had actually followed her this morning and stole her sandal as proof that he knew of her wanderings. Raja Hari chand asked his wife how such a miracle was performed that a new sandal was appeared for her so instantly?

After explaining the whole incident to her husband, Raja Hari chand was very much humbled that he had ever doubted his wife. He too began rising early in the ambrosial hours and with his wife joined the holy congregation.

Those who come in the sangat with their body and mind even at a risk are always protected by Waheguroo.

aapaniaa saevakaa kee aap paij rakhai aapaniaa bhagathaa kee pairee paavai ||
He Himself preserves the honor of His servants; He causes others to fall at the feet of His devotees. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, ang 555).

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

WorldGurudwaras.com
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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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