Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikh community to mark the birth of their tenth and also the last master Guru Gobind Singh. He was born on 5th January 1666 as Gobind Rai to Guru Tegh Bahadur and Mata Gujri. Guru Gobind Singh was a spiritual master and a warrior, highly revered by the Sikh community.
He founded the Sikh warrior community, called “Khalsa” in 1699.
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti 2019
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti in 2019 falls on Sunday, 13th January 2019.
When is Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Celebrated?
Though, Guru Gobind Singh was born on 5th January 1666, his annual birthday is celebrated based on the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar, which is a solar calendar used in Sikhism. The first year of Nanakshahi calendar started in 1469 CE, with the birth of Guru Nanak Dev.
Life and Death of Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna, Bihar, as the only son to Guru Teg Bahadur and Mata Gujri. Born in a Khatri family he spent the first four years of his life there and then returned to Punjab with his family in 1670. In March 1672 his family moved to Shivalik range in Himalayan foothills and he was admitted in a school there.
Alter in the sad turn of events Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded at Delhi on 11th November 1675, while attempting a peaceful negotiation with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after he refused to convert to Islam. On the Vaisakhi, next year after his father’s martyrdom, i.e. on 29th March 1676, nine years old Gobind Rai was appointed by the Sikhs as their 10th guru.
In his life Guru Gobind Singh was married thrice and had three sons from his first wife Mata Jito, and one from his second wife Mata Sundari. His third wife’s name was Mata Sahib Devan, who was later proclaimed the mother of Khalsa.
He further continued his education and wrote books like –Chadi di Var in Punjabi language. The book signifies triumph of good over evil. Guru Gobind Singh stayed at Paonta Sahib on the banks of river Yamuna till 1685.
Guru Gobind Singh’s youngest sons aged 5 and 8 were executed by the Mughal after they refused to convert to Islam. His other two sons aged 13 and 17 were killed in 1704 battle against the Mughal army.
After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Guru Gobind Singh was invited by Bahadur Shah Zafar for reconciliation. Though, the later reportedly escaped any discussion on the issue.
In the mean while, Wazir khan, a Muslim army commander, against whom Guru’s army had fought several times, hideously convened with two of his accomplishes Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg to assassinate Guru Gobind Singh. The duo secretly gained access to Guru and Jamshed Khan stabbed him inflicting a fatal wound in Nanded, present day Maharashtra.
Despite being fatally wounded below his heart, Guru fought back his assassin and killed him. Finally, Guru Gobind Singh succumbed to the wounds on 7th October 1708 opening a long battle between Mughal and Sikh armies.
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Celebrations
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is observed for three days. Usually, before the main festival, akhand path is held at the Gurudwaras. The Jayanti day begins with the Devan singing the hymns of Asha di War and Guru Granth Sahib in early morning. It is then followed by the life story of Guru and his teachings.
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is an important Sikh festival and is celebrated by much fervor and reverence to the Sikh’s 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Special prayers are held at Gurudwaras and long processions are taken out on the streets, displaying the reverence for Guru Gobind Singh.
The holy Guru Granth Sahib is displayed on a palki in the procession, which is lead by the panj pyare (five beloved ones). The procession constitutes of various groups performances by different groups. Some groups perform Kirtan, while others indulge in mock battles. School children also take part in the procession by playing bands and singing the hymns from Guru Granth Sahib.
The path of the procession is also decorated with flags, flowers and religious posters. Major ceremonies held at the Gurudwaras are Kirtan Darbar and Amrit Sanchar. A special Prasad is distributed to all those present. Langar (community feast) is also organized at the Gurudwaras, with no bar of religion, class or status.
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Significance
Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th and last Guru of Sikhs. His life and struggle is an inspiration for not only the Sikh community but for all those who stand for dignity and righteousness.
He fought many battles against the Mughal Empire and sacrificed his four sons and other family members in the battles against the atrocities of Muslim invaders. He is an inspiration whose life and conduct must be remembered and followed as well.
Guru Gobind Singh was not only a warrior but also a philosopher, poet and spiritual master. He contributed significantly to the Sikh community by founding the warrior Khalsa community in 1699. He also introduced the five compulsory articles worn by the Khalsa Sikhs – Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (Iron bracelet), Kachera (cotton undergarment) and Kirpan (iron dagger).
The leadership of Guru Gobind Singh has been an inspiration for the Sikh community. The Khalsa community that he formed had fought many battles with the Mughal armies even after the death of Guru.