Guru Gobind Singh Ji

( Tenth Guru of Sikhism )

Guru Gobind Singh ([gʊɾuː goːbɪn̯d̯ᵊ sɪ́ŋgᵊ]; 22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708), born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher. When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was executed by Aurangzeb,[a] Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, becoming the tenth and final human Sikh Guru. His four sons died during his lifetime – two in battle, two executed by the Mughal army.

Among his notable contributions to Sikhism are founding the Sikh warrior community called Khalsa in 1699 and introducing the Five Ks, the five articles of faith that Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times. Guru Gobind Singh is credited with the Dasam Granth whose hymns are a sacred part of Sikh prayers and Khalsa rituals. He is also credited as the one who finalized and enshrined the Guru Granth Sahib as Sikhism's primary scripture and eternal Guru.

ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਿਆ ਦੂਜੀ ਕਾਰੈ ਲਗਿ ॥

Those who have forgotten the Naam, the Name of the Lord, are attached to affairs of duality.

ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਲਾਗੇ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਗਿ ॥

Attached to duality, they putrefy and die; they are filled with the fire of desire within.

ਗੁਰਿ ਰਾਖੇ ਸੇ ਉਬਰੇ ਹੋਰਿ ਮੁਠੀ ਧੰਧੈ ਠਗਿ ॥੨॥

Those who are protected by the Guru are saved; all others are cheated and plundered by deceitful worldly affairs. ||2||

Legacy and Memorials of

Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Foundation of Khalsa

In 1699, the Guru requested the Sikhs to congregate at Anandpur on Vaisakhi (the annual spring harvest festival). According to the Sikh tradition, he asked for a volunteer. One came forward, whom he took inside a tent. The Guru returned to the crowd alone, with a bloody sword. He asked for another volunteer, and repeated the same process of returning from the tent without anyone and with a bloodied sword four more times. After the fifth volunteer went with him into the tent, the Guru returned with all five volunteers, all safe. He called them the Panj Pyare and the first Khalsa in the Sikh tradition.

Guru Gobind Singh then mixed water and sugar into an iron bowl, stirring it with a double-edged sword to prepare what he called Amrit ("nectar"). He then administered this to the Panj Pyare, accompanied with recitations from the Adi Granth, thus founding the khande ka pahul (baptization ceremony) of a Khalsa – a warrior community. The Guru also gave them a new surname "Singh" (lion). After the first five Khalsa had been baptized, the Guru asked the five to baptize him as a Khalsa. This made the Guru the sixth Khalsa, and his name changed from Guru Gobind Rai to Guru Gobind Singh.

Kanga, Kara and Kirpan – three of the five Ks
Guru Gobind Singh initiated the Five K's tradition of the Khalsa,

  • Kesh: uncut hair.
  • Kangha: a wooden comb.
  • Kara: an iron or steel bracelet worn on the wrist.
  • Kirpan: a sword or dagger.
  • Kacchera: short breeches.

Sikh Scriptures

Guru Gobind Singh is credited in the Sikh tradition with finalizing the Kartarpur Pothi (manuscript) of the Guru Granth Sahib – the primary scripture of Sikhism. The final version did not accept the extraneous hymns in other versions, and included the compositions of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru Gobind Singh also declared this text to be the eternal Guru for Sikhs.

Guru Gobind Singh is also credited with the Dasam Granth. It is a controversial religious text considered to be the second scripture by some Sikhs, and of disputed authority to other Sikhs. The standard edition of the text contains 1,428 pages with 17,293 verses in 18 sections. The Dasam Granth includes hymns, mythological tales from Hindu texts, a celebration of the feminine in the form of goddess Durga, erotic fables, an autobiography, secular stories from the Puranas and the Mahabharata, letters to others such as the Mughal emperor, as well as reverential discussion of warriors and theology.

The Dasam Granth has a significant role in the initiation and the daily life of devout Khalsa Sikhs. Parts of its compositions such as the Jaap Sahib, Tav-Prasad Savaiye and Benti Chaupai are the daily prayers (Nitnem) and sacred liturgical verses used in the initiation of Khalsa Sikhs.