Besakhi - the Sikh Perspective Essay

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Besakhi - the Sikh Perspective

It is well known fact that Guru Amar Das had extensively travelled to the places of the pilgrimage, both before and after the attainment of the Gurudom. He came across thousands of people, as well, who were, proceeding on such sojourns. They had to travel hundreds of miles through arduous circumstance; some never reached their destinations and some never returned home to see their loved ones. There is no dearth of stories of innocent people being exploited and plundered by the so-called priests at such `tirath asthans'. The pilgrims were harassed and expropriated by the officials of Mughal Sarkar's Tax (Jaziya) Collectors. On top of all that Guru Amar Das observed
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The Guru instantly endowed his blessings and the Hukamnamas were issued far and wide inviting people to come and seek both celestial and temporal blessings. First Baisakhi Mela, with the Sikh decorum, was, thus, celebrated at Goindwal Sahib under the auspices of Guru Amar Das with all the arrangements including the Langar, the Free Kitchen under the guidance of (Guru) Ram Das.

The tradition dominated the Sikh polity. In 1699 when the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Rai was thirty-three years old, he divined inspiration to actuate his designs. Every year at the time of Baisakhi (in the month of April) thousands of devotees used to flock to Anandpur Sahib to pay their obeisance, and seek the Guru's blessings. A few months before the Baisakhi Day, Guru Gobind Rai sent special edicts to the congregationalists, far and wide, that that year the Baisakhi was going to be a unique affair. He asked them not to cut their hair, and come to the place with full beards and unshorn hair under the turbans.

On the Baisakhi day, March 30, 1699, hundreds of thousands of people gathered around his divine temporal seat at Anandpur. The Guru addressed the audience `with the most stirring oration on saving religion, and his divine mission'. After the exciting discourse, he flashed his unsheathed sword, and said that every great deed preceded by equally great sacrifice, and he demanded

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