Sikh History & Personalities

What actually happened on Vaisakhi 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh Ji initiated Amrit at Keshghar Sahib?

Guru Sahib sent messengers to call all Sikhs to Anandpur Sahib on the day of Vaisakhi in 1699. The reports of the Mughul newspapers and reporters or Emperor Aurangzeb stated that 80,000 Sikhs had gathered at Anandpur Sahib on that day.

Aasa-Ki-Vaar was sung in the morning. After this was completed Guru Gobind Rai appeared from a tent wielding his Sri Sahib Kirpan (sword) and said “Today I need the head of a Sikh. Is there a Gursikh who loves the Guru and who follows the Guru’s command, who will give me their head?” There was much commotion, normally the Guru gives blessings and happiness and people could not understand why the Guru was asking for someone’s life. But a Gursikh who lived in the love of the Guru, Daya Ram, who understood the Guru got up and offered his head.

Guru Sahib took Daya Ram into the tent and only Bhai Daya Ram and Guru Sahib knows what happened inside the tent. Guru Ji told nobody nor was there an eyewitness. With a lack of knowledge people have dreamt up theories, such as the Guru Ji killed lambs. But Guru Ji nor Daya Ram ever told anyone what happened inside the tent. All that we know is that, when Guru Sahib came out of the tent his Kirpan was dripping with blood. Guru Ji did not want to tell anyone what he did, so what right do we have to make guesses as to what might have happened. In doing so the teaching of the Guru is left behind and arguments continue.

So in turn 5 people presented their heads to the Guru Sahib. Afterwards, Guru Sahib brought all the 5 out together dressed up in Saffron coloured clothes, donned with two turbans, with long Kirpans. On their faces they had a special glow, a special happiness. It is with the Guru’s grace that their whole lives changed. Guru Sahib bestowed upon them Amrit of the double-edged sword. He also gave them all the name ‘Singh’ (lion). After he initiated the 5 he asked them to initiate him and said, “from Guru Gobind Rai make me into Guru Gobind Singh.” In this world this is a unique event, that a leader asks his followers to initiate him into thier order. This tradition was started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji, when he passed the Guruship to Guru Angad Dev Ji and bowed before him.

Amrit and Nitnem Banis are documented by eye-accounts written in the Bhatt Vahees, and Bhai Jaita Ji (Bhai Jeevan Singh Ji) writes his eye-witness account as:

ਪਾਂਚ ਕਕਾਰ ਸੰਪੂਰਣ ਦੇਖਿ ਕੈ ਯਾਚਕ ਸਿਖਹਿ ਸੰਮੁਖ ਬੈਠੀਜੈ।
ਜਲੋ ਬਤਾਸੇ ਲੋਹ ਪਾਤਰ ਮਹਿਂ ਡਾਰਿ ਕੈ ਛਹਿ ਸਿਖ ਆਸਨ ਬੀਰ ਲਵੀਜੈ।
ਹਾਥ ਪ੍ਰਥਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਖੰਡੇ ਕਉ ਲੇਕਰ ਜਲੋ ਪਤਾਸੋ ਕਉ ਖੂਬ ਮਿਲੀਜੈ।
ਜਪੁ ਕੋ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਹਿ ਸੰਗ ਤਿਹ ਸਿਖ ਪਾਤਰਿ ਦੂਸਰ ਹਾਥ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥੧੧੨॥
ਪਾਚਹੁੰ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਰ ਸੁ ਹੋਵਹਿਂ ਅਵਰ ਜੋਇ ਪਾਤਰ ਊਪਰ ਹਾਥ ਰਖੀਜੈ।
ਆਪਨ ਆਪਨ ਬਾਰ ਯੇ ਪਾਂਚਹੁੰ ਪਾਂਚ ਹੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਕੋ ਪਾਠ ਪੜ੍ਹੀਜੈ।
ਜਪੁ, ਜਾਪ, ਸਵੈਯੇ, ਚੌਪਈ, ਅਨੰਦ ਕੋ, ਪਾਠ ਸੋਂ ਪਾਹੁਲ ਤਿਆਰ ਕਰੀਜੈ।
ਪਾਂਚਓ ਚੁਲੇ ਮੁਖ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਸੁ ਯਾਜਕ ਏਤ ਹੀ ਨੇਤਰ ਕੇਸ ਪਵੀਜੈ ॥੧੧੩॥
ਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਏਕ ਚੁਲੇ ਸੰਗ ਯਾਚਕ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੀ ਫਤਿਹਿ ਗਜਾਵੈ।
ਯਾਚਕ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੋ ਅਵਰ ਭਿ ਹੋਇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਏਕੁ ਹੀ ਪਾਤਰ ਪਾਵੈ।
ਰਹਿਤ ਕੁਰਹਿਤ ਬਤਾਇ ਕੈ ਸਬਹਿਨ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਕਰਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਦਵਾਵੈ।
ਪੁਨ ਸਬ ਏਕੁ ਹੀ ਬਰਤਨ ਮਾਹਿਂ ਏਕਠਿ ਖਾਨ ਔ ਪਾਨ ਕਰਾਵੈ ॥੧੧੪॥
(Baba Jeevan Singh – ‘ਭਾਈ ਜੈਤ ਰਾਮ-ਜੀਵਨ ਤੇ ਰਚਨਾ’, S. Gurmukh Singh, Punjabi University, 1994)

In this same tradition Guru Gobind Singh gave Amrit to the Panj Pyaare and asked them to give him Amrit. After this, Gursikhs in great numbers took Amrit on that very day. So, many people ask, “If so many people took Amrit that day were 50 to 100,000 Kachhere (shorts) prepared and 30-50,000 Kangas (combs), Kirpans (swords) and Dastaars (turbans) brought in especially?”. No, these “5 K’s” were kept by Gursikhs before this day. Guru Gobind Singh gave his stamp of authority onto the 5 K’s and the Rehat (code of conduct) of the Sikhs. Gursikhs followed this way of life already, just after this day Guru Gobind Singh Ji said that whoever does not follow this way of life will not be a Sikh of the Guru.

Source: Professor Manjit Singh, ex-Jathedar Takhat Sri Kesgharh Sahib