Sikhs celebrate guru’s birthday

Sikhs celebrate guru’s birthday

The Sikh community in Shepparton will participate in a weekend of prayer and religious celebrations in honour of the birthday of the 10th and last human Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. “This is the day of the birth of the 10th guru, the last living guru,” Sikh Association secretary Gurmeet Singh said. Guru Gobind Singh became the last human guru when he passed on the guruship to the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.


The Sikh community in Shepparton will participate in a weekend of prayer and religious celebrations in honour of the birthday of the 10th and last human Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

“This is the day of the birth of the 10th guru, the last living guru,” Sikh Association secretary Gurmeet Singh said.

Guru Gobind Singh became the last human guru when he passed on the guruship to the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

“From the living guru, to the holy book — forever,” Gurmeet said.

The Sikh community will gather this weekend at the Sikh temple on Doyle Rd.

 

Prayers at the Sikh temple i
Holy day: Prayers at the Sikh temple in Shepparton. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Two days before the guru’s birthday, on Friday, January 7, a team of men and women start reading the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, from start to end without interruption; this is called the Akhand Path and is done at any Sikh place of worship.

The day before the birthday, on Saturday, January 8, the Panj Pyares (the five beloved ones) lead a procession and are followed by musicians, dancers and gatka teams performing martial arts.

The celebration culminates on Sunday, January 9, the day of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth. In the early morning there are morning hymns, followed by readings from of the Sikh scripture.

 

Prayers being led at the Sikh temple.
Religious observance: Prayers being led at the Sikh temple. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

“There is going to be a gathering to remember the 10th guru and the tradition of a free kitchen for everybody,” Gurmeet said.

“There is going to be singing between 10.30am and 12.30pm.”

Around sunset it is time for the Rehras, evening prayers.

Everybody in the community, regardless of their faith, is welcome to attend the celebrations and participate.

“Everybody, it doesn’t matter who they are, they are welcome,” Gurmeet said.

History of the holy day

Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th and last human Sikh guru. He was known to be a philosopher, poet, warrior and, most importantly, a spiritual master.

The Sikh gurus are the spiritual masters of Sikhism, having established the religion over the course of about two-and-a-half centuries, beginning in 1469. That year marks the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Guru Nanak was succeeded by nine other gurus until Guru Gobind Singh, in 1708, finally passed on the guruship to the holy Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, which is now considered the living guru by the followers of the Sikh faith.

Guru Gobind Singh is credited in the Sikh tradition with finalising the manuscript of the Guru Granth Sahib — the primary scripture of Sikhism.

Guru Gobind Singh was the son of the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

At the time, the sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, ruled the entire Indian sub-continent, and established Sharia law throughout.

The Sikhs and Hindus alike feared religious persecution from the state, and Guru Gobind Singh became the 10th Sikh guru after his father was beheaded on the orders of Aurangzeb in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam.

According to the Encyclopedia Of Indian History, Guru Tegh Bahadur martyred himself to stand up for the faith of millions.

It is recorded that: “It was then declared to Aurangzeb that if (the emperor) could convert Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the Kashmiri Pandits and other Sikhs would gladly convert to Islam too.”

The emperor then arrested Guru Tegh Bahadur and his disciples, and subjected them to horrendous torture to force them to renounce Sikhism.

One disciple was burnt alive, another sawn into two and a third put into boiling oil, but the Sikhs refused to renounce their faith and convert to Islam.

All of this also could not break the faith and resolve of the guru, and he was beheaded for retaining his faith. His nine-year-old son Guru Gobind Singh took his place as spiritual leader.

 

Sikhs celebrate guru’s birthday

 


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