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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baisakhi: How many could pass this sacred test?

 (Baisakhi Photo by Sixtybolts)

Websites such as inform readers of such festive Baisakhi traditions as harvest dancing and singing, gay-colored clothing, and traditional jewelry.  There are Baisakhi recipes such as battura (deep-fried dough balls) and nariel laddu (coconut delights), decorations such as marigolds and mango leaves, ceremonial baths, fairs, processions, worship (gurdwara) visits, blessed food (prasad), and holy service (sewa).

However, the roots of Baisakhi were anything but festive.  As this world goes, they were quite somber; as other worlds go, they were quite profound.

Wikipedia tells us that Baisakhi originated with the establishment of the Khalsa (“Pure” baptized Sikhs) by the tenth and last human Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.  Guru Gobind Singh had deemed it necessary to take up defensive arms against Mughal persecutors that had executed his father, ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur.  He therefore called for a gathering of his followers on harvest day (April 13) of 1699 CE at Anandpur, Punjab, India.

When they arrived, Guru Gobind Singh asked those who would be willing to sacrifice their heads for the good of the cause to come forward.  No one answered his first and second calls.  On the third call, Bhai Daya Singh (a long-term disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur) responded.  Guru Gobind Singh and Bhai Daya Singh then disappeared into a tent.  After some time, Guru Gobind Singh emerged alone from the tent with blood dripping from his sword.  The Guru then asked the group who would be next.

One by one, four others volunteered – and one by one, they were led off to the tent.  Each time, Guru Gobind Singh again emerged alone with a bloodied sword.

However, after the last volunteer had answered this call, Guru Gobind Singh and all five of these devotees emerged together.  They who (like Abraham with Isaac) were willing to make this ultimate faithful sacrifice were then called “the five beloved ones.”


Copyright April 14, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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