WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5: It’s the birthday (Jayanti) celebration of the Sikhs’ 10th and final guru today, Guru Gobind Singh. In Sikh tradition, there are 10 gurus— Enlightened Masters—who were recipients of divine guidance; then, these 10 gurus passed their knowledge to their followers. After Gobind Singh completed his Earthly mission, he informed followers that their final guru would be the Sikh holy book, Adi Granth, and that faith authority could be found both in the book and in the Sikh community. (Festivals of India has more on this Jayanti and on Gobind Singh’s life.) Today, Sikhs hold large processions, gather in gurdwaras to worship and recall the life of their last human guru. (Find out more on 2011 celebrations at Sikhnet.)
Gobind Singh assumed his leadership role at the tender age of 9, as his involvement in Sikhism began early. Gobind Singh’s father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was a martyr who died to protect the religious freedom of Hindus; Guru Tegh Bahadur provided great hope with his sacrifice. Yet it was at the suggestion of Tegh Bahadur’s son, Gobind Singh, that this Sikh guru had made the decision to take action in the Hindu oppression.
Guru Gobind Singh shone in a time of political conflict, and he chose Five Beloveds from lower castes that would model as the great Sikh Khalsa—the Order of the Pure that would stand up against injustice. (Sikhiwiki has details on Guru Gobind Singh’s life.) Guru Gobind Singh not only created the Order of the Pure, but he also wrote several poetic compositions that would impart a martial spirit in Sikhs that continues to this day.