Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/102

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was roused and satisfied by the spiritual and military leader. Har Govind was a hunter and eater of flesh, and encouraged his followers to eat meat as giving them strength and daring. It is largely to this practice that the Sikhs owe the superiority of their physique over their surrounding Hindu neighbours. The regal state that the guru adopted and the army that he maintained were duly reported to the emperor Jahangir.

In the Autobiography of Jahangir it is stated that the guru was imprisoned in the fortress of Gwalior, with a view to the realization of the fine imposed on his father Guru Arjan, but the Sikhs believe that the guru became a voluntary inmate of the fortress with the object of obtaining seclusion there to pray for the emperor who had been advised to that effect by his Hindu astrologers. After a time Jahangir died and was succeeded by Shah Jahan, with whom the guru was constantly at war. On three separate occasions after desperate fighting he defeated the royal troops sent against him. Many legends are told of his military prowess, for which there is no space in this summary. The guru before his death at Kiratpur, on the margin of the Sutlej, instructed his grandson and successor, Guru Har Rai, to retain two thousand two hundred mounted soldiers ever with him as a precautionary measure.

Har Rai was charged with friendship for Dara Shikoh, the son of Shah Jahan, and also with preaching a religion distinct from Islam. He was, therefore, summoned to Delhi, but instead of going himself he sent his son Ram Rai and shortly afterwards died.Guru Har Rai. His ministry was mild but won him general respect.

The eighth guru was the second son of Har Rai, but he died when a child and too young to leave any mark on history. His elder brother Ram Rai was passed over in his favourGuru Har Krishan. and also in favour of the next guru for having altered a line of the Granth to please the emperor Aurangzeb.

As the direct line of succession died out with Har Krishan, the guruship harked back at this point to Teg Bahadur, the second son of Har Govind and uncle of Har Rai. Teg Bahadur was put to death for refusal to embrace Islam by Aurangzeb in A.D. 1675.Guru Teg Bahadur. It is of him that the legend is told that during his imprisonment in Delhi he was accused by the emperor of looking towards the west in the direction of the imperial zenana. The guru replied, “Emperor Aurangzeb, I was on the top storey of my prison, but I was not looking at thy private apartments or at thy queen's. I was looking in the direction of the Europeans who are coming from beyond the seas to tear down thy purdahs and destroy thine empire.” This prophecy became the battle-cry of the Sikhs in the assault on Delhi in 1857.

Teg Bahadur was succeeded by the tenth and most powerful guru, his son Govind Singh; and it was under him that what had sprung into existence as a quietist sect of a purely religious nature, and had become a military society for self-protection,Guru Govind Singh. developed into a national movement which was to rule the whole of north-western India and to furnish to the British arms their stoutest and most worthy opponents. For some years after his father's execution Govind Singh, then known as Gobind Rai, lived in retirement, brooding over the wrongs of his people and the persecutions of the fanatical Aurangzeb. He felt the necessity for a larger following and a stronger organization, and following the example of his Mahommedan enemies used his religion as the basis of political power. Emerging from his retirement he preached the Khalsa, the “pure,” and it is by this name his followers are now known. He, like his predecessors, openly attacked all distinctions of caste, and taught the equality of all men who would join him, and he instituted a ceremony of initiation with baptismal holy water by which all might enter the Sikh fraternity.

The higher castes murmured, and many of them left him, for he taught that the Brahmanical threads must be broken; but the lower orders rejoiced and flocked in numbers to his standard. These he inspired with military ardour in the hope of social freedom and of national independence. He gave them outward signs of their faith in the five K's—which will subsequently be explained—he signified the military nature of their calling by the title of “singh” or “lion” and by the wearing of steel, and he strictly prohibited the use of tobacco. The following are the main points of his teaching: Sikhs must have one form of initiation, sprinkling of water by five of the faithful; they should worship the one invisible God and honour the memory of Guru Nanak and his successors; their watchword should be, “Sri wah guru ji ka khalsa, sri wah guru ji ki fatah” (Khalsa of God, victory to God!), but they should revere and bow to nought visible save the Granth Sahib, the book of their belief; they should occasionally bathe in the sacred tank of Amritsar; their locks should remain unshorn; and they should name themselves singhs or lions. Arms should dignify their person; they should ever practise their use; and great would be the merit of those who fought in the van, who slew the enemies of their faith, and who despaired not although overpowered by superior numbers.

The religious creed of Guru Govind Singh was the same as that of Guru Nanak: the God, the guru and the Granth remained unchanged. But while Nanak had substituted holiness of life for vain ceremonial, Guru Govind Singh demanded in addition brave deeds and zealous devotion to the Sikh cause as proof of faith; and while he retained his predecessors' attitude towards the Hindu gods and worship he preached undying hatred to the persecutors of his religion.

During the spiritual reign of Guru Govind Singh the religious was partially eclipsed by the military spirit. The Mahommedans promptly responded to the challenge, for the danger was too serious to be neglected; the Sikh army was dispersed and two of Guru Govind Singh's sons were murdered at Sirhind by the governor of that fortress, and his mother died of grief at the cruel death of her grandchildren. The death of the emperor Aurangzeb brought a temporary lull: the guru assisted Aurangzeb's successor, Bahadur Shah, and was himself not long after assassinated at Nander in the Deccan. As all the guru's sons predeceased him, and as he was disappointed in his envoy Banda, he left no human successor, but vested the guruship in the Granth Sahib and his sect. No formal alteration has been made in the Sikh religion since Guru Govind Singh gave it his military organization, but certain modifications have taken place as the result of time and contact with Hinduism. After the guru's death the gradual rise of the Sikhs into the ruling power of northern India until they came in collision with the British arms belongs to the secular history of the Punjab (q.v.).

The chief ceremony initiated by Guru Govind Singh was the Khanda ka Pahul or baptism by the sword. This baptism may not be conferred until the candidate has reached an age of discrimination and capacity to remember obligations, seven years being fixed as the earliest age, but it is generally deferred until manhood.Sikh ceremonies. Five of the initiated must be present, all of whom should be learned in the faith. An Indian sweetmeat is stirred up in water with a two-edged sword and the novice repeats after the officiant the articles of his faith. Some of the water is sprinkled on him five times, and he drinks of it five times from the palms of his hands; he then pronounces the Sikh watchword given above and promises adherence to the new obligations he has contracted. He must from that date wear the five K's and add the word singh to his original name. The five K's are (1) the kes or uncut hair of the whole body, (2) the kachh or short drawers ending above the knee, (3) the kara or iron bangle, (4) the khanda or small steel dagger, (5) the khanga or comb. The five K's and the other esoteric observances of the Sikhs mostly had a utilitarian purpose. When fighting was a part of the Sikh's duty, long hair and iron rings concealed in it protected his head from sword cuts. The kachh or drawers fastened by a waist-band was more convenient and suitable for warriors than the insecurely tied dhoti of the Hindus or the tamba of the Mahommedans. So also the Sikh's physical strength was increased by the use of meat and avoidance of tobacco. Another Sikh ceremony is the kara parshad or communion made of butter, flour and sugar, and consecrated with certain ceremonies. The communicants sit round, and the kara