Guru Gobind Singh Sahib was the 10th and last Guru of the Sikhs in a line of Prophets stretching from the 15th to the early 18th century that resulted in the formation of Sikhi: New Faith and its Followers.
From its peaceful beginnings with Guru Nanak’s proclamation of Ik Oankar – One Creator – in the Panjab region sweeping most of South Asia, the followers of this Path transformed themselves into a theo-political force, personally connected with the Divine and publicly addressing injustices of caste and Mughal hegemony. The person who inaugurated the Khalsa as we know it today was Guru Gobind Singh. The tradition of ‘service’, ‘equality’ and ‘sacrifice’ began earlier than him, the institutionalization of the turban and the 5 K’s, the names Singh for men and Kaur for women, and the Saints-Warriors tradition was his great contribution.
What is not often realized are his musical, scholarly, poetical, and spiritual contributions.
While recuperating from a car accident, unable to read, we began listening to kirtan streaming from Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. The composer of the Sabad, we later discovered was Bhai Nand Lal. Some weeks later we read two of his books and began to visualize Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. Later I read Bhai Vir Singh’s book “Kalgidhar Chamatkar,” and Prof. Puran Singh’s book “Guru Gobind Singh Reflections and Offerings,” and I am in awe.
Mysterious are the workings of the Universe. In November 2016, we got to work on an exhibition titled, “Emperor-Prophet: Guru Gobind Singh Sahib” and my admiration amplified.
As we mark the 350th year commemorative celebration of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, we attempt to look at his legacy through the eyes of a believer, and regardless of nationality or background connect you to the beauty of his wisdom.