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Punj Piare : The five beloved ones
1. Bhai Daya Singh
2. Bhai Dharam Singh
3. Bhai Muhkam Singh
4. Bhai Sahib Singh
5. Bhai Himmat Singh
Guru Gobind Singh came into this world with a special mission. He was sent by the Lord to perform certain duties for the emancipation of mankind. The Guru thus decided to evolve a new order with the sole object of making people realise the necessity of sacrificing their lives for the cause of dharma, righteousness. People should fight against the tyranny of the rulers, he said.
The Guru sent letters to his devotees, thoughtout the country, to come to Anandpur to Attend the festival of Baisakhi. The devotees started converging on Anandpur like swarms of locusts. The year was 1699. A day before the first of Baisakh, a large number of people, including many women and children, collected at Anandpur. A large shamiana was pitched and decorated with buntings and flowers. Hymns from Sri Guru Granth Sahib were recited and devine atmosphere was created. Guru Gobind Singh was present in the pandal and listened attentively to the chanting of Asa-di-Var. He sat motionless for some time and then stood before the huge gathering, estimated to be about eighty thousand. His eyes were red like rays of the sun. He took his sord from the scabbard and flashing it in his hand, thundered like a lion : "My devoted Sikhs! my comrades! The goddess of power clamours for the head of brave Sikh. Is there anyone among this huge gathering ready to sacrifice his dear life at its call?"
Complete silence prevailed. People were stunned. They thought something had gone wrong with the Guru. The Guru once again roared. Again, there was no reply. The whole assembly was thrown into consternation. The Guru repeated his call. There was hushed silence. What the Guru wanted nobody knew. No Guru before him had ever demanded the head of his followers like this. The Sikhs were surprised at the demand of the Guru who had all along been bestowing great affection on them. It was an amazing call. "Is there not one among the thousands who has faith in me." were the last words uttered by the Guru, flashing his eyes. People present there trembled. Now, Bhai Daya Ram, a khatri of Lahore, stood up with folded hands before the Guru to the astonishment of the whole gathering. It was unique scene - the Sikh offering his head. The Guru caught him by arm and took him inside the tent speacially pitched for the purpose. The Guru, after a few moments, came out with his sord dripping with blood. Blood flowed from the tent too. The Guru then asked for another man to offer his head.
There was silence. Again, the call came. Bhai Dharam Das, a Jat of Delhi, offered his head. The same story was repeated. Horror-stricken people were fully convinced that the second devotee had also been killed. The gathering began to thin out. Most of the people left to save their precious lives. Panic prevailed all arround. People sat with their heads lowered. Some devotees went to the Guru's mother and requested her to ask him to abstain from killing his own men. The call of the Guru contined. Bhai Mukkam Chand, a washerman of Dwarka, was the third devotee to offer his head. He, too, was taken inside the tent and the word went round that he, too, had met the same fate. More terror, more panic. More people left the pandal.
The Guru's eyes were extremely red now. He made yet another demand for another head. The crowd was dumbfounded and sat motionless. Yet another devotee stood up with with folded hands. This time, it was Bhai Sahib Chand of Bidar, a barbar by caste and profession. He touched the Guru's feet and sought pardon for not offering himself earlier. The same story was repeated again.
The Sikhs prayed to the Almighty to restrain the Guru. The Guru asked for another head. Bhai Himmat Singh of Jagannath Puri, a water carrior, rose and bowed his head before the Guru. The same process was repeated.
Then Guru himself went into the tent and brought out the five sikhs he had taken into the tent earlier. They were dressed in new clothes, with blue turbans on their heads and in loose long yellow shirts. They had waist bands and wore underwears of a special style, with swords hanging by their sides. They looked attractive and handsome like soldiers of valour. The audience was awe-struct. The Guru named them Panj Payaras, the five beloved ones. The whole congreation shouted with one voice Sat-Sri-Akal, Victory of God. The Guru address them thus; "I wish all of you embrace one faith and follow one path, obliterating all difference of caste and religion. Let the four Hindu castes mentioned in the Shastras be abandoned altogether and the path of co-operation with one another be adopted. Let nobody think himself superior to another. Do not follow the old scriptures. All should follow the tenets of Guru Nanak and his successors. Let men of the four castes receive my baptism and eat from the same vessel. Let nobody feel contempt for the other".
Once again, the sky resounded with the shouts of Sat-Sri-Akal. The Guru was extreamly delighted. He had achieved his objective. A new path was shown by him to his followers - the path of valours, devotion and sacrifice.
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