Today, the Sikh community in India and around the world comes together to celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, a revered figure in Sikhism. This day holds great significance for Sikhs as it commemorates the birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh Guru, who played a pivotal role in shaping the Sikh faith and inspiring millions of followers.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born on December 22, 1666, in Patna Sahib, Bihar. He succeeded his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, as the leader of the Sikhs at the tender age of nine. Throughout his life, Guru Gobind Singh Ji displayed immense courage, wisdom, and devotion to the Sikh principles of equality, justice, and selfless service.
One of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s notable contributions was the establishment of the Khalsa Panth, a community of initiated Sikhs who embody the highest ideals of Sikhism. He initiated the Khalsa on April 13, 1699, during the historic event known as the Vaisakhi. The Khalsa represents the collective spirit of the Sikh community and serves as a symbol of Sikh identity.
The celebration of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday, also known as Gurpurab, is marked by various religious ceremonies and festivities. Sikhs visit gurdwaras, the Sikh places of worship, to offer prayers and seek blessings. The gurdwaras are beautifully decorated with flowers, lights, and colorful fabrics, creating a joyous atmosphere.
The day begins with an early morning procession called Nagar Kirtan, where devotees sing hymns and carry the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in a beautifully adorned palanquin. The procession is accompanied by the beating of drums, the playing of traditional instruments, and the chanting of religious verses.
Inside the gurdwaras, special prayers called Akhand Path are held, which involve the continuous recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib over a period of 48 hours. Devotees participate in these prayers, seeking spiritual enlightenment and guidance from the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Langar, a community meal, is an integral part of the Gurpurab celebrations. Volunteers from the Sikh community come together to prepare and serve free meals to all visitors, regardless of their caste, creed, or social status. This practice of serving food to everyone, known as “Seva,” reflects the Sikh principle of equality and selfless service.
During the Gurpurab, Sikhs also engage in Kirtan, devotional singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib. The melodious tunes and heartfelt lyrics create a spiritual ambiance, allowing devotees to connect with the divine and experience a sense of unity.
Moreover, Gurpurab serves as a time for reflection and introspection. Sikhs reflect on the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, which emphasize the importance of righteousness, bravery, and standing up against injustice. The Guru’s teachings inspire Sikhs to lead a life of integrity, compassion, and service to humanity.
While the Gurpurab celebrations primarily take place within the Sikh community, people from all walks of life are welcome to join in the festivities. It is a time of unity, where people come together to honor the legacy of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and embrace the values he stood for.
As we celebrate Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday today, let us remember his teachings and strive to embody the virtues of courage, humility, and selflessness in our lives. May his teachings continue to inspire and guide us on the path of righteousness.