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Posted by paramdeep singh | Friday, January 1, 2010 | 0 comments

Question 19: Why did Guru Gobind Singh change the form of Sikhism and make the Five "K's" obligatory?

Guru Gobind Singh made no fundamental changes in Sikhism. The Sikhs stood against oppression and tyranny right from the days of Guru Nanak, who himself spoke against tyranny and injustice courting arrest and imprisonment. The people had to be made ready to rise up against injustice and high-handedness. All the Gurus did whatever they could do to make the people manfully face and destroy the unjust, tyrannical and bigoted rulers lock, stock and barrel. In this process Guru Arjan accepted death on a red hot iron plate. Guru Tegh Bahadur accepted to be publicly beheaded and many faithful Sikhs accepted to be sawn alive, boiled in water or broken on the wheel. This was necessary to arouse the dormant and long discredited national-spirit of the people and to create the requisite grit and determination to be able to uproot evil. Guru Gobind Singh's action seen against this background is only the fulfilment of the programme outlined by Guru Nanak. Not to stand against oppression and injustice was a slur on the fair name of Guru Nanak who had said:-

"To fight and accept death for a righteous cause is the privilege of the brave and the truly religious." No one will contend that the cause of Guru Gobind Singh was righteous and just and that his action was in line with the prevalent tradition and precept of Sikhism. War is part of the history of man. To be on the defensive is everybodys' fundamental right. The history of the Sikhs bears ample witness to the fact that they have never been aggressors. By formally baptising his Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh only laid more stress on external signs and insignia demanded by a disciplined organization which he wanted to create. He made his Sikhs universal and fully representative of the ideal man. As for the five symbols all the Gurus had them except the sword and the steel bangle. Even the sword was used by the sixth Guru and he fought many battles. Nations who could not defend themselves have vanished from the face of the earth and surely Guru Gobind Singh wanted his followers to live as his agents and torch bearers.

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