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Vaisakhi Signifies Love, Multi-Gaith Harmony And Equality

More efforts be made to spread the universal message of Vaisakhi.

By Gian Singh Kotli

Baisakhi or Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi got its name from the month of Vaisakh of the Bikrami year in India. It is celebrated in Punjab and several other northern states on 1st day of Vaisakh which usually coincides with 13th day of April.

Harvesting Festival. Vaisakhi is the time when the most important and major wheat crop is harvested providing hope for lot of money coming home for a joyful future for all. People are in joyous mood and express their happiness by eating, dancing, arranging get together, and exchanging good-wishes and also enjoy community fairs and Nagar Kirtans (Sikh Parades) at several places. It has been the tradition since ages. Vaisakhi is also celebrated in other parts of India having different significance. In Bengal it is celebrated as the New Year day or Naba Varsha. It has great significance in Buddhist faith as its founder Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment on this very day.

Vaisakhi of Sikhs.  For the Sikhs, Vaisakhi has for more meaningful and revolutionary significance. It   was on this day in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh created Khalsa through a specially arranged huge gathering at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. From among the huge gathering the Guru most dramatically selected Five-Piaras (Beloved Ones) one by one, who were willing to sacrifice their life for the Guru. These Five-beloved ones belonged to low and high castes. They were baptized through a special ceremony and made to drink the specially prepared Amrit (nectar) from the same vessel turn by turn.

Universal Brotherhood. By creating Khalsa brotherhood Guru Gobind Singh gave a practical demonstration of equality of the mankind where there is nobody high or low on the basis of religion or caste and there by ushered in an era of equality, universal brotherhood and dauntless sacrifice for righteousness. As the Khalsa has already given his life to the Guru so he is never afraid of rendering service to the mankind and dying for righteousness. And it is due to this spirit that the Sikhs has always been in the fore front to make sacrifices for righteousness and any humanitarian cause.

Sikh & Khalsa. Any person who believes in Sikh tenants is a Sikh. When a Sikh is baptized he becomes a Khalsa. Technically a Sikh is not a Khalsa but a Khalsa is a Sikh. But generally the term Sikh or Khalsa is used for the Sikhs as a whole. Anybody may become a Khalsa if he agrees to go through the Amrit-ceremony and follow the code of conduct which includes keeping of Five Articles of faith: Kes-unshorn hair, Kirpan-sword, Kachhehra-underwear, Kanga-wooden comb and Kara-steel bracelet and also not to dishonor hair, engage in adultery and use tobacco and intoxicants.

Universal teaching. The essence of celebrating Vaisakhi lies in grasping the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh seeking the well being of entire mankind and not in merely performing some rituals. The Guru says, “Treat the entire human race as one”. Stressing upon loving and serving the people he says, “It is only through love that you can obtain God. Never be afraid of doing good deeds.” Emphatically rejecting meaningless rituals, outward show and hypocrisy, the Guru says, “I like a Sikh who lives by code of conduct, I don’t like a hypocrite.” Therefore the true message of Vaisakhi celebration is to spread the message of love, equality, oneness of God, oneness of human rare, service to mankind, to forget differences of caste creed and color, hatred, hypocrisy, business in the name of religion and exploitation of ignorant masses by showering on them false religious blessings, etc.

United Nations. It is wonderful that the United Nations Organization too resolved on October 20, 2010 to celebrate the first week of February every year as the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” to seek peace and harmony all over the world. Moreover our sweet country Canada is having a policy to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of all people, while working to achieve the equality of all Canadians in economic, cultural and political life of Canada.

Universal Peace. In this context it may nicely be said that Guru Gobind Singh’s message of “Mannas ki jaat sabhe eko pehchanbo- Treat the entire human race as one,” may prove very effective in promoting all the more peace, equality and interfaith harmony in Canada. Therefore all the Sikh organizations must make more exerted efforts to spread the universal message of Vaisakhi and let the world know that even in our daily prayer we always pray for universal peace and well-being of the entire human race.

(Gian Singh Kotli is a poet/ writer/multi-faith activist. -Editor)

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