Up An Athiest's view on Sikhism Chardi kalaa Story! Being born to a Sikh family CHILL OUT SINGH! Sikh Names Puneet Kohli Sardarni Sabina Kaur THE FUTURE LIES WITHIN THE YOUTH NAM IN GURBANI Diwali miami paadh How little we know about our neighbors



Where is Gurudawara in Ottawa???
Recommend this site!

Your Name
Your Friends Name
Your email address
Your friends address
Personal message

 Why is Diwali Important To Sikhs?

 The Third Sikh Teacher, Guru Amar Das institutionalized this as one of the special days when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings at Goindwal. In 1577 the foundation stone of The Golden Temple was laid on Diwali. The Diwali festival took place during the life of the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib. The Muslim Emperor Jahengir, imprisoned the Guru and 52 Kings.The Emperor ruled India at this time. The Asian Indians begged the Emperor to release the Guru and the Emperor agreed but the Gurus said also release the kings. Guru ji had a gown made with 52 string pieces for the Hindus to hold. The Guru and the Hindu kings were also freed at Diwali, Sikhs were very happy when their leader was released. Guru Hargobind Sahib went to the Golden Temple Amritsar in the Punjab. Sikh Diwali is recalled throughout India and in many countries; each year to remember Guru ji's release. At Diwali we worship the religious freedom for Sikhs and this is why Diwali is called the Light Festival. As Guru's Mother was full of happiness that her son was released she ordered food and sweets and gave them to everyone. The worshippers float multi-coloured light candles on the water at the Golden Temple. The gurdwara, hold a grand fireworks display. SACRIFICE ON DIWALI BHAI MANI SINGHBhai Mani Singh was a great Sikh scholar and martyr who was the scribe of the final version of the Guru Granth Sahib under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh. In 1737 Bhai Mani Singh took permission from the muslim governor of Lahore for the Sikhs to celebrate Diwali at the Golden Temple on the payment of Rs. 5,000 as tax, a practice which had been banned. Not enough people attended Diwali that year because they were afraid of the muslim authorities and as a result not enough money was collected. The muslim authorities arrested Bhai Mani Singh and publicly executed him in Lahore. This great Martyr showed his courage as he recited Sukhmani Sahib while he was cut LIMB BY LIMB, JOINT BY JOINT and remained in high spirits through the torture.wahegurooowaheguroo wahegurooo waheguruooo..WAHEGUROOOO JE KAA KHALSAAAA WAHEGUROOO JEE KEE FATEHH JEEE!!!!!

"Gill, Harpreet [CAR:1E22:EXCH]" wrote:

Author(s) of SATNAM NETWORK Team (Sikh Assets Teachings News And Mission)


"Bandi Chhorh Diwas", also known as "Diwali", is celebrated in October-November. "Bandi Chhorh Diwas" means "Day(diwas) Of Freedom(chhorh) from imprisonment(Bandi)" and "Diwali" means "Festival Of Lights". Diwali is also referred to as "Deepawali" meaning row of lights or Deevas (i.e. clay lamp made up from cotton wick kept submerged in a clay pot filled with oil or butter). Sikhs and Hindus celebrate the day in India and all over the world due to their respective religious significances.

Sikh Significance

5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji constructed Harmandir Sahib (also known as Golden temple) & compiled the Sikh Holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib in 1604. The ruling Mogul emperor Jahangir took it as a threat to Islam and the circumstances led to Guru Arjan Dev Ji's assassination. Guru Sahib's son, Guru Hargobind Ji assumed the Guruship and prepared the Sikhs to be soldiers in addition to leading a spiritual life. With the fear of retaliation, Jahangir imprisoned Guru Sahib at the Gwalior fort in 1612 AD (age 17 years). Later on, convinced with Guru Sahib's peace loving attitude & intentions, Jahangir ordered release of Guru Hargobind Ji from the Gwalior Fort (India) in 1614 AD. The Kind Guru Ji refused to leave the fort on his own and demanded release of other innocent 52 Hindu rajas. His demand was accepted and 52 rajas were set free from the life imprisonment. Upon return to Amritsar, grand celebrations were held. Harmandir Sahib  was illuminated & fireworks were displayed. Gurbani kirtan (Hymns) & prayers were performed. Guru Ji was regarded as "Bandi Chhorh Guru" (freedom provider Guru).

Guru Ji demonstrated the extreme & difficult virtue of "forgiveness" when he saved Jahangir's life from an attacking tiger (before imprisonment), despite all the hostility & the awful act of ordering assassination of the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Guru Ji's father) with an excuse that He was a threat to Islam.

Even today, the Sikhs remember Guru Hargobind Ji as "Bandi Chhorh Guru" (freedom provider from the captivity of materialistic worldly bonds). The Sikhs visit Gurdwara and join the Sadh-sangat (congregation) to listen to the Gurbani & Kirtan. Langar (free food) and sweets are served from Guru's free kitchen (Langar Hall). Gurdwara building is decorated with lights. Besides the social aspects, the prime objective is to perform prayers for liberation from the materialist bonds so that one may be able to merge back into the supreme Waheguru (objective of human life).

The day signifies for all to be kind, tolerant, selfless and forgiving that is needed to help maintain the global peace.

Hindu Significance

Festival has been celebrated since the ancient times on the day of amaavasayaa, the last day of the dark half of the lunar month Katrika (October-November). In its earlier form, the lights were lit to ward off the evil spirits of darkness and ill luck. Hindus also worshipped Lakshami, the goddess of good fortune, beauty & wealth.

The festival was later linked with the following event:

Around 2000 years ago, a king called Dashrath lived in Ayodayaa (India) who had two sons from his first marriage, Shri Ram Chandar and Lakashman. His second wife, Kakaiyee, compelled him to send Shri Ram Chandar on 14 years of exile so that her son, Bharat, could become the king. Lakashman accompanied his brother. During exile, Shri Ram Chandar was married to Sita. Raavan, the king of Ceylon, who was a great scholar of religious scriptures, made a mistake of kidnapping Sita due to his ego. Shri Ram Chandar, with the help of Hanumaan and his army managed to kill Raavan and bring Sita back. Shri Ram Chandar, Sita and Lakashman returned home after 14 years of exile and Bharat handed over the kingdom to Sri Ram Chandar. People of Ayodaya lit Deevas and performed worship to mark the occasion. The occasion became known as "Diwali".

The festival signifies 'Victory of good over evil'; Victory of truth over falsehood.

Background Of Bandi Chhorh Diwas

Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Martyrdom

Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Sikh Guru in succession, compiled the first version of Guru Granth Sahib (also known as Aad Granth and Pothi Sahib) in 1605 AD, who presently is the "Shabad (word) Guru" of the Sikhs. Upon completion of Harmandir Sahib (also known as Golden Temple),

Guru Arjan Dev Ji asked the Sikhs not to worship any picture or idol rather told Sikhs to meditate upon God's virtues/praises by practicing advice contained in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Granth Sahib was placed in the Harmandir Sahib in 1604 during the opening ceremony rather than installing Guru's pictures or idols. Saint Mian Mir, a well-known religious figure in the Muslim community, was a very close companion of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and it was quite significant that Guru Sahib chose him to lay the foundation stone of Harmandir sahib. The Sikh beliefs were adopted by many from various faiths due to their simplicity and being without arduous/complex religious rituals. The Muslim and Hindu religious leaders could not tolerate the popularity of the upcoming Sikh faith.

The Mogul emperor Jahangir was in power then, who was convinced by these so called religious authorities that Islam was under threat. The circumstances led to Guru Arjan Dev Ji's arrest. Chandu, one of Jahangir's officers, prepared a horrific plan to torture Guru Ji to death.

The reason for Chandu's jealousy was that his pride was hurt when Guru Ji turned down the marriage proposal for his daughter to Guru Ji's son Shri Hargobind Ji due to Chandu's egoistic attitude (Chandu was claiming that how fortunate Guru Arjan Dev Ji would be if His son was married into a royal family of mine. The Sikhs did not like his attitude and requested Guru Ji no to proceed with the marriage proposal). Guru Arjan Dev Ji was assassinated at Chandu's house in Lahore in the June 1606. Guru Sahib was sat on the hot plate, poured with sand from top. Subsequently, He was made to sit in the boiling water and finally body was disposed off in the river Ravi.

Guru Hargobind Ji Became 6th Guru

Guru Hargobind Ji was only 11 year old at the time of His father's martyrdom in 1606. He resumed the Guruship as the 6th Guru. It is worthwhile mentioning that the first five Gurus did not involve in fighting any battles but Guru Arjan Dev Ji had realised that it was time for getting prepared to fight against brutality and injustice. The military & spiritual training was given to young Guru Hargobind Ji under the direction of Baba Buddha Ji & Bhai Gurdas Ji. Later on, Guru Hargobind Ji gathered the Sikhs and provided them the military training at   "Akal Takhat"  (Throne Of Waheguru), which was built facing the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.

Harmandir Sahib symbolised spiritual power for Sikhs and Akal Takhat stood for the temporal (militant) power. Guru Ji wore two swords called Miri (dealing with worldly authority; referring to sovereignty) and Piri (representing spiritual authority).   This was amazing about Guru Ji who took a big responsibility on his young shoulders. He was a spiritual as well as a great leader i.e. truly a great Saint & Soldier.

Guru Hargobind Ji taught the Sikhs to live with pride & self-respect. He Himself used to dress up like an Emperor and used to sit on the throne with canopy to supervise Sikhs during the physical training. He hoisted the Sikh Nation flag at Akal Takhat called Nishan Sahib that represented freedom & pride and also, a landmark for God's House (with the presence of Khanda at the top). Guru Sahib also asked the Sikhs to play the loud beats on a big kettle-drum (called Nagara) as a sign of royalty & freedom. Nagara was also used to indicate the timings for prayer, langar (meals) or other key events but most importantly to raise an alarm in case of attack by the enemy. In 1684, it was named as Ranjeet Nagara (Drum of victory in the battle field) by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Guru Hargobind  Sahib became known as "Sachaa Patshah" meaning "The True Emperor". It may be noted that keeping arms, riding horse, beating drums, dressing up like a king and sitting on the throne were prohibited for a non-Muslim but it did not bother Guru Sahib and the Sikhs.

Kind, Courageous And Forgiving Guru

Guru Hargobind Ji's plans worried Jahangir in that He might retaliate for his father's assassination. He invited Guru Ji to Delhi and after a long dialogue, he was convinced that Guru Ji had no such intention and was totally satisfied with Guru Ji's beliefs and principles. Guru Sahib told Jahangir that a true faith like Sikhism taught one to be tolerant to all people belonging to other faiths and advocated forgiving those (even sinners) who are willing to reform (i.e. live & let live). Jahangir grew friendly with Guru Ji but with some sense of caution. Main reason for this friendship was to keep a close eye on Guru Ji's moves.

Once, Guru Ji was accompanying Jahangir, then, a tiger attacked Jahangir. He fired all his shots/arrows but missed the attacking tiger. His accompanying officers failed to respond to his distress call. Brave Guru Ji got off his horse and put the tiger to rest with His sword. This incident made Jahangir feel obliged to Guru Ji for having saved his life and he began to repent for the sin he had committed by ordering assassination of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He visited Guru Ji's mother Mata Ganga Ji and apologised for the cruelty.

Guru Ji Imprisoned

Chandu, was quite concerned about the fact that Jahangir was getting very friendly with Guru Ji and felt that one day he might be taken to task for his evil deeds. He started to play Jahangir against Guru Hargobind Ji by mentioning about Guru Ji's strong army, popularity and re-iterating that He might avenge his father's assassination any day.

Some authors believe that Chandu also engaged an astrologer to contrive Guru Ji's confinement. Chandu's tricks began to work. Finally, Jahangir ordered Guru Ji to be detained in the Gwalior fort on a pretext that forthcoming calamity (bad time as predicted by astrologer) for Jahangir could be averted if a saintly person like Guru Sahib performs the prayers in the Fort for 40 days. Jahangir had been quoted to be quite ill at the time & Guru Sahib was asked to perform prayer for his recovery as well.

Prison Turned into a Place of Worship

Guru Ji accepted the decision without hesitation. The next morning, accompanied only by few Sikhs, He set out for Gwalior fort in 1612 AD (age 17 years). In the fort, several rajas (rajas) were detained for life who had been stripped off their kingdoms by Jahangir and were being ill-treated. They were neither provided sufficient food nor clean clothes to wear. Guru Ji felt very sympathetic. He shared his rations among the all the prisoners. He brought solace to them by telling them about the reality of life. He engaged them in "Naam-Simran" (devotional Divine meditation). The rajas felt as if they had achieved  solace in their lives & became Guru's Sikhs (disciples). Chandu tried to kill Guru Sahib in the prison by asking the jailer, Haridas, to poison Him but even Haridas, who had become Guru's Sikh, refused to commit this evil act and informed Guru Sahib of Chandu's evil intentions.

Meanwhile, Guru Ji's mother, Mata Ganga Ji, became anxious when Guru Ji did not return in due time. She sent Baba Buddha Ji with group of Sikhs to bring Him home. Every day, group of Sikhs led by Baba Buddha Ji would go around the fort eager to have sight of their Guru and protest for Guru Ji's release.

Mata Ganga Ji & Baba Budhaa Ji also approached Muslim saint Mian Mir to help release of Guru Sahib. Saint Mian Mir convinced Jahangir that Guru Hargobind Ji had no intention to harm innocent persons & He possesses a divine virtue of forgiveness for those sinners who are willing to reform themselves. He also warned that keeping such a Divine person in the custody might result in the downfall of Islam.

Guru Ji's Release

Jahangir was surprised by Guru Ji's popularity in the prison and also constant gathering of Sikhs outside the fort. Group of Sikhs campaigned in Delhi as well to secure Guru Ji's release. Troubled with fearful visions and the debt (of his life) he owed to the Guru, the Emperor gave orders for Guru Ji's release after 2 years of captivity in 1614 AD. There was sadness amongst the 52 rajas as they could not bear the dreadful thought of living without the Guru.  The kind Guru was moved and He refused to leave the fort until these Rajas were also set free.

Jahangir agreed on the condition that only those holding on to Guru Ji's dress could leave. Guru Ji knew this clever plan, as the doorway out of the castle was just wide enough for only one person to pass through. Therefore, Guru Ji ordered a special robe with 52 tassels of different lengths to enable all the 52 rajas walk out of the fort in a single file. The generous Guru and 52 rajas were received by Baba Buddha Ji, Bhai Gurdas Ji, Muslim saint Mian Mir & the Sikh Sangat outside the fort. Ever since, the engraved slogan "Bandi-Chhorh Daataa" (Bestower of Freedom from captivity) above the door has been preserved in the Gwalior fort.

In Amritsar, the climate was cheerful and joyous. Even other non-Sikh people, who were celebrating Diwali at the time, also joined the celebrations. Harmandir Sahib was illuminated and on Guru Ji's arrival Gurbani was recited and thanksgiving prayer for safe return was performed.

Lessons  From The Bandi Chorhh Diwas

1)   Be Kind : If we look back in the history, all the military commanders & leaders lacked compassion which resulted in suffering to the innocents (e.g. Hitler, Sadam Hussain etc). Guru Hargobind Ji's leadership was unmatched which was combined with kindness, compassion & tolerance. Guru Ji saved Jahangir's life by putting his own life at risk and also could not bear the thought of leaving the innocent 52 rajas behind in Gwalior fort.

Absence of kindness & tolerance in the human beings has caused unbalance of wealth, prosperity & standards, which has led to terrible distress in the world.

2 )   Give up Forgiveness & Ego : Guru Hargobind Ji forgave Jahangir for the sinful act of assassination of his father, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Great Guru Ji saved Jahangir's life rather than letting the tiger eat him alive, as Jahangir was apologetic for his shameful act. One of the lessons we learn from the incident is to forgive those who are willing to correct themselves. Although, it is not an easy thing to do. Remember, what makes a person good or bad is one's thoughts/ attitude, from where the actions originate.

If one is willing to correct the attitude then giving a chance to improve is a virtuous act, as stated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the following verse (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 223).

gauVI mhlw 1 ] iKmw ghI bRqu sIl sMqoKM ] rogu n ibAwpY nw jm doKM ]

which means that to  practice forgiveness is the true fast, good conduct that makes one content. By practicing forgiveness, disease (ego) gets eradicated and the pain of death ends (become immortal i.e. become one with God).

Therefore, all those in superior / better positions should be tolerant about others not so fortunate and do not let their ego become their own enemy. We should not humiliate or isolate anyone from any faith rather should pray for them to attain understanding and ability to follow God's Word and be good Sikhs/human beings. It applies to Amritdhari Sikhs who should exercise tolerance for all and should not judge others based on whether one has taken with Amrit yet or not, rather pray for them to join the Khalsa Panth (spiritually blessed). Gurbani advises us to keep away from ego :

koit krm krY hau Dwry ] sRmu pwvY sgly ibrQwry ] Aink qpisAw kry AhMkwr ]
nrk surg iPir iPir Avqwr ] Aink jqn kir Awqm nhI dRvY ] hir drgh khu kYsy gvY ]
Awps kau jo Blw khwvY ] iqsih BlweI inkit n AwvY ] srb kI  ryn jw kw mnu hoie ]
khu nwnk qw kI inrml soie ]  (pMnw 278, gauVI mhlw 5).

Which means "If someone does millions of good deeds, while acting in ego; all this effort goes in vain. If someone performs great penance, while acting in pride, one shall be reincarnated into heaven and hell, over and over again. One who makes all sorts of efforts, but the soul is still not softened (no kindness) - how can one go to Waheguru's Court?. One who calls oneself good - goodness shall not draw near. One whose mind is the dust of all (kind & humble) - says Nanak, his/her reputation is spotlessly pure" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, p278)

3)      Be true Saint & Soldier : First & foremost duty of all human beings is to be a "saints" (Naam Japna i.e.  to be devotional to Almighty Waheguru & loving to the creation) and secondly to play role of a  "soldier" in order to protect the divine faith  and fight against injustice & brutality.

Therefore, it is vital that one performs meditation for at least for 10% of the time in a day (2hour & 24 minutes). In today's democratic world, it is vital that everyone is educated to a good standard in order to practice honest living and have confidence to deal with injustice and any kind of discrimination. it is very important for one to be physically fit by doing regular exercises. Not only the physical exercises help in maintaining the physical fitness, but also help to reduce the stress levels.

How to Celebrate Bandi Chhorh Diwas / Diwali

Guru Hargobind Ji was released in 1619 AD from the Gwalior fort and He also helped other 52 rajas to be freed from the life imprisonment. The celebrations were held when he arrived at Amritsar.

Question is that why do we celebrate the day many hundred years after ?

Do we understand ? Probably NOT. An attempt has been made to answer the above questions as follows :

Purpose of the Celebrations is to remember Guru Ji and pray for one's own release from the imprisonment like 52 rajas. One might think that he/she is not in prison and is free to do whatever ...

One might be wrong here. Most people are constantly being forced into the PRISON of pride, rat race, show off, peer pressure and one may go to the extent of turning morals against what Gurus have laid down (smoking, using intoxicants, adultery, removing hair and so on .....).

Most of us are prisoners of the culture & society.

Objective of the celebration is to pray for our liberation from the worldly bonds and act upon Guru's path of truthfulness to avail human life time (i.e. to be one with Waheguru / Lord). Rather than lighting a deeva of clay, oil & wick, one should light the mind with the divine knowledge contained in Gurbani.

Therefore, lighting a deeva in true sense is acquiring Divine knowledge & virtues (being kind, humble, meek, tolerant, selfless, sweet spoken .....)  that leads one to become one with Waheguru / God.

Gurbani advises us which deeva to light and where in the following shabad ;

Awsw mhlw 1] dIvw myrw eyku nwmu duKu ivic pwieAw qylu ]auin cwnix Ehu soiKAw cUkw jm isau mylu ]
Aasaa Mahalaa 1, Deevaa meraa ek naam dukh vich paayeyaa t'ail || un chaanan oh sokheyaa chookaa jum seon mail ||

which means that God's Name (divine devotion) is my lamp (to be lighted in the mind); I have put the oil of suffering (ego, jealousy, anger, lust, greed) into it. Its flame has dried up this oil, and I have escaped meeting with the Messenger of Death i.e. attained union with Waheguru. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 358)

NOTE :  There have been incidents of fire due to over enthusiasm in lighting deevas or candles resulting in serious damage to the Gurdwara buildings. This entirely defeats the purpose of celebration. What kind of celebration it is. Think carefully, if a friend of yours or even your own child soils a part of your house, it will not leave you in a happy mood.

May our prayers be listened and Waheguru grant us freedom, like the 52 rajas, from the worldly bonds   (ego, lust, anger, greed, jealousy, hatred and peer pressure etc.).

Awip mukqu mukqu krY sMswru ] nwnk iqsu jn kau sdw nmskwru.

meaning that He (Guru) who Himself is liberated, liberates the universe (i.e. "Bandi Chhorh"). Nanak says, I bow (to the Guru) in reverence forever (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Page 295).

Dhan Dhan (Great) Sri Guru Hargobind Ji
Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali) of 1737

Bhai Mani Singh transcribed the final version of Guru Granth Sahib upon dictation from Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1704 at Damdamma Sahib. After heavenly abode of Guru Sahib in 1708, he took charge of Harmandir Sahib's management. In 1737, invitations were sent to the Sikhs all over India to join Bandi Chhorh Diwas celebrations at Harmandir Sahib. A tax of 5000 rupees (some authors have mentioned 10,000 rupees) had to be paid to the Mogul governor of Punjab, Zakariya Khan. Bhai Mani Singh Ji later discovered the secret plan of Zakariya Khan to kill the Sikhs during the gathering. Bhai Mani Singh Ji immediately sent message to all the Sikhs not to turn up for celebrations. Zakariya Khan was not happy about the situation and he ordered Bhai Mani Singh's assassination at Lahore by ruthlessly cutting him limb-by-limb to death. Ever since, the great sacrifice & devotion of Bhai Mani Singh Ji is remembered on the Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali) celebration.

Author : The information in this web has been published with inspiration and wisdom imparted by Immortal, Omnipotent Waheguru to the Author(s) of SATNAM NETWORK Team (Sikh Assets Teachings News And Mission).

Last updated on : November 11, 2001