Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh

Joylina Goodings
But who was he? Guru Gobind Singh 1666-1708 was the last of ten Gurus, who transformed the Sikh faith. In 1699 he created the Khalsa (Pure), a community of the faithful who wore visible symbols of their faith and trained as warriors. Today the Khalsa comprises all practising Sikhs. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur at the age of 9. His teachings differed greatly from his predecessors'.

He believed that no power could exploit the Sikhs. He spent his childhood years studying Persian and Sanskrit. His mission was to uphold right from wrong in every place and destroy sin and evil. He was an accomplished warrior. In 1699 he chose the festival day of Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform the Sikhs into the Khalsa, a family of soldier saints. He introduced many of the customs Sikhs practise today. 

Sikhs who have been through the Amrit ceremony of initiation become Amritdhari, initiated Sikhs. They take new names and wear the 5 Ks - five physical symbols that Sikhs must wear. On his death he declared the the Sikh holy book, The Guru Granth Sahib, as his successor instead of a human being. This meant that The Guru Granth Sahib would be the Sikhs' guide forever