By Dr. Kala Singh
Sikhs all over the world celebrate Vaisakhi on April 14. On Vaisakhi day Guru Gobind Singh completed the work started by Guru Nanak of creating a casteless society. Five Sikhs of different castes took “Khande Bate the Pahul” popularly called Amrit and became Panj Piyaras and changed their second name to Singh. They became Saint-Soldiers. Amrit was given not only to men but to women as well changing their second name to Kaur, making them equal to men. This is a unique contribution of Vaisakhi to the whole humanity.
From the time immemorial humanity has been suffering because of discrimination based on caste, race, color religion and sex. One human being has looked upon another human being as inferior. Stronger has always been terrorizing weaker and abusing as slave. For example, thousands were killed during India Pakistan partition; Hitler killed Jews; Catholics and Protestants, Shias and Sunnis kill each other, untouchables among Hindus; Sikhs killed during Wada and Chota Ghalughara and 1984 genocide; Muslims in Mumbai and Gujarat. Terrorist attacks are taking place around the world. All this is in the name of religion. Sikhs who were supposed to teach equality are fighting among themselves on the name of Akal Takht, being moderate, attached to a dera, or baba. Blacks and Indians have been discriminated in South Africa and around the world because of their color. Man has looked upon woman as inferior being. For example, Christian witch hunt and sati among Hindus. Even in USA women did not have voting rights till 1900.
It has caused innumerable mental health problems. This discrimination with its attendant mental health problems is still being practiced even to this day.
By giving Amrit to all in the same place and from the same pot, Guru abolished the distinction between different castes, race and sex. Hindu Rajas of that time said that they are ready to take Amrit if they are given separately because they are from high caste. Guru refused their request on the grounds that Amrit is meant to bring equality and humbleness. Guru said that everyone is equal. No one is to be discriminated on the grounds of race, caste, religion and sex. If you are ready to accept this philosophy, you all are welcome to join.
With Amrit came self-respect and bravery. Those people, who had never taken up weapons and were oppressed, learnt how to live with dignity and self respect after partaking Amrit. They took to weapons to fight the tyranny of the rulers. From being common people, they became saint soldiers. From being oppressed, became protectors of the oppressed.
There is a need to propagate this philosophy. Vaisakhi is not only a festival associated with harvesting and agriculture and not to be celebrated with only bhangra and folk music, but also to hold religious meetings, gatherings and sharing these ideas with others. Today the world is torn apart with wars, terrorist attacks, revenge and hatred for each other, based on caste and religion. Where religion is supposed to unite, people from same religion are fighting each other on differences caused by the interpretation of the writings of the Prophets and Gurus. It has caused a lot of mental health problems especially, post traumatic stress disorder, psychosis and depression, all over the world.
The Saint-Soldier, who came into being on the day of Vaisakhi, believes in:
- One God.
- All human beings are Gods children, so are equal. There should be no discrimination on the grounds of caste, color, religion and sex.
- Respecting all religions.
- Giving equal status, respect and opportunity to women.
- Protecting the oppressed from the tyranny of the oppressor even at the cost of his / her life.
- Weapon is to be used only for protecting oneself and others, and not for oppression and senseless killing.
- War should be waged as a last resort.
- War should be waged without hatred, any desire or revenge.
- The purpose of war should be to deliver justice.
- Territory should not be annexed. Looting and booting are forbidden as the war has been waged to deliver justice and not to punish the perpetrators.
- Only a minimum of force should be used. When the objectives have been achieved, the fighting should cease and attempts to establish peace should be made.
We were supposed to practice:
“Raj bina na dharma chaley hai, Dharam bina sab daley maley hai”
Use dictates of religion as written above for our everyday life by politicians and general public. But we are practicing:
“Dharam bina na raj chaley hai, Raj bina ham daley maley hai”
We are using religion to grab power by asking for votes that Panth is in danger.
There is a need to propagate and adopt this philosophy of the Saint-Soldier by everyone including politicians and soldiers all over the world, only then the wars, terrorist attacks and senseless killings with its attendant mental health problems can be stopped. Thus, Saint-Soldier is the ideal future international hope for humanity and the need of the day is to make these reach mankind all over the world.
Dr. Kala Singh did MBBS degree from Delhi University, India. He worked as Psychiatric Doctor in Africa and in Vancouver, Canada. He gives Sikh religious and spiritual counseling and psychotherapy to clients with stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems in his “Mind and Body Clinic”. For more information he can be contacted at 604 327 5253