Political Advancement

Political AdvancementHar Gobind, became the sixth guru of the Sikhs. He carried two swords—one for spiritual and the other for temporal reasons. Sikhs grew as an organised community and always had a trained fighting force to defend their independence. In 1644, Har Rai became guru followed by Har Krishan, the boy guru, in 1661. No hymns composed by these three gurus are included in the Sikh holy book.

Tegh Bahadur became guru in 1665 and led the Sikhs until 1675. Teg Bahadur was executed by Aurangzeb for helping to protect Hindus, after a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits came to him for help when the Emperor condemned them to death for failing to convert to Islam. He was succeeded by his son, Gobind Rai who was just nine years old at the time of his father's death. Gobind Rai further militarised his followers, and was baptised when he formed the Khalsa in 1699. From here on in he was known as Gobind Singh.
From the time of Nanak, when it was a loose collection of followers who focused entirely on the attainment of salvation and God, the Sikh community had significantly transformed. Even though the core Sikh religious philosophy was never affected, the followers now began to develop a political identity. Conflict with Mughal authorities escalated during the lifetime of Teg Bahadur and Gobind Singh. The latter founded the Khalsa in 1699. The Khalsa is a disciplined community that combines its religious purpose and goals with political and military duties.
Shortly before his death, Gobind Singh ordered that the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Holy Scripture), would be the ultimate spiritual authority for the Sikhs and temporal authority would be vested in the Khalsa Panth. The first scripture was compiled and edited by the fifth guru, Arjan Dev, in 1604.
After the guru's death, Banda Bahadur became the leader of the Sikh army and was responsible for several attacks on the Mughal empire. He was executed by the emperor Jahandar Shah after refusing the offer of a pardon if he converted to Islam.
The Sikh community's embrace of military and political organisation made it a considerable regional force in medieval India and it continued to evolve after the demise of the gurus. After the death of Banda Bahadur, a Sikh Confederacy of Sikh warrior bands known as misls formed. With the decline of the Mughal empire, a Sikh Empire arose in the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, with its capital in Lahore and limits reaching the Khyber Pass and the borders of China. The order, traditions and discipline developed over centuries culminated at the time of Ranjit Singh to give rise to the common religious and social identity that the term "Sikhism" describes.
After the death of Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Empire fell into disorder and was eventually annexed by Britain after the hard fought Anglo-Sikh Wars. This brought the Punjab under British Raj. Sikhs formed the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and the Shiromani Akali Dal to preserve Sikhs religious and political organization quarter of a century later after that.

There are two primary sources of scripture for the Sikhs: the Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth. The Guru Granth Sahib may be referred to as the Adi Granth—literally, The First Volume. The Adi Granth refers to the version of the scripture created by Arjan Dev in 1604. The Guru Granth Sahib refers to the final version of the scripture created by Gobind Singh.

Adi Granth
The Adi Granth was compiled primarily by Bhai Gurdas under the supervision of Arjan Dev between the years 1603 and 1604. It is written in the Gurmukhi script. The Gurmukhi script was standardised by Arjan Dev for use in the Sikh scriptures. An authoritative scripture was created to protect the integrity of hymns and teachings of the Sikh gurus and selected bhagats. At the time, Arjan Dev tried to prevent undue influence from the followers of Prithi Chand, the guru's older brother and rival.
The original version of the Adi Granth is known as the kartarpur bi and is currently held by the Sodhi family of Kartarpur.

Guru Granth Sahib
The final version of the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by Gobind Singh. It consists of the original Adi Granth with the addition of Teg Bahadur's hymns. It was decreed by Gobind Singh that the Granth was to be considered the eternal guru of all Sikhs, however, this tradition is not mentioned either in 'Guru Granth Sahib' or in 'Dasam Granth'.
It contains compositions by the first five gurus, Teg Bahadur and just one couplet from Gobind Singh. It also contains the traditions and teachings of sants (saints) such as Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas and Sheikh Farid along with several others.
The bulk of the scripture is classified into ragas, with each raga subdivided according to length and author. There are 31 main ragas within the Guru Granth Sahib. In addition to the rags, there are clear references to the folk music of Punjab. The text further comprises over 5000 shabads, or hymns, which are poetically constructed and set to classical form of music rendition, can be set to predetermined musical tāl, or rhythmic beats.
All text within the Granth is known as ‘Gurbani’. Gurbani, according to Nanak, was revealed by God directly, and the authors wrote it down for the followers. The status accorded to the scripture is defined by the evolving interpretation of the concept of guru. In the Sant tradition of Nanak, the guru was literally the word of God. The Sikh community soon transferred the role to a line of men who gave authoritative and practical expression to religious teachings and traditions, in addition to taking socio-political leadership of Sikh adherents.

Dasam Granth
The Dasam Granth is an eighteenth-century collection of miscellaneous works some of which is generally attributed to Gobind Singh. The teachings of Gobind Singh were not included in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, and instead are speculated to have been collected in the Dasam Granth. Unlike the Guru Granth Sahib, the Dasam Granth was never declared to hold guruship. The authenticity of some portions of the Granth has been questioned and the appropriateness of the Granth's content still causes much debate.
The entire Granth is written in the Gurmukhi script, although most of the language is Braj and not Punjabi. Sikh tradition states that Mani Singh collected the writings of Gobind Singh after his death to create the Granth.
From 1892 to 1897, scholars assembled at the Akal Takht, Amritsar, to study the various printed Dasam Granths and prepare the authoritative version. They concluded that the Dasam Granth was entirely the work of Gobind Singh. Further re-examinations and reviews took place in 1931, under the Darbar Sahib Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee they too vindicated the earlier conclusion.


The Janamsakhis (birth stories), are writings which profess to be biographies of Nanak. They provide an interesting look at Nanak's life and the early start of Sikhism.

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