Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee's first sermon must be heard again today, and it applies just as much now as it did when he first gave it.
Guru Arjan Dev Jee had been brutally tortured and had embraced martyrdom, becoming an example for the Panth. The Sikhs were grief-struck and felt a sense of despair. The small Panth of Guru Nanak had been targeted by the mighty power of the Mughals.
Guru Hargobind Sahib, became the next Guru as per the orders of his father. In front of all the gathered Sikhs, Baba Buddha jee put the two swords of miri and piri on Guru Hargobind Sahib. Guru Sahib was dressed like an emperor and there was a kalgi on his dastaar.
The Dhadis, Bhai Abdullah and Bhai Nath Mal, at the hukam of Guru Hargobind Sahib, sang a vaar filled with bir ras.
Then, Guru Hargobind Sahib rose and gave his first sermon to the Sikhs:
“Today the offerings that are beloved to me are good weapons and good youth. If you want my happiness, then exercise your bodies, wrestle, play gatka, go into the jungles to hunt and learn to ride horses. Weakness is now a crime to the Nation that cannot be forgiven for anyone. You will take up the sword and I now wear the sword so that the swords of tyranny and oppression will stop forever.
You have all come from far and wide today. The cool tranquillity has been stolen from not just your heart and my heart, but from the entire world. Our swords will not rest until we bring this oppression to an end.
Make day and night one. Go into the villages and light the inferno of revolution. Tell the people that we need their youth. Only that is a good youth that sacrifices itself for the cause of the Nation. We need sacred hearts and pure minds. Enshrine Waheguru in your hearts. We fear death because we have not experienced true life. We feel worry because we have not enjoyed a taste of life. We feel fear because our destination and goal seems so far off. But if you challenge death, death will flee from you. If you learn to walk with your heads held high then worry will depart. If you are determined to walk, the destination will not be so far away. Have faith in Vahiguru and all fears will vanish. If fear has left you then even death will seem like bliss.”
Guru jee continued,
“Do not think that you are too few. You are all like springs. Oceans flow out of these very springs. There are hundreds of thousands of springs like you in our Nation. When you come together and flow forward, you will create a flood.
A small and insignificant piece of wood, when made into a match, can light the entire jungle on fire. But you are humans! And furthermore, those humans whose heart has just now been scorched on hot iron plates [reference to shahidi of Guru Arjan Dev jee].
Addressing the poets in the Sangat, Guru Sahib said,
“See, God has given you the gift of poetry. When nations are built, you are the foundations. Stop all these other untimely songs and work to bring the Nation out of this deep dark pit. Tell those stories which will make the people willing to lose their skin like they would be willing to change their clothes. Fill the people of our Nation with the spirit and fervour to be like moths so they will sacrifice themselves in the flames of our cause.
Our blood has become cold. Tell us stories of Shahidi and become the furnaces that will boil our blood. Give us the passion to make the trampled Punjab and our crushed Nation rise to its feet once again.”
Speaking to the Dhadis, Guru Sahib said,
“Now is the time that your instruments should call out a challenge. Your notes should stir the Nation. The beat of your dhads should awaken the people and the bells on your bows should make hearts fill with the zeal of sacrifice.”
We must hear Guru Sahib’s message again today and rise to the challenge.