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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sikhs and Diwali.....

Diwali is an important festival for the Sikh community, reason being that in 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid in Amritsar on Diwali. For Sikhs, Diwali hold a different meaning than what Hindus celebrate it for. Following is an attempt to explain the special meaning the day holds for Sikhs...

The Muslim Emperor Jahengir, imprisoned the Sixth sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib and 52 Kings.The Emperor ruled India at this time. The Emperor was sent several requests to release the Guru and the Emperor agreed but the Gurus said also to release the other kings. To this the Emperor said that as many kings will be relesed who are able to grab Guru ji’s Chola (gown). 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, held a grand fireworks display.

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 and our big ego. Objective of the celebration should be 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 (lamp) 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 ;

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)

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


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 day of Diwali.

This year Diwali falls on Oct 21st.


  • good blog, keep it up

    By Blogger Confused Khalsa, at 10/18/2006 6:30 PM  

  • Nice informative post!
    We sikhs should stay away from pomp and show of Diwali and should use this festival to light lamps of wisdom

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/22/2006 6:01 AM  

  • Sifar Ji,

    Thank you for this information. I didn't know about the laying of Foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib on Diwali and Bhai Mani Singh Ji. Happy Belated Diwali to you and family!

    By Blogger SikhsRus, at 10/23/2006 12:27 PM  

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