Guru Gobind Singh compiled the final version of the Adi Granth. Saint, scholar, soldier all rolled into one, Guru Gobind Singh was responsible for the evolution of the Khalsa Panth.
He was barely nine years old when the dismembered head of his father Guru Teg Bahadur was brought to him at Anandpur Saheb. This became the turning point in little Gobind Rai's life and paved the way for the concretisation of the Sikh tradition. The child held back his tears, embraced the faithful Jaita who had risked his life to bring the sacred trust in tact, and declared that henceforth all untouchables would be the Guru's own children.
Thus began the Dharam Yudh Guru Gobind Singh launched against tyranny and injustice.
Swami Vivekananda said, ''The Guru lived and died for Dharma to preserve the values of his motherland and protect the honour of his countrymen''. It is said that when Swamiji narrated the tales of valour and nobility of Guru Gobind Singh to his disciples tears would well up in his eyes while the listeners were fired by the Guru's heroic deeds. In the Zafarnama the Guru addressed Aurangzeb thus: ''A religious man never breaks his promise. You are faithless and nonreligious. You know neither God nor Prophet Mohammad...What if my four sons have been killed? It is no heroism to extinguish a few sparks''.
Rabindranath Tagore called Guru Gobind Singh a ''great harbinger of change'' - his greatest achievement being the creation of the Khalsa, a new social order where every one is equal. This new order played the role of defending the nation, members fought like lions in war and acted as model citizens in peace. Renowned historian Dr H R Gupta captures the etymological and philosophical/ spiritual significance of each of the five letters of the Persian word, Khalsa - 'Kh' and 'a', stand, respectively for Khud or oneself and the Akal Purkh (God). The third letter 'l', signifies Labbaik, meaning the following question of God: ''What do you want with me? Here I am. What would you have?'', and the reply of the Singh (devotee) - ''Lord give us liberty and sovereignty''. The fourth letter 's' signifies Saheb (Lord). The last letter is written either as 'a' or, more usually, 'h'. The former signifies azadi or freedom and the latter refers to Huma, the legendary bird''.
The philosophy of the Khalsa falls perfectly in line with Indian spiritual tradition which goes beyond toleration. It means respecting the faiths of others. ''The Sikh Gurus who compiled the Adi Granth'', says Dr Radhakrishnan, ''had this noble quality of appreciation of whatever was valuable in other religious traditions''. The Guru Granth Saheb itself is replete with verses and hymns from the Sufi traditions of Baba Farid as well as the bhakti tradition of Namdev and the Maharashtrian saints besides Kabir and Dhanna. Guru Gobind Singh symbolised the spiritual-moral upsurge of his times, combining in himself the erudition of a scholar, the sensitivity of a poet and passion of a warrior.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote prolifically in Punjabi, Hindi and Persian. He wrote Dasam Granth in Punjabi, Hikayats and Zafarnama in Persian and Ram Avtar, Krishan Avtar and Bachitra Natak in Brajbhasha. All these works are marked by a high degree of excellence and sensibility.
Giani Gian Singh, author of Tawarik-e-Guru-Khalsa captures the spirit of the Guru when he writes ''Guru Gobind Singh could snatch valuable hours from his martial activities for writing historical literature during his stay at Poanta Saheb. Tradition holds that the torrents of the river Yamuna adopted pin-drop silence when the Guru indulged in literary pursuits''.
The Guru fought his Dharam Yudh in the great epical tradition of righteousness to restore the moral balance of the age: ''When all other means fail, it is lawful to draw the sword'' he declared. The great Karma Yogi that he was, his life and character are summed up beautifully in his own oft-quoted verse from his Chandi Charitra: ''Grant me, My Lord, the Boon/ Never to falter in doing a noble deed''.
His writings were collected by his disciple Mani Singh thirty years after his demise.The compilation, comprising over two thousand hymns, is known as the Dasm Granth-the Granth of the tenth Guru. His ballad, Chandi Di Var (Ode to the Divine Sword), is a unique composition in Punjabi
Neither before nor after it, has martial poetry of such a fine caliber been produced in the language. Chandi Di Var is the dual vehicle of spirituality and heroism. It also epitomized Punjabi identity and in a wider context, the Indian ethos.