Bandi Chhor Diwas

Bandi Chhor Diwas
Bandi Chhor Diwas

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, sixth Sikh Guru emerging from Gwalior Fort where he was imprisoned by Emperor Jahangir. Along with him, 52 Hindu chieftains were also released, on request from the Guru. Sikhs celebrate Diwali festival as “Bandi Chhor Diwas” because the Guru reached Amritsar back on the Diwali day. For the full story visit http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bandi_Chhorh_Divas

Very few people know that this day is also important for Sikhs because of martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh. He transcribed the final version of Guru Granth Sahib dictated to him by Guru Gobind Singh in 1704.

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Diwali night

Diwali
Diwali
Diwali was celebrated in India a few days back. Diwali means differently to different religions – for sikhs it marks the return of Guru Hargobindji to Amritsar.

The first copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was scribed by Bhai Gurdaas, who was a devoted sikh of Guru Arjan Devji. He completed the Adi Granth in 1604. It took him nearly 19 years to complete this task. Bhai Gurdas not only wrote the Adi Granth as dictated by Guru Arjan Dev but also supervised four other scribes, Bhai Haria, Bhai Sant Das, Bhai Sukha and Bhai Manasa Ram, in the writing of various scriptures. Bhai Gurdaas’ own writings are collectively known as ‘Varan Bhai Gurdaas – and from these I bring the following hymn. This is normally sung during Diwali, because of the reference to Diwali in the first line. Many people believe this to be an implicit instruction by the Guru to lite candles. However, this is not true – the Guru never believes in completing physical rituals. The meaning of the hymn is more sublime:

੬ : ਚੱਲਣ ਜੁਗਤ
ਦੀਵਾਲੀ ਦੀ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੀਵੇ ਬਾਲੀਅਨਿ।
Lamps are lighted in the night of diwali festival;

ਤਾਰੇ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਨਾਤਿ ਅੰਬਰਿ ਭਾਲੀਅਨਿ।
Stars of different variety appear in the sky;

ਫੁਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਬਾਗਾਤਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਚਾਲੀਅਨਿ।
Flowers blossom in the garden; but are plucked;

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਨੈਣ ਨਿਹਾਲੀਅਨਿ।
The pilgrims are seen visiting the places of pilgrimage;

ਹਰਿਚੰਦਉਰੀ ਝਾਤਿ ਵਸਾਇ ਉਚਾਲੀਅਨਿ।
Temporary habitats have been seen coming into being and vanishing.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਖ ਫਲ ਦਾਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਮ੍ਹਾਲੀਅਨਿ ॥੬॥
All these are momentary, but the gurmukhs with the help of the Word nourish the gift of the pleasure fruit.

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Diwali hiatus

Have not been able to post last week due to being busy with the festival of Diwali. It symbolises the victory of good over evil, and is a festival of lights. I may be able to post some pictures later. This is a major North Indian festival and celebrations typically are spread over a week.

Anyhow, I am back now and you will see some posts that I really should have posted during this period.

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Ravan burning

Yet again India witnessed the effigy-burning of Ravana during the festival of Dussehra. This is how the stage was set initially with Ravana in the middle and Kumbhkaran (Ravana’s brother) and Meghnath (Ravana’s son) on the sides:

Ravana in the middle
Ravana in the middle

Some pictures of the fireworks that happened to initiate the ceremony:

Fireworks 1
Fireworks 1

Fireworks 2
Fireworks 2

Fireworks 3
Fireworks 3

Fireworks 4
Fireworks 4

Fireworks 5
Fireworks 5

In short the story goes as below: Ravana kidnaps Sita, the wife of Rama. Rama launches a battle, and after a few days of fighting, is face to face with Ravana on the day of Dussehra. He shoots a burning arrow and Ravana turns into a fireball:

The Fireball
The Fireball

This is what remains a bit later:

Remains
Remains

So Ravana is killed by Rama, and Sita saved. For more details visit the Wikipedia link.
Watch a video by clicking here.

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