Chun kar az humeh heelat-e dar guzasht
Halal ast burdan b-shamshir dast
-Zafarnama by Guru Gobind Singh Ji
When all has been tried, yet Justice is not in sight,
It is then right to pick up the sword, It is then right to fight
-Translated by Navtej Sarna
These were the famous words quoted by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji in his letter ‘Zafarnama’ to Aurangzeb as a response to all his misdeeds towards Guru and his people. These words also somewhere represent the righteousness of using arms and weapons in order to secure justice. Thus, martyrdom has gained a very high place in the religion of sikhism as a result of various battles fought for the preservance of this religion by sikh followers.
Guru Arjun Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru, is considered to be the first Sikh martyr. He, when realized that his end was near, told his son, Guru Hargobind Ji (who was to be his successor), ‘to sit on a throne and to prepare an army’. As a result of which, first ‘takhat’ and first sikh army was born.
‘Takhat’ means ‘throne’ or ‘seat of authority’. There are total five takhats in Sikhism which possess the authority over Sikh Panth (Community) to maintain spritiual and temporal peace and order in the community. In the matters of outbreak of sikh communal riots, ‘takhats’ have the power to take any measures possible devoid of any political influence to secure desired peace and order. ‘Jathedar’ is the position of highest spokesperson of the Sikh community. The following are the Five thrones or as we Sikhs call ‘PANJ TAKHAT’-
- AKAL TAKHAT
‘Akal Takhat’ or ‘The Eternal Throne’ is one of the oldest takhats of Sikhism which holds the supreme power over the community. It is above all the other takhats. This throne resides in Amritsar, Punjab. The architecture of this building consists of five storeys and is constructed just opposite to Harmandir Sahib connecting both with a passage. Whereas Harmandir Sahib bestows spiritual guidance to sikh followers, Akal Takhat ensures the spiritual and temporal peace and order by making favourable decisions for the welfare of community. The foundation of this Takhat was led by Guru Hargobind Ji. Akal Takhat has gone through destructions many times by the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Massa Rangar and Indian Army(Operation Bluestar). But no matter how many times it is destroyed, it stood again with all its glory and supreme power.
- TAKHAT SHRI KESHGARH SAHIB
This throne is residing in the city of Anandpur(Punjab), where Guru Gobind Singh Ji spent 25 years of his life. It is also the place where ‘Khalsa’ was born. This takhat is securing some of the historical relics that belonged to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, among which are- ‘Khanda’ used by the Guru while preparing Amrit, ‘Kataar’ ( a dagger which was always with Guru ji), ‘Saif’ ( a double edged weapon gifted to Guru Ji by Bahadur Shah) , etc.
- TAKHAT SACHKHAND SHRI PATNA SAHIB
This is also the place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born in 1966. This takhat resides in Patna, Bihar. Charles Wilkins has written about this place and the ceremonies held by the Sikhs which he witnessed on one of his visits to the Gurudwara Patna Sahib.
- TAKHAT SHRI DAMDAMA SAHIB (TALWANDI SABO KI)
‘Damdama’ means ‘a place to have a break and rest’. This throne resides in Bhatinda, Punjab. This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji completed the revised version of Adi Granth in the form of ‘Guru Granth Sahib Ji’, the holy book and the eleventh Guru of Sikhs.
- TAKHAT SACHKHAND SHRI HUZOOR SAHIB
This ‘seat of authority’ is residing in Nanded, Maharashtra. This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji finally met his creator i.e. he left the mortal body to meet the ‘Ek Onkar’. This throne forms the last and final takhat of sikhism completing the Panj Takhats.
If one wants to know more about Sikh history, these are the some of the interesting and important Sikh Gurudwaras one should definitely visit.