Today in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikh’s, called together a huge crowd of over 50,000 Sikhs to join him for a meeting. This was an era in history where Sikhs were facing a difficult phase as they were facing continuous persecution at the hands of the Mughal rulers.
With everyone expecting to hear words of comfort and encouragement to stand strong, they were surprised to see the Guru draw his sword and shout ‘I want a head.’
There was a big silence, but the Guru went on repeating his demand until someone was brave enough to come forward. Guru Gobind Singh took the volunteer into his tent and after a while he came out by himself holding a sword covered in blood! The crowd gasped and started to disperse.
Then the Guru repeated his demand “I want a head” and eventually another volunteer stepped forward and went into the tent with the Guru. Yet again the Guru came out of the tent alone, with blood on his sword. The Guru repeated his action another 3 times until five volunteers had entered the tent to be beheaded.
By now, everyone who was left from a now very much depleted crowd must have been wondering what is going on. Then the Guru came out of the tent with his sword and the five men walking behind him, still alive!
‘This was a test,’ the Guru explained, ‘to see who has faith in their Guru”. This was a test of who was brave enough to fight against injustice and tyranny being suffered under the rule of the Mughals. This was the day the Khalsa was created to instill in people qualities of courage, self respect and confidence to always fight for the weak against tyranny and injustice.
How does this apply today?
Even today we are all fighting to do what is right and what we believe to be worth fighting for, yet we suppress our ideas and not follow through on actions for various reasons. There are lessons here that we can learn and apply to ourselves and in our businesses.
The three most important lessons:
Lesson 1: In the face of adversity, muster your courage and stand strong for what you believe in. If you believe something needs to be changed, be brave enough to start that something. Take a good look at yourself and what you do and challenge yourself to do what you really want to do.
Lesson 2: Have faith in yourself and others. If you believe change is needed, others will follow. The path isn’t easy and people will move away. But as the few who believe and have faith that the change is for the greater good, others will follow. Take that leap of faith.
Lesson 3: Be clear in your purpose. This is probably the most important lesson. Why do you want to do what you want to do? What are the benefits and to whom? A clear purpose can be very empowering and motivational for you to make the changes in yourself, your attitude and behaviours to reap the benefits for the greater good. Change has to start with you.
Happy Vasikhi to one and all.
p.s. If you are not familiar with Vasikhi, please do take the time do find out more. I acknowledge I have only shared a part of the full story in this short blog.