India is celebrating 350th birth anniversary, or ‘Prakash Parv’ of Shri Guru Gobind Singh today.
Celebrating anniversaries of Gurus as “Gurupurb” is an important feature of the Sikh way of life. Gurpurb is a compound word made up of “guru”, the spiritual teacher, and “purb”, that is “parva” or festival in Sanskrit. In Sikh tradition, the day signifies the celebration of the holy day to commemorate one or another anniversaries related to lives of the Gurus.
The Prakash Parv of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji is one of the most important festivals on the Sikh calendar. The only son of ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur and Mata Gujri, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born on Poh Sudi 7th, 23rd Poh 1723 Bikrami Samvat (believed to December 22, 1666) at Patna in Bihar.
According to information available on Bihar government’s dedicated website for the 350th Prakash Parv of Shri Gobind Singh Ji, Guru Teg Bahadur had arrived in Patna a few months before the birth of Guru Gobind Singh on a missionary tour of the East with his wife, mother Nanki Ji, brother-in-law Kirpal Chand and a band of devotees. As Mata Gujri was in an advanced stage of confinement, the Guru decided to leave his family in Patna and went alone to Bengal and Assam.
Before leaving Patna, Guru Teg Bahadur wished that if a son was born, he should be named Gobind Rai – in memory of his grandfather, Guru Hargobind. As per oral tradition, Guru Hargobind had prophesied at the time of Guru Teg Bahadur’s birth that he would be blessed with a son who would defend people against the tyranny of the Mughals.
Guru Teg Bahadur learnt the news of the birth of his son when he was in Dacca ( now Dhaka) doing organisational work.
“The Guru was beside himself with joy on hearing the good news, which was followed by great rejoicing. Considerable sums were given away generously as alms and charity to the poor and the needy. Raja Ram Singh who was accompanying him also participated in these joyous celebrations and at his command guns were fired.”
Following the birth of Guru Gobind Singh, devotees flocked to Patna to have a glimpse of new-born Gobind Rai. It is said that on the day of the birth of Gobind Rai, Pir Bhikhan Shah, a Muslim mystic in Punjab, performed his prayers in the east direction.
He told his disciples, “God has revealed himself in the form of a new-born in Patna.” The mystic later reached Patna to pay obeisance to Gobind Rai, who went on to become the tenth Sikh Guru. As per oral tradition, the Pir held out two bowls of milk and water – symbolic of Hinduism and Islam – both of which Gobind Rai touched and then smiled.
Entire Patna is decked up today to celebrate 350th Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The main function will be held at Takht Harmandar Sahib in Patna. Not only devotees from different parts of the world, several politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the city today to pay their obeisance to the holy Guru.
(With inputs from http://350thprakashparv.bih.nic.in/)