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A young Indian Sikh demonstrates his 'Gatka' traditional martial arts skills ahead of the birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh guru Gobind Singh in Jalandhar on Jan. 7, 2019. (Shammi Mehra/AFP/Getty Images)

The most beautiful greeting in the world comes from the Sikh tradition, 'Sat Sri Akal'. Sat meaning truth, Sri meaning wealth, and Akal meaning eternal. Truth is the real wealth, which is really eternal.

The Sikhs’ first call of duty is to be a wise, knowledgeable and exceptionally virtuous person and, secondly, a brave fearless warrior to protect his own dignity and that of family, parents, children, siblings, wife, husband and his community. The ‘Sant Sipahi’ (Warrior Saint) lifestyle code is their calling of life.

Sikhs show the world that our respect and dignity is in our own hands. Huge congratulations to those Sikhs who make the community proud by following the most three important principles of Sikhs: Naam japoo, Kirat karo and Wand ke chakho. They are showing the path to progress and to be involved with Seva and giving back to the community-at-large. Very few people are blessed and are not meant to live ordinary lives, because they demonstrate extraordinary competence and character, such is the Sardarjis.

The Sikh community will be celebrating the 351st birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh – the 10th Guru of Sikhism. Millions of worshipers globally will gather at various temples to mark the birthday of Guru Gobind and wish each other a happy Gurupurab. Guru Gobind, the only son of ninth Sikh guru Guru Tegh Bahadur, was born in the Indian city of Patna on Dec. 22, 1666 and died fighting the Mughals at the age of 41 on Oct. 7, 1708. He was an iconic Sikh leader, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and a philosopher. His father Guru Teg Badhur was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam. His own four sons died during his lifetime, two in battle and two executed by the Mughal army.

As a child he was very admired by everyone for his leadership skills and the wisdom he displayed. His studies included Punjabi, Sanskrit, Braj, Arabian and Persian languages. His father died in 1675 at Chandni Chowk, beheaded for not accepting to become a Muslim under the orders of the Emperor.

Since his father had declared that his son Gobind Singh would become the next Guru after his death, at the early age of nine, Gobind Singh became Guru of the Sikhs. He instilled a martial spirit into his followers so that they would not fear the persecutions of the Emperor. During his life he wrote many poems about love, worship of one god, equality and putting away superstition.

As threats to Sikhs grew around Guru Gobind Singh, he decided to do something that would mark forever Sikhism. He asked for anyone who would be ready to die for God, and initiated the first Khalsa, the Panj Piare, the five beloved ones. The Khalsa were the spearhead of defense of Sikhs against Mughal aggression. Guru Gobind Singh was assassinated as he intended to make peace with Bahadur Shah I. He left a great number of writings and told his disciples to consider Guru Granth Sahib, the collection of all writings from the previous Gurus, as their eternal Guru and that this book would be the passage to meet the Gurus and understand their teachings.

One of his notable contributions to Sikhism was establishing the foundation of Khalsa, which means pure ones, and the introduction of the Five Ks – five articles of faith that Khalsa Sikhs must wear at all times. The Five Ks include kesh (uncut hair), kangha (a wooden comb), kara (an iron or steel wrist bracelet), kirpan (a sword), and kacchera (a short underwear). He had a vision for a loving society and to recognizing all humanity as one.

Wahe Guruji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

Sunil Tolani

Los Angeles, Calif.

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