Bring me Arms and Horses

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Guru Hargobind had asked his Sikhs to bring weapons and horses to him so as to strengthen his army. Here a Sikh brings a horse in His darbar.

Once when Guru Arjan's wife, Mata Ganga ji was serving Langar to Bhai Buddha ji, he said, "As you have given me food to my heart's content, so shall you have a son to your heart's content. He shall be very handsome and brave and shall possess power on earth and in heaven. He shall wear two swords and be mighty in battle. He shall sit on a great imperial throne. He shall be both a great warrior and an exalted Guru."

In time, a beautiful son was born to Guru Arjan and Mata Ganga and he was named Hargobind. His childhood was full of trials because his uncle Prithia wanted his own son, Mihrban, to be the next Guru. He survived these trials and at the proper age received his education from Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas.

They instructed Hargobind in the Guru's shabads (hymns), the sciences, reading and letters, offensive and defensive weapons, sports such as swimming and gatka, administration and many other skills that he would need to be a great spiritual ruler in the future. He grew up in the court of Guru Arjan and watched his father compile the Guru Granth.

When Hargobind was 11, the Mughal emperor imprisoned and tortured Guru Arjan. Shortly before the end of his physical life, he said to his Sikhs, "I have mastered my life's test. Go to my son, the holy Hargobind, and give him my consolation. Instead of grieving, let him sing God's praises. According to ancient custom, let him put the mark of the Guruship on his forehead. Let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain an army to the best of his ability. Other than this, let him embrace the practices of all the other Gurus. Let him hold Bhai Buddha in honor and treat his Sikhs with respect. Do not cremate my body, but let it flow into the river." The Guru's body, having suffered so much, then washed into the river, while his spirit merged with Sach Khand (the eternal sphere).

Hargobind, upon receiving the news of his father's death, caused the Guru Granth to be read for ten days. When the last rites were finished, Bhai Buddha dressed him in fine clothes and sought to install him as the new Sikh Guru. Rather than wear the seli, or woolen cord worn by the other Gurus, he said, "My seli shall be the sword-belt and I shall crown my turban with the emblem of royalty."

The new Guru then sent out a call to all faithful Sikhs in the land: "Bring me offerings of arms and horses!" By this call was Bhai Buddha's prophecy fulfilled and a new chapter in Sikh history began. Guru Hargobind wore two swords and earned the title, "Meeri Peeri da Malik" - "the king of both the spiritual and temporal realms". Thus was the character of the Sikhs changed forever. Soldier-saints now incorporated the military determination necessary to protect as well as to serve their faith.