Since the 'shaheede' (martyrdom) of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan and the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur many Sikhs have sacrifice their lives for the protection and defence of the panth (the path of dharam or righteousness) and for the sake of other individuals or groups in the community who were venerable.
Gurbani explains in clear terms the attitude that one needs to adopt to reach a level of self-conciousness so that one is able to willingly relinquish one's life without fear or worry. The Sikhs who attain this high level of dedication to Dharam have a deep and unflinching love for the Guru and for the path of Gurbani.
Guidance given by Gurbani
- If you want to play the game of love, approach me with your head on the palm of your hand, place your feet on this path, and give your head without regard to the opinion of others.
- --Guru Nanak Dev Ji Slok Varan Te Vadhaik 20 Adi Granth P 142
- O Lord of Might grant that I may never shirk from righteous acts
That I may fight with faith and without fear against my enemies and win The wisdom I require is the grace to sing your glory When my end is near may I meet death on the battlefield
- --(Dasan Granth P.99)
- Kabir why weep for the saint when he goes back to his HOME
Weep only for the wretched lovers of Maya Who are sold from shop to shop
- --G.G. S.P. 1365-66
Prominent Sikh Martyrs
Below is a list of prominent historical figures who gave their lives for their faith and for humanity:
- Guru Arjan
- Guru Tegh Bahadar
- Bhai Sati Das
- Bhai Mati Das
- Bhai Dayal Das
- Bhai Deep Singh
- Char Sahibzade
- Bhai Mani Singh
- Banda Singh Bahadur
The concept of Martyr for the sake of religion and the path of Dharam was unknown in pre-Muslim India. The first martyr of India was Guru Arjan Dev, a Saint, a God intoxicated poet and lover of humanity.
The two sets of ideologies, one tolerant and ready to accept, accommodate and let live, and, the other bent in removing by any means that which was considered anti-religious, heretical and repugnant were operating in India.
Martyrs are persons who value their principles of faith and ideals of religion above their own lives.
The Mental state
Martyrs are “gunigahiras” (altruistic) who have reached the re-entry stage of their evolutionary development "FANAH" and have become fearless and want to challenge the oppressor by “putting their heads on their palms”.
Martyr’s state of consciousness is a highly developed state that human beings are capable of reaching through evolutionary spiritual operations. (NAM SIMRAN is one of them)
The Martyr establishes a conscious relationship to the Absolute Reality and longs to have an intimate union with Him. He wants to reach the Divine Ground by stripping his soul of selfishness, and Maya.
Martyr is a social surrogate in whose solitary adventures the most profound forgotten concepts , values and the culture and its rights to assert get systematically isolated, evaluated, reconstructed and put into actions.
Through these actions he attempts to raise the collective consciousness of the society and attempts to liberate them from their inertia and motivational paralysis. He helps the society to “reframe” its frozen psyche.
The inner process
The Martyr’s torturous process of social and cognitive disengagement, defiance, fearlessness, re-engagement is a psycho-spiritual laboratory in which the society renews its spiritual vigour to tackle a tyrant.
A sudden awakening of a Martyr is a reflection of “SHIVA” in his eyes. It also signifies that his soul has over-powered the “Panch Doots” (the five inner thieves) and his psyche is illuminated by the “Glow of God”.
At the illuminative stage, the Martyr’s soul walks in the illumination created by the EFFULGENCE of unclouded light and the presence of God is an experienced reality to him.
In the final stage of Unitive life, the Martyr moves from BECOMING to BEING, and is ready to seek merger with his God Head through the process of FEARLESS - FANAH.
It is a known fact that all civil societies share a “norm of reciprocity” which forbids harming and trampling on the rights of others. Social responsibility towards the people made powerless is the motivating factor. Spiritually motivated empathy guides the Martyr to his self-defined goal of “big wisdom”.
In summary, it can be stated that the Martyr's cosmic desire to challenge the oppressor and merge through FANAH while playing the GAME OF LOVE appears to emerge from their: a. Heightened sense of faith
b. Their “GUNIGAHIRA stage of development – which takes them to the re-entry stage
c. Highly developed state of consciousness and connection with Ultimate Reality
d. Their soul is stripped of “PANCH DOOTS”
e. Compulsions to assert for the rights of the powerless
f. Attempt to raise the collective consciousness of the frozen psyche of the “spineless people”
g. Anger produced by cognitive dissonance and disbelief is used creatively by showing moral courage and defiance thereby reducing the oppressor operating at the “psychotic” fanatic level, powerless
h. Experiencing a glow of fearlessness and painlessness (subjective/objective) through the EFFULGENCE of unclouded light and obeying His HUKAM at the final stage of Unitive LIFE and surrender to his WILL & BHANA
“Nanak, I have met the true Guru and my union with God is accomplished; Salvation can be achieved even while men are laughing, playing, wearing fine clothes and eating.” (Guru Arjan, Gujari ki Var)
- Martyrdom of Guru Arjan
- Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur
- Martyrdom of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh
- Martyrdom in Sikhism
- Martyrdom and the Sikhs, Thoughts on Fenech's Thesis
- Martyrdom of Mati Das, Sati Das and Dyal Das
- Martyrs of Saka Nankana Sahib (1921)
- Bhai Taru Singh
- Category:Sikh Martyrs
- Dr. S S Sodhi
- Dr. J S Maan