You probably know that this Thursday is THANKSGIVING!!! You might also know that it is HANUKKHA as well!! Woo! And you probably DON’T know that Thursday is also Shaheedi Gurupurab!!
SAY WHAT M?!
Basically, a Shaheedi Gurpurab in Sikhism is the martyrdom anniversary of someone significant in our religion. And for this particular one on Thursday, it’s pretty interesting that it falls on Thanksgiving. Let me tell you why.
This Shaheedi Gurpurab marks the death of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the 9th prophet of Sikhism. To give some background, there are ten prophets in Sikhism. When Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s predecessor, Guru Har Krishan Ji, was dying, he said that the next prophet would be found in the village of Bakala. Predictably, TONS of dudes from Bakala were like I’m totally the next one. And so the man who’s task it was to find the next prophet was in quite a pickle. His name was Baba Makhan Shah Labana…we’ll call him Butter for short. Some time earlier, Butter had been on a boat that was sort of capsizing, and he prayed to God and said if he survived he would donate 500 mohars, the currency at the time. What he said was, and this is form Wikipedia so idk how accurate it is, “”Please save my ship and my men… I pledge the 500 gold mohars tied to the belt at my waist, which without your help will soon be at the bottom of the sea. Please accept this as my humble offering.”
Fast forward back the the search for the next Guru. When he got to Bakala, he began handing out mohars. Tons of people were flocking him and telling him they were the prophet. He was like lol aight whatever you say people smh. A man named Tegh Bahadur, though, was just chilling in his house. When Butter eventually crossed paths with Tegh Bahadur, he handed him two mohars. The (not yet named) Guru took them and smiled. He asked, “Where are the other 498?”
GET IT? BECAUSE BUTTER HAD PRAYED TO GOD AND OFFERED 500. BUT GURU TEGH BAHADUR WASN’T ON THE SHIP WITH HIM OR ANYTHING. SO HOW DID HE KNOW.
Needless to say, Butter freaked and went around yelling from the hilltops that he had found the prophet.
Okay. Background over. Back to the Thanksgiving-Shaheedi Gurpurab connection.
During the Mughal rule in India, many people converted to Islam. Some did so voluntarily, while others were forced. At one point, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was trying to get a certain group of Hindus to convert, and these Hindus went to the Sikh prophet Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji for help. He told them to tell the Mughal that if he could convince himself (Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji) to convert, then all of the Hindus would as well. And so the Hindus were like um ok lol if you’re sure and told this to Aurangzeb, who wasn’t to happy. In fact, he had Guru Ji arrested and tortured until he embraced Islam, which he never did. Finally, Aurangzeb told Guru Ji that he could either become a Muslim or be killed. And killed he was.
Guru Ji was not just standing up for Sikhs. He was defending Hindus, who practice a completely different faith than us and whose teachings contradict many of ours. Additionally, Hindus had, on occasion, betrayed Sikhs our to enemies. This didn’t stop him from giving his life for them. Furthermore, he was not trying to take a stand against Islam. The founders of Sikhism were known to be tight with some Hindus AND Muslims. What he was doing was standing up for everyones’ freedom to live his or her life the way she or he wants, as a Sikh, as a Muslim, a Hindu, anything. And this Thursday, I don’t know how much I’m going to be celebrating the beginning of the systematic removal of Native Americans from their land, but one of the things I am going to try to remember the sacrifice Guru Ji made. The fact that I am a Sikh can be directly traced to his sacrifice, and for this, I am thankful.
What about you guys? What’s going to be on your minds this Turkey Day? Comment below, I’d love to know. 🙂 Yes, I am a rapper.