Everyday new recruits enlisted in the Guru’s army. He felt thewant of a big drum like the one which was generally carried witharmies in those days. His military equipment, he felt, was incompletewithout it. So he gave orders for the construction of a big war-drum,entrusting the work to Diwan Nand Chand.
In those days only kings or chiefs could beat a drum in theirterritory. No king or chief would allow another to march through histerritory with the beat of drum. Masands and others, who had fattenedthemselves in peace and were afraid of losing their ease and comfort,felt agitated over the Guru’s decision to construct the drum. They feltcertain that Raja Bhim Chand, in whose territory Anandpur was situated,would be offended on hearing its beat. It was true they said that theland had been purchased by Guru Tegh Bahadur from the Raja, on thecondition that it would be independent and outside the bounds of hisrule, still the beating of the drum might be taken to mean that the Guruintended to set up as a rival chief. The Raja would not tolerate sucha step, and war would break out in no time.
Moreover, it was known that the hill-chiefs were opposed to theGuru’s mission also on religious grounds. They disliked his amalgamation of the four castes, and resented his satires against their gods andgoddesses. They had also been pitted against the Guru by the cleverEmperor of Delhi, who himself was away in the Deccan, and hadplanned the annihilation of the Sikhs by making the hill-chiefs his tools.
The latter were too afraid of the Mughal to resist him. In fact, the airwas thick with rumours that the Rajas would gladly avail themselvesof the first opportunity that they could get of opening hostilities withthe Guru. All this was greatly disquieting for those who wanted to feedfrom the Guru’s langar and feel ‘the joy that is in calm.’
Anxious as these people were to dissuade the Guru from whatthey thought were his war- like propensities, they had not the courageto address him on the point. They went to his mother and so wroughtupon her fears, that she agieed to speak to the Guru. When he returnedhome for rest and sleep that night, she explained to him what mightbe the unhappy consequences of trie policy that he had embarked on.
She advised him to devote himself to religion and not to take up arms.
The Guru replied, ‘Mother dear, my religion, which is the religionof Guru Nanak and my father, tells me to take up arms. I assure youthat in all that I do, I am solely guided by a truly religious spirit. Howcan I sit in seclusion, wrapped up in calm meditation, while before myeyes a thousand atrocities are committed on the poor, unarmed, andinnocent sons and daughters of God. God sent me not for such irreligiousinaction and ignoble retirement. He bade me uproot the tyrants anduplift the downtrodden. I must remain concealed no longer; for GuruNanak’s mission has to be accomplished. The tyrants have to be disarmedand dethroned. The evil-doers have to be destroyed; the good have tobe protected. Believe me, mother, that while fighting against the country’senslavers, my soliders will have God on their lips and Love in theirhearts. You say that the hill-chiefs might take alarm. Well, I bear themno malice. I intend them no harm. I don’t want a kingdom or kingship.
I don’t want to conquer or occupy anyone’s territory. But I do meanto do good to the people, to uplift and free them, and to make theirlot better in all respects. I want the rulers to become just, merciful,and benevolent; I want them to improve the condition of their subjects.
I would urge them to give up their evil ways, to make their subjectsfeel secure, happy, and contented; I shall try to persuade them to joinhands with me in fighting and finishing up the common enemy. If theyrefuse to respond, well, I will then do my duty towards man and Godwith the help of my Saint-soldiers. I am sure that He will help me andlend me His infinite, unsubduable strength.
I will not attack the hill-chiefs or molest them in any way. I willnot provoke any war or conflict. If, however, anyone should try tointerrupt me in the performance of my heaven-ordained duty, if anyoneshould attack me unprovoked and causelessly, I will not stand beforehim with folded hands and bowed head, but will show him what useI can make of my God-given strength. The result, of course, will bein His hands.
So ask me not dear, brave mother, to sit calm and quiet when mycountrymen are being brutally treated and murdered in cold blood. Askme not, mother to evade the Divine Decree which daily and hourlyvisits my heart. Ask me not, mother, to forget and ignore my Father’sorders which He gave me while sending me out into his world, andwhich always ring in my ideas both in sleep and waking. I must notforget that, mother. Afflicted humanity calls me to be its redeemer andliberator from tyranny and bondage. The people must come to theirown. The tyrannical system must be broken. The Father and Sustainerof all will help me. So banish all fears and bless me.’
The mother bowed before his son’s mighty resolve and prayed toGod for his safety. The masands then made a direct representation tothe Guru who replied to them even in stronger words.
At last the great drum was ready. The Guru celebrated its completion with prayers and distribution of Karah Parshad. He named itRanjit: ‘Victorious on the Battle-field’. When beaten, its thunder washeard far and away in the country.