Guru Gobind Singh ji composed Benti Choupai for times of great duress, and it still carries the power to help us.

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Will you keep Gurbani Kirtan free?

On one hand the only reason a person engages in violence, violating other's boundaries and dignity, is because they themselves are wounded. On the other hand the bully must not be allowed to spread their pain and initiate wounds on others. The cycle must stop.

So how to deal with bullies? 
Simply punishing them may seem righteous at first, and may give an empowering message to a victim of bullying yet a punishment does not get to the root of an issue. The punished bully still lingers in pain and may strike a different victim at a different time, and perhaps with more violence. Chronic bullying is a disease of the uncorrected. In some way they are calling for help and when they are not healed they call even louder, becoming more violent the more they are unheard and the more they are uncorrected.

How does this apply to Sikhi and Sikh history?
The Mughol empire that had devasted the land, imposed taxes on people who had the wrong religion, and engaged in every many of oppression and atrocity. They advanced on Anandpur Sahib and laid siege to the fort. In this scene it is very clear which army was the bully and which one was defending itself from the bully. The Mughols were the bully. These bullies needed to be stopped and Guru Gobind Singh resolved to stop them.

Because the bullies needed to be corrected to heal their chronic disease. 

It is at this time that Bhai Kanhaiya helped and healed the wounded on both sides. Now why would he help the bully? I would say that the Guru and the Khalsa were also helping them. Because you do no favor to a bully when you allow them to grow their disease and be uncorrected. In this Bhai Kanhaiya was really just demonstrating the true intention of defensive war. Through Bhai Kanhaiya we understand the purpose for the warrior tradition in Sikhi. Whether you offer the bully the edge of your sword, or offer the bully with water and medicine, the end is the same. This is for healing and correction. 

How does this apply in our lives? 

We certainly don't want to use the story of Bhai Kanhaiya to be kind and giving that we end up contributing to the problem and empowering the bully to continue. We want to be both the warrior and the saint. We must not tolerate bullies in our lives, we must have the courage to stop them and correct them however we can. In this we must be warriors. To apply saintliness to our courage we must also remember that ultimately we are doing the bully, and everyone else, a favor. By stopping a bully we are serving all so we must remember to keep the intention of good will towards all, including the bully, when we do step up to them. 
The story
We have recently animated the epic, timeless, relevant and dear story of Bhai Kanhaiya. When we watch it let us remember that just as the Mughols are both the enemy and the friend, that while the army is the bully, the individuals are humans just like us. In the same way let us recognize that in every bully there is a wounded human as well. The bully in them must be stopped, and the wounded person is to be healed. May this history inform our hearts as we figure out how best to serve our environment. Please do spread the story around, it has a lesson for every human heart. 

Harijot Singh Khalsa

Harijot Singh Khalsa

Harijot Singh is a graduate of Miri Piri Academy. He serves as creator of SikhNet Stories. He has also authored several research pieces on Sikh history as well as offered encouraging messages through his articles.

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