As my baby grows older day by day I realize there is a repetition of my childhood days. Its all about how my mother used to make efforts with me and in the similar way I make for my son. The journey is somewhat similar. Everyday I try and teach him whatever best I can. So today was GURPURAB (birthday) of our eight guru, Guru Harkrishan Sahibji. Among our 10 Sikh Guru, he was the youngest guru.
Every Gurpurab I try to take my baby to the Sikh Temple (gurdwara). This time my mother was excited to dress him in a sikh uniform. Yes, there is a special attire for sikh’s and when they truly follow code, they are known as Khalsa. While I started to dress him up, I started wondering ‘Who is a Sikh?’ & ‘What is Khalsa?’. Trying to make my baby understand the meaning of sikh and our religion, I learnt more than what I actually knew. So here is a brief about Sikhism and Khalsa.
Guru Gobind Singh (our tenth guru), defined nation of sikhs as Khalsa. It means Pure/Genuine and to be Free/Sovereign. A Sikh does not only means that a person should not cut his hair. In short a Sikh is the one who follows the 5 K’s. They are identified by 5 K’s and the titles of Singh’s and Kaur’s.
A sikh male wears the title of a ‘Singh’ meaning “Lion” and a female is titled as ‘Kaur’ meaning “Princess”.
Once a person becomes a member of Khalsa they overcome the inside evils and shred the weakness of mind,body and heart, thereby becoming brave as ‘Lion’. The Khalsa is expected to perform no ritual, and to believe no superstition of any kind but believe in only one God who is the Master and the Protector of all the only Creator and Destroyer.
Khalsa didn’t some easy. Earlier, Sikhs started facing religious persecutions by Muslim emperors. Our fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev, was arrested and executed by Jhangir in 1606. Later, in 1675, our ninth guru, Guru Tegh Bhadur, was executed by Aurangzeb. It was then, the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, called his followers to gather at Anandpur Sahib in 1699. He addressed the congregation. He drew his sword and asked for a volunteer to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call, nor the second but on the third invitation a person called ‘Daya Ram’ came forward to offer his head. Guru Gobind Singh took him to the tent and came out with his blood dripping sword. He then asked for another, one more volunteer came forward and entered the tent with him. The Guru again emerged with blood on his sword. This happened three more times. Then the five volunteers came out of the tent unharmed. These five, who were willing to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were called Panj Piare(“the five beloved ones”). These five volunteers were : Daya Ram (Bhai Daya Singh), Dharam Das (Bhai Dharam Singh), Himmat Rai (Bhai Himmat Singh), Mohkam Chand (Bhai Mohkam Singh), and Sahib Chand (Bhai Sahib Singh).
Guru Gobind Singh then turned the ‘Panj Piare’ into Khalsa by performing a ritual. He took some water in the iron bowl, added some sugar crystals and stirred with double edged sword while he recited the ‘Five Bani’s’. Then the five chosen ones were asked to drink the sweet nectar turn by turn from the same bowl and had amrit sprinkled in their eyes five times. Each time, they repeated the phrase “Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Phateh”.
So Khalsa is suppose to follow a uniform which consist of 5 K’s i.e. Kesh(uncut hair), Kanga(wooden comb), Kara(iron bracelet), Kachera(a pair of drawers) and Kirpan(sword). One important outcome of joining the Khalsa is the abolition of one’s previous caste, nation, race, rituals, customs, religion, clan, Karma.
I am so glad that my mother took the initiative and actually bought the dress for Trimaan. Sometimes you need to brush up your own facts before teaching your baby. This was a learning experience for me. Atleast next time I tell him a bedtime story, I can teach him stories of sikhism. Atleast this would be my initiative to bring him closer to his religion and tell him what it is all about.
Love you Mom & Dad!!