Khalsa-Our Living Identity
It’s that time of year again – spring has sprung, the grass is green, the sun is out. It’s a time when many cultures celebrate renewal and rebirth. It’s also a time that many communities, like South Asians are marking the beginning of a new season and a new year. Therefore, with great valour, colour, happiness, courage, and devotion – Sikhs all over the globe celebrate Vaisakhi. Since the ages, many festivals are tied to this auspicious day. In 1699, a major event took place in the evolutionary process of Sikhism with the Birth of Khalsa.
The history is well known. At Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, in front of a crowd of about 80,000 people Sahibey Kamaal Shiri Guru Gobind Singh Ji came out with a naked sword and asked, “Is there anyone who is prepared to die for their faith?” There was fear, panic and turmoil. Many ran away, others stood looking at each other with curiosity.
A few minutes later, a Sikh from Lahore named Daya Ram came to offer his head. Guru Ji took him to a tent and came out sometime later with a blood-dripping sword.The Guru repeated his demand again; the second person to come forward was Dharam Das. There after three more came to offer their head to the Guru.
Sometime later, these five Sikhs were presented alive to the Congregation with the Khalsa Bana of Kara, Kesh, Kanga, Kachara, and Kirpan. Guru Ji created Amrit in an iron pot with water and patesey(sugar) added by Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. Guru Ji stirred the mixture with a double edged sword called a Khanda and narrated the Bani’s of Japji, Jaap, Savayiyae, Benti Chaupai, and Anand Sahib.
After this historic moment, Guru Ji bowed in front of the five beloved ones and asked to be given ‘Khandey di pahul’ transforming from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. This initiated the first very principle of democracy and equality in the religion of Sikhism. Thus abolishing the caste system, giving equal privileges to all,common places and method of worship, a similar dress code and serving humanity was created with the birth of Khalsa which took about 240 years from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to that moment.
In the words of Guru Ji, he believed Khalsa would be a saint, scholar and a soldier with high morals and excellent character. He or she would be strong, courageous, wise, and learned. In order to mould his personality, the Guru Ji inculcated in himself five virtues — sacrifice, cleanliness, honesty, charity and courage and prescribed a Rehat or Code of Conduct. “The making of a saint takes many steps, but the first step includes acquiring knowledge from Gurbani,applying the principles to oneself and creating compassion.” The teachings relate also to Soldier or Soorma and that they may very well win a battle outside against injustice, oppression, and so on, but equally fighting the battle inwards against anger, lust, greed, attachment and ego, is just or even more important.
Taking this all further, the human body is composed of physical, mental and spiritual aspects. It has about 50 trillion cells. Each cell has a creative, sustaining, and destructive force. The physical as derived from the pure elements of nature such asair, water, earth, fire, and sky. Earth has about 70% water and so does our body. In nature, water extinguishes fire, but within us, they coexist on friendly terms. In short,the body represents earth or for that matter the whole universe. This is described beautifully as”Jo Brahmandey, Soi Pindey, Jo Khojey So Pavey,” loosely translated, this means, “The whole universe lies in you, just explore it.” Aatma is derived from Param Aatma or God. Since God has no faults so does, our Aatma is 100% pure.
By looking further at the words of Guru Ji, it is recognized that the mind is the interface, which causes turmoil, conflicts, and emotions. When we are in a pure conscious state of meditation that mind has no thoughts, this is the very first time we actually meet ourselves – our Aatma. This is the highest ‘Satsangat’ as ‘Brahm’ or Truth Resides in You.” Ghat Ghat Mein Har Ju Basey,Santan Kaheyo Pukaar” ~ “First tame your mind and then train your mind then.” “Maan JeeteyJagjeet” ~ “Live in the context, as a spiritual being in human form.””Khalsa Akaal Purakh Ki Fauj, Pragteyo Khalsa Parmaatam Ki Mauj” ~ “Enjoy, share, grow, and serve humanity.” In my opinion, these are wonderful words to live by. Happy Vaisakhi to Everyone!!!