Khalsa Day – Celebration by the Sikhs
First of all, we should understand that Sikhs spread all over the world celebrate “Khalsa Day” every year, and not ‘Vaisakhi’, which represents the beginning of the Solar month of Vaisakh.
All of us are well aware that during the Fifteenth Century, Rulers and Priestly classes were exploiting the poor masses in India. During (1469–1539 AD) Guru Nanak established “Sikh religion” and raised his voice against the suppressors. From the very beginning of his childhood, Guru Nanak refused to accept the Hindus and Muslims’ rituals and traditions. He explained that there is only One Supreme True Entity, the Almighty God, Who alone is the Creator, Developer and Sustainer, and that we all human beings are God’s children. With a view to attune oneself with God, there is no need of any middleperson or any imaginary god or goddess. He explained to the people belonging to the different regions and religions that we should always remember the Almighty God and follow the Divine Command. In nutshell, his teachings could be summed up:
(i) Naam Japo - Have full faith in the Almighty God, remember Akall Purkh as “Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient” and accordingly, seek God’s Refuge;
(ii) Kirett Karo - Earn your livelihood with hard-work and by honest means and
(iii) Vandd Chhako - Share with the poor and needy persons. Thus, within a short period of time, a large number of people became his followers as equal partners in raising the morale of all so that they could also live with dignity as equals and elevate their lives by sharing the Divine Enlightenment as enshrined in the Sikhs’ Sacred Scripture well-known as “Guru Granth Sahib”.
A few Gurbaani Quotes are provided as under:
“Guru Nanak longs for the company of the most humble and poor persons, who are of the lowest status in society as he can’t think of associating with the egoist rich people. Moreover, the Almighty God also bestows blessings and Grace on the down-trodden people.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 15)
“Everything is below Truthfulness, but Truthful Living is the highest of all virtues”. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 62)
“If one loses honour in life, impure is all that one eats.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 142)
“Why call a woman inferior when she gives birth to all human beings including Kings, Priests and Prophets.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 473)
“Guru Nanak advises that if you truly wish to seek support of the Almighty God, then follow the True way of life by abandoning your ego and cleverness. But you can tread on this righteous path provided you are never hesitant to sacrifice your life for the righteous cause.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1412)
With a view to propagate his Divine Enlightenment amongst all people, before his last breath, Guru Nanak selected and appointed Guru Angad as his worthy successor, who carried forward his Mission. Since Hindus and Muslims were in majority, there were various practical difficulties to identify the genuine followers of Sikh religion. Thus the last successor, Guru Gobind Singh (1675–1708 AD) convened a large gathering of Sikhs from all corners of India at Anandpur Sahib in the State of Punjab on 30th March, 1699 AD. Although, dedication and sincerity of the Sikhs had already been tested by the earlier successors, still he wished to have their final test so that no one ever waivers while shouldering onerous responsibility in defending their Sikh Faith as well as to protect the poor and weak. While all were eager to see and listen to their Spiritual Master, Guru Gobind Singh appeared on the stage and gave a clarion call as to whether they were ready to sacrifice their life and if so, the Guru wished to have five such brave persons, who would never be afraid of any mighty ruler, but ever ready to defend the helpless irrespective of any caste, gender, race, region or religion. Five brave Sikhs, who came forward spontaneously, were then led to a nearby tent for putting on new Uniform Dress.
After administering the “Khandaiy Dee Pahul” Sikh Amrit Initiation Ceremony, they were called as “Five Dear Ones”. Their names were (1) Bhai Sahib Singh (Bidar-South), (2) Bhai Himmat Singh (Jagannathpuri-East), (3) Bhai Daya Singh (Lahore-North), (4) Bhai Dharam Singh (Hastinapur-Centre) and (5) Bhai Mohkam Singh (Dwarka-West). They hailed from the places, where Guru Nanak Sahib had visited during his preaching Journeys. They were ordained to keep up Five K’s - (Kakkaars) i.e. (i) Kes – uncut long hair, beard and moustaches and to keep their heads covered by a Turban for males and a long scarf for females; (ii) Kangha – wooden comb tucked in tuft; (iii) Kachhehra – especially designed underwear; (iv) Karraa – steel wristlet and (v) Kirpaan – sword in baldric. These are also called as Articles of Sikh Faith. They were also advised to follow the Sikh Code of Conduct. For example, main four Don’ts are: –
1. Never cut the hair, beard, moustaches and eye-brows, etc;
2. Never consume alcoholic drinks, tobacco products or any other intoxicants;
3. Never cohabit with any person other than one’s own spouse; and
4. Never eat the meat of an animal/bird slaughtered/prepared by way of any ritual.
In view of the prescribed discipline, all the Initiated Sikhs – males and females are known to be “Khalsa Panth” thereby having distinctive identity. Accordingly, Sikh could be described as an ideal human being, who follows the Laws of Nature with devotion and humility. Such an ideal Sikh is also known as a “Saint-Soldier” because he will not only protect the weak but if need arises, he/she will also not hesitate to challenge any anti-social element including the terrorists.
Due to their hard-work and self discipline, the Sikhs – followers of Khalsa Order could now be seen all over the world. Whichever country they have adopted as their Permanent Residence, they have excelled in all fields. Despite their small population when compare with Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, Sikhs have been enjoying equal rights without any discrimination except in India. It would be an ideal example if Sikhs were also employed in Police and Armed Forces of other countries so that they could prove their worth as the most dependable persons. If any outside country whether it is Indonesia or India attacks Australia, Sikhs will never lag behind and defend their adopted country and sacrifice their lives with bravery as they did during First & Second World Wars under the Allied Forces. We also wish to point out that Sikhs are different from the Hindus & Muslims. Sikhs’ religious place is called “Gurduara Sahib”, where all persons are welcome to take part in congregation and free community food. At the end, we are profusely grateful to all for their continuous assistance & cooperation. Let us continue to live in peace and harmony as brothers and sisters. Sikhs’ Homeland Punjab needs to be restored to the glory of the Sikhs – please refer to SGPC’s Resolution passed on 9th March 1946.
Waheguru jee ka Khalsa Waheguru jee kee Fateh
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All