The Khalsa

"I have made this body and mind a sacrifice, a sacrificial offering to the Lord. Dedicating my body and mind, I have crossed over the terrifying world-ocean, and shaken off the fear of death." (Guru Arjan, Chant, pg. 576)

Who and What is a Khalsa?

"He who keeps alight the unquenchable torch of truth, and never swerves from the thought of One God; he who has full love and confidence in God and does not put his faith, even by mistake, in fasting or the graves of Muslim saints, Hindu crematoriums, or Jogis places of sepulchre; he who recognises the One God and no pilgrimages, alms-giving, non-destruction of life, penances, or austerities; and in whose heart the light of the Perfect One shines, - he is to be recognised as a pure member of the Khalsa" (Guru Gobind Singh, 33 Swaiyyas)

The word "Khalsa" means "pure", Khalsa's are Sikhs which have undergone the sacred Amrit Ceremony initiated by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The Khalsa order was initially created on Baisakhi Day March 30 1699, with Guru Gobind Singh baptizing 5 Sikhs and then in turn asking the five Khalsa's to baptize him. Following this the Guru personally baptized thousands of men and women into the Khalsa order. The Khalsa baptism ceremony is undertaken as part of ones own personal spiritual evolution when the initiate is ready to fully live up to the high expectations of Guru Gobind Singh. All Sikhs are expected to be Khalsa or be working towards that objective.

The Khalsa baptism ceremony involves drinking of Amrit (sugar water stirred with a dagger) in the presence of 5 Khalsa Sikhs as well as the Guru Granth Sahib. The initiate is instructed in the following; (a) You shall never remove any hair from any part of thy body, (b) You shall not use tobacco, alcohol or any other intoxicants, (c) You shall not eat the meat of an animal slaughtered the Muslim way, (d) You shall not commit adultery. The initiate is required to wear the physical symbols of a Khalsa at all times as well as follow the Khalsa Code of Conduct.

Quotes from the Gurus about Who is a Sikh

Comments from Sikh Scholars about who is a Sikh

 

Spiritual Evolution
Stage 1: Manmukh
A person who is self-centered and only thinks about himself and the material world around him and is totally oblivious to God.
Stage 2: Sikh
Anyone who sets out on the path of learning and meets the specific definition of a Sikh as appears in the Rehat Maryada (Official Code of Conduct).
Stage 3: Khalsa
Total dedication to Sikhism. One who has has shed his ego and personality and truly honours the memory of Guru Gobind Singh through his actions and deeds.
Stage 4: Gurmukh
One who has achieved mukhti (salvation) and is totally God-centered.

 

The Physical Articles of Faith

 
Kesh:
Long unshorn hair. A symbol of spirituality. The Kesh reminds a Khalsa to behave like the Guru's. It is a mark of dedication and group consciousness, showing a Khalsa's acceptance of God's will. Long hair have long been a common element of many spiritual prophets of various religions such as Jesus, Moses and Buddha.

Dastar:

Turban. A symbol of royalty and dignity. Historically the turban has been held in high esteem in eastern and middle eastern cultures. Guru Gobind Singh transformed this cultural symbol into a religious requirement so that the Khalsa would always have high self-esteem. It differentiates Sikhs from other religious followers who keep long hair but wear caps or keep matted hair. The turban cannot be covered by any other head gear or replaced by a cap or hat. The turban is mandatory for Sikh men and optional for Sikh women.

Kangha:

Comb. A symbol of hygiene and discipline as opposed to the matted unkept hair of ascetics. A Khalsa is expected to regularly wash and comb their hair as a matter of self discipline.
Kara:
Steel bracelet. A symbol to remind the wearer of restraint in their actions and remembrance of God at all times.

Kachha:

Drawers. A symbol signifying self control and chastity.

Kirpan:

Ceremonial Sword. A symbol of dignity and the Sikh struggle against injustice. It is worn purely as a religious symbol and not as a weapon.


Understanding the Kirpan for non-Sikhs

These Are Not Symbols

What is a Head Worth?

 


The Khalsa
See Rehat Maryada category for greater details

The Sikh will worship only God. They will not set up any idols, gods, goddesses or statues for worship nor shall they worship any human being.

The Sikh will believe in no other religious book other than the Holy Guru Granth Sahib, although they can study other religious books for acquiring knowledge and for comparative study.

The Sikh will not believe in castes, untouchability, magic, omens, amulets, astrology, appeasement rituals, ceremonial hair cutting, fasts, frontal masks, sacred thread, graves and traditional death rites.

The Khalsa will remain distinct by wearing the Five K's but shall not injure the feelings of others professing different religions.

The Khalsa will pray to God before starting any work. This will be over and above his usual prayers.

Although a Sikh may learn as many languages as he likes, he must learn Punjabi and teach his children to learn to read it.

Every male should add "Singh" after his name and every female Khalsa should add "Kaur" after her name. They must never remove hair from any part of their bodies.

Drugs, Smoking and Alcohol are strictly forbidden for Sikhs

Khalsa men and women will not make holes in their ears or nose and shall have no connection whatsoever with those who kill their daughters. Sikh women will not wear a veil.

A Sikh must live on honest labour and give generously to the poor and the needy thinking all the time that whatever he gives is given to the Guru.

A Sikh must never steal or gamble.

Except for the kacha and the turban there is no restrictions on the dress of a Khalsa, but a Khalsa's dress should be simple and modest.

When a Khalsa meets another Khalsa he will greet him by saying, Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God).