These Are Not Symbols
by Harcharan Singh

The following is a lettter from a father to his son in response to the son's crisis of faith. The son wrote to his father that he did not feel that the five symbols had any significance or relavance in today's modern society and was considering abandoning them. In response the father wrote a letter to his son about the priceless value of the 5K's which is easily forgotten in the modern material world.

Dearest Jaskirat,

Sat Sri Akal. I must thank you for the deep confidence and the love you have for me. It has always been a joy to read through your letter as they manifest, the sensity of the seeker of truth. I am very happy that you had the courage and conviction to express so openly the things that seem to have been distressing your heart. I somehow felt all this brewing up in you, for the last two years, but had never allowed myself to face it directly, till you wrote the present letter. It is a pleasure to hear it all so plainly stated and I hope, I shall understand and clam your mental anguish.

When you leave the university and face the world it seems to me that what is crucial in life is not to succumb, not to bow your head to various pressures, but to know and feel them as they are, in a gentle spirit, with a great inward strength, so that these pressures will not create conflict in your life. You may question what is given to you or what many of your age assert is being forced on you - but this also means that you must question yourself. You must not merely question, what you call the significance, the need, the value of your own life. It is only with such an integrated total approach that you will understand not only the Kirpan, the Kara, the Kanga, the Kesh and the Kachha, but also appreciate the agonies, the joys, the pain, the pleasure, the vanities and hope of living.

In your letter, the one word which has overpowered you , the one emotion which drives you on, is significance. Over and over again, you want to know what is the significance of the 5 K's? The word certainly is not out of place in our materialistic and individualistic existence. In our efforts to be practical individuals, we want to imbibe only what is of utility and significance, the rest we want to discard. The search for significance in everything is a curse for the present century. It is a form of self-enclosure, self- killing and therefore it breeds the fear of living. The whole world, all your friends, your relations, everyone is struggling for significant and useful things. But what might be significant for you might not be so for your friends.

If you go to a man who has ill-health, he will undoubtedly say, what is significant is good health. If you go to a man who has not had enough wealth in all his life, he will say what is significant in life is money. If you go to a mother she will say the significant thing is to have a son. This is the reason to find an intricate web of explanations, for the significance 5 K's. Every one views it from his own angle of significance.

The first step in your questioning of the 5 K's should be to be free of this yoke of significance. It is this illusionary search for significance, which has made many young ones and their seniors, discard their Kesh, because they see no value in them. It is a pity that we want to reduce Sahib Guru Gobind Singhji, to our own mundane level of thinking and view all his actions in light of practical animal utility. If he was in search of merely objects of practical utility, he could have made a truce with Aurangzeb, when the latter made the offer. Shivaji did so at one stage, because his search was different, his life was different. If the rider of the dark blue steed, wanted the 5 K's to be reflections of practical use values, he could have very well added not only more weapons, but instead of a sword, he would have given us a gun, as guns did exist at that time. A gun would have been more efficient and better suited for self-defense and for war too. But he was not inspired out of a hunt for weapons of self-defense or practical value, as we would make it out, reflecting our own thinking backwards in history. The Guru Sahib was not a novice in the ways of arms, if he only wanted his Sikhs to be armed for war, through these 5 K's he would have rather equipped them the way he did Banda Bahadur at Nanader, when he gave him 5 arrows and a bow. The sword, anyway, in the battlefield would have been useless without a shield.

The Kanga, the Kesh, the Kara, the Kirpan and the Kachha were all delicate gifts of love and beauty to the Khalsa from his Master who desired nothing for himself, but everything for the Khalsa. These gifts were from a Guru who grabbed not the gifts of his disciples but instead totally surrendered everything for the cause and love of the Khalsa. A way of total love which was to be unique for the Khalsa; "Jau tau prem khelan ka chao sir dhar tali gali meri ao." (Guru Nanak Ji) "If thou art zealous of playing the game of love, then enter upon my path with thy head on they palm," It was out of such love that these gifts were presented to the Khalsa and not out of any attempt to carve our soldiers. When there is total love there is action, there is sacrifice. Is it not so? The love of Guru for the Khalsa was not the result of mental vibrations, and there was in his life no gap between love and action, as there is between our thinking and action. It is only we who want to be one sided in our love and make claims of loving the Guru in our ideals, in our heart and consequently we reason out that we don't have to express our love for Him in action, in the Desh, but can there be love without total commitment and action? No the total love of Kalgidhar Guru Gobind Singh Ji for the Khalsa becomes apparent in the book titled Surbloh, where, he becomes one with the Khalsa and portrays the Khalsa as his highest love:

Khalsa is the breath of my body,
Khalsa is the very soul of my life,
Khalsa is my real pride and glory,
Khalsa is my own personal self,
Khalsa is my life's sustainer,
Khalsa is my body and breath,
Khalsa is my creed and karma,
Khalsa is my conscience keeper,
Khalsa is my perfect satguru,
Khalsa is my brave friend,
Khalsa gives me intellect and wisdom,
Khalsa is my object of meditation.

The mind that loves the Sikh ways of life is a religious mind because it is the movement of living, of action, of truth, of God and it is only such a mind that can know what is the beauty of gifts that Guru gave to us. The 5 ornaments that we wear are the gifts, from a Guru, whose two younger sons, seven and nine years old faced martyrdom in Sirhind in a manner which is unequaled in the long annals of human history. These two innocent children were walled alive because they refused to bow before the sword of hatred. The Guru's mother merged into the Supreme Being at Sirhind during persecution. The two elder sons of the Guru counted martyrdom fighting in action for us. Guru Sahib himself had been attacked with dagger by two cowardly Pathans at Nanded in Deccan, causing serious injury.

Could such a Benevolent Being whose whole family was destroyed for the total love of the Khalsa, be looking for practical utilities of an animal existence? He was not the person to endow us with gifts of mere practical value, but gifts of love, which knew no questioning, no bartering, no deals and no betraying. His was a total sacrifice and a total love in both thought and action, for the happiness of the Khalsa and these gifts had their pangs of birth in a sea of human blood. It was not out of any practical benefit that the evil genius of the Mughal government announced awards for the hair of Sikhs. It was because they knew that without these gifts, without these embodiments of the Guru's love, the Khalsa would disintegrate.

All the children of the Khalsa are to always wear a sword, in now way their own private possession or property. The Kirpan is a gift from Guru Gobind Singh Ji to the Khalsa. It is not to be judged and measured as a weapon of war or peace, it is a gift activated by the love of the Guru. Even a whole army of bodyguards of the best police state in the worlds cannot make it redundant. It shall always remain attached to me, the bodyguards cannot make it obsolescent. The sword is the love wherein the Guru resides. A Guru who in his love saw no difference between human beings and fused all of us in one creed of devotion, service and sacrifice, in an age when common men were hanged for even drawing water from the same well, as that of the higher castes. The lower castes were beaten to death if they as such touched the kitchen utensils of a Brahmin.

A Kalal - a wine distiller, once came for the Guru's darshan and stood at a distance, for the caste of the Kalal was considered low in the social hierarchy. When Guru Gobind Singh Ji, saw him he said, "Come in and sit with all of us in the tent." The man quivered, hesitated and said, "How can I, the lowest of the low, sit in the assembly of the gods? Guru Ji, I am a kalal whose mere sight pollutes." On hearing this, Guru Sahib instructed His musicians and bards, to welcome the man with music and songs and coming down from his couch to bless him. He said, "You are not a kalal, but a 'Guru ka-Lal', 'a Ruby of the Guru.' Who has such love for us? The sword which we have, is an ornament for all of us, the rich and the poor, you , me and the whole humanity. To wear a sword which was once a privilege of the few high born, under the dictates of the Mughal aristocracy, with the Guru's blessings became a gift which any one could carry, without fear of being prosecuted, because now it was in love from the Guru to the Khalsa "dan dio iniko bhalo avaranko dan na lagat niko." (Guru Gobind Singh). "To bestow gifts on them alone is worthy, to make gifts to others is not kind".

When his hands stroked our hair, washed them, combed them, dressed, knotted them and placed in them the invaluable Kanga, how can we, his sons and daughters, bear our hair to be cut? The Guru Sahib saturated our hair with Amrita. He left the imprint of his blessings and joy in our hair. Our hair are like the untouched pearl in the deep oceans not yet disfigured by the fortune hunters. You say it is inconvenient, frustrating, impractical to grow our hair long. But more frustrating is an existence of no inspiration, no effort. Our superficial hollow life is no way less discouraging. The day to day fragmentary living, the everyday struggle for food, the daily pain, suffering, distress, torments and headaches are in no way less discomforting. But inspite of all this do we cease to exist? No, on the contrary we strive all the more and struggle for pleasure, gratification, comforts and joy. If we can reconcile ourselves to such an empty living, can we not grow our hair long which is so inspiring, creative, fulfilling and above all a gift from our Guru, a gift whose rejection would be a rejection of our existence, the negation of the very purpose of our life.

In the West, the children love so much the gifts made to them on Christmas by the mythical Santa Claus, they hungrily search their stockings for the gifts placed in them by their parents and after receiving their gifts feel so elated and we so ungrateful, that we fight, throw away, kick at the gifts of our loving father, who kept nothing for the future of his House and gifted to us everything he possessed - physical, spiritual and material.

The elegant kachha we wear every day is the very same as the one worn by Guru Ji himself, by his disciples and by his lovers. Clad in it, we are one with him. The exotic wooden comb he tucked in our hair, also combed, danced and swung in his hair. The kanga, is the new born baby, playing in the lap of the loving mother, whom we so brutally want to strangle. It was these very same presents, for which tens and thousands of my brothers laid down their lives. Have you watched the tears in eyes of a sheep while she is being sheared? And many of us so happy without our hair. we for sure have traveled a long way from the animal.

The kara has to be received by us as a present from our Guru, which is not comparable to our wealth, our intelligence, our achievements. It comes to us as a manifestation of His love and benefaction. It is strange behavior indeed that we constantly argue about it. He put on our wrist the kara, from that day it was for ever ours, no one could separate it from a Sikh, and we still advance reasons for it. He loved me. He made me his own. He elevated me from the darkness of ignorance to light of spiritual consciousness. Can I not even make his gifts my own? We his children, have to wear these gifts, carved out of infinite love. One with these gifts, we blossom, separated from them we wither. The decay in the Khalsa is apparent.

Each one of us wears the hair and beard of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, exactly as he wore them. We are created in his majestic image. Jab lag rahe khalsa niara, tab lag tej dio mai sara, jab eh gahain bipran ki ritl, mai na karo in ki partit" (Guru Gobind Singh) "So long as the Khalsa retains identity, I will bestow to them full glory; but the moment they adopt Brahmanical ways, I will not protect them." Our significance is in Him, and not anywhere without Him and his gifts. In these gifts we are reminded of his Omniscence, Omnipotence and Omnipresence.

Jaskirat, do not make our presents into dead symbols, they are the gorgeous ornaments of the living. We are the "Wedded Women" of the God. They are the wedding gifts from our Bridegroom. He gave all of them to use and they are God-sent - imperishable, indispensable and indestructible, superstitious and fatalistic. But the waves of pure love always have their own logic, rationality and fatalism. I love the Guru's irrationality - if you want to call it so "sev kari inhiman bhavat, aur ki sev suhat na jiko." (Guru Gobind Singh) "To serve them pleaseth me, service of any other is not dear to me." I don't have the courage to reject such devotion.

Does a would-be-wife question the intrinsic value of the engagement ring, she is gifted by her husband? No, never, even if it is made of copper or a shell. Today, you want to discard these gifts, because gold has more value. Yes, iron was poor in worldly goods. A wealthy merchant, Hargopal once grudgingly brought for Guru Gobind Singh, two gold bracelets studded with precious jewels, not because he loved the Guru, but because he felt that in doing so, he would please his own father, who was a devotee of the Guru Sahib. One of these expensive bracelets accidentally fell into the Jamna river from the hands of Guru Ji. At this, Hargopal was very displeased and when his attempt to recover the bracelet proved futile, he asked Guruji to point at the exact place where he had dropped the bracelet, so that he could take it out. To indicate the place in the river, where the bracelet had fallen, Guru Gobind Singh Ji took out the other gold bracelet from his wrist and throwing it in the river he told Hargopal, "It is there."

You want to question the utility of the iron bangle of the Guru, but not of the gold bangle which is so much in vogue at Sikh engagement ceremonies today. You are ready to discard the Guru's bangle for the yellow metal. But do not forget your first marriage, out of whose womb you stand today, aspiring for these worldly gifts. The body can be made the basis of either animal inconsistency or a divine temple. The choice is yours, the solitude of separation is yours. These gifts are not to be stored in the darkness of the cellars; think deep into them, if you want to live in spiritual grandeur.

The head of a Sikh, the kesh of a Sikh, having been once offered and accepted, become forever of the Guru. It is an unceasing trust with Him. It is therefore imperative for a Sikh to carry his head high and not to bow it before a mortal barber. It shall only bend and bow before the Guru. Once a new musket was brought as a present for Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He said, to test the love of his disciples, that he wanted to try the aim of the musket on someones forehead. He looked around and asked if any of his Singhs would offer himself for the trial. Quick come up-scores of unflinching Sikhs, each pushing the other one away, regarding it as a boon to meet death at the Guru's hand, and we today so uninspired, sleeping beauties that except for empty words, have no deeds worthy of our name.

Everyday we recite in our prayer, "Nanak das sada Kurbani." "Nanak thy servant is ever a sacrifice to Thee." But what is that we sacrifice everyday? Guru Gobind Singh was the purest sacrifice. We may never reach his height, but some sacrifice we can do. But instead we sacrifice our 5 K's. Shocking is our spirit of sacrifice. If the Khalsa today is hollow, it is because we forget our tradition of sacrifices, it is because we forget the love of a sacrificer, it is because we regard his gifts as mere symbols. "Balhari gur apne diohadi sadvar." (Guru Nanak) "I am a sacrifice to my Guru Hundred times a day." Are we the worthy inheritors of this heritage? After drawing on his blood, now we want to stab him in the back!

Jaskirat, one kilometer, from the Lahore railway station stands a gurdwara, sacred to the Sikhs in the loving memory of Bhai Taru Singh Ji. It bears the name of Shahid Ganj, the Abode of Martyrs. Bhai Sahib was resident of village Poola where he had a small piece of land. The wheat and the maize that he produced and the humble mud hut he had, he happily shared with all the weary travelers who passed through the village and needed a shelter to sleep for the night. He belonged wholly to the Guru's hymns and early in the morning under the stars, while on the plough, with a white turban and a blue chola, a poor toiler of the earth, he recited the Japji. The Japji which has in it the inimitable cosmicness of life in nature. The villagers loved Taru Singh for his fellow feeling harmlessness and spiritual purity.

But being a Sikh, Taru Singh was not destined to live any longer, his life of love, free from the hatred of caste colour and religion. The authoritarian Mughal government of medieval India was not willing to appreciate the way of life of the Sikhs, which drew no dividing line between man and man, between Hindus and Muslims, between Brahims and Sardars "manas ki jat sab ik hi pahchanho". (Guru Gobind Singh) "All men are the same", it was a creed which cut at the very rood of Mughal establishment based on human distinctions. To extinguish this smithy of love, the government offered to its subjects numerous monetary awards for the heads of the Sikhs and they were declared outlaws. The greed for gold tempted Bhagat Nirangi to lodge a complaint against Bhai Taru Singh, with the Subedar (governor) of Lahore, stating that he gave shelter, to dacoits, the Sikhs, and the property of Muslim and Hindu subjects of His Gracious Majority, was unsafe. Such a complaint was unnecessary for the very living of a Sikh was a reason enough for the state armed forces, to go and imprison Bhai Taru Singh, who was bound in ropes and brought before the Subedar.

When the Subedar, saw this young man of 23, he was overwhelmed and shaken by his presence. He felt himself transposed to another world. There was a radiance around him which made the Nawab exclaim: "Khaunda! What a divine Noor (glory) on his face. I pray that he should be a Musalman!" Addressing Taru Singh, the Nawab said, "O, graceful Sikh, I feel sorry for you and I wish to give you a new lease of life." Taru Singh with tears in his eyes, responded: "Reward me with a new lease of life? Why stain me with such dishonour while my brothers and sisters are being martyred here before me, every day, every hour? The Subedar said, you presence is resplended with a heavenly light. Somehow my heart does not permit me to have you killed, but you must cut and present me your tress-knot."

Taru Singh replied, "The Sikh and his hair are one. I will be pleased to give you more than you ask me, my head with my tress-knot". These hair are the eternal gift of love, of immeasurable beauty to the Khalsa by our Guru, they cannot be separated from a Singh's head, without separating his head. The one who just looks at them can never understand them. It is like looking into a mirror, but you are not one with the mirror. The observer is only capable of experiencing, he is never mirror, the experience, the state itself. These hair are the fountain of joy, the spring of life for us.

The Subedar still confident of bribing him then said: "Taru Singh, you are too young. You have not yet experienced the beauty and joy of life. I will make arrangements for your marriage with a woman of your choice. You will be awarded with high mansob (office) in the Mughal army. You will be endowed with a hereditary jagir, I promise you all sorts of luxuries but you must part with your way of life and accept the Muslim religion."

A Guru ka Sikh can never be tamed and now his tears mingling with a smile of joy, Taru Singh replied, "Having been sent by Him they come (into the world) and recalled by Him they go back", said Guru Nanak. "It is the right and privilege of the brave to die", says He, "For a Sikh, life has beginning and no end - it is both death and life. Neither my life nor my hair are for bargaining in your court which views beauty, life and religion in weights of gold. The value and beauty of our hair cannot be measured in terms of luxuries and jagirs. Your thinking is materialistic and is therefore negligible, but an integrated living is always spiritual".

The Subedar could no longer bear this song of truth as he cried out, "Stop him, for he disturbs the law and order of our province. Kill him, for he disturbs the law and order of our province. Kill him at once, but cut his hair before." The Mughal soldiers caught hold of Bhai Sahib's head and chin, but the barber found it impossible to bring his hand near his head. With a stroke of his head he would push back his captors and make them whirl on the ground. A cobbler was then sent for, to try his skill with his tools and scrape off Taru Singh's hair, but his attempt too proved abortive. At last the help of a carpenter was asked for the foul deed with a stroke of his age, he cut off Bhai Taru Singh's head (1743 A.D.) but failed to cut his tress-knot.

Thakur Rabindranath Tagore, a great mystic poet of Bengal has beautifully sung of this episode:
Parathona Atit Dan - "More than asked For"

For a Sikh to cut his tress-knots
Amounts to discarding his dharma
The Pathans brought, bound hand and foot, the Sikh prisoners,
Shahid Ganj earth turned red with their blood The Nawab addressing Taru Singh,
said unto him:
'I wish to spare thy life'.
Taru Singh retorted: Spare my life!
Why thou dishonors me?
Said the Nawab: Thou art bravest of the brave?
'I don't wish to wreak my anger on thee,
Taru Singh replied: 'O Nawab they request with my heart I comply and liberally grant thee more than what thou begest of me:
'My head with my tress-knot',

Jaskirat, if Bhai Taru Singh had looked for practical utility, significance and relevance wouldn't he have exchanged his hair for a Jagir, for beautiful women and the power he was offered? But all these he regarded as worthless when he weighted them with his way of life. If the hair were mere symbols for him, would he have staked his life for them. The term symbols can never express the depth of these gifts. You will never find even a most dutiful policeman leaping to death, to uphold a short circuited burning traffic light signal, because it is a sheer symbol for the cars and lorries on the road, it is an external factor to his life. But our 5K's are much deeper and profound than symbols and this is the reason we find not only Bhai Taru Singh, but a whole galaxy of martyrs in our History - Bhai Mati Das, Dyal Chand, Bhai Mani Singh and Subeg Singh - all playing with their lives, which appears to us so irrational and fatalistic.

Son, you merely read about the 5 symbols in isolation, meditate on them as links with lives of your ancestors, it is only then that their meaning will be apparent to you. In themselves the 5K's might appear to be mere symbols, show windows but it is only when they are knit with our lives, woven in our existence, painted with our daily sorrow and joys that their value, justification and significance emerges. They are inseparable from our life and if you perceive of them as separate, it is not surprising that they appear to be frivolous, justified and a burden of the past. If you are wounded and in agony it is because you want to separate, from yourself, what is vital for existence.

Unfortunately, you visualized only a part in segregation from the whole. You are looking out of a small window set in the wall, from which the outside may appear to be attractive and convincing for sometimes, but it does not allow you to view the beauty of life. Without linking these ornaments of love, with your daily existence, you can never have perception of the whole, therefore you will always be sad and when the end comes, you will still be grouping in the darkness of your cell; you will have had nothing but hallucinations and a lot of empty words. But if you fall in love, now with these unique gifts, if you love your Kesh not, the Kirpan you wear, then son as you grow up, you will not remain in your dungeon with its dark windows, but will leave it and love the whole way of life. If you don't constantly have a passionate love for those presents of the Guru, then you are like a flower without fragrance, withered and lying in the dust, being crushed and kicked by every pedestrian. Only he can have love for God, who abandons his ego, forgets himself completely and thereby brings the state of creative consciousness. The "me" and "I" from its very birth is constantly building a barrier of knowledge around itself, around its actions and ultimately leads to isolation and despair. A life of the dead.

Knowledge is only a minor part of life, not the totality and when it thus assumes all consuming significance, as it is now then your life becomes artificial, an empty cut, from which man tries to escape, through superficial escapes with disastrous results. Knowledge is like a kerosene lame on a dark night, but it can illuminate only so long as it has fuel. Life is much vaster and deeper, it cannot be lived with the aid of an extinguishable lamp. Knowledge is essential to everyday existence, as money is to but your food, but it cannon grasp the reality of love, of God, of living. Love is not to be hooky in the net of intelligence; if you use knowledge to grasp love, it will die as one fish dies out of water. Knowledge must be left behind for love to be. Burdened with mechanical learning you will never understand what is beauty, what is measurable. The light of knowledge is a covering under which lies a realm of truth, which knowledge cannot penetrate. The worship of knowledge is a ritualistic pilgrimage, which can never dissolve the contradictions and miseries of life. Mere knowledge, however earnestly learnt and cleverly assembled, will never resolve the meaning of the 5 K's to assume that it will, is to invite frustration and misery. You may know all about the working of the earth and the functioning of the skies and still not be free from sorrow, envy and pain.

To know these gifts, to value truth, to be one with God, you must have claims, to beliefs, no speculations "Sochia soch na hovai je sochai lakhvar" (Guru Nanak) "Mortal cannot comprehend Him by thought." If you have gathered the knowledge of living, the knowledge itself becomes more important, not your living. If you want to understand these gifts, everything will come right. Live in them and there is understanding, "hukmai andarsabh ko bahr hnkam na koe. Nanak hukmi je bujhai ta haumai kahe na koe." (Guru Nanak) "Nothing at all outside His will, abiding O Nanak, he who is aware of the supermen will never in his selfhood utterest the boast: It is I". The Supreme Will was to live in the glory of these embellishments of our land so shall it be.

These gifts of ours are not symbols of a religion, or compulsory rites of a religion. The Sikh way of life is not to live on any set of rituals, formalism, talismans, penances, austerities, pilgrimages or symbols. The Sikhs were rebels against all this and more. The gurbani abounds, in hymns against ritualism and symbols. Guru Nanak Ji said in on of his compositions "Yoga lies not in wearing patched garments, nor in carrying a staff, nor in smearing one's body with ashes, nor does it lie in wearing earrings, not in cutting one's hear, not in playing on a singi." (Suhi I). Could anyone have said something more against the irrelevance of symbols. How strongly he felt against empty symbols may be gauged from these lines, "With tikka (the sacred mark) on their foreheads and dhoti wrapped around their loins and legs, they look pious, but in fact they are the world's butchers carrying daggers in their hands." (Asa-da-var) The shallowness of ritualism and symbols was exposed thoroughly by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Akal Ustati:

Some worship but stocks and stones, while others suspend the lingum from their necks.
Some look for the God in the East, other in the West,
Some worship but idols, some are unwise enough to worship the dead;
All these are involved in a false show, and they find the Mystery, that is God.

After the victory of the battle of Bhangani, Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed Pir Budhu Shah, with no treasures and no elephants, for his service, as was the custom of that time, but a Kirpan and comb with some broken hair of his. These gifts are still preserved as sacred relics in the former princely state of Nabha. This very jewelry, he presented to all of us, inspite of the fact that our lives were not wrought in the furnace of sacrifice - a jeweler which no craftsman, no intellectual, no jeweler is capable of imitating. These gifts of ours are the constellation of superconsiousness, the very essence of breath of God in us, of which our tress-knots are the spiritual crown of humanity.

Jaskirat, ask not from me the significance, the value, the power of our tress-knots, for I am incapable of describing it. In the meadows, dales and mountains of our tress-knots, the bliss of perennial joy flows, in the beautitude of our tress-knots, the flowers are fired. In our mystical tress-knots, the insipid mankind is inspired in the holiness of our pristine pure tress-knots, the sun chariot rides high in eternity; in the infinity of our tress-knots; the melting snow caps of the mountain peaks, wash away all sorrows; in our august tress-knots, the frenzied rain torrents pour; in the creativity of our transcendental tress-knots, his nakedness is robed anew in the effulgence of these gifts.

Live in the eternal joy of your tress-knots and you will know what it is, to be. Men collect the ashes of the departed soul and pray for him in the church and the temples and you want to discard, this living soul, this living temple! People build monuments for the dead, you want to uproot the living monument the Guru gave to you. If you want it to disintegrate you may, but you shall forever be buried under it.

The love shall still come your way because you are one of the descendants of the ancient lore, you will still flex your muscles when the song is of your forefathers, but you would have converted the garden of the living into the weeds of the dead. The gardener will shed his tears but no more will you grow. Soon, even his tears will dry as he tends new gardens. A time comes when no one knows, of the long ruined monument. It passes back into the womb of agony and is possessed by the serpents, jackals and chameleons.

Jaskirat our 5 K's are beyond the realm of rituals and symbols, they are the timeless ones. Can you and me enclose with our intellects what is not measurable? Can you and me enclose with out intellects what is not time? Can our constant hatred, anger, ugliness, lead us to the unknown? Do we have an instrument to gauge what has not beginning and no end? Can the truth of these gifts be trapped in the cage of logic? What we may capture by our mechanical knowledge and logic, is superficial, never the cosmicness of these presents. Many of us spiritedly respond to tranquilizers but living in love, needs no tranquilizers.

The beautiful, the loved can never be dissected and summed up. For these gifts, we can reach no conclusions, no morals and no judgments because they are not symbols, but pieces of art. What would the cuckoo's song mean to you, if you want to take down its notation and analyze them? What would your mother be for you if you want to know her by analysis? Only a biological skeleton for procreation. You have so much trapped yourself in a net of words, of speculations that the feeling itself, which is the only thing that is deep and vital in us in lost. The significance or the insignificance of these gifts is not important. The highest art in life is to be beautiful. And these gifts are the force that creates the beautiful, the artistic in us. It is one in a million, who has the beauty of these ornaments.

The kesh, the kachha, the kara, the kanga and the kirpan are the gifts, chiseled out for the Khalsa, by the divine artist. These are gifts, endowed to us forever by the Divine Bridegroom, on the day of our marriage to him, on Baisakhi, in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib (The City of Bliss). They are true embodiments of art and anyone looking at them, can have his bosom full of meanings, ecstasy, inspiration, love, joy and what more can we wish? In them we have the treasure, mines, in them is the beauty and we are so ignorant of it. We the cosmic brides will carry his gifts of love, in honour, purity and splendour glory and our love will blossom in all climates, in all times and in all continents.

May the blessing of Waheguru Ji be with you forever.

Your loving father
Harchand Singh.