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Kirpan (Brian Baldwin's Blog)

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    <small>Posted on Sun Jul 11 02:31:56 2010 by Brian_Baldwin</small>

    KIRPAN (THE SIKH SWORD)
    Author : Unknown

    The sword has a special place in the history of various religious, cultures and nations. For a Sikh, "Kirpan" is an article of faith. For an initiated Sikh, wearing of a Kirpan is obligatory. An initiated Sikh, not wearing a Kirpan, would be in breach of his faith.

    Although its form has undergone several changes, sword has been part of the history of the world since pre-historic periods. References pertaining to sword can be found in the history of the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, the Sikhs, the Japanese, and other national and religious groups

    Jesus Christ has been quoted by Matthew as saying, " I have come not be bring peace but sword." Hazrat Mohammed considered the sword to be sacred to Islam. The Hindu goddess Durga is shown carrying several weapons but a raised sword in her right hand, is the most striking feature of her pictures.

    The Sikh kirpan, however, is different from the sword of Christianity, Islam or Hinduism. Christ's sword is an alternative for peace; Prophet Mohammed advocated the use of sword for achieving political and religious objectives and Durga's (the Hindu) sword is a weapon to kill the enemy. In all these cases, the sword is used as a weapon, for offensive action. On the other hand, The Sikh Kirpan is essentially "defensive." The Sikh Kirpan is not to be carried raised in the right hand. It is required to be worn in a Gatra (a belt) on the left side of the body, with the humility of a saint.

    Kirpan was granted the status of "article of faith" on March 29, 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib. However, it does not mean that Kirpan was not sacred to the Sikhs before 1699. Right from Guru Nanak Sahib, Kirpan was a part and parcel of a Sikh's being. Commenting on Mogul invasion on the Sikh Homeland, Guru Nanak Sahib had given the message to the Sikhs to be prepared with a defending kirpan.

    The Sixth Nanak, Guru Hargobind Sahib, wore two Kirpans, one representing the temporal and the other transcendental domain of the Sikh cosmos. While he asked his followers to wear defending kirpan, he issued strict directions forbidding the use of Kirpan for an offensive purpose.
    Maubad Zulafqar Ardastani (formerly believed as Muhsan Fani), in the seventeenth century acknowledged the Sikh position with regard to Kirpan and confirmed in his book Dabistan-e-Mazahib, that the Sikh Gurus never used their Kirpan in anger.

    A Hindu teacher, Samrath Ram Das (guide of the Maratha ruler Shivaji) once met Guru Hargobind Sahib and wanted to know the reason why Guru Sahib had chosen to wear Kirpan etc. Guru Sahib told him that the Sikh Kirpan was required for the protection of the weak, the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed from the tyrant and the cruel aggressor.
    On March 29, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib revealed Khalsa, the sovereign people. Khalsa, being the direct subject of the Almighty, owes its spiritual and temporal sovereignty to Waheguru (the Almighty). The Khalsa (of the Almighty) was granted five "articles of faith": - Kes (unshorn hair), Kangha (the Sikh Comb), Kara (the Sikh bracelet), Kachhehra (the Sikh shorts) and Kirpan (the Sikh sword). Although these five articles were already a part and parcel of a Sikh's life, but since March 29, 1699, these five became an integral and inseparable part of an initiated Sikh's being. From the moment of initiation until death Khalsa has an obligation not to part with any one of these five articles of faith, at any time.

    It is remarkable to note that Guru Gobind Singh Sahib declared a Kirpan and not dagger, sabre, rapier, scimitar, gun or pistol as an article of faith. Kirpan is a combination of two words: Kirpa (mercy/blessing) and "aan" (honour). Thus the term Kirpan means "an article to be used with mercy, for protection of honor/life." The other meaning which one can derive is : "an article which blesses honor." In both cases, the motif is that the Sikh Kirpan can be used only for defense and not for offence. It can not be used in the cases of ordinary fighting for non-sacred purposes. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib did not grant status of "article of faith" to gun. (The Guru, however, did not prohibit the use of these weapons in case of necessity).
    In the Sikh religion Khanda (double-edged sword) enjoys a great significance. It is used for preparation of Amrit (nectar for the Sikh initiation). Although Khanda is scared in Sikhism, it is not an article of faith to be carried always on person.

    Sword has also been a part of social and cultural traditions of many different communities. The practice of giving a sword as a mark of respect or in recognition of one's exceptional contribution towards the society is as old as the sword itself. This practice is shared by people living in the United States, England, the Sikh Homeland among others. In the United States, the custom of presentation of sword was very popular until the later part of the nineteenth century. Interestingly, some swords were awarded "by vote" in "lotteries," during the US Civil war. These presentation swords are usually richly crafted and vary in sizes.

    In the Sikh history and traditions, Kirpan has enjoyed a very special place contribution for the Sikh nation, is honored with the award of a kirpan. Unfortunately, this noble tradition has been corrupted by few opportunist politicians, who, for the sake of political expediency, arranged with their sycophant followers, to be the recipients of such undeserved honors. They might succeed in their nefarious designs to confuse the unknown people in the western countries but the Sikh community is too well aware of their manipulations to be taken in.

    Attacks on the Sikh ideology, their cherished traditions, and even the articles of their faith, have often required them to fight protracted battles, to enjoy the basic rights, taken for granted by most other people. Sikh Kirpan is one such item. At one time, the ruling British Government in India was called upon to establish the legal status of the Sikh kirpan. The British Governor General of India issued a notification, making a clear ruling on the issue. It said : "No restriction of shape, length and size of a Kirpan is prescribed for the Sikhs."

    An order of F.C. Taylor, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Letter No. 3879 dated November 1, 1936), finally resolved the question of kirpan. It said: "Government has recently issued orders that prohibition and directions of Section 13 of the Indian Arms Act, shall not operate in the case of the Sikhs carrying kirpan; from this it follows that Kirpans are not arms within the meaning of that section. Sikhs can, therefore, carry any number of any size of Kripans."

    For a Sikh, kirpan, is an essential article of faith. It is not a symbol. It is strictly obligatory and not optional. A replica of Kirpan can not be used. Kirpan reminds a Sikh of one's duty to be the right action; to defend the poor, the weak, the oppressed and the persecuted; to always remain prepared to the call of the nation, the society and the humanity. The Sikh Kirpan stands for self-esteem; justice, honor, righteousness and readiness for duty and sacrifice.
     

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  3. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    I think someone really ought to send o copy of this to the "Gurdwara of Rochester." And also to those in Toronto and elsewhere who don't seem to grasp the true meaning of the kirpan.

    wahkaurswordfight
     
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  4. seeker3k

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Dear Narayanjot Kaur ji,
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I am sorry if it sounds like broken record. I wrote about the kirpan before. In doing so made few of the readers and administrators. There is one point you wrote in this article that I need some more information.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Right from Guru Nanak Sahib, Kirpan was a part and parcel of a Sikh's being. Commenting on Mogul invasion on the Sikh Homeland, Guru Nanak Sahib had given the message to the Sikhs to be prepared with a defending kirpan.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Can you please tell me where in Nanak’s bani I can read this?
    I was hoping little bit more information in your post. As to how it became 6” from 3’ sword?
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Yes you are right many religions and bandits wore sword for good and bad reason. Most of those religions are no more. It is still a symbol in many armies to give sword as saropa.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    As you said the sword is for the defense of the week and those can not defend themselves. How can one defend others or him self with 6” kirpan?
    <o:p> </o:p>
    You may or may not know that Hindus use to wear sword too until they were concords. They have to compromise and settle for the janeo the secret thread. Other religions that carry sword gave them up because it is out dated and serve no useful purpose.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I am sorry if I have offended you any ways.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Seeker3k
     
    #3 seeker3k, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2015
  5. spnadmin

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    Dear and respected, Seekr3k ji

    You did not offend me. For the sake of discussion, you need to know that I did not write this article. I only posted it. Every day I post about 10 articles on various subjects. So does Aman Singh. That way we can provide interesting reading in areas of gurmat vichaar, Sikh history, current events, the environment, Sikh practices. Things like that. So these thoughts are not my thoughts, but were part of an article on "Brian's blog."

    I cannot address any comments by you or anyone else on the use of kirpan by Hindus. That is a subject about which I know next to nothing.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now to the question: where does it say that kirpan was part and parcel of a Sikh's being in Guru Nanak's bani? It doesn't say anything about kirpan in so many words. But kirpan was part and parcel of Sikhi that long ago. These are my thoughts.

    These are the 2 references in Sri Guru Granth Sahib in which the word kirpan ਕਿਰਪਾਨ is actually used. In both cases the word signifies "mercy," neither sword nor dagger.

    ਸਰਨਿ ਸਰਨਿ ਸਰਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਾਵਉ ਦੀਜੈ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਿਰਪਾਨਦ ॥
    saran saran saran prabh paavo dheejai saadhhasangath kirapaanadh ||
    O God, I seek Your Sanctuary, Your Sanctuary, Your Sanctuary; please mercifully bless me with the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. Ang 1205)

    ਹਰਿ ਹੋ ਹੋ ਕਿਰਪਾਨ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    har ho ho kirapaan ||1|| rehaao ||
    The Lord shall be Merciful to you. ||1||Pause|| (Ang 1297)

    Once I replied in another thread that "kirpan" means sword of mercy. Another member with a need to see Sikhs as a martial race really gave me hell for saying that. I don't care. The word "kirpan" contains the word "kirpa." All of this in my mind points to 3 themes that are always playing in the background, or should be. 1) There is no difference between saint and soldier in Sikhism, everyone who takes Guru Nanak seriously is sant and sipahi. 2) There is no dividing line between saas raas and bir raas, there is "raas," and we get it from the shabad if we make an effort. 3) If one's belief in the shabad becomes justification for aggression and anger, then wearing a kirpan has only one function. To look like a dangerous character, a member of a martial race, and we have forgotten that it was the British that coined that term for their own nefarious purposes.

    This is my understanding. If we can see ourselves to be sant/sipahi, and we accept the raas of the shabad, and we shed our need to perpetuate a manipulative myth of a warrior race, then we will understand why the kirpan given by Guru Gobind Singh is the same sword described in the ShabadGuru. In Guru Gobind Singh's day the fight was against Moghul tyrants. In our day the fight is against hunger and disease among earthquake victims in Haiti, honor killing, violence to the environment, dishonoring the turban, corruption in government, female foeticide, the caste system -- just to name a few battles on going. ਖੰਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਰੇਨੁ ਛਾਰੀ ॥
    khannaa sagal raen shhaaree || My
    dagger is to be the dust of all men's feet.

    Back to your question regarding Guruji, who tells us in this pauree,

    ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਖੜਗੁ ਕਰਾਰਾ ॥
    gur thae giaan paaeiaa ath kharrag karaaraa ||
    From the Guru, I have obtained the supremely powerfu sword of spiritual wisdom.

    ਦੂਜਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗੜੁ ਕਟਿਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥
    dhoojaa bhram garr kattiaa mohu lobh ahankaaraa ||
    I have cut down the fortress of duality and doubt, attachment, greed and egotism.

    ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਾ ॥
    har kaa naam man vasiaa gur sabadh veechaaraa ||
    The Name of the Lord abides within my mind; I contemplate the Word of the Guru's Shabad.


    Most of the time the battle we must fight is inside of us, a battle against egotism and doubt, duality and greed, attachment. However successful we are in that inner battle, that is how easy or difficult it will be to wear kirpan as the sword of mercy.

    If we think of kirpan/sword as a weapon then it makes a difference, 3 inches or 6. If we think of kirpan as the sword of mercy it can be 12 feet long - what difference does it make?
     
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    #4 spnadmin, Jul 13, 2010
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  6. seeker3k

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> I understand the sipahi is one who raises voice against injustice. Nanak also raised his voice against the injustice.
    But when guru Gobind Singh gave the kirpan he gave it for fighting not for the kirpa. Sure he said it must be used against the injustice not for personal vendetta. I have lot of respect for Guru for that.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The two words you used to describe kirpan are for the mercy not for fighting. Ever word changes it meaning in different contexts.
    har ho ho kirapaan/ saran saran saran prabh paavo dheejai saadhhasangath kirapaanadh ||
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When we wear 6” dagger we are insulting Guru and his hukam. If people don’t see that then nothing I or any one can do about it.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I will be writing new thread about the downfall of great idea as Sikhism soon.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Seeker3k
     
    #5 seeker3k, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2015
  7. spnadmin

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    Respected seeker3k ji

    Thanks for your reply. I do not see how Satguruji can be insulted. Always in vaiarag, Satguruji sees mud and gold as the same. Everything that happens is according to His Hukam. We can only insult ourselves and one another.
     
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