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Kirpan Sarbloh or Steel?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Harkiran Kaur, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I have a Taksali kirpan that is sarbloh... (the case is not but the blade is) and was wondering, there are many kirpans available I saw in Amritsar near Darbar Sahib that were totally steel.

    Now my question is, I have a few friends who play the whole guilt trip on people who have karas and even kirpans that are not sarbloh... to them everything must be sarbloh.

    What is your take on this? I realize that sarbloh at the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the best metal available for blades... As Sikhs we are not supposed to do things as blind ritual, so to copy the original and only accept sarbloh now, would that be considered a blind ritual when there are better options (ie damascus) that can be used as blade material? The sarbloh kirpans I have seen are always dull, and therefore the kirpan becomes completely only a symbolic thing. Whereas is it not supposed to also be functional as well?

    They have successfully guilted me into only wearing a sarbloh kara (even rust resistant 'white iron' was not acceptable, though I also own one that is white iron... so I have a 100% sarbloh kara now, however I notice the smell all the time, anytime it's near my face... and the iron smell kind of makes me feel queezy, and I am not sure why - maybe because its very similar to blood smell.)

    Now they are guilting me that only sarbloh kirpan is acceptable... and soon I think they will guilt me into eating out of only sarloh... etc.

    So long story short, is sarbloh the only acceptable metal for kirpans, and karas too while we are on the subject... Steel is actually an alloy of iron, and I thought the reasoning for sarbloh was more simple... that its not a statement of wealth like gold / silver and anyone could afford sarbloh. But is there more to it?

    I also have a beautiful kirpan given to me that is more contemporary design, artisan handmade, however it has a steel blade not sarbloh, and I don't know if it would be looked down upon to carry it once I do amrit (the date of which is soon arriving!) FYI its one of the khalsa kirpans... it has inlaid khanda in the sheath, and has a custom gatra with it. Its the smaller 3" blade one overall length is 6"
     
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  3. gur_meet

    gur_meet India
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    "Sikh Rehat Maryada " published by SGPC gives panthic view on the kakars and does not mention restriction of sarab loh kara or kirpan.
    Sarab loh rehat is practiced by some sikh organizations . During my Amrit Sanchar years back the the Panj Pyaras did not mention any sarab loh restriction. Later a few sikhs did mention this practice. There were initially some concern whether this is needed. So ignoring this issue and did not feel guilty on this count . The daily life of Sikhi is more important.
     
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  4. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Thanks Gurpreet Ji!

    My own personal thoughts are that the reason why we have kakkars on us all the time, matters more than the material they are made of. And really... steel has its origins from iron anyway, so in my mind I don't see a huge issue.
     
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  5. AngloSikhPeace

    AngloSikhPeace United Kingdom
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    Sarbloh is pure iron, am I right?

    If so, that's a very bad material to make a blade out of, practically-speaking, and I really doubt that in the time of the Gurus they would be carrying swords like that. Swords have been made from steel for thousands of years.


    'Damascus' steel is actually from India originally, known as 'woortz' steel. During the decline of the Mughal Empire and the invasion of the subcontinent by the British it declined in use, as western sword-smithing was considered better. Woortz blades are exquisite and very sharp, but they shatter more easily than western steel blades did. Definitely woortz steel was around during the human Guruship period and in use by Sikh warriors.


    Anyway, this is all a rather academic question now, given that the kirpan is no longer a weapon of war. Choose whatever material you feel comfortable with. :)



    And please don't let people confuse you by telling you what to eat out of. If you want to follow the practice of only eating from sarbloh, which is followed mainly by the AKJ, go ahead. If you don't want to, that is also your choice.
     
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  6. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    This is the one that was given to me... and I'd hate that it should go unused. I love the simplicity of the modern design.
     

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  7. AngloSikhPeace

    AngloSikhPeace United Kingdom
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    Hmm... Looks well-made from the photograph, but of course that's probably the best picture. How is the tang (metal part that goes into the handle)? Does it extend the full length of the hilt? It looks like it from what I can see, but maybe from a different angle you can see better?


    I personally am not fond of modern-style swords, I prefer traditional. There's a local Gyani here who has a medium-length kirpan with an amazingly-detailed decorated sheath, possibly a carved tiger's head on the hilt as well if I recall correctly. Looked really nice.
     
  8. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    yes it does go all the way and it's very well made! They are precision made to have perfect weight / balance so really they are not created entirely for looks / symbolism only. They are quite a capable blade!

    Mine is just plain on the metal parts though it does have the inlaid khanda on the sheath. Mine is ebony (black) (they also come in ivory colour, and mahogany). However for people with cash to throw away they can be hand engraved on the metal bits and they are very beautiful.... just not $3,000.00 beautiful!! Mine does have engraving on the blade though "Ik Onkar, Satgur Prasaad" in Gurmukhi on one side and a khanda on the other.

    Here is an image of LCol Harjit Sajjan (currently CO of BC Regiment) presenting one of the 12" ones, and it is fully hand rengraved to a US Army Officer he worked with in Afghanistan. I wish you could see the detail better...
     

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  9. ActsOfGod

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    Sikhi is not about guilt. Don't feel intimidated by anyone or allow anyone to guilt you into something you don't feel comfortable with. By all means do your personal best to follow the Rehit and make efforts to increase your knowledge and understanding of Sikhi -- as you grow in Sikhi, you might find yourself doing things differently, and that is fine, it will come in time and with gyan (wisdom). That is part of our journey and we all hope to grow and learn from our Guru.

    For the time being, do what you are comfortable with and what makes sense to you. Learn and educate yourself (which is what you're doing by posing these questions on this forum, for example).

    As far as the sarbloh question, there are many Singhs who only wear sarbloh and that is fine. It is also fine to wear a steel kara or a chromium-plated iron kara, and wear a steel kirpan. What's important is that you understand why you are wearing the 5 K's, and that your heart is truly aligned with Sikhi principles and actions. In other words, it's more important to actually be a Sikh rather than just a rule-follower. Btw you wont be breaking any rules if you wear steel instead of sarbloh, and as mentioned above in one of the other replies there is nothing in the SRM requiring sarbloh.

    The kirpan you posted a picture of is beautiful and functional.

    Remember we honor and respect shastar's no matter what material they are made of. A Japanese kitana is equally important for us as Sikhs as an Indian talwar.

    Guru kirpa karan.

    AoG
     
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  10. AngloSikhPeace

    AngloSikhPeace United Kingdom
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    Actually, I often wonder about this. A Kirpan can be any shastar, any tool for the defence of the innocent and the prevention of evil. But a kirpan's position is also symbolic. And certain types of sword have different symbolism.

    Some Sikhs carry a type of Afghan stiletto as a Kirpan, however the purpose of this weapon was the opposite of mercy, it would be used to execute captives and wounded enemies. Can that truly be a Kirpan?

    What about an SS soldier's dagger? can such a symbol of violence and hatred become an honourable thing?

    What about a Roman gladius? The Kirpan is for the defence of good and justice, the gladius was a weapon of conquest and aggression. Untold millions of people died at the tip of that weapon.
     
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  11. ActsOfGod

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    I think it could be, yes. The reason is this: it depends on who is the wielder of the weapon. Even if it was an Afghan stiletto or an SS soldier's dagger, or a Roman gladius, if it was in the hands of Guru Sahib, what would that weapon become? My opinion is that it would cease to be a weapon of hate and violence, and be transformed into a kirpan, the bringer of mercy, because it was in Guru Sahib's hands.

    I don't think that means that we can just use any weapon as a kirpan. For Sikhs, it must be fashioned as such (the kirpan that we carry). But we still acknowledge and respect the other types of shastars that exist.

    AoG
     
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  12. gur_meet

    gur_meet India
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    #11 gur_meet, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The ONLY Kakaar that is ORIGINAL..is KESH. We were BORN with it and its UNDETACHABLE !!

    The other FOUR are man made and gifted to us by the Panj when we join the Khalsa.

    What was MEANT to be 24/7 365.25 till the day of CREMATION....to be UNDETACHABLE is what the Creator gifted us at BIRTH.....rest are detachable..the MYTH created is that should one of the Four get temporarily "detached" we break our VOWS..NOT TRUE. Just WEAR back (re attach) the Kangha, kirpan karra kachera etc..and continue...no harm done.
     
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  14. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    My thought on this has always been this... because certain times, for obvious reasons certain kakkars must be removed. AKJ consider keski to be the 5th kakkar and not kesh (and I kind of agree with their thinking) that kesh is already considered one of the four main rules you must never break. So it's already established that kesh is a must. The other kakkars are external things that must be obtained, gifts given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. So keski must be removed to wash the kesh. Some people take it extreme that they tie it round their waist while washing their kesh. I don't think things need to be that complicated. Even if you consider that keski is not a kakkar, there is the issue of bathing and removing the kirpan or not. Most people won't keep their gatra/kirpan on in the shower as I can just imagine how soapy water would affect the gatra and since most kirpan sheaths are not made high quality, I can just imagine over time in soapy water how they would rust / break down.

    And then, for those who are married...are both partners supposed to engage in marital relations with their kacheras swinging round their ankles getting tangled up? I think common sense prevails. For myself, if I remove a kakkar for showering etc, and put it back as soon as I am out, I will not feel guilty about it.

    After all... the intent, and the REASON we are keeping them on us, and what they stand for is far more important!!! Having said that, I would never keep them more than a few feet away from me in those instances.

    Anyway, Gyani Ji what is your take on sarbloh for both kara and kirpan? I have recently discovered I can't wear sarbloh for extended periods or I start to react to it (actual rash). So I have been alternating between the sarbloh kara I have and a surgical stainless steel one which I don't react to at all. Steel IS an alloy of iron, so I am hoping its ok. Someone told me I will be required to have the sarbloh one on for taking Amrit though... is that true? And will I also need a sarbloh kirpan as well? If so would it be seen as bad if I have the sarbloh ones for amrit sanchar and then change to the steel ones afterward?
     
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  15. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Akasha Ji wrote..
    <<<<<<<<Anyway, Gyani Ji what is your take on sarbloh for both kara and kirpan? I have recently discovered I can't wear sarbloh for extended periods or I start to react to it (actual rash). So I have been alternating between the sarbloh kara I have and a surgical stainless steel one which I don't react to at all. Steel IS an alloy of iron, so I am hoping its ok. Someone told me I will be required to have the sarbloh one on for taking Amrit though... is that true? And will I also need a sarbloh kirpan as well? If so would it be seen as bad if I have the sarbloh ones for amrit sanchar and then change to the steel ones afterward >>>>>>>>>>

    As far as my own personal opinion goes..this is all about splitting hairs...how many microns should the hairs be split..??? is it ok to split them 0.00000000001mm or 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001mm ?? is the first split better than the second one..LOL....will the first split take me to Sachkhand or thes eocnd one ?? Will my SARBLOH kirpan/karrah/drinking pitcher/dinner plate be my ticket to Sachkhand..and will i be denied sachkhand becasue i drank from a plastic bottle..or had my dinner on a ceramic plate ??..I have very very very very STAUNCH ( maybe staunch is mild word...they are SARBLOH STAUCH )..blood relatives..a few real shaeeds, few living shaheeds, few know so much Gurbani..they can recite the sggs backwards too ( my dad could do that...not the Gurbani..BUT actually BEGIN reciting the SHABADS from nay requested place/pannah....say someone asked him..Gyani ji..recite the shabad beginning line 18, page 678...and he would begin almost instantly..OK..now can we go forward TEN lines..TEN Shabads..TEN pages..almost instantly...JUST LIKE those IBM TAPES you can see spinning back and forth on mainframes....dads brain was like that..and not just PARROTTED MEMORISED but with meanings, references, history etc instantly...)....but my dad used ceramic plates..steel plates..as and where basis...not like some AKJ that refuse to take karrah parshaad from Gurdwara too because the Granthi/sewadaar who made it is not as per AKJ Sarbloh Maryada...I UNDERSTAND with their concersn..BUT I ma NOT that strict.

    You make your own standards and rules..be COMFORTABLE..be easy..PREM KHELLAN KA CHAO..is way more important than FORCED behaviour..

    Regards
     
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  16. aristotle

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    I've been dilly-dallying over partaking Amrit because of this very issue. While performing Operative procedures, all appendages like Watch, Kara, Bracelet etc have to be removed before doing washing, it is almost inevitable unless I want to run the risk of my patient going septic.
     
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  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Aristotle Ji,
    I come across so many Youths who have been fed so much nonsense about Khandeh bateh dee PAHUL, that it has become a sort of HAOOAH..MONSTER !! and so mnay are DRIVEN AWAY from Becoming Khalsa becasue they have been told the "Amrti" is more FRAGILE than a kacha dhagah..peice of fine paper that a single "drop" of water (read sin/transgression/like kangha falling out of the hand when combing kesh..or dastaar touching the ground..or ????) will DESTROY it !!!
    All Totally FOOLISH TALK. The PAHUL Ceremony is our VOWS..we take the OATH of Loyalty to the GURUS MATT and vow we will follow every word of the GURU. This OATH is to FOLLOW the GURU step by step..catching hold of his finger..never letting go even in great fear/overwhelming circumstances...and to have FULL FAITH in HIM...always LIVE in GURBANI !!!

    BUT due to these many Fake SAADHS/SAINTS/BRAHMGYANIS/DERAWALLAHS who dish out their varieties of amrit to make their own slaves _Gharreh deean machhiyan..THESE "Amrtidharees" will NEVER say just AMRIT..they will ADD..Dhadriwallah da Amrit, Taksaal da Amrit, Pehova amrit..AKJ da Amrit...etc etc etc..NEVER simply GURUS AMRIT !!

    DONT WASTE any more precious moments..GO JOIN the kHALSA right away..at first opportunity..and dont worry about these fake "kacha dhaagah" tall tales..the Khandah is steel, the battah is steel, the GURBANI is much more than steel..no way can this be ever broken..just by swalloing a mosquito..or by uisng a spoon used to pick up non-vege, or kangha dropping on the floor..or ??????? NO WAY..its an insult to the Pahul to treat it that fragile...
     
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  18. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    It is interesting to note that on the day the tenth master asked for heads, after which many many Sikhs were brought into the Khalsa on that very day, these issues probably did not arise.

    It is also interesting to note (present company excepted) that the majority of those that worry about the mundane and the inconsequential give little thought to the bigger picture in terms of thoughts and actions.

    I guess we have the plethora of well meaning aunties and uncles to thank for that environment, sweating the small stuff is easier to do.

    Having said that, I am a mona, well actually baldy, and I have not been to a Gurduwara for a long long time, so I guess being excited and proud about being a Sikh in full bana is a facet I admire in anyone.
     
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  19. Harkiran Kaur

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    Aristotle Ji, are you an MD? Awesome! If I had the resources I would have done that... I seem to have a knack for medial knowledge. I joined the military instead... but I get my 'medical ' fix and seva in one go... I volunteer with an organization that provides medical first response at many public events. I am qualified just below paramedic to be able to do this... Advanced Medical First Responder level 2 and also International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) so I totally know what you mean about keeping things sterile... I don't remove my kara at events... just make sure it goes under the glove. But then again, we deal with emergency things and not in operative well controlled surroundings... our aim is to stabilize and transport :p
     
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  20. aristotle

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    I'm still an Intern, though I regularly assist Operations and invasive procedures....:)
     
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  21. ActsOfGod

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    Sikhi is very a practical lifestyle. In the case of a medical procedure that you need to perform, if the kara must be removed then it is entirely understandable, and I'm 100% sure that you would not be committing any transgressions by doing so. It is for safety reasons and the action you are performing is saving someone's life (or helping them medically). This is what the Khalsa was made to do (help mankind), and thus you are performing seva as per Guru Sahib's Hukam.

    It's the same as carrying metal into a room with an MRI scanner. It could be lethal, so no metal at all is permitted for safety reasons. If you need to go in for a scan, or if you are the medical personnel operating the machine, you must remove all metal from your body. Does this mean you should never go near an MRI scanner? Not at all. Guru Sahib knows our hearts. And he is forgiving beyond our comprehension.

    Personally I wouldn't worry about this as it's a minor issues in the grand scheme of things. I would just do an Ardas before removing the kara and then carry on with the work. After the surgery is complete then put the kara back on.

    If you have a desire in your heart for becoming Guru-wala banda, please don't hesitate and please don't delay. As Gurbani states, who knows if we will draw our next breath? You don't want to miss this rare golden opportunity that has finally come after who knows how many lifetimes. Do not waste a moment more, hurry to Guru's sanctuary. You will never regret it!

    AoG
     
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