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The Origin of the Khalsa

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Admin Singh, Jul 6, 2004.

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  1. Admin Singh

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    These sound like simple questions. Most of us would quickly answer that the Khalsa was created in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

    However, that is not the right response. That answer is too simple, too vague. When we give this answer, we separate Guru Gobind Singh Ji from the other nine gurus. Many times I see people who come on stages in Gurdwaras and say that the khalsa was created by the tenth Guru. Just think about it, when somebody says the word khalsa or amrit, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

    For most people the first thing that comes to their mind is Guru Gobind Singh Ji. We have forgotten the 230 years before 1699.

    We can all see that today, the vast majority of people that are born to Sikh families are not amritdhari. I meet many people from the congregation and when I see someone who has not taken amrit yet, I ask them why they are not amritdhari. Many of those individuals respond by saying that they follow Guru Nanak’s Sikhi, not Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Sikhi. You will be surprised how many people use this excuse.

    The reason they can use this excuse is because we have not fully explained the importance of amrit to them. They see the tenth Guru’s philosophy being separate than the first nine gurus.

    Today, I wish to show that the khalsa was not created by the tenth master. Instead it originated in the year 1469. At a time when this world was full of falseness and people were fighting over religious beliefs. When people were corrupt and lost the true meaning of religion. At that time Guru Nanak came to this world in 1469 and he started the base of what would later be called the Khalsa:

    mwirAw is`kw jgq ivc nwnk inrml pMQ clwXw]

    Translation:

    Blessing the world, Guru Nanak started a pure religion.

    (Vaar - Bhai Gurdas Ji)



    Guru Gobind Singh has also credited Guru Nanak Saheb with starting the Khalsa panth:

    pMQ clXo hY jgq mYN gur nwnk pRswid[

    (Rehatnama Bhai Prahelad Singh)

    Translation:

    This new Panth (brotherhood) was started in the world with Guru Nanak’s grace.



    Guru Nanak made the base and all of the following gurus made that base stronger, they added on to that base. Then finally the tenth Guru finished the mission. If we look at it closely, we see that it was all systematically done. Right from the beginning in 1469, the Guru knew that the Khalsa was going to be built.

    Looking at it this way, we also see that all of the rules that the Khalsa follows and the form that the Khalsa takes was not something new. All of these rules were followed from the time of Guru Nanak. The Sikhs had all of these attributes during the time of all of the first nine gurus.

    When Guru Nanak went missing in the river, on the third day, after coming out of the river he said,

    “jo nw koeI ihMdU hY nw muslmwn hY”

    (Pratan Junam Sakhi)

    Translation:

    “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim”

    Guru Nanak preached that all men are one, no religion is better than any other religion. Bhai Gurdas Ji explains about how people came up to Guru Nanak and asked him who is better – Hindu or Muslim. The Guru replied that it does not matter what religion you are from, what matters is your actions in life:

    puCx Kol ikqwb nUM ihMdU vfw ky muslmwnoeI]

    bwbw AwKy hwzIAW SuB AmlW bwJo dovyN roeI]


    Translation:

    They asked Baba Nanak to open and search in his book whether Hindu is greaert or the Muslim. Baba(Guru Nanak) replied to the pilgrim hajis, that, without good deeds both will have to weep and wail.

    (Vaar - Bhai Gurdas Ji)



    This has been repeated in Sri Guru Granth Saheb Ji many times:

    koeI bolY rwm rwm koeI Kudwie ]

    koeI syvY guseIAw koeI Alwih ]1]


    Translation:

    Some call Him, 'Raam, Raam', and some call Him, 'Khudaa-i'. Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allaah'.

    (Guru Arjun Saheb)



    eyko Alhu pwrbRhm ]

    Translation:

    The Muslim God Allah and the Hindu God Paarbrahm are one and the same.

    (Guru Arjun Saheb)



    ihMdU qurk khw qy Awey ikin eyh rwh clweI ]

    Translation:

    Where have the Hindus and Muslims come from? Who put them on their different paths?

    (Bhagat Kabir Ji)



    Alhu gYbu sgl Gt BIqir ihrdY lyhu ibcwrI ]

    ihMdU qurk duhUM mih eykY khY kbIr pukwrI ]3]


    Allah is hidden in every heart; reflect upon this in your mind. The One Lord is within both Hindu and Muslim; Kabeer proclaims this out loud.

    (Bhagat Kabir Ji)


    rwm rhIm khwieMdy iek nwm duie rwh Bulwxy]

    The Hindus invoke Ram, the Muslims, Rahim, but in reality there is only One God.

    (Vaar – Bhai Gurdas Ji)

    Guru Gobind Singh Ji has echoed this same remark to his Khalsa:


    dyhrw msIq soeI pUjw AO invws EeI

    mwns sbY eyk pY Anyk ko BRmwau hY ]

    Alh AByK soeI purwn AO kurwn EeI

    eyk hI srUp sbY eyk hI bnwau hY ]16]


    Translation:
    The Hindu temple and the Muslim Mosque are both the same. The Muslim Niwaz (prayer) and the Hindu Pooja (prayer) are the same. All of the beings have come from the same God, man does not understand this.

    The God is One, The Hindu Puran and Muslim Kuran (Sacred Texts) are the same. Everything has that one God in it, who is the creator of everything.

    (Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

    When we look at the khalsa’s suroop (form), we see that all Sikhs were required to keep their hair from the time of Guru Nanak. We all know the story of when Guru Nanak’s son, Baba Sri Chand came to visit Guru Ram Das Ji. How Baba Sri Chand saw that the Guru had a very long beard. This shows us that the Guru kept his beard.

    According to the Junamsakhi written by Bhai Muni Singh, a group of Sikhs were sitting with the Guru and asked him for his blessings. The Guru then told them that they should never cut their hair. This is what is written by that Bhai Muni Singh who served Guru Gobind Singh Ji and wrote the copy of Guru Granth Saheb Ji while the tenth Guru dictated it. That Bhai Muni Singh who is considered a Brahmgiani, who the Sikhs in the early 1700’s respected and would go to if they had questions about the religion.

    In the Giaan Rutnaavli, there is a story about Bhai Mardana. He was traveling by himself and stayed at Bhai Neeru’s house for a while. While there, Bhai Neeru asked, “You are very blessed that you get to spend so much time with Guru Nanak. You have gained a lot of wisdom from the Guru. Bless me and teach me some of what you learnt from the Guru.”

    Bhai Mardana responded, “The Guru always gives three orders to all of his Sikhs. I will tell you the same three orders.”

    Then Bhai Mardana gave the following three orders:

    1) Wake up early in the morning and meditate (amrit vela)

    2) Always be ready to serve any gursikhs that you meet.

    3) Never cut any hair on your body.

    In the Junamsakhi, it says:

    AwKy nwnk Swh s`c suxhu bhwaudIn pIr[

    ihMdU muslmwn doie isr guMm QIey zhIr[


    Translation:

    Guru Nanak said, “listen to the truth saint Buhoudeen, both Hindus and Muslims have been separated from God by cutting their hair.

    Here is another verse:

    Av`l suMnq mUey hYN isr qy rKY joie[

    pwvY murwqbw s`XdI vfw irKISr hoie[

    Translation:

    The hair is the gift of God, who ever keeps it on his head, in this world and the next world, he will receive respect.

    The fifth Guru has said:

    swbq sUriq dsqwr isrw

    Translation:

    The true form that God created man in was with a turban on his head.

    From these examples, we can see that the Sikhs were required to keep their hair throughout the lives of all ten gurus. We can see that all ten Guru’s stressed the importance of keeping uncut hair.

    Unlike many scholars that say the Khalsa brought a new form to this world, I say that it did not. Instead, the Khalsa reintroduced the original form man was in at the beginning of time. The true form that God created us in. Even when we look at the bible, we see that there are many verses that explain the importance of the turban, here are just a couple:

    And you are to do as I have done, you must not cover your beards, or eat common bread; you must keep your turban on your head, put your sandals on your feet, do not cover your beard. (Ezekiel 24:17-19, 23-24)

    Thus a clean body, a clean white turban were pre-requisites for spiritual development of clean mind and pure soul. (Leviticus 8:9)

    Prophet Muhammad himself spoke strongly in favor of the turban, as can be seen from the following hadiths (i.e. saying of Prophet Muhammad):

    "The turban is a frontier between faith and unbelief."

    "My community shall not fall away so long as they wear turban."

    So we can see that this form was not knew, but instead the original form God created man in.

    Then when we look at the kirpan and the khalsa’s will to fight for truth, we also see that this was started by Guru Nanak. I am so amazed at how many young Sikhs I meet who say that their favorite Guru is Guru Gobind Singh Ji because he fought for truth and that he was a warrior. It is unfortuanate that they do not yet know about the accomplishments of the first nine gurus.

    Guru Nanak went up to king Babar and called him a zabar. He went up to the king of that time and was not scared, he told the king that he is evil and corrupt.

    Then Guru Arjun Saheb Ji showed us how to give our life up for the truth. He went through such sacrifices to teach us this lesson. Guru Hargobind Saheb created the first Sikh army and fought four battles. The Sikhs were ready to give their lives for their Guru and many did.

    Guru Har Rai Ji and Guru Harkrishan Ji both kept an army of 2,200 soldiers. The ninth Guru became a martyr to save the Hindu religion and uphold the truth. Bhai Matti Dass, Satti Dass, and Dyala Ji all gave their lives for their Guru. The tenth Guru sacrificed all of his sons for religion.

    So we can see that this will of Khalsa to die for their religion and for the truth was not something new introduced by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. All Sikhs of all the gurus had this will.

    Even the ceremony of Amrit was not created by the tenth master. Amrit was prepared from the time of Guru Nanak and by all of the gurus through Churn Amrit:

    crn Doie rihrws kr crnwimRq is`KW pIlwXw]

    Translation:

    He washed His feet, eulogised God and got his Disciples drink the nectar of his feet. (Vaar - Bhai Gurdas Ji)

    The Gurmantra that the Khalsa receive at the time of Baptism was also given before, but in a different manner:

    mnih pRgwsu Bieau Brmu nwisau mMqR dIa gurkwn

    Translation:

    There is light in the mind and doubt is destroyed when the Guru gives the Gurmantra through the ear.

    So we see that it was important for all Sikhs of all the gurus to take amrit, not just at the time of the tenth Guru.Guru Gobind Singh Ji knew that the gurgudhi was going to Guru Granth Saheb Ji and did not want someone to start making his own amrit and giving it to Sikhs. So he gave this responsibility to the Sikhs, that wherever there are five Sikhs who follow the religion with full devotion, the amrit may be prepared.

    I have many more examples of how the philosophy of the khalsa is the same as the philosophies of the first nine gurus. I probably have enough to write an entire book on this issue, but since this is just an article, I have tried to state only a few examples.

    I hope that now we will understand that Guru Nanak’s Sikhi is not different than Guru Gobind Singh’s Sikhi. We must realize that Guru Nanak laid the foundation for the Khalsa which was made stronger by each Guru. Then Finally, Guru Gobind Singh Ji laid the finishing touches. If we look at it with this perspective, then no one can use the excuse that they only follow Guru Nanak’s philosophy.

    Article from Gurmat Studies Newsletter
     
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  3. jodhbir

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    There is no evidence in the Sikh literature, as far as I know, about Sikhs being asked not to cut their hair before the tenth guru. The necessity at the time of the tenth guru was to maintain a distinct identity from muslims. The muslims wore a topi during namaaz and to maintain a distinctions sikhs were asked not to cut their hair.
    I believe that the verses have been misinterpreted to suit the article.
     
  4. S|kH

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    Incorrect. Although used in a distinction-fashion, the Khalsa was not created merely for that. The 5 K's were created for symbolic reasons, and not for that time.

    If your argument is true, then I ask why would the Guru also ask Sikhs to keep a iron bangle? a knife? At a time when there were guns, or larger swords were available, why an underwear? If it was for the sole reason for identity?

    The intrepretation that the Khalsa was only created as an identity and fight against the muslims is easily refuted.

    The 5 K's were for symbolic reasons, and yes you are right in which no other gurus asked sikhs to keep their hair before that, BUT the tenth Guru was finalizing what the other gurus had started.

    The term "Khalsa" was used by Bhagat Kabir who existed long before Guru Gobind ever did. The term "Khalsa" means brotherhoood dedicated to purity of thought and action. It does not have much reference to a "warrior race"

    In SGGS, Bhagat Kabeer uses the term Khalsa and describes it as the Pure Ones.

    Guru Gobind simply formulated what the other Gurus said and gave symbolic measures on what should be the foundation of base for all Khalsa, regardless of their own philosophies.
     
  5. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    thanx Sikh ji

    You explanation was pretty rational and enlightening.

    Regards
     
  6. jodhbir

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    Which symbolic reasons are being implied here? I still don't see how the above argument implies that the 5 K's were not used to create an identity.
     
  7. Rajs

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    Dear Idle Singh,



    I would like to point out that the verses you have quoted from the Bible to support your views on turban are out of context and misleading.



    Leviticus 8:9 states - “Then he (Moses) placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate…”

    Ezekiel 24:17 states - “Groan quietly…Keep your turban fastened…”



    The turban mentioned in above verses refers to is part of an attire for the priest alone and it is not to cover long hair as you seem to imply because in Ezekiel 44:18-20 it is clearly stated – “They (Priests) are to wear linen turbans… They must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long, but they are to keep the hair of their heads trimmed.”



    You also mentioned that Guru Nanak said, “The hair is the gift of God, who ever keeps it on his head, in this world and the next world, he will receive respect.”



    What is this next world and from whom the keeper of hair will receive respect?



    Regards

    Rajs
     
  8. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Is there any reason for doing so?
     
  9. Rajs

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    Sevadaar,

    Is there any reason to do what? Would you mind being more specific? Wear a linen turban, or not to shave head, or not to let hair grow, or to keep the hair trimmed! What does your question refer to?

    Regards
    Rajs
     
  10. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Reason for
    1. not to shave head?
    2. wearing turban?
    Thanks.
     
  11. The lion king

    The lion king
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    I agree wid what S|kH says. Guru ji did not demand us to keep our hair but requasted us to.

    if you want to play the game of love with me,
    then walk this way with your head in hand

    when you place your foot onto this path,
    give me your head and pay no heeds to others

    Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth sahib, page 1412

    basically what ever the first gurus said, guru gobind singh ji formalised. hence the KHALSA
     
  12. Rajs

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    Dear Sevadaar,

    1. In the Old Testament of the Bible, the High Priest’s garments were to set him apart and declare his special status before God. The Priest’s clothes were for dignity and honor.



    "Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons… So they may serve Me as priests. Make Sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor.”(Exodus 28:1)



    Now, the garments mentioned above were not for all, but only for the Priest, and not restricted to turban (mitre) alone. These sacred garments included a breast-piece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, and a sash.



    There is no mention of any significance of a turban in the Bible but some interpret it to be a distinguish mark of the Priest, as the religious head of people, others see it as a symbol of priest’s obedience and submission to God, in line with 1 Corinthians 11:3-10, where covering of woman’s head in the assembly of church elders reflects submission to authority.



    What, perhaps, is of more significant than the turban is the sacred diadem (plate of pure gold) that was fastened on it. The diadem was engraved with words “HOLY TO THE LORD”. (Exodus 28-38, 29:6)



    2. As for the rules regarding hair, once again this was only for the Priest, not for all Israelites. A priest was neither allowed to grow long hair, nor allowed to shave his head. A priest was asked to trim the hair of his head.



    I think the probable reasons for the Priest to not have long hair could be that only a “Nazirite” was asked to keep uncut hair (Numbers 6:1-21)



    The reason for the Priests to not shave his head could be because head shaving was required for a person suffering from some infectious disease, and thus, was a sign of uncleanness. (Leviticus 14:8, Numbers 6:9)



    Therefore, trimmed hair was required for the priests because they were not Nazirites (so couldn’t keep long hair) and shaving of head represented uncleanness (whereas The Priest was Holy to God). The Priests wore Turban (mitre) with the sacred diadem only when they represented the Israelites before God. (Ezekiel 44:19)



    Regards

    Rajs
     
  13. Arvind

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    Dear Rajs,
    Thanks for the view.
    Does christianity support equality of lives?
    Thanks.
     

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