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Amrit Ceremony Of The Khalsa




1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Sikhism emerged in India in a time when people were confused and misguided. It started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Born in a hindu family, Nanak went on four odysseys that spanned the whole country and also touched the borders of Iraq, spreading his divine message of the existence of only one omnipresent God. Through the teachings of the nine Gurus (teachers) that followed Nanak, Sikhs became strong willed, courageous and were put on the right path. It was with Guru Gobind, the tenth guru, that the practice of Amrit started in Sikhism.

The word Amrit in itself is made up of two words. Amar + it. "Amar" carries the meaning of immortality, while the suffix "it" is added to describe the symbolic drink which is named Amrit. Amrit is also a synonym for nectar, the drink of the Gods. After decades of spiritual enlightenment of the Sikh population, Guru Gobind decided it was time for the Sikhs to defend themselves and their people from the atrocious and he tyrannical Mogul emperors. He trained the Sikh population in warfare and on the day of Baisakhi in 1699, he crowned the term "Khalsa". He demanded the voluntary sacrifice of five human souls. (This was just a test, he took the five men behind a tent and chopped off a goat's head to make it look as if the blood on the sword was human blood.) After they volunteered, he offered them Amrit and took Amrit from them, calling them the Panj Pyare (The Five Beloved). By drinking Amrit from the hands of the Panj Pyare, he symbolised that he was the teacher and the student, and that every one of the sikhs was equal.

Usually, when the drink Amrit, people also accept five other things in their lives:

1. Kanga (Comb) - This symbolises that a Sikh will always take perfect care of his hair because it is a gift from God and an important part of his identity.

2. Karha (Bracelet) - The Karha is to be always worn on a Sikh's wrist. It serves as a reminder for a Sikh to always follow the morals of his faith.

3. Kesh (Hair) - The hair are a gift from God and part of a Sikh's identity, therefore, they must remain uncut.

4. Kachera (A specific style of cotton underwear) - This simple garb reminds Sikhs of the Guru's message regarding the control of the Five Evils.

5. Kirpan (Small curved sword) - It symbolises the carrier's personal duty and responsibility as a Sikh to protect the innocent in the message of peace.

In conclusion, when taking Amrit, Sikhs commit their lives to the protection of the innocent, their moral ideals, and also to always wish for the well being of all of humanity.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: Sikhism: The Amrit ceremony of Khalsa

This thread was begun in the New to Sikhism section using the first article, because that article gives a basic introduction to the idea of amrit sanchar or Sikh baptism (as some say). Now things have suddenly become very complicated.

The ceremony of amrit in the days before Guru Gobind Singh was termed "charan amrit."

From the time of Guru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder up to 1699, charan amrit or "pagpahul" was the custom. Charanamrit and pagpahul meant initiation by water touched by the Master’s toe — the charan and pag both being equivalents of the word ‘foot’. In early Sikhism, the neophytes sipped water poured over the Guru’s toe to be initiated into the fold. Where the Guru was not present, masands or local sangat leaders officiated. A reference to initiation by "charan amrit" occurs in Bhai Gurdas, Varan, I.23, born 12 years after the passing away of Guru Nanak.

When khande da pahul was administered for the first time by Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1698 there could not have been more definitive a break away from the confusions experienced in many quarters of those who followed him.

It was then that the Khalsa panth was founded in its earthly form. It was then that Guruji said,

Khaalsaa mero roop hai khaas |
Khalsa is my image of my own nobility.

Khaalsae meh houn karon nivaas |
Khalsa is my dwelling place.

Khaalsaa mero mukh hai angaa |
Khalsa is my foremost body.

Khaalse ke houn sad sad sanghaa |
Khalsa is ever and forever connected with me.

Khaalsaa mero ist suhirad |
Khalsa is my most sincerely favored.

Khaalsaa mero kahaee-at birad |
Khalsa is my renowned ancestry.

Khaalsaa mero pachh ar paataa |
Khalsa is my fame and good name.

Khaalsaa mero sukh aheelaadaa |
Khalsa is my comfort and content.

Khaalsaa mero mitra sakhaaee |
Khalsa is my most familiar friend.

Khaalsaa maat pitaa sukhdaaee |
Khalsa is my mother, father, and source of comfort.

Khaalsaa mere sobha seelaa |
Khalsa is my beauteous benevolence.

Khaalsaa sakha sad ddeelaa |
Khalsa is my steadfast and close companion.

Khaalsaa mere jaat ar pat |
Khalsa is my clan and honorable name.

Khaalsaa sou maa ko utpat |
Khalsa is my creation.

Khaalsaa mero bhavan bhanddaaraa |
Khalsa is my home, storehouse and treasury.

Khaalse kar mero satkaara |
Khalsa is my true virtue.

Khaalsaa mero svjan pravaraa |
Khalsa is my respected progeny.

Khaalsaa mero karat udaaraa |
Khalsa is my liberator.

Khaalsaa mero pindd paraan |
Khalsa is my communal spirit.

Khaalsaa meree jaan kee jaan |
Khalsa is my beloved life and soul.

Maan mehat meree Khaalsaa sahee |
Honor and greatness is my Khalsa’s insignia.

Khaalsaa mere svarth sahee |
Khalsa is my attestation to correct conveyance.

Khaalsaa mero kare nirbaah |
Khalsa is my source of strength.

Khaalsa mero deh ar saah |
Khasa is my body and breath.

Khaalsaa mero dharma ar karam |
Khalsa is my duty and destiny.

Khaalsaa mero bhed nij maram |
Khalsa is my mysterious special secret.

Khaalsaa mero satgur pooraa |
Khalsa is my true enlightener fulfilled.

Khaalsaa meraa sajjan sooraa |
Khalsa is my friend and hero.

Khaalsaa mero budh ar giaan |
Khalsa is my understanding of divine knowledge.

Khaalse kaa houn dharon dhiaan |
Khalsa is the ambition of divine contemplation.

Oupmaa khaalse jaat na kahee |
The tribute of the Khalsa nation is indescribable.

Jehvaa ek paar neh lahee |
One lifetime of utmost appraisal cannot fully apprise.

Ses rasan saarad see budh |
They are entirely of discerning intellect.

Tadap na upmaa barnat sudh |
They take no notice of their consequence.

Ya mai ranch na mithiaa bhakee |
I swear I have made no mistake in my telling of his composition.

Parbhram gur naanak sakhee |
Supreme God and Guru Nanak bear witness to the evidence of this testimony.

Rom rom je rasnaa paanoo |
If each and every hair could they would declare,

Tadap Khaalaa jas teh gaaoon |
The each, the Khalsa’s fame should sing,

Hau khaalse ke khalsa mero |
I am of Khalsa and Khalsa is mine,

Ot pot saagar boondero |
Like sheltering sands or drops of the sea.

Khaalsaa akaal purakh kee fauj |
Khalsa is the Immortal Being’s militia.

Pragattio khaalsaa pramaatam kee mauj |
Creation of the Khalsa is the Supreme Being’s will.

Jab lag khaalsaa rehe niaaraa |
While the Khalsa remains distinct.

Tab lag tej keeou mai saaraa |
Then I offer the dignity of my favor.

Jab eh gehai biparan kee reet |
But should they disaffect to the opposition.

Mai na kare in kee prateet |
I no longer shall extend my trust. Amrit Kirtan||291


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: Sikhism: The Amrit ceremony of Khalsa

Again many thanks to Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa for the source of the prayer above


Meaning of khanda da pahul

In 1698, Guru Gobind Singh issued directions to Sikh sangats or communities in different parts not to acknowledge masands, the local ministers, against whom he had heard complaints. Sikhs, he instructed, should come to Anandpur straight without any intermediaries and bring their offerings personally. The Guru thus established direct relationship with his Sikhs and addressed them as his Khalsa, Persian term used for crown-lands as distinguished from feudal chiefs. The institution of the Khalsa was given concrete form on 30 March 1699 when Sikhs had gathered at Anandpur in large numbers for the annual festival of Baisakhi. Gurb Gobind Singh appeared before the assembly dramatically on that day with a naked sword in hand and, to quote Kuir Singh, Gurbilas Patshahz 10, spoke: "Is there present a true Sikh who would offer his head to the Guru as a sacrifice?" The words numbed the audience who looked on in awed silence. The Gurb repeated the call. At the third call Daya Ram, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, arose and humbly walked behind the Guru to a tent near by. The Gurb returned with his sword dripping blood, and asked for another head. At this Dharam Das, a Jat from Hastinapur, came forward and was taken inside the enclosure. Guru Gobind Singh made three more calls. Muhkam Chand, a washerman from Dvarka, Himmat, a water-carrier from Jagannath puri, and Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar (Karnataka) responded one after another and advanced to offer their heads. All the five were led back from the tent dressed alike in saffron-coloured raiment topped over with neatly tied turbans similarly dyed, with swords dangling by their sides. Guru Gobind Singh then introduced khande da pahul, i.e. initiation by sweetened water churned with a double-edged broad sword (khanda). Those five Sikhs were the first to be initiated. Guru Gobind Singh called them Panj Piare, the five devoted spirits beloved of the Guru. These five, three of them from the so-called low-castes, a Ksatriya and a Jatt, formed the nucleus of the self-abnegating, martial and casteless fellowship of the Khalsa. Waah Waah Guru Gobind Singh Aape Gur ChelaAll of them surnamed Singh, meaning lion, were required to wear in future the five symbols of the Khalsa, all beginning with the letter K the kes or long hair and beard, kangha, a comb in the kes to keep it tidy as against the recluses who kept it matted in token of their having renounced the world, Kara, a steel bracelet, kachch, short breeches, and kirpan, a sword. They were enjoined to succour the helpless and fight the oppressor, to have faith in one God and to consider all human beings equal, irrespective of caste and creed. Guru Gobind Singh then himself received initiatory rites from five disciples, now invested with authority as Khalsa, and had his name changed from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. "Hail," as the poet subsequently sang, "Gobind Singh who is himself Master as well as disciple." Further injunctions were laid down for the Sikhs. They must never cut or trim their hair and beards, nor smoke tobacco. A Sikh must not have sexual relationship outside the marital bond, nor eat the flesh of an animal killed slowly in the Muslim way (or in any sacrificial ceremony). http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/gurus/nanak10.html

New to Sikhism ji - It is not required that you take the image of a sword dripping with blood to mean literally that 5 individuals had their heads chopped off, then restored. This part of the story occurred in a tent. Some Sikhs do take it literally. I do not. I take it to be an image of giving up one's false ego in order to take on a different identity. The story is full of important imagery that gives powerful insights into what all 10 Gurus had tried to accomplish, culminating with Guru Gobind Singh.