The Five K’s

SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... men in America and throughout the world are easily recognized because of their turbansSikh men wear a turban and Sikh women wear a long head scarf known as a chunni in fulfillment of one of the basic vows taken when joining the Khalsa (the order of committed Sikhs)—to leave the hair uncut as a sign of complete dedication to God. This is ..., flowing beards and stainless steel wristbands. The turbanSikh men wear a turban and Sikh women wear a long head scarf known as a chunni in fulfillment of one of the basic vows taken when joining the Khalsa (the order of committed Sikhs)—to leave the hair uncut as a sign of complete dedication to God. This is ... is worn in fulfillment of one of the basic vows of Sikhs—not to cut the hair, but to let it grow naturally as a sign of complete dedication, body and soulThe soul is the inner spirit, the life-essence of a person, regarded in many religious traditions as Divine. In the Hindu tradition, the atman or pure consciousness within is understood to be one with Brahman, the ultimate reality that pervades the entire..., to GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality.. Both men and women keep this vow, women wearing a long head scarf called a chunni and men wearing the turban.

This marker of Sikh identity is but one of what are called the “Five K’s” kept by SikhsSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob..., each one of which begins with the letter “k” in Punjabi:

1. Kes: The word means simply “hair” and as a Sikh vow refers to uncut hair.

2. KirpanThe kirpan is a sword, more commonly a small knife, carried by initiated Sikhs who have become members of the Khalsa, the order of fully committed Sikhs. It is one of five symbols of Sikh identity.: A short sword or knife.

3. Karha: A steel wristband.

4. Kangha: A wooden comb worn in the hair knot.

5. Kacchera: Shorts, worn as an undergarment.

In 1699, the Sikhs, besieged with troubles and at war with the MughalFrom 1528 to 1858, the Mughals ruled northern India and parts of Afghanistan. Turko-Persian Muslims from Central Asia, they blended Persian culture with the local Indian environment and produced a sophisticated Islamic civilization in India characterized ... government of northern India, rallied around Guru Gobind SinghGuru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the tenth Guru of the Sikh tradition. He is primarily known for establishing the community of Sikh initiates called the Khalsa and for installing the Adi Granth as his successor, thereby closing the line of Gurus.. At this time, Guru Gobind SinghGuru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the tenth Guru of the Sikh tradition. He is primarily known for establishing the community of Sikh initiates called the Khalsa and for installing the Adi Granth as his successor, thereby closing the line of Gurus. performed the Sikh initiation ceremony, creating an intensely dedicated group of Sikhs willing to give their all for the Sikh community. It was called the KhalsaGuru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, created the Khalsa, the “alliance of the pure” in 1699. When a Sikh comes of age or is ready for a greater level of commitment, he or she joins the Khalsa through the special initiation known as “taking amrit..... The unwavering observance of the Five K’s became the mark of the Khalsa, and, by aspiration, that of the whole Sikh community. Many Sikhs have not taken initiation into the Khalsa, but still keep these distinctive emblems of Sikh identity.

Each of the five K’s has a practical function. For instance, the kangha is used to comb the long, uncut hair and the kirpan is a weapon with which the Sikh is obliged to protect the oppressed. However the Five K’s gradually attained a deep symbolic significance as well. A 1991 newsletter of the Colorado SinghUpon initiation into the Khalsa, Sikh men assume the name Singh, “Lion.” SabhaSabha is a general term for an assembly, a council, or the hall in which such an assembly meets. in Denver describes this dimension: Keeping uncut hair “is an integral part of the natural state of human beings.” It signifies “surrender of one’s ego to the Guru” and represents the “declaration that one leads one’s life according to the way of the Guru.” The kirpan is “the sword of knowledge, which has cut the roots of ego.” The bracelet is a reminder “to shed falsehood and practice universal love.” Its perfect circular shape is also understood as a symbol of the eternal nature of GodThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities.. The comb not only keeps the hair clear, but keeps the mind inwardly clean; and the shorts refer to sexual fidelity and the ethical value of overcoming lust.

Sikh identity means aligning one’s life with the truth of Ek Onkar, the One God. The five K’s continually remind Sikhs of the ethical and spiritual implications of this truth.


X
- Enter Your Location -
- or -