Category:Articles of faith

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Sikhs are required to adorn 5 articles of faith called the 5 Ks to show their dedication to their Gurus. It was on Baisakhi Day, March 30, 1699, when hundreds of thousands of people gathered around the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh at the divine temporal seat at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India. The Guru addressed the congregation with a most stirring oration; he narrated the purpose of his life and his divine mission of restoring their faith in the Lord, their commitment to follow the path of righteousness (Dharam) and their dedication to protect and die to uphold the path of truth.

He wanted their commitment to this rightful way of life as stipulated by Baba Nanak; he asked for this loyalty and for their devotion. Words were not enough any more; talking and listening was not adequate – He asked to more – He asked for their head....

He flashed his unsheathed kirpan (sword) and said that every great deed was preceded by equally great sacrifice: He demanded one head for oblation. After some trepidation one person offered himself. The Guru took him inside the tent behind him. A little later he reappeared with his kirpan (sword) dripping with blood, and asked for another head. One by one four more earnest devotees offered their heads. Every time the Guru took a person inside the tent, he came out with an even more bloodied kirpan in his hand.

Thinking their Guru to have gone berserk, some of the sangat (congregation) started to disperse. Then the Guru emerged with all five men dressed piously. He baptised the five in a new and unique ceremony called pahul - what Sikhs today know as the baptism ceremony called Amrit Sanskar. He adorned the five with five articles of faith which they were to wear at all times. These were:

  • Kesh: (uncut hair) A Sikh is to maintain and adorn this natural God-given gift. To work with nature and not against it. The Kesh was covered with a turban, Keski or Chunni to keep it clean and manageable.
  • Kanga (wooden comb) for the maintenance and ongoing upkeep of Kesh. A reminder to regularly maintain the body and mind in a clean and healthy state.
  • Kara (steel bracelet or slave bangle): Symbolises an unbreakable bond with God. It is a constant reminder that the Sikh is a slave of the Lord. He or she must only do His work in accordance with the Holy Scripture; to abstain for wrong-doing at all times.
  • Kachhera (cotton underwear) Standard, naturally comfortable and dignified attire reflective of modesty and control. A sign of a soldier; ever ready; dignified and highly mobile.
  • Kirpan (a small sword) A sign that a Sikh is a soldier in "Akal Purakh's (God's) Army" (Akal Purakh de fauj); to maintain and protect the weak and needy and for self defence. Never to be used in anger.

He also asked them to refrain from the four cardinal sins; to follow the message of Guru Granth Sahib; to rise in the ambrosial hours and recite the 5 Banis. He laid down a defined path for his Sikhs.