On Sunday 20th Sept, Basics of Sikhi Street Parchar team went to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park London. We spoke to many people of different faiths, including 3 Muslims. Here is a Christian arguing that we cannot wear a Kirpan and refers to it by saying ‘You can’t wear that knife’!
The practice of Sikhs carrying the Kirpan as a religious symbol can be traced back to the lifetime of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji (1595-1644). Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji regularly carried two swords, symbolic of a Sikhs spiritual as well as temporal obligations. Guru Hargobind introduced Sikhs to the concept of being a Sant-Sipahi (Saint-Soldier).
A Sikh must be a Saint always meditating and remembering God. At the same time a Sikh is also expected to be a soldier, a person taking part in their social responsibilities to their family and community. Following the path of law, order and morality as laid out by the Sikh Gurus.
It was Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru who formally instituted the mandatory requirement for all baptized Sikhs to wear the Kirpan at all times. He instituted the current Sikh baptism ceremony in 1699 which is referred to as the `baptism of the sword’ (khanda di pahul). During the ceremony sugar crystals and water are stirred in a steel bowl with a Kirpan before the initiate drinks the mixture.
During the baptism ceremony the initiate is instructed in the duties and obligations of becoming a Khalsa (one belonging to the Divine). The Khalsa is expected to live by the high moral standards of the Sikh Gurus at all times which includes such things as abstaining from smoking, drinking and other intoxicants, performing daily prayers and always maintaining the distinctive physical symbols of Sikhism on their person. The most noticeable of these being uncut hair and carrying the Kirpan.