Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Meaning of the 5 K’s

Given that it’s Vaisakhi I think it’s a great time to remember the meaning behind the 5 K’s (Panj Kakkaar).

Kara (bracelet)
The kara is circular reminding us God has no beginning or end, it is our link to the Guru, and the Khalsa. It is made of iron (helps add iron to the body) or steel (strength).  It reminds us of our commitment to God and to think twice before we act, so that we use these arms to do good acts, not bad ones. Back in the times of the Guru Jis, it protected the wrists of the Sikhs when struck by a sword.

Kanga (wooden comb)
It reminds us to take care of our body, and the importance of cleanliness of the mind and body.

Kesh (uncut hair)
Keeping our hair on our whole body in it’s original condition reminds us to accept ourselves as God has created us. Hair also helps us regulate body temperature. It is covered out of respect for God, and solidifies the identity of Sikhs.

Kacchera (special undershorts)
Symbol of chastity/modesty, reminding Sikhs to remain faithful. It’s practicality comes from it’s usefulness when Sikhs were running and riding horses in warfare.

Kirpan (sword), from kirpa (kindness) and aan (dignity)
Reminds us to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves (protecting the weak/oppressed, fighting against injustice, self-defense).

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