This weekend we will be celebrating Vaisakhi! Vadhayian (Congratulations) to everyone! There will be an Akhand paath. In addition, there has been a program every evening this week. On Saturday, Nishan Sahib Sewa is at 1 pm.
Vaisakhi is my favorite time of year. Besides the crazy snowfall this year it’s usually around when spring seems to be starting up, and the days are growing longer. It is a time of reconnecting to ourselves and to God. I am really inspired when the Sikh community all gathers together at the Gurdwara Sahib to read Gurbani, do sewa, and kirtan. When I think of the creation of the Khalsa and the perseverance and mighty spirit of the Sikhs, the triumph in times of hardship, I feel stronger knowing that this is my shared history. Vaisakhi is a time of remembering our path, celebrating where we came from and where we are headed.
On Vaisakhi 1699 Guru Gobind Singh Ji called hundreds of thousands of Sikhs to gather at Anandpur Sahib. The crowd was completely silent, fully taking in the words of Guru Ji. After spiritual discourse, Guru Ji addressed the crowd, and then took out his sword and asked for a sacrifice, a head. Suddenly the sangat was scared. Bhai Daya Ram Ji approached. Guru Ji went in a tent and came back with his sword, dripping with blood. He asked for another head. Next was Bhai Dharam Das, then Sahib Chand, Himmat Chand, and finally Mokham Chand. Some of the sangat started to disperse in fear, when suddenly Guru Ji came out with all five and performed the Amrit ceremony. These Singhs became our Panj Pyare, the embodiment of the Guru. Then Guru Ji got the 5 to baptize him. The mother of the Khalsa is Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. She added patasay to the Amrit.
Guru Ji gave the Khalsa the distinct identity of today- kesh, kanga, kirpan, kachera, kara, and kanga. This united the Khalsa and because the panj were from different castes and now equal, it also showed that there would be equality and no caste distinction. The identity was important in that no Sikh would be allowed to hide- their identity would stand out as Sikh and therefore they would be responsible for their actions.
The Khalsa was important in uniting the Sikhs as saint-soldiers, as warriors in standing up against the oppression and injustices that were being faced. Sikh women were given the middle name Kaur (princess) and males were given the middle name Singh (lion). May we all embody the names Kaur and Singh as we have been given them.