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Sikhism: The Five Ks

A young Sikh explains the importance and meaning of the five symbols that Sikhs wear – the Five Ks.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism- The Sikh initiation ceremony (Amrit Sanskar) -This includes the meaning and importance of the Khalsa and the five Ks, and the different perspectives of sahajdhari and amritdhari Sikhs.

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Sikhism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - Ceremonies  Naming a Sikh child – meaning and significance  The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur  Sikh initiation ceremony (Amrit Sanskar) – importance and significance in a Sikh’s life and consideration given to the perspective of non-khalsa Sikhs  Meaning of the main features of the initiation ceremony  Wearing of the 5k’s and their symbolism and significance – kesh, kangha, kirpan, kara, kacch.

Component 3 (Route A) -Option 5: Sikhism - Practices: Ceremonies - The different views of khalsa and non-khalsa (sahaj-dhari) Sikhs towards Khalsa and the Five K's

The Five Ks_Extra Film 1

S1 00:00:16:15

People who want to show their commitment to Sikhi go through a special ceremony called the Amrit Sanskar to become a member of the Khalsa, which means brotherhood. They also wear five symbols which are called the 5 Ks, because they all begin with K in Punjabi, the language the Sikh Gurus would have spoken. This tradition was started by Guru Gobind Singh ji, who wanted his people to stand up for what they believed. To declare to the
world that they were Sikh and proud of it. The first K is called Kesh, which means uncut hair. This symbolises that Sikhs should respect God's perfect creation and never harm it. Men keep their hair tied up neatly in a turban and will let their beard grow. Some women choose to wear a turban as well, although they don't have to. Guru Gobind Singh ji wanted the Sikhs to have respect for each other and respect for themselves. So he told them to carry a Kangha, a comb as a reminder that they should keep themselves clean and tidy at all times. The Kara is a steel bangle that Sikhs wear on their right wrist if they're right handed and on their left wrist if they are left handed. They still remind Sikhs that they should be strong and the circular shape reminds them that there is one eternal God. The Kara is also a reminder to Sikhs that they should not do anything wrong. So if their hand stretches out to steal something or hit someone, the Kara is there to make them think again. The Kachera are, and there is no easy way to put this, underwear. Back when Guru Gobind Singh ji was alive, not everyone bothered to wear underwear. They might wear a loose wrap or even a long shirt. But the Guru said the Sikhs should cover themselves decently by wearing shorts with a drawstring waist. It is another symbol of self respect and respect for other people. The Kirpan is probably the most misunderstood of the 5 Ks. Originally, it was a long, sharp, single edged sword that Sikhs would carry so they could defend themselves and others from persecution. These days, Sikhs usually carry a very small, short and blunt Kirpan that would be of little use as a weapon. But the symbolism is the same. Sikhs should be ready at all times to stand up for what they believe is right and stand up for the

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Clip: The Five Ks_Extra Film 1_FINAL.mp4

defenseless. This doesn't mean literally fighting, although it might. It's more about standing up for what is right and speaking out against what is wrong. Guru Gobind Singh ji knew that it is important for Sikhs to have freedom to express themselves, to be proud of who they are and what they believe.

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Sikhism: The Five Ks

Video length - 03.08
Published date - Apr 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

A Day in the Life of a Sikh Granthi – Sukhdeep Singh is a Granthi in the Sikh faith. But what does that mean? He let TrueTube follow him around with a camera all day to find out.

A Day in the Life of a Sikh Granthi

Video length - 07.25
Published date - Feb 2018
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Alien Abduction: Sikhism – Orbiting Earth at this very moment, the alien survey ship “Pantheon” is abducting people to collect data about their belief systems. Baldeep is beamed into the interrogation chamber to answer questions about Sikhism.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:

AQA 

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism - Introduction to Sikhism - General facts about the religion Introduction to Sikh festivals - The bigger festivals of Vaisakhi and Divali will be covered later. As the gurpurbs link to the Gurus they are covered now. The nature of God linked with the worship of God in Sikhism. - The Mool Mantra and how Sikhs pray and meditate mainly at home.

Worship in the gurdwara is included but there will be more about the gurdwara later.
God as Creator -The different aspects of God's relationship with the creation. The examples of treating others equally (fairly) in the stories of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
Teachings and examples of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh and the importance of equality in Sikhism.
Human life as part of the cycle of reincarnation and governed by the law of karma - The Sikh beliefs about the human condition and why we need liberating. The Festival of Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) - The what, how, why, who, when of the festival.

Edexcel 

Area of Study 2 – Sikhism - Section 1: Sikh Beliefs - The nature of God: how the characteristics of God are shown in the Mool Mantar, Guru Granth Sahib 1, and why the characteristics are important and why the Mool Mantar is significant for Sikhs.
God as Creator: the nature and importance of God as creator (Karta Purakh) for Sikhs; Sikh teachings on God as creator, including Guru Granth Sahib 12 and 94. Sikh beliefs about life after death: the nature of karma, rebirth and mukti (liberation); how they are shown in the Guru Granth Sahib, including reference to Guru Granth Sahib 2, 11 and 78; divergent understandings of how and why karma, rebirth and mukti are important for Sikh life today.
Gurpurbs and commemorations: divergent understandings of the nature, history and purpose of gurpurbs and commemorations; why they are important for Sikhs today; the origins and meaning gurpurbs, including Guru Nanak’s birthday, Vaisakhi, including reference to the account of the events found in Gurbilas Patshahi 10, Divali: the origins and meaning of commemorations, including the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and Guru Tagh Bahadur Ji.

OCR 

No link to GCSE spec

WJEC 

PART B - Theme 2: Issues of Good and Evil – Christianity - Crime and Punishment  What makes an act 'wrong'?  Religious and ethical responses: relative and absolute morality, conscience, virtues, sin  Beliefs and attitudes about the causes of crime and the aims of punishment: justice, retribution, deterrence and reformation  The treatment of criminals and the work of prison reformers and prison chaplains  Varied Christian responses to the Death Penalty, including interpretations of Christian teaching: Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:38-39, 43-47

Eduqas

Component 3 (Route A) - Option 5: Sikhism - Beliefs and teachings - The Nature of God ➢ Beliefs and teachings about the nature of God as expressed in the Mool Mantra: Guru Granth Sahib 1 ➢ God as Creator: GGS 294 ➢ God's relationship with human life: Guru Granth Sahib : 921 The Oneness of Humanity ➢ Beliefs and teachings about the equality of all human beings, including equality of men and women: GGS 349 ➢ Examples of equality in the lives of the Gurus and in Sikhism today, including practice of the Langar, Guru Amar Das appoints women preachers ➢ The priority of service to others: Daswandh (Guru Amar Das) Gurmukh (Godcentred) ➢ The importance of being God-centred (gurmurkh): GGS125, 1054-55; ➢ The elimination of haumai (pride/ego): GGS 226, 538, 466 The sangat ➢ The role of the sangat (community) in spiritual edification and progress of an individual: Guru Nanak - GGS 72, GGS 1098, ➢ As a centre of religious and ethical training: Guru Arjan - GGS 266 ➢ Basis for acts of sewa (selfless service), nihangs, khalsa The Afterlife ➢ Teachings and beliefs about karma and rebirth: GGS 2, 78. Practices: The gurdwara: practices in Britain and elsewhere ➢ The importance and the role of Bhatra and Ramgarhia gurdwaras in Britain as places of worship, social and community functions ➢ Religious features: artefacts, Guru Granth Sahib, langar (as an expression of sewa - selfless service to others) and associated practices Worship ➢ The role and importance of prayer in the home ➢ Significance of the practice of meditating on the name of God ➢ The importance of the Akand Path Ceremonies ➢ The meaning and significance of birth and naming ceremonies ➢ The significance of Amrit Sanskar: (the initiation ceremony): Bhai Gurdas Var 3.11. The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur ➢ The different views of khalsa and non-khalsa (sahaj-dhari) Sikhs towards Khalsa and the Five K's Amritsar ➢ The importance and significance of Amritsar as a place of Sikh pilgrimage; the spiritual centre of Sikhism ➢ The Harmander Sahib in Amritsar (Golden Temple): features and practices of pilgrimage to the Golden Temple Festivals: practices in Britain and elsewhere ➢ The origins and practices of gurpurbs and melas and how these are celebrated by different Sikh communities in Britain. ➢ Guru Nanak’s birthday, commemorations of the martyrdoms of Guru Arjan and Guru Tagh Bahadur Ji ➢ Vaisakhi ➢ Divali

Alien Abduction: Sikhism

Robot       Survey ship Pantheon orbiting planet: Earth. Dominant life form: Human. Belief system: Various. More information required. Scanning for samples. Welcome to survey ship Pantheon, our mission is to investigate the culture of your planet, and you have been selected to represent your belief system. Please state your name.

Baldeep Kaur  Baldeep Kaur

Robot       Religion.

Baldeep Kaur  Sikh.

Robot       Holy book.

Baldeep Kaur  Guru Granth Sahib.

Robot       Holy building.

Baldeep Kaur  The gurdwara, but some people call it the Sikh temple.

Robot       Symbol.

Baldeep Kaur  The Kunda.

Robot       You will now be asked a series of questions from the categories on screen. You have 30 of your Earth seconds to provide a satisfactory answer to each one. Failure to comply will result in matter dispersal. Are you ready?

Baldeep Kaur  Yes.

Robot       Stand by. Choose the first category.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, God.

Robot       What do you believe about God?

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, we believe there is one God, and he is known by different names. Most Sikhs would often refer to him as Waheguru, the glorious Guru, the one that will help you to understand the world. Others would refer to him as Satguru or Rab. Um, we learn about him and his qualities through the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib in something called the Mool Mantar. Um, I'm referring to him as a him, but he has no gender, he has no form, he created the whole world, he's within us, um, he's everywhere.

Baldeep Kaur  Um, life after death.

Robot       What do you believe will happen to humans after death?

Baldeep Kaur  Um, all Sikhs believe that we have a soul called the atman that originated from Waheguru, and the aim of our life is for that, for that soul to merge back with Waheguru. Um, how that happens is based on our actions. We call them karam, and often we understand it as karma. Um, this basically means if you do lots of good actions, then in your next life, your soul will be reborn into a new body which will have less challenges than you had in this life, but if you did bad things, then you have more challenges in the next life.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh. Beginnings.

Robot       How did your religion begin?

Baldeep Kaur  The religion began in the Punjab region, which is in Pakistan and India today, by someone called Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the early 1500s. He was born into a Hindu family, but he had friends from lots of different walks of life and different religions, and he really preached about equality and bringing people together. One day he went to have his normal bath in the river, but disappeared for three days, and when he re-emerged, he said, there is no Hindu or Muslim, basically saying there's no difference between us and we should treat each other nicely, and all the other gurus followed on the same message until he went into the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, everyday life.

Robot       How does your religion affect everyday life?

Baldeep Kaur  There are three main principles. One is Naam Japna. So that's reciting God's name and appreciating him in everything, and there are five daily prayers which most Sikhs do. There is also kirat karna, earning a living by honest means, so no cheating, no lying. There is also vand Chhakna which is sharing everything you have, Sikhs believe in equality and that everyone is equal. You can see this in the Gurudwara where there is the Lungar which is the free community kitchen that everyone can go to eat. In all the food there is vegetarian. A lot of Sikhs are vegetarian like me, but you don't have to. It's personal choice.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, festivals.

Robot       What is the most important festival in your religion?

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, Vaisakhi, this was started by the 10th and the final guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Um, it was at time of harvest, so there was a festival then anyway, a lot of Sikhs had congregated at this time. Guru Gobind Singh had given everyone the opportunity to stand up for their faith and to become committed to it, because there was a lot of persecution at the time. Five Sikhs took this opportunity, and today you can see that in gurdwaras as well, where other people decide to become initiated into the religion, it is known as the birth of the Khalsa, the community of the pure.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, rites of passage.

Robot       What is the Amrit ceremony?

Baldeep Kaur  Um, the Amrit ceremony is where Sikhs who want to show that they are committed to the faith, would take the sugary sweet water which is called Amrit. It was started by Guru Gobind Singh at the birth of the Khalsa in 1699. Um, Sikhs would go to the Gurudwara and take part in this ceremony to show they, they belong to the faith, after which they would make sure they keep the five KS, the kesh, the uncut hair, the kachera, the shorts, the kirpan, the small sword, the kangha, the small comb, the kara, the steel bangle, and they may also take the surname Singh or Kaur depending if they are male or female.

Baldeep Kaur  Uh, random.

Robot       Why do Sikhs carry a knife?

Baldeep Kaur  Um, only those Sikhs that have been initiated into the Khalsa, would carry the knife, which is known as the kirpan. Um, it symbolises fighting all types of injustices. At that time, in 1699, and in that era, a lot of Sikhs and non-Sikhs were being persecuted for their various beliefs. So Sikhs were defending not only themselves but everyone else, especially those that could not defend themselves. Today it will be used as a sign to fight all types of injustices, um, whether they're social, political or violent.

Robot       Thank you. Your answers are satisfactory. Matter dispersal beams powering down. You will now be returned to Earth, human. Goodbye.

Baldeep Kaur  Thank you. Bye!

Alien Abduction: Sikhism

Video length - 6.01
Published date - Jul 2013
Keystage(s) - 3