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The Formation of the Khalsa

Length - 04:09
Published - Jan 2012
Keystage(s) - 2 and 3

The Formation of the Khalsa

What would you die for? A report from the Punjab in India where the Sikh leader, Guru Gobind Singh, is asking people to stand up for their faith with an unusual question: “Who will give their head to my sword?” Animation by Ceiren Bell

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



Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism - The Festival of Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) - This covers the what, how, why, who, when of the festival.

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.The use and significance of Singh and Kaur can be covered too.



Area of Study 1 - Sikhism - Section 3: Living the Sikh Life - Birth and naming rituals and ceremonies: the celebration and significance of Naam Karan and Hukamnama; the significance of Amrit sanskar (the initiation ceremony) for Sikh families, including reference to the Rahit Maryada Chapters 11 and 13; divergent understandings of these ceremonies between khalsa and non-khalsa Sikhs; the significance of the names Singh and Kaur in the naming and Amrit ceremonies, and for Sikh identity today.



2.1 Unit 1 PART A - 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.



Option 5: Sikhism: Beliefs and teachings: The sangat:Basis for acts of sewa (selfless service), nihangs, khalsa. Practices: 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. Component 1 (Route A) Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World :Theme 4: Issues of Human Rights: Prejudice and discrimination: Sikh beliefs, teachings and attitudes towards racial prejudice and discrimination, including Guru Gobind Singh's formation of the Khalsa

The Formation of the Khalsa

Anandpur in the Punjab and the scene today of extraordinary events. Sikhs have come here from far and wide to celebrate the harvest festival of Besakih. There has been particular interest this year as Guru Gobind Rai, the Sikh leader, asked people to make a special effort to come.

All very intriguing. In front of the castle, a tent had been put up on a specially built stage, and tens of thousands of Sikhs gathered in expectations of the Guru's arrival, no doubt hoping that he would have some words of inspiration for them, in these troubled times when so many have faced persecution for their faith. Then the crowd was on its feet, cheering and waving as the guru walked out and took centre stage. He made an impressive sight, waving a sword above his head that flashed in the sunlight. He waited for the crowds to fall silent and then said: Who among you is willing to die for God and for their guru? Who will give their head to my sword? Certainly an unusual way to start a speech, and there was some confusion in the crowd.

But then a man got to his feet and made his way to the stage. This was Dharam, a young man from a well to do family. The guru welcomed him like a brother and took him into the tent. People were muttering to each other, wondering what was going on. Then the guru emerged alone from the tent and waved the bloodied blade above his head. Shock ran through the crowd like a wave. Had the guru beheaded Dharam? But the guru was speaking again. Who else is willing to give their life for God and for me? This time everyone remained absolutely still, frightened even to move. But finally another man stood up and walked calmly to the front, a farmer called Dharam Das. Again, the volunteer was welcomed by the guru and led inside the tent. I, like everyone else in the crowd, held my breath.

This time we distinctly heard the swish of a sword and a sickening thud. The guru came out and brandished his sword for all to see and fresh blood splattered over the crowd. A woman near to me screamed and panic began to spread. But above the noise I heard Guru Gobind Rai's words. My sword is still hungry. Who else is willing to give their head to serve me? Unbelievably, three more men pushed their way to the front. The tailor called Mokham Chand, a barber called Sahib Chand, and a humble water carrier called Himmat Rai. Some of the crowd were crying, some were angry. Some even tried to stop the men from reaching the stage. But one at a time the guru took them into the tent, and each time he came out alone, his sword sticky with congealing blood. The guru appealed for calm and threw back the flaps of the tent.

We stood spellbound as all five men, alive and well, walked out onto the stage. They were wearing saffron robes like the guru and smiling. Then the crowd was cheering and clapping, and the men stepped forward to acknowledge the applause. Five men from very different backgrounds standing shoulder to shoulder with the guru. Five men who were willing to stand up for what they believed, and the guru announced they would be known as the Panj Pyara, the Beloved Five, the first members of the Khalsa. The Pure Ones, a group of Sikhs who are truly committed to the guru. They will be given new names. Singh, that means lion, for men and Kore, meaning princess, for women. So goodbye Guru Gobind Rai, from today we'll be calling you Guru Gobind Singh. The people surged forward, all wanting to join the Khalsa.

I suspect there are some in the Emperor's court who will not be pleased. This is Abu Turani reporting for the Emperor Aurangzeb. Anandpur.

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