GALLERY 13: Formation Of The Khalsa

In 1699, on the auspicious day of Baisakhi, Guru Gobind invited Sikhs from far and wide. In the presence of this solemn gathering of devotees, the Guru, with a naked sword in hand, proclaimed that the he wished for someone to sacrifice his life for the faith. In this way, the Guru called for five lives, taking each volunteer one by one into the ceremonial tent. These five fearless volunteers became known as the Panj Pyara, or Five Beloveds. He baptized them into the Brotherhood of the Pure with Amrit (immortal nectar), and afterwards initiated himself, by accepting Amrit offered by them, and taking the name of Singh.

While Guru Gobind Singh urged the faithful to cultivate their strength of spirit, he also wanted all Sikhs to proclaim themselves as equals by universally embracing the Five Symbols of the faith. They should adopt the five Ks as their identity: Kes or long hair, the Kachh, short drawers, the Kadda, the bracelet, the Kirpan, a small dagger and a Kanga, a comb. This expression of equality infuriated the upper-castes, who saw this practice as defiance of the caste system.

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