A reader in a letter addressed to one of the popular Sikh journals has propagated discarding of KHANDA. The main argument given by him is that it is an un-Sikh symbol and even embarrasses him for, “When the subject of a conference or a seminar is on Peace and Disarmament one feels embarrassed to project the Khanda as our symbol with symbols of other religions.” says Prof. Singh. Thereafter he goes on to advise “It is high time for us to shake off our only warrior image”.
The learned reader’s individual abhorrence of the Khanda is too discernible but his suggestion to the Panth to discard it is appalling and questionable. The advise is not so innocent a move but has the inherent manifestations to weaken the roots of the Panthink traditions of Miri Piri.
It was the Khanda which was first thing created by Akal Purakh and out of this the whole universe was created, says Guru Gobind Singh ji in Vaar Sri Bhagautee ji ki
ਖੰਡਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੈ ਸਾਜ ਕੈ ਜਿਨ ਸਭ ਸੈਸਾਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ॥
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨ ਮਹੇਸ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਦਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਰਚਾਇ ਬਣਾਇਆ ॥ (ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਸਮਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)
Khanda prithame saaj ke jin sabh saisaar upaea
Brahama, Bisan, Mahes saaj kudrati da khel rachae banaea
Guru Gobind Singh ji in Akal Ustat has sought the blessing and grace of Akal Purakh by calling Him as Sarab Loh and Sarab Kaal.
ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਰਛਾ ਹਮਨੈ॥
ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਦੀ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ॥
ਸਰਬ ਕਾਲ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ॥
ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ॥ (ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)
A Sikh can become a Sikh only by taking the Khande di Pahul . The Birth of Khalsa is thus from the Khanda only. The source of Sikh philosophy is thus the Khanda and outrageous remarks about it are nothing but blasphemous.
The 'Nishan' or signature of Guru Gobind Singh ji which is always to be found on all of his Hukamnamas have the symbol of Kirpan even at the top of Ek Oan(g)kar ੴ. One of these 'nishans' is given below:
The first thing which is visible of a Gurdwara, like the mast of a ship is the Khanda atop the Nishan Sahib. Every Sikh salutes it and bows his head in reverence to this symobl of God and the Guru.
About this Khanda or Bhagauti Guru Gobind Singh ji writes,
ਸ੍ਰੀ ਮੁਖ ਵਾਕ:
ਨਮੋ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗੋਤੀ ਬਢੈਲੀ ਸਰੋਹੀ।
ਕਰੇ ਏਕ ਤੇ ਦਵੈ ਸਭਟ ਹਾਥ ਸੋਹੀ।
ਨਮੋ ਲੋਹ ਪੁਤਰੀ ਅੱਛਹੰ ਰਹੰਤੀ।
ਨਮੋ ਜੀਭ ਜਵਾਲਾਮੁਖੀ ਜਯੋ ਬਲੰਤੀ।
ਨਮੋ ਤੇਜ ਤਲਵਾਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਖਗ ਖੰਡਾ।
ਪਰਜਾ ਮੰਡਣੀ ਦੁਸ਼ਟ ਹੁੰਤਾ।
ਜਬੈ ਮਯਾਨ ਤੇ ਬੀਰ ਤੋ ਕੋ ਸੜੱਕੇ।
ਪ੍ਰਲੈ ਕਾਲ ਕੇ ਸਿਜ ਬਕੇ ਭੜੱਕੇ।
ਰੁਧਰ ਮੰਜਨੀ ਗੰਜਨੀ ਨੂੰ ਅਗੋਤੀ।
ਸਦਾ ਜੈ ਸਦਾ ਜੈ ਸਦਾ ਜੈ ਭਗੋਤੀ।
ਸਦਾ ਚਾਹਨੇ ਦਾਸ ਕੋ ਦਾਨ ਦੀਜੈ।
ਗੁਰੂ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਕੀ ਰਖ ਕੀਜੈ।
Khanda is a symbol of Akal Purakh’s power and like all other symbols this too has to be revered and preserved. The symbol itself may not be Sikhism but definitely symbolizes Sikhism. The reverence to the symbols of any profession, field of education, philosophy or religion do depict the level of commitment the person has to that philosophy. Our Ardas narrates how the innumerable and daring sacrifices were made for the symbols only. Do we not recite daily ਚੌਕੀਆਂ ਝੰਡੇ ਬੁੰਗੇ ਸਦਾ ਅੱਟਲ ਰਹੇਂ॥ These are nothing but material things but do have religious significance. Similarly the double edged sword just reminds about the generation and annihilation power of the God. The chakra symbolises that God has neither beginning nor end. The two swords remind the concept of Miri Piri. No one will respect God if the latter is powerless. Respect ਭਾਉ flows from fear ਭਉ. Remember Nixon on his assumption of presidentship of USA had said “I do not bother if the world loves me or not. I want it should fear me.
In a Gurdwara, the Sikh bows his head to the Guru Granth Sahib whereas in a Takht Sahib the object of reverence is the weaponry consisting of historical Astra and Shastra of Guru Sahibs and our great warriors.
A a Sikh is so scared of using the Guru’s symbols and gifts then the Gurbani tells him, "Why to seek the safety from a lion, if one is to eaten by a jackal?" ਸਿੰਘ ਸਰਨ ਕਤ ਜਾਈਐ ਜਉ ਜੰਬੁਕ ਗ੍ਰਾਸੈ॥1॥ (Guru Granth Sahib p. 858). So if the Singh is still fearful of the jackal is it not that still better to discard the title 'Singh' and replace it with 'jackal'. To be fair, the title Singh in the Sikhs’ name itself does spread fear and hatred only in the minds of those hateful towards the Sikhs. Then should the Singh be replaced by 'jambuk' (jackal)?
The genesis of such fearlessness in the Sikhs was inculcated by Guru Nanak Dev ji when he started his mission at Sultanpur. It was not from minarets of some mosque or the prayer halls of temples. It was from a place where no one likes to go but every one has to. It was from the cremation grounds. Not only this, Guru Nanak Dev ji had given a new name to Akal Purakh namely, 'Saddanhara' or 'the one who calls back', which is another name for death. So should this gurbani be also changed?
The clarion call given by Guru ji was to play the game of love then place one's head on one's palm and not to bother about what the onlookers said about it.
ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥
ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥
ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥
ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥20॥ (ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਪੰਨਾ: 1412)
If the Khanda gives the sense of fear then it is a welcome sign because the true religion gives the pious fear which is pure and loving like the mutual fear of husband and wife and the fear which a child has of his parents or teachers. It is not an awful fear which one gets from thugs, beasts or reptiles.
The author of the letter says that the symbol of Khanda embarrasses him in the company on non-Sikhs, especially when the matter of discussion is peace. In the early forties, there was an all-party peace conference attended by the Congress, the Muslim League etc., where the indomitable Master Tara Singh was also present with his Kirpan in his hand. Mahatma Gandhi, apostle of peace, sneered Master ji as to why in the peace conference he has brought this sword. Master Tara Singh shot back, "For your protection.”
Gandhi said that he fancied a government which would not have an army. Master Tara Singh said that if a society with this characteristic could come up then he thinks there would not be the need of a government either.
The whole Hindu world invokes the name of Sri Ganesh in the beginning of any work but Guru Gobind Singh ji says, "Main naa ganeshae pritham manaon" ਮੈ ਨ ਗਣੇਸ਼ੇ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਮਨਾਉ then, "Pritham bhagauti simar kai" ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਕੇ This is the concept of Sikhism.
The detestation of the Sikh symbol of Khanda or Kirpan is not new, rather Mahatma Gandhi had repeatedly repudiated it an for this reason only and even termed Guru Gobind Singh ji as a misguided patriot.
Vinobha Bhave’s derogatory remarks about the Sri Sahib or Kirpan at Calcutta are too well known to be described.
At the time of partition, the national poet Teja Singh Sabar had written,
ਦੁਨੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਕੰਮਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਇਹ ਕੰਮ ਇਹ ਕੰਮ ਇਕ ਭਾਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
ਸਿੱਖੀ ਨੂੰ ਉਜਾਗਰ ਰਖਣਾ ਏ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
ਚਰਖੇ ਤੇ ਤਕਲੇ ਫੇਰ ਸਹੀ ਖੰਡਾ ਦੋ-ਧਾਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
'ਜੋ ਬੋਲੇ ਸੋ ਨਿਹਾਲ ਹੋਏ' ਸਾਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਜੈਕਾਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
ਅਸੀਂ ਦੇਸ਼ ਵਤਨ ਦੇ ਵੈਰੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਵੀ ਯਾਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
ਪਰ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਸਵਾਲ ਏ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦਾ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਪੰਥ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਏ।
It seems therefore that there is a well calculated move to denigrate and deprive the Sikhs of one more of their symbols by propaganda of this type. It is a warning signal to the well-meaning Sikhs.
(Advocate, Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba is the Chief Editor of Sant-Sipahi Magazine)