Baptism and the Khalsa
This is a picture of a young guard who accepted to pose for me in front of the Golden Temple in Armitsar last Friday afternoon.
Like most of the sikhs he was baptised and he wears the Five Ks.
Khalsa (meaning pure) is the name given by Gobind Singh to all Sikhs who have been baptised or initiated by taking ammrit in a ceremony called ammrit sañcār.
The first time that this ceremony took place was on Vaisakhi, which fell on 30 March 1699 at Anandpur Sahib in India. It was on that occasion that Gobind Singh baptised the Pañj Piārē who in turn baptised Gobind Singh himself.
Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear the Five Ks (in Punjabi known as pañj kakkē or pañj kakār), or articles of faith, at all times.
The tenth guru, Gobind Singh, ordered these Five Ks to be worn so that a Sikh could actively use them to make a difference to their own and to others' spirituality.
The 5 items are: kēs (uncut hair), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular heavy metal bracelet), kirpān (ceremonial short sword), and kacchā (special undergarment).
The Five Ks have both practical and symbolic purposes.