Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Vaisakhi!!

Today is Vaisakhi! a religious holiday for us. Culturally, in Punjab India where farming is the mainstay of life, it makers the new harvest season. Religiously, in the Sikh religion, it marks the day that the Khalsa, the Sikh faith, was established at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, by the 10th Sikh Guru (teacher) Guru Gobind Singh[2].
There is a beautiful story around the day the Sikh religion was formally established, Vaisakhi day back in 1699.

Our 10th Guru asked thousands of people to gather together with their hair uncut and coming in full beards and scarves to cover their heads as a sign of humility. He addressed the congregation, took out his sword and requested a sacrifice - for members to come and give their head to god without asking any questions. One man boldly stepped forth and the guru took him inside a tent. He came out with a bloody sword and asked for another head. 4 more men came forth. After he had 5 beloved devotees who came into the tent and offered their heads, the guru then came out of the tent with those same 5 men dressed in white and initiated these beloved 5 (the Panj Pyare) as Khalsa Sikhs (religious Sikhs). They were the 5 beloved ones who he never actually beheaded, but who showed their ultimate humility and devotion for God. These 5 volunteers and everyone who watched in the crowd thought they were walking to their deaths for god. The guru's test for these devotees was performed to prove their unfaltering dedication to the Sikh religion. They were ready to give themselves up unknowingly. They were praised and given a new distinctive Sikh identity and wore 5 emblems of purity and courage. These are the 5 Ks worn by all baptised sikhs - the Kesh, unshorn hair; Kangha, the wooden comb; Karra, the iron (or steel) bracelet; Kirpan, the sword; and Kachera, the underwear. By being identifiable, no Sikh could never hide behind cowardice again.
For the whole story and further reading - check out this link
Here is a nice depiction of Guru Gobind SIngh ji initiating the first 5 members of the Khalsa.
AND HERE is a picture of ME this evening with my little Singh (lion) Kavan (and 9 months preggers with my second little lion) in front of the Sikh temple (gurudwara - door to the guru/teacher) that will be our local temple here in our new home. Unfortunately we missed out on Vaisakhi celebrations and the program they put on here during the day because we were stuck at the slabyard picking more granite and choosing the final placement of the kitchen island and finalizing accent tiles - BUT we did manage to make it in the evening to pay our respects. Our quick little visit was followed by promises by hubs and I to each other to be much much better about attending things like this for us and for our children in the future. We just have way too much on our plate right now and are focusing on getting renovations done and moving into our new home.

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