Sunday, October 23, 2005

Not mine...

"Every Sikh is to wear His Sword. Not [their] own. Kirpan is a gift from the Guru. It is not an instrument of offence or defence; it is mind made intense by the love of the Guru. The Sikh is to have a sword-like mind. It is the visible sign of an intensely sensitive soul."

The above is an excerpt from Prof. Puran Singh's book Spirit Born People in the 9th essay titled "Sword of Guru Gobind Singh".

Such is the case with the command for all Sikhs to keep uncut hair - kes. At camps, retreats, gurduaras, and all sorts of Sikh youth (and adult) discussions, the question of the reasoning behind keeping the kes keeps coming up over and over again. If it is only understood that the kes belongs to the Guru. We are but mere keepers, albiet temporary keepers of the kes. If I understand that I have been asked politely and lovingly to keep a token of appreciation, and to keep it with loving affection, what need do I have to question why I must keep it?

Once a Singh came to Baba Attar Singh (of Mastuana) complaining that another Sikh had shaved his beard. The Singh was upset and outraged. Baba ji merely started crying, he was sad. He said something to the effect that when a Sikh shaves they do it because they do not understand that they are "pulling the hair from the body of Guru Gobind Singh one little hair at a time". They know not how much it pains the Guru when he witnesses the desecration of his body fortress. It is no coincidence that when a Sikh shaves or chops his/her hair, the Sikh term for such a desecration is katal - "unhe kes katal kite" - "they have murdered the kes".

We would see much less desecration of the kes in our community only if we start thinking "The hair is not mine. The hair belongs to the Guru".