khalsa


khalsa
/kahl'seuh/, n.
a martial fraternity originated in 1699 and remaining as one of the closely knit communities of the Sikhs.
[1770-80; < Hindi khalsa lit., pure Ar khalisah]

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Punjabi“the Pure”

      the purified and reconstituted Sikh (Sikhism) community instituted by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699 (Baisakhi Day; Khalsa Sikhs celebrate the birth of the order on April 13 of each year). His declaration had three dimensions: it redefined the concept of authority within the Sikh community; it introduced a new initiation ceremony and code of conduct; and it provided the community with a new religious and political vision. Khalsa is used to denote both the body of initiated Sikhs and the community of all Sikhs.

      The early Sikh community had been shaped by three levels of authority: the masands (“Guru's deputies”) were responsible for local congregations; the Guru (Gurū) was the active central authority; and the revealed word as recorded in Sikh scriptural text served as the symbolic base. With the establishment of the Khalsa, the authority of the masands was eliminated. They were expected either to become members of the community on a par with all others or to leave the fold.

      Gobind Singh also introduced a new initation rite. More commonly called amrit pahul (“the nectar ceremony”) but also known as khande ki pahul (literally, “ceremony of the double-edged sword”), it was centred on a belief in the transformative power of the revealed word. The word was recited while water for initiation was stirred with a double-edged sword. Every Sikh who underwent the ceremony became a member of the Khalsa, was assigned the name Singh (“Lion”), and was expected to observe a rigorous code of conduct (rahit) symbolized by the wearing of five items: kes (long hair), kangha (a comb), kachha (a pair of shorts), karha (a steel bracelet), and kirpan (a sword). The names of these items begin with the Punjabi letter k and thus came to be known as the five Ks. The Singhs were also expected to forswear tobacco, alcohol, and certain types of meat.

      In its third aspect the Khalsa embodied a concrete political agenda: the pledge to realize the rule of the Sikh community (Khalsa Raj, “kingdom of God”) in the Punjab. These three interlocking dimensions have made the institution of the Khalsa perhaps the most powerful force in shaping Sikh identity during the past three centuries. Initially a male institution, it is now open to women (who take the name Kaur [“Princess]) as well, though Khalsa authority remains firmly in male hands.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Khalsa — Khālsā Khālsā (ਖਾਲਸਾ, mot panjâbî d origine persane signifiant « pur »), est le nom, initialement donné par Guru Gobind Singh, à l ordre chevaleresque des Sikhs qu il créa en 1699. Par extension, le mot désigne chaque membre de cet… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Khālsā — (ਖਾਲਸਾ, mot panjâbî d origine persane signifiant « pur »), est le nom, initialement donné par Guru Gobind Singh, à l ordre chevaleresque des Sikhs qu il créa en 1699. Par extension, le mot désigne chaque membre de cet ordre, chaque Sikh …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Khalsa — For the village in Azerbaijan, see Xəlsə. Khalsa (Punjabi: pa. ਖਾਲਸਾ, literally Pure ) refers to the collective body of all baptized Sikhs. The Khalsa was originally established as a military order of saint soldiers on 30 March 1699, by Guru… …   Wikipedia

  • Khalsa —    Meaning the “Guru’s Own,” “Khalsa” was the name given by Guru Gobind Singh to all Sikhs who took the initiation of the double edged sword. In British India, it was the word commonly used to refer to the Sikh army in the Punjab, organized… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • khalsa — noun baptized Sikhs collectively …   Wiktionary

  • khalsa —    See Sikhism …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Khalsa — [ kʌlsə] noun the company of fully initiated Sikhs to which devout orthodox Sikhs are ritually admitted at puberty. Origin via Urdu from Pers., from the feminine form of Arab. ḵāliṛ pure, belonging to …   English new terms dictionary

  • khalsa — khal·sa …   English syllables

  • Khalsa — /ˈkælsə/ (say kalsuh) noun (an honorific conferred on a Sikh who has died for the honour of the Sikhs.) {Punjabi: martyr} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Khalsa — noun the group of initiated Sikhs to which devout orthodox Sikhs are ritually admitted at puberty; founded by the tenth and last Guru in 1699 • Topics: ↑Sikhism • Hypernyms: ↑religion, ↑faith, ↑organized religion …   Useful english dictionary


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