Posted by: Tony Carson | 21 July, 2007

The Sikhs decoded (I) — Khalsa Knighthood

Let me share a bit about the Khalsa Knighthood of the Sikhs, writes Kamalla Rose Kaur, who has kindly written into our Comments.

The Khalsa Knighthood arose to fight the Muslim Inquisition in Indian in 1699. The Khalsa Knighthood of the Sikhs is and was a very unusual group because  both men and women belong, and because the Khalsa Knighthood is “defense only”.  A Khalsa Knight is under vow to never attack anyone. They must never fight out of fear or anger or revenge. They can only defend the oppressed from oppressors. This they vow to do but that is it.

Thus Sikhs fighting in WW2 did NOT fight against Hitler. Rather they fought on behalf of Jews and Jew’s right to practice the Jewish faith.

Not all Sikh men and women belong to the Khalsa Knighthood. And, unfortunatlely, not all Sikhs who you see wearing the 5 symbols of the Khalsa Knighthood – uncut hair, comb, sword, steel bracelet, and underwear – are keeping the 5 Khalsa vows that these symbols represent.

1. Kesh, uncut hair: Khalsa Sikhs vow to keep their bodies natural and live wholesome lives. No intoxicants, no smokes.

2. Kanga, comb: They bathe daily and keep clean.

3. Kirpan, the sword: Khalsa Knights vow to defend the innocent and/or oppressed. A Khalsa Knight is under vow to jump in and help those being oppressed or attacked. They feed the poor too.

4. Kara, the bracelet: They vow to defend the Divine Ideals, and again never to attack. Khalsa Knights vow to be ethical, to shun corruption, to live truthfully.

5. Kacchera – underwear: Khalsa Knights wear underwear (rather like simple boxer shorts). This symbolizes the 5th Khalsa vow. Khalsa Knights treat all men and women as brothers and sisters, as equals. They vow to not view the opposite sex as sex objects or romance objects, or practice any sort of rock-star-itis. 

In our history, Sikhs have fought in battles to defend the rights of Hindus and also Muslims to practice their religions in peace. Sikhs are proud of this. Sikhs are a proud people with a glorious (study them) past. Only Sikhs have ever run into battle yelling “Sat Siri Akal!” which means “Truth is Undying” or “The Truth Will Out!”.

That said, most Sikhs are ordinary folk. Most are not Khalsa, and some who think they are Khalsa, are breaking Khalsa vows. Basically Sikhs are just as messed up as other humans. They are a tiny minority everywhere. Before 1984, Sikhs had politically clout in India (they were the swing vote between Hindus and Muslim in a small, but very prosperous, part of Northern India) since then they don’t. All their historic Gurdwaras (temples) are in India and also in Pakistan, and those two countries are full of hotheads (mostly Hindu, Muslim; also Sikhs, Jain, and Christian Missionaries) and those two countries have the bomb.



  1. Tony,

    The Khalsa Knighthood not only holds high standards for personal conduct, the Khalsa vows apply to how and why we wage war.

    It is horrifying for Khalsa Sikhs to watch USA etc. troops actually blow up Mosques. A Khalsa Knight is actually under vow to try to keep that sin from happening. No blowing up synagogues, or churches, ot temples. Killing innocent people while they are calling out God’s Name?

    We have a word for that – evil. Or BAD!

    No raping women, no looting, no torture….

    Khalsa Knights don’t even ATTACK, and we are known historically for being among the best warriors on earth.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

  2. A Sikh’s sword, or Kirpan, is actually a symbol of peace and Truth. And how Sikhs use our Kirpans forces us, under vow, to act with tremendous restraint.

    Our Kirpan can be large or small, worn under our clothes or on the outside, but we never ever pull the blade from the scabbard. Oh we clean and sharpen our Kirpans, as needed, and Kirpans are used passively in Gurdwara for a moment, but beyond these two exceptions, a Khalsa Knight does not pull her/his Kirpan except when we are sure, beyond a doubt, that we are being required under Khalsa vows to defend someone.

    So before a Khalsa Knight can pull a gun, s/he will have to first pull the Kirpan. And before you pull the Kirpan you and the Almighty must be absolutely sure that you are not acting out of revenge, fear, or rage. It is a “Zen” moment. It takes No Time. It stops time.

    Then, when a Khalsa Knight pulls his or her Kirpan – which again we never do because it is SUCH A BIG DEAL – when a Khalsa Knight pulls the Kirpan, in that moment the Khalsa Knight dies.

    Again, the moment a Khalsa Knight pulls the sacred Kirpan, that was a great moment to die, and we do die; we give it up. We have no expectation of survival, we have already crossed over. This makes us amazing warriors and we have proven it, many times.

    The Khalsa is famous for our absolutely fearlessness in regard to pain and death. We don’t feel it. Again, once we pull that sword, we are already dead but then again, we can still take the mugger out.

    To break the most Holy of Holy Khalsa vows, to attack someone, to ever fight out of revenge or rage or fear, is complete SHAME for a Khalsa Knight. Since the Spring of 1699 Khalsa Knights have kept their sacred sword of truth, sacred.

    Blowing up an airplane full of innocent people is evil. It can never be justified.

    Great Sants and ethical atheists all over this world all agree that killing innocent people is evil. Knighthoods, high quality military units, and excellent police departments exist to protect the innocent.

    On our Death Days Sikhs agree that we experience a life review. Our little life’s situational comedy comes to its end and we get to see what character we played this time round. Sikhs believe that there is no mistake a human can make that the Merciful One does not forgive when we sincerely ask for forgiveness and change our behavior for the better. Do this now. Don’t put it off. It doesn’t get easier. Ask for courage to be a good human and relax and let God be God.

    Who among us are perfect? We all need Grace, and the courage do the right thing. The Creator/Creation tests us on ethics. We seem to be here to learn lessons about how to co-exist happily and freely with our housemates.

    Harming the innocent, trying to seduce and conquer, exploit and abuse innocence, bombing children, killing civilians – all completely shameful. We must be Good to be united with the Supreme Good. We mustn’t let wounded, sad and bad people tempt us to be like them. (Luke! Luke! The Force be with you!)

    Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa!
    Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

    This is the greeting (and battle cry) of the Khalsa Knighthood. It means:

    The Khalsa belongs to the Beloved One.
    All Victory to the Beloved One.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

  3. That’s just beautiful, Kamalla and very interesting that the intent of the act has the same consequences as the act itself. There is an honour to that which is striking in our time of cowardly denial. Indeed, the very word honour now seems somehow quaint and Victorian.

    You have a masterly touch at simplifying the complex. I hope others are getting as much our of your explanations as I am.

  4. Thank you again Tony for offering this wonnderful opportunity and, whew! I wasn’t expecting to be swept into this seva (service). I enjoy it.

    I am a covert to Sikhi, Irish descent Pacific Northwesterner, who is past 50 now and preparing to become a Khalsa Knight; after a life of studying and admiring the Sikh people. My training is in religious studies and theater and I am a professional writer.

    It is an honor to meet you. Those upper caste Victorians have a lot to answer for, don’t they?. They messed up the word honor eh? Not surprised. They were “quaint” rulers of their vast empire for sure!

  5. I joined the Khalsa Knighthood in 1975. I am the only one in my family of 8 and 6 siblings who was ‘called’ to take the amrit. The Khalsa Knighthood is a blessing and a responsibility.

    I recently attended a diversity awareness course in a college and a Jew participant said that the Jews are seen as the chosen ones and he wished someone else could be the chosen one now. Being on the truth’s side is a difficult road but you can’t survive without it once you have tasted the amrit.

    The Khalsa are the police and guardians of the universe but there are not many about at the moment. They are scattered every where , the seeds are there now and it is only a matter of time.

    Their aim is to make everybody happy here on this earth. This is the paradise as even the gods long for human form so that they can come and sing the praises of the One God and obtain freedom from being a god/angel. Being an angel and a Hindu god is also a incarnation.

    The human life is gift only in this form we can sing the praises of the One God – wed the beloved.

    The Khalsa give their ‘heads’ to obtain the knighthood – they the living dead- so they are above the comings and goings of the world – in a state of equilibrium. Gold and dust; hot and cold; day and night; black and white; happiness and sadness etc are the same to them. They are in a joyful state.

    khu kbIr jn Bey Kwlsy pRym Bgiq ijh jwnI ]4]3]
    kahu kabeer jan bheae khaalasae praem bhagath jih jaanee ||4||3||
    Says Kabeer, those humble people become pure – they become Khalsa – who know the Lord’s loving devotional worship. ||4||3||

    Bhagat Kabeer Ji
    Raag Sorath

    pooran joth jagai ghatt mai thab khaalas thaahi nakhaalas jaanai ||
    Such a man/woman, in whose heart shines the full Divinely Radiant Light is a true a pure Khalsa.

    Guru Gobind Singh

    jaagith joth japai nis baasur eaek binaa man naik n aanai ||
    He the Khalsa meditates on the Ever-radiant Light, day and night, and rejects all else but the one Lord from the mind.

    Guru Gobind Singh

    judhh jithae einehee kae prasaadh einehee kae prasaadh s dhaan karae ||
    It is through the actions of the Khalsa that I have been victorious, and have been able to give charities to others.
    Guru Gobind Singh

    The above are extracts from Guru Granth and the last three from Guru Gobind Singh – who harvested the great work in 1699 (alchemy) started by Guru Nanak 300 years prior to that. He asked for heads not promises of heaven. He gave amrit to thousands of men and women that day.

    Satnam Kaur

  6. Tony,

    I would like to talk openly, yet discreetly, about:

    Kacchera – underwear: Khalsa Knights wear underwear (rather like simple boxer shorts). This symbolizes the 5th Khalsa vow. Khalsa Knights treat all men and women as brothers and sisters, as equals. They vow to not view the opposite sex as sex objects or romance objects, or practice any sort of rock-star-itis

    Sikhs are householders. There are no Sikh monks or nuns. Sikhs do not believe that nature or “the flesh” or Eve, are sinful or fallen.

    Actually Sikhs do not believe it is holy one bit to be renunciates. Celibacy tends to lead to sexual misconduct, a truth that Catholics are now facing.

    Materialism, sexism, egotism, and childhood trauma/abuse also lead to the loss of sexual integrity, sexual violence and so forth.

    Becoming a good adult includes knowing ourselves and learning to be good mates. Sikhs believe that this includes developing the ability to discipline our minds. There is no need to “fantasize” about the love and pleasure we find within us. But if you need to fantasize, then fantasize about a fantasy. Running fantasies about real people, be they celebrities, your friend’s partner, or someone you saw walking downtown today, is taking fantasy too far.

    Reality is better than fantasy.

    Fantasy is false. It is a lie.

    Reality may be painful. You may be lonely. But fantasy is worse. It is a coping mechanism, it is denial, and addiciton. It isn’t real and it gets in the way of developing real relationships.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

  7. Ah, but Kamalla, isn’t fantasy poetry and story telling, creativity and imagination? Yes, it is escape, but many of us need that, shackled as we may be by daunting realities.

    Take away imagination and creativity and all we become are drones for from the fantasia that is the mind comes science, philosophy, theatre, even mathematics — everything, where our imagination is the propellant, not cold, terrestrial logic.

    Poor is he who can’t live much of his life in his imagination.

    But, sure, an unshackled mind is certainly a threat … to discipline. Free to fly off in flights of fantasy doesn’t do much for serious deliberation but, perhaps, it is just those moments when for a moment we can make our hell our heaven.

    Studying religion is a serious undertaking, not well served by idle deflection. But I’m thinking that you don’t get to write with such delicacy, sensitivity and insight without having a very large part of your thinking dominated by the right side of your brain, there to exploit your creative processes.

    Thank you for sharing a little of your bio, it makes your words all the more … alive. But they beg the question, too: why does a Christian forsake it all to become a Khalsa Knight (‘Confessions of a Sikh wannabe’)? That thought process would be most interesting, as is everything you write.

  8. Tony,

    I was speaking specifically about romantic, sexual fantasy and porn.

    Art is good. As you say imagination is a wonderful gift humanity shares. Our imaginations make us creative – just like Creator/Creation.

    Imagination is very powerful. Use it for good, don’t use it to limit (scare, distort, slime) yourself or others, that’s all.

    I was never a Christian rather I was raised by academic agnostic/atheist parents.

    I feel strongly that people of European descent need to be extra careful and respectful of others and reference our sources. It is not ethical to steal other people’s cultures and claim them as our own, like the USA music industry (via Pat Boone and others) have repeatedly done to African American musicians – who we should all thank and honor for bringing us Jazz, Soul, Rock, Rap etc. We love the music, we love it so much. We need to express our gratitude.

    The way to truly become a Khalsa Knight is to convert to Sikhi and then get intiated into the Khalsa Knighthood.

    That said, our scripture is a universalist scripture that can be used by anyone, like the Bible. You don’t have to drop Christianity – rather use our scripture to become a better Christian, if it helps.

    The “True Guru” of Christian’s is Jesus.
    “Jesus is allright by me!”
    “Take what yoiu like and leave the rest.”

    Likewise Sikhs are free to read and enjoy this planets Holy Books, of course. God/the Great Good is pleased.

    That said, it you wish to grow your beard and hair and don the 5Ks and wear your Sikh turban with pride, and you promise us you will keep those Khalsa Knight vows – then SURE! We will not argue with you! You go!

    We have never had any problem like this before in all our history! Imitation, if done with excellence, is a great compliment! Thanks!

    Getting REAL again, Sikhs have a huge problem with Sikh men and women wearing the 5 Ks and not keeping the 5 Khalsa vows associated with them.

    We do not think it is a “problem” when we find non-Sikhs who are keeping the Khalsa vows but not wearing the 5Ks. We do not believe we own basic ETHICS.

    But the 5Ks own the Khalsa; understand? It is appropriate to say that you are “influenced” by the teachings of the Sikhs. It is fine to share our stories and beliefs with others, just don’t push them on anyone.

    Frankly again, Sikhs are just humans. It is our GURUJI who is to blame for creating the Khalsa Knighthood. We are just as amazed as you are. We are embarrassed that we aren’t doing better than we are.

    Personally I think parents should read children the stories of the Khalsa. We need to read about Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and other real people who bravely do Seva – selfless service for the poor and oppressed.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

  9. Th story about how I came to be a Sikh is long and embarrassing, in truth. The short answer is that I first came in contact with real Sikhs and Sikhi as a Religious Studies major at university, and over the years I have written more and more for Sikhs, and gotten more and more attached to Guruji’s guidance.

    I used to play with Tarot, astrology, the I Ching…

    Slowly and naturally I dropped all that and started just using the SGGS because the results were beautiful. When Guruji becomes your Only Guru, then you are a Sikh, whether you admit it or not.

    Becoming a Khalsa Knight is a whole different level, of course.

    Kamalla Rose Kaur

  10. Tony,

    I have an extra challenge because I am not married to a Sikh. Ken and I work around this difficulty fairly well as I slowly start to prepare to become a member of the Khalsa. Yet many Sikhs may never accept me because of the mixed marriage – but given I am a convert, I am kind of strange anyway. English is not spoken yet in most Sikh gurdwaras in the West.

    That is difficult and frustrating for converts. Yet what is really challenging is to try to communicate to Sikhs (and other cultures) what it is like for many of us to grow up in the secular West. Our “spiritual quests” look pretty crazy and funny, but they are “spiritual quests” for all that!

    Here is my husband Ken’s attempt to share with Sikhs about his own individual and strange spiritual search.

    USA Seeker Marries USA Sikh
    Sunday, April 27, 2003

    An Interview With Ken Whitley, Kamalla Rose Kaur’s Husband

    Q. Did you know anything about the Sikh religion before you met Kamalla Rose Kaur?

    A little – I knew Sikhs were special enough that the British had allowed them to work all over the world but didn’t make them dress and act British. I knew they came from North India, and that the Sikh religion was newer than Christianity and Islam. I knew about Malik, the guy from Vancouver who is accused of blowing up the plane, but I knew about the Christian Jim Jones too, and didn’t generalize from either. I didn’t know what Sikhs believed or didn’t, or what they practiced.

    Q. What is it like being married to a Sikh?

    I suppose it’s no more complicated than, say, a Protestant-Jewish marriage, but different. Sikh practice doesn’t take up a large amount of time, but it’s always present. She is a writer, I am a musician, we both are unusual people, and there are other differences much more noticeable in our lives than that she is a Sikh and I am not.

    Q. What are your spiritual beliefs and practices?

    My spiritual path could, I think, best be described as a pith helmet, a machete, and a pair of good boots.

    I was raised indifferent Christian by superstitious or indifferent parents — that is, they took me to church for a while, then they sent me but didn’t go themselves. Unfortunately I learned to read early, liked to read a lot, and I read the Bible at a young age. I concluded that if Hitler had thought to use the Old Testament to attack the Jews he might have won the war. The best explanation I could find for the New Testament was that Satan had sent St. Paul to corrupt the message of Jesus with hatred of self, others, and life. I was impressed at how some good people could hammer Christianity into something serving their goals, but not impressed with the wasted effort. By age 13 or 14 I pretty much abandoned the whole Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Q. What happened next?

    Like many American teenagers, I next checked out Satanism and its ilk. After all, if good was bad, then bad must be good, right? Elementary American logic.

    Well, as it turns out, a lot of Satanism is the same as Christianity – you use the same game board, and the same rules, but you play for the other side. The Satanic theory was that there were no God, no rulers, no rules, and no rights. We were to just take whatever we wanted, with no thought for anything but satisfying one’s lusts. It was pointed out, to great effect on the young, that the powerful and influential throughout history have practiced this philosophy with great success, and they even had an official apologist in Machiavelli.

    Well, I’m a teenager, right? I have no idea what I want, and in the rare case I do, it’s completely different ten minutes later. Or it is something completely stupid, like four pounds of watermelon candy, or the flu so I won’t have to get up and go to school. Beyond this, it also becomes quickly obvious that the world is not arranged so that everything I might want is close by to be taken. Take for instance my blossoming teenage lust. Scanning my domain, there’s my mother, my little sister, and a scrawny girl three years older than me two houses down. This system is suddenly not looking good.

    Scaling my desires down a notch (i.e., survival), I then noticed that there were others much better equipped to take what they wanted than me – kids twice my size, with four times the body hair and one quarter the IQ. Their desires tended to be simpler — people’s hats, people’s lunches, people’s money. This Satanist thing is getting more difficult. I’m supposed to do what I want, and what I want is to stay as far from these people as the physical universe will allow. The universe, on the other hand, has seen fit to decree that we have to go to school together every day for twelve years.

    Oh, and there were bigger people as well. With clubs. And guns. And special cars. And special rooms. With bars on the windows. They had really strange convoluted rules about whom they would let take what and whom they would shoot if they tried to take something. They said they didn’t make the rules, but the people who did were places that I could never talk to them. I just couldn’t see that this taking whatever I wanted was going to work for me at all.

    So next, I looked at atheism, and concluded with many others that you couldn’t logically or concretely prove there was no God. Nor could you prove that there was. Besides that, logic itself had irredeemable flaws and it wouldn’t mean anything if it were proven either way.

    Q. So you kept on searching?

    It wasn’t really searching at this time so much as exploring. Religion was a part of life where conventional wisdom was obviously and grossly wrong, but of course I was an American and there was too much of life like that to stop my whole life for it.

    I continued reading, and learned about other beliefs, and other attempts to reinterpret the western tradition. Buried in among the dross was a hint of a mystical tradition that actually seemed to work, but the closer you got to the part that seemed to work for its followers, the more you were warned away from the path with whips and scourges. And the nearer you got to fools and charlatans, the louder became the promises and the more enticing the ads.

    This was a path for those who were called, and for no others; or at least it was not for me.
    I also read about other cultures, and the things we called ‘pagan’, if not ‘savage’ or something worse. I learned how intensely religion is rooted in the way people actually live, and how difficult it is to practice a religion based on the life cycle of corn if you get your corn in cans at Safeway, and about how silly Shona tribes people thought we Westerners were for traveling all the way to Zimbabwe and living with the rural farmers in order to learn to play and sing songs of worship to the Shona people’s ancestors.

    “Umm…why don’t you sing to your own ancestors?”

    “Well, yours have better songs.”

    I learned about Westerners trying to revive pre-Christian belief and practice, and thought it noble but futile. I myself was too thoroughly modern and could not relate to practice so deeply based in a thousand-year-old farmer’s experience of God and nature. Still Neo-Pagans seem to do as much good, and less harm, than most branches of religion.

    On another hand, I could look to the East, and confuse myself with blither like so many other Westerners. The first thing I found confusing was that here in the West, living on the west coast, the East is to the west and the center of Western civilization is to the east. So we have to look to the west to look to the East, and if we look to the east we see the West advancing on us from the east coast.

    Somehow, I could not see the spiritual value of confusing myself. I can’t tell the difference between ‘no mind’ and ‘brain dead’, and always considered the part of my mind that decided whether I was practicing ‘no mind’ or not, was still part of my mind. It is like doing your taxes, where you get to say you have ‘no income’ because in fact your $633,000 all disappeared in investment deals that will conveniently pay off later in tax-free dividends.

    I was also a puzzle fan when I was a kid so I have mostly found paradoxes to be games in logical typing rather than profound mystical experiences. As far as mystical experiences go, perhaps advances in biofeedback will put the guru competition on a more objective basis. Then, once we can agree on how high which guru is, we could then begin to study when and how much getting high may actually be useful.

    Q. So if Christianity, and Judaism didn’t work for you, and you rejected Satanism, atheism, and the lure of the East, where else could you look for religious truth?

    Since religion needs to be rooted in everyday life, American folk religion was, I suppose, another option. Most everywhere that there is some ‘official’ religion, there is this other thing that most people actually practice, usually more magical and animist than the official version. So I thought I’d see what the homegrown version looks like.

    The official USA religion seems to be the worship of the experience of consuming a new product. This is by far the most widely advertised transcendent experience available to Westerners. Apparently having used, or being seen with, the right product at the right time, can change everything — your personality, lifestyle, luck, attractiveness, wealth, even your past.

    The effect seems to be even more temporary than the glimpses of transcendence provided by esoteric meditations or psychedelic drugs, but this too, its very evanescence, is turned into another selling point. You can have as many consumer satoris (Buddhist mystical experiences) as you can afford, and they never impact your life like the near-insanity of the more primitive kind of religious ecstasy.

    Informally, people practice this ritual with apparent devotion, but don’t appear to actually get the promised transcendence. More energy seems to be devoted to getting back at the person who just reamed you, or alternatively getting a chance to relax and do nothing at all, but mainly we’re too busy doing the endless series of mindless rituals that get us through our urban days to think about doing mindless rituals for religious purposes.

    The scoring system for the game of USA popular culture is as follows:

    1. Rules are bad. Breaking them gets points.

    2. You get fewer points if you break rules for personal gain.

    3. If you break the rules for personal gain you get to keep the personal gain.

    4. You may punish others for breaking rules, but only if they are both

    A. Smaller than you, and
    B. Enjoying breaking the rules

    5. Points may be bought, but only if you can figure out where for yourself.

    6. Morals, ethics, behavior, attitudes, and teachings have no bearing on points.

    7. It matters whether it matches the carpet. It is worth points.

    8. It matters what other people think, especially gossips. They can award points.

    9. We will be graded on a curve. Bad behavior makes things easier for all, and trying too hard only raises the bar for everyone. Remember that when faced with a moral choice.

    10. The afterlife starts when you first find yourself buying more health aids than toys.

    Needless to say, I didn’t find materialism to be a religion that met my needs either, and like Satanism, it seemed to require that you have a certain something that I just didn’t have enough of. Money.

    Q. Where did your quest take you next?

    Well, I had always been unusual. I thought maybe I’d look at other weirdos…very entertaining, but not particularly enlightening, though I would recommend a solid study of a couple of classic hucksters, such as Blavatsky, for anyone considering a spiritual practice.

    Someone else I read had recommended the scientific method. Do actual experiments on religion, and be prepared to act on what you discover. The author (Aleister Crowley) was known as ‘the wickedest man in the world’ in his day, and called himself the Beast 666, but I did not let that dismay me.

    After all, what’s in a name?

    This sounded good. The scientific method. I knew that. I trusted that. I knew a fair amount about its history. So, what was I looking at?

    Experiments with the universe. Experiments with Hell. Experiments with existence and nonexistence. Experiments with death.

    Now just studying the regular old stuff we live in every day, scientists had killed themselves with arsenic, or mercury, or radium, or snakes no one else even knew bit, let alone were poisonous? Blown themselves up, dosed themselves with deadly diseases, or jumped off cliffs with machines that didn’t fly yet?

    Experiments with Hell?

    This was definitely a situation in which discretion was the better part of valor, and valor probably wasn’t as good an idea as caution anyway.
    I had acquired, by now, a long list of what religion was not to be, and so far, not much that it should be. It came up repeatedly, in various traditions, that religion should bring joy, but this was rarely part of the mainstream message.

    Global Sikh Daily News & Current Affairs © 2001-2003

  11. USA Seeker Marries USA Sikh II
    Friday, May 23, 2003

    An Interview With Ken Whitley, Kamalla Rose Kaur’s Husband

    Q: Did you get involved in any of the 1970s cult scene here in the USA? Enroll in any consciousness trainings? Join any ashrams?

    No. In the 1970’s I was more anti-cult than anything. As a teenager I was really unsocial and really unhappy and the whole positive tone of anything New-Age, let alone cult like, was unpleasant for me. I was in the position W.C. Fields described regarding social clubs, i.e. “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me for a member”. Also, by the mid to late seventies, a number of famous cults had already gone belly up, or been exposed as frauds, and things were changing in other ways.

    By 1980, when I entered college, mainstream America was saying, “greed was good”. We had looked the Aquarian Age in the eye, and then thoroughly beat it down, with the help of the CIA, old-line fascists, and venture capitalists on cocaine. We had pretty conclusively redefined six of the seven deadly sins into virtues, or at least into forces for virtue, and the jury was still out on sloth. Although there was, and is, a “joke church” in the USA called the Church of the Sub-Genius, that preached sloth as the primary virtue, albeit slightly renamed as “slack”. Hmmm…. a “joke church”? What does THAT tell you about religion in America?

    Most cults had reformed themselves along the lines of an expensive business-training seminar, and many were doing quite well. They had mostly scaled back from even trying to be religions, and had taken the selling of meditation as a relaxation technique as far as American gumption could push an idea. It had indeed been a long strange trip from stilling the mind so that God could be perceived, to stilling the mind to play better golf, to stimulating the mind so as to get high, to studying how spiritual teachers read the thought processes of their students through their eye movements, in order to better sell them used cars.

    As a whole religion hadn’t really sold in the USA. For a while what cult like groups had to offer was an altered state of consciousness. One kind was the “how high can you get” version, where people tried to fry their nervous systems with too much kundalini, or hyperventilate themselves into permanent brain damage, or otherwise attempt to not be here without the mess of dying. This just wasn’t my idea of a good time — it sounded about as much fun as huffing gasoline and smoking at the same time. Another was the “mission from God”, by which you could invest door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, pyramid investment schemes, or suicide bombings with an utterly driven sense of superhuman, and therefore apparently divine, purpose.

    Enough reasons to not join anything? Here’s some more.

    Anything that charged money, out. Anything with a human guru at the head, out. Anything that had its members talking nonsense — out. Fasting until you got delirious, while holding down a job and driving to work — nope! Reptilian invaders from another planet — the earth is hollow and we are on the inside — the dinosaurs will return — I think someone is channeling the Disney channel! Walking on fire — umm…what’s going to happen so that I have to be GOOD at this? And what’s that hand basket for? For flying, I prefer planes to astral bodies (and I don’t like planes) – they get my luggage there in better condition, and no, I am NOT going to hop all the way to Hawaii on my butt in lotus position. Living on air (and Burger King) — is there a Thai food sect? Drinking weird potions in the South American jungle, hallucinating and vomiting for eight hours — sign me up! (Just kidding).

    And then there’s the small detail that (didn’t I mention this before?) I am an American, and we are often so fanatically individualistic that virtually ANY organization of humans that is not a profit-making corporation (and some that are) looks like a cult to some. I could join the cult of the Peace Corps, or Kirby, or the Society for Creative Anachronism, or Mensa, or Big Brothers, and what about the Masons, who really are a cult? And don’t even mention socialism at all; it’s a bad word. Never mind that this makes it difficult to talk about European politics, we’re America, we don’t care. We don’t have to.

    Meanwhile, back in college, I read more widely, if not more, than before. I met more different kinds of people than I had before, and went to a handful of introductory meetings for various groups, religious and otherwise. I had a couple of college instructors, in education and philosophy, who taught about how people learn, and they taught some of the techniques that cults used, along with theories of mind and learning. A lot of what they taught was actually pretty basic information from various sciences, but since it was economically valuable when packaged properly, it wasn’t commonly available, and was often buried in noise when it was. I mean, what would happen if Americans in general spent as much time studying how to resist being manipulated by advertisements as they did looking at and reading them?

    Totally separate from these experiences with “religion”, I had concurrently been having a different set of experiences of the divine. Since childhood, I had had the occasional ability to perceive what I considered the divine in two places. One of these was “nature”, or any place where the forces involved in a functioning ecology were more powerful and visible than human ego. The other was the contemplation of certain kinds of pattern, such as music, mathematics, or physics. It was a long time before I learned that most people, instead of learning to not talk about such experiences, learned to not have them.

    Something else I did at the same time I was in college was to spend a few summers traveling, camping, and working outdoors, mostly alone or with few people in informal settings. As most mystics had noted, the divine was easier to access here than within large cities and societies. Anywhere I looked that hadn’t been developed into soulless gray, God was there. Anywhere they had destroyed generations ago, and abandoned to heal, God was there. If I looked inside others, God was there. If I looked inside myself when I wasn’t driven, egotistical, or fearful, lo and behold! God was there. Somewhere in this time I also learned that selfless service was another place where the divine showed up regularly.
    God was starting to look more and more like a wave function. Or superstrings. Or any of an infinite number of views of something too large to ever be viewed. In one way, God appeared in the personality of every being, and in another, to put a personality on God seems as silly as to put paws on God. That is, from God’s perspective, there was only one thing, and God was not separate from that thing. It also seemed clear that God was not in anything that was not, such as lies or illusions, but that is a different story.

    Then it wasn’t long before I noticed I couldn’t necessarily find God anywhere, just because I wanted to. I started to see what I wanted a church or religion to do, what I thought they ought to do, and this was to provide a place and structure to help access this when it is difficult, rather than when it is easy.

    So there I was – armored to the ears against religion and cult hood, seeing God in everything that my culture saw as resources to be exploited, seeing God in none of the constructions we build to conceal ourselves from the workings of the world, and faced with religions that advocated, among other things:

    Genital mutilation

    Selling the “right” to sin

    Collecting removed body parts of enemies

    Compulsory ‘belief’ or public statement of an astounding array of nonsense

    Missionary invasion, up to and including genocide

    And pretty much everything else they elsewhere condemn as evil.


    World War 2 – My Life as A Sikh Soldier In India
    by Amrit Singh

    I joined the airforce in 1946, I became a mechanical Engineer. I had to enter into training for four months. I then one month off, and then came back for technical training for one year.
    The Royal Indian Air force during the British rule in India. I was paid 60 rupees per month. I finished with the airforce in 30th June 1947, due to communal riots. It was terrible during this time, a group of muslins in Lahore killed a train full of Indians and Sikhs and sent it to India ( Amritsar), with the slogans ” that it how you kill people”.

    This types of terrible activity happened from both sides. People was feeling bad, and did not know what to do. Some of my reletive was killed in the crossfire, and came to india like refugees.

    Once the situation came under control, then I joined the Indian Army. This was in 19th Febuary 1948. At first I was an electrician/ motor vehicle engineer. After this I was made an Armamnet Artificial Vehicle Officer. At that time India was in the commonwealth. India brought independance in 1947. However, Lord Mountbatton was still the Governer General of India until 1952.

    During the British period the uniforms were Khaki. Under Indian rule this changed to olive Green. Status was low. We used to receive the same wages though, 29 rupees monthly. Normally people were not very well educated at that time. When i joined the air force,
    During the beginning, I was going to join in 1945, but the British recruitment was finished. That is why I had to join later. Living standards were very good for army people, and people used to give us more respect. British people really appreciated the Sikhs joining the British Army, and were very encouraging. They were really allowed to do the religious practices during the day. During that time, the government allowed and encouraged us to wear our turban. Turban were issued by the government. The government felt that we would draw strength from our religion.

    From the whole of the Sikh contribution in both world wars, we received 14 Victoria Cross which was a record for the Sikh community.

    The British army were very proud of the Sikh army. My dad was in a regiment called the 19th Punjab Regiment. His name was Subedar Suchet Singh (Subedar means Vice roy commission). In WW1 my dad served in Kenya, Tansania and Iraq. In WW2 my dad stayed in India. My dad was in the fighting force. I had two brothers in the army as well.

    My eldest brothers name was Niab Subeder Chanan Singh. His rank was Army Signal Corp. His duty was in Arab countries and Italy. During WW2, he was a wireless operator. My next brothers name was Hon. Captain Sardara Singh, he managed to achieve this ranking, which was superior than Subedar. They joined as ordinary officers, and worked hard to achieve that ranking.

    In WW2 my brother fought in South East Asia, commanded by General McArther.

    Whenever the British army thought they were falling behind in the battle, they tried to put the Sikhs in the front line because they had such faith in us.

  13. My Grandfather was a captain in the Indian Army and was given an award for his bravery during the Indo-Chinese war. He meditated in the morning and was my inspiration into Sikhi. If we had not stayed with him one summer I don’t think I would have taken amrit.

    Satnam Kaur

  14. More about Sikhs who fought in World War 2:

    1. “It was a dramatic scene, amazingly still, with a full moon high in the sky, as the Japanese were working their way forward through the jungle to the attack. The Sikhs held their fire till the Japanese were close up, and then gave a resounding ‘Jo bole so nihal, sat siri akal’, as they drew them back time after time.

    “The shouts rang clearly through the jungle and echoed ‘round the hills, while answering ‘fatehs’ were periodically heard from men of the 4th/15th Punjab Regiment Holding positions over on the left. The self-confidence of the Sikhs was most inspiring, and the Japanese could make no headway. Before dawn they withdrew back to their positions further south.”

    The Sikh Regiment in the Second World War, Colonel F.T. Birdwood OBE

    2. In the last two world wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the world and during shell fire, with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith.”

    General Sir Frank Messervy KCSI, KBE, CB, DSO

    3. 12 March 1944, Burma Campaign : “India Hill is a knife-edged ridge with steep tree-clad slopes. The Japanese were holding deep trenches and fox-holes, well hidden and impossible to spot at any distance. The supporting tank therefore searched the whole area for several minutes while the platoon moved up to the assault, with Naik Nand Singh’s section in the lead.

    “The only possible approach onto the hill followed a narrow track leading up to the enemy position. Along this track Naik Nand Singh lead his section. Reaching the crest the section came under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, and every man was knocked over, either killed or wounded. Nonetheless, Naik Nand Singh dashed forward alone under intense fire at point blank range. He was wounded by grenade as he neared the first Japanese trench. Without hesitating he went on, captured the trench, and killed the two occupants with the bayonet.

    “Not far away was another trench. Under continuous heavy fire, Naik Nand Singh jumped up and charged it. He was again wounded by a grenade and knocked down, but he got up and hurled himself into the trench, again killing both occupants with the bayonet. He moved on again, and captured a third trench, still single-handed.

    “With the capture of this third trench, enemy fire died away. Naik Nand Singh’s encounter had taken little time, and the remainder of the platoon, checked for the moment by the sudden heavy fire opened on it as it reached the crest, now moved up and captured the remainder of the position, killing with bayonet and grenade thirty seven out of the forty Japanese who were holding it.

    “Naik Nand Singh’s part in this brilliant little action, his splendid resolution and utter disregard for his own life were fittingly recognised by the award of the Victoria Cross.”
    The Sikh Regiment In The Second World War, Colonel F.T.Birdwood (OBE)

    4. “Every man in this magnificant battalion of the Indian State Forces [1st Patiala Regiment] stands 5 foot 11 inches, or over: they are the finest lot of Sikhs I have ever seen, and that is saying much. At the last All-Indian Olympic Meeting they won nine athletic contests out of twelve. Their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Balwant Singh, is a veteran who has won a great reputation in this campaign; and although he is nearer sixty than fifty he can still march forty miles in twenty-four hours with his men, and enjoy it. Every officer in his battalion is a Sikh. In discipline, turn-out, and fighting efficiency the 1st Patialas have earned the unstinted admiration of all their comrades in the division.”

    Martial India, F. Yeats-Brown, 1945.

  15. I think serious film makers, not Bollywood, should make films of the Sikhs. Banda Singh Bahadur could be the next Brave Heart.

    Satnam Kaur

  16. Today’s news:

    Sikh banned from wearing turban in Ireland
    Malaysia Sun
    Tuesday 14th August, 2007

    A Sikh man belonging to a volunteer reserve police force in Ireland has been banned from wearing his headgear.

    The Sikh man, who has not been named, is a qualified IT professional who decided to join the Garda Reserve, the volunteer reserve section of Ireland’s police force Garda Siochana.

    Ireland’s Integration Minister Conor Lenihan Monday said that immigrants to the country must accept Ireland’s culture but acknowledged the importance of the turban in the Sikh community.

    ‘If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things. When the president and ministers travel to the Middle East, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland,’ he said.

    Male Sikhs are required by religion to cover their hair at all times by a turban, an article of faith and an intrinsic aspect of their identity.

    As turbans are worn by Sikh police officers elsewhere, most notably the London Metropolitan Police, a compromise may be reached, news portal reported.

    In June, Sikhs in France filed a case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg challenging a French law that demands that turbans be taken off while being photographed for identity cards after Shingara Mann Singh, 52, a French national for over 20 years, was denied a replacement driver’s licence in 2005 and again in 2006 because he refused to remove his turban.

  17. In the World Wars when the Sikhs fought for freedom no one said remove your turbans. People have short memories. I am disappointed that it is the Irish as I have always had a soft spot for them. Then some Sikhs show turban as the culture not a religious requirement. What ever happened to the freedom of expression any way?

  18. It’s Official – Increased Turban Screening at US Airports
    Sikh Organizations Alarmed at Lack of Consultation or Prior briefing
    Washington DC –

    UNITED SIKHS calls upon Sikhs who encounter random turban screening at airports to request that the screening is done in private. In order to help us provide feedback to the authorities, please email us the details of your experience at and state Reporting Turban Screening’ in the subject column.

    The Transportation Security Administration ( TSA ) held a belated briefing yesterday on the revised procedures of screening head coverings at US airports after Sikh organizations including UNITED SIKHS expressed dismay at the lack of consultation and prior briefing.

    On Aug 4 th , the TSA implemented revised Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines at US airports which involved the patting down of a Sikh Turban even if a scanner alarm was not set off. Under the original Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, which were formulated after consulting the Sikh community, a Sikh Turban was only patted down to resolve a scanner alarm.

    UNITED SIKHS discovered the new screening procedures when it received complaints from Sikhs, including our Director, Kuldip Singh, whose turban was patted down at San Francisco airport even though the scanner alarm had not sounded. We contacted the TSA and requested a meeting to discuss the implications of the revised procedures. The Turban is worn by Sikhs to cover their unshorn hair, an article of the Sikh faith. Under the original FAA procedures, a Sikh was only asked to remove his turban to resolve an alarm and the procedure was conducted in a private area.

    We have expressed our concerns for the lack of a pilot to study the effect of such random screening. The lack of consultation and prior briefing suggested that the new procedures were formulated in a hurry, said Harpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS legal director who attended the briefing.

    Kevin Donovan of the TSA stated that the new procedures were necessary due to an emerging threat of improvised explosive devices (IED) and chemical weapons hidden under head coverings. The turban, as well as cowboy hats, and baseball hats were specifically referred to in the revised procedures. The Jewish yarmulke is unaffected by the new procedures. The TSA refused to provide a copy of the procedures and guidance provided to the TSA security personnel. TSA officials believe that patting down the turban will give them the opportunity to detect non-metal objects that could be hidden in the turban.

    Mr Donovan added that it is up to TSA security personnel to determine if a Sikh Turban will be patted down.

    The Sikh community shares the concern for security but we regret the arbitrary nature of the procedure. What criteria will a security personnel use to decide if a Sikh Turban is patted down when the alarm is not sounded? Harpreet Singh asked TSA officials who refused to provide details.

    UNITED SIKHS and other Sikh organizations which attended the briefing have been assured that the TSA is open to dialogue’ to ensure that security concerns are met and that the civil liberties of Sikhs are protected. The TSA has agreed to call a further meeting to discuss the drawing up of specific guidelines.

    In the meantime, UNITED SIKHS calls upon Sikhs who encounter random turban screening at the airport to request that the screening is done in private. In order to help us provide feedback to the authorities, please email us the details of your experience at and state Reporting Turban Screening’ in the subject column.

    The briefing yesterday was attended by members of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil liberties and members from TSA ‘s office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

    Representatives of the Sikh Coalition, SALDEF, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee ( ADC ) and the Muslims Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) also attended the briefing.

    To read more about UNITED SIKHS’ civil and human rights advocacy projects visit us at

    Issued by : Priyanka Kaur

    International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy


  19. This thread is continued at the new Carson’s Post:

  20. Круто, а продолжение будет?

  21. My view is if there is a next war what so evr for any couuntry Sikhs should abandon the cause to die for the sake of British ,Indians,French ,Jews etc they use us when they need us and discard us after they get the fruit from Sikh people’s efforts.
    If i see this way Hitler was far better in promising fair deal for Sikhs to join him.Rather than emotional faces shown by Britsih to fight and free France and other places during World Wars which Sikhs get trapped into very easily.

  22. […] The Sikhs Decoded – Khalsa Knighthood […]

  23. Good people, my question to you is this: is the Khalsa Knighthood governed by Chivalric Code?

  24. RT @aromaa05: twitter api twitter api

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