VAISAKHI: Sikhs dedicate lives to service of others
I REFER to the letter "Celebrate it in the 1Malaysia spirit" (NST, April 9). Like Tamils who will celebrate their new year on Friday, Sikhs, too, will celebrate Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi celebrates the founding of the Sikh community.
Non-Sikhs are invited to join in a vegetarian lunch on the final day of the celebration, that is, April 14, at gurdwaras. Vaisakhi is celebrated on April 14 each year.
On Vaisakhi day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh summoned Sikhs from all over India to Anandpur Sahib.
At this gathering, the guru called on Sikhs to uphold their faith and preserve Sikhism.
Guru Gobind lifted his sword and asked anyone who was prepared to give his life for his faith to come forward.
There was silence, but the guru went on repeating his demand.
One Sikh came forward and followed the guru into a tent. Shortly after, the guru reappeared alone with his sword covered in blood, and asked for a second volunteer.
Another Sikh stepped forward and again the guru took him into the tent, and reappeared alone with his sword covered with blood.
This was repeated until five Sikhs had entered the tent.
Finally, the guru emerged from the tent with all five men dressed in blue. Guru Gobind called the five Sikhs the panj pyare, in the Five Beloved Ones.
The panj pyare were then baptised. The guru proclaimed that the panj pyare would be the embodiment of the guru himself: "Where there are panj pyare, there am I."
The panj pyare were the first members of the new Sikh community called the Khalsa.
Guru Gobind gave the Khalsa a unique identity with five distinctive symbols of purity and courage, known today as the five Ks.
The guru gave all Khalsa men the surname of Singh (lion) as a reminder to be courageous. Women took on the surname Kaur (princess) to emphasise dignity.
With the distinct Khalsa identity, Sikhs were to dedicate their lives to the service of others and the pursuit of justice.
Bulbir Singh, Seremban, Negri Sembilan