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What are the 5K's in Sikhism?


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May 26, 2010 10:34AM

The 5 K's - Symbols of Khalsa- The Brotherhood of Sikhs

Sikhs who have made a public commitment to the faith by going through a special baptism, known as the Amrit Ceremony, are called members of the Khalsa (the community of baptised Sikhs). They adopt five symbols. These symbols (the Five K's) are not only a means of showing the Sikh identity, but they also have spiritual meanings and are powerful symbols of the faith. Most Sikhs, through custom and culture, follow the traditions of the Khalsa.

The Five Ks are the five items of dress and physical appearance (a sort of uniform) given to Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh when he gathered together the first members of the Khalsa on Baisakhi day in 1699. Gobind Singh was the tenth Sikh guru or spiritual teacher.

Kesh- uncut hair and beard, as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality.

Kangha- a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness.

Kachera- specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.

Kara- a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement.

Kirpan- the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.

Khalsa also vows to refrain from any sexual relationships outside of marriage, only eat Jhatka meat (animals humanely killed with a single sword/axe strike to sever the head), and refrain from tobacco, alcohol, and all other intoxicants.