Print (hand coloured). The creation of the Khalsa (brotherhood); initiated by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.
- 1890s (circa)
- Attributed at: Punjab
- (Asia,South Asia,India,Punjab)
- Height: 26.3 centimetres (full sheet)
- Length: 40.4 centimetres (full sheet)
Inscription Positionlower left, and centre
Inscription Positionupper centre
Originally from an album, otherwise mostly made up of regimental photographs, dinner menus, etc.
In 1699, Gobind Singh decided to establish a military order to stage resistance against the Mughals. He sent hukmanamas (letters of authority) to his followers throughout the region, requesting them to congregate at Anandpur on 13 April, the day of Baisakhi (the annual harvest festival).
Guru Gobind Singh addressed the congregation from the entryway of a tent pitched on a hill (now called Kesgarh Sahib). He drew his sword and asked for a volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call, nor the second call, but on the third invitation, a person called Daya Ram (later known as Bhai Daya Singh) came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh took the volunteer inside the tent, and emerged shortly, with blood dripping from his sword. He then demanded another head. One more volunteer came forward, and entered the tent with him. Guru again emerged with blood on his sword. This happened three more times. Then the five volunteers came out of the tent unharmed. These five, who were willing to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were called Panj Piare ("the five beloved ones") These five volunteers were the first Khalsa Sikhs: Daya Ram (Bhai Daya Singh), Dharam Das (Bhai Dharam Singh), Himmat Rai (Bhai Himmat Singh), Mohkam Chand (Bhai Mohkam Singh), and Sahib Chand (Bhai Sahib Singh).
Guru Gobind Singh then took an iron bowl, and poured some water in it. Sahib Devan (later Mata Sahib Kaur) added some sugar crystals to the water in the bowl, and Guru stirred this mixture with a double-edged sword whilst reciting the Five Banis.
These actions allude to the nature expected of the inductees to the Khalsa: that they must have the will and the strength to fight oppression (symbolized by the sword), but must always remember that their actions are born from protection and not hatred (symbolized by the sweetness of the sugar).
Each of the Panj Piares were given five handfuls of the Amrit to drink, and had amrit sprinkled in their eyes five times. Each time, they repeated the phrase, "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh" ("The Khalsa belongs to God, the victory belongs to God"). Then they received five sprinkles in their hair and sipped from the bowl of amrit.
Guru Gobind Singh gave them all the middle name "Singh" (meaning "lion"). Similarly, every subsequent male who takes the ceremony are also given the surname "Singh", and every female is given the name "Kaur" (meaning "princess,").
The Panj Piare were thus the first baptised Sikhs, and became the first members of the Khalsa brotherhood, who symbolically regard Guru Gobind Singh as their "father", and Mata Sahib Kaur as their "mother". Khalsa claims Anandpur, where they were created by Guru Gobind Singh, as their home, and celebrate Vaisakhi as their birthday.
The Gurmukhi inscription transliterates as : Panj Piare amrit shak de han (the Panj Piare are taking amrit (being baptised).
Not on display
- Associated with: Punjab
- (Asia,South Asia,India,Punjab)
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: RFI40741
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.