Vaisakhi – a Sikh Christmas? An analogy between Christmas and Vaisakhi isn’t as daft as it seems. Both are about the birth of spiritual leaders but have become commercialised to confusion. Sikh beliefs combine universal spirituality and spiritual revolution. This is the saint-soldier ideal. The universal spiritual beliefs are that WaheGuru is One, dwells within each person, and that everyone is loved and saved by Grace eventually. The spiritual revolution is that if WaheGuru dwells within you, then all are equal, whatever their religion, race, sex, or caste, and we should stand up for their rights. news42-2.jpg (16940 bytes)
Living with the Spirit is more important than acting out traditions and superstitions. Amrit or Nectar links all these ideas. The idea of Nectar is universal, from the mead of immortality of the Norse religion adopted by the Vikings, to the soma of the Hindu god Indra. It has also been called the Elixir of Immortality.
The universal spiritual meaning of Amrit is that WaheGuru is the Amrit of Amrits and that the Guru Granth Sahib Ji contains Amrit. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji contains more than twelve languages and hymns from different faith communities, including Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim. It is a Universal Spirit, Amrit bani. Amrit is also given when one receives khande-ki-pahul. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh was being watched by spies of the ruling authorities of the time. The Guru was at war with those authorities because of their atrocities against the poor people, Hindu and Muslim, of their empire. Hence, we have an independent record which agrees with our traditional account. The Guru called the Sikhs at the spring festival of Vaisakhi and 80,000 showed up. He asked for volunteers to offer their lives. Once five had come forward he reappeared with them now dressed in the uniform of the Order of the Khalsa, the five Kakaars – uncut hair (kesh), comb (kanga), breeches (kachera), sword of mercy (kirpan), and circle of life on wrist (kara). Many of these elements can be found in the saints and mystics of all the world’s religions beforehand, but not worn by the masses. He gave them khande-ki-pahul and then asked for it himself.
On Vaisakhi 1699 he revealed the Order of the Khalsa. Those who entered would find the Guru as their father, Mata Sahib Kaur as their mother, and the Khalsa of all time and place as their family. They would be reborn as daughters and sons of the Guru with a new vision of life for humankind. By becoming the first to receive Amrit from its first five representatives, the panj piyaras, Guru Gobind Singh was the first to recognise the Order of the Khalsa as the Guru Khalsa Panth.
The Guru Khalsa Panth was revealed in 1699 while the Guru Granth Sahib Ji was revealed in 1708. The body was revealed before the Spirit. A body without a Spirit is corpse, but a Spirit without a body is only a ghost. Hence, the need for both Guru Khalsa Panth, the body, the spiritual revolutionary, and the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Spirit, the universal spirituality. Spirituality is found in all religions, but it was hidden by the tribalism and the priests. Hence, there are teachings about Amrit, or nectar, but they are hidden in such esoteric teachings as Elixir of Life. The Gurus taught that spirituality is the only real religion. It is non-tribal and living. So, the teachings about Amrit are open. The Gurus were sent 300 years ago to reveal truth for the new age, the information age. A scripture available in different languages, different music, containing the writing of 36 non-Gurus, with the original copy signed by Guru Arjun still available today. A saintly order taught to recognise the light of WaheGuru in every heart and given spiritual exercises (Reht) to help them do this. Climbing the mountain of God is possible without any aid. But an authentic map (scripture) makes it easier, the 5 Ks are equipment, the Reht is a handbook, and sangat is a climbing team. Why not sign up for the climb of your human spiritual life? The Amrit that was hidden, was revealed to the world by the Guru – that is why Sikhism happened, by the will of the Most High.
Kanwar Ranvir Singh