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Sikhs are bound to wear five items, known as the Five Ks, on them at all times. It is done either out of respect for the tenth teacher, Guru Gobind Singh, or out of a sense of duty.

The five items are:

1. Kesh

Kesh means hair. A Sikh should treat his hair as a gift from God himself. It is His trust. To keep this God-given form intact is the first and foremost duty of a Sikh. The hair is a symbol of faith, and keeping long hair confirms a Sikh's belief in the acceptance of God's Will, and teaches him Humility and Acceptance.

2. Khanga

Khanga means comb. Sikhs use a small wooden comb because it can be worn easily in the hair all the time. Apart from its practical utility, a comb is clearly a symbol of cleanliness. Just as a comb helps to remove the tangles and cleans the hair, similarly a Sikh is reminded to get rid of any impurities of thought by repeating 'NAAM' (God's name) in his mind.

3. Karra

Karra literally means a link or bondage. It is a special steel bracelet which is worn on the right hand wrist like a wedding ring which signifies a bond between the two people. The Karra is the Guru's own symbolic ring to all his Sikhs signifying their unbreakable link or bond with the Guru as well as among themselves, belonging to the brotherhood of Khalsa. Also the circle is a symbol of restraint and in practice a constant reminder to the Sikh of ideal behavior in the event of weakness.

4. Kachha

Kaccha is a pair of shorts. This is special, slightly longer type of underwear and is symbolic of continence and a high moral character. Like breeches, Kaccha can be worn on their own without causing embarrassment. Thus it is quite useful in hot weather, swimming and sports activities.

5. Kirpan

It is a sword. However, the Sikhs call it the Kirpan. Kirpan comes from the word 'KIRPA' and 'AAN'. Kirpa means an act of kindness, a favour; and 'aan' means honour, respect, self-respect. It is an instrument which adds to self-respect and self-defence. Thus for Sikhs, Kirpan is the symbol of power and freedom of spirit. All baptised Sikhs should wear a short form of Kirpan (approx. 6" to 9" long) on their body. To call it a dagger or knife is rather insulting to this article of faith, which functions quite differently from the other two.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
SikhSpectrum.com Monthly. Who am I? (3008 words)
They say that Sikhism is the latest religion compatible with modern science but 5Ks is the most conservative and retrogressive part of it.
Casteism is a specific characteristic of the Indian society and the introduction of 5Ks was one of the many steps our Gurus took to eradicate this disease from the Indian subcontinent.
But in the opinion of this author, 5Ks being the main “cause of casteism” among Sikhs we should ignore the dictates of the tenth Master.
  More results at FactBites »



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