Khalsa comes from an Arabic word Khalsah (khaal-saah) whose derivatives Khaalas, or Khalis translate to mean pure, and Khalaas, which translates to means free.
In Sikhism, the Khalsa is considered to be the brotherhood of the pure and is an order of spiritual warriors or saint soldiers. Khalsa refers to the initiated Amritdhari and means pure, as in free, or liberated from adulteration of illusory worldly attachment:
- Khalsa is a title of respect given to any initiate who has quaffed the immortalizing nectar Amrit when initiated into the Sikh faith.
- Khalsa may be used as a surname by an initiated Sikh and sometimes by a convert to Sikhism who has adopted the Sikh way of life and appearance with purposeful intent, but who has yet to be actually initiated as Khalsa.
The Khalsa originated with Guru Gobind Singh during April of 1699, on Vaisakhi, the new year festival of ancient Punjab. Khalsa initiates are bound by a code of conduct which renounces worldly ties and advises the practice of daily worship as a way of life. The Khalsa appearance is distinct and requires the wearing of five articles of faith including uncut hair, turban and comb, a ceremonial blade, bangle, and modest undergarment. Mata Sahib Kaur and Guru Gobind Singh are considered to be the mother and father of the Khalsa Nation. The collective body of Khalsa is known as the Khalsa Panth.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote of the Khalsa:
Khaalsaa mero bhavan bhanddaaraa |
Khalsa is my home, storehouse and treasury.
Khaalse kar mero satkaara |
Khalsa is my true virtue.
Khaalsaa mero svjan pravaraa |
Khalsa is my respected progeny.
Khaalsaa mero karat udaaraa |
Khalsa is my liberator. | Khalsa Mehima
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