What does the Sikh turban symbolise?
What does the Sikh turban symbolise?
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It symbolizes equality. In olden times only rulers used to wear a turban ( a crown ). Guru Sahib emphasized that all humans are equal and he gave birth to an egalitarian society. He asked all men to wear a turban. Many Sikh women also wear a turban as it is a sign of equality for all humans.
The Turban is more than a symbolic of identity. It’s more relevant to the Kesh (unshaven hair) which is submission to the natural form as intended by the primal GOD Waheguru. Surrendering to this will is practicing devotion in the sense of remaining as the natural command (Hukam) intended. This is the same command which created the universe and everything in it now, before and forever after.
This will can only be adhered to, even through the depths of it are beyond human consciousness and comprehension, thus, by proactively surrendering oneself to it, they become humble in the essence of giving up their will, for that of an unknown greater and limitless creator: By the Will of God all forms come into being. The working of that Will cannot be described.
The cosmic laws of the universe are the true religion for all things and a human can observe their own journey by accepting this will through earthly practice which can itself transcend them in to a spiritual kingdom.
If one was to accept that the same arthma (eternal soul) resided in each Guru ji’s body, they they must also accept that solidifying the Kesh by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj as a matter of the Khalsa panth is no different to the immortal message of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj.
If you believe Sikhs keep Kesh because of Hukam.
Do you think those who cut their hair are out of Hukam? If yes, then explain this
ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹੁਕਮ ਨ ਕੋਇ||
What is Hukam?
We can’t go out of hukam ordanirily. But those with Ridhis Sidhis, spiritual powers can alter Hukam. Once you reach that stage, which comes before liberation, Identifying Hukam becomes very important. Examples of those who went against Hukam are Raavan, Harnaksh who used powers to conquer death.
Hukam Mananna = Bhaana Mananna, which means not to Curse God for anything, and not using any means/tricks/upaao to alter the hukam.
The only best thing we can do is to recognize Hukam ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਤਾ ਖਸਮੈ ਮਿਲਣਾ || We just have to recognize hukam, and stop cursing.
Read the story of the Martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, to identify Hukam and he rejected to use the spiritual powers chose to accept the Hukam.
I would like to share my understanding/reasoning
Sikhi has two aspects:
1. Peeri : Spiritual Aspects >>First 5 Gurus worked on this>> SGGS is our spiritual guide today!
Last 5 Gurus doesn’t have contribution to SGGS, except a minor contribution by Guru Teg Bahadur Ji
2. Meeri : Social Aspects >>Last 5 Human Gurus worked on this>> Finally established Khalsa (for social integration, security, and prosperity) and 5 Pyaare are our social guru/guide! (Guru Gobind Singh became Chella of 5 pyaare and gave them the authority to make decisions, except 4 Bajjar kurahaits, also established 5 takhats for them).
Important Note: The objective of establishing Khalsa was aimed at building a society that is liveable, secure, and prosperous so that spiritualism can flourish without many social hurdles.
Also, note that since Khalsa is a social concept, 5Ks of Khalsa is linked with the same. 5Ks are not directly related to Spiritualism, which most Sikhs believe in, unfortunately.
Now about the TURBAN
Turban doesn’t belong to Sikhism, It belongs to culture. It is the Symbolic of RESPONSIBILITY.
Even before the inception of Sikhism, before Guru Nanak, honorable and responsible persons of society used to wear Turban. Those honorable persons were responsible for resolving disputes and maintaining harmony among a group of people and also were responsible for leading the group. They were called Sardar of that group.
Turban was a dress code, just like police and Judges have. People can identify them and allow them to intervene in their issues.
At a higher level, members of the kingdom also used to wear Turban. Brahmins, Rajputs, and honorable Hindus also used to wear turbans. Hindus have stopped wearing Turbans within the last 2-3 generations only. You see the pics of Lala Lajpat Rai, Sir Ganga Ram, Vivekananda, Founder of MDH, and so many other leaders. Manu Hindus (Brahmins mainly) wear turban now also. Just google “Brahmins in Turban”
Now you see, Hindus still wear Turbans in their marriages. “Pagri di rasam” is the custom where upon the death of a senior-most male in house Turban tieing is done to the living most senior male after him in house. Again, as a symbolic of Responsible and honorable member. This means, in cases of conflicts and disputes, his decision will be followed by everyone.
BUT lower classes of society like SC/ST never had the right to wear a turban. They were not respected and had never enjoy the honor.
Guru Gobind Singh has given honor and responsibility to Khalsa irrespective of their caste, rather based on principles. By giving everyone Turban and the knowledge, he had created many leaders who can and who have the guts to speak up and act against injustice. That is the essence of Khalsa.
Another important point:
When Sardars were created, who would obviously wear a turban, there exists a loophole!!! To understand that loophole, just imagine what if Sikhs wear turban for respect for social honor only, and run away from their responsibility in testing times just by removing turban? What if they remove their turban and become ordinary persons in order to execute their malicious plans.
(Just taking Amrit doesn’t mean people will become free of malicious thoughts, but the identity they are carrying strongly discourages them)
Therefore, Kesh was made compulsory by Guru Gobind Singh ji to enforce turban all the time and to ensure Khalsa doesn’t become opportunistic. Khalsa behaves responsibly all the time irrespective of whether the circumstances are favorable or unfavorable.
Otherwise, Kesh has no significance spiritually, It is significant only for social reasons.
See what SGGS say about it VERY CLEARLY
ਕਬੀਰ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਇਕ ਸਿਉ ਕੀਏ ਆਨ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ਭਾਵੈ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਕੇਸ ਕਰੁ ਭਾਵੈ ਘਰਰਿ ਮੁਡਾਇ ॥੨੫॥
NOTE: I couldn’t find a single piece of evidence in Gurbani or History, which suggested us to keep kesh due to submission to Hukam of God. So, I temporarily reject this reasoning behind keeping Kesh.
You are welcome to help me with this.