“The Real Khalsa has been forgotten,” saysBaba Virsa Singh
New Delhi, April 13, 2005: As many people gathered at Gobind Sadan on the southern edge of Delhi to celebrate Vaisakhi, and hundreds were administered amrit on this commemoration of the birth of the Khalsa, Baba Virsa Singh, Gobind Sadan’s internationally respected teacher, gave the following statement:
“The Light of the Eternal One which pervades the entire universe can never be diminished nor will the cosmos ever end. So too Sikhi, the teachings of the Eternal God, will be alive forever, as will the Khalsa. Khalsa means character, the one who has no anger, no greed, no ego, no doubt, who has full faith in God and who sees Guru Gobind Singh and God as one. And a Sikh is one who follows his Master’s orders. His Sikhs are those who help the poor and the weak of all religions and all castes. If Guru Gobind Singh had not instilled his blessings in Khalsa, this country would have been divided up by its neighbours. India exists today because of Khalsa.
Khalsa was born from the Guru’s maryada (code of discipline). The power was so great that those who followed it became Baba Deep Singh and Bhai Mani Singh. This maryada was born out of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s Divine Grace (Mehar), his Divine Power, and Divine Wisdom (Gyan). But it was also born out of incredible sacrifice: the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the martyrdom of his four sons. It was born out of the sacrifice of Guru Arjan Dev ji.
The Sikhs of old, the Khalsa, had a price on their heads, lived in the jungles, and yet they at all costs maintained their character and discipline. Today we live in comfort with no real threat and yet we ourselves are destroying that which took generations to build. Let us not break what is so priceless. So let us follow maryada and not break the rules if we want to celebrate Vaisakhi.
Khalsa was a beacon of character, the one whose character was beyond question. But today one who drinks or takes drugs uses the title of Khalsa, one who takes charava (offerings) uses the title of Khalsa, one who kills their daughter uses the title of Khalsa, one who steals from their own children or sisters uses the title of Khalsa. So today is the day you must decide whether you’re going to follow Guru Gobind Singh’s maryada or your own self interest. There are great examples in Sikh history that when even such heroes as Sukha Singh Marhi Kamo and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia were accused of killing their daughters they were thrown out of the panth.
If we continue to follow our own path then people will begin to question whether Khalsa can really exist and even more they will question whether Khalsa ever existed. Already people have begun to question our character. Our turban and hair used to be symbols of character, of bravery, of the highest values. Now we’ve put doubt in the public’s mind about those who wear turbans. Soon people will question our history. They will not believe that a Baba Deep Singh or Bhai Mani Singh could ever have existed.
Before we hold our family celebrations we always clean our home. So before we celebrate, let’s look at the state of our own house. The larger our gatherings the more rules we break. People come to celebrations to listen to the teachings but today all they here is criticism of one party or another. Let’s make ourselves members of that party of God that Guru Nanak spoke of – ‘Hamra dhara harsio banai’ (‘Our party is with Him’). Make hukam, make maryada your party. Becoming Khalsa meant giving your head to the Guru, but today our leaders expect garlands or a siropa.
Wherever Guru Nanak went the pujaris were angry with him. But he changed everyone’s minds. Some may say that Babaji is attacking us, but I am simply sharing our Guru’s maryada because I love Guru Gobind Singh ji so much that I want to see his message spread throughout the world. Now we can’t even spread his message throughout Punjab.
So let’s become good children of the Guru, so his words can ring true today as they did some 300 years ago, ‘Char muay ton kya hoa, jivat kayee hazar’ (‘If my four sons have died it doesn’t matter; I have thousands more who are alive’). Khalsa is necessary for all times, in all countries. Those of high character who model the behavior of the Guru are always and will always be required. So today, let us pledge never to forget Khalsa. But the best remembrance is to pledge ourselves to follow our Guru’s maryada which gave Khalsa birth.”