Kirpan Da Amrit (The Nectar Of Sword)

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

The Sikh Religion is like a school. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the principal and the only teacher in this school.

Though anyone can take free lessons from the Holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the certified students learn more quickly, because they are the regular students. The regular students attend their classes. They take daily lessons.

Every school has an admission system. Most of the schools publish an admission form. If someone wants to get admission, he has to fill up the form and submit it in the office. He has to appear in an interview. The interviewer asks some question and if he is satisfied, he admits the interviewee into his school.

The school of Sikh Religion has its own procedure of admission. If someone wants to get admission into this school, he/she has to follow the procedure. He/she will have to appear for an interview. The ‘Panj Piyare’ (five beloved ones) are the interviewers in this school. The seeker of admission appears before them. They ask him/her some questions. If they are satisfied, they tell the rules of the school. If the seeker is ready to follow the rules, he/she can get the admission. But the procedure of admission is not completed yet.

The five beloved ones prepare the ‘Amrit’, the nectar. This nectar is prepared and distributed to the seeker in a ceremony, which is called ‘Amrit Sanchar’. The nectar is prepared in an iron bowl. The five beloved ones sit around it. Clean water and sweet puffs are put in the iron bowl. The five beloved ones recite the Gurbani (Jap ji, Jaap sahib, Swayyas, Chaupayee and Anand Sahib) one by one and keep stirring the water with a ‘khanda’ (double-edged sword). This is the Sikh baptism.

Because this nectar is prepared using the ‘khanda’, so it is called ‘Khande Da Amrit’ (the nectar of double-edged sword). It is also called ‘Khande Dee Pahul’, ‘Pahul Khandedhaar’ and ‘Khandedhaar Pahul’. This ‘Khande Da Amrit’ is distributed to every man and woman, who wants to get the admission into the Holy school of Sikh Religion, who wants to be the Sikh of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

When some people visit Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib, they find that the women are baptized by the kirpan (sword) instead of ‘khanda’ during ‘Amrit Sanchar’. While baptizing the women, only Jap Ji Sahib, few stanzas from Jaap Sahib, and six stanzas from Anand Sahib is read. Only one beloved one (Panj Piyara) prepares the Amrit. This Amrit is called ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’.

Here, I want to make it clear that there are two types of ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’. One is distributed to the women while baptism. Other is distributed to newborn baby. The ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ distributed to newborn baby is not considered a baptism. It is distributed so that the parents can eat with their babies in a same utensil. It is considered a religious ritual.

The distribution of ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ to newborn is a very old tradition in some Gursikh Families. An Amritdhari person recites Sri Jap Ji Sahib and prepares the nectar in an iron bowl with a sword. (Some people recite only first five stanzas of Sri Jap Ji Sahib). Then he put some drops of it into the mouth of newborn using the sword as a spoon. My Nana Ji (the father of mother) himself prepared ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’, when I was born. I was distributed ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ by my Nana Ji himself. It is an old tradition in our families and still kept alive. I do not find anything wrong in this tradition.

Distributing this Amrit to newborn is not the baptism. When the child grows, it has to take ‘Khande Da Amrit’. I was distributed ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ when I was born, but later I was baptized through ‘Khande Da Amrit’.

Now, let us discuss about the ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ as a baptism for the women.

I am a Hazoori Singh (often called Hazooriya). I tasted the holy nectar (Amrit) at Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib. I myself saw that the women were baptized by a single beloved one. He prepared the nectar by a small sword. Though, it is said that Jap Ji, few stanzas from Jaap Sahib, and six stanzas from Anand Sahib is read while preparing ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’; it is possible that only the Jap Ji Sahib is read practically.

The people want to know what is its history. They want to know what is the logic behind it to baptize the women by kirpan instead of khanda.

I think that the book ‘Sri Hazoori Maryada Prabodh’ represents the views of the people, who support ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ for women.

‘Sri Hazoori Maryada Prabodh’ is written by Singh Sahib Joginder Singh ji, the then Jathedar of Takht Sachkhand Abichal Nagar Hazoor Sahib (He died some years ago). It was written and published in 1967. I used its first edition while giving references.

In this book, the topic ‘Kirpan Da Amrit Maayeeyaan Noon’ (the nectar of sword for women) has been discussed (from page 235 to page 246).

Singh Sahib Joginder Singh ji has given a reference to a book ‘Khalsa Dharam Shashtar’. Singh Sahib Joginder Singh wrote that according to ‘Khalsa Dharam Shashtar’, it is an old tradition to distribute ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ to the woman. At the beginning, only ‘Charan Pahul’ (the water, which is used to wash the feet of Guru) was allowed for women. But some Amritdhari (who tasted the nectar) men do not eat the food, which is cooked by non-Amritdhari, so it was thought that women should be distributed ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’. The other reason given in the book is that without ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’, the women cannot get useful ideas to help their warrior husbands. This was the reason to distribute ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ to the women.

Actually, the writer of ‘Khalsa Dharam Shashtar’ is trying to say that even ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ was not allowed for the women. The ‘Charan Pahul’ was the valid baptism for them.

The writer did not tell that if ‘Charan Pahul’ was the valid baptism for the women, then who started the ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’. He did not tell whether eating the food, which is cooked only by an Amritdhari, is based on the Gurbani or not. He did not tell whether such Amritdhari persons take the medicines prepared by non-Amritdhari people or not.

It is the accepted fact that after March 30, 1699 A.D., when ‘Khalsa Panth’ was created, Guru Gobind Singh did not distribute anyone his ‘Charan Pahul’. ‘Khande Da Amrit’ was a substitute for the ‘Charan Pahul’. How was it possible that the women were still being baptized through ‘Charan Pahul’? If someone still persists, he should tell that whose ‘feet’ were being washed to prepare ‘Charan Pahul’ after Guru Gobind Singh left his physical body.

So, it is wrong to say that ‘Charan Pahul’ was a valid baptism even after the creation of Khalsa Panth or after 1708 A.D. (when Guru Gobind Singh left his physical body).

According to the writer of ‘Khalsa Dharam Shashtar’, it is the God’s will that there is difference in physical structure of men and women. There is difference in gents-jewellery and ladies-jewellery. There is difference in their activities, like the birth of child etc. So, there is difference in men’s nectar and women’s nectar.

I think this is not less than a joke. The Amrit is not jewellery. It has to do nothing with physical structure. The Amrit is a necessity to get admission into the School of Guru.

If oxygen is needed for physical body, the Amrit is needed for spiritual body. We cannot live physically without oxygen; we cannot live spiritually without the nectar. The physical body needs the water; the spiritual body needs the nectar. It does not make any difference if one has not any jewellery.

The differences in physical structure do not make much difference. The men and the women take birth in a same way. Both of them die in a same way. Both of them fall ill in a same way. Both of them laugh in a same way. Both of them weep in a same way. Why is there a different way to prepare the Amrit?

The men and the women drink the same water. Both of them use the same air to breath. Both of them eat the same food. Both of them take the same medicine when they fall ill. Why do they need different Amrits (nectars)?

The writer says that the Amritdhari men keep the ‘Khanda and Kirpan’ on their heads. He says that the ‘Khanda’ and the ‘Kirpan’ is a pair, as a male and a female are a couple. I think the writer is talking about the ‘Khanda Kirpan’, which is like a badge.

Here I want to say that all the Amritdhari men do not keep ‘Khanda and Kirpan’ (a kind of badge) on their turbans. Secondly, there are not only ‘Khanda’ and ‘Kirpan’ in that badge, but there is also a ‘Chakar’ (a round shaped weapon). If the ‘Khanda’ represents a male and ‘Kirpan’ represents a female, then what about the ‘Chakar’? Whom does the ‘Chakar’ represent? And also, there are two swords in that badge. Does it mean a male should have two females? A ‘Khanda’ and two swords do not make a pair. And there is a ‘Chakar’ also.

The writer has given a reference to ‘Rahatnama Bhayee Chaupa Singh Ji. In reply to this, I would like to say that the ‘Rahatnamas’ are not the Gurbani. There are many things in the ‘Rahatnamas’, which cannot be accepted. Interestingly, S. Kartar Singh Khalsa, Jatha Bhindran (Mehta) quoted Bhayee Chaupa Singh differently, “Jo Sikh, Sikhani Noo Khande Dee Pahul Na Deve, So Tankhahiya” (The Sikh, who does not give ‘Khande Dee Pahul’ to Sikhani (Sikh-woman), is a culprit). (See: ‘Khalsa Jeevan and Gurmat Rahat Maryada’ written by Sant Kartar Singh Khalsa, Jatha Bhindran (Mehta), page 180, edition 1977). Thus, there is adulteration in the ‘Rahatnama’.

The writer says sarcastically that he, who supports ‘Khande Da Amrit’ to women, should pray before the God to transform a woman into a man.

There is no need to pray for such a transformation. It is the God’s own will that some are men and some are women. He has the power to transform the women into men and the men into women. The Gurbani says, “Naaree Te Jo Purakh Karaavai, Purakhan Te Jo Naaree. Kaho Kabeer Saadhoo Ko Pritam, Tis Moorat Balehaaree” (He, the God, who transforms the woman into a man and the men into women, says Kabeer, is beloved of the Saints. I am a sacrifice to His image). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 1252).

There is another ridiculous argument against ‘Khande Da Amrit’ to women. The writers says that if a woman remains a woman, remains a wife and becomes pregnant as usual even after taking ‘Khande Da Amrit’, then what is the use of ‘Khande Da Amrit’.

A man remains a man and a woman remains a woman even after taking ‘Khande Da Amrit’. If ‘Khande Da Amrit’ does not transform a male into a woman, then how can someone expect a woman to be transformed into a man?

If we follow the Gurbani, ‘Khande Da Amrit’ can transform us into angels without any delay, “Balehaaree Gur Aapne, Diohaarhee Sad Vaar. Jin Maanas Te Devte Keeye, Karat Naa Laagee Vaar” (I am a sacrifice to my Guru a hundred times a day, who made angels out of human beings, and it was done without any delay). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 462).

In 1967 A.D., the Deputy Jathedar of Takh Sri Hazoor Sahib demanded that the women should be distributed ‘Khande Da Amrit’. A meeting of the high priests (Granthis) and some members of management was arranged. But they cannot decide anything. At that time, the supporters of ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ asked some questions to the high priests and members of management. I do not know what answers were given at that time. But, if I am asked the same questions now, I have my answers. Let us see what were the questions: –

Question: Will you allow the woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, to bow their head right before the door (of ‘Angeethha Sahib’)?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Will you allow the woman (who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’) to take ‘Hukamnama’ from Sri Guru Granth Sahib within the railing of the Holy Takht Sahib?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Can a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, take ‘Karhaah Prasaad’ distributed for ‘the five beloved ones’?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Can a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, take part in ‘Amrit Sanchar’ as one of the five beloved ones?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Even in Punjab, some people are against the participation of women in ‘Amrit Sanchar’. I read in a magazine published by a self-styled saint, which said that according to ‘Rahatnama’, the five Singhs (Amritdhari males) are allowed to distribute the nectar. The magazine gave a reference of a ‘Rahatnama’, which says, “Paanch Singh Amrit Jo Devai. Taa Ko Chhakk Sir Dhar Pun Levai” (The nectar, which is given by the five Singhs, one should taste and then put it on head).

The word ‘Singh’ (literary means lion) is used both for the Amritdhari men and women. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we see this line, “Singh Ruchai Sad Bhojan Maas” (The lion is always interested in meat). (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 1180). If lion wants to eat meat, the lioness too has the same desire. Thus, here the word ‘singh’ has been used both for the lion and the lioness. In the Gurbani, the masculine word ‘Sikh’ has been used both for man and woman. Actually, there is only one man in this world. All other are the women. “Is Jag Maih Purakh Ek Hai, Hor Sagalee Naar Sabaayee” (In this world, there is one Man; all other beings are women. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 591).

Question: The women are not allowed to prepare the holy food for ‘Bhog’ at Takht Sahib. Will you allow a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, to prepare the food?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Can a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, take part in ‘Guru Kee Bauli Kee Sewa’ (the service of step-well of Guru)? (There is a historic step-well at Sri Hazoor Sahib).

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Can a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, take part in ‘Gaagar Dee Sewa’ (service of metallic pitcher)? (Amritdhari men bring water in metallic pitchers from the river Godavari, for washing the Takht Sahib).

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Will you allow a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, to do the ‘Chaur Dee Sewa’ (to wave the holy whisk)?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Question: Can a woman, who tasted ‘Khande Da Amrit’, take part in the holy procession as one of the five beloved ones?

My answer: Why not? What is the problem to let her do so?

Singh Sahib Joginder Singh has criticized the SGPC, Akali Dal, Bhasaurees (Panch Khalsa Diwan, Bhasaur) and Bhai Randhir Singh’s group. He wrote that all these organizations are against the ‘Raagmala’. He wrote that ‘Bhasaurees’ were against the ‘Bhagatbani’.

I think the SGPC is not the ‘Panth’ itself. It is an organization, whose members are elected by the Punjabi Sikhs only. There are other organizations too, like the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, which take care of the Sikh places. Secondly, the ‘Raagmala’ is read everywhere except Sri Akal Takht.

Akali Dal is a political party. This party has non-Sikh members too. Now, there are many Akali Dals. A political party has nothing to do with a religious matter.

Bhai Randhir Singh organized ‘Akhand Keertani Jatha’. Most of the members of this Group do not read the ‘Raagmala’. Other accept it the Gurbani. Bhai Randhir Singh was once a member of ‘Panch Khalsa Diwan, Bhasaur’. I did not see any article against the ‘Bhagatbani’ and ‘Raagmala’ written by Bhai Randhir Singh. Even if he was against the Raagmala, it has nothing to do with ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’.

The ‘Panch Khalsa Diwan, Bhasaur’ is now lying in its tomb, though sometimes its ghost wanders here and there. Recently, a writer (now excommunicated) was possessed by this ghost. I hope that one day, this ghost will be caught and kept in a bottle forever.

Thus, we reach on a conclusion that there should not be a separate ‘Kirpan Da Amrit’ for the women. ‘Khande Da Amrit’ is the only accepted baptism in Sikhism.

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