The second of this week’s pause for thought on BBC Radio 2 covers Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday.
Today’s broadcast can be heard by clicking on the play button below:
Transcript from today’s PfT (agreed with the producer):
Guru Gobind Singh Birthday
When you got dressed today, how aware were you of what you were saying about yourself?
Though we may not think it, what we wear indicates so much about ourselves. Our likes, our associations, our community, our attitudes, our beliefs. Sometimes it’s explicit: remember the Parker coats of the Mods? Or what about the skinny jeans, black lipstick, and wristbands of today’s Emo culture.
Hair is crucial too. Punks often had mohawks as sharp as a blade and then there’s the ease of Rastafarian dreadlocks. Skinheads went to the opposite extreme.
Even the pinstripe suit of a City gent says much about who they are.
Of course, many religious faiths can be identified by their clothes or how they wear their hair. But this isn’t done just to be part of a crowd. It is often very symbolic.
Today Sikhs celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Born in India in 1666, he was the tenth and last of the human-form Gurus of Sikhism.
He fought in a number of battles against the Mogul empire, losing his father, mother and four children in the fight for freedom.
Later, Guru Gobind Singh Ji created the Khalsa, dispelling the caste system that created artificial barriers between people and established the 5 Ks of the Sikh faith; 5 means of identifying and representing the ideals of Sikhism:
- Kesh: unshorn hair, representing the natural appearance of God-given sainthood.
- Kanga: a comb to clean the hair.
- Kachha: an undergarment to indicate virtuous character.
- Kara – an Iron bracelet on the wrist: a symbol of dedication to the Divine Bridegroom and that God is limitless.
- And Kirpan: a sword symbolising dignity, power and unconquerable spirit.
Our clothes or hair may not say as much about us as the 5 Ks of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. But none of us fail to send out a signal, each time we dress, about who we believe we are.
Of course, that’s nothing unless we are honest with ourselves and with those around us. What’s most important is where our heart is. As Guru Gobind Singh himself once said: “Peace and happiness shall fill your mind deep within, if you act according to truth and self discipline.”