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Who is Khalsa?
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The ‘Khalsa’ is considered to be the most beloved of all institutions within Sanatan Sikhism. Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh praised his Khalsa in ‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’ thus:

‘Khalsa is my very form. In the Khalsa, I live.
Khalsa is my face, my limbs. With the Khalsa I reside.
Khalsa is my beloved friend. Khalsa is my Dharma.
Khalsa is my royal fan and throne. Khalsa is my happiness.
Khalsa is my helpful friend. Khalsa is my mother father who gives me comfort.
Khalsa is my fame and peace. Khalsa is my strong, tall friend and brother.
Khalsa is my caste and dignity. From the Khalsa I was born.
Khalsa is my house. With the Khalsa is my eternal work.
Khalsa is my own family. Khalsa is my saviour.
Khalsa is my body’s life. Khalsa is my life’s life.
My great honour is Khalsa. Khalsa is my self-interest.
Khalsa is my Dharma and Karma. Khalsa is my greatest secret.
Khalsa is my complete, true Guru. Khalsa is my gentleman warrior.
Khalsa is my intelligence and knowledge. Contemplate the Khalsa.
The praises of the Khalsa can not be said. The tongue can not express it.
Even if you had as many heads as ‘Sheshnag’ [the 100,000 headed mythological cobra the seat of Vishnu] and intelligence of demi -goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. Even then you cannot express Khalsa’s praises correctly.
In this there is not the slightest of untruth.
Let the Transcendent Being and Guru Nanak be my witnesses.
If every hair of the body were to attain a tongue, even then the praises of the Khalsa cannot be said.
I am the Khalsa’s, and the Khalsa is mine.
Like warp is to woof, like the ocean is to an ocean’s droplet.
Khalsa is the army of Immortal Being. It came into being by the pleasure of the Supreme Being.

‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Ch 5, Verse 458.990, Pa 3309

Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh
The tenth Guru accompanied by his warrior Khalsa Sikhs. An elderly Akali Nihang holds the 'Nishaan Sahib' (battle standard) depicting a 'Tegha' (heavy sword), 'Katar' (punch dagger) and 'Sunerah' (a mortar, used to grind the ingredients of 'Shaheedi Degh')

In eyes of modern mainstream Khalsa Sikhs such as the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (S.G.P.C.), Samparda Chowk Mehta (also known as ‘Dam Dami Taksal’ by mainstream Sikhs), Akhand Kirtani Jatha (A.K.J.), etc., only those individuals initiated with, ‘Khanda Da Phaul’ (initiation of double-edged sword) are recognized as Khalsa.

Dam Dam Taksal

The late Jarnail Singh Khalsa 'Bhindrawaley' (right from centre), flanked by Sikhs affiliated with Samparda Chowk Mehta

Furthermore, more puritanical institutions such as the A.K.J. only recognize those individuals as Khalsa who have been specifically given ‘Amrit’ (ambrosia/Khalsa initiation) by their own particular institution. All others they do not technically recognize as Khalsa.

Akhand Kirtani Jatha
Bhai Randhir Singh Narangwal (seated with a sword across his lap), accompanied by
Sikhs of the 'Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha' (also known as the Akhand Kirtani Jatha)

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