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The Sanatan Sikhs - The Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
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The Khalsa

Following several hard-fought battles, Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh decided it was not enough to have just a Sikh standing army to defend Sikhism.

As much as possible, the entire Sikh populous had to be transformed into warriors. Thus the Khalsa was created in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib, and, what is important to note is that it was created in the Akali Nihang Singh form:

'That outward form which the True King [Guru Gobind Singh] gave his Khalsa, it is that which the Nihangs have kept in its original form to this day.'
(Baba Nihal Singh, Jathedar Haria Vela Taruna Dal, transcript of a recording, 5-10-98)

The Panj Piyarey (Five Beloved)
An illustration depicting the first five Sikhs initiated into the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
brotherhood at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab in 1699(?). Akali Nihang Bhai Daya Singh, Akali Nihang Bhai
Dharam Singh, Akali Nihang Bhai Himat Singh, Akali Nihang Bhai Mokham Singh, Akali Nihang Bhai Sahib
Singh and the great warrior Guru himself, Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji, seated in the centre, with his 'Baj' (hawk)

Commenting on the creation of the Khalsa, Bhai Gurdas (a likely contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh) wrote:

'Thus came into being the Bhujangi Singhs [young Nihangs] dressed in blue.'
('Vara Bhai Gurdas’, translated by Bhai Hazara Singh Pa.667)

Neela’ (dark blue) is the colour of the traditional dress of the Akali Nihangs. Bhai Gurdas states further in the same composition that Guru Gobind Singh commanded the Khalsa to contemplate 'Akal Akal', a mantra (chant), which present day Sikhs associate with the Akali Nihangs only. At the turn of the 20th century, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha wrote:

'Nihang Singhs are devotees of the Akal [Immortal God] and thus utter “Akal Akal”. That is why they have come to be known as Akalis.'
('Mahan Kosh', 1935, Pa.704)

So according to Bhai Gurdas, the Khalsa consisted of Bhujangi (Nihang) Singhs dressed in blue and contemplated 'Akal Akal'. These are acknowledged characteristics of the Akali Nihangs.

Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
A old painting of an Akali Nihang on horseback wearing the
traditional 'baana' (uniform) adorned with a vast array of weapons

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