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The Sikh Bangle (Kara)
The Sikh Bangle

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Sikh Bangle:

The Background of the Kara

The Background of the Kara

Before an attempt is made to bring out the meaning and symbolic significance of the Sikh Bangle, it may be worthwhile to cast a glance at the Great Guru who bestowed the bangle on us and about whom Bhai Gurdas Singh writes:-
"Lo a man is born amongst men?
Chivalrous, unfathomable, and unique"
Bhai Gurdas Singh
God was uniquely generous in bestowing unparalleled qualities upon Guru Gobind Singh - the bestower of the bangle. He was a great scholar, a truth-inspiring multilingual poet, a unique orator, a bewitching musician and singer, a democratic leader, a religious innovator, a skilled warrior, an excellent general, an exemplary martyr, a rare sportsman and a humble and devoted servant of God.

Guru Gobind Singh was a great lover of literature. He translated the Vedas, the Upanishads, etc., into the common language of the people. He employed fifty-two poets to create new literature. He was a great scholar of Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Brijbhasha and Punjabi. Not only could he use these languages most efficiently but he could also write poetry in these languages. His poetry is unique in its rhythm, its colourful use of adjectives and adverbs and its ability to inspire truth. In `Akal Ustat' (Admiration of God) he has given a record number of 1,760 names to God. When he sang his poetry to the torrential music of Surand (an Indian musical instrument) the audience was spell-bound and the devotees unconsiously uttered. "Hail Master; Hail Holy One; Thou art Wonderful!". His perfect oratory could inspire the people to offer their heads for sacrifice.

He was an excellent democratic leader, who organized the demoralized and oppressed Indian nation into a brave, fearless and honest living community. He gave a crushing blow to the caste system which had appallingly divided and subdivided the Indian community. The people were not only segregated by the caste system, but this segregation, besides generating prejudice, hatred and suspicions, had condemned certain castes as untouchables. He boldly denounced all the roots of segregation-caste, creed and fake religion and declared the democratic equality of mankind. "Recognize ye the whole human race as one," he said. In the history of India he was the first man to make the peolpe transcend these differences and to unite them in the sacred cause of truth and honest living. The battle of Bhangani is unique in this respect. People from all walks of life fought shoulder to shoulder against the common enemy under the command of the Guru.

His organization was on democratic lines. In fact he was a great innovator of introducing democracy into religion. He baptized the first five beloved ones and then begged of them to baptise him. Thus he became a follower of his disciples

"Great is Guru Gobind Singh who is the Guru
and the disciple merged into one"
(Bhai Gurdas Singh)
At times he obeyed his Sikhs, for example he had to leave the fortress of Chamkaur under orders from his Sikhs.

He was a skilled warrior and a renowned general with a sense of sportsmanship. In the art of wielding a sword and in archery, etc., he was singular. He never attacked anybody and he fought only for self-defence. He was neither aggressive himself nor did he tolerate aggression. On the battle-field, he always gave first chance to his enemy. In his turn he never missed a chance. he proved an excellent general by making only forty soldiers fight against hundreds of thousands at Chamkaur and by holding the small fortress for a full day. Even on the battle-field he was a thorough sportsman. He admired the bravery of his enemies. His men gave first-aid even to their wounded enemies. He never employed foul means to win, but preferred a fair struggle even at the cost of worldly defeat He never lost heart in the face of awful tragedies. After the battle of Chamkaur, he had Iost everything but his faith. His feet were terribly wounded by thorns. He had had no sleep for several days as he had to command his army, but he was still in high spirits and exceptionally optimistic in his zeal to uproot evil. It was then that he wrote the "Epistle of Victory" (ZAFFAR NAMAH) a masterpiece of poetry and courage. Soon after this he started gathering a new army. He was a great patriot and martyr. At nine he sent his father, Guru Teg Bahadur, to protect the faith of the Kashmiri Brahmans. This is the unparalleled example of somebody laying down his own life for the faith of other people. It was actually a sacrifice for a fundamental human right-the right of worship. He happily sacrificed his four sons, mother, devoted disciples and finally himself for the great cause of truthful living and he liberated his followers from the fear of death.

It is exceptionally remarkable that having all the virtues and good qualities, Guru Gobind Singh was still very humble. He called himself a puny servant of God". `By Thy Grace' was always on his lips. He was unique in honoring his devotees.

"I am exalted, because ye,
O People, have exalted me."
(Guru Gobind Singh)
His achievements by the age of fortytwo stand singular in history and his soul united with the Almighty in the following words:
"O God there is nothing that is mine,
All that, is me belongs to Thee;
When I surrender to Thee what is Thine,
O what is it then, that belongs to me?"
The great bestowed bestowed his rare qualities upon us through his philosophy of Baptism.
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