Sunday, May 20, 2018

Nagar Kirtan Pictures 2018

We had an excellent turnout to the Nagar Kirtan this year with guests from the lower mainland and Alberta. I was feeling very blessed this morning to be invited by the Gyani Jis to do kirtan in the Palki sahib float.



Kids were in line last night to milk the cow. Uncle Ji brings his animals from Alberta each year including cows and horses.



This dhadi jatha came in 2006 and then again in 2014.




We are blessed to have the Gatka team coming from Surrey each year.




 



Sava Lakh Se Ek Ladao... This sipahi takes on a group all at once. 




These Kaurs were doing an excellent job of leading the procession. I'm very proud to see them represented!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Going through Life or Growing through Life?

Five years ago, when I was entering medical school, I didn’t expect my life to change so dramatically. Being challenged to the maximum in my personal and professional life has taught me what my strengths and limitations are. 

Of course, this work is the type that makes you grow up quickly because sometimes you are sitting with people in their worst moments of their lives. There is the process of adjusting to medical culture and travelling to different places. One of the most important things that physicians can lose over time is the caring. I had someone recently tell me how he started off caring so much and how over the years, he has become cynical. I always felt like there were certain people who were firm in their belief that this would happen to me too, that it was inevitable over time to burn out and stop caring. Yet I have met some people who are extremely happy, energetic, and compassion towards the end of their careers. One of my recent mentors made me realize that it is possible to work hard, see emotionally difficult cases and not take it home. I think it involves processing with what you see in some way (and setting up boundaries), and for me, I found that way through Gurbani. So I walk out of this degree with more love, more compassion, and more understanding for people’s journeys, while I’m in the process of learning how not to take it home with me (its slowly happening). It also involves not doing the job out of ego, understanding God's role in caring for His creation, and our role in our sewa. It's an important piece I will continue to work on. 

Looking back, the most important growth has been outside of school. Even though I grew up reading Gurmukhi and knowing a bit about Sikhi, it was only recently that I came to understand the purpose of life, the rules of the game, about maya, about the importance of sangat, the meaning of Naam, and understanding Gurbani. I rediscovered the Gurdwara Sahib as a place for peace, inspiration, and comfort. I finally started prioritizing my relationship with Waheguru, my health, and my time with my family above everything else. Instead of living for a break, I learned how to make each day enjoyable. I realized that marks cannot define me. Even now as I prepare to enter residency, the advice I have gotten is “enjoy life now” because you won’t enjoy it later- you will be too busy during residency, too busy once you start working, too busy once you have children. As if to say that life will never be enjoyable again and vacation is the only break. It is these words that remind me of how far I have come in my own journey, because I used to share those beliefs too at some point, but I don’t anymore. I heard the same thing prior to medical school, then again before third year, and before fourth again, yet I managed to enjoy the things that I love. This is a game of the mind, and I will enjoy today but not because I’m stressed that I won’t have a chance to enjoy tomorrow but because each day is a gift and I know I’ll make it through anything and everything. Resilience is about living in Chardi Kala, and this is what our history has taught us- how to thrive no matter what, not to live in fear of what’s to come next. Our Sikhi teaches us that external stressors will always be there, and the 5 (kaam, krodh, lob, moh, hankaar) will be there trying to pull us back, but that our mind does not have to be stressed when it recognizes its internal home. Sachkhand is here, do we see it? Do we see God everywhere? This is what we should be telling others to strive for as well, rather than convincing people to be afraid of life.  

Sikhi has taught me a lot about relationships as well. From our Gurbani and our history, I learned about compassion, forgiveness, conflict resolution, and love. I learned how to let go of the opinions of others and to understand that this is merely a reflection of their ability to see me and their own life story. Living on my own at the beginning of my degree taught me independence and that I can do well on my own, but also that I love spending time with my family. I’ve come to appreciate how much family means in our culture, and how special it is that we take care of each other from the elders to the youngest generation. Those who are close to us in our lives were put there having meditated together in our past lives, with the purpose to do Simran and become Jeevan Mukht together in this life. Praying together, doing Simran, volunteering together, and working together in our home helps us become closer as we walk the same path together. It is from this lens that I learned what an Anand Karaj means, what it means to put the relationship with Guru first, the meeting of two souls who travel together, and the marriage of the mind to Waheguru. We can all just simply move through the stages of life- we can go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, get older, etc. This is really just the body moving through these stages, but it is different to grow through life and learn as you go and to dig deep to make progress on the mind’s journey. All these stages can be filled with ego and we can lose our purpose despite having completed this “checklist” of life events. 

Most of all I have changed the way I see myself. Growing up I think I kind of had different sections of my life- being Punjabi, being Sikh, being born in Canada, living in western culture. Now having met people who understand all those parts as one just let me be a complete whole instead of different parts. It allowed me to explore and understand my value systems. I don’t shy away from talking about how important my religion is to me- that I love to sing at temple, or what specific event I’m going to, or even explaining things in English about Sikhi. Given that it is core to who I am, I don’t think that part of myself should be hidden in conversations or left behind in my friendships. Now that its interlinked, it can never be apart again. I’m thankful for everyone who helped me along the way, but ultimately to God for all these blessings and gifts, all the lessons and the challenges that helped me move forward in my journey and discover this path. 

I hope you get to use this time to reflect on your journey and share those lessons with others in your life so they can learn and grow as well. Explore, pray, reflect, and understand Gurbani because it helps us understand our journey. It helps us heal wounds and fill voids that we never knew existed. Finally, ask yourself: am I going through life or growing through life? 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Nagar Kirtan 2018

We are just one week away from the Nagar Kirtan! The Akhand Paath will be started at 6 am on Thursday Morning. There will be sewa all week, so please help out if you have time. The decorations are already looking very beautiful inside the Gurdwara Sahib.

At 9:30 am the program will finish at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Sahib at 4298 Davis Road on Saturday morning, and at 10 am we will leave from there. We will head down Ospika to the CN center parking lot from 12-2 pm and back to the Gurdwara Sahib at 3:30 pm. Please remind non-Sikh friends who attend to cover their heads out of respect for the Guru Granth Sahib Ji- the sewadars will be handing out ramals.

The Nagar Kirtan (singing of hymns in the town) is our way of celebrating the creation of the Khalsa. Rather than just socializing as you walk, please try to maximize the time you spend listening to and singing Gurbani, both fulfilling our purpose in life and spreading the Name of God. When we are sangat there is a lot of bliss that comes from singing Gurbani together.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Sikhi and Nature

Air, water, earth and sky - the Lord has made these His home and temple (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Ang 723)

The leaves have started re-growing and the birds have returned. In our backyard we put out birdfeed in the summers and this year there's at least fifty birds singing and eating all day. It immediately made me think about what I learned from the life of Guru Har Rai Ji and shared in one of my posts. He used to feed crows and other birds during langar, started a zoo to protect and feed animals, and created a number of gardens including growing medicinal plants.

I have always noticed that my parents love to spend time gardening and doing yardwork. My grandparents have a farm where they are able to grow all of their own sabjis at home. For us, it’s hard to grow a lot of sabjis in the North but its still rewarding to be able to grow things like homegrown peas, raspberries, strawberries, carrots, etc. I think this helps us link back to our roots. Many Punjabi families were traditionally farmers and therefore land and the soil are part of who we are. I hope as a generation we don’t lose this over the years sitting inside at our desks. I have spent a lot of time in the past working on sustainability projects for the city and it made me really aware about the importance of conserving energy, protecting our environment, and its relationship to our own health. We are very fortunate to be living in such a beautiful landscape created by God and we should always remember this as part of our sewa. 

I researched this topic a little bit to see what was out there about Sikhi and the environment. Almost every website that I looked at talked about the lines of Japji Sahib, “Pavan Guru Pani Pita Mata Dharat Mahat, Divas Rat Doe Dayee Daya Khele Sagal Jagat” meaning “Air is Our Guru, water is our father, and great earth is our mother. Day and night are the male and female nurses in whose lap the whole world plays.” This reminds us that it is core to our Sikhism that we take care of our environment. We are one with Waheguru, and therefore one with Waheguru’s creation. Our existence is interlinked and we must be careful to sustain our environment. A Huffington Post article by Bandana Kaur states, “The Sikh Gurus’ writings are also a rich compendium on the biodiversity of South Asia. Throughout Guru Granth Sahib, birds and trees especially are used to describe the metaphoric relationship between a disciple and the Divine. Traditional birds like the peacock, flamingo, hawk, cuckoo, nightingale, crane, swan, owl, and the koyal, and trees like the banyan, pipal, and sandalwood of Punjab are used in the Gurus’ metaphors, along with many, many other species. This diversity of life affirm’s the Divine’s creative current through land, water, and sky.” Therefore the constant mention of the environment in Gurbani reminds of its importance in our daily lives as Sikhs.

I also learned that every year the EcoSikh organization has started a worldwide Sikh Vatvaran Diwas (Sikh Environment Day) on the Gurgaddi Divas of Guru Har Rai Ji, and this year it was held on March 14th. Their organization focuses on connecting Sikh values to environmental issues and they do projects like organic langar, bike rallies, and planting trees. These are really amazing projects.

Now that we know how important environmental efforts are, we can start to think about how to incorporate these into our lives and communities. One of the great things we have done at our Gurdwara Sahib is having real dishes instead of plastic and Styrofoam for langar. In our homes or in our Gurdwara Sahib we can start with simple measures like planting/watering trees, starting a vegetable garden, putting out food for birds, being careful not to pollute the environment. Walking and biking as much as possible are also options depending on where you live. 

Nature we see
Nature we hear
Nature we observe with awe, wonder and joy
Nature in the nether regions
Nature in the skies
Nature in the whole creation…
Nature in species, kinds, colours
Nature in life forms
Nature in good deeds
Nature in pride and in ego
Nature in air, water and fire
Nature in the soil of the earth
All nature is yours, O powerful Creator
You command it, observe it and pervade within it
(Guru Granth Sahib- translated on BBC website below)

References: 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Parkash Divas of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji

This weekend we will be holding an Akhand Paath to celebrate the Parkash Divas of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. Here is the history adapted from the references below. Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was born Tyag Mal on April 18, 1621 to parents Guru Hargobind Ji and Mata Nanaki. Guru Ji learned Gurmukhi, Hindi and Sanskrit from Bhai Gurdas Ji, archery and horsemanship from Baba Buddha Ji, and swordsmanship from his father. He went into battle for the first time at the age of 13 earning the name Teg Bahadur (brave wielder of sword). He married Mata Gujri Ji in 1632. 

The Guruship was passed from Guru Hargobind Ji onto Guru Har Rai Ji next, then Guru Harkrishan Ji. In the meantime, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji spent much of his life absorbed in meditation. Then Guru Harkrishan Ji named his successor as “Baba Bakala,”  the name of the town where Guru Ji was residing. After this, 22 individuals established themselves as the Guru. Makhan Shah was a trader travelling on a boat when there was a storm, and he prayed to God that he would give 500 Gold Mohars to Guru Harkrishan Ji if he made it safely. In the meantime however, the Guruship had been passed on. Unsure of who the real Guru was, he proceeded to give 2 gold mohars to all 22 individuals. When a child told him of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, he went and gave him 2 Gold Mohars as well. Guru Ji spoke, asking him of why he had broken his promise of giving 500 Gold Mohars when he had said the prayer on the boat. Makhan Shah immediately knew that this must be the real Guru Ji, and gave the rest of his gold, spreading the message that he had found the real Guru.

Guru Ji became our 9th Guru on April 16, 1664. He travelled extensively to places previously visited by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and bought land in Himachal Pardesh where he created the city Chakk Nanaki, later named Anandpur. After leaving his family at Patna, Guru Ji travelled to present-day Bangladesh to once again spread the Name of God. Mata Ji did not accompany him as she was pregnant. Finally after 34 years of marriage they were blessed with the birth of Gobind Rai in 1666. Mata Nanaki, grandmother of Gobind Rai, was present at the birth. This is the site of present day Patna Sahib. A courier was sent to deliver the news to Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. Guru Ji returned in 1670 and brought his family to Anandpur.

Soon Aurangzeb destroyed Hindu temples, fired Hindus from their jobs and imposed taxes, forcing the Brahmins to either convert to Islam or be executed. (If the pandits themselves converted, that meant the rest of the population would convert as well). They asked Guru Ji to protect them, and thus, it was at the age of 9 that Gobind Rai told his father that no one else would be better suited to make this sacrifice. The Guruship was passed to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Guru Teg Bahadur Ji told Aurangzeb if he could convert Guru Ji then all the pandits would convert as well. He left for Delhi with Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dyal Das. They were arrested and transported in a cage at the back of an elephant. Then came the torture and martyrdoms of Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dyal Das. Guru Ji continued to meditate, and chanted “Give up your head, but forsake not those whom you have undertaken to protect. Says Tegh Bahadur, sacrifice your life, but relinquish not your faith.” Guru Ji was beheaded Nov 24, 1675 at Chandni Chauk for refusal to convert to Islam, and thus saved everyone’s religious rights. Gurdwara Sis Ganj has been created at this site. Guru Ji is therefore known as Hind Di Chadar, “The Shield of India.”

There is much to be celebrated and learned from Guru Ji’s life. He taught us patience and meditation from his years spent meditating and spreading the message of God. He taught us that the body can be tortured, but the soul is one with God and thus to build such a strong faith that it cannot be destroyed. He taught us that we must stand up for the rights of humanity. We need to incorporate these as pillars into our own lives. When the 22 others established themselves as Guru, he did not get angry or make a commotion to prove himself. The truth revealed itself by God’s will. This is definitely something that we can all learn from. 

References:

Sunday, April 29, 2018

History of Our Resilience

After spending 6 out of 12 months away from home over the last year, I’ve learned a lot about how to maintain stability in a rocking boat. Going to a new place not only meant a new schedule, new work environment, new sangat, and a new “home”, but also being away from my supports, my spiritual community and from the things that I enjoy in my free time. In such a different and changing environment, I held onto everything I learned about life balance and keeping my connection to Sikhi. For example I’d travel to go visit the Gurdwara on Sundays wherever I was, and I kept up doing my paath in the mornings, which helped me be at peace. Remembering that our real home is inside of our minds helps us remember that no matter how stormy the environment is outside, we can maintain our peace inside by continuing to work on the mind through reading, understanding and living by Gurbani. Despite my efforts there was the odd days that the boat tipped and I didn’t do my simran or I started focusing on work over my health. It reminded me that sometimes when we are faced in challenging circumstances, we go back to our old habits. My old ways of making work my distraction did seep in again from time to time, but I readjusted my course again. What tries to push me off my path today, I learn from and I get stronger so I do not waver again.

When I was thinking about trying to maintain your path in a changing environment I am reminded of our history. There were many times in our history when the Sikhs were in danger. Whole cities of Sikhs were murdered, and they used to travel in the jungles. It reminds me that we have survived and that we have even thrived despite times of turmoil. It got me thinking about looking back at some of our history, especially since it is around Vaisakhi and the time we celebrate the creation of the Khalsa with the Nagar Kirtan coming up in a couple of weeks. 

Most of us know about atrocities committed under Mughal rule including the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, the Chaar Sahibzaade, and many other Sikhs. We are told this history in katha quite frequently at the Gurdwara Sahib. I think for the history in the 1700s and beyond though often times not discussed as much, and I have written quite a few posts about that history. During the rule of Zakaraiya Khan, he awarded anyone a blanket for cutting off a Sikh’s hair, ten rupees for whereabouts of a Sikh, fifty rupees for the scalp of a Sikh, and sentenced those who withheld information. The Sikhs sought shelter in the forests and continued to fight back as they could. Around this time, the shaheedis of Bhai Mani Singh and Bhai Taru Singh Ji occurred. In the Chotta Ghallughara (small holocaust) of 1746, 7000 Sikhs were killed and another 3000 were tortured and then executed. This was an estimated loss of a third of our Sikh population at the time. The remaining Sikhs hid in the Lakhi Jungle. Then during Mir Mannu’s rule as Governor of Lahore in 1748, hundreds of Sikhs including women and children were executed daily at present day Gurdwara Shahid Ganj. Each house was searched for Sikhs. Women and children were tortured. Then in the Vaddha Ghallughara (large holocaust), Amad Shah Durrani was responsible for the mass murder of and estimated 30, 000 Sikhs in one day. Following this was the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, Saka Nankana Sahib, Saka Panja Sahib, and the events of 1984, among others. During all the turbulent times, Sikhs continued to sing the hymns of God and this kept them strong. For example, when the Sikhs were living in the jungles in 1742 Bibi Sundari requested an Akhand paath to be read as she was dying from wounds inflicted in battle. 

May we never forget these important events in our history because they remind us collectively of how resilient the Sikhs are despite the many attempts to completely eradicate our population. It is that much more significant, that we remember what we have been through when we celebrate the rise of the Khalsa at Vaisakhi. We can be inspired by our history and feel stronger as a community. We have been through difficult times and it is the strong connection to God that allows thriving in those conditions. It is possible for all of us to get our minds to that state as well. Our lives these days are much more stable- we have homes and do not live terrorized in the jungles trying to survive with little food and water. Yet we still do live with significant challenges and dangers. This is why it is continually important for us to use every opportunity to build our inner strength and achieve our purpose of meeting Waheguru in this lifetime. 

The Nagar Kirtan is coming up on May 19that 10 am.  

References: 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Turbans

I saw this really amazing article about turbans and had to share. Maninder Singh shows different styles of turbans for International Turban day:
https://www.sikhnet.com/news/sikh-artist-just-turned-around-entire-turban-game 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Where Are You Going?

A few months ago, I was preparing for interview questions about my future dreams and goals. They ask things about where you see yourself in 5 or 10 yrs, what is on your bucket list, what are your goals? I have been thinking about it long after the interviews were over. It is important for us to reassess where we are headed every so often. Up until now, my major goal had been about finishing my schooling. Since it took so many years, I had deferred thinking in detail about what life would look like after that… it was a vague distant future that had now suddenly become closer. In fact, it felt like I waited so long I had forgotten what I originally wanted to do when I was done, and even then, a lot of it has changed. 

In the past whenever I would have answered a question like this about my future or “bucket list,” it would have been things like writing a book or travelling to some place. It was simply kind of a random list of things and mostly things that I thought most people should be doing or most people wanted to do rather than what was consistent with who I am. This time I thought more deeply about my life’s direction. It is great to have fun in life and enjoy God’s creation, but I also wanted to make sure that I don’t have just a mishmashed list of things. I know that my life’s purpose is about merging with Waheguru and continuing to follow the Sikh pillars of naam japna, kirat karni, and vand shakna. I wanted to figure out how my ideas for my future would fit into that purpose, so I reflected on the projects and activities I have enjoyed over the years and the things I wanted to continue to make time for. For example, my new goals involved wanting to finish reading the entirety of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, visiting the historical Gurdwaras, participating in simran camps, attending kirtan smagams, and learning another instrument like Taus or Rabab to sing Gurbani with. I want to spend my life with those willing to learn, sing kirtan, and sit in sangat with me. 

In the past I used to plan a lot and try to control outcomes well in advance. Then I swung towards becoming scared of having goals or dreams and not wanting to picture my future. Finally, I learned the balance of having goals but being flexible in what God has written for us and the unexpected gifts God gives us. For example, I have ideas for volunteer projects and sewa, but I will ultimately do whatever sewa I am called to do. This is the beautiful thing about life because it can be spontaneous, and our experiences also can shape and evolve our ideas, just like my understanding of friendships, sangat, marriage, advocacy, religion, and work has all evolved. Goals are important because they help us plan for our careers, married/family life, and spiritual life, but rather than being too attached or stuck in the future we can see them as a general direction. 

Through the process of answering this question for myself, I learned that there are lots of things I could add to my bucket list, but its important to remember what will fulfill us in travelling the mind’s journey that we were born into this human life for. We never know how long we have, so we should prioritize that task. Gurbani tells us, “Even the greatest of the great worked and worked until they were exhausted. None of them ever accomplished the tasks of Maya.” The wordly list of desires and work will never end and will multiply manifold but we need the direction of one purpose to focus ourselves. One step at a time, we may set goals to learn morning Banis, sit in sangat every Sunday during the program, do a little bit of Simran daily, learn Gurmukhi, or whatever it may be so that we can advance that journey today. As Bhai Dalbir Singh Ji Tarmala says, in spirituality we learn to crawl, then walk, and we will automatically learn how to run, but the first step of remembering God over and over and learning the path of love is the hardest and takes the most time (katha link below). If your plans for today are inconsistent where you want to go, then it may be time to reconsider and adjust your course. 

rwmklI mhlw 5 ]
Raamkalee, Fifth Mehl:
qyrY kwij n igRhu rwju mwlu ]
Your home, power and wealth will be of no use to you.
qyrY kwij n ibKY jMjwlu ]
Your corrupt worldly entanglements will be of no use to you.
iest mIq jwxu sB ClY ]
Know that all your dear friends are fake.
hir hir nwmu sMig qyrY clY ]1]
Only the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, will go along with you. ||1||
rwm nwm gux gwie ly mIqw hir ismrq qyrI lwj rhY ]
Sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord's Name, O friend; remembering the Lord in meditation, your honor shall be saved.
hir ismrq jmu kCu n khY ]1] rhwau ]
Remembering the Lord in meditation, the Messenger of Death will not touch you. ||1||Pause||
ibnu hir sgl inrwrQ kwm ]
Without the Lord, all pursuits are useless.
suienw rupw mwtI dwm ]
Gold, silver and wealth are just dust.
gur kw sbdu jwip mn suKw ]
Chanting the Word of the Guru's Shabad, your mind shall be at peace.
eIhw aUhw qyro aUjl muKw ]2]
Here and hereafter, your face shall be radiant and bright. ||2||
kir kir Qwky vfy vfyry ]
Even the greatest of the great worked and worked until they were exhausted.
ikn hI n kIey kwj mwieAw pUry ]
None of them ever accomplished the tasks of Maya.
hir hir nwmu jpY jnu koie ]
Any humble being who chants the Name of the Lord, Har, Har,
qw kI Awsw pUrn hoie ]3]
will have all his hopes fulfilled. ||3||
hir Bgqn ko nwmu ADwru ]
The Naam, the Name of the Lord, is the anchor and support of the Lord's devotees.
sMqI jIqw jnmu Apwru ]
The Saints are victorious in this priceless human life.
hir sMqu kry soeI prvwxu ]
Whatever the Lord's Saint does, is approved and accepted.
nwnk dwsu qw kY kurbwxu ]4]11]22]
Slave Nanak is a sacrifice to him. ||4||11||22||
Link to katha: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBVQYlQaw-s  (katha starts at 1 h 30 min)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy Khalsa Da Sajna Divas, Happy Vaisakhi 2018!

This weekend we will be celebrating Vaisakhi! Vadhayian (Congratulations) to everyone! There will be an Akhand paath. In addition, there has been a program every evening this week. On Saturday, Nishan Sahib Sewa is at 1 pm. 

Vaisakhi is my favorite time of year. Besides the crazy snowfall this year it’s usually around when spring seems to be starting up, and the days are growing longer. It is a time of reconnecting to ourselves and to God. I am really inspired when the Sikh community all gathers together at the Gurdwara Sahib to read Gurbani, do sewa, and kirtan. When I think of the creation of the Khalsa and the perseverance and mighty spirit of the Sikhs, the triumph in times of hardship, I feel stronger knowing that this is my shared history. Vaisakhi is a time of remembering our path, celebrating where we came from and where we are headed.

On Vaisakhi 1699 Guru Gobind Singh Ji called hundreds of thousands of Sikhs to gather at Anandpur Sahib. The crowd was completely silent, fully taking in the words of Guru Ji. After spiritual discourse, Guru Ji addressed the crowd, and then took out his sword and asked for a sacrifice, a head. Suddenly the sangat was scared. Bhai Daya Ram Ji approached. Guru Ji went in a tent and came back with his sword, dripping with blood. He asked for another head. Next was Bhai Dharam Das, then Sahib Chand, Himmat Chand, and finally Mokham Chand. Some of the sangat started to disperse in fear, when suddenly Guru Ji came out with all five and performed the Amrit ceremony. These Singhs became our Panj Pyare, the embodiment of the Guru. Then Guru Ji got the 5 to baptize him. The mother of the Khalsa is Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. She added patasay to the Amrit.

Guru Ji gave the Khalsa the distinct identity of today- kesh, kanga, kirpan, kachera, kara, and kanga. This united the Khalsa and because the panj were from different castes and now equal, it also showed that there would be equality and no caste distinction. The identity was important in that no Sikh would be allowed to hide- their identity would stand out as Sikh and therefore they would be responsible for their actions. 

The Khalsa was important in uniting the Sikhs as saint-soldiers, as warriors in standing up against the oppression and injustices that were being faced. Sikh women were given the middle name Kaur (princess) and males were given the middle name Singh (lion). May we all embody the names Kaur and Singh as we have been given them. 

References: 
http://www.sikhismguide.org/vaisakhi.aspx