A remark made as part of the discussion about the ‘sabat surat’ shabad was : if what you say is true why do we have to wear the turban and the 5 K’s ?
The answer is very simple : Because 10th Guru asked us, and those of us who love Guru cannot refuse him.
I cannot remember the full wording but Guru also said something about looking different and being or behaving differently. In other words, Guru’s uniform is connected with different, better behaviour. This is also relates to Guru’s saying that he would serve the Khalsa that serves all.
For me the turban and the 5 Ks are a constant reminder that I have committed myself to the Sikh way of life. I do not wear my blue chola because I think myself better than others, but because I want to be seen as part of Guru’s army. I try very hard to stick to Guru’s narrow road, but obviously I do make (too many) mistakes.
As a Khalsa I have to be always ready to help others, therefore it makes sense to wear a uniform : people can see that I am a Sikh, a Khalsa, and should know that they can come to me for help.
Can I just repeat with Guru Gobind Singh : the Khalsa is there to serve all. We are not a Sikh self-defence organisation, or as many Hindus believe, an organisation with the sole aim to defend the Hindus against the ‘evil’ Muslims.
There is another aspect to this : I have written before about the young man who told me that it was so difficult to grow your hair. He expressed himself badly, as on the surface this statement makes no sense. Our hair grows without any assistance from us, it is more effort to keep it short than to let it grow.
But I do understand what he meant, it is difficult to have long hair where most people have short hair. But if we cannot go against the cultural bias against uncut/unshaven hair, how will we have the courage to behave in the Khalsa way, which is a far bigger challenge.
Wherever we are on the path to God, whether we are ‘mona’, ‘keshdharis’ or ‘amritdharis‘, whether we are following this or that spiritual path, we all face the challenge of not being ruled by maya, not be ruled by the five ‘thieves’ and to be a force for the good. Like the Buddha who told his followers to replace bad and useless thoughts by good ones, which then leads to better behaviour.
We must always remember that the Guru did not say : ‘wear the 5 Ks and the turban’. Guru asked his Sikhs to ‘offer their head and wear the 5 Ks’. Outward signs do not make you a better person, outward signs are only meaningful if they go together with the Sikh, the Khalsa way of life. Please fellow Sikhs, practise humility and do not think that we are better because of the way we look.