Guru Gobind Singh, at the time of Baisakhi, is known to have asked for heads. The test was to see whether people who claimed that they belonged to the Guru came through or not. Five came and passed the test. To those who offered their heads, Guru Gobind Singh did not give the Amrit. He first gave them the bana. It was the foundation stone laid for the beginning of the most beautiful consciousness, the Khalsa. Dress has a very unique power in it. It gives you confirmation in relation to the world around you. It gives you spirit and power to relate in your grace and your values to the values around you.
Sikh Dharma is not a ritual or a philosophy; Sikh Dharma is a living, practical experience of reality. Therefore, because of the values which you valued very much in the past, it is possible that you may be afraid to come out in society with basic values on which Sikh Dharma, the spirit of the Khalsa, stands. Our tolerance of this is not our acceptance. Don’t misunderstand for a moment. We tolerate because we are compassionate. But that does not mean that we have accepted a person who calls himself a Sikh and does not wear the bana given by the father of the Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh, his ultimate father on earth and in heaven, in order to walk on the path and liberate himself.
In India the Sikh religion has gone through many political upheavals and even today they survive as a minority. On the whole, the main body of the Sikhs are very decent, religious and honest people. I would suggest you not follow the few corrupt who have worn the skin of Khalsa with the mind of a donkey. Your relationship has to be direct in spirit and in action. Guru Gobind Singh had mastery, therefore he cut through the mystery of time and space. He gave us the bana, then Amrit, and later the Siri Guru Granth as banee. Now this fact and eventful situation is twisted by different people to serve different purposes, and it is sometimes very confusing. However, we belong to the land of free people and our caliber cannot accept slavery. Therefore we must not value social pressure. Social pressure is meant for those who are mentally bankrupt of their spirit and values. Sometimes people feel that if you wear a three-piece suit that you will look socially impressive. I ask you, what social impression do you want to create when you are mentally a coward and spiritually bankrupt?
This world is a temporary place and it must be played that way. You have the right to enjoy this earth and its values, but don’t forget it’s a temporary place. A woman who cannot maintain her grace and values of grace is worse than an animal. She is a pawn of the game, who can be played at the will of those who are her exploiters.
You must live with your values. If your children see you are in duality with your concept of life, it is enough reason for them to hate you. Your generation could not live with bankruptcy of spirituality and truth. You could not live with demagogy and clever moves. Learn from your own lesson. Live inside and outside alike so that your own born may find the unison of your caliber as a human being and give you respect.
The greatest philosophy on which this Dharma lives is fearlessness. Normally we can profoundly say that the majority of the body of Sikhs are still fearless. It is only a few politicians and a few professionals who for the sake of their insecurity have sold their souls, have lost their manners as pure beings, and have sold their consciousness. You who have made it to the point of belonging to the House of the Guru have to walk on the path very cautiously so that you may not end up with the same blunder.
Beyond national boundaries is the concept of the Khalsa. There is tremendous human misery, and if we have decided to take shelter in the house of Guru, and cross lines with the life of dust, then we must understand Harimander is our point of worship and not Las Vegas, the mecca of American sensuality and corruption. We have no political allegiance because we have no seat to win. Our mission is simply to serve humanity and to conquer the heart of every human being so that everybody on this earth can live healthy, happy and holy. As our extended goal does not recognize boundaries, so we do not recognize boundaries. Therefore, you must remember, when you fault in bana you de-value the sacrifice of the five beloved ones.
You have to look distinct. Guru Gobind Singh has said it clearly. When there will be living in you a very distinct, disciplined life, Guru Gobind Singh promises that he will inject in you the entire cosmic power of radiance and spirit. So it is in your hands how grateful you can be to live a wonderful human life. There is no use in living half-minded. Value not social pressures, my friends, they have always been exerted on all men of God.
Therefore, on his day, I’d like to let you know that we will serve everybody for all time to come, but in the house of Guru Gobind Singh, those alone shall be accepted who walk on the tenets of the Rahit Maryaadaa given by the great Master. If you want to live as a liberated human being, which is called in the scriptures Jeevan Mukht, follow the path very carefully, and gracefully, distinctly enough that you can all the time feel that you belong to someone who is someone to God. I hope the few words I have shared with you from the depths of my heart shall be of value to you in the course which you have adopted to live.