The five Ks, popularly known as Panj Kakaar or Kakke are five essential items of faith that baptized Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times. These are also considered as the command of the gurus to their followers.
This system of five Ks was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh on 30th March, 1699. The day falls on the annual festival of Baisakhi.
It would be wrong to consider the five Ks as mere symbols of Sikhism. These are articles of faith that collectively form the external visible symbols to identify and exhibit one’s commitments to the words of the Guru.
Here is the description of five Ks followed by Sikhs worldwide as a symbol of faith and respect towards the religion and command of their Guru.
a)Kesh : It refers to uncut hair. Uncut on any part of the body for men and women is mandatory. Cutting of hair is prohibited for the Sikhs.
b)Kanga : It refers to the wooden comb that must be carried by a Sikh for personal hygiene and maintenance of the uncut hair.
c)Kara: It is a steel or iron bracelet worn on the right hand for the protection and physical reminder that a Sikh is bound to the Guru.
d)Kachcha: It is a type of specially designed cotton underwear. It is comfortable to wear and reflects modesty and high moral character of the Sikh.
e)Kirpan: Kirpan is a strapped sword worn around in order to defend one’s faith in God and protect the weak. Kirpan also symbolizes the constant reminder of one’s duty as a Khalsa.
Other importance of the five Ks:
A Sikh is prohibited from cutting or trimming hair. This is to indicate the perfection of God’s creation. This is also a part of just accepting what has been provided to the mankind by the Almighty. The instruction is not to shave. One must keep the hair neat and tidy. It must be combed at least twice a day.
One must wear a Dastaar to protect the kesh and guard the spiritual opening at the top of the head. The turban worn around the head symbolizes the spiritual crown. Wearing a turban also declares dedication sovereignty, self-respect, courage and piety.
The five Ks symbolize the pride and honor of Sikhism and a devout Sikh adhering to the instructions provided by the Guru.
A Sikh is also advised not to use the kirpan in anger.