Unity between Sanatan and Sikh Dharma


The  symbol of the Khanda has evolved over time and  the history is sketchy. Some  believe it was introduced by the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Singh. It  was added to the Nishan sahib only in the 1900’s. Earlier it only  had the central double edged sword and the Chakkar/Chakra. Later the  two swords of Miri and Piri signifying spiritual and temporal  responsibilities were added. Practicing Sikhs also refer to the two  swords as Bhakti and Shakti. Each part of the Khanda had its own  unique significance and now symbolic meanings has been given to them.

The  Chakkar or Chakra, an  ancient weapon of Bharatvarsh, was  used by the Sikh warriors. A steel throwing ring with a razor sharp  edge. Soldiers would spin it around their forefinger and throw with  momentum at their enemy maiming and wounding the enemy and their  horses. It is akin  to the use of the Sudarshan Chakra  by Vishnu and Krishna.

The  central double edged sword is called the Khanda. It originates from  the Sanskrit Khand/Khadga meaning to divide and destroy. This kind of  sword is believed to have been used in India since 300 BCE, and  definitely since 300 AD. Prithviraj Chauhan is credited with  improving the design, strengthening it, giving it the broad shape  that it now has to eventually make it the formidable weapon that it  became. The weapon is venerated as a symbol of Shiva and worshipped  during Dasara,  Vijaydashami.

The  photographs of the Nihang warriors with the Aad Chand, Ardha Chandra, (pic  ardha chandra right pic) Shiva's moon with the double edged sword in the centre show what  might be the predecessor of the present day khanda, though some  sections of the Sikh’s deny it. The Nihangs, known for their  extraordinary feats in the battlefield at the time of the Gurus,  consider themselves as an image of Shiva and call themselves Shiva  Swaroop and are believed to have originated from the Akal Sena of  Guru Hargobind Singh.

The pictures of  Shiva as Ardhanarishvara with the Trishul (pic  shiva khanda left pic) behind him, from the Chola dynasty 950 AD and 1050 AD, bears an  amazing resemblance to the Khanda. I have always believed the Miri  and Piri, the two swords that Guru Hargobind Singh sported, as a  symbol of Ardhanarishvara perfect balance between inner and outer  world. Shiva representing the spiritual and Shakti the worldly  activities.

For  further study -
1. Shiva and Guru  Nanak
2. Shiva and Nihangs
3. Mistaken identity Shiva trident

Pictures  courtesy and copyright www.sikhmuseum.com

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