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Kali on Guru Hargobind sahibs sword


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has anyone noticed that Guru Hargobind Sahib jis sword/tegha has a carving of kali on it.  This is the same tegha that guru ji killed painde khan with. 

Right under the hilt of the sword is a image of a tiger pouncing, tigers pounce onto their prey when hunting, and above the image of the tiger is a image of kali. I'm guessing this is because kali is associated with war and destroying evil.

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close up detail of the tiger with Persian? writing above it

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kali

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For Sikhs it is only for decorative reasoning & no significance in any religious way. We do not believe putting any symbols or pictures on anything for the good omen. Our guru sahib jee taught us

Yeah bani has many layers, most people just scratch the surface. Only Brahmgyanis and alike are able dive deep into bani. Its so mystical.   From how I see it, the stories of Indian and Abra

Its just symbolism. Kali is the goddess of war, destroyer of demons and evil, so its no surprise her image was carved onto swords and other weapons. Other deities associated with war were used as well

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Just now, dallysingh101 said:

I think prior to being colonised Sikhs had no problem with such iconography/artwork as it was probably just viewed as normal cultural motifs - I don't think it had that hard polarised Sikh/'Hindu' dimension that was to latter emerge. 

Chandhi Ki Vaar in Dasam Granth suggests this too. 

yup,  seems like our gurus didn't have a problem with it either. Its art after all and art is expression. Kali and tigers are both associated with death, destruction, fear, terror, bravery etc and so is a sword, all three have similar themes. so i guess thats why those two images were used on guru jis sword. 

A lot of puratan gurdware used to have murals with scenes of war from ramayan and mahabharat, once again its that theme of war which is obviously is a part of our faith.     

 

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This is probably a different question, but how can we verify that historic artifacts are real? Also, how should we be preserving and handling them to keep them safe, I always find it odd the tegha is being held by bare hands instead of wearing gloves.

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9 hours ago, dallysingh101 said:

I think prior to being colonised Sikhs had no problem with such iconography/artwork as it was probably just viewed as normal cultural motifs -

Agree, and this sets up further proof of the authenticity of the Dasam Bani that there is nothing wrong with the use of Kali as a metaphor. (Not as a Goddess to be prayed to.)

The point is that Kali represents fierce unbridled fighting prowess.

9 hours ago, dallysingh101 said:

I don't think it had that hard polarised Sikh/'Hindu' dimension that was to latter emerge. 

Disagree on your 2nd point. I think the "Hindu"/Sikh divide had emerged quite early on. Sikhs had no enmity, but the upper class Hindus did.

For example, as early as Guru Amar Das ji's Guruship the nasty Brahmins complained to the Mughals that Guru ji is breaking Varn Ashram Dharam (caste system) by having people worship, prepare food, and eat together.

Guru ji sent Bhai Jetha ji (Guru Ram Das ji) to defend the Sikh view.

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11 hours ago, dallysingh101 said:

I think prior to being colonised Sikhs had no problem with such iconography/artwork as it was probably just viewed as normal cultural motifs - I don't think it had that hard polarised Sikh/'Hindu' dimension that was to latter emerge. 

Chandhi Ki Vaar in Dasam Granth suggests this too. 

then that beggers the question ONCE AGAIN what is the difference between a hindu and a sikh ? or between hinduism and sikhism ?

 

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1 hour ago, AjeetSinghPunjabi said:

then that beggers the question ONCE AGAIN what is the difference between a hindu and a sikh ? or between hinduism and sikhism ?

 

Well Hindus worship these images while sikhs used them as artistic expression. Art in sikhi has never been venerated or been seen as God or a image of God   unlike other religions in India. 

The sword also has a image of a tiger on it  that's doesn't exactly mean that we are supposed to worship a tiger now lol 

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Historically sikh art had a lot of themes of war, scenes from Mahabharata etc .

Another thing that I saw at hazur sahib was a image of a lion chasing a deer. The deer represents ego, pride and vanity while the lion chasing is the destroyer of ego and pride. 

Art in sikhi has never been an object of worship but simply artistic expression.

If deities were to be worshipped then our gurus would of placed idols in the centre of darbar sahib not guru granth sahib ji 

 

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6 hours ago, BhForce said:

Agree, and this sets up further proof of the authenticity of the Dasam Bani that there is nothing wrong with the use of Kali as a metaphor. (Not as a Goddess to be prayed to.)

The point is that Kali represents fierce unbridled fighting prowess.

Kali/Chandhi probably represents a few things. 

Quote

 

Disagree on your 2nd point. I think the "Hindu"/Sikh divide had emerged quite early on. Sikhs had no enmity, but the upper class Hindus did.

For example, as early as Guru Amar Das ji's Guruship the nasty Brahmins complained to the Mughals that Guru ji is breaking Varn Ashram Dharam (caste system) by having people worship, prepare food, and eat together.

Guru ji sent Bhai Jetha ji (Guru Ram Das ji) to defend the Sikh view.

 

Oh, I agree that a separateness from what we can call 'Hindu' came about early, in the times of the Gurus themselves. My contention is that the conceptualisation of 'Hinduism' (as we know it today) as some coherent over-arching structure over a myriad of differing practices, didn't come about until goray came around and tried to apply Abrahamic type categorisation and structure on all the beliefs they encountered. I mean look at the Bhakti movement compared to classic 'Hinduism' - it rejects (and even overtly attacks)a lot of the notions that are central to traditional Hinduism. Even the term 'Hindu' is a shifting one - one where it suggests religious belief one minute, and a another sort of geo-political status the next (like Moghuls used it to describe the inhabitants of what is now known as India). I mean even Bhangu referred to Singhs as Hindus in his classic work.  It seems like there were a lot of subtle nuances and uses of the term that don't correspond to how it is used today - and our ancestors knew about the overlap as well the distinct differences in the communities. 

 

4 hours ago, AjeetSinghPunjabi said:

then that beggers the question ONCE AGAIN what is the difference between a hindu and a sikh ? or between hinduism and sikhism ?

I thought I answered this previously. In my opinion, the big difference is in the soci0-political vision of the Gurus which was clearly built on a militaristic, assertive, egalitarian, sovereign meritocracy that had not been seen before. That explains a lot of the dynamism, success and popularity of the early Khalsa. Read Jagjit SIngh's Sikh Revolution for an incisive exposition of this. In spiritual terms, other movements like the bhakti one tries to achieve what Sikhs are trying to do with simran but they don't have the clear institutes and vision that Sikhi has on the social/political plane which also expresses itself in military terms. 

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1 hour ago, dallysingh101 said:

Even the term 'Hindu' is a shifting one - one where it suggests religious belief one minute, and a another sort of geo-political status the next (like Moghuls used it to describe the inhabitants of what is now known as India).

Very important to keep in mind when one traverses the debates where on the one hand the Singh-Sabha influenced Sikhs warn about "the Hindus" and on the other the saffron brigade claims Sikhs are Hindus.

Because even Guru Nanak Dev ji says that the "Hindus are mistaken from the start" and Bhagat Namdev ji says "Hindus are blind".

So context is necessary. And words can have different meanings in different contexts.

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1 hour ago, BhForce said:

So context is necessary. And words can have different meanings in different contexts.

Absolutely. I think context in each usage of the word is the key here. 

My belief is that Sikhi is a quite an advanced, sophisticated thing (in terms of conceptualisations), that does require higher cognitive thinking to try and grasp. Problem with Singh Sabha thinking (in my opinion) was that they tried to simplify it (some might call it 'dumbing down') for their main ground level supporters who were largely illiterate or semi-illiterate. This is understandable in that they were trying to impart their understanding which (I don't care I'm going to say it!) was heavily influenced by British thinking of that time, to people who had very fluid understandings of the universe around them that meshed Sikhi with their own tribal, regional practices and worldview. So I get what they were trying to do but I feel important things were lost in this process. 

This explains a lot about our current state in my opinion. 

I just feel that imposing western, systematic, reductionalist models on Sikhi (which created 'Sikhism'), skews things in no small way. 

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Interesting, I think because the word "Hindu" has many definitions it just makes thing complicated. Like mentioned above Hindu is a culture and a religion. The Muslim invaders used to refer to Indians as "Hindus" and India was called "Hindustan"     i think with the later Muslim invaders the the word Hindu became synonyms with kafir, non Muslims of south Asia regardless of religion. In jahangirs memoirs he refers to Guru Arjan dev ji as a hindu, even though janhangir was aware of guru ji being the head of a new religion.   

Even among Hindus at one point i think only the Bahamans and Kshatriya were considered Hindus,  I guess that was when hindus themselves started identifying with the word.

Then later during the British rule the Hindu started being used for people of the Hindu faith as we know it today.  haha you can basically say Hinduism, as the religion, was put together and created by the British lol    because before that they were not under one umbrella as a religion. 

the word has many meanings and some crafty sly hindus who have an agenda use this flexibility of the term to their advantage, thats where it starts becoming a problem for us. 

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Durga mural in Gurdwara in Nurungabad built by Baba Bir Singh.  Durga seems to be a popular motif in Sikh art, i guess its that link to war

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surya,sun deity on the ceiling of harmandir sahib

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some kind of yogi figure on harmandir sahib wall

inlay-work-golden-temple-amritsar-punjab-india-asia-FJ8FHE.jpg

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heres an image of a deer being chased by a tiger at harmandir sahib,  i saw a really similar one at hazur sahib but i cant find a image of it online. Deer in indian art represents ego, pride,  while the tiger chasing it is the destroyer of ego.  

you can see in at the bottom on either side

amritsar-india-golden-temple-detail-of-inlay-work-A5DJTK.jpg

 

another one from harmandir sahib

Golden_Temple_marble_pattern_under_the_Guru_Granth_sahib.jpg

 

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