Significance and meaning of KHANDA

Significance and meaning of KHANDA

The Sikhism Khanda is the Sikh’s coat of arms, or “Khalsa Crest.” Khanda refers to a double edged sword in the center of the emblem. The emblem of the Sikhism Khanda appears on the Nishan, the Sikh flag. The components in the Sikhism Khanda have special significance:

Two swords, signify the spiritual and secular forces influencing the soul.

A double edged sword symbolizes the ability of truth to cut through the duality of illusion.

A circlet represents unity, a sense of being at one with infinity.

Sometimes the Sikhism Khanda is rendered in the form of pin which can be worn on a turban. A possible significance could have arisen during historical battles in which Sikhs defended innocent people against the tyranny of Mughal Rulers.

The two swords: Piri and Miri

Har Govind became the 6th guru of the Sikhs when his father, Guru Arjan Dev, achieved martyrdom by order of Mughal emperor Jahangir. Guru Har Gobind wore two swords to symbolize his the Piri (spiritual) and Miri (secular) in nature of both his throne and rulership. Har Gobind built up a personal army. He constructed the Akal Takhat, which is the seat of religious authority and faces Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple.

The double edge sword: Khanda

The sword is used to stir the immortalizing nectar of Amrit given to initiates to drink in the Sikh baptism ceremony.

The circlet: Chakar

The circlet is throwing weapon used in battle. It is sometimes worn on the turbans of devout Sikhs called Nihangs.

The Khanda is a Sikh symbol representative of the Sikh’s martial history and is displayed proudly by Sikhs in a variety of ways:

– Adorning the Nishan Sahib, or Sikh flag.
– Decorative ramalas draping the Guru Granth Sahib.
– As a pin worn on the turban.
– As a vehicle hood ornament.
– Appliquéd and embroidered on clothing.
– In poster form and artwork on wall.
– Computer graphics and wallpaper.
– Accompanying articles in print.
– On banners and on floats in parades.

~ Sukhmindar Khalsa


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  • Looking at the Khanda used on the turbans of Nihang Singhs, (the Sikhs who follow older codes of conduct, more close to pre-British Raj Sikhism) they actually call it the aad chand, and it is like a Khanda without the centre chakra. This is more reminiscent of the aad chand of Shiva and shakti, which is what the Khanda orignally represented for Sikhs also, and was later modified and updated by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji to include and represent the Miri and Piri by two curved swords, instead of just the moon crescent. It therefore has different layers of meaning, but still connects us to the original concept of Shivshakti which is an important concept in shastarvidiya and the martial spiritual ideal, just like Yin and Yang in the far east. The fact that all Nihangs wear this original aad chand and still call it this, and not the modern Khanda pin badge, is proof of this. It also connects with the statement of Guru Gobind Singh when he said he is giving the Khalsa Shiv swaroop, ie giving them the image of Shiv (which must mean the image of Shiva, ie the blue clothes, long hair in top knot and beard, farla coming out of top of turban like ganga, weapons, salotar, use of bhang etc etc, and not just the image of God, because in all other places in Sikh scripture it says God is formless, image-less, infinite and indescribable).