In our “A Scout is Reverent” series, Scouting Wire takes a look at how Scouting families across the country observe a variety of religious holidays of their own faith and support fellow unit members in theirs. Join us as Kavneet Singh, Chief Resource and Advocacy Officer of the American Sikh Council, shares a unique perspective on the importance of Guru Nanak Sahibji’s Parkash Purab, Khalsa Saajna Divas and Vaisakhi!
For those who may not be familiar with Guru Nanak Sahibji’s Parkash Purab, Khalsa Saajna Divas and Vaisakhi, can you please tell us a little about the holiday?
It is the most important celebration because it is the day when our Guru Nanak Sahib came (was born) to this world to show us how to get imbued in the universal love and joy of the entire human race.
On this auspicious day, Guru’s Khalsa (fraternity of sovereign equals) were recognized and projected to the world. People were in awe and wonder to see the ultimate form of saint-warriors who changed the destiny of the oppressed and the downtrodden who were slaves of the brahmins for centuries in South Asia.
Furthermore, the cultural harvest festival celebrated in Punjab happens to be “Vaisakhi” which also falls on the same day! Spring brings blossom in the environment, and so does the harvesting of crops in Punjab, which brings bountiful abundance.
It is not any accident or a coincidence that the birth of the founder of the Sikh religion and the formation of the Khalsa are on the same day. It is the deliberate, well-thought foresight of the glorious enlightener to charge us with the spirit of the truly sovereign through his divine revelations, so we remember both.
You can read more about Day of ‘1 Vasakh 552 Nanakshahi’ (April 14) according to the Mool Nanakshahi (Sikh) Calendar here.
Do you know Scouts who have Scouting traditions connected to this holiday, and, if so, can you please tell us about that?
Sikh American Scouts typically celebrate this religious holiday by singing Gurbani (verses from the Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh Scripture), dressing up colorfully, engaging in Gatka (Sikh martial art), and distributing delicious food to all (langar).
For Scout units that may have a member of Sikh faith, what are some considerations and ways these Scout units can show support for their fellow Scouts who observe this holiday?
Non-Sikh Scouts and the Scout units can help support the Sikh American Scout by being part of the festivities. If some decide to support by wearing a turban to show solidarity, that would be great. The Sikh turban is a commandment by our Gurus, and it is a crown, a symbol of honor, dignity, freedom, justice, and sovereignty.
Special thanks to Kavneet Singh, Chief Resource and Advocacy Officer of the American Sikh Council, for sharing this with Scouting Wire.