Amrit Sanchar ("nectar ceremony"; also called Amrit sanskar, Amrit Parchar, or Khande di Pahul), is the name given in the Sikh tradition to the Baptism ceremony which is also known as the initiation ceremony into the Khalsa "brotherhood". The word Pahul or Puhul is a derivative from a substantive, "pahu" — meaning an agent which brightens, accelerates or sharpens the potentialities of a given object. In Sikhism, the baptised Sikh is also called an Amritdhari, literally meaning Amrit Taker or one who has ‘Taken on Amrit’.
This practice has been in existence since the times of Guru Nanak Dev (1469 - 1539). During that time-period, this ceremony was known as Charan Amrit or Charan Phul or the Pag Pahul, the words Charan and Pag both signifying the foot of the teacher. During that time-period, the neophytes poured water over Guru's toe to be initiated into the fold. When the Guru was not present, the masands or the local sangat leaders officiated. The water was poured on Guru's toe and then the devotees would drink it and seek blessings of the Guru. The Guru would guide the Sikhs about the Sikh teachings and instruct them to adopt them as a way of life.
Khande di Pahul (Amrit ceremony) was initiated in the times of Guru Gobind Singh when Khalsa was inaugurated at Sri Anandpur Sahib on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. Guru Gobind Singh asked a gathering of Sikhs, "who is prepared to die for God?" At first, the people hesitated, and then one man stepped forward, and he was taken to a tent. After some time, Guru Gobind Singh came out of the tent, with blood dripping from his sword. He asked the same question again. After the next four volunteers were in the tent, he reappeared with the five, who were now all dressed like him. These five men came to be known as Panj Pyares or the Beloved Five. These five were initiated into the Khalsa by receiving Amrit. These five were Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Mukham Singh, Bhai Sahib Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh and Bhai Himmat Singh. Sikh men were then given the name "Singh" meaning "lion" and the women received the last name "Kaur" meaning "princess"
Khande Di Pahul not only embodies the primary objects of Sikh faith and the promises connected therewith, but also is itself a promise to lead a pure and pious life to unite with Almighty Lord. It is about inward cleansing of the conscience and seeking unity with The Supreme Lord through His Grace. The word Pahul is a derivative from the substantive, Pahu- which is an agent which brightens, accelerates or sharpens the potentialities of a given object.
Amrit Chhakhna refers to the drinking of the Amrit or the Nectar. The Amrit is administered in the presence of the holy text of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib which is consideded the 11th Guru. The candidates take a full bath, wear the five 5 Kakas and present themselves before the Guru Granth Sahib for initiation of Amrit.
The five Sikhs, who represent the five beloved, who have led a virtuous life and have strictly observed the Sikh discipline are chosen to prepare and administer the Amrit. The candidates for baptism are apprised of the Amrit conditions for acceptance before the ceremony is started. They are apprised about the pure and virtuous life they must lead. When the candidates agree to live by the discipline and code of Sikh conduct, the Panj Pyares start preparing the Amrit.
A Sarb Loh (Iron or steel) cauldron (Bata or bowl) is filled with clean water. Some Patashas (sugar crystals/plums) are poured into the water. The Five Beloveds then sit in Vir Asan ( seated on the ground with left knee down and the right knee up) around the cauldron.
The mixture of Amrit is stirred with a Khanda while the Panj Pyares recite path of five Banis (Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Sawayae, Chaupai Sahib and Anand Sahib) from Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth with attention and full concentration on the Amrit preparation in the cauldron. The solution thus prepared is called Amrit (nectar of immortality).
In this religion, it is believed that it should not be taken into mind that Amrit Chhakhna is the end purpose. It is the start of one's journey on a right path to attain a pure and pious life which is essential to attain God (according to the Guru Granth Sahib). It is not something external.
The person to become Amritdhari must wear the five holy symbols.
- Kesh (unshorn hair)
- Kirpan ("sword", i.e. a small dagger worn on the person)
- Kachehra (prescribed boxer shorts)
- Kangha (comb tucked in the tied-up hair)
- Karha (steel bracelet)
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- "Amrit Sanchar – CSGB". Retrieved 2021-06-16.