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Holy Symbols and Greetings  



Nishan Sahib - The Sikh Flag

Outside the main hall of every Gurdwara (but within its premises) the Sikh flag or Nishan Sahib, is displayed prominently at a high place, usually with the help of a flag pole.  The Nishan Sahib is embellished with Khanda, representing the Sikh coat of arms.

Nishan means flag or insignia, while Sahib means Master.

The Nishan Sahib is triangular in shape and can be of any size. It has two basic colours, ranging from yellow to deep orange. The history of the Nishan Sahib can be traced back to 1606, when the sixth Guru Hargobind Ji raised the first Sikh flag over the Akal Takht (seat of authority) in Amritsar.



The Sikh emblem or holy symbol is called the Khanda. It is made of four items, considered to be traditional Sikh weapons - a vertical double edged sword with a broad blade called Khanda (symbolizing truth, strength, freedom and justice), two crossed curved swordsMiri and Piri (signifying political and spiritual sovereignty), and a ring of steel (representing eternal God).

The Khanda - adorning the Sikh flag (Nishan Sahib) and proudly displayed by the Sikhs in various ways (turbans, clothing, posters etc.) - was introduced by the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji.


Ik Onkar   

Ik Onkar means "God is One." It is comprised of two characters, the Punjabi symbol for number One, and the Punjabi letter Urha, which refers to God. Ik Onkar symbolizes the unity of God in Sikhism, and is found on all religious texts and in Gurdwaras.

Ik Onkar is the opening phrase of Mool Mantar, the first hymn composed by Guru Nanak and also the first verse of Guru Granth Sahib.


Sikh Greetings

1) Sat Sri Akal

The Sikh Diaspora world over greet each other with the well-known Punjabi language greeting Sat Sri Akal. This is the only formal greeting in Punjabi language and is used by the Sikh community throughout the world, irrespective of their native language.

Sat - Truth, Sri - Stands for Honour and Akal denotes Timeless Being, God. Hence the phrase Sat Sri Akalcan be translated to mean - God is The Ultimate Truth.

2) Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

This is a highly revered greeting that denotes the brotherhood of Sikh community.

'Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh'

(Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory to the Wonderful Lord)

The term Khalsa denotes the 'Pure One' (Pure Sikh) while Fateh implies 'Victory'. Both these words have their origins in Arabic language.

In Sikhism, Khalsa signifies 'Brotherhood of the Pure', and is often inferred (as a sign of respect) upon baptised


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