Original Article by Satinder Gill Brar
Disclaimer: I did NOT write the contents of this article. It was originally published in “Punjab Mail USA” in Punjabi. I merely translated the whole article into English so that it could reach another audience. The ideas and points made in the article are not my own, they belong to the original author. I tried my best to keep all the meanings as close to the original as possible and avoided making personal adjustments or “corrections”, therefore the grammar may not be the best. If you can read gurmukhi, I would suggest you read the original Punjabi article attached below rather than my poor translation. Enjoy!
“mith bolarraa jee har sajan suaamee moraa ||
My Dear Lord and Master, my Friend, speaks so sweetly.
ho sanmal thhakee jee ouhu kadhae na bolai kouraa ||
I have grown weary of testing Him, but still, He never speaks harshly to me.”
“It is important to speak sweetly. If we spoke harshly, perhaps no one would like it. Even a person who himself speaks roughly doesn’t like it when someone else speaks harshly with him. So then why do we speak meanly? God loves those who speak sweetly, because He himself is sweet.
Gurbani is the sweetest. If we listen carefully then we realize that every word is full of sweetness, the more Gurbani we read the more sweetly we talk. It seems as if those who read Gurbani are unable to utter harsh words. God himself is sweet, those who believe in Him can’t be bitter- whether this is true or false, is a daily experience in our life. The god loving person will speak lovingly. Sometimes we meet such a person whom just listening to causes us to say, “his words were like music to my ears”. We try to compare them with so many things. Sometimes some people may not have as much of an influence from their appearance but when we hear their words, we feel the bliss in our ears, and when we hear the words of some people who look outwardly beautiful, we say they looked nice but see how harshly and roughly they speak, no sweetness at all. Voice is a gift from God. Some have deep voices while others have high ones, but sweetness is important in words, the voice itself becomes beautiful.
Once we were listening to a tape of Veer Bhupinder Singh. He gave a really good example: One time there was a boy who told a lot of lies, spoke meanly, hurt others – one day his father gave him some nails and said go put them into the wooden floor outside. He told him, for each mean thing you do or lie you tell, hammer that many nails into the wood every day. The boy started to put nails in every day. Sometimes 2 nails and some days 4, like this the nails eventually ran out. Then one day his father said now start taking the nails out. For each good deed you do and each truth you tell, take one nail out. Like this the boy started taking nails out, sometimes 1 sometimes 2. One day the boy happily said today all the nails have been taken out. The Dad said okay show me where you took the nails out from and the boy pointed out the holes in the wood, saying “look at these marks.” This represents whenever we speak meanly to someone or hurt their heart and say sorry later. But those harsh words already hurt them and bore a hole in their heart. Saying sorry later, then doing the same thing again makes that apology lose its meaning. We should never hurt someone so much in life that we have to apologize over and over again. If we say something mean and make a hole in someones heart, it doesn’t fill up so easily. After time there is some healing, but those who get used to making holes and cuts in others’ hearts don’t let those injuries fill up. They are stuck in their habits. Our Lord Father is loving. We believe in His existence. We should love his creation and beings. Because even animals understand the language of love and sweet speech.
Wearing expensive clothes shows our outer beauty. But our sweet or harsh speech shows how beautiful we truly are inside. Our personality is brought forth by our way of speaking. Sometimes we are full of poison inside, but we try to speak sweetly in front of others, but this false show only lasts so long. Our true form eventually comes forth, those who are truly sweet inside are full of peace and contentment. Those who are empty inside, their words will be hollow and meaningless, like the saying, “An empty pitcher makes more noise.” It rolls around causing pain to others and suffers pain itself too. A full pitcher stands steady, and since it is full in itself, it doesn’t hurt others nor does it get hurt itself. because it is full of patience and contentment. It its wrong to call someone poor for lack of money, but negative thoughts, bad ideals and speaking falsely [truly make a person poor] which is bad.
By saying mean words to others we increase our inner agony. Then these angry and spark-like words burn us from inside. Then we become the victims of many illnesses such as depression, blood pressure and other headaches. Therefore try not to put nails into anyone’s heart or soul such that the holes cannot be filled by the word “sorry”, nor should we use our false poison filled words.”
“naanak fikai boliai than man fikaa hoe ||
O Nanak, speaking insipid words, the body and mind become insipid.
fiko fikaa sadheeai fikae fikee soe ||
He is called the most insipid of the insipid; the most insipid of the insipid is his reputation.
fikaa dharageh satteeai muhi thhukaa fikae paae ||
The insipid person is discarded in the Court of the Lord, and the insipid one’s face is spat upon.
fikaa moorakh aakheeai paanaa lehai sajaae ||1||
The insipid one is called a fool; he is beaten with shoes in punishment. ||1||”
As you can see from the other posts in this section, I love customizing everything. And being a techie, my smartphone is no exception. Part of the reason I like the Android OS is the freedom and ability to tweak and change everything. Even when I used to have a blackberry, I had it customized with themes. Its pretty crazy how creative people have gotten with their cell phone customization. If you’re going to be using something a lot, you might as well set it up in a way that looks appealing to you, right? There are forums and website full of people showing their different wallpapers, icons, and widgets combining to form some very unique setups. I myself have gone through a few different setups over the past couple of years, and I thought I’d share them here. I won’t be explaining how I made my homescreens look like this here, but if anyone is interested in “pimping” their android phone, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll guide you through it!
These days iPads and other tablets are commonly used to display shabads during kirtan. Some places a monitor is used so that the kirtani can see the shabad. Tablets screens can be hard to see at an angle and sometimes they are an awkward size to put on a vaja. If the device is placed higher and at more of an angle, the rest of the sangat on stage can see the shabad as well. For these reasons I was requested to help make a stand that could securely hold a tablet at an angle and high enough so that it would be visible. Fortunately I was given a monitor stand to use as a base, since building a complete stand from scratch is difficult. I was also given some cut up pieces of wood. I used wood glue and really small nails to put the pieces of wood together to form a platform with edges so nothing would slide off. Then I painted the back silver and added a soft black felt to the front so the devices wouldn’t get scratched or slide around. I added a small piece in the front so the tablet would not fall forward and finally mounted the whole thing onto the monitor stand.
The actual construction of it:
Here is the finished product:
The Kirpan is often translated as a “Sikh Ceremonial Dagger”, but it is a whole lot more than that. It does have a lot of spiritual significance, but it is also meant to be practical and usable, if the need arises. As something a Sikh is supposed to carry on their person at all times, the Kirpan should be a high quality shastar, not the mass produced sheet of metal cut into a Kirpan shape that we often see today.
Allow me to introduce Khalsa Armory. Started by a young Singh from the Fresno area, KA describes itself as “A Knife & Arms company founded on 3 solid values. Q.U.A. ; Our products will show Quality, Uniqueness & Affordability!“. Today I will evaluate how well this statement holds up under closer scrutiny. I had the opportunity to check out the KA stall at the Yuba City Nagar Kirtan and take home a few pieces to test out. Let me briefly describe the 4 test models I got to spend time with and then I can discuss what I thought of them.
DK-2 – KA’s original flagship product ( the DK-1) wasn’t available when I got the review units, so I’m taking a look at the DK-2, which is the next closest thing. The main difference here is that that the DK-1 is a solid 1 piece Kirpan in which the handle is made of the same metal as the blade. The DK-2 has micarta grips on the sides of the handle which makes it lighter in weight and lower in price.
DK-3 – The DK-3 is a slimmed down version of the DK-1, where the handle has been cut down in width. So overall the Kirpan is lighter, and has a slimmer profile. The blade also has a tapered curve towards the back edge, which gives it a really cool sleek look. However, the slimmer handle doesn’t feel as nice in the hand due to its sharper edges.
DK-4 – A smaller sized Kirpan, the DK-4 is a single piece design, similar to a Taksali or traditional Kirpan with the smaller rounder handle. Sort of like a mini DK-1, it has a nice feel in the hand and nice blade as well.
DK-5 – Another smaller model, the DK-5 sports a small but beautiful wood-like handle. It is harder to hold on to if you were actually cutting something, but it can be carried daily or kept on the person, since the handle isn’t too top heavy. The blade is nice and sharp and features a beautiful design.
Photo Credit: Ikonkar Kaur Jan 2014.
There is no doubt as to the quality of these Kirpans. The workmanship that went into them is apparent as soon as you pick one up. They are very well made, and the subtle design elements really show the creator’s attention to detail. I’ve seen Khalsa Armory get to where it is today so I know that it went through a few iterations before they released this design as their standard. I’m confident that these Kirpans will last, and I’m sure they could take on any task thrown at them. The Damascus blade is made from different layers of steel folded together, resulting in a very strong and sharp Kirpan. They are definitely better quality than the mass produced Indian or Chinese “Kirpans”. Although not as fancy or complex as some others, the kydex sheaths do a great job of protecting the blade. The Kirpan won’t fall out or get stuck in one – it takes just the right amount of pull to slide it out.
I would say that these Kirpans are relatively affordable. While they are much more expensive than the average cheap Kirpans from India, they are also significantly better in terms of quality. In my opinion, the price difference is worth it – I would rather depend on a KA Kirpan than one of those. The Kirpans from Khalsa Armory are much closer to the price range of Taksali Kirpans (outside of India). However, in comparison to most other fancy artisan Kirpans (such as Khalsa Kirpans) they are much cheaper by far. A quick round at Yuba City Nagar Kirtan will show you how expensive nice fancy Kirpans can get, and KA ends up on the affordable side of the spectrum. It is important to note, however, that these do have simple sheaths as opposed to the intricately designed scabbards of some more expensive Kirpans, which may be engraved, embedded with previous stones or covered with expensive materials such as silver or gold.
These Kirpans are definitely unique. The single piece design and curve of the blades is different from both the traditional Kirpans we see and western knives as well. I would put the design somewhere in between – its like a western style blade with a Kirpan-like curve. The Damascus mixture of metal layers isn’t seen often these days and the swirly design is beautiful. Each Kirpan has a unique pattern, and the intricate etchings, cuts and patterned handles give these Kirpans their own personality. The blade covers also make these Kirpans stand out from others, since we never really see Kirpans with tactical sheaths. The handle shape is also different from many other Kirpans, as is the feel, size and weight.
Khalsa Armory Kirpans are really really nice. Their blades are relatively sharp and much stronger than typical Kirpan blades. Whereas traditional Kirpan blades are thick at the back edge and gradually taper off into the blade, these blades are thick for about half the width of the blade, after which they slowly slope down to a sharp edge. Depending on the material, this added thickness plus the pattern and curve of the blade can make it harder to cut something. But the blade also has enough strength to push all the way through a tough material. I found them to be just a little sharper than my fairly well sharpened Taksali style kirpan. I personally wouldn’t wear any of these as my daily Kirpan because the blade is made of a mix of metals rather than Sarbloh (or what we call Sarbloh today), and because they are quite heavy. The top heavy design means they will tilt forward a lot in the Gatra. The sheath also has its pros and cons – being wider and flatter means sharper edges and an awkward Gatra fit, but they are also flatter against your body and there is no protruding tip (less damage to clothes and hard to poke yourself). All of that being said, I would definitely wear this Kirpan over the top – it not only makes for a beautiful display piece but it is a usable Shastar as well.
At the end of the day, Khalsa Armory Kirpans offer a beautiful design combined with solid quality at a fair price. I would definitely recommend these to anyone interested, whether its for a collection or to wear. They make a lot of other cool stuff including carbon fiber and titanium Shastars, and I’m always looking forward to their future products. For a limited time they are offering FREE SHIPPING with the coupon code “KAVSK”!with no comments yet