Panj Piaray at Baisakhi


The Panj Piaray leading the Sangat in the Nagar Kirtan.

Some people email me from time to time saying…women can’t be in the Panj. I think that is ridiculous since Khalsa has no gender…and the "Panj" is any 5 Sikhs of the Guru…not any 5 men of the Guru. Women are the foundation…and have not been getting the respect that they are due, ESPECIALLY within some of the Sikh communities.

When I last went with my family to Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, after Asa Di Var they were giving the "panj" prashad..and I held my cupped hands up to receive it. The sevadar gave me parshad. My wife had her hands cupped ready to receive the Guru’s prashad…but the sevadhar would not give it to her because she was a woman. I then took half of my parshad and gave to her. The sevadhar and another person then tried to lecture me that I couldn’t do that. I hope those who think like this can open their minds and change these practices. There are so many double standards. Preaching equality of men and women in Sikhism..but in practice dominating them.

Ok…that’s enough of that…I guess I’m just venting. Let us honor and truly include our Khalsa sisters as Guru Gobind Singh would have and stop these practices which don’t allow Sikh women to participate in seva and other aspects of the Gurdwaras. Have you ever noticed that at Harmandir Sahib women are not allowed to do Kirtan and do certain seva? It’s like a boys club. What kind of example does this show the world? I admit that this is mostly in India, but I think it is important for people to be aware of and make a change in things.

15 Responses to “Panj Piaray at Baisakhi”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to hear your thoughts on the issue. My feelings are mixed because on the one hand the panj pyare were the only ones who stood up and were ready to lay down their lives to defend the faith. No woman stood up when Guru Ji asked for those wiling to sacrifice their lives for him and the faith. So historically it can been seen in context of being the role of men only because they are the Singh’s (lions) of the khalsa and the women the are Kaur’s (princesses).

    But In Sikh history there have been many instances were Sikh women have gone into battles with their menfolk to fight the enemy under extreme circumstances. So it can be argued they can be soldiers for the faith also.

    My personal belief may be seen as tradionalist but I believe that gender role reversal’s in any society has it’s negative consequences.

    Judging the society as a whole here in the UK, I see young boys disillusioned with the world and their role in it and eventually ending up as violent street criminals. I believe men and women can never have total equality this is a myth, in spritual essense Sikhism teaches men and women are equal under God. But in physically and natural ablities men and women are designed for different purposes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Guruji made Khalsa gender neutral and at the same time he did not try to make women masculine and men feminine. Men and women are each distinct but together they are the Khalsa.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i think women also can be in panj.
    Since Guru Has given them equal rights as men.

  4. Sarjit says:

    We are all equal in the eyes of the Guru. In everyday practice of many religiions, women take a secondary role; however, that does not make them unequal. Man is biased and not the creator. Here in our community (Victoria, BC), women have a prominent role in the Temple and in the community. I must also point out that when I visited the Golden Temple (two years ago), I was not denied parshaad — the Sevadar must have had some personal biases. Thats a shame! Sarjit

  5. Anonymous says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji Khalsa you are totally correct. The Akj (Akhand Kirtani Jatha) is pro Women in Punj however the Damdami Taksal is against. Its a lack of understanding. Good on you! :)

  6. Hardie says:

    When we take pride by calling ourselves as Guru’s Sikhs, then at the same time we must appreciate and think that SIKHISM is one of the newest and progressive religions of the world which doesn’t discriminate people on the basis of SEX, COLOR, CASTE, CREED.
    I think during our Guru’s time, these practices were into play and that is why KHALSA came into being, so that all those malpractices could be stopped.
    N if we in the 21st Century still carry out the same practices then we are defeating the whole purpose of Khalsa’s existence.
    Womenfolk are the most important part of any balanced or level headed socity, they are the foundation and how can we keep them away…..that gives me rocket signs.
    Bhul Chuk maaf

  7. Anonymous says:

    Equality works both ways. You then can’t complain and argue for women only institutions or roles if you want total equality. Women are very imporant to any religion or community. Some are our mothers, our sisters and our partners in life and Sikhism recognizes that and praises them for being women.

    Sometimes men and women feel more comfortable in one gender only area. I’m sure women wouldnt want a guy taking part in women only clubs or institutions now would they?

    Bhul Chuk maaf

  8. Anonymous says:

    If our Guru didn’t discriminate against women, then who are we to judge and discriminate. HE gave us equal status and I feel that it is our responsibility as his Sikhs to carry on from where HE left and that can only happen with education. We should put our resources together and open schools, or have workshops, etc. to educate the young and old alike.

  9. nj_singh says:

    Women can belong in the Panj Pyare’s.
    Unfortunately there is too much ignorance out there and we live in a man dominated society.
    This can be changed by starting in your own house and giving the woman the respect, honor and credit they truly deserve. If a person starts in his house from mother, sister, wife or daughter. Then you can see the bigger picture and start to see other women as the same.
    The way I see it – Man and Woman are tied together like a thread interweaved with each other. There is no way to seperate this bond. Society or no society – Sooner or later these practises will have to be stopped.

  10. Kanwarjeet Singh Chadha (Proud son of a proud Sikh mother) says:

    I think it is interesting how we become so skeptical and analytical when we are unsure of our belief. For eg: there is a funny statement which I recall from a caption; “You tell a man there are a trillion stars in the sky and he will beieve you but you tell him the bench has been painted and is wet – he has to touch it to make sure.”

    My point: Just because there was no woman as a Sikh guru or no woman stood up to be one of the panj payaras doesnt mean the women are any inferior. For those biased please tell us where in Gurbani does it mention that women cant be Panj pyaras or do seva etc.

    The fact is that the Gurus gave the women the highest of respect amongst any religion on the globe – Sikhism is the only religion which says ‘ why condemn the women from whom we are born…’.

    My culture (eastern) was more protective of the women – while the men went out and worked hard for the bread the women worked even harder keeping the family together and instilling the values in the kids – giving her the more important role. Remember our generation would have been different if not for our mothers.

  11. Anonymous says:

    WAHEGURU GURUJI KA KHALSA
    WAHEGURUJI KI FATEH.

    RESPECTED SIR,
    I’M AMANDEEP SINGH
    FROM JAMMU(J&K)DOING COMP ENGG.
    SIR I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR
    EFFORTS.

    BUT FOR THE POINT REGARDING
    “PANJ PYARAAS AS WOMEN” I THINK
    IN SOME CASE YOU ARE 100% RIGHT.
    BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY WE MUST FOLLOW
    THE TRUE TRADION AS STATED BY GURU SAHIB AND DON’T CHANGE THE
    TRUE TRADION.
    BECAUSE THE POINT IS THAT:-
    1. IF IN THE YEAR 1699 BAISAKHI
    WHEN GURU SAHIB ANNOUNCED FOR
    SOMEONE’S HEAD, THEN NO WOMAN
    CAME OUT.
    2.IF SOME LADY WOULD’VE OFFERED
    HER HEAD THEN WOMAN WOULD’VE BEEN CONSIDERED INTO PANJ PYARAS.
    SO SIR,BASICALLY IT IS TRADITION DURING GURUS TIME,SO IT SHOULD BE
    FOLLOWED UPTILL THE END OF OUR LIVES.

    AND ONE MORE SURPRISING PHOTO I SAW WAS OF LANGAR . IN THAT I SAW MANY PEOPLE PARTAKING “GURU KA LANGAR” WITH THEIR SHOES ON!.
    BY SEEING THIS MY HEART REALLY FELT HURTED. SO KHALSAJI PLEASE
    DON’T CHANGE OUR GURU SAHIBS
    “TRUE SCIENTIFIC ” TRADITION.
    MAY WAHEGURUJI KEEP YOU IN
    CHARDI KALA.
    YOU CAN CONTACT ME,
    MY MOB NO IS:-+919226128601
    S.S AKAAL

  12. Simranjit Singh says:

    As said by Amandeep Singh, it is true that we should keep “OUR GURU SAHIBS
    “TRUE SCIENTIFIC ” TRADITION”. Since no women stood up on that day in 1699, they are not allowed to be in panj pyara. If we just try to imagine what actually happened at that day, guru sahib asked for 5 heads of sikhs, nor men or women, only five sikhs. And as we all know those five people(men) who stood up, they became the panj pyaras. Then Guru Gobind Singh ji took amrit from them. Which means to become khalsa we must take amrit from the panj pyaras, the panj pyaras never change, they are always Bhai Dya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, and Bhai Sahib Singh. Even when we took amrit the five singh, those five were the same Panj Pyaras that gave amrit to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Actually the concept is that the person who take seva to be in Panj, he plays a role of one of the Singhs, he is there physically but spiritually there is Bhai Dya Singh in it or one other. therefore don’t think that If you or I did the seva in amrit sanchar, we were the panj pyaras, NO the Panj Pyaras were the same who give amrit to guru sahib, we were there just physically, it was those five singh who gave amrit through us. That is why we always says in Ardass that our five Panj Pyaras and their names. why those names are always the same, why there is not your or my name in it. it is because the panj were, are and will always be Bhai Dya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, and Bhai Sahib Singh.

    Therefore if a woman is involved to gave amrit, how can one of the singhs(original and ever lasting panj pyaras) can enter in her body and bless the person with amrit. So please Please if you don’t understand the phylosophy behind the amrit sanchar, don’t try to change the way it is. other we won’t become pure “khalsa”.

    Sorry, if I hurt someone’s feelings,
    bhul chuk muaaf.
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa,
    Waheguru ji ki fateh.

  13. Amardeep Kaur says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khlasa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
    Sadh Sangat Jio.
    It is interesting to read ur views about women in Khalsa Panth or Panj Pyare role.
    Let’s open up our hearts..that’s what Sikhi and equality is for me .
     If there was no woman in Panj on the day Guru Singh ji asked for the five heads ,does it mean that women are inferior or what? It could be the situation.But what I want to remind you is about Mai Bhago alongwith other singhnis ,who joined the Guru’s fauj when Bhai Mahan singh and other Forty Sikhs had quit Guru Gobind Singh’s fauj.And also ,Mata Sahb Kaur Ji was there to sweeten the Amrit when it was being prepared…making sure that Khalsa is strong but sweet.
    So…why discriminate ….live  and let live ..Thanks so much

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki Fateh

  14. jasbir k says:

    please write in gurmukhi or punjabi who and where the punj pyaras from in sikh history

  15. SAHMSHER.SINGH says:

    but i think this is wrong because when sri gobind singh demand the sees only man are given the sees not women .women miss this opperunity .so the roop of panj pyaras are only for men according to the guru's.so sir dont change our tradition or culture this is against our religion WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA WAHEGURU JI KE FETHA
    MY PHN NO IS+919876740961