There have been many significant moments in Sikh history and the Vaisakhi of 1699 is perhaps one of the most pivotal moments. The foundation set by Guru Nanak and evolution of the Panth throughout the following decades culminated with the creation of the Khalsa, a third path distinct and sovereign. The Sikh panth had a martial presence dating back to the time of Guru Hargobind and even prior to this, the Gurus philosophy ensured that the panth was both spiritually and politically aware. Up until 1699, a Sikh would be administered Charan-Pahul, as a sign of devotion to the Guru. Whilst the principle remained similar, Guru Gobind Singh transitioned from Charan-pahul to Khande-di-pahul, whereby the all steel Khanda was used to stir amrit mixed with sugar and then administered to the Sikhs. This is a clear demonstration of the martial principles of the Khalsa and the initiation of a Saint-Soldier.
When Guru Gobind Singh created/formalised the Khalsa in 1699, he made a political statement that inspired sovereignty for the Sikhs across Northern India. Moreover, the story of the Panj-Pyare and their initiation into the Khalsa was an example of the third path, whereby your previous caste and lineage was disregarded. Having come from various castes and regions of India, the Panj-Pyare signified equality and non-discrimination amongst the Khalsa. This was further demonstrated when Guru Gobind Singh was then administered amrit from the Panj-Pyare. It showed the relationship between the Khalsa and the Guru, a new age that no longer relied upon the masands and exemplified the sovereignty of the Khalsa.
There is a vast range of literature available to further understand the historical and philosophical elements of the creation of the Khalsa. The list below is a selection of books that we recommend you read for Vaisakhi. These books range from introductory work to in-depth academic studies of the life of Guru Gobind Singh.
Our top pick from this list is undoubtedly Parasaraprasna: The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh by Sirdar Kapur Singh as it is an exceptional introduction to and analysis of the Vaisakhi of 1699.
Guru Gobind Singh and the Creation of the Khalsa
Parasaraprasna: The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh by Sirdar Kapur Singh
Guru Gobind Singh: Master of the White Hawk by J. S. Grewal
Life of Guru Gobind Singh by Professor Kartar Singh
Guru Gobind Singh: Reflections and Offerings by Puran Singh
The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh: Essays, Lectures and Translations by Kamalroop Singh and Gurinder Singh Mann
The Impact of Guru Gobind Singh on Indian Society by Gurbachan Singh Talib
History of the Sikhs Vol.1: The Sikh Gurus by Hari Ram Gupta
Patshahi Mehima - Revisiting Sikh Sovereignty by Ranveer Singh
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Darbari Ratan by Piara Singh Padam (Punjabi)
You can visit our store to see our available books from this list. Don't forget, you can get free delivery on all orders over £25...
Furthermore, the above list is by no means complete and additions will be regularly made. If you would like to suggest any notable books on these subjects then please feel free to contact us.