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khanda & nishan sahib
The Sikh flag is a saffron-coloured triangular-shaped cloth, usually reinforced in the middle with Sikh insignia in blue. It is usually mounted on a long steel pole (which is also covered with saffron-coloured cloth) headed with a Khanda. The Sikh flag is often seen near the entrance to the Gurdwara, standing firmly on the platform, overlooking the whole building. Sikhs show great respect to their flag as it is, indeed, the symbol of the freedom of the Khalsa. Nishan Sahib is a triangular shaped Kesri (Dark Yellow or blue) coloured cloth with or inscribed on it in the middle hoisted on a pole below a steel Khanda.
It is said words "Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh" in Punjabi script (Victory of God) was inscribed on the Nishan Sahib of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. During Maharaja Ranjit Singh's times words "Akal Sahai" in Punjabi script were unscribed on the Nishan Sahib. During times Sikh Misals, "Nishan Walia" Misal used to provide Sikhs for carrying Nishan Sahib to all the Misals during battles. Nishan Sahib on Pole of suitable height is hoisted on all Gurdwaras. This indicates the location of the Gurdwara.
Once, Nishan Sahib bearer named Bhai Alam Singh fell in the hands of Mughal enemy forces during a battle. He was told to throw the flag or else, his hand would be chopped off. Bhai Alam Singh replied that in that case he would keep holding the flag with his feet. Then he was told that if his feet would also be cut off.
Bhai Alam Singh replied that in such eventuality he would hold it with his mouth. "In case, his head is also cut, then what he will do?" he was asked. Bhai Alam Singh replied with confidence, "The Guru whose flag he was carrying well take care of it." This is the as how the Nishan Sahib was held in great esteem by the Sikhs in those days
The Khanda constitutes three symbols in one. However, the name is derived from the central symbol, Khanda, a special type of double-edged sword which confirms the Sikhs' belief in One God.
This consists of four parts (weapons) namely a Khanda, a Chakkar and two Swords.
This a double edged dagger with a pointed triangular shaped upper end. This a powerful weapon used in battle. In spiritual interpratation, it signifies a powerful means to distinguish truth from falsehood. Khanda was used by Guru Gobind Singh Ji for preparing Amrit by stirring it in the sweetened water kept in and iron Bowl (Baata).
* The double-edged sword is the creative power of God which controls the destiny of the whole creation. It is sovereign power over life and death.
* The right edge of the double-edged sword symbolises freedom and authority governed by moral and spiritual values.
* The left edge of the double-edged sword symbolises divine justice which chastises and punishes the wicked oppressors.
Two swords in the outer periphery signifing two Kirpans of Miri and Piri. This philosphy of Miri and Piri i.e. Bhakti and Shakti was highlighted by Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji - The Sixth Guru. He wore two Kirpans representing Miri and Piri.
* On the left side is the sword of spiritual sovereignty, Piri; on the right side is the sword of political sovereignty, Miri.
This is an iron weopon circular in shape whose outer edges are sharp. Its circular shape signifies God, who is endless having no begining and no end. This also signifies struggle for one's life, liberty and rights. That is why Lord Krishna used Sudershan Chakkar as a powerful weapon in the war of Mahabharat.
There must always be a balance between the two and this balance is emphasised by a inside circle. The circle is what is called the Chakra. This is a symbol of all-embracing divine manifestation including everything and wanting nothing, without beginning or end, neither first or last, timeless, and absolute. It is the symbol of oneness, unity, justice, humanity and morality. The Chakra was also used by the Sikhs as one of the war weapons against injustice and oppression.
Almost all Sikh warriors used to wear it in the eighteenth century.