How are Amritdharis different from those Sikhs who live by Guru Granth Sahib, but do not wear the 5 symbols?

How are they different from those people who serve humanity as a Khalsa is supposed to be?

Amritdhari and others

Amritdharis are different from non-Amritdharis, who live by the Guru Granth Sahib, in the same way as a soldier or a policeman of a country is different from a good law-abiding, high-class citizen. Both serve their country in their own way. A veteran enjoys greater respect from the people and the government of the state because of his duty to protect their freedom at the risk of his/her life.

The Khalsa is a soldier, not of any worldly government but of God, for serving people and protecting their human rights. They do so not because they are to be paid for their services, but because it is their duty to serve humanity. The physical distinction of wearing the 5-symbol uniform by a Khalsa is the same as a policeman wearing his uniform and looking different from other citizens of the state.

Non-Amritdharis (without the 5 symbols) living the life of an Amritdhari Sikh, are life the civilians doing the duty of a policeman. They do so without joining the police department, without putting on their uniform, and without observing the code of discipline required of the policemen. Such people, even when doing better services than the policemen, are not recognized as policemen, but as good citizens. A person living a pious life as expected of a Sikh will be recognized as a holy man, but not as a member of the Khalsa, unless he wears the 5-symbol uniform and observes other code of the Reht.

Better Sikh?

This actually is the same question as above but asked in different words by another youth. The answer can be understood easily if we relate it to our daily life. Who is a better member of the team one who wears a uniform, but does not play the game, or the one who does not wear the uniform but plays the game well ? Each is deficient; one needs to learn how to play and the other needs to wear the uniform to become a member of the team. The two cannot be brought on the same level for comparison.

Similarly, we can say one is a Sikh by appearance but not by actions, while the other is a Sikh by actions but not by appearance. To be accepted and honored as a member of the team (Khalsa Panth), one has to know how to play (do good deeds), wear his 5-symbol uniform and obey the rules of the game (observe the Khalsa Reht).

Initiation (Amrit), Why ?

This is not a question but an observation of a person who feels hurt to see Amritdhari Sikhs ignoring their vows. People may agree with it or not. The general image among the Sikhs today is that during the 18th century Sikhs had very high character. They offered their heads for their religious freedom and human rights. They would die, but not lie. The Sikh youth, after learning the Sikh way of life, wish and decide to sincerely follow that path. However, today they do not see many Sikhs living up to those standards. Rather, they see them fighting for taking over the control of Gurdwaras instead of serving the Sikhs and living the life of a Sikh.

If we see with a wider perspective, we find many Sikhs who are making the highest sacrifices and suffering tortures even today to protect their religious freedom and human rights. Thousands have already become martyrs in the last decade. The history of the 18th century and early 20th century is being repeated today. There are people who have even sold their houses to help the Sikhs struggling against the mighty Indian government. Many are silently leading a good Sikh life and helping needy people. It is ironic that a few hundred Sikhs fighting for positions in the Gurdwara management become more prominent than hundreds of thousands of Sikhs who go there for religious singing and learning the principles of Sikh life.

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