The Spiritual Warriors enter the field of battle; now is the time to fight!
He alone is known as a Spritual Hero, who fights in defense of Religion.
He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but never leaves the field of battle.
Gatka is a complete martial system which uses spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal portions to help one fully competent in defending themselves and others. It is a system that can only be used in defense as per:
"When all other means have failed, it is proper to take the sword in one’s hand"
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had a marvelous foresight; he wanted his Sikhs to have a strong soul, which we achieve by our prayers. He also wanted us to be physically fit and have a disciplined life. To make our self externally and internally strong and not by merely wasting our life and doing the things blindly what others do that bear no fruits. So, let all of us try to be Victorious by overcoming our evils, our own enemies Kaam, Krodh, Lob, Moh & Aanhkar.
"… makes the mind alert and responsive, maintains the body in a near perfect condition and makes soul fearless, compassionate and tranquil…"
The art of Gatka involves a series of integral combat training systems that include several systems of duels armed - unarmed and the use of weapons of defense and offence. It aims at the coordination of mind & body through the meditation of spiritual verses of Gurbani, a holistic system by which the character and moral attitude of a student is shaped.
A moral philosophy
Dedication and a sense of duty and respect, where a balance and understanding of both cultural and martial ways is established.
"They alone truly and fully live on this earth who remember the Lord and are ready to fight for the righteous cause. Brittle is our body; it does not last long. Let us use it and get into the boat of YASAS (nobly earned repute) and cross the ocean of repeated births and deaths. Let us make this body the residence of forbearance and fortitude and light in it the excellent lamp of wisdom. Let us there-after hold in our hands the sword of knowledge-realisation (Gnana) and bravely destroy with it, the demon of cowardice in us." – Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
A insight into the battles that our Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters of the Khalsa were invovled in, shows us how skills from Gatka are significant and a source of empowerment.
Mai Bhag Kaur Ji-Her sharp words awakened the souls of numerous men. When forty Sikhs left Guru Gobind Singh Sahib ji during the siege of Anandpur Fort, she inspired them to return to the Guru's fold and led them to meet the Guru and seek his pardon. Knowing that Wa/ir Khan was advancing to attack the Guru, Mai Bhago took up positions along with forty Sikhs and others at Mukatsar.
Bibi Dalair Kaur stood up in front of her sister's and spoke with passion, "Sisters, we have given our heads to our Guru-Father at the amrit ceremony. We have lived for Truth, now the time has come to die for it. Sisters, remember that we are all trained warriors and we will die fighting rather than be taken as slaves. Sisters, pick up you guns and get in position; it's a good day to die 'BOLAY SO NIHAL SAT SRI AKAL'. Witnessing the events from a distance, Wajir Khan yelled, "Cowards, are you afraid of women? They are gifts for you, capture them and do what you want with the rewards of your hunt." Bibi Dalair Kaur yelled back, "We are the hunters, not the hunted. Come forward and find out for yourself!"
Sada Kaur described as a first woman commander-in-chief and a leader of unprecedented qualities.
Bibi Harsharan Kaur - Hearing such stern answers from Bibi Harsharan Kaur, the infuriated Mughal soldiers attempted to capture her and attacked. Bibi jee grabbed her kirpaan and fought back with determination. After killing and maiming many soldiers, Bibi Harsharan Kaur was injured and fell to the ground. The soldiers picked Bibi Harsharan Kaur up and threw her into the pyre, burning her alive.
Nirbhai Kaur was a fearless and baptized girl of 22. Her father, Jangbahadar Singh, head of the army of Sodhi Wadbhag Singh, had taught her horse riding and use of arms. She was a true saint soldier of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. She was armed whenever she left the house. She was in the prime of her youth, about 6 feet tall having a well built body and a bright face.
Bibi Sahib Kaur Phulkian A Princess of Patiala -She led armies into many battles and was the only woman in Indian subcontinent to win a battle over a British General.
Bibi Ranjit Kaur Ji moved swiftly, taking two steps backward she drew her sword from under her shawl and reflecting the moonlight it flashed like lightening. She shouted "If you come any closer I wont be responsible for what happens!" The soldiers burst out laughing. Khan Sahib said, "Angel drawing a sword! That’s a first!" The other soldier spoke "Isn’t she beautiful when she’s angry?" This was the first time Khan Sahib had seen a woman protect her honor like a lioness, but she was still only a weak woman so he tried to grab her with his outstretched arms. A flashing sword dazzled him and he screamed in agony as his left hand dropped to the ground. Having been bitten by the lioness the soldiers drew their swords and charged towards her. Ranjit Kaur Ji lunged forward at Khan Sahib again and cut off his sword hand. He retreated squirming in pain.
Bibi Baghel Kaur Ji came forward and cut the sword of the first soldier with her sword. In the meantime, a companion of her injured him with her sword when he was returning to save himself from the second attack. Another soldier attacked Baghel Kaur with his spear, but her friend checked his attack with her sword and injured him.
Kaurs United and Daughters of the Khalsa Blog constructed three questions to ask modern day Kaur Singhnee’s that practice Gatka on a daily basis. Here some of the replies that Sevadars from Kaurs United had to offer:
1) What type of feelings goes through your mind when you are performing Gatka?
-"I guess at that very moment I'm focused on the battle but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about the past and how what I'm doing at that moment was started hundreds of years ago and how fortunate I am to be performing such an art from the times of our Gurus"
- Aminder Kaur, Calgary, 17
-"It's really energetic...It feels good to play gatka knowing it has been in Sikhi for a long time, through the Gurus, it makes me feel proud to know how to fight."
-Perminder Kaur, Toronto, 13
-"First I feel honored to be performing Gatka. It makes me feel like a strong Singhni as I represent the Khalsa. I feel at peace and even more connected to Sikhi."
-Jaachak Kaur, Calgary, 25
"When I'm playing first of all I get really nervous but then after you play a lot, you have lots of beer russ in yourself and its pretty fun. But then you're still scared that what about if I get hurt and can't play no more, but usually it's really fun."
-Simer Kaur, Abbotsford (BC), 15
-"It's unfortunate that I don't do Gatka so often anymore, but when I remember back to how it used to feel, I immediately feel like doing my panthra and picking up a shaster. I just want to say, the feeling of partaking in Gatka is beyond any description, I can't even express in words how it feels to be a warrior in Guru Gobind Singh Ji's army.
...I understand that this is who we become by taking Amrit and joining his Fauj, but playing Gatka is just next level. It's such an amazing rush that comes over your whole body, when you hit someone you realize "it" is in you, and when you get hit, "it" (the bir russ, power, God knows what) just rises to the top and you growl like a lioness... It's so beautiful. Gatka is amazing. It's so empowering. Fighting with shasters is a blessing, it feels very divine, as though Guru Ji Himself is blessing you while you fight, as though your body is completely connected to Naam and the divine current of God...
There is no other way to describe it, but just that, an unknown power seems to come over me when I play Gatka, and it seems like there is nothing between me and the person I fight, except for my pure warrior power, and I feel my animal senses coming over me, as though I really am a lioness, and just want to pounce on and destroy the enemy..."
-Anonymous Kaur, BC, 20
- "I feel proud. And it's about courage. It takes courage for people to come out and perform. When I do Gatka I feel great. It builds up energy and you know, it can be used to defend yourself."
-Poonam Kaur, Richmond (BC), 15
-"I feel power, I feel bir rass, I feel like I'm stepping into a maidaan,
…I feel like a lioness, it's beyond words... the strength and power you feel…
It's like so much goes through you at that time, it's like when you hear that dhol start to play you can't just sit and watch, you have to jump in and fight. You feel like there's jaikaarey going inside you...It's like AKAAALUHH you feel like an akali nihung."
-Asees Kaur, BC, 19
2) Have you ever used your Gatka skills in a real life situation? Even if you haven't physically used Gatka skills, in real life, people say it gives you confidence/makes you feel like fighting, and makes you stronger. Would this be true for you or no?
-"I haven't really used my Gatka skills in real life but I think physically and emotionally Gatka makes you stronger. I think Gatka is as much physical as it is emotional."
- Aminder Kaur, Calgary, 17
-"I haven't used Gatka skills in real life...but if I had to it would certainly come handy...It does give me confidence that in case something happens on the streets I can at least defend myself."
-Perminder Kaur, Toronto, 14
-"The only skills I've really ever used in every day like that I learned from Gatka were patience, confidence, and control. You use these skills while performing Gatka as well in every day life."
-Jaachak Kaur, Calgary, 25
-"I think I have used the confidence and fearlessness Gatka has given me, to protect myself from physical harm. It's possible that the confidence and fearlessness I kept inside of me because of Gatka, scared off certain people that would have otherwise messed with me.
...Gatka can help you on the streets or in real life because it isn't just physical, but also mental and spiritual, and it heightens your awareness and if you respect it and play it with love, for the art of Gatka and for the shasters, then every hair on your body will stand up when you feel like someone may threaten you physically...
It's almost like Guru Ji keeps you awake and aware, when you promise you will learn His form of defense. It helps, in every way, it really does, if you learn it and allow yourself to become without fear"
-A. Kaur, B.C., 20
-"Yeah I have used it and yes it does make a person stronger. I've done wrestling and kickboxing before that so it all combines together and makes your stronger."
-Asees Kaur, BC, 19
3) Is there any other advice you would like to give those bibian that want to learn Gatka but are intimidated or afraid - would you like to say anything else to those bibian that will read this article?
-"It's good to learn gatkha and where it comes from...As you learn more, you would want to learn...So I would definitely encourage bibian to learn gatkha."
-Perminder Kaur, Toronto, 14
-"Well I just want to say that it seems really scary and hard at the beginning but [bibian] should try it out once and like the first TIME they try it, they know if it's hard or not but usually it's not and it's really fun to join and it helps a lot if you ever get in trouble or something."
-Simer Kaur, Abbotsford (BC), 15
-"Women are just as strong as the men...And Singhnis should be feeling that strength no matter what. Gatka is about protecting Sikhi. If you Love it...you'll do it."
-Jaachak Kaur, Calgary, 25
-"For those of you out there, I was one of you. I was scared to do this because I thought if I learned it people would make fun of me. It took me time, but seriously ladies, there's nothing more fun than doing Gatka! You learn how to have self-defense and it makes you stronger in every way. Practice makes perfect. So if I were you I'd be up on my feet fighting by now. Please ladies don't be scared! If I can do it, so can you. And it's not hard at all, trust me. Anyone can do this. This has been passed on to us from generation to generation and we should be proud to be learning and doing this."
-Poonam Kaur, Richmond (BC) 15
This is a Bhenji who is describing the first time she won in Gatka Akhara:
I realize something great, it certainly makes you feel confident, fearless and the love for shaster vidya. While performing it and when your baani goes through your head, then you will see how the movement is and vaar goes so beautifully and energetic…. I am not good in describing my feelings while performing gatka because it is something which comes from your inner self and then rejoins with shaster vidya.
The truth is, even I was not sure whether I can fight or not and don't want to fight with Singhs because they are experienced Singhs in gatka. They have been practicing Gatka for many years and my group just learned in three months.
Guruji is the one who made me involve in last minute and I just go on with one spirit, and that was bharosa in Guruji and Naam. When Guruji gave me my first victory, Penji, the Sangat faces in stadium especially Penjiaa from every Gatka Akhara showed a sense of proud for me and said in future they will take part. It was not Win or Loose game. It was something beyond that,
…it was the feeling of how you should be tyar bhar tyaar in facing any situation without fear. The main part is our actual battle starts with our own enemies which are Kam,krodh.lobh,moh,ahangkar..."
- Gupt Kaur
…This article is created by Singhnees, for Singhnees…
The Holy people are an invincible army of spiritual warriors; their bodies are protected by the armour of humility.
Their weapons are the Glorious Praises of the Lord which they chant; their Shelter and Shield is the Word of the Guru's Shabad.
The horses, chariots and elephants they ride are their way to realize God's Path.
They walk fearlessly through the armies of their enemies; they attack them with the Kirtan of God's Praises.
They conquer the entire world, O Nanak, and overpower the five thieves.
By portraying historical events where our Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters used Gatka to help them in battle, and illustrating the emotions of modern day Singhnees when it comes to Gatka, hopefully, for all of the Singhnees who have read this post you get a sense of assurance that as a Sikh, we should practice Gatka because it will help us gain confidence in the world we live in today.
"Khalsa lived poised in sword's sharp edge, and he kissed its cold steel. Indeed Iron had gone into his soul at his nativity. But it would be a great mistake to associate the Khalsa with the wanton wars and bloodshed. He took to the sword because of a crisis of conscience." – Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
I would like to thank Kaurs United and the many Sevadars for their part in this article, and Waheguroo.com and Sikhnet.com for the pictures.
I know there are many Singhnee’s out there who do Gatka but were not part of this article, so please feel free to post your answers to the above questions! It would be greatly appreciated.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa!
Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh!!
From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived;
to woman he is engaged and married.
Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the
future generations come.
When his woman dies, he seeks another woman;
to woman he is bound.
So why call her bad? From her, kings are born.
From woman, woman is born; without woman,
there would be no one at all.
O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman.
That mouth which praises the Lord
continually is blessed and beautiful.
O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of the True Lord.
An ideal mother takes utmost care that the child may becomes an ideal personality alongside getting proper academic education. She not only prefers academic education but also sincerely concerned that, idealistic qualities and spiritual thoughts also penetrate deep in the child’s conscience.
When her husband comes back after the day’s work, an ideal mother does not tell him about the ill treatment meted out to her by her in-laws in his absence, because this ultimately demoralizes him.
An ideal mother, instead of getting frightened and cursing circumstances because of an emergency or mishap in the family, stands boldly and also consoles her family members. She doesn’t let the family to shatter and is wholeheartedly ever ready to help them in every way. If need be, she does not hesitate to dispose off her jewelry so that the financial problems are sorted out.
An ideal mother covers her body properly with simple and decent Clothes. She thinks that nudity is lack of intellect, thus she decorates her conscience with more and more intellectual knowledge.
imparts knowledge to the world.
Losing their ego, the Gurmukhs
purify their inner-self.
Gurmukhs adopt truth and contentment and
do not indulge in lust and anger.
Gurmukhs have no enmity and
opposition towards anyone.
Preaching to all the four varnas, Gurmukhs merge in equipoise.
Blest is the mother of a gurmukh who has
given birth to him and the gurmukh is the best among warriors.
Bhai Gurdaas Ji in Vaars
Bhai Gurdaas on Pannaa 19
Where all who need solace, healing and comfort are welcomed with open arms, warm food and kindness. Women who can train their sons and daughters in meditation and Gurbani so that their children do not become confused by doubt and maya, but have such a clear, direct experience of the Divine that they can fearlessly live to the calling of their Spirit and Destiny, even unto death.
For the Khalsa nation to come to life, those who have the destiny to give birth to it must realize their duty. And every Sikh has an obligation to do everything possible to give those Khalsa women a chance to wake up, own their power and change the world.
in your Strength our Future Lies!
Give our children fearless minds
to see the world through Guru Ji’s eyes!
Let our Future children strive to become the Khalsa
Continue to inspire others by becoming
noble, fearless and Chardi-Kala Sikhs
Teach your children to live up to the standards of those countless Mothers who spilled blood and laid down their head for the Khalsa