More 3HO History
According to Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa

Making the 'Sword of the Khalsa' for the 300th Anniversary of the Khalsa
By Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa


Sat Nam. It was in December of 1997, at our Winter Solstice Sadhana celebration in Florida, USA, that the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan, first indicated to me that he wanted me to create a very special sword.

Within a few months of that conversation, in March 1998, the Siri Singh Sahib came to teach and visit our ashram community in Millis, Massachusetts, USA. During his stay, the details of the sword he was requesting to be made began to emerge. He explained that this must be a very royal sword to honor the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, and the 300th Anniversary of the Birth of the Khalsa. We established at that time that the entire Jaap Sahib (a rather long hymn written by the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh himself) would be laser engraved on the sword’s scabbard.

I invited several Master artisan/sculptor/engraver colleagues to work closely with me on this project. To help pay these artisans and cover some of my expenses, we created a full-color flyer to publicize and raise money for the project. Many colleagues and students of the Siri Singh Sahib contributed time and money, and several contributed materials that were used in the sword.

Over the next six months, I forged the pattern-welded nickel Damascus steel blade for the sword - the largest blade I’d forged, at 36” (91cm) long. During the process of forging and shaping this blade, I did my best to remain mindful of the privilege and blessing being afforded me in creating this commemorative sword, and I was grateful when it came out well.

A blade-smith colleague chiseled stylized panels into the blade to lend a three-dimensional quality, and 24K gold design work was inlaid around these panels and from the panels up to the handle by one of the Master engravers. The Siri Singh Sahib Ji indicated that certain English words/phrases should appear on the six blade panels (three on each side). ‘Sovereign, Spiritual, Khalsa Nation’ is on one side in large lettering.

On the opposite side in smaller lettering are ‘Sikh Dharma - Western Hemisphere;’ ‘Great, Great, Great, Great Guru Gobind Singh - Father of the Nation;’ ‘Mata Sahib Deva Kaur - Mother of the Khalsa;’ and, finally, the names of the Five Beloved Ones, grouped with the names of the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh. These words are laser-engraved, with a yellow gold base set into the engraving.

I did some sketching, arrived at a handle design, and carved a wax model. See Photos. (In the process of lost wax casting, one carves a wax model which is then placed inside a plaster-like material. The wax is then melted out of the plaster cavity and the metal of choice is cast under vacuum pressure, in this case, white gold.) A carved falcon’s head, with large rhodolite garnet eyes, was skillfully carved by another of my Master artisan colleagues, which graced the back end of the handle. Slabs of Alaskan jade were inset into the handle forward of the falcon. Two engraved portraits of Guru Gobind Singh Ji are inlaid into the handle forward of the jade, on horseback on one side, and a frontal portrait on the other side. These portraits are cast in yellow gold, then hand engraved and inlaid into the white gold handle, which is studded with semi-precious gems and diamonds.

When the Siri Singh Sahib visited the Millis ashram community again in October of 1998, I showed him a selection of slides depicting scenes from the life of Guru Gobind Singh. He chose six scenes that would be pictured on the scabbard that sheaths the sword. These scenes are depicted in detailed, sculpted and hand-engraved oval panels cast in yellow gold that contrast with white gold frames in which they are set. Over 1000 diamonds are set into the jade inlaid sculpted handle and scabbard fittings.

The completed sword is couched in a Flame Birch box, created from a hardwood tree that was growing in 1699. Submerged in Lake Superior for over 150 years, this wood was preserved by the cold water of the Northern U.S. Great Lakes. The names of all those who contributed to the making of this sword are laser engraved on panels set inside the lid of this special box.

Another colleague contributed the Palkhi Sahib that was used to carry the sword. At the 1998 Summer Solstice Celebration in New Mexico, the Siri Singh Sahib indicated that major contributors towards the “Sword of the Khalsa” would carry it in a procession to its final home at Keshgar Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib. See Photos.

The following October he added, “Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa is making a historical gem studded kirpan with full Jaap Sahib on it. We pray he succeeds. This kirpan shall be our identity leader, and we shall follow as Sangat, just as the universe follows Adi Shakti.”

Making this sword was a personal meditation for me for a year and a half. Funding the sword was an international effort, predominantly by Sikhs of the Western Hemisphere, aware of the project. The ‘Khalsa’ has been Guru’s meditation for over 300 years, carried on a Palkhi of Courage, and Sacrifices, predominantly made by our Sikh Siblings born in the Eastern Hemisphere.

In gratitude for this heritage of grace, royalty, and sacrifice, and by Guru’s grace, it was our great honor to offer this “Sword of the Khalsa” to the home of Guru Gobind Singh in Anandpur Sahib. Sikhs of all nations come to answer the call of the “Master of the Unity,” we prayed together that Guru continues to bless the Panth Khalsa with grace and nobility. See 3HOLegacyLinks.com. See More Photos.

In service, I remain,

Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa
Millis, MA USA, Founder of Khalsa Kirpans.

My Sikh Sense
By Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa

Majesty of Hemkunt Sahib
In The Sacred Himalayas In India

An extraordinary place that is regularly recommended for Sikhs and spiritual seekers to travel to and visit is Hemkunt Sahib in India. It is considered a most sacred location where a great saint and savior of humankind meditated and prepared himself to inspire and lead humanity as well as to fight injustice. Below are details of my journey.

I used to travel to Switzerland, sometimes twice a year for business. Even when my business was in the south, I'd always fly into Zurich in the north, so I could drive south through the Alps. Those majestic mountains sang to me, in a similar way that the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan exemplified through his dignity, divinity, grace and words that inspired those who had the good fortune to study with him regularly for over 30 years. He embodied majesty

I was called to go to Hemkunt Sahib, high in the Himalayas only fairly recently, after being on this sacred path of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma for 45 years. During these decades, it became clear to me that to master fear; to leave it entirely was important for me to achieve my destiny, as a true son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Guru Gobind Singh was the Tenth Master/Founder of the SIkhs, a most exemplary humanitarian and spiritual warrior, who fought tirelessly to preserve honor and justice for all, during a time of severe religious oppression in India. Aspiring to embody the saint-soldier seems to be in my blood, as I've begun to understand the sacredness of being a protector of the weak and innocent, in a world where respect, honor, kindness and civility towards one another can be regularly missing.

Training in martial arts for decades (which Yogi Bhajan urged us to do for the first 20 years he taught us) I still find therapeutic and empowering. A daily morning sadhana practice (which Yogi Bhajan also urged for us almost every time we sat with him) also has further helped me to drop much of my fear.

All of this previous training I believe prepared me for the arduous and challenging trek to 15,000 feet in the Himalayas, where in a previous incarnation Guru Gobind Singh (as Rishi Dusht Daman) meditated to be able to fulfill his destiny as a fearless champion for the people. According to the Sri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan, Rishi Dushat Daman meditated on this mountain top at Hemkunt Sahib for many years. He mastered all forms of yoga. His presence was so radiant that his aura extended 25 miles.

Many seekers would come just to be in that presence which would give them an experience of the Universal Mind. He spoke very little as he was always in Samadhi; a state of being where the sense of the personal self has dissolved into the universal self. Much of his teaching was conveyed in Shunia - Silence. He attained complete union with the divine and broke the cycle of birth and death.

After full realization is attained, it is not necessary that one take another birth and out of compassion he did, and reincarnated as Guru Gobind Singh to guide humanity to their truth within. Born fully enlightened, Guru Gobind Singh was 9 years old when he was recognized as the 10th Guru in the lineage of enlightened masters which started with Guru Nanak.

I was in awe and humbled at the presence I felt of the 10th Master, as I bowed and sat in the Gurdwara at Hemkunt Sahib. It all was precious - as was the opportunity to shift in my mind the fear, precariousness and peril of the actual journey. Driving from Rishikesh to Gobindghat (6,000 foot elevation), where the journey on foot, by donkey or helicopter begins, was interesting as at times our SUV was between 10-20 feet close to cliffs that plunged 1000-1,500 feet down. Often there were protective guard rails of various types and at other times there was nothing. Views were breathtaking, both figuratively and literally!

Zig-zagging back and forth across hair-pin turns for 10 hours in these amazingly majestic mountains was invigorating as well as tiring and disorienting. Taking long deep breaths, drinking lots of bottled water and not looking down too often seemed to help. After all - we can face our fear and breathe deeply/yogicly through it and maybe drop or leave it - or we can be paralyzed by it!

Then, 19 year-old Charan Atma Singh from Florida and myself, trekked and I took a donkey also (because of my rather severely arthritic knees) to the next step of the journey, Gobind Dham (11,000 foot elevation). It was 10km, from the place where a taxi dropped us off. Views were awe inspiring and the guard rails for walking were there and not there regularly. Walking close to the mountain side felt best and long deep breaths again, which trigger a relaxation response, always served me well. The donkeys were another story. They were accompanied by a guide usually and at times one guide would have several donkeys.

My donkeys each came with an individual guide - 4 of them over the entire trip. Sometimes the guides were present (mentally that is) and other times not so much. I found it important to exercise my will directing them very specifically, regularly and with a rather stern tone at times (they spoke no English) to walk the donkeys close to the mountain side/inside of the stone and at times cement pathways as well as for them not to push the donkey's speed too fast. (Donkey riders/renters are at the mercy of the guides presence of mind and the sure-footedness of the donkeys.

Two of my donkeys stumbled seriously and one fell landing on my foot, without injury to me thankfully. Donkeys also can get too close to the edge of the pathway, so constantly reminding the guides to stay on the inside of the walkways - allowed me to be more relaxed). The guides seemed very open to this 'coaching' as their livelihood depends on the riders safety, comfort and satisfaction with their/their mules performance.

Reaching Gobind Dham was a relief as I knew there was one last stage beyond to reach the summit at Hemkunt. The following day I began walking up towards the summit and soon found myself ready to take a donkey. All good. I felt no less honored and/or honorable to be making the trek on the back of a mule, than if I were 'under my own steam' and walking. It felt like the privilege and blessings were in honoring Guru Gobind Singh, and making the journey, however one needed to arrive.

Being at the summit was exhilarating. An exalted location where the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) stands with the nectar tank to the side and behind, all framed by the most stately Himalayan peaks. Mostly men (as it did not seem there were adequate facilities for women) were dipping in the icy cold nectar tank waters to wash away the karma of lifetimes.

I had developed a bit of a cold - so I put my feet in and decided that was going to be enough. Charan Atma did dip fully. I entered the Gurdwara and bowed my head where the recitation of prayers/banis was occurring. It was at that point that I felt an energetic infusion of the 10th Masters blessings and presence - that was profound. I sat and meditated for a bit before bidding farewell to this hallowed space.

Descending back to Gobind Dham, even though downhill, was arduous for my knees and eventually I opted for a mule. Views were splendiferous, and keeping mentally present at all times, was important. Amazing smartphone images were a must everywhere during the trek.

Further descent to Gobindghat, also required a mule for me and I was grateful for all of the blessings and opportunities that this sacred journey had provided. If you find your life ruled by more fear than you feel is healthy - consider making this trek. It could be an opportunity of a lifetime! --

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