KHALSA, from Arabic khalis (lit. pure, unsullied) and Perso Arabic khalisah (lit. pure; office of revenue department; lands directly under government management), is used collectively for the community of baptized Sikhs. The term khalisah was used during the Muslim rule in India for crown lands administered directly by the king without the mediation of jdgirddrs or mansabddrs. In the Sikh tradition, the term appears for the first time in one of the hukamndmds (lit. written order or epistle) of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) where a sangat of the eastern region has been described as Guru kd Khalsd (Guru`s own or Guru`s special charge).

It has also been employed in the same sense in one of the letters of Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-75) addressed to the sangat of Patna. The word occurs in Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, once, but there it carries the sense of the term khdfis, i.e. pure. The term “Khalsa”, however, acquired a specific connotation after Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) introduced, on 30 March 1699, the new form of initiatory rites khande di pdhul (rites by khandd or double edged sword). Sikhs so initiated on that Baisakhi day were collectively designated as the Khalsa Khalsa who belonged to Vahiguru, the Supreme Lord.

The phrase Vdhiguru ji kd Khalsa became part of the Sikh salutation: Vdhiguru ji kd Khalsa, Vdhiguru jl ki Fateh (Hail the Khalsa who belongs to the Lord God! Hail the Lord God to whom belongs the victory!!) It is significant that shortly before the inauguration of the Khalsa Guru Gobind Singh had abolished the institution of masands, the Guru`s agents or intermediaries assigned to sangat, of different regions, and his hukamndmds of the period confirm the derecognition of masands, establishing a direct relation between the sangais and the Guru.Sainapati, a poet enjoying the patronage of Guru Gobind Singh, in his Sri Gur Sobhd relates how some Sikhs, when questioned how they had become Khalsa because khalsd was a term related to the king of Delhi, replied that their Guru by removing his former ndibs or deputies called masands had made all Sikhs his Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh, at the time of his departure from this mortal world, conferred guruship itself upon the Khalsa along with the holy Guru Granth Sahib. During the eighteenth century the volunteer force organized by the Sikhs was known as Dal Khalsa (lit. the Khalsa army).

Even the government of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) was called SarkariKhalsa. In Guru Gobind Singh`s Dasam Granth, and in many later religious and historical Sikh lexis, such as Sarbloh Granth, Prem Sumdrg Granlh, Gur Bildses, Gur Pratap Suraj Granlh and Prdcfun Panth Prakash, ihe Khalsa is rcpcaiedly extolled as composed of men of excellent moral qualities, spiritual fervour and heroism. The words “Khalsa ji” are also used loosely for addressing an individual Singh or a group of them. However, it is more appropriate to use the term for the entire community or a representative gathering of it such as “Khalsa Panth” or “Sarhatt Khalsa.” The Khalsa in this context implies the collective, spiritually directed will of the community guided by the Guru Granlh Sahib.

References :

1. Kuir Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10. Ed. Sliainsher Singh Asliok. Patiala, 1968
2. Sukha Singh, Gurhilds Dasvin Patshahi Lahore, 1912
3. Chhibbar, Kesar Singh, Banasavalinama Dasan Patshahian ka Ed Rattan Singh Jaggi. Chandigarh, 1972
4. Kapur Singh, Prasarprasad. Jalandhar, 1959
5. Haribans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikh. Delii, 1991