Weapons for Guru Gobind Singh Ji and in turn the Khalsa are given the utmost respect and status, akin to the respect afforded to Akaal Purakh.  The poetic compostion of Shri Shashtar Naam Maala is in itself evidence of this. Traditionally, according to the ancient warrior khashatriya traditions of India, in order for weapons to be treated with the respect which they deserve, they were annointed with blood, a form oftilak, as they are today in the Nihang Singh tradition.

One way in which the Tilak was applied was through Jhatka as we shall explore in greater detail below.

Integral to the traditional way of Shastar Pooja (the Worship of Weapons through amongst other things applying tilak in the form of blood), is the  carrying out of Jhatka of an animal preferably a bhakra (Goat), whilst Chandi di Vaar, a bani from within Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, is recited. On hearing the final words of this bani (Fir Na Jooni Aiya) the head is decapitated in one strike (Jhatka-Gatka)

ਫੇਰਿ ਨ ਜੂਨੀ ਆਇਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਹ ਗਾਇਆ ॥੫੫॥

And that person who sings it (Chandi Di Vaar), Will not take birth again.55

Ang 325, Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib

Furthermore and in relation to Jhatka, there is a Sakhi located within the Sri Gurpartap Suraj Parkash Granth, where the Joganiya (battlefield spirits) came to Sahib Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, and asked for langar. Maharaj offered them guru Ka Langar which they declined but instead respectfully requested that they consume their langar on the battlefield.

In respect of the above sakhi and in order to fully place this in context visa vis the tradition and maryada of Jhatka and why it is integral to shashtar pooja and in turn mandatory for the khalsa we must take in to consideration the fact that  Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji was known as the Vishav Kosh (the knowledge of all granths) in puratan times.

Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a Granth dedicated to socio-political awareness, an awareness which comes from within this Granth and as such and in order to fully obtain this awareness an invocation to the highest Jogani is mandatory.

Lets look at this in context..

In days of old the Singhs, prior to going to war, used to perform Akhand Paaths of Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji in order to ask these joginis to assist them in the battlefield-assistance which would ultimately secure victory for the Khalsa on the  battlefield.

The belief was, therefore, by invoking them – to have them in your presence whilst engaging on the battlefield, you will attain victory over your enemy. Henceforth when an Akhand Paath Sahib or continuous Jaaps of the Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji (or the banis within), the Jhatka is mandatory for the Joganiya, linking in to the sakhi of Sahib Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

In various forms of Shastar, we recognise these shastars to be a representation of the supreme Jogani (Chandi) therefore in Sri Hazoor Sahib Takhat Abchal Nagar, one of the very few remaining Gurdwara Sahibs that uphold Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s original Maryada, the Shastars are annointed with a Tilak.

Jhatka is not for fulfilling one’s desire or taste. Maharaj illustrates this as a characteristic of the supreme Jogani (Chandi) within Ath Chandi Charitar Ustat Barananan.

ਭਰੇ ਜੋਗਨੀ ਪਤ੍ਰ ਚਉਸਠ ਚਾਰੰ ॥

Bharai Joganee Pattar Chausatt Chaaran

The highest Mahadevi (Fierce form of the mother of the universe)/Jogani out of the 64 Joganis is Kalika, who holds a Sarbloh Bata (Pattar) whilst pervading in all 4 directions annihilating demons and drinking their blood.

ਚਲੀ ਠਾਮ ਠਾਮੰ ਡਕਾਰੰ ਡਕਾਰੰ ॥

Chalee Ttham Tthaaman Dhakaaran Dhakaaran

She marches forward annihilating demons, and quenching her thirst for Dharam (righteousness).

The concept and understanding, along with the philosophy regarding Jhatka is seen as a rather advanced philosophy, and it must be read and discussed with utmost acceptance and the will to be able to think on a grander scale.

Within the Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it states:

ਸਿੰਘ ਰੁਚੈ ਸਦ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਮਾਸ ॥

Singh Ruchai Sad Bhojan Maas

The Singh (lion) always wants to eat meat

Ang 1180, Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji


The Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji also states:

ਮਾਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਝਗੜੇ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੈ ॥

Maas Maas Kar Moorakh Jhagare Giaan Dhiaan Nahi Janai

The fools argue about flesh and meat, but they know nothing about meditation and spiritual wisdom.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Ang 1289, Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji

Guru Nanak Dev Ji writes in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

ਮਾਤ ਪਿਤਾ ਕੀ ਰਕਤੁ ਨਿਪੰਨੇ ਮਛੀ ਮਾਸੁ ਨ ਖਾਂਹੀ ॥

Maat Pita Kee Rakhat Nippane Machhi Maas Na Khahee

They are produced from the blood of their mothers and fathers, but they do not eat fish or meat

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Ang 1289, Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji

The Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a universal message. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji does not promote or demote any food as it puts emphasis on Giaan. If a deer is a herbivore or a lion is a carinvore, their diet will not give them a direct link to liberation from rebirth, it is the actions that they perform that destines their spiritual outcome. The Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a universal message and it appeals to all, with whatever ideology that they entrust.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji explains the characteristics of a lion, and the name Singh was given to the Khalsa by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is to be understood that many people use certain Tuks from Bhagat Kabir Ji’s Bani to attack the concept of Jhatka, however the Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji is here to help us spiritually, and to keep us in a saintly way.
However when the Gurgaddi was passed from Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Sri Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Vishav Kosh) and the Sri Sarabloh Granth Sahib Ji (Sri Manglacharan Puran) were made Guru.
It should be noted that the Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji and Sri Sarabloh Granth Sahib Ji offer knowledge on socio-political affairs, and how to live life. The Khalsa was not a Nirmala institute, and people nowadays must not use the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a menu to attack others, but to respect the 3 Granths and to view knowledge from all Guru Granths.

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji wrote in the Sri Bachittar Natak:

ਭਾਂਤਿ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਬਨਿ ਖੇਲ ਸਿਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਮਾਰੇ ਰੀਛ ਰੋਝ ਝੰਖਾਰਾ ॥੧॥
I went hunting various kinds of animals in the forest and killed bears, nilgais (blue bulls) and elks.1.

Ang 143, Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji

In the form of Dusht Daman, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji used to hunt. It was a common Khalsa practice that has been documented in Puratan Rehitnameh. Within the Bhai Daya Singh Ji (Panj Pyare) Rehatnama, it states:

ਖੇਲੈਂ ਨਿੱਤ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ਬਨਨ ਮੈਂ, ਮਾਰਿ ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਬਹੁ ਖਾਵੈਂ ।
Always partake in hunting, [practice] killing deer and then eat your hunt.

This important and mandatory Khalsa tradition is crucial for several reasons;

It serves to condition the warriors mind with what it is like to kill something, something which is alive one moment and dead the next, something which bleeds and breathes the same as us. If one is expected to go to war and fight for Dharam Yudh as the Khalsa is duty bound to do one must try and get their head around this important concept…to kill is not for everyone, hence why this maryada is for the Khalsa only in order to condition the warriors and prepare them for the horrors of war. Ask yourself this question…if you can- not stomach killing a goat, how could you join the battlefield and expect to fight?
By killing the goat from a blow from a bladed weapon it also served the Khalsa with important military/ fighting/training skills. To kill a man by decapitation in the wars of yesteryear was the best way for the Khalsa to fight as it meant a quick death, it meant the victim could not get up and attack you or your kin again and it also saved time for the already outnumbered Khalsa warriors who had to inflict quick and deadly blows in order to fight effectively against their massive enemy armies.

The neck of a goat is known to be equal in size and construction to that of humans. So by killing the goat through Jhatka it enabled the Khalsa warriors to gage exactly how much force was required when killing their enemy so as to help preserve energy in the battlefield. It was and still is an effective training excercise for Khalsa Warriors.

Once the Bakra has been Jhatkad the blood from the animal [which is now considered as being not dirty but pure as it has been killed by a bladed weapon and therefore, akin to being blessed by Akaal purakh, as Guru Gobind Singh Ji refers to the Kirpan and Khanda as his masters, a metaphor for the almighty] is used as Tilak to be placed upon the weapons of war as has been the ritual practice of KhashatriyaWarriors.
For the Khalsa the weapons of war are not just merely weapons they are a manifestation of Akaal Purakh’s Energy-

ਜੋ ਪੂਜਾ ਅਸਿਕੇਤੁ ਕੀ ਨਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਬਨਾਇ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਪਰ ਅਪਨੋ ਹਾਥ ਦੈ ਅਸਿਧੁਜ ਲੇਤ ਬਚਾਇ ॥੩੬੭॥

Jo Pooja Askait(u) Kee Nit Prit Kareh Banai. Tin Par Aapno Haath Deh Asidujh Lait Bachai.

If you worship the weapons all the time you will have my grace and the sword shall protect you.

Ang 2258, Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Gobind Singh Ji beautifully elaborates on this, in his bani within Sri Dasam Granth.

The meat from the Jhatka’d animal is then used as Mahaa Parshad and distributed as Langar to the Khalsa in order to provide them with the requisite protein needed to build muscle and provide energy when engaged in warfare.

At a time before protein shakes and whilst living in the jungles, swamps and caves the Khalsa ate the meat of a Jhatka’d animal. It was and still is a necessary facet of the Khalsa Warrior Maryada. Again by eating meat it is considered that the mentality of the eater is affected….for the Khalsa Warriors this was a necessary and desirable outcome as the Khalsa had to become “unsaintly” in order to wage war in the name of dharma. Guru Ji recognised that no saint had ever been to war and therefore, the Khalsa had to be moulded in to Sant – Sipahi’s a complete change of psyche to that of the imbalanced and weak state of affairs of the Sants and Brahmins both individually and as a collective community within India.

The skin of the goat was further used for making tabla and nagara (Kettle Drum) skins, and also the bases of stringed instruments. They also served as skins for water carriers which all soldiers were permitted to have. Therefore we can now see a practical side to why Jhatka was performed, along with the spiritual aspects of this topic.

Finally Jhatka also breaks the transmirgration cycle and liberates the goat’s soul. This practice not only keeps the warrior spirit alive within the khalsa panth as sanctioned by Guru Gobind Singh Ji but also contrary to some misinformed views which scream of animal cruelty etc serves to liberate the soul of the animal, as is outlined in Guru Gobind Singh Jis Bani, Chandi Di Var.

The Sarab Loh Granth emphasises on Khasla Raaj with the use of Bir Raas. Just as the physical body requires food/clothes/assests, the Khalsa Raaj requires Maya (illusion). The physical body needs to survive and to satisfy these needs, Maya is required, to buy food/clothes, and fund the empire etc.
The Sarab Loh Granth (Author Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji/ mostly compiled by Guru Gobind Singh Ji) highlights the fact that Guru Nanak Dev ji is the manifestation of Parbhram Parmeswar unlike the other avtaars who were incarnations of Vishnu. Sarabloh Granth ji also emphatically states that no one including Durga can know the limits of Hari. However Mahraaj also mentions that without Maya (illusion) and Laxmi ( money) one cannot achieve anything in this world without money (Maya Laxmi) one will suffer. Guru Gobind Singh Ji clearly instructs that the Khalsa Panth should recite and worship Akaal (God) only, the Sri Guru Granth sahib also confims this by stating “Sri Maya Jag Mohani”.