The cherished five in sikh history
Baisakhi, Caste, Cherished five, Guru gobind singh, Karma, Khalsa, Panj piare, Panth, Sikh, Sikhism
The Cherished Five in Sikh History
For Sikhs, the two most important delimited groups in the tradition are the Ten Sikh Gurus and the Cherished Five (the Panj Piare). Although there are many scholarly works on the first, the second has none to date. The Cherished Five were five disciples brought together by Guru Gobind Singh to form the nucleus of the Sikh Khalsa in 1699, or so tradition claims. The story of the Five’s origin resounds with the most important values of the Sikh tradition: courage, selflessness, love, benevolence, compassion, and trust in the divine; its importance is underscored by the fact that the institution of the Cherished Five is recreated daily as it plays an essential role in the Sikh ritual universe, ushering new initiates into the Khalsa and casting out those who have violated Khalsa precepts. This text provides the first sustained study of the Five by tracing the history and the evolution of this institution from its origin in the later eighteenth century until today. In the process, it challenges much of the traditional narratives and accepted wisdom in regard to the Panj Piare, revolving in part around three elements with which the institution is regularly aligned in early manuscripts: caste, karma, and place.
Department of History
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Fenech, Louis E., "The cherished five in sikh history" (2021). Faculty Publications. 148.