The Five Ks, or panj kakaar/kakke, are five items of faith that baptised Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times at the command of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh who so ordered at the Baisakhi Amrit Sanchar in 1699. The Five Ks are not merely symbols but articles of faith which collectively form the external visible symbols to identify and clearly and outwardly advertise and display one's commitment.
The Khalsa Sikhs who don all the Five Ks are known as Amritdhari (as they have participated in the Amrit Sanchar ceremony), while the Sikhs who have not donned all the Five Ks are known as Sahajdhari.
1. Kesh Uncut hair on any part of the body for men and women is mandatory and can be considered the most important "K"
2. Kanga Wooden comb for hygiene and maintenance of the Kesh.
3. Kara Iron bracelet: - Physical reminder that a Sikh is bound to the Guru.
4. Kachera Specially designed cotton underwear:- Naturally comfortable and dignified attire reflective of modesty and high moral character.
5. Kirpan Strapped sword: - Worn to defend one's faith and protect the weak, reminding one of his or her duty as a Khalsa. It is worn to show bravery, not a mere weapon.
A Sikh never cuts or trims any hair (Kesh), to indicate the perfection of God's creation. The comb keeps the hair tidy, a symbol of not just accepting what God has given, but also an injunction to maintain it with grace. The Guru said hair should be allowed to grow naturally. For men, this includes not shaving. At the time of Guru Gobind Singh, some holy men let their hair become tangled and dirty. The Guru said that this was not right. Hair should be allowed to grow but it should be kept clean and combed at least twice a day.
A Dastaar is a turban worn to protect the Kesh (unshorn hair) and guard the Dasam Duaar (the Tenth Gate), a spiritual opening at the top of the head. The turban is a spiritual crown, which is a constant reminder to the Sikh that he or she is sitting on the throne of consciousness and is committed to living according to Sikh principles. It is the identity of a Sikh. Guru Gobind Singh jee told his Sikhs: "Khaalsa mero roop hai kaas. Khaalsa mai ho karo nivaas... The Khalsa is my image. Within the Khalsa I reside." Wearing a turban declares sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety.
A Kangha is a small wooden comb that Sikhs use twice a day. It should be worn in the hair, and only the hair, at all times. Combs help to clean hair and remove tangles from it, as well as being a symbol of cleanliness to the Sikhs. Combing their hair reminds them that their lives should be tidy and organized, too. The Sikhs were commanded by Guru Gobind Singh to wear a small comb called the Kangha at all times.
The Kacha is the Guru's gift and it reminds the Sikhs of the Guru's message regarding the control of the Five Evils, especially lust. Further, this garment allows the Sikh soldier to operate in combat freely and without any hindrance or restriction. It serves its purpose efficiently and effectively and is easy to fabricate, maintain, wash and carry compared to other under-garments of the day, like the dhoti, .
Kirpan comes from the word "KIRPA" and "AAN".... Kirpa means an act of kindness or a favour; "aan" means honour, respect, and self-respect. It is an instrument which adds to self-respect and self-defence. Thus for Sikhs, Kirpan is the symbol of power and freedom of spirit. All baptised Sikhs should wear a short form of Kirpan (approx. 6" to 9" long) on their body. The blade should be made of iron.
A Sikh should never use the Kirpan in anger or for a malicious attack—he should only use it as a symbol of Sikhism and for rituals.