Guru Gobind Singh ~ Serving in Bana
After Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in Delhi and his beloved Sikhs were undiscernible form the crowd, Guru Gobind Singh asked us to become Khalsa and wear his “bana” or form. Bana became the personal appearance of Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa and includes a standard of dress that represents His royalty and consciousness.
Some Sikhs love wearing the guru’s full bana. Others shy away a bit from making such a grand public appearance. Unless we’ve truly sorted ourselves out, it can be difficult to stand so far apart from the crowd by dressing uniquely and royally, as though we are “special” and different. Depending on the country and culture we are in, Sikhs in bana can be confused for religious fanatics or can be seen as insular and close minded. It’s not a small thing to dress like our Guru did.
If you are worried, however, take a look at how much attention people pay when a Sikh of the Guru’s stands apart from the crowd and at the same time serves others, especially non-Sikhs. Whether it is working at a homeless shelter, handing out water to runners at a marathon, helping a stranger find a parking spot, or picking up garbage on a public street, even a small act of kindness that is directed towards humanity and the common good seems to draw big attention.
Wearing a turban or wearing bana makes a Sikh the Guru’s Ambassador, and it seems that the world thirsts for kindness, selfless service, and the kind of courage it takes to stand apart. Try it sometime: put on your very finest outfit to represent your Guru, and then go out into the world and find a way to help and serve others with a silent smile. You will inspire everyone who sees you, and they will recognize your Guru’s values of love, kindness and compassion for all in your very appearance. Perhaps wearing bana and beaming kindness go hand-in-hand. They may never know who you are, but they will know your Guru’s love and they will be inspired by it.