What is Chardi Kala with reference to Sikh way of life?
Chardhi Kala means to keep your morale (spirits) high no matter what the situation is. Have complete faith in Almighty God( Akal Purakh) and keep doing good, and stay positive, leave rest to God. This positive thinking will give you a calm, peaceful and positive mind that doesn’t get bothered with obstacles of life. You will ever remain in charhdi Kala (high spirits ). Sikhs remain in high spirits because of the “Chardhi Kala” bestowed on them by Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Sikh Guru.
This concept is usually translated as “high morale,” but it is much more than that. According to Encylopedia of Sikhism, “It stands for an ever-blossoming, unwitting spirit, a perpetual state of certainty resting on an unwavering belief in Divine justice.”
Word “Kala” of Sanskrit origin has several shades of meaning, but the dominant among which is “energy.” Chardhi in Punjabi means rising, ascending, soaring. So “Charhdi Kala” means an intensely “energized”, ever-ascending state of the spirit of an individual or a group.
If someone asks a Sikh (Ki haal hai) (How are you?), his answer would be “In “Charhdi Kala!” meaning I am in ascending spirits even when he/she might be in great pain or sorrow! Most Sikhs meditate and pray every day. The prayer is concluded with the following liturgy:
Nanak Naam Charhdi Kala tere bhane sarbat da bhala.Guru Nanak says, let there by ascending spirit and welfare of all by meditating on the God’s name. So a Sikh prays not only for himself or his family but also for all living beings in the universe. When you have this kind of spirit and operate at that level, that brings happiness – Charhdi Kala happens! A Sikh prayer cannot be complete without praying for the welfare of all. So this spirit has a lot to do with the power of prayer.
It is a mental stage that keeps a person strong during the most difficult moment in life – even when one is facing a life and death situation. The spirit of defiance of all hardships is very much part of it. Sikhs are tenacious or do not give up their belief; people who do not lose faith! Even when they lose, they do not know if they have lost because they never accept defeat!
Sikh History is replete with instances when they had to face holocaust more than once. In 1762 the first major holocaust they were massacred by the Duranni’s Afgan forces. Half of them were terminated because they were the only to resist them. The termination of 30000 Sikhs could not decipher their spirits, but they remained in Chardi Kala.
It was due to high morale or chardi Kala Banda Bahadur established the supremacy of Sikh spirit and issued the Coin of Guru Nanak & Guru Gobind Singh.
Because of the high morale ” Chardi Kala,” the Sikhs prevailed and within a short span of six months, sikhs regrouped and routed the Afghans and established their confederation or ‘Misls’. 12 of these misls came into formation. The Sikh empire of Maharaja Rajit Singh lasted right from 1800 to 1839.
All in all Chardi Kala ushers in a mental state that kept Sikh strong and invincible. In the extreme situation of life and death a spirit of defiance in the face of hardships they experienced nothing but victory. Their spirits remained elated and prevailed and overcame obstacles and then established a large empire. The constructive spirit ensures with certainty peaceful and positive mind never to get bothered by hurdles of any type.
This spirit of “Charhdi Kala” is unique to the Sikhs.