What is your symbolic understanding of the Karaah Parshaad that is distributed at the end of a service? And of the sugar and sword that is used both in the nectar and in the Parshaad?

The Karaah Parshaad is a sacred food that represents equality and conveys the principle of sharing one’s materials (money, food, clothing etc.) with those who need them. Its origin dates back to Guru Nanak Dev Ji who taught this principle to a group of ascetics. They remarked that if he (the Guru) could demonstrate it, they will follow it so they requested him to prepare a food that could be eaten by all of them. The ascetics possessed great spiritual powers and each one of them transformed himself to a child, an infant, an old person with no teeth and a young handsome person etc. This was done to prove Guru Sahib wrong because an infant requires different food for nourishment than a child and an old person requires food that is easily chewable or soft. So Guru Sahib prepared Karaah Parshaad which every one of them could eat.

There is a specific code of conduct that must be followed while preparing it i.e. reciting prayers etc. It must be brought while holy hymns are being sung. This affects and blesses the Karaah Parshaad with spirituality and virtues of saintliness. When sword is offered, it symbolically represents virtues of a true warrior. The lesson here is that a Sikh must mould himself to become a saint first who always remembers God and then become a warrior who fights for the way of God i.e. to defend truth and righteousness. Amrit ceremony is not too different in terms of the message it conveys. Sugar puffs represent sweetness, double edged sword represents temporal power while recitation of Scripture represents saintliness. A Sikh must be a saint, a character, sweet in deed and a warrior and defender of truth and injustice.