What is the significance of ‘Kirpan Bhet’ to Karhaah Parshaad or Langar?
Touching a (sarbloh) Kirpan to the Karhaah Parshaad (sacred pudding) is a tradition that we can trace back to the lives of the Guru Sahibaans (before 1708 CE). This action served as an indication of the Guru’s acceptance and blessing of the Sikh nation, and the Sikhs’ acceptance and consumption of parshaad displays a submission to the Guru.
This tradition lives on today. In the Gurduara today, parshaad is distributed after the Hukamnama (daily order) is read from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Before it is given to the larger Sangat (congregation), parshad is given to five Sikhs who have formally pledged allegiance to the Guru (i.e. five Amritdhari Singhs or Singhnian). This tradition shows the authority and respect the Sikhs hold for the Guru Khalsa Panth (represented in five Amritdhari Sikhs) and also indicates that the Guru Khalsa Panth continues to thrive and survive.
Although both are historically-rooted, the tradition of parshad is very different than the institution of langar. Parshaad is somewhat exclusive to Sikhs because its acceptance indicates an oath to follow the Guru’s Hukam (command), whereas langar, by definition holds no such implication – langar is for anyone and everyone. Although people have recently begun to touch the kirpan to a plate of langar, this is a recent phenomenon, and does not match up with the tradition of parshaad.