“Ik” is “One” and “Oankar” is “Creator”
Ik Oankar constitutes a part of Mul Mantar, the opening verse of the Guru Granth Sahib that states various qualities of Vahiguru, the Divine Being. Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikhi (also Sikhism), postulates the principle of One Force through this unique descriptive. This force is not an exclusive Sikh Divinity, but one that is common to all life and embraces all of creation.
This principle of oneness in the creator and creation leaves no room for distinctions based on race, caste, creed, gender, color, or nationality. Therefore, differences between “them” and “us”vanish. As it says in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scriptural Canon, “I see no stranger.” For this reason principles of divinity, dignity and liberty are inherent to the Sikh lifestyle. In this way, Ik Oankar emerges as the first and foremost universal declaration of Sikhi.
Khanda emblem typically adorns Nishan Sahib – the sikh flag, and it captures the entire Sikh worldview. The symbol is made up of four weapons which were used in early Sikh history. A steel ring called quoit, forms the center of the design and a double-edged sword, also called Khanda, sits upon it. The quoit is then accompanied by two swords, one on each side.
The quoit, known as Chakkar, represents an all embracing Divine Being that encompasses and pervades everything; supreme, perfect, timeless and boundless. Thus, the Chakkar is a symbol of Divine immorality and oneness of the creation. This is why Sikhs cherish the timeless message of dignity and freedom for all people regardless of their background or identity.
In Sikhi, a balanced sense of the life involves two aspects that must always operate in harmony. These are the outer life and the inner self, respectively labeled Miri (political sovereignty) and Piri (spiritual sovereignty). Miri andPiri are represented by the two swords on the outer edge of the design. The double-edged Khanda in the center represents the passage one takes through life as illustrated by the ten founding Gurus of Sikhi. Taken as a whole, Khanda represents the creative sovereign power of the Divine that governs the universe in its entirety.
With special thanks to Virk, LLC, of Albany, Oregon.