What Do You See?

A rosary, bracelet, cross, sword, or picture – all speak to those who choose to give it meaning based on an emotional, spiritual or intellectual connection. Religious symbolism is usually recognized universally and represents the ideals of its faith, instilling a notion of solidarity among those who resonate with it.

Looking around, it’s observed that many Sikhs wear a Kara, which is probably the most noticeable and popular symbol of our faith. Silently, something so simple can act as a binding thread among those who wear it.  But how many of those bearing this symbol, actually realize why they’re wearing it?

‘Technically’ the Kara symbolizes strength and integrity. Usually made of steel, this material is representative of resilience under stress. Also, parents can be heard telling their child that wearing this Kara is supposed to remind them to “stop” when tempted to do something harmful or to be reminded of doing good with a pure heart. Meanwhile, young adults may find it comforting to see a peer wearing a Kara and feel they can relate and instantly connect. Whatever the interpretation, it’s nice to be able to give meaning to a symbol in a way that you can be inspired to be the best version of yourself. There is no right or wrong meaning when it comes to embracing an image that represents your faith – it’s a personal meaning that is guided by teachings of Sikhi, but not imposed.

So, what do you see?


-Karen Birak


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