Pronounced “KAHL-sa.” The body of initiated Sikhs. One joins by undergoing the amrit sanchar ceremony (colloquially, “taking/receiving amrit”). Afterward, initiates agree to live according to Sikh values, recite the daily prayers without fail and keep five articles of faith (the Five K’s) on their persons at all times: kesh, unshorn hair; kanga, a small comb; kara, a steel bracelet; kachera, soldier shorts; and kirpan, a religious article resembling a knife. A Sikh who has not undergone the amrit sanchar ceremony may nevertheless elect to keep any or all of the articles of faith. A Sikh may join the Khalsa at any age, and many never do. In its capacity as permanent co-guru (along with Guru Granth Sahib) the Khalsa is referred to as Guru Khalsa Panth.
Khalsa can be used as either an adjective or noun (in which case it takes the definite article): is Khalsa, has joined the Khalsa. The term amritdhari is synonymous.
See also amrit sanchar, Five K’s and Guru Granth Sahib.