Emerging from his retirement he preached the Khalsa, the "pure," and it is by this name his followers are now known.
The following are the main points of his teaching: Sikhs must have one form of initiation, sprinkling of water by five of the faithful; they should worship the one invisible God and honour the memory of Guru Nanak and his successors; their watchword should be, "Sri wah guru ji ka khalsa, sri wah guru ji ki fatah" (Khalsa of God, victory to God!), but they should revere and bow to nought visible save the Granth Sahib, the book of their belief; they should occasionally bathe in the sacred tank of Amritsar; their locks should remain unshorn; and they should name themselves singhs or lions.
He organized a powerful force, which was trained by French and Italian officers such as Generals Ventura, Allard and Avitabile, and thus forged the formidable fighting instrument of the Khalsa army, which afterwards gave the British their hardest battles in India in the two Sikh wars.
The distinction between khalsa land, or the imperial demesne, and jagir lands, granted revenue free or at quit rent in reward for services, also dates from the time of Akbar.
In 1845 the khalsa, or Sikh army, numbering 60,000 men with 150 guns, crossed the Sutlej and invaded British territory.
The khalsa army again came together, and more than once fought on even terms with the British.