Some concepts of the
KARAJ:- Aanand Kaaraj is the Sikh marriage ceremony. The exact date
of its origin is not known but references can be found that the
marriage of the children of Guru Sahib had been performed by way
of this ceremony. Guru Sahib had made it obligatory for a Sikh not
to marry except through Aanand Kaaraj ceremony. In Sikh marriage
system, the couple sits in front of Guru Granth Sahib while hymns
from Guru Granth Sahib (at pp. 773-74) are read and the ceremony
is complete after an Ardaas (the Sikh prayer). Many Sikhs perform
nuptial rounds around Guru Granth Sahib. But the scholars believe
that the circumambulation of Guru Granth Sahib is imitation of the
Sapatpadi, (the Hindu marriage ceremony of seven times circumambulation
of fire). They profess that simple recitation of four hymns from
Guru Granth Sahib followed by an Ardaas completes the ceremony.
According to the Aanand marriage ceremony, both the partners should
be Sikh or at least they should declare that they accept Sikhism
as their religion and promise to have initiation as early as possible.
An Act "Aanand Marriage Act" was passed, on October 22,
1909. It does not mean that the Sikh marriage ceremony has its origin
from this date. Bhai Daya Singh, in his Rahitnama (code of conduct),
has mentioned the Sikh wedding rites. Missionaries Baba Dayal and
Baba Darbara Singh, began the ceremony of circumambulation of Guru
Granth Sahib, in the early years of the nineteenth century as a
counter to the Hindu ceremony of Sapatpadi (seven times circumambulation
The word Aarti literally means: "that which can be done even
if it is not night i.e lighting of earthen (or any other) lamp.
It is a form of Hindu worship. The Hindus place small earthen lamps
in a platter and place it before some idol or deity and then take
the platter around that idol/deity in the mornings and even in the
evenings. It is, in fact, worship of mythical Hindu god of fire.
Sikhism strictly prohibits such worship (of god of fire or the otherwise).
Some Sikhs, who are not fully conversant with the Sikh philosophy,
under the impact of Hinduism, though they don't burn lamps but they
still sing Guru Nanak Sahib's hymn called Aarti by believing it
as an Aarti. Guru Nanak Sahib's hymn is a rejection of Aarti ritual
and of the idol worship and those Sikhs who consider it as a Sikh-Aarti,
in fact, practice blasphemy. Guru Nanak Sahib, in the hymn about
Aarti, rejected all types of Aarti rituals and said that the real
Aarti is the meditation of the Name of the Almighty and an effort
to live a "truthful life". Guru Nanak Sahib's Aarti says,
"The whole of the Nature is worshipping the Almighty. The sky
is the platter (of Aarti); the sun and moon are the lamps; the whole
sphere of the stars are the diamonds and the pearls (for decoration);
the fragrance of the sandalwood trees of Mallay region (known for
its sweet fragrance) is the incense; and the waving breeze is the
Chaur and the whole of the vegetation is offering flowers (for the
worship of the Almighty). This could be the worship of the Almighty".
Meaning thereby that the real worship of God is not done with the
earthen lamps or alike meaningless rituals. The 'show' of worship
by lighting lamps in a platter before a deity is mere hypocrisy.
See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 13 etc.
Abortion is killing of a baby before its birth. Generally, it is
performed to choose the sex of the baby or for reasons of family
planning or in case of conception resulting from rape etc. Sikh
religion encourages family planning through self-control but killing
of a baby in womb is against Sikh ideology. It is, in fact, refusal
to bow before the Will of the Almighty. Also see: "Infanticide".
Cohabiting with a partner who is not a husband or wife is strictly
forbidden in Sikhism. In Sikhism, the wife of another person is
like one's mother, sister and daughter. In Sikh culture, even the
wife of a friend is addressed as "Bhein Ji" (sister).
Adultery is one of the four prohibitions to be followed strictly
by a Sikh. Its violation makes a Sikh an apostate and he/she has
to undergo religious punishment and also must get re-initiation.
In Sikhism marital fidelity and chastity is one of the basic issues.
See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 403 etc.
PATH:- Aakhand Path is non-stop recitation of Guru Granth Sahib.
It is completed in approximately 48 hours. Several readers perform
this recitation in a relay system. The reading goes, in a relay
manner, continuously, day and night. At given intervals (usually
two hours per turn) the next reciter picks the line of hymn from
the lips of the retiring reciter. There is no fixed number of reciters.
Aakhand Path is believed to have its origin in the middle of the
eighteenth century. During the days of persecution, the Sikhs had
to remain prepared to move from one place to another, at a very
short notice; hence they had to complete the reading of the Scriptures
in a short time. In the second half of the twentieth century it
became a fashion to perform this ceremony. Ideologically speaking,
Aakhand Path is not in consonance with the Sikh fundamentals as
Sikhs must not read the Scriptures simply as a ritual. A Sikh must
read, understand and try to live his life according to the Scriptures.
AMRIT VELA:- Amrit Vela means hour before the dawn of the day. In
Sikhism, there is no concept of auspicious hour or moment . A Sikh,
however, is supposed to get up before the dawn of the day and have
shower before his daily worship and prayer. It does not mean that
meditation at other times is less auspicious. All the days, hours
and moments are auspicious for remembering God. A Sikh should remember
the Almighty throughout the day. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 34-35,
386, 740 etc.
ARDAS- Antim (last) Ardaas (prayer), in Sikhism, means the last
prayer for a person after his funeral ceremony. In Antim Ardaas,
it is prayed that "may the Almighty's Grace grant strength
to the dears and nears of the departed soul, to bow before His Will
." This completes all the ceremonies relating a human being.
The Sikhs must not observe annual rituals or alike ceremonies for
a deceased person. Also see: Saraadh.
(Prayer):- Ardaas is a combination of two words: Araz and Daashat
(literally: the petition of a slave). As a slave is to the Master,
the Sikh is to the Almighty, but the root of a Sikhs slavery of
the Almighty is not awe of the Almighty but love for Him. For a
Sikh Ardaas is obligatory. The Sikh Ardaas is different from the
prayers of the other religions. A Sikh can not make prayer for seeking
personal prosperity, comfort, benefits and the other material blessings.
A Sikh 'must' bow before the Will of God. A Sikh, however, may make
Ardaas seeking, from the Almighty, blessing for strength to live
a Truthful life. If a Sikh makes prayer from the core of his/her
heart the prayer can not be futile. A Sikh makes Ardaas at least
twice a day: in the morning after reading three Baanis and in the
evening after Rahiras. All the Sikhs make a national Ardaas, as
approved by Akal Takht Sahib. This national Ardaas has two part
comprising of seven sections in all. In the first part, a Sikh remembers
(a) the Almighty, the Guru Sahib and Guru Granth Sahib (b) the Punj
Piaray (the five beloved ones), four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib
and all the martyrs, devotees and all those who made any contribution
in the social, political and spiritual spheres (c) the Sikh martyrs
and the valiant fighters of the past and present times (d) all the
Sikh seats of authorities and the shrines. In part two a Sikh prays
for (a) the welfare of the Sikh Commonwealth and the Sikh polity
and political institutions; the promotion of Sikh culture; all decision
making powers to the Khalsa (b) for blessing to practice the Sikh
way of life; for preservation of the articles of faith; for blessing
for meditation; for blessing for a dip in Amritsar (i.e. the Word)
and for supremacy of Dharma (righteousness) (c) for grant of qualities
of humbleness, intelligence, right to worship and finally for the
welfare of the whole of the humanity. After this, the occasional
reference is made and approval-cum-blessing of the Almighty is sought.
Baba literally means father or grandfather. In Sikhism "Baba"
is used even for the Almighty as He is the Father of every human
being. Guru Nanak Sahib too has been called Baba Nanak. In Sikh
culture, Baba is used for a senior person who has such a status
due to his services to the Sikh nation, either due to his actions
(despite of his/her young age) or due to long time services to the
nation. The first usage of Baba was done in case of the Sikhs like
Baba Buddha. The sons of Guru Sahib are also addressed as Baba(s).
Senior leaders of the nation are also addressed as Baba, i.e. Baba
Banda Singh Bahadur, Baba Bota Singh, Baba Garja Singh, Baba Baghel
Singh, Baba Balak Singh, Baba Wisakha Singh, Baba Kharhak Singh
Literally: dress. In Sikh cultural terminology it means all the
five Kakaars (articles of faith) plus a Chola (a long shirt), a
tight-fitting trousers, a Kamarkassa (a belt to tighten Gaatra and
like a sash around the waist) which make one very active. This was
actually a dress for the battlefield. A Sikh is expected to be ever-ready
in Baana at every moment because for a Sikh the world is like a
battle field and he/she has to act in every situation in the discipline
of a soldier in a battle field.
Baptism is a specific Christian ceremony. It is wrong to call Sikh
initiation ceremony, Amrit Sanskaar, as Sikh baptism. See: Khande
Bhabi is a term used for brother's or friends wife. In Sikhism a
friend's wife is not addressed as Bhabi, in stead, she is addressed
as Bhainji (sister).
Bhai, literally means brother. In the Sikh culture this term is
used to show respect for a person. A saintly person, an intellectual,
a humanitarian, a leader may be addressed as Bhai. The British adopted
conferring the title of Sardar Bahadur to the persons loyal to their
regime. But Bhai can be used only for genuine Sikh savants. The
first usage of Bhai, in the Sikh history has been done for Bhai
Mardana. The other oft-quoted names are: Bhai Lalo, Bhai Gurdas,
Bhai Rup Chand, Bhai Bhagatu, Bhai Nand Lal, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai
Bir Singh, Bhai Maharaj Singh, Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu, Bhai Vir
Singh, Bhai Bawlant Singh Canadian, Bhai Mewa Singh Lopoke, Bhai
Fauja Singh, Bhai (Sirdar) Kapur Singh.
MANNANA:- Bhana Mannana literally means to bow before the Will of
God. Anything unpleasant should not make a Sikh despondent or angry.
One should try to do one's best and leave the rest to God. Sikh
is not a fatalist but a Sikh has an obligation not to question the
Grace of the Almighty. To have faith in the Almighty and also to
grudge over some unpleasant phenomenon, is contradiction in terms.
Also see: Charhdi Kala.
Literally: it means pleasure. In the Sikh context Bhog is the conclusion
of the recitation of Guru Granth Sahib). It is followed by Ardaas
and Vaak (or Hukam i.e. command of the Almighty). Finally, after
the distribution of Karaah Parshaad, the 'ceremony' of Bhog is over.
The Sikhs call it Bhog (pleasure) because it denotes the pleasure
of reaping the fruit of listening (or reading) to the praise of
SAMMAT:- A Calendar named after a Hindu king Vikramaditya. In Punjabi
Vikrami is pronounced as Bikrami. Its abbreviation is Bk. The Hindus
calculate their dates as per the Hindu astrology. Some ignorant
Sikhs too adhere to this calendar. For a Sikh all the calendars
have the same significance. During the time of Guru Sahib, Bikrami
Sammat was in practice and now Gregorian calendar is used by the
whole of the world. Also see: Calendar, Sammat.
CEREMONY:- In Sikhism there is no specific ceremony prescribed to
be observed after the birth of a baby. It is, however, the duty
of a Sikh to take the child to any Gurdwara, for making prayers
to thank the Almighty for blessing the family with child. There
is no time limit for the first visit of the child. It depends upon
the health of the child, the weather or the other circumstances.
When any relative or a friend visits the baby for the first time
he/she should greet the child by saying Waheguruji ka (da) Khalsa
Waheguruji ki (di) Fateh.
SO NIHAL:- Bolay so nihaal sat sri akaal is known as war-cry of
the Sikhs during battle. Some writers believe that the original
war-cry was: Jo jaikara bulaavai guru de man nun bhaavai; gajj ke
bolnaa ji Akaal ! Akaal ! Akaal!. It is not a way of greeting. Also
see: Waheguruji ka (da) Khalsa Waheguruji ki (di) Fateh.
The Sikh calendar is called Nanak-shahi, beginning from 1469, the
year of birth of Guru Nanak Sahib. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur adopted
this calendar in 1710 after the victory of Sirhind by the Sikh army.
According to that calendar the year 1710 C.E. became 241 N.S. (Nanak-shahi).
Baba Banda Singh, however, continued adopting the months and the
days of the months according to the Bikrami calendar. Sikhs have
been following the Bikrami Sammat to calculate the dates of the
birthday/martyrdom days of Guru Sahib. In 1984, Dr. Harjinder Singh
Dilgeer (this author) drafted a Sikh Calendar. In this calendar,
he suggested the adoption of Gregorian Calendar (Common Era) with
the names of Gregorian months (January to October, 10 months) to
be replaced with the names of the Ten Nanak(s), with November as
Granth month and December as Panth month. Similarly, Dilgeer suggested
the Sikh names for the days of week too. (See: Dr. Dilgeer's Sikh
Calendar, published by Dr. Awatar Singh Sekhon, Edmonton, Canada).
Ideologically, the Sikhs have nothing to do with the Bikrami calendar.
They had been using it earlier as during those days Bikrami calendar
was in common use and in a way the only calendar available in the
Sikh Homeland. Now Gregorian calendar (Common Era) is in practice;
hence it should be adopted after Sikhizing it. The most popular
calendar in the world, Gregorian Calendar, is wrongly called Christian
calendar. It was started by Gregor. The Jews and the other non-Christians
too use this calendar. The non-Christians don't use the abbreviations
A.D. (Anno-Domini, which means 'the year of our Lord' i.e. Christ)
and B.C. (Before Christ). Instead they use C.E. (Common Era. The
which is continuing now, e.g. 1995 C.E. or so on) and O.E. (Old
Era). Before the year 1 e.g. B.C. 32 will be written 32 O.E. and
A Sikh is not allowed to use cap or helmet of any type or in any
form. According to the Sikh Rahitmaryada (the code of conduct),
wearing of any form of cap leads a Sikh to his/her condemnation
to inferno (i.e. wearing a helmet is like being in an atmosphere
of inferno). A Sikh must tie only a Dastar (the Sikh Turban) as
his head-gear. Turban for a Sikh is obligatory, it is not optional.
It is religiously essential. It has nothing to do with culture.
Also see: Dastar.
SYSTEM:- Caste or the family of birth is the hub of the Hindu society.
In Sikhism, it is strictly forbidden to treat/mistreat anyone according
to one's birth. Recently, several Sikhs have started breaking this
law. This is against fundamental principles of Sikhism. This does
not mean that Sikhism denies existence and/or significance of cultural
traits of family of birth; marrying only in one's own caste, class,
clan does not contravene the ideology of equality (of castes). See:
Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 83, 328, 349, 524, 1128, 1164, 1330 etc.
Chandoa literally means a cover with the inscription of a moon on
it. It has its origin in Islamic culture. It was a canopy placed
over the throne of the Muslim kings and emperors, signifying protection
of the Almighty (in Islam moon is symbol of Allah, the Islamic name
of the Almighty). In Gurdwaras, canopy placed above Guru Granth
Sahib, does not have an inscription of moon on it. In Sikhism, Guru
Granth Sahib, i.e. the Word, represents the Almighty; hence a Chandoa
is used as a matter of respect. Still, others believe that it is
used to protect Guru Granth Sahib from sun, rain, wind etc. A Chandoa
is made of fine cloth, sometimes even silk, and may be embroidered
too. It has, however, nothing to do with spirituality or religion.
A simple but neat and clean Chandoa or embroidered Chandoa have
no difference of value. Chandoa is also known (but wrongly) as Chanani
and Chandani also.
CHARHDI KALA:- Charhdi Kala literally means: ascending power. It
is a unique Sikh concept of high spirits. A Sikh must always look
forward to positive things. A Sikh is supposed to be ever-optimistic.
High spirits, cheerfulness, positive thinking, courage, resolution,
fearlessness, confidence etc. are the attributes of the Sikh concept
of Charhdi Kala. To achieve this state of mind, Naam (meditation
of His Name) is essential. A Sikh achieves Charhdi Kala by the Grace
of the Almighty; hence sublimity is a part of this concept. A Sikh
must have complete faith in Him and this reliance on Him enhances
the capacity, energy, power and willingness in a Sikh. Charhdi Kala
and Bhana Mannana both are interwoven. A Sikh is ever-ready to bow
before His Will and also has a faith that the Almighty is always
Graceful. A Sikh has to bow before His Will, but a Sikh is not a
fatalist. He has to struggle and strive for a better tomorrow. But,
a Sikh shall achieve Charhdi Kala only through Naam Simran. In his
Ardas, a Sikh prays for "Charhdi Kala through Naam" (Naanak
naam charhdi kalaa tere bhaane sarbat da bhalaa) . Some writers
define this part of the Ardas as "the Charhdi Kala of His Name"
but it is self-contradictory because the Charhdi Kala of His Name
need not be prayed for as there is always Charhdi Kala of His Name.
Charhdi Kala of His Name is sue generis.
Chaur is a bundle, usually of fibre or man-made artificial fibre,
placed in a wooden holder. It is used to demonstrate respect for
Guru Granth Sahib. Whenever the scripture is being read, the reader
or someone standing besides the reader waves it over Guru Granth
Sahib. Chaur is a symbol of royalty and sovereignty. It is insulting
to call it a fly-whisk as its purpose is not to whisk flies but
only to show respect. The most precious Chaur ever made has been
preserved in the treasury of Darbar Sahib. It was prepared by Haji
Mohammed Maskin Shah, who travelled from Medina to Amritsar and
presented it at Akal Takht Sahib, on December 31, 1925. Haji Shah
had prepared it from 145,000 fibres taken out of 350 kg of sandalwood.
It took him 5 year and 7 months to prepare it. The price of 350
kg sandalwood, in those days was rupees 122. Haji Shah had prepared
two Chaurs, the other was presented by him at Medina (the Muslim
holy place). Haji Shah was presented Siropa (robe of honour) at
Another name for scarf used by the females of the Punjab to cover
their heads. It is also called Dupatta. The Sikh women use Keski
(small turban) instead of (or under) the Dupatta. Also see: Keski.
Literally: to give. Daan has several shades of meaning: alms, charity,
offerings etc. Charity is basic to almost all the religious beliefs.
In Hinduism it is the duty of every Hindu to give charity to Brahmins;
alms to beggars; and offerings to temples. In Sikhism, Daan is altogether
a different concept. Begging and alms-giving is not in consonance
with Sikh ideology; there is no Brahmin (priestly) class in Sikhism;
and, offerings to shrines are not considered Daan in the Sikh terminology.
In Sikhism, offerings made at Gurdwaras are Bhaint (presentation).
Similarly, the Sikh institution of Daswandh (tithe) is altogether
different from the Hindu concept of Daan. Daswandh is based on the
Sikh concept of Vand Chhaknaa (sharing with fellow beings), an act
of social cohesion and unity of brotherhood. Daswandh, in Sikhism,
is not giving something rather it is like "returning a loan".
A Sikh can not be a Daani (giver). That Sikh who considers himself
a giver is ignorant of Sikh ideology; he is a stupid (Guru Granth
Sahib, p. 282). The feeling of 'having the credit of having giving
something in charity' is also a sin.
In Sikhism, there is no prohibition for making merry and dancing
within ethical limits. Dancing in public and/or with some one who
is not one's wedded life-partner is not in accordance with Sikh
ethics. In Sikhism, dancing and making merry is "a petty pleasure
of mind" as the real pleasure is living truthful life in the
"pious fear" (respectful love) of God. See: Guru Granth
Sahib, p. 465 etc.
Literally: court. In the Sikh context it is used for the "court
of the Almighty". Darbar Sahib, wrongly called Golden Temple
was the first to be given the name Darbar Sahib. Gurdwara is the
Darbar of the Almighty, and, in the Darbar of the Almighty (Gurdwara)
a visitor has to obey a discipline, a protocol. In the language
of the monarchy, it is used for the court of a king/emperor also.
Dastar (The Sikh turban) is an integral part of a Sikh' being. A
Sikh must not remain without Dastar any time. A Sikh is not allowed
to wear a cap or a helmet in any form. Dastar has long history and
has been used in different parts of the world for centuries. In
Islam, it was an essential part of the dress of the religious personalities.
In Hinduism too, spiritual and religious elite had been using turban
for centuries. In Sikhism, it became a part of the Sikh's being
since Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of the faith. On March 29, 1698,
Guru Gobind Singh Sahib made it obligatory for a Sikh. Rahitnamas
(Code of Conduct) mention Guru Sahib's command with regard to obligation
of Dastar as an article of faith. The term mentioned in this context,
however, is Keski. There is no restriction to the size, colour,
shape of material of Dastar. A Sikh can not appear in public without
a Dastar. Even at home a Sikh has an obligation to cover his head
even while at rest or in bed. It is an obligation and not an option.
It is an essential of religion and not culture. In culture, Dastar
has a specific, but different status. Removal of the turban of a
person means insulting him. A Sikh touching the Dastar of another
Sikh with the intention of removing, shaking or disturbing, becomes
guilty of a serious breach of Sikh discipline and is liable to disciplinary
action. Dastar is a symbol of respect and leadership. It is equalled
to honour as well. Pagg vataaunaa (present turbans to each other)
means: "From now onwards, each other's turban (honour) shall
be "one". Defence of the honour of the other shall be
a joint responsibility".
Daswandh (literally: tithe), in Sikhism, means contribution of one
tenth of one's income for Panth. Tithe is also a tradition of Judaism
and Christianity. Every Christian is expected to contribute his
tithe (one tenth of income) to Church for the expenses of Church
(this tradition is almost dead now). In Islam there is the institution
of Zakaat and it is 2.5% of one's wealth (to be assessed every year
before the first i.e. Ramzaan month). Zakaat is to be spent for
the poor and the needy sections of society. Daswandh is an essential
part of Sikh culture. This tradition had been started by Guru Nanak
Sahib and was practiced by the following all Guru Sahib. When Guru
Amar Das Sahib established 22 Manjis (missionary seats), he appointed
Masands also. Their duty was to collect offerings and the Daswandh
of the Sikhs, to be sent to Guru Sahib at Goindwal (later to Amritsar
at the time of Guru Ram Das Sahib and his successors). Guru Gobind
Singh made it mandatory. Bhai Nand Lal has recorded the command
of Guru Sahib with regard to Daswandh. A Sikh must spend about one
tenth of his income for religious, social or the other humanitarian
purposes. If a Sikh cannot afford money he/she may contribute his
time or his services for the nation. For a Sikh Daswandh is a debt
that must be paid as early as possible. Daswandh makes one an integral
part of brotherhood and a useful member of community in particular
and humanity in general. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1245 etc.
Death, in Sikhism, is separation of soul from body. Human life is
pre-destined. Death, and not life, is the truth of human existence.
In Sikhism, death is not a matter of sorrow. After death, there
is union of human soul with Supreme Soul (the Almighty). Sikhism
rejects the theory of re-birth. A Sikh must not be sad nor should
one wail at the time of the death of a dear one. The Sikh Rahitmaryada
(code of conduct) forbids lamentations (though some ignorant Sikhs
don't follow the command of Guru Sahib). When some one dies in family,
in stead of lamentations, a Sikh should sing hymns in the praise
of the Almighty, who is the Cause of every phenomenon. Death is
the will of the Almighty. A Sikh has an obligation to bow before
His Will. Similarly, the celebration of the Barsi (anniversary of
death) is not in consonance with Sikhism. Even in the case of the
martyrs, the Sikhs observe Shaheedi Jorh Mela, which means remembering
their sacrifices and not grief of separation. In Sikhism, dead body
has no sanctity. In Sikhism dead body has no sanctity. It is just
the earth of the corporal body. The Sikhs perform cremation of dead
bodies and submerse the ashes into the nearest flowing water. No
water, river etc. is sacred in Sikhism. Some ignorant/phoney Sikhs
submerse the ashes of the dead bodies of their relatives at Keeratpur
Sahib. It is against Sikh ideology. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp.
13, 152, 227, 278, 474, 793, 855, 1239, 1426, 1428-29. Also see
TEGH FATEH:- Literally, Degh mean kettle, Tegh means sword and Fateh
means victory. Degh Tegh Fateh means "economical (Degh) and
political (Tegh) prosperity and sovereignty for every one is the
real accomplishment for the Khalsa". The Sikh National Anthem
also includes these words: Degh-o-tegh-o-fateh-o-nusrat bedirang;
yaafat az Nanak - Guru Gobind Singh (meaning: economic prosperity,
political freedom, national victory and prompt assistance obtained
through the blessings of Gurus Nanak to Gobind Singh) . These words
had been inscribed on the Sikh coins issued by Baba Banda Singh
Bahadur and the Sikh Misls (Sarbat Khalsa). Degh Tegh Fateh is a
national slogan and a part of the Sikh national prayer also. The
Sikhs pray for economic prosperity and political freedom of the
Literally, Dharamsala means a place where Dharam (righteousness)
is practiced. Guru Nanak Sahib used the term Dharamsal for this
earth too (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 7). This term had been used for
a Gurdwara during the days of Guru Sahib. The Sikh history is replete
with references to the establishment of Dharamsals in different
areas of the sub-contient, during the time of all Guru Sahib. These
Dharamsalas had dual functions: it was a place for gathering for
the local Sangat (Sikhs) as well as a hostel providing food and
shelter to the travellers. Gurdwara is a more recent term for a
Sikh place of worship. Even after the compilation of Adi Granth
Sahib and its installation in Darbar Sahib in 1604, the term Gurdwara
was not in common use. Subsequently, at the time of Guru Gobind
Singh Sahib, a Gurdwara came to be known as Gur Darbar. The term
Gurdwara became popular probably in the later half of nineteenth
century. Nowadays, the term Dharamsala is used (usually by the Hindus)
for a hostel or the other residential buildings used by the pilgrims.
The Sikhs call it Saran, Sarai or Niwas etc.
Divorce means legal dissolution of a marriage. In Sikhism there
is no place for divorce. A Sikh Aanand Kaaraj (marriage ceremony)
is sacramental and it can not be annulled by a decree of any court.
There is spate of legal divorces now a days, but it is utterly in
contradiction with the Sikh faith.
Diwali is a Hindu festival falling on Katak Vadi 30 (in October/November).
On this day the Hindus worship the mythical goddess of wealth. It
has nothing to do with Sikhism. During the eighteenth century, the
Sikh used to congregate at Darbar Sahib Amritsar or else where twice
a year. They chose the days of Diwali and Visakhi for convenience
sake. During those days, no calendars were available and the Sikhs
had to depend upon the current Bikrami calendar, the only one that
was available to the people in those days. Similarly, the lighting
of lamps at Amritsar on the plea that on that day Guru Hargobind
Sahib reached Amritsar after release from Gwalior Fort prison, does
not make it a Sikh festival. Moreover, Guru Hargobind Sahib, after
his release from Gwalior Fort prison in October 1619, reached Amritsar
in January 1621, and, on that day the Sikhs lighted lamps in Darbar
Sahib. The celebration of Diwali, at Amritsar, must have began at
the time when the management of the Gurdwaras came in the hands
of the Udasi Mahants.
A Sikh congregation is called diwan. Literally, Diwan means 'court'.
(In Persian it means 'register of administration' too. It has also
been a designation, like a minster or sub-governor as well). The
presence of Guru Granth Sahib makes a Sikh congregation a Diwan
(Court of the Almighty). The place where such congregation is held
is called 'Diwan asthaan' (congregation hall) ; the most famous
Diwan asthaan of the Sikh nation is Manji Sahib, at Darbar Sahib,
Amritsar. A Diwan is held usually within Gurdwara compound but if
the number of the people expected to attend the function is much
more than the capacity of the Gurdwara compound, a Diwan may be
held in specially installed tents. The term Diwan has also been
used for some organisations as well. Some such organisations were:
Majha Khalsa Diwan, Malwa Khalsa Diwan, Punch Khalsa Diwan, Chief
Khalsa Diwan, Khalsa Diwan Society (Vancouver, Canada) etc.
Doli literally means palanquin. Departure of a bride from her parents'
house after completion of the marriage ceremony is also called Doli.
There had been a common practice to carry the newly married girl,
from her parents' house to her husbands house, in a Doli (palanquin)
hence the name. In the twentieth century Doli (palanquin) has been
replaced by car. In Sikh code of conduct, this ceremony finds no
mention, however, in the modern world this ceremony has no significance
except being a meaningless show.
There is no special dress code for a Sikh. A Sikh must wear a Kachhehra
(specially designed and stitched Sikh shorts) and a Dastar (turban).
Otherwise, a Sikh (male or female) may wear any dress. Gurbani,
however, explains that the dress of a person should be simple and
not meretricious or gaudy, which arouses sensuous feelings and provokes
the others. Salwar and Kamiz and Dupatta, is the best presentable
dress for a Sikh women and it is most suitable in the meaning of
the Sikh way of life. Sikh males too, used to wear a Kurta and Pajama
(not pajama, the night suit of the west) but for the past few decades
the western shirt and trousers have replaced the traditional dress
of the males of the Sikh Homeland. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 16
A corner of turban hanging on any side, upward-downward or downward,
is called Dumala. In the case of the ordinary persons one corner
of turban is lifted upward. It is done by stiffening the turban
with starch. The other style upward-downward is the style of the
Nihangs. They don't stiffen the Dastar (turban) with starch, and,
their Dumala has specific meaning. Dumala is also called Farra.
It symbolises the Sikh national flag. The tradition of Farra was
started by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, in November 1703. During the
battles, the Nihangs with Farra in their Dastar, used to fight in
the forefront of the battle. A Farra meant that the flag of the
nation was furling high upwards.
A piece of cloth to cover head and hair. The Sikh females (like
the Sikh males) have an obligation to always cover their heads,
preferably with a Dastar, though a Dupatta is very popular. Dupatta
is called Chunni too. Keski, however, is the most proper head-cover
of a Sikh woman. Also see: Keski.
PIERCING:- Making holes in ears for ornaments sake, is, an un-Sikh
like practice. Similarly, piercing of nose or any other part of
body, is also prohibited in Sikhism.
Ethics is a set of moral principles approved by a particular group,
community or nation. Humanism is the central point of the Sikh ethic.
Simple eating; non-drinking; non-smoking; no-drugs; simple dress-code;
equality of caste, colour, creed, sex; honest earning; sharing with
others; defending the poor and the needy; struggle for promotion
of justice; praying for welfare of the whole of the humanity; living
the life of a householder; being ever-ready for fight for Righteousness;
non-stealing, non-begging; telling the truth; not hurting any one's
feelings; respect for the faith of the others; non-aggression; not
to be a silent observer to injustice (against oneself or the others);
early-rising; cleanliness of body etc. are among the basic essentials
of the Sikh ethics. See different points under separate headings.
Islam (Ramzaan month, 30 days of fast), Judaism (40 fasts) and Hinduism
(Ekadashi, Karva Chauth and several others) prescribe fasting as
a part of religious rituals. In Sikhism there is no significance
of fasting; and, fasting as a means of spiritual achievement is
rather hypocrisy. Sikhism does not prohibit fasting for maintaining
good health but as a ritual, it is forbidden. Some Sikh politicians
from time to time used weapon of "fast unto death" as
means for attainment of some political goal. All these ventures
were in contradiction with the Sikh philosophy. The first "fast
unto death" was observed by Sampuran Singh Raman in 1953 to
be followed by Fateh Singh in 1960, Master Tara Singh in 1961, Fateh
Singh etc. in 1965, 1966, Darshan Singh Pheruman in 1969, Fateh
Singh in 1971. With the exception of Darshan Singh Pheruman none
of the above kept one's vow and broke his fast on one or another
pretext. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 873, 905, 1347-48 etc.
Festivity in itself has no place in Sikhism. A Sikh has to rise
above these temporary emotions of mind. A Sikh's real bliss or festivity
is his moment of meditation. The Sikhs, however, do observe some
dates to congregate and to remember some particular historical events.
The Sikhs observe the birthdays of Guru Sahib, the martyrdom days
of Guru Sahib and the Sikh national heroes, the installation days
of Guru Sahib and some historical events of the post-Guru period.
On such occasions the Sikhs congregate in Gurdwaras or in open grounds
and observe the event by performing Keertan, exegesis of Gurbani
and lectures etc. These functions are as religious and spiritual
as usual routine worship in a Gurdwara. Diwali, Wisakhi, Lohari,
Rakhari (Rakhi), Holi are not Sikh festivals and these festivals
can not be celebrated, in any form, by a Sikh. Some ignorant/phoney
Sikhs have tried to find excuses to celebrate some of these un-sikh
like festivals like Diwali and Wisakhi. See: Guru Granth Sahib,
p. 842-43 etc.
There is no food restriction in Sikhism. A Sikh, however, should
not eat the food that creates luscious and the other extreme feelings.
A Sikh has no instruction to be vegetarian but a Sikh has an obligation
to eat only Jhatkaa (of the animal killed with one stroke) meat.
Likewise, there is no restriction of eating or not eating any particular
animal's meat. If a Sikh eats meat, he may eat beef or pork or any
other meat. In the Gurdwaras meat is not cooked/served because Langar
is meant for every one and not all the visitors eat meat. Likewise
there is no restriction on not eating meat or any other thing on
a particular date, day or hour. Simple food habits are a preferable
way of life in Sikhism. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 16, 472 etc.
The Sikh funeral is very simple. In Sikhism the main practice is
cremation (burning of dead body). Some Sikhs throw the dead body
into a river or sea. Before cremating, the body is washed and clothed
in clean dress and then it is taken to the cremation place. Then
the body is placed on a raised platform of wood, to be followed
by recitation of hymns and Ardas (prayer). After Ardas the pyre
is lit, hymns are sung and Sohila (the last prayer) is recited.
After a few days, according to convenience of the family, Path of
Guru Granth Sahib is arranged to be followed by final Ardas. This
brings an end to the final ceremony with regard to a human being.
Also see: Death.
Literally, Granthi is a person who recites Granth (Sikh scriptures).
In Sikh culture Granthi is an over-all custodian of a Gurdwara.
It is not proper to define it as a priest. In Sikhism there is no
priestly class. Every Sikh, who has the knowledge of Scriptures
and Rahitmaryada (code of conduct), may perform services in a Gurdwara.
After the achievement of sovereignty in the Sikh Homeland several
small and big Gurdwaras were built and the need to look after them
gave birth to the appointment of full time employees. This class,
with the passage of time, came to be known as Granthi. In the twentieth
century the Sikhs have added un-Sikh like titles of Head Granthi
apparently in line with the Christian clergies or the other hierarchical
Grihsti (literally: householder) life is obligatory for a Sikh.
A Sikh must not renounce word. A Sikh is an important and useful
part of society and he/she must live a regular life of a normal
human being. While referring to the Yogis and the ascetics, Guru
Nanak Sahib said that these people escape from the realities of
life but still they beg food from the householders. One must become
Sachiar (self-realised) in this world along with playing, enjoying
and also living a truthful life. One should live in this world but
as a Dilgeer (detached) from its enchantment. See: Guru Granth Sahib,
pp. 230, 281, 385, 494, 522, 587, 1070, 1245, 1249 etc.
Gurdwara literally means the door/house of Guru Sahib. A Gurdwara
is the Sikh place of worship. During the time of Guru Sahib, a Sikh
place for worship was called Dharamsala (place of Dharam i.e. the
place where religion is practiced). [Also see: Dharamsala]. Installation
of Guru Granth Sahib is essential in a Gurdwara. A Gurdwara, usually,
has four major sections: 1. the main congregation hall 2. a Langar
hall and a kitchen 3. a Saran (a hostel or a resting place for the
Sikh visiting the Gurdwara from distant places) and 4. an office-cum-library.
In most of the Gurdwaras (particularly in foreign countries), a
school for teaching of Punjabi and Gurmukhi is, usually a part of
Gurdwara. A Gurdwara is not a Sikh temple, it is sheer ignorance
to call it a Sikh temple because a temple is a place where an idol
or a deity is worshipped. Idol-worship is forbidden in Sikhism.
Similarly it is wrong to call a Gurdwara Sikh church or Sikh mosque
etc. Most of the historical Gurdwaras were built during the rule
of the Sikhs Misls. Before that time there were only a few Gurdwaras
which had been built by Guru Sahib or during their time. After the
Misls' period, most of the Gurdwaras had been taken-over by the
Udasis, the Nirmalas and the hereditary Mahants. The Sikhs had to
launch a struggle for the freedom of the Gurdwaras. Hundreds of
the Sikhs laid down their lives and thousands were arrested during
the Gurdwara reform struggle (1920-25). Even now, most of the Gurdwaras
are not being managed in Panthik (authentic Sikh) manner. The present
election system is not in accordance with the Sikh ideology. Most
of the members get elected because of family relationship, tribal
or caste reasons and even for money. The life-style of several members
of the S.G.P.C. is in complete contradiction to the Sikh ideology.
Most of the managements of the Gurdwaras consider themselves as
the owners of the property of the Gurdwaras.
Gurmukh literally means a person with his mukh (face) towards Guru
Sahib. In other words, one who looks at the Mukh (face) of Guru
(for instructions and advice). One who follows the teachings of
Guru Sahib instead of being induced by one's passions. One who follows
the command of Guru Sahib, in stead of one's own heart. One who
is Guru-oriented and not self-oriented. One who lives his life according
to the teachings of Guru Sahib. Its antonym is Manmukh (one who
has his Mukh towards his Man) i.e. one who follows passions of one's
heart. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 66, 74, 87, 118, 230, 232, 429,
512, 647, 649, 650, 653, 757, 842, 941, 944, 1073, 1134, 1250, 1414
etc. Also see: Bhai Gurdas, Vaars 6, 7, 12, 13, 19, 22 etc.
The days associated with some event of Guru Sahib's life are called
Gurpurab (the day of Guru Sahib). It includes the anniversaries
of their births, installation as Guru, death/martyrdom etc. On a
Gurpurab the Sikhs hold congregations and sing Keertan (hymns).
Lectures on Sikh history and philosophy and exposition/commentary
of hymns is also a part of such functions. On some occasions, and
at some places, Jaloos (processions) are also brought out. Besides
the days associated with Guru Sahib, the Sikhs observe martyrdom
days of some of their generals and martyrs as well. Also see: Festivals.
Gursikh is a person who lives his life strictly according to the
teachings of Guru Sahib. Its antonym is Manmukh (one who lives according
to the command of one's emotions). See: Gurmukh.
It is a small collection of Sikh hymns, usually of Nitnem (daily
prayer) and some other hymns. All the Sikhs have usually more than
one Gutka in their homes. Adults and children recite Path (recitation
of hymns) from these Gutkas. A Gutka too has to be treated with
special respect, like Guru Granth Sahib because it consists of Shabad
(the Word). It should always be wrapped in some neat and clean cloth
and should be placed separate from the other things and even books.
One must wash his hands and cover his head before reading or even
Halal, is that meat which has been slaughtered in Muslim manner.
A Sikh must not eat Halal (meat).
MAHALLA:- Holi is festival of the Hindus. It is observed on Phaggan
Sudi 15 (first week of March) to commemorate the death of a mythical
Hindu evil spirit named Holika. On this day the Hindus throw colour-powder
and spray coloured water on each other. Nowadays, it has become
more of hooliganism than religion. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, in order
to wean the people away from this silly custom, organised wrestling,
sword-wielding competitions, mock-battles and warfare manoeuvre
etc. at Aanandpur Sahib. Guru Sahib named it Hola Mahalla (literally:
battle and place for attack). Now, it has become a routine to hold
celebrations on day, next to Holi, at Aanandpur Sahib. It, however,
has no sanctity for the Sikhs to hold martial arts competitions
on this particular day. Guru Sahib wanted to stop people from observing
this silly festival. It is strange that some Sikhs have adopted
it in the form of a Sikh-ized Hindu festival. Some phoney Sikhs
throw even colour-powder on the others; completely in contradiction
to the Sikh ideology.
EARNING:- The first cardinal principle of Sikhism is Kirat Karna
(honest earning). A Sikh must earn his livelihood by honest means.
He/she can not earn his/her livelihood by fraud, begging, smuggling,
stealing or any other unethical means. A Sikh has an obligation
to lead a truthful life.
Hukam (literally: order) means the Command of the Almighty. A Sikh
must always be ready to carry out the Command of the Almighty. He/she
must always bow before the Will of God. In Sikhism everything and
every phenomenon is by His Order. Guru Nanak Sahib, in Japuji Sahib,
while answering the question: "how to become Sachiar (self-realised
person)?", says that one can become Sachiar "by living
according to His Will and Order". Hukam is writ on every phenomenon.
The creation, life, birth, joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure are all under
His Order. When one understands His Order one does not suffer from
the delusion created by ego. In Sikh philosophy self-realisation,
liberation, can be achieved by His Will. One can strive, by living
life according to His Hukam but still it is His Hukam which grants
us self-realisation for understanding His Hukam. Living life according
to His Hukam does not entitle one to liberation, but it is fulfilment
of one's requirements to become a candidate. Hukam, in the Sikh
culture, is used in another sense too. It also means a hymn read
from Guru Granth Sahib, at random, in order to find the Command
of the Almighty on a particular occasion. Reading of Guru Granth
Sahib, at random, to get instructions, before beginning any job
is also called Hukam. Another term for reading hymns for such a
purpose is Vaak Laina (to seek a sentence i.e. instruction, from
scriptures). All these shades have the same meaning. After opening
Guru Granth Sahib, after the Ardas, at the time of closing Guru
Granth Sahib, a Vaak (hymn) is read from it. The root, however,
is the same: to follow the Command of the Almighty through His Word
(contained in Guru Granth Sahib). See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 1,
2, 8, 72, 145, 151, 277, 330, 386, 470, 636, 676, 918, 962, 1037,
1055, 1076, 1089, 1128, 1175, 1280, 1289 etc.
Humanism is the interest and love for humanity at heart. Philosophically,
humanism means a belief in human effort and ingenuity rather than
religion. But, Sikhism, in itself consists both, spiritualism and
humanism. A Sikh must have love for humanity and he should be ever-ready
to serve the human beings, without any distinction of any kind.
The Sikh prayer includes the national manifesto: Sarbat da Bhalaa
(welfare of the whole of the humanity).
Infanticide is the practice of killing new-born infants. It had
been a tradition among some Hindu tribes, particularly Rajputs,
to kill females (and deformed male too), soon after their birth.
Sikhism forbids this cruel practice. Though the Sikhs don't practice
this at all, but it is a part of the injunctions for a Sikh, in
the Sikh Rahitmaryada that a Sikh must not practice infanticide.
Also see: Abortion.
Ishnaan literally means: to have a shower i.e. to clean one's body.
In Sikhism, the idiom Naam Daan Ishnaan has special significance.
It means: one must always remember the Almighty (Naam); one must
be a useful citizen of the world (Daan), [Daan, in Sikhism, does
not mean alms-giving, it means contribution of Daswandh i.e. tithe];
and one must have a sound body, mind and soul (Ishnaan). The Sikh
concept of Ishnaan is not limited to physical cleanliness; it comprises
purification of body, conduct, morale, environment etc. Ishnaan
should grant a sickness-free being i.e freedom from bodily, mental
and psychological sickness.
Jaikara means slogan of appreciations applause, devotion. In Sikhism
a Jaikara is an amalgam of spiritualism, warming up and euphoria.
The Sikh Jaikara is: Jo jaikara bulave Guru de man nun bhave, gajj
ke bolanaa ji: Akaal ! Akaal ! Akaal ! Another popular version (probably
a product of convenince) is: (jo) bole so nihal, sat sri Akaal.
When Sikhs greet each other they say: Waheguruji Ka (Da) Khalsa,
Waheguruji Ki (Di) Fateh.
Jaimala literally means: (Mala) garland of (Jai/Vijay) victory.
According to some Hindu epics, the marriage, during the ancient
days, was performed by way of Jaimala. A competition was arranged
for the wedding of a girl (usually from royal family or the other
feudal-type families) and the winner would be garlanded by the bride.
This would complete the ceremony of marriage. Nowadays, the Hindus
perform this ceremony before the final wedding rituals. In Sikhism,
Aanand Kaaraj is the complete and the only wedding ceremony. Jaimala
is not permitted in Sikhism. As Jaimala, itself ,completes the ceremony
of the wedding, the Aanand Kaaraj (the Sikh wedding ceremony) following
this ceremony becomes meaningless hypocrisy. Hence, Jaimala can
not be performed by a Sikh, it is violation of the Sikh ideology.
Jaloos/Jalus is an outdoor procession, usually led by Guru Granth
Sahib. (Political processions may be led by Punj Piaray only). A
Jaloos is ordinarily a part of the celebrations of a Gurpurab. Generally
in the big towns, the Sikhs arrange such processions, on the birthdays
of Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the Revelation
of Khalsa (March 29, 1698) day, Guru Arjan Sahib's martyrdom (May
30, 1606) day and Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib's martyrdom (November
11, 1675) day. Protest processions are also taken out to mark certain
events. Since 1984, the Sikhs have begun taking out procession to
observe the day of the attack on Darbar Sahib by the Indian army
(June 4, 1984). Also see: Jalau.
Jhatkaa means killing of an animal with one stroke. Sikhs don't
eat Halal meat. If a Sikh choses to eat meat, he may eat Jhatkaa
only. (Jhatkaa has nothing to do with "sympathy for animal").
In Sikhism no animal is sacred or sinful and a Sikh may eat meat
of any animal including cow, goat, pig, lion etc. A large number
of Sikhs do not eat meat at all. Several instances referring Guru
Sahib themselves eating meat can be found in the Sikh history. Guru
Hargobind Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh had been hunting in the hill
forests. Guru Nanak Sahib cooked meat even at Haridwar. These examples
do not mean that a Sikh "must" eat meat. The Sikh have
no restriction for or against meat eating. Also see: Halal. (See:
Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 16, 472, 1289-90 etc.).
SEWA:- Literally: Kar means hand and Kaar means work and Sewa literally
means unpaid manual service. In Sikhism it means voluntary participation
in manual work organised for the repair, construction, renovation
etc. of the Sikh shrines. Kaar Sewa dates back to the times of Guru
Sahib. Most of the Sikh shrines, the first being Goindwal Sahib
and Darbar Sahib Amritsar, had been constructed by the Sikhs themselves.
The Sikhs have organised Kaar Sewa for cleaning of the silt of the
Sarovar (tank) at Amritsar (in the years 1923, 1973 and 1985) and
also at the other places, several times. The Sikhs consider it a
matter of honour to participate in Kaar Sewa.
Kakar (pronounced as Kakaar) literally means: words beginning with
Gurmukhi letter K. Kakar, in Sikh context are the five articles
of Sikh faith. These Five Ks are : Keski* (small turban for unshorn
hair), Kangha (specific Sikh comb), Karha (Sikh-bracelet made of
iron or steel. It is not bangle; and even bracelet is not a proper
term), Kachhehra (Sikh shorts stitched in a specific style), Kirpaan
(the Sikh sword). Every Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh must have all
these Five Ks on his person, all the time, till his death. These
Kakaars are an essential part of the being of a Sikh. A Sikh lacking
any one of these ceases to be a representative of the Sikh nation.
Such a person, even if he tries to claim himself as a Sikh, he/she
is not recognised by Guru Sahib; nor does such a person enjoy the
strength and blessing of Guru Sahib. These Kakaars are not symbols
but these are the "articles of faith". They stand for
solidarity, cohesion, strength and unity of the Sikh Commonwealth.
A Sahijdhari (not initiated) Sikh too must have unshorn hair and
all the Kakaars. *[According to Rahitmaryada, approved by Akal Takht
Sahib, Kes covered by Keski and not Keski is a Kakar]. Also see:
Kes/Keski, Kangha, Karha, Kachhehra, Kirpaan.
Kachhehra is one of the Five Articles of the Sikh Faith. Kachhehra
is Sikh shorts/ drawers, designed and stitched in a specific manner.
Kachhehara is a symbol of moral ethic, restraint and control. It
also is a symbol of royalty. Kachhehra is obligatory for a Sikh.
A Sikh must have it on his person, all the time, till his death.
Removal of Kachhehra makes a Sikh liable of Tankhah (disciplinary
Kangha is Sikh comb, with a specific design. It is placed in the
Joora (top-knot) of the hair. An initiated Sikh must always have
it on his person all the time. It is used for combing and cleaning
hair. A Sikh has an obligation to comb his hair at least twice a
day. An initiated Sikh should not use a comb (called Kanghi) of
Karha (the special Sikh bracelet; it is not proper to call it bracelet)
is one of the five article of Sikh faith. It is made of iron or
steel. A Karha of gold or any other metal is not proper because
Karha is not an ornament. It reminds the wearer that he/she should
not do any evil. As it is in right hand of a male/female, it reminds
one to be vigilant to the Sikh ethics and the Sikh Rahitmaryada,
while doing anything .
PARSHAD:- Karhah Parshad (Karah literally means a specific Sikh
pudding and Parshad means blessing). In Sikhism it is food blessed
by the Almighty. It is the Parshad (blessing) of the Almighty. Karah
Parshad is prepared from equal proportions of wholemeal flour, sugar
and butter and almost a double portion of water. Mool Mantra or
any other hymn has to be read while preparing it. When it is ready
it is taken to the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. After recitation
of the first five and the last stanza of Aanand Sahib, followed
by Ardas (prayer) seeking blessing and approval of the Almighty
and reading of Hukam (holy Order) from Guru Granth Sahib, it becomes
blessed Karhah Parshad. Lastly, it is crossed with a Kirpaan (the
Sikh Sword) and then it is distributed among the persons present.
One must have covered his/her head and should spread both his hands
(in cupped shape) to receive it. Karhah Parshaad can not be eaten
in plates or with spoons.
CHAUTH:- It is a fast which most of the Hindu women observe to make
prayers to God asking for long lives to their husbands. It is against
Sikh ideology to observe this or any other fast. (Guru Granth Sahib,
p. 873). Also see: Fasting.
Kathaa literally means exegesis i.e. exposition of the Sikh scriptures
and/or history. It includes paraphrasing and commentary of literature
in verse. In various Gurdwaras noon and after-noon sessions are
held. In these sessions, exposition of Guru Granth Sahib is done
by the experts. In some Gurdwaras, the works of Bhai Gurdas, Bhai
Nand Lal and even Suraj Parkash by Bhai Santokh Singh and Panth
Parkash by Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu, have been paraphrased and/or
explained. Exposition of Sikh philosophy by scholars, is also called
Kaur is an integral part of the name of a Sikh female. Without using
this, a female can not claim to be a Sikh. Strictly speaking Kaur
is not a suffix for a Sikh female but it is, in fact, a part of
the full name. Kaur literally means prince. A Sikh girl is supposed
to be as brave and responsible as a male prince. This symbolises
equality of women and men in Sikhism. It also represents Sikh national
Keertan literally means to sing the Keerat (praise of the Almighty).
Keertan is the best form of remembering and praising the Excellences
of the Almighty. It means linking one's soul to the Supreme Soul.
Extreme expressions of love make a man's soul dance. This is best
expressed by performing Keertan. But Keertan is different from music
in general. Music in general leads to sensuous feelings where as
Keertan leads one's soul nearer to the feeling of having a glimpse
of the formless Almighty. In the Sikh idiom it means singing of
the hymns. Almost all the Sikh hymns have been tuned to be sung
according to specified Rag (tunes). For a Sikh, Keertan is a part
of his daily life. Every Sikh is expected to himself practice Keertan.
In their shrines and congregations, the Sikhs sing hymns from Guru
Granth Sahib or Dasam Granth or from the writings of Bhai Nand Lal
and Bhai Gurdas. No other hymn or verse is allowed to be sung in
a Gurdwara. Keertan is generally accompanied with harmonium, drums
and sometimes with the other instruments like rebec, Sitar, guitar
etc. There is no restriction of use of any musical instrument but
the general practice is that of harmonium and drums only. According
to Rahitmaryada, only a Sikh can perform Keertan for Sangat.
Kes (uncut hair) is one of the most essential parts of the Sikh
faith. A Sikh can be recognised from amongst hundreds and thousands
because of his hair and turban. A Sikh must not cut his hair from
any part of his body (not only scalp). In Sikh culture kes (hair)
invariably means 'unshorn hair'. It is one of the five articles
of the Sikh faith. A Sikh shall opt for death when he has to make
a choice between "life and hair". There are several instances
when such a situation arose e.g. Bhai Taru Singh opting for chopping
away of his skull than to get his hair cut, an episode from the
life of king Aala Singh of Patiala etc. Those, who choose to cut
their hair or trim their beards of moustaches, can not represent
themselves as Sikhs.
A person who keeps Kes (of course uncut hair) is called Kesdhari.
A Sikh has an obligation be Kesdhari and he/she must not cut his
hair from any part of his body. In fact there is not much difference
between Kesdhari and so-called Sahijdhari as far as uncut hair is
concerned. Both Kesdhari and so-called Sahijdhari must have uncut
hair. Kesdhari is a person who is born in a Sikh family and a so-called
Sahijdhari is a person who is born in a non-Sikh family but he/she
does not cut hair and lives like a Sikh proper and intends to get
initiation as soon as possible. The term Sahijdhari had been coined
in the second half of the nineteenth century. A so-called Sahijdhari
can not continue to be so for a very long time (for several years).
Also see: Kakar and Kes.
Literally: that which is for Kes (hair). It is a small turban worn
by Sikhs under their Dastar (regular turban). According to Bhat
Vahi Bhadson Pargana Thanesar, it is one of the five Kakaars [instead
of Kes (hair)]. But, according to the Rahitmaryada approved by Akal
Takht Sahib, Kes and not Keski is a Kakar. Uncut hair are otherwise
obligatory for a Sikh. At home or at leisure, a Sikh must cover
one's head with at least a Keski. Nowadays, it has become a practice
among children to wear a Keski instead of a regular turban. Some
sportsmen too wear it. A Keski without a Dastar over it, is not
a presentable head-dress for a Sikh.
Khalsa is a Persian term. Literally, it means the land or the property
which is under the personal and direct control of the sovereign;
in other word it means "sovereign". Before 1698, most
of the Masands (regional representatives-cum-organisers), who had
been appointed by Guru Sahib for the collection of tithe from the
Sikhs living at far off areas, had become corrupt and had even begun
presenting themselves as "deputy-Gurus." Guru Gobind Singh
Sahib abolished Masand system and declared that the Sikhs shall
be "the own" subjects of the Almighty, not even of Guru
Sahib himself. As Khalsa is the Almighty's own, those who join Khalsa
Brotherhood shall ipso facto be the direct subjects of the Almighty.
Guru Gobind Singh Sahib revealed Khalsa on March 29, 1698, as per
the command of the Almighty. In his own words: Khalsa akaal purakh
ki fauj, Khalsa pargatio parmaatam ki mauj (Khalsa is the Almighty's
Own and Khalsa has been revealed as per the Command of the Almighty).
Thus Khalsa (i.e. sovereign's own; hence sovereign) is the sovereign
subject of the Supreme Sovereign. Khalsa has a specific dress code
too. These special distinguishing marks include: Kes, Keski, Kangha,
Kara, Kirpaan, Kachhehra (uncut hair, turban, Sikh-comb, Sikh-sword,
Sikh-shorts). This specific uniform distinguishes Khalsa from the
rest of the world. One can join Khalsa brotherhood after Khanday
Di Pahul (the Khalsa initiation ceremony). Also see: Kes, Keski,
Kangha, Kara, Kirpaan, Kachhehra.
Khanda is a double-edged sword. Amrit (the nectar for initiation
of Khalsa) is prepared with Khanda. The first initiation took place,
at Aanandpur Sahib, on March 29, 1698. The Khanda with which Amrit
was prepared that day has been preserved at Aanandpur Sahib.
(INSIGNIA):- Khanda _ is an emblem of the Sikh nation. It consists
of two Kirpaans (the Sikh swords), one Khanda (double-edged sword)
and one Chakkar (quoit). Khanda emblem was not carved by Guru Sahib.
It was first used probably during the early nineteenth century.
The Sikhs have adopted it as an emblem/symbol/insignia of their
royalty and nationality. Two swords represent spiritual and temporal
sovereignty of the Sikh nation, Chakkar symbolises the wholeness
of the universe as well as creation; and double-edged sword (Khanda)
symbolises initiation. Thus sovereignty, infinity and initiation
are three basic points of the Sikh national emblem.
DI PAHUL:- Khanday Di Pahul is the Sikh (or Khalsa) initiation rites.
Literally, it means "tempering with Khanda." Any one,
of any age, who is mature enough to understand the significance
of Khanday Di Pahul, can be given Khanday Di Pahul. The ceremony
of initiation has to be held at a place which should not be a thoroughfare.
Guru Granth Sahib must be installed there with full respect. After
reading Hukam from Guru Granth Sahib, Amrit (nectar for initiation)
is prepared by the Punj Piaray, while they recite Japu(ji) Sahib,
Japu Sahib, Swayyay, Chaupai, and the first five and the last stanza
of Aanand Sahib while sitting in Bir Aasan (posture of a soldier
ready for battle). Each one of the candidates comes to Punj Piaray,
kneels in Bir Aasan, takes Amrit in cupped hands and drinks it.
The Punj Piaray also sprinkle Amrit on the eyes and hair of the
candidate. When every candidate has taken Amrit, the remaining Amrit
is drunk by all the candidates. After this every one recites Mool
Mantra. Finally, they are told about the Rahits (the vows that a
Khalsa must keep) and the Kurahits (prohibitions). To conclude an
Ardas (prayer) is made and the ceremony is over after Vaak (reading
of one hymn from Guru Granth Sahib) and distribution of Karah Parshad
(the blessed food).
KIRPAN:- Kirpaan (the Sikh sacred sword) is a combination of two
words: Kirpa (mercy) and Aan (honour). Thus, the Sikh Kirpaan means:
"the defender of the honour of a being". It is a specific
Sikh concept. Sikhism grants very high status to Kirpaan but it
has to be "soaked in mercy". Kirpaan can never be a weapon
of offence. Kirpaan represents Sikh's duty to defend the poor and
the oppressed. An initiated Sikh must have Kirpaan on his person
all the time throughout his life. Removal of Kirpaan from one's
person makes a Sikh liable to religious disciplinary action. While
travelling in an aircraft (where the airport authorities do not
allow religious rights to the Sikhs), the passengers make a prayer
and place the Kirpaan in their luggage to be checked-in. In that
case a Sikh can not eat or drink anything before he/she wears the
sword again. Also see: Dharam Yudh and Resistance.
Kurahit literally means: one which is not to be practiced i.e. a
prohibition. It is an act a Sikh must abstain from. There are four
Bajjar (strong, major, stout) Kurahits: 1. Not to cut or trim hair
from any part of one's body. 2. Not to eat Halal (meat). 3. Not
to use or touch tobacco in any form. 4. Not to commit adultery.
Doing a Kurahit makes a Sikh Patit (apostate). One, who commits
any one of these four, has to get re-initiation. Besides these four
major Kurahits there are some other Kurahits too. These include:
1. Not to have relationship of any kind with Minas, Masands, Dhirmallias,
Ram Raias or those who having once embraced Sikhism, take to shaving,
smoking, or committing infanticide. 2. Not to dine with a non-initiated
or an apostate. 3. Not to dye or pick out white hair. 4. Not to
receive money in return of one's daughter's hand in marriage (it
includes dowry). 5. Not to use drugs or intoxicants. 6. Not to perform
any ceremony which violates any of the Sikh principles. 7. Not to
break vows taken at the time of Amrit sanskaar (the Sikh initiation).
A Sikh violating any of the first four becomes apostate and he/she
must get re-initiation. Breach of the latter seven leads to Tankhah
(disciplinary action; it is not proper to call it punishment).
Laavan literally means circling. In Sikhism it means four hymns
(Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 773-74) to be recited at the time of the
wedding ceremony of Sikhs. Some Sikhs recite and sing them along
with nuptial circling around Guru Granth Sahib. The others believe
that nuptial circling is a copy of the Hindu Sapatpadi (seven circles
around fire). They believe that mere recitation of the four hymns,
followed by an Ardas, completes the marriage ceremony. The hymns
of Laavan describe union of man with God. The four Laavan are the
four stages of this union. The first is the stage of understanding
for the necessity of union; the second stage is that of living in
His noble fear and devotion; the third stage is the stage of surrender
of one's ego and immersion of oneself in Him and it is followed
by (the fourth stage) the stage of union. It indicates that the
bride and the bridegroom have to become one soul in two bodies and
then they have to strive for union with God. Hence, the Sikh marriage
is more sacramental than ordinary marriages in the other religions.
According to Sikhism, the time of marriage and the marriage partner
are pre-destined; and, marriage is not a contract. It is not meeting
of two bodies; it is union of two souls. See: Guru Granth Sahib,
pp. 700, 778 etc.
Langar literally means "anchor." In Persian it means an
almshouse, a public kitchen run by some rich or prominent person
for holy persons, his followers, his associates and the poor people.
It can be used for the place and the food served at such place.
Langar has been an essential feature of the Sufi Deras and the other
missionary centres of Islam. In Sikhism, Langar means "Sacred
Sikh Kitchen" (and not free kitchen; of course it is free food).
Langar has a prerogative place in Sikhism. It is an essential part
of a Gurdwara. Any one visiting a Gurdwara must dine in langar,
usually before joining worship. Langar is, of course, without any
monetary cost; however, discipline and protocol has to be observed:
one must remove shoes, cover one's head, should not have drunk alcohol
etc. Distinction of any kind in Langar is forbidden. Every one has
to join Pangat (literally: a row) to eat Langar. Here Pangat does
not mean just sitting in a row. It means an end to hierarchy or
differences of any type and every type; thus complete equality.
The institution was started by Guru Nanak Sahib at Kartarpur (the
village founded by him), in 1522. It is wrong to presume the beginning
of the institute of Langar with the episode when Guru Nanak Sahib
spent twenty rupees (given to him by his father for investment in
business) for buying food for some hungry people. Guru Amar Das
Sahib, the Third Nanak, made it obligatory to dine before joining
congregation. Langar is an essential part of every Gurdwara. Philosophically
speaking, food cooked in the house of every Sikh is Langar and every
one is welcome to share it. Strictly speaking, a Sikh has a duty
first to feed the hungry and then himself eat the remaining food.
Lohri is not a cultural or seasonal festival. It is a religious
festival of the Hindus. The Hindus observe it on the day sun enters
Capricorn on the eve of Sangrand of Maagh month (usually January
12-13). It symbolises worship of the mythical Hindu god of fire
(Agni Devta). The Sikhs must not celebrate this festival. Celebration
of this festival is disobeying the command of Guru Sahib.
(rosary):- In Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, rosary is like an
aid to meditation. It is made of wool and there are knots which
look like beads. Rosaries with beads, pearls or alike are also popular.
In Hinduism, there are usually 108 beads of a rosary, though smaller
rosaries too are common. In Islam, there are 99 beads in a rosary
and some people have rosaries of 100 beads too (one additional for
the name of God). In Islam, a smaller rosary too is popular. In
Christianity, a standard rosary has 135 small and 15 big beads and
a smaller rosary has 55 beads. The Jain people use a rosary of 111
beads. In all the above mentioned religions, there are some sects
which believe that rosary is not important, essential or useful
in meditation. Rosary is not a part of Sikh ideology. For a Sikh,
the Name of the Almighty and 'truthful living' is the real rosary
(Guru Granth Sahib pp. 388, 841, 888, 1134). Mala is known as Simarani,
Literally, Manmukh is a person whose Mukh (face) towards his Man
(mind) i.e. one who follows his emotions. In Sikh idiom it means
a person who does not live his life according to the teachings of
Guru Sahib. Manmukh is self-oriented. Manmukh is one who is absorbed
in negative activities; his style is greed, untruthfulness, sensuousness
and evil thoughts. Manmukh is always in the fear of life and death
(and rebirth). Manmukh is antonym of Gurmukh. There are numerous
lines in Guru Granth Sahib which explain the plight of a Manmukh.
See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 116, 143, 363, 419, 421, 641, 955, 985,
1044, 1132, 1238, 1414 etc. Also see: Gurmukh.
Massiya means the day of moonless night. Some Hindus treat it as
one of the auspicious days. Sikh philosophy rejects the notion of
auspiciousness of any particular, day, hour or moment. A few phoney
and/or ignorant Sikhs bathe in some Sarovars on this day. This is
in complete disregard of the injunctions of Guru Sahib. See: Guru
Granth Sahib, pp. 842-43.
TEKANAA:- Maththa Tekanaa is the action of showing reverence (or
making obeisance) to Guru Granth Sahib. Literally Maththa means
forehead and Tekanaa means to touch floor with it. In Sikhism, one
tradition is to touch the ground with forehead and both the palms
of the hands are placed on the floor for convenience. Another tradition
is to bow before Guru Granth Sahib in Bir Aasan (the posture of
a soldier), with one knee touching the ground and the other knee
in erect position.
Literally: fair. The Sikhs don't celebrate fairs in the meaning
of making merry and jubilation. Big gatherings, feasts, eating and
drinking and merry-making, rowdiness, sensuous fun, exhibition of
activities creating nuisance etc. is not a part of the Sikh culture.
But the Sikhs do observe Mela. A Sikh Mela (of course Shaheedi Jorh
Mela) comprises of Keertan, singing of heroic ballads, Kathaa (exegesis)
and lectures about Sikh history. The Sikhs observe Shaheedi Jorh
Mela(s) in the memory of the martyrdom of Guru Sahib and the Sikh
KEERTAN:- Literally: to sing hymns, in a procession, through the
streets of the village/town. It is one of the latest additions to
the Sikh celebrations. Prior to the twentieth century, such processions
were not common. (The only Nagar Keertan referred to in the Sikh
history, was taken out at Aanandpur Sahib, in March 1703). In Nagar
Keertan, the Sikhs take out a procession throughout streets of a
pre-decided route. The procession is led by Guru Granth Sahib and
Punj Piaray carrying five Sikh flags. The Ragis (hymn singers) and
the common folk sing hymns. Besides, the slogans of Sikh euphoria
are also raised along with chants of "Akaal ! Akaal !! Akaal
!!!" The float of Guru Granth Sahib, all the vehicles accompanying
the procession and the whole of the route is nicely decorated. It
is different from a protest procession. In protest processions,
there are no such decorations. Slogans of protest, the Sikh euphoria
and the Sikh goal are chanted in protest processions. Also see:
CEREMONY:- In Sikhism there is no prescribed child-naming ceremony.
Sikhs choose the name of the child and make a prayer before Guru
Granth Sahib. Nowadays, most of the Sikhs bring the child before
Guru Granth Sahib. Vaak (hymn at random opening of Guru Granth Sahib)
is read and the name of the child is selected from the letters of
the first word of the hymn. The Sikhs have some specific names for
their children. Some popular Sikh names are:- (All Sirdars) Ajit
Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh, Ajaib Singh, Udey
Singh, Bachitar Singh, Jassa Singh, Kapur Singh, Baghel Singh, Gurbakhsh
Singh, Dip Singh, Mani Singh, Taru Singh, Tara Singh, Baaj Singh,
Binod Singh, Mahtab Singh, Sukkha Singh, Bota Singh, Garja Singh,
Ratan Singh, Dharam Singh, Ganda Singh, Jhanda Singh, Diwan Singh,
Phula Singh, Ranjit Singh, Man Singh, Charhat Singh, Sobha Singh,
Gian Singh, Amar Singh, Sahib Singh, Jodh Singh, Baisa Singh, Lehna
Singh, Nibahu Singh, Daya Singh, Mohkam Singh, Himmat Singh, Karora
Singh, Bir Singh, Ranjodh Singh, Tegha Singh, Chatar Singh, Sher
Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Dit Singh, Sham Singh, Tara Singh etc. Presently,
a large number of the Sikh names end with "inder" (the
name of a mythical Hindu god), apparently under the impact of the
Hindus as well as because of the spate of fashion. Earlier, Sikh
names used to represent chivalry some aspect of the Sikh culture.
During the 'contra-revolution' (ushered by the princely rulers),
the Sikh names too underwent an un-Sikh like change.
Nitnem literally means daily routine. In Sikhism Nitnem is name
given to five Baanis (hymns) to be read by a Sikh every day. It
included Japuji Sahib, Japu Sahib, Swayyay, Rahiras, Sohila. The
first three are to be read early in the morning the forth after
sunset and last one before retiring to bed. These five hymns are
the minimum for an initiated Sikh, a large number of Sikhs read
many other hymns too, including Aasa Di Vaar, Sukhmani Sahib, another
set of Swayyay etc. everyday.
PIERCING:- See: ear piercing. Sikhism forbids piercing of nose or
ear for wearing of ornaments.
Sitting in a row in Langar (sacred Sikh kitchen), is called Pangat.
The basic concept of Pangat is rejection of hierarchy of status,
caste, colour and every type of distinction. It teaches humbleness,
national unity and social cohesion. Pangat is not to be observed
only in the Langar hall but also in every sphere of life, every
time and at every place.
Literally: apostate. An initiated Sikh, who violates "the Four
Prohibitions" (Bajjar Kurahits) becomes an apostate. These
four are: cutting or trimming of hair from any part of body; smoking
tobacco in any form; committing adultery; eating Halal (meat). A
Patit must present himself before Punj Piaray, obey disciplinary
action followed by re-initiation. Till that, a Patit is treated
as an excommunicated member.
Patka (literally: sash) is a cloth which is worn round the waist.
It is used by labourers, specially coolie(s) at the railway stations.
Nowadays, this term is wrongly used for a small Dastar (turban)
worn by the Sikhs while at leisure at home or by the Sikh children.
Patka is inaccurate and insulting replacement for the term "Chhoti
Dastar" (small turban).
Literally: king/emperor. In Sikhism, Patshah/Padshah means the Almighty.
Only He is the true King. The temporal kings have a limited domain
of reign and, moreover, usually their authority is due to awe, and,
is not voluntary. A temporal king (or the president or the prime
minister in the modern times) has a limited span of reign. The Almighty
is the king of the kings. Unlike the temporal king, His unlimited
authority reigns alike and every where throughout the whole of the
universe. In Sikhism, Patshah is used for Guru Sahib too because
Guru Sahib revealed the Word of the Almighty (the Almighty spoke
through them). See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 6, 65, 141, 144-45, 284,
417, 433, 463, 507, 580, 590, 723, 856, 931, 1022-23, 1190, 1288
In Sikhism Naam (the Word) is only place (object) of pilgrimage
for a Sikh. Pilgrimage of so-called sacred places is prohibited
in Sikhism. The Sikhs do visit Darbar Sahib Amritsar and the other
important centres of the Sikh nation but it is not pilgrimage, in
the sense of the meaning of the term pilgrimage. Moreover, visit
to Darbar Sahib, in itself does not lead to "washing of sins"
or to liberation (only meditation and truthful living lead to liberation).
The writers of the Anti-Sikhism School propagate that Guru Amar
Das Sahib established Baoli (deep well) at Goindwal Sahib, in order
to wean away the Sikhs from pilgrimage of Haridwar. It is mischievous
propaganda. Guru Sahib never asked the Sikhs to bathe in Baoli at
Goindwal Sahib for washing their sins. He did not ask the Sikhs
even to consider the Baoli as sacred. It was built to solve the
problem of water for the people. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 39,
437, 484, 687, 789, 890, 1009, 1245, 1328-29 etc.
(the concept of FIVE):- The number "five" has been frequently
used in various Sikh institutions. Ideologically speaking, there
is no importance of the figure "five" in Sikhism. It was
mere co-incidence that there are Punj Piaray or there are five elements
(of which human body is made of) or there are five Baanis of Nitnem
or there are Punj Kakar or in Hinduism there were five Pandavs or
there are five sins or five weapons or there is Punj Ishnana (to
wash two hands, two feet and mouth) or there are five Namaaz(s)
in Islam etc. In Sikhism, no figure or letter or name or time or
day or date or direction or place or colour etc. is of any spiritual
or specific value. In Sikhism "Punj" means nothing specific
or special. Had figure five been of any regard, there would have
been only five (and not ten) Guru Sahib and five hundred pages of
Guru Granth Sahib and five stanzas in each Baani and so on. In Japuji
Sahib (Guru Granth Sahib, p.3), Guru Nanak Sahib has used the word
Punch. It does not mean five; it means pious person or saintly being
and not "five persons.'.
Literally: the night of the full moon. In Sikhism there is no auspicious
day or hour hence Puranmashi, Massya, Sangrand etc. are of no value
for a Sikh. It is a tradition among the Sikhs to celebrate the birthday
of Guru Nanak Sahib on the Puranmashi of Kattak month of the Hindu
calendar i.e. in October-November. According to some sources the
date of birth of Guru Nanak Sahib is April 15, 1469, but the tradition
of celebration in Kattak month had been derived from those sources
which mention October 20, 1469 as date of birth of Guru Sahib.
The Sikh code of conduct is called Rahitmaryada. It includes do(s)
and don't(s) of Sikhism. It defines various Sikh terms, Sikh conduct,
authentic religious and social ceremonies, rituals, moral code,
the essentials of the Sikh culture etc. It is based on the commandments
of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib as recorded by Bhai Nand Lal and some
other Sikh writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. A
committee selected at Akal Takht Sahib, the Sikh seat of authority,
finalised a draft of Rahitmaryada and released it for the Sikh nation.
This draft of Rahitmaryada is, in no way final. If any other reliable
authentic version comes to light, the draft of the Rahitmaryada
can be revised. Also see: Kurahit, Tankhah etc.
Rakhrhi/Rakhi is a Hindu religious ceremony. The Hindu females tie
a thread or some decorated knot around the wrist of their brothers;
and the brothers, in return, promises to protect them at the time
of crisis. This ceremony is in contradiction with the Sikh philosophy
as a Sikh is bound to protect not only his own sister but also all
the women folk. To tie a thread of along with a Kara (improperly
called the Sikh bracelet) on the wrist is like an attempt to insult
the Kara; hence a Sikh must never tie Rakhrhi.
Literally: master. In Sikh philosophy, Sahib is used only for the
Almighty. The ten Naanaks and Guru Granth Sahib are also addressed
as Sahib because the Almighty spoke through them. Nowadays, the
term Sahib is frequently used without knowing the meaning and the
significance of the term. The present usage began with the British
rule over the Indian sub-continent. The sycophant mentality of the
Indians gave birth to the usage of this term to flatter the British
officers. Later, this term became popular with the rulers of the
princely States too. In Sikh culture, respect for a senior or elder
one can be shown by adding Ji as suffix to the name e.g. instead
of Dilgeer Sahib, the proper address will be Dilgeer Ji. See: Guru
Granth Sahib, pp. 104, 307, 350, 428, 437, 449, 580, 851, 949, 957
The proper way to greet a Sikh is to place both the hands together
and say Waheguruji ka (da) Khalsa. Waheguruji ki (di) Fateh. [ It
means: Khalsa is the Almighty's Own and (all) the victory is through
the Grace of the Almighty]. Sat Siri Akaal is not the proper Sikh
greeting. It was a war-cry. Another version of war cry is Jo jaikaraa
bulaavay Guru de man nun bhaave; gajj ke bolanaa ji Akaal ! Akaal
!! Akaal !!!
KAMIZ:- Salwar Kamiz is the national dress of the people of the
Punjab (including the west Punjab which is now a part of Pakistan).
Some non-Punjabi people too have adopted this dress. It is also
popular in some areas of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan etc.
It is possible that this dress might have a common origin somewhere
in between Turkey and the Sikh Homeland.
Sangat literally means: company. In Sikh context, it means congregation.
A Sikh is supposed to join Sangat for worship as much as possible.
During the times of Guru Sahib Sangats had been established in various
parts of the sub-continent. Sangat also means all the Sikhs in a
particular area (it is a synonym for the Sikh community), whereas
Sarbat Khalsa (The Sikh Commonwealth) means the representatives
of all the sections of the whole of the Sikh nation. In religious
context Sangat means the company of holy, noble people. A Sikh must
try to spend his maximum possible time in the Sangat (company) of
saintly people. Saadh Sangat too is used for such a company. In
Sikhism, mediation in solitude or by becoming an ascetic is of no
importance. A Sikh should sing hymns in the praise of the Almighty
together with the other members of Sangat.
Sangrand (Sankrant) literally means: the moment when sun passes
from one sign of zodiac into another. The first day of each month
of the Hindu calendar is decided through this manner. Sangrand has
no importance in Sikhism. It is auspicious for some Hindus. Some
phoney Sikhs hold special gathering in Gurdwaras on the day of Sangrand,
apparently in contradiction to the Sikh philosophy. It is remarkable
that the Sikh intelligentsia has not shown courage to ask the leadership
of the nation to stop mutilation of the Sikh ideology. Also see:
Festivals. See: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 843, 904 etc.
Saradh/Sharadh is a ceremony performed by the Hindus in the memory
of their ancestors. The Hindus feed the Brahmins (the Hindu priestly
class) with a belief that the food served to the Brahmins shall
reach their deceased forefathers in the "other" world.
Sikhism does not believe in the "other" world. Secondly,
observing death anniversaries and/or performing Saradh is not in
consonance with Sikh religion. Some phoney Sikhs observe Saradh
even of Guru Sahib. It is blasphemous to observe the Saradhs of
Guru Sahib, who had forbidden the same in unequivocal words.
Literally Sati means "the true one." Sati is a woman who
is faithful to her husband. In Hinduism, there has been a Sati ritual
too. The Hindu women, to establish their extreme faithfulness to
their husbands, used to immolate themselves on the funeral pyres
of their husbands. Guru Amar Das Sahib expressedly directed the
Sikhs not to practice this cruel inhuman practice. According to
the Sikh ideology, true love and devotion is faithfulness and not
the burning on a pyre. See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 185, 328, 757
Satsang means true (sat) company (sang) i.e. company of the "true"
people. It is another name for Sangat and Saadh Sangat i.e. the
company of the saintly people or the company where the praise of
the Sat (the Almighty) is sung. See: Sangat.
There is no concept of a (so-called) 'Sehajdhari Sikh' in Sikhism.
According to non-Sikhs, a Sehajdhari/Sahijdhari (literally: the
slow adaptor) is one who wishes to adopt Sikhism. So such a so-called
Sehajdhari must not cut nor trim his hair from any part of his/her
body; should wear a turban; and, should perform his family functions
according to the Sikh Rahitmaryada; and should adhere to the Sikh
culture. Such a so-called Sehajdhari brings up his children in Sikh
style and gives them Sikh names. All the ceremonies (marriage, death
and all the rest), in the family, must be practised in the Sikh
manner. A so-called Sahijdhari can not remain so for several years.
He/she must get initiation as early as possible.
PATH:- Sehaj/Sahij Paatth means non-continuous reading of the whole
of Guru Granth Sahib; where as Aakhand Paatth is unbroken continuous
reading of the whole of Guru Granth Sahib. The latter has crept
into Sikhsim lately. Aakhand Paatth or Sehaj Paatth is not a must
for a Sikh for any occasion but a Sikh is expected to read the whole
of Guru Granth Sahib as many times as possible. A Sikh should understand
the substance presented in it and should try to live his life according
to its (Guru Granth Sahib's) teachings.
In Sikhism Sewa (service) has a prerogative place. It is duty of
a Sikh to join for service in a Gurdwara or at any other place as
much as possible. No Sewa is major or minor, it is only the intention
and devotion which is the consideration for genuineness of Sewa.
Sewa brings an end to ego and gives one the feeling of being a useful
member of society. Sewa can be done by offering money, devoting
time, teaching scriptures and/or by rendering physical help etc.
A Sikh who has never participated in Sewa, is an incomplete Sikh.
Sewa, however, must be done from the core of one's heart. One can
not do it for show or for credit. Secondly, if one makes distinction
while doing Sewa, he is an impostor, hence guilty of sin. See: Guru
Granth Sahib, pp. 24, 26, 51, 286-87, 292-93, 495, 661, 787 etc.
Literally: one who is an evidence (of sacrifice for faith). In other
words one who is quoted as example of sacrifice for faith. Shaheed
is a person who laid one's life for the preservation of one's faith
or for Dharma (Righteousness). Similarly, those who are killed during
the struggle for preservation of their identity and entity are also
called Shaheed. The Sikhs nation is one of those who have been most
persecuted, throughout the world history; probably equal or second
to the Jews. The difference is subtle. The Jews had been tortured
and killed. The Sikhs had been offered to choose between "faith
and life" and all the Sikh men, women and children chose faith.
Three of the Ten Guru Sahib (Guru Arjan Sahib, Guru Tegh Bahadur
Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) became martyrs. Since 1606 (till
1995), hundreds of thousands of the Sikhs have died for their faith.
The most heinous and unspeakable atrocities and savage killings
of the Sikhs were hitherto unknown to the history of the world.
The atrocities committed on the Sikhs by Farukhsiyar, Mir Muin-ul-Mullik
(Mannu), Lakhpat Rai, Zakaria Khan, Ahmed Shah Durrani, Indira Gandhi,
Rajiv Gandhi, Beant S., K.P.Gill, Ajit Sandhu etc. have pushed the
most fascist rulers of the world into shame and shade.
WITH OTHERS:- Vand Chhakanaa (sharing with others) is a cardinal
principle of Sikhism. A Sikh has an obligation to share one's earning
and wealth with the poor and the needy. Sikhism is a socio-spiritual
philosophy. The Sikh institution of Daswandh and to some extent
even Langar (though Langar is not 'free kitchen', it is sacred kitchen)
are sequel of this institution. This principle of Sikhism makes
a Sikh a useful social being.
Sikh is a word of Paali language. It means a "student of religion/philosophy."
A Sikh is a follower of the Sikh religion, founded by Guru Nanak
Sahib (1469 - 1539). A Sikh has complete faith in One God, the ten
Guru Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, the teaching of Guru Sahib, Amrit
(the Sikh initiation). A Sikh must not have belief in any other
faith. A Sikh has a specific appearance: uncut hair, beards, moustaches,
a kirpaan (the Sikh sacred sword), a turban and the other articles
of faith. The Sikhs are a distinct race. The Punjab is their Homeland.
The Sikh way of life is called Sikhi (pronounced as Sikkhi). Also
see: Honest Earning, Meditation, Rahitmaryada, Sewa and Sharing
Simran has been derived from the word Smarn, literally: to remember.
In Sikhism, Simran means to remember the almighty. A Sikh must always
remember the Almighty. The Almighty is always inside us, near us,
in front of us; and, in fact, He is a part of our being. In Sikhism,
Simran does not mean ordinary recitation of His Name, but it means
that while doing any activity, a Sikh must always have noble fear
of the Almighty. Truthful-living, doing activities of social welfare
and humanism are also, in a way, Simran of the Almighty.
Literally: lion. Singh is an inseparable part of the names of all
the male Sikhs. A Sikh must use Singh as his second (last) name.
Any male whose name does not include the word Singh can not claim
himself to be a Sikh. Singh is not a suffix it is an integral part
of the name of a male Sikh. Adoption of the name Singh also symbolises
Sikh national cohesion.
Sirdar literally means chief. A Sikh must be addressed as Sirdar
(in stead of Mr.). The Punjab government had issued orders to address
the Sikhs as Sirdar but the Congress Government, in 1980, withdrew
the order and replaced the Sikh term Sirdar with Shri, which, according
to the Sikhs is an insulting term. The word Sirdar has been derived
from Sir (head). In Hindi and Urdu it is Sar, hence in Punjabi Sirdar
and in Hindi and Urdu Sardar are the correct spellings.
/ SRI:- Shri/ Siri/Sri is the name of a mythical Hindu goddess of
wealth. The Hindus worship Sri before beginning a work; before entering
a house; before starting a business; and virtually before beginning
every thing. The Muslims usually utter the word Barkat (literally
; profit, addition, blessing) before beginning any business activity.
The usage of the term Sri has become such an obsession with the
Hindus that, now, they use it (without bothering for the meaning
and/or significance of the term) as a title for every name. This
has become synonym of the western title Mister and the French term
Monsieur (Mr.). [The original English title was Sir]. The Sikhs
use Sirdar (in Hindi/Urdu Sardar) as a title for a Sikh male (for
female it is Sirdarni). Sri has been used as title with the names
of Guru Sahib (and even with the names of the Sikh cities, the Gurdwaras,
the Sikh institutions etc.) ever since the days of the Sikh rulers.
It seems that this had been done under the influence of the Nirmalas
and the Hindu courtiers of the Sikh rulers. It has been on increase
since 1947, apparently under the influence of the supremacy of the
religion of the rulers. Guru Sahib used Sri as a prefix for the
Almighty in order to distinguish Him from the mythical gods.
Siropa literally means: (a dress) from head (Sir) to feet (Pao).
In the Sikh culture, Siropa means robe of honour. Siropa is presented
to those persons who have contributed something positive and remarkable
to the Sikh nation. This honour can not be given to every one; it
is very selective. Some leaders of the Sikh institutions have tried
to honour Toms, Dicks and Harrys too. Like some other issues, this
institution has been damaged by ignorant Sikh leadership. Presenting
of honours to non-deserving persons is an insult to the shrine and
the institution of Siropao; hence a blasphemous activity. At some
Sikh centres, including Darbar Sahib, Siropao is granted even if
some one offers a big amount of money. This tradition must have
been begun by the Sarbrahs (the government appointed caretakers)
of Darbar Sahib but the Sikh leadership has not dared to stop this
Sutak literally means: pollution. In fundamentalist Hindu culture
all the untouchables are polluted beings. Besides, some persons,
in some situations, to some extent, also become polluted. Among
women, during and after the birth of a child pollution stays for
11 days in a Brahmin woman, 13 days in a Kashatriya woman, 17 days
in a Vaishya woman and 30 days in a Shudara (untouchable) woman.
Similarly, woman is polluted during the days of menstruation as
well. Those men who touch an untouchable too become polluted. There
are hundred types of pollution in Hinduism. Sikhism rejects all
these notions. In Sikhism, wickedness, greed, lust, dishonesty and
ill-will is pollution and it can be removed through meditation and
by truthful living.
Tankhah literally means: salary. Tankhahia is a person who has been
guilty of breach of religious discipline. Tankhah is granted (imposed)
upon that Sikh who has confessed his guilt or who has been declared
guilty of breach of Rahitmaryada or for some activity against the
interests of the Sikh nation. Such a person must personally appear
and submit himself to the Sangat (if his act was personal) or Akal
Takht Sahib (if the offence was national) as a humble Sikh. He should
have a feeling of repentance and must make public expression for
his guilt. He should not appear at Akal Takht Sahib or before Sangat
in a diplomatic manner. He should declare his will (take a vow)
to accept the verdict. The caretaker of Akal Takht Sahib shall present
the case before Punj Piaray or the Sarbat Khalsa, depending upon
the gravity of the case. Punj Piaray or Sarbat Khalsa shall determine
the guilt and finalise Tankhah. After the verdict is pronounced
and after he has carried the same, he should have no grudge or feeling
of resentment or humiliation. Tankhah has to be accepted with the
feeling of religious devotion and not with the feeling of guilt.
As Tankhah has to be carried out as a matter of religious honour;
hence it is called Takhah (salary). It is blasphemous to call it
"punishment". A Sikh accepts Tankhah with the spirit of
getting salary. Tankhah can be imposed by Sangat or Punj Piaray.
Tankhah always is two-fold: 1. service in Langar, washing of dishes,
cleaning of floor in a Gurdwara, cleaning of the shoes of the Sangat
etc. 2. additional recitation of some hymns. If the guilt is not
personal but is national then additional restrictions may be imposed
by the Sarbat Khalsa.
A person who has been held guilty of breach of religious discipline
(seven points of Rahitmaryada) is called Tankhahia i.e. one who
has been granted or is liable to be granted Tankhah. A Sikh carrying
Tankhah considers it so sacred that one regards it not as a punishment
but as salary and carries it out as sacred service (worship).
Sikhism is not vegetarian but a Sikh has no obligation to eat meat.
A Sikh may not eat meat but he/she must not renounce meat on the
plea of non-killing of an animal (or a bird) i.e. non-violence.
According to the Sikh philosophy not only the birds and animals
but also the plants and even water has life. Meat and vegetables
are of the one species and are all the same for a Sikh. All food
is pious, for the Almighty has provided it for our sustenance. There
are several Sikhs who are vegetarians but the majority is non-vegetarians.
Some semi-Hinduised Sikhs eat every type of meat except beef. No
animal or bird is sacred or polluted one in Sikhism. Also see: Food.
KA (DA) KHALSA WAHEGURU-JI KI (DI) FATEH:- This is the Sikh greeting.
When a Sikh meets another Sikh, he will say Waheguru-ji ka (da)
khalsa, and, the other one will reply Waheguru-ji ki (di) fateh.
It means Khalsa belongs to (is loyal to) the Almighty and victory
is granted by the Almighty (only the Almighty is always the victorious).
MARRIAGE:- Sikhism supports widow marriage. Sati, the immolation
of a widow upon the pyre of her husband, is forbidden in Sikhism.
In Sikhism, widow has the same respect as any other female (married
or unmarried) has. Also see: Sati.
Wisakhi is the first day of Wisakh, the second month of the Hindu
calendar. It itself has no importance in Sikhism. During the eighteenth
century, the Sikhs used to gather for Sarbat Khalsa meetings on
Wisakhi and Diwali days because it was easy to know these dates
as no calendars were available in those days. Guru Gobind Singh
Sahib revealed Khalsa on March 29, 1698, not because it was or is
an auspicious day for the Sikhs, but because it was easy to inform
the date to the Sikhs to visit Aanandpur Sahib on that day. If it
would have been auspicious Guru Sahib would have laid the foundation
of Amritsar city, Darbar Sahib, building of Akal Takht Sahib, Aanandpur
Sahib on the Wisakhi days in those years. In Sikhism, all the days
and all the moments have the same significance. Hence celebration
of Wisakhi, as a religious day, is not in consonance with the Sikh
ideology. Also see: Festivals.
STATUS OF:- In Sikhism, women have equal religious and social status.
The Sikh concept of equality of sex is not formal, it is practical
and all inclusive. A Sikh woman can perform religious services of
any kind and every type. A woman can perform all the services in
a Gurdwara. A Woman can be one of the Punj Piaray also. (Mata Sahib
Kaur participated in preparation of Amrit when the first five Khalsa
were initiated on March 29, 1698). Guru Sahib have forbidden giving
disrespect to women folk. Guru Sahib forbade infanticide, Sati,
divorce, dowry etc. According to Sikhism, women are the mothers
of the kings, mothers of Guru Sahib; and; no human being can be
born without a woman (the mother); hence woman holds very high esteem
in Sikh ideology. From historical perspective too, the Sikh women
have played leading role on several crucial occasions, from battle
field to state administration, from statesman-ship to martyrdom,
from teaching to missionary activities. See: Guru Granth Sahib,
p. 473 etc.
more entries about Sikh Culture, please consult:
The SIKH REFERENCE BOOK by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer.
This book has 4000 entries about Sikh culture, Sikh theology, Sikh
polity, Sikh literature, Sikh personalities, Sikh towns, Sikh shrines
etc. Besides it has a comprehensive CHRONOLOGY of Sikh history from
1469 to 1996.
by: SINGH BROTHERS, Amritsar. Available from several shops. Can
even buy on internet.