There are so many Rehats. Which do I follow? Does it matter which Rehat I choose to follow?

Whether you follow SGPC published rehat, “Akhand Kirtani Jatha (AKJ) rehat”, or “Damdami Taksaal (DDT) rehat”, 95 percent of rehat is the same. It’s just small differences here and there that Guru Sahib willing will wrinkle out in due time.

The minimal rehat (code of conduct) that we should all adhere to and not negate is the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada, published by the SGPC. You can view the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada on the link provided:
http://www.sgpc.net/sikhism/sikh-dharma-manual.asp

The Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada has not been updated with an amendment made in 1985. The morning Nitnem was corrected from being only three Banian to Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Svaiyye, Chaupai Sahib and (full) Anand Sahib.

Sri Akal Takht Sahib Hukamname correcting the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada

In addition to this, if you wish to follow another version of rehat then just remember a couple of things:

1) Don’t eat meat, fish and eggs.

ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ॥
ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ ॥੨੩੩॥
“O Kabeer! Those mortals who consume marijuana (drugs), fish (met), and wine (alcohol) – no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and religious routines they follow, they will all go to hell. ||233||”
(SGGS – Ang 1377)

ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੀ ਕੀਏ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਹਲਾਲੁ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਮਾਂਗੀਐ ਤਬ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਕਉਨੁ ਹਵਾਲੁ ॥੧੮੭॥
ਕਬੀਰ ਖੂਬੁ ਖਾਨਾ ਖੀਚਰੀ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਲੋਨੁ ॥ ਹੇਰਾ ਰੋਟੀ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਗਲਾ ਕਟਾਵੈ ਕਉਨੁ ॥੧੮੮॥
“O Kabeer! Those that use force and kill and call it lawful (halaal), after going to the Court of God, what will be their state? ||187|| O Kabeer! (Despite the Mullah justifies eating meat with the excuse of sacrificing it to God,) the dinner of beans and rice is excellent, if it is (just) flavoured with salt. I am not ready to have my own throat cut to have meat with my bread? ||188||”
(SGGS – Ang 1374)

2) Wear a dastaar always on your head (for both male and female).

ਕਾਇਆ ਕਿਰਦਾਰ ਅਉਰਤ ਯਕੀਨਾ ॥ ਰੰਗ ਤਮਾਸੇ ਮਾਣਿ ਹਕੀਨਾ ॥
ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ ॥ ੧੨ ॥
“O person of God! Let good deeds be your body, and faith your bride. (Instead having enjoyment of immoral deeds) Play and enjoy in God’s love and delight. O person of God! Purify the mind what is impure (with bad thoughts) “this is the religious tradition through which you can experience the Lord’s Presence. (Abandoning circumcision, mutilation and deferment of the body etc) preserve a complete appearance with a turban on your head” this becomes the way to maintain respect and honour. ||12||”
(SGGS – Ang 1084)

ਕੰਘਾ ਦੋਨੋ ਵਕਤ ਕਰ ਪਾਗ ਚੁਨੈ ਕਰ ਬਾਂਧਈ ॥
ਦਾਤਨ ਨੀਤ ਕਰੇਇ ਨਾ ਦੁਖ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ ॥
“Comb your hair twice a daily and retie your turban each time your wear it.
Clean your teeth daily and this way you will not suffer pain.”
(Rehatnama Bhai Nand Lal Singh Ji)

3) Keep at least the basic Gurmat bibek rehit i.e. be conscious in your choices of what you eat, where you eat from, who has cooked the food, how it was cooked etc.

ਜਾਕੀ ਰਹਿਤ ਨ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਤ ||
ਉਨਕਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਖਾਇਕੈ ਬਿਸਰਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ||
“One who has no Rehit (discipline) and does not meditate on the Gurmantar; If you eat their food, you will loose the love for God.”
(Rehitnama)

ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਨੀ ਤਿਨ ਧਿਗੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਧਿਗੁ ਖਾਣੁ ॥੧॥
“O Nanak! Those who do not contemplate the Naam, the Name of the Lord – cursed are their clothes, and cursed is their food. ||1||”
(Ang 646)

ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਨਾ ਰੂਖਾ ਸੋ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਧਾਨ ||
ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਸਾਕਤ ਛਤੀਹ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਬਿਖੂ ਸਮਾਨ ||੨||
“The dry bread of the Saints (Gursikhs) is equal to all treasures. The thirty-six tasty dishes of the faithless cynic are just like poison.”
(SGGS – 811)

ਨੜੀ ਮਾਰ, ਸਿਰ ਗੁੰਮ, ਕੁੜੀ-ਮਾਰ ਨਾਲ, ਰੋਟੀ ਬੇਟੀ ਦਾ ਨਾਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਰੱਖਣਾ | (ਰਹਿਤਨਾਮਾ ਭਾਈ ਨੰਦ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ)
“Those who consume any intoxicant, cut their hair, or those who kill their baby-daughters – do not keep the relationship of eating from food from them or marriage with them.”
(Rehitnama Bhai Nand Lal Singh Ji)

4) At least do 1 hour simran and read the same Banian read in the Amrit Sanchaar (i.e. the 5 Banis) every morning, to keep the Amrit Rass rejuvenated within you. Recite Rehraas Sahib in the evening and Sohila Sahib at night time/before bed.

ਗੁਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਜੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਅਖਾਏ ਸੁ ਭਲਕੇ ਉਠਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰੇ ਭਲਕੇ ਪਰਭਾਤੀ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਕਰੇ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ॥
ਉਪਦੇਸਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੋਖ ਲਹਿ ਜਾਵੈ ॥
ਫਿਰਿ ਚੜੈ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਗਾਵੈ ਬਹਦਿਆ ਉਠਦਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥
ਜੋ ਸਾਸਿ ਗਿਰਾਸਿ ਧਿਆਏ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ॥
ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ ॥
ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਧੂੜਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਕੀ ਜੋ ਆਪਿ ਜਪੈ ਅਵਰਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
“One who calls himself a Sikh of the Guru, the True Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord’s Name. Upon arising early in the morning, he is to bathe, and cleanse himself in the pool of nectar. Following the Instructions of the Guru, he is to chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. All sins, misdeeds and negativity shall be erased. Then, at the rising of the sun, he is to sing Gurbani; whether sitting down or standing up, he is to meditate on the Lord’s Name. One who meditates on my Lord, Har, Har, with every breath and every morsel of food – that GurSikh becomes pleasing to the Guru’s Mind. That person, unto whom my Lord and Master is kind and compassionate – upon that GurSikh, the Guru’s Teachings are bestowed. Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. ||2||”

(SGGS – Ang 305)

ਗੁਰਸਿਖ ਰਹਿਤ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤ। ਉਠਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਤ ਕਰੇ ਹਿਤ ਚੀਤ ॥
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਸੁ ਜਾਪ ਕਰ ਇਸਨਾਨ ਪੜ੍ਹੈ ਜਪੁ ਜਾਪੁ ॥
“O Gursikhs, O friends, listen to the Code of Conduct. Wake up at in the early hours (before dawn) and focus your consciousness. Chant ‘Waheguru’, the Gur-Mantar, take a bath and recite Japji Sahib and Jaap Sahib (and the other 3 Banis).”
(Bhai Nand Lal Tankhah-Nama)

Rest Guru Sahib will lead you to correct rehit, if your bhaags (fortune) allow.

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