Archive for the ‘Worship, Ceremonies & Institutions’ Category

How should one show respect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Pothi Sahibs?

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ || ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ|| “The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani all the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. If His humble servant believes, and acts according to the Words of the Guru’s Bani, then […]

How can we show respect to Gurbani when using a laptop, MP3 player or smart phone?

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ || ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀਂ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ|| “The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani all the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. If His humble servant believes, and acts according to the Words of the Guru’s Bani, then […]

May rituals be recited in languages other than Panjabi? Are copies of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in other languages as effective as those written in Panjabi, why/why not?

A text once translated loses its original message and purity. The translation is a product of human intellect whereas Gurbani is the revealed message. Original text is divine and translation is not. Other languages have deficiencies when it comes to writing, reading and pronouncing Gurbani. So no ceremony or any part of Sikh practice can […]

Are there any rituals, ceremonies, or holidays in which a non-Sikh would be precluded from participating in?

A non-Sikh cannot lead any Sikh ceremony or congregation. He can take part as an attendee in some ceremonies. In case of Amrit, he cannot be a part of it unless he is receiving it. In Anand Karaj, he cannot have this ceremony because he doesn’t follow the Sikh way of life. Any person can […]

What is your symbolic understanding of the Karhah Parshaad that is distributed at the end of a service? And of the sugar and sword that is used both in the nectar and in the Parshaad?

The Karah Parshaad is a sacred food that represents equality and conveys the principle of sharing one’s materials (money, food, clothing etc.) with those who need them. Its origin dates back to Guru Nanak Dev Ji who taught this principle to a group of ascetics. They remarked that if he (the Guru) could demonstrate it, […]

How does Sikhi maintain unity among its groups without a hierarchy? In interpreting Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, are there doctrinal variations, variations that lead to variations in expression from community to community or do you see Sikhi as fairly homogenous?

Unity is maintained by following the concept of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind. Interpretation of Gurbani must not be contradictory but there can be multiple meanings as long as they are consistent with the Sikh philosophy. Since Gurbani is divine, it has no limits. So no one person or a group can claim […]

Sikhi is said to have no priests but how would you define your religious leaders, what group or groups most closely fits this role and in what capacities for each?

Sikhi has priests but not priest class. Two are distinct. Anyone can become a priest and perform the religious ceremonies. There is no certain group that has this right. The authority to make decisions rests with the Five Beloved Ones who are chosen by the entire community collectively. Any decision made must not go against […]

What is a Rainasbai Kirtan?

Rainasbai (ਰੈਣਿ ਸਬਾਈ; rainas baa-ee) means throughout the night. Rainasbai Kirtan (ਰੈਣਿ ਸਬਾਈ ਕੀਰਤਨ) refers to the singing of Gurbani throughout the night (dusk to dawn). Bhai Gurdaas Ji mentions that the Great Bhagats held Rainsbais. ਸੁਣਿ ਪਰਤਾਪੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਦਾ ਦੂਜਾ ਸਿਖੁ ਹੋਆ ਸੈਣੁ ਨਾਈ || ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਭਗਤਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਕਰੈ ਭਲਕੈ ਰਾਜ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਜਾਈ || […]

What is the Naming Ceremony among the Sikhs?

Sikh ceremonies are not rituals or occasions for the display of affluence and ego, but acts of thanks-giving and prayer, suited to the occasion. There is no ceremony at the time of the birth of the child in a Sikh family, even though the event produces a feeling of joy among the near relatives. However, […]

What is the Death Ceremony among the Sikhs?

On the death of a Sikh, his relatives and friends are informed, so that they may join the funeral ceremony on whatever day and date is fixed for the cremation. In foreign countries, a date and time is given by the crematorium authorities. As soon as the people gather for the funeral, the dead body […]

What is the Sikh initiation – Amrit?

Initiation is necessary before joining the Khalsa Panth. Guru Gobind Singh Ji initiated the practice with the establishment of the order of the Khalsa in 1699. The Amrit ceremony (initiation) is held in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Five initiated Sikhs known for their piety are called Panj Piyaaray, all wearing the […]

What is the marriage ceremony for Sikhs?

The Sikh marriage ceremony is called “Anand Karaj” (literally meaning: The Ceremony of Bliss). The Sikh Anand Karaj was given a legal recognition in 1909 in India, under the Anand Marriage Act. It has been observed since the early days of Sikhism. Sikh boys and girls are married according to its form when they are […]

Describe the Sikh Gurdwara

A Sikh place of worship is called a ‘Gurdwara’, which is open to visitors, irrespective of their colour, faith, gender or background. The common translation of the term as temple is not satisfactory, as Sikhism possesses no sacrificial symbolism. Sikhs have neither idols nor altars in their holy places. They have no sacraments and no […]

Describe the Sikh worship in a Gurdwara.

Generally a Sikh Gurdwara remains open throughout the day, so that worshippers can offer prayers and receive the Guru’s blessings and wisdom at any time convenient to them. However, two services are held daily in every Gurdwara, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Most fully functioning Gurdwaras will have Aasa-ki-Vaar sung […]

What is the place of sacred music – Kirtan – in Sikhism?

Sacred music, Kirtan, means “singing the praises of God”. It is devotional music. Generally in the Gurdwara, musicians either sing alone or request the Sangat to repeat after them the lines of the hymn in chorus. This is congregational hymn singing and has a soothing effect on the mind. The Sikh sacred music – Gurmat […]

Is there any organized priesthood in Sikhism?

Unlike Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or other religions, Sikhism does not have a ordained priesthood, a priest caste or class, or recognise a priest or religious leader to have a special divine status or rights. Guru Amar Daas Ji, the third Sikh Guru, organized the propagation of the Sikh faith. He divided the country into 22 […]

Mention the important Sikh festivals.

The Sikh festivals are based in accordance to the Sikh Calendar, called the ‘Nanakshahi Calendar.’ The calendar is aligned to the Gregorian calendar. There are two broad categories of festival; (i) Gurpurbs (the celebration of the birth, accession of Guruship, and martyrdom of the Gurus); (ii) and festivals that mark important events in Sikh history. […]

What are the Seats of Authority (Takhats) in Sikhism?

‘Takhat’ which literally means a throne or seat of authority is a result of historical growth of Sikhism. There are five Takhats. The first and the most important one was established by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji in 1609. It is called ‘Akaal Takhat’ (the Throne of the Timeless God) and is situated just opposite the […]

Explain the procedure and significance of Gurmatta (Guru’s Decision).

“Gurmatta” or Guru’s decision is a special resolution passed by the corporate personality of the Sikh community (Guru Khalsa Panth). The Panth is the collectivity of initiated Sikhs (Amritdharis) who owe sole allegiance to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and Sri Akaal Takht Sahib (i.e. the Khalsa Panth). The features of a Gurmatta are as […]

What is Anand Kaaraj?

The Sikh wedding ceremony is called Anand Kaaraj which literally means ‘Ceremony of Bliss’. Marriage is a spiritual identity, not just a love affair between two people. The focus of marriage is not romantic love or physical liaison, though these aspects of marriage naturally bring their own delight. The Sikh marriage is all about love, […]

Do Sikhs celebrate the ritual & festival of Rakhri?

The Rakhri ritual is not a Sikh ritual. Its practice doesn’t fit in the Sikh philosophy. Rakhi or Rakhri means protection. This is a custom among some Hindus. Accepting a Rakhri from a girl, sister or a cousin, means that the boy takes responsibility of protecting her if she happens to the into any trouble. […]

What is “Sukhaasan” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the proceedure?

Sukhaasan means “easy pose” or posture of rest, peace and tranquillity. At night after Sodar Rehraas, Guru Ji’s Saroop (Volume) is put to rest (i.e. ceremoniously closed and placed) in a special room or place, but before being moved, Guru Ji is put into Sukhaasan. In essence, it is the reverse of the Prakaash ceremony. […]

What is “Parkaash” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the proceedure?

‘Parkaash’ means light, radiance, expansion. It is the presence of the Guru presiding over the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. The Parkash ceremony is the installation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib upon the Palkee Sahib for the day, or prior to a Gurdwara ceremony about to be conducted. 1. Entering Guru Ji’s […]

What is a “Hukamnama” and the procedure?

HUKAMNAMA , is a compound of two Persian words “hukam”, meaning command or order, and “namah”, meaning letter. In the Sikh tradition, historically it refers to the letters sent by the Sikh Gurus to their Sikhs or sangats (congregation) in different parts of the country during the period of the Ten Gurus from 1469 to […]

What is the purpose of repeating Paath over and over again if you don’t understand it?

It is agreed by all that we should recite Paath regularly because that is a direction from the Gurus. In this, three steps are involved: i) Reading (listening to) the message ii) Understanding the message iii) Benefiting from the message. The first two steps are essential for the third. Hence, the beginning has to be […]

Why do Sikhs take out Parshaad in the name of the Panj Pyaare (5 Beloved Ones)?

The correct procedure for the distribution of the Karhaah Parshaad (Sacred Pudding which is distributed to the Congregation as a symbolic gesture of the Guru’s blessings) according to the Gurmat philosophy is given below. It will automatically explain why Parshaad is first given to Five Sikhs before it is given to the congregation (Sangat). At […]

Why do we do Chaur on the Guru Granth Sahib? Why do we put the Guru Granth Sahib on a bed? Why the Chanani or canopy?

This is to express our regards and our respect for the Holy Scripture, the True King. The king commanded the greatest power, hence also the maximum respect and honour, in the olden days. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji said that the true kings are those who love God and help others to do that. They are […]

Why and how do Sikhs bow before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

There is no difference between the Order and Word of God and God Himself. The Guru is not a physical body made of the five element, i.e. flesh & blood or ink and paper. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji was asked by Sidhs (mystics) living in the Himalayas, “Who is your Guru and who’s disciple are […]

What is a ‘Sampat Paath’ and is it in accordance to Gurmat?

“Sampatt Paath” is a variation of an “Akhand Paath’ (continuous reading of entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) in which the reading of every single complete ‘shabad’ (sacred hymn) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is followed by the reading of a pre-determined shabad or salok from Sri Guru Granth Sahib (for example on a […]

What is “Katha”?

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee and great Sikhs of his era performed Katha and it was and is still through Katha that many people gain knowledge about Sikhism and become enlightened. Katha is both a spiritual and historical discourse, it endows the listener with spiritual and worldly knowledge, and helps Sikhs along the path of […]

What is the procedure for a Sehaj Paath?

SEHAJ PAATH or SADHAARAN PAATH is the reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from beginning to end, with no time-limit for completion. Even where the limit is fixed and it exceeds a week, it will be called a Sadhaaran Paath, two other terms synonymously used being Khullaa Paath (Khullaa = unrestricted, not fixed) and […]

What is the procedure for doing an Akhand Paath?

Akhand Paath (Akhand = uninterrupted, without break; paath = reading) is non-stop, continuous recital of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from beginning to end. Such a recital is usually completed within 48 hours, however time should not be an issue. The entire Sacred Volume of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1430 large pages, is read […]