Rehat Maryada

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 the Guru, in person, emancipates him.”
(SGGSJ Ang 982)

ਜਿਨ ਭੈ ਅਦਬ ਨ ਬਾਨੀ ਧਾਰਾ || ਜਾਨਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਮਾਰਾ ||੨੦||
“That person who does not respect and fear Gurbani is not a Sikh.”
(Gurpartap Suraj Granth)

Satguru Jee gave the utmost respect to Gurbani in all his ten forms. In the same way, we should also strive to show the same respect. In order to do this, the following should be adhered to:

  • No one should seat themselves upon Guru Jee’s throne without having bathed or washing their feet. Nor should they do so whilst wearing socks or gloves.

  • A person who has had sex or a nightly emission should have a full Ishnaan (from head to toe, including washing hair), wash his/her clothes, then recite Japjee Sahib and then do an Ardaas. Then he/she is ready to go and sit behind Guru Jee’s throne.

  • If your hands have touched your, or someone else’s, feet, face, Kashera or if they are wet or dirty, then they must not to be placed on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Pothis (volumes of Granths) or Gutka sahibs (collections of bani’s).

  • Whilst on Guru Jee’s tabiyaa to do sewa or reciting Paatth nothing is to be eaten or placed in the mouth, i.e. sweets or cardamom.

  • A Singh/Singhni sitting in Guru Jee’s Hazoori is not to sit on any form of cushion. He/she is not to put his feet under the Manjee Sahib (Guru’s Sahib’s platform/throne) or lean against it in any way.

  • He/she is to sit cross-legged without leaning on anything.

  • You must never put your feet in the direction of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.

  • Maharaj is never to be placed in a closet or cupboard, on the contrary, Guru Sahib must be placed on a nicely decorated throne in a well – ventilated room.

  • Clothing appropriate to the season is to be placed upon the throne of Guru Jee. In the summer, thin clothing and in winter, warm clothing i.e. a thick blanket/duvet must be used. Too hot or too cold temperature would damage the paper of Guru Sahib’s saroop.

  • If Maharaj is kept in a palki then a small canopy is to be hung inside the palki and a larger one over the top of the palki. The canopy is placed as a mark of respect for Satguru Jee who is the Master of all beings. The spread that is placed under the palki and Manjee Sahib is to be of better quality, and separate, to that of the Granthi Singh. The Manjee Sahib is to be well built and attractive in appearance.

  • Whenever Satguru Jee is brought somewhere, the Sangat are to remove their shoes and perform Kirtan. When Satguru Jee passes you are to rise and clasp you hands together as a mark of respect and are to humbly bow. For as long as you can see Satguru Jee, you are to remain standing with both hands clasped.

  • Whilst Satguru Jee is on the move, one Singh is to do Chaur Sahib Seva whilst one is to go ahead of Satguru Jee and sprinkle water when outside.

  • When doing Paath from a Pothi or Gutka you should sit on a clean cloth placed on the floor. If there is a settee/bed or other furniture on a higher platform that you can sit on, then you should sit upon this furniture to recite Paath. Whilst sitting on the bed of another, Gurbani is not to be recited sitting directly behind them (i.e. with their back to you). You are not to recite Gurbani sitting on the floor when someone is sitting on a higher platform than yourself (at home) or facing the side of the bed where your feet are placed at night.

  • When reciting Gurbani, you are to face your pillow or the place where your head rests for sleep.

  • A person who gives Santhia (teaches how to correctly pronounce Gurbani) should not sit on a pillow or on a higher platform than those being taught.

  • Pothi’s of Gurbani, Gutka Sahibs, Dasam Bani, Bhai Gurdas Jee’s writings are all to be given the utmost respect and care, this includes any other writings about Gurmat or those which contain Gurbani.

  • Normal books are not to be stored along with scriptures of Gurbani.

  • A Gutka is not to be used whilst having your head uncovered and/or with your shoes on.

  • A bookmark or any form of sign is not to be kept in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.

  • Gutkas and Pothis of Gurbani are to be stored in a nice place, high up, towards which your feet will not be facing and where your back will not be turned against.

  • Rumala’s with images/pictures on them are not to be placed upon Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Expensive, beautiful and clean Rumalas are to be offered to Guru Sahib.

  • In the presence of Guru Sahib a candle of paraffin/white spirit is not to be lit.

  • When listening to Gurbani from a radio, cassette player (or CD/video etc) the audio – visual aid is to be placed on a higher platform than the person listening to it, as a mark of respect to the Gurbani being listened to.

  • Newspapers, magazines, books etc in which Gurbani may be written are not to be thrown away or allowed to fly around on the ground – after use, they should be burnt.

  • When going to sit in the Hazoori of Guru Sahib, clothing that was worn when going to the toilet is not to be worn (until washed again). After going to the toilet, the hands are to be washed several times with soap.

  • Brushing your teeth daily is essential. After passing water, it is essential to wash your hands.