What is the Maryada for the Gurdwara?
a) One is more easily and deeply affected by Gurbani participating in the Saadh Sangat (company of the Holy). For this reason, it is necessary for a Sikh that he or she visits the places or Gurdwaras where the Sikh Sangat (congregation) get together for enjoying the benefits of Gurbani.
b) Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should be ceremonially opened (Parkaash) in the Gurdwara every day without fail. Except for a special reason, (when there is need to do Parkaash,) Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should remain Parkaash during the night. Generally, Sukhaasan sewa (the ceremonial closure) should be done after the conclusion of Rehraas (evening prayer). Parkaash should remain so long as a Granthi or sewadaar (attendant) can remain in attendance of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, a sewadaar is in hearing distance in case anyone comes for darshan (paying respect), or when there is no risk of beadbi (disrespect). Thereafter, it is advisable to do Sukh-aasan (the ceremonial closure) to avoid any disrespect.
c) Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should be opened, read and closed ceremonially with reverence and respect. The place for Parkaash should be absolutely clean. A Chaandni (awning) should be erected above. Parkaash should be done on a Manji Sahib (cot) measuring to size and overlaid with absolutely clean mattress and sheets. For carefully doing Parkaash sewa of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, there should be cushions/pillows appropriate kind etc. and, rumaalas (draperies of appropriate size) for covering over. When Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not being read, a rumaala (drapery) should remain covered over. A Chaur (whisk) should also be there.
d) Anything except the afore-mentioned reverential ceremonies, for instance, such practices as the Arti (waving of a platter with burning lamps and incense set in it in vertical circular motion) with burning incense and lamps, offerings of eatables to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, burning of jyots (oil lamps), beating of gongs, etc., is contrary to Gurmat (the Guru’s way). However, for the perfuming of the place, the use of flowers, incense and scent is not barred. For light inside the room, oil or butter-oil lamps, candles, electric lamps, kerosene oil lamps, etc., may he lighted.
e) No book should he installed like and at par with Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Worship of any idol or any ritual or activity should not be allowed to be conducted inside the Gurdwara; nor should the festival of any other faith be allowed to be celebrated inside the Gurdwara. However, it is not improper to use any occasion or gathering for the propagation of Gurmat (The Guru’s way).
f) Pressing the legs of the cot on which Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is Parkaash on, rubbing nose against walls and on platforms or massaging these, placing water below the Manji Sahib (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s seat), making or installing statues or idols inside the Gurdwaras, bowing before pictures depicting the Sikh Gurus or elders – all these are irreligious self-willed egotism, contrary to Gurmat (the Guru’s way).
g) When Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has to be taken from one place to another, Ardaas should be performed. He/she who carries Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on their head should walk barefoot; but when the wearing of shoes is a necessity, there is no need to be superstitious.
h) Parkaash (ceremonial opening) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should be done after performing Ardaas. After the ceremonial opening, a Vaak (edict) of one shabad should be read from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
i) Whenever Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is brought, irrespective of whether or not another Saroop (volume) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is already Parkaash (present) at the concerned place, every Sikh should stand up to show respect.
j) While going into the Gurdwara, one should take off the shoes and clean oneself up. If the feet are dirty or soiled, they should be washed with water. One should do Parkarma (circular walking) around Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or the Gurdwara on one’s right side.
k) No person, no matter which country, religion or caste he/she belongs to, is debarred from entering the Gurdwara for darshan (paying respects). However, he/she should not have on them anything that is prohibited by the Sikh faith such as tobacco or other intoxicants.
l) The first thing a Sikh should do on entering the Gurdwara is to do Matha Tekh (bow the forehead) before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and quietly say “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” to Guru Ji. Then they should have a glimpse of the Saadh-Sangat (Holy congregation) and in a low and quiet voice say: “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.”
m) In the Sangat (congregation), there should be no differentiation or discrimination between Sikh and non-Sikh, so-called touchable and untouchable, o-called high caste and low caste, or high and low.
n) Sitting on a cushion, a distinctive seat, a chair, a stool, a cot, etc. or in any distinctive position in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or within the Sangat (congregation) is contrary to Gurmat (Guru’s way).
o) No Sikh should sit bare-headed in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji or in the Sangat (congregation). For Sikh women to join the Sangat uncomfortably draped and with veils drawn over their faces is contrary to Gurmat (Guru’s way).
p) There are five takhts (lit., thrones, fig., seats of high authority) : namely-
1. Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar,
2. Takht Sri Patna Sahib,
3. Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur,
4. Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded,
5. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo.
q) Only a Rehitvaan Amritdhari (strict observing initiated) Sikh man or woman, can enter the special enclosures of the Takhts. (Ardaas can be offered at the Takhts for and on behalf of any Sikh or non-Sikh, except a Patit (fallen) or Tankhahia (liable for punishment) Sikh).
r) At a high-level site in every Gurdwara should be installed a Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag). The cloth of the Nishaan Sahib should be either of saffron or of greyish blue colour and on top of the flag post there should either be a Sarbloh (pure steel) spearhead or a Khanda (a straight dagger with convex side edges leading to slanting top edges ending in a vertex).
s) There should be a Nagaara (special Sikh drum) in the Gurdwara for beating on appropriate occasions.