A P P E N D I X

 

MEDITATION :

            A body is dead without life and life itself is dead without

Naam (Name of God). Naam is the cure of all sufferings in this world.

            Human mind is corrupted with five vices - lust, anger, greed,    attachment and pride or ego. As long as the mind  remains impure under their influence, it will not find state of absolute bliss. Human life is an   opportunity to attain that goal, if it is missed, a person may fall back in the cycle of death and rebirth (transmigration). So Guru Nanak gave a      prescription to the humanity that whosoever one may be:

            “He shall become pure whosoever repeateth His Name

             With devotion, affection and heartfelt love.”       

                                                (Gauri Sukhmani Moh. 5, p-290)

            Singing the Glory of the Almighty, will help purge the mind of its impurities. By Glorifying the Divine, the human mind imbibes divine     qualities in the process. As a result when all the impurities are gone, Naam will enshrine the pure mind. This will lead to heavenly bliss. As water blends with water, human souls blend with Supreme Soul.

            Anybody in the world can try the above prescription and will certainly find peace of mind. Actually meditation is to invoke God’s     presence into our conscious. One should get up in the morning and take a shower or wash oneself and sit comfortably and meditate on the Divine Word (Gurmantra), “Waahey-Guru” means Wonderful God. One should put one’s attention in the meaning of the word or words being uttered. One should preferably close one’s eyes and say slowly with devotion and heartfelt love for at least 15 minutes - “ Waahey-Guru,   Waahey-Guru,  Waahey-Guru . . . . . . .” After 15 minutes then one should meditate on the following putting the whole attention in the meaning of the Words :

            Ek-on-kar        -           God is One and Only One

            Sat- Naam       -           (God is) The Eternal Truth

            Karta-Purkh     -           (He is) The Almighty Creator

            Nirbhao            -           Unfearful

            Nirvair              -           Without hate and enmity

            Akaal-Murat    -           Immortal Entity

            Ajuni                -           Unborn

            Sai-bhang         -           Self-Existent

            Gur-parsaad     -           (He is) Realized by the Grace of

                                                True Guru

One should meditate for 15 minutes saying slowly but surely -

            Ek-on-kar,  Sat-Naam,  Karta-Purkh

            Nirbhao,  Nirvair,  Akaal-Murat,  Ajuni,  Saibhang

            Gur-parsaad

One must do this whole operation for 30  minutes EVERYDAY in the  morning and can also do it during the day as many times as possible.

 

SECONDLY for everyday conduct Guru says,

            “Truth is high but higher still is Truthful living.”

Truthful Living : One must earn one’s livelihood by honest means ;

                        No Adultery,

                        No Tobacco and no drugs,

                        No Calumny (falseness or misrepresentation).

Anybody irrespective of caste, creed, race, sex, color, religion or        nationality, if does this meditation, will surely find peace and contentment in life.

 

TURBAN: Turban is an integral part of an attire of a Sikh. Whenever you come across a person with beard and turban, most probably he is a Sikh from India. Many Muslims as well as many Hindus wear turbans in India but every Sikh who has beard and long hair, must wear turban. It is by the order of the Guru that a Sikh is required  not to cut hair and keep the natural born appearance intact. When you have beard and long hair, it has become religiously mandatory in Sikhism to wear turban. As you cannot go to work in an office without wearing shirt and pant, so a Sikh cannot go to any place without wearing turban. Turban  is that much important part of dress and mandatory headgear. Like others it is not a symbol or icon but it is essential part of dress of a Sikh. Not every Muslim wears a turban or scarf, not every Hindu wears a turban, not every Jew wears ceremonial cap (yamulke), not  every Christian wears cross but every Sikh with beard and hair wears turban. Some of the countries are trying to ban turban along with other icons of various religions. Turban is not an icon and forcing Sikhs not to wear it, would be no less than a religious persecution. In today’s civilized world every religion has a place and Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. Sikhs are the most visible minority and their turban is the most distinctive identifying mark of their religious belief and practice. 

 

GURDWARA : A Sikh church is called Gurdwara (House of the Guru). Anybody irrespective of caste, creed, race, color, sex, religion or nationality, can enter the Gurdwara and join the services. Doors of the Gurdwara are open equally  to all human beings. There are four doors to the complex of the Golden Temple (the highest seat of Sikh Religion at Amritsar in India) which signifies that all the four castes have equal access to the Guru’s House (the Golden Temple) and also that God pervades neither only in the east nor only in the west but equally in all the four directions. One does not have to become a member or pay anything to be part of the services in the Gurdwara.

            Before entering the Gurdwara hall, one has to cover one’s head and put shoes off as a traditional respect to the Guru. Guru Granth Sahib is installed at a higher platform and is the presiding Presence; all who enter, bow before it and make offerings, a dollar or more as one wishes. These offerings are believed to be made to the Holy Guru and are utilized for the accomplishment of religious objectives. Whenever Guru Granth Sahib is kept in state, an attendant (Granthi or priest) waves the fly-whisk (Chauri) over it. Over it is spread a canopy or awning to mark its sacred character partaking of the ceremonial due to royalty. All sit on the ground in a prayerful attitude, men on one side while women occupy exactly the opposite side as being equal. The Holy Congregation is called Sadh Sangat. As mentioned before, Guru Granth Sahib is in poetic form,

the musicians called Raagis sing the hymns from Guru Granth Sahib and that is called Kirtan. Thanksgiving for a joyous event or prayers for the peace of the departed or in general to express devotion, must alike be offered in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. No sikh marriage can be sanctified except in its presence, with bride and groom circumambulating it reverently four times, while the nuptial hymns from its pages are being chanted (Lavan). Its affirmations may be invoked for blessings. The principal Sikh religious ceremony consists in making a complete recitation of Guru Granth Sahib (1430 pages) over a number of days, usually a week

or ten days, concluded with the holding of congregational prayers, chanting of sacred hymns musically (Kirtan) and distribution of grace-offerings (Karah Parsad - pudding made from butter, sugar and wheat flour). This ceremony is called Bhog. Since recent times a non-stop recitation of the Holy Scripture (Akhand Paath) followed by Bhog  has come largely in vogue. The Akhand Paath takes about 48 hours and is usually done by trained priests. Every religious ceremony is concluded by a formal prayer (Ardaas) when everybody stands with folded hands and the prayer is said by the head priest. After that a randomly selected passage is read from Guru Granth Sahib which is considered the Divine Order (Hukam) of the day and after that Karah Parsad is distributed. After that Langar (free meals) is served.

 

 

 

 

 

Pic1

Guru Granth sahib in State

Pic2

Raagis doing Kirtan

Pic3

Holy Congregation- men sitting on one side

Pic4

Women sitting on the opposite side in Gurdwara

 

 

 

FIVE TAKHATS : Takhat means throne- throne of Sikh Religious Authority - Spiritual as well as Temporal. There are Five Takhats in Sikh Religion :

            1. Akal Takhat Sahib, Amritsar (Punjab State, India).

            2. Takhat Patna Sahib, Patna (Bihar). Birth place of Tenth Guru.

            3. Takhat Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur (Punjab). Khalsa was

                 created here in 1699.

            4. Takhat Hazur Sahib, Nanded (Maharashtra). Tenth Guru

                breathed his last here.

            5. Takhat Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo (Punjab). Tenth Guru

                dictated Final version of Guru Granth Sahib here.

            The head of a Takhat is called Jathedar.  The Jathedar of Akal Takhat Sahib is the Head Jathedar. Any decision- religious, social or even political, taken by the Five Jathedars in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, is binding on all the Sikhs. The Five Jathedars under the leadership of the Akal Takhat Sahib Jathedar have the Supreme authority in Sikh Religion.

 

GURPURB : Important Sikh Celebration Days (Festivals) like Christmas etc are :

1. Birthday of First Guru (Guru Nanak Dev) generally in November.

2. Birthday of Tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) usually in January.

3. Creation of Khalsa (The Order of Baptized Sikhs) on April 13.

4. Martyrdom day of Fifth Guru (Guru Arjan Dev) in June.

5. Guruship to Holy Scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) in October.

 

SIKH NAMES : When a child is born in Sikh family, a randomly selected passage is read from Guru Granth Sahib (Divine Order). The first letter of the first word of the passage is taken to form a name. For example if the letter is ‘G’, the name can be Gurdev, Gurcharan, Gurbachan.........

            All Sikh men are named as ‘SINGH’ (Lion) after the first name like Gurdev Singh...

            All Sikh women are named as ‘KAUR’ (princess) after the first name like Gurcharan Kaur ......These names (Singh, Kaur) are given by the Guru.

 

SIKH GREETINGS : A male Sikh is seen wearing turban and beard. When a Sikh meets another Sikh, he (they) greets with folded hands and says :

            Waheguru ji ka Khalsa

            Waheguru ji ki Fateh

            (Khalsa belongs to the Glorious Master (God) and All Triumph be to His Name). Sikhs also usually greet saying, “Sat Siri Akal” (Truth is Immortal).

 

SIKH CALENDAR : Sikhs follow the usual Indian Calendar months. The second month called ‘Vaisaakh’ begins on April 13. The twelve months are : Cheit, Vaisaakh, Jeith, Haar (Asar), Sawan, Bhadon, Asu, Katik, Maghar, Poh (Pokh), Magh and Phalgun.

 

GLOSSARY  OF  SIKH  WORDS : Akhand Paath: A non-stop recitation of the Holy Scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) which takes about 48 hours and is done by trained priests (1430 pages).

 

Amrit : Sikh Baptism ceremony. Also name given to Nectar prepared in baptism ceremony.

Anand Karaj : Sikh Marriage ceremony.

Ardaas : A formal prayer after concluding every religious ceremony when everybody stands with folded hands and the prayer is said by the head priest.

Bhai : A respectable form of address, literally, ‘brother’.

Chanani : A canopy is spread over the Holy Scripture whenever the Holy Guru Granth Sahib is kept in state as a mark due to royalty.

Chaur : Whenever Guru Granth Sahib is kept in state, an attendant waves the    fly-whisk over it as mark of state of royalty.

5 K’s : Every baptized Sikh must wear the five articles whose names begin with ‘k’:

1. Kes: Unshorn (uncut) hair. This represents the natural appearance of
     saintlihood. This is the First token of Sikh Faith.

            2. Kanga: A comb to clean the hair.

            3. Kachha: A warrior’s shorts.

            4. Kara: A steel bracelet on the wrist, a symbol of dedication to

                the Divine Bridegroom.

            5. Kirpan: A sword for self-defense and a symbol of dignity, power

                and unconquerable spirit.

Granthi : The person who looks after the Gurdwara and Guru Granth Sahib.

Gurmantar : The Divine Word given by the Guru denoting the Ultimate Reality. In Sikhism the Gurmantra is ‘Waahey-Guru’.  

Gurmukhi : Script popularized by second Sikh Guru (Guru Angad Dev) to write Punjabi language and also Guru Granth Sahib.

Gurbani : The Divine Word coming out of Guru’s mouth- contents of Guru Granth Sahib uttered by the Gurus.

Hukam : Guru Granth Sahib is opened randomly and first stanza is read from the top of the left page and that is called ‘Hukam’, the Divine Order of the day.

Karah Prasad : Grace-offering- a pudding made from butter, wheat flour and sugar.

Katha : Religious exposition of Gurbani (Guru Granth Sahib).

Khalsa : The order of baptized Sikhs founded by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Khanda : Literally a double-edged sword. Also the name of a distinctive design that incorporates a double-edged sword used in the emblem of the

Khalsa : (a) Two-edged sword in the center of the ring. It symbolizes                             disintegration of false pride and inequalities.

                 (b) Chakar (an iron ring). It exhorts the Sikhs to serve the

                      whole creation.

                (c)  Two swords on either side of the Chakar (ring). The two

                       swords represent meeri and peeri (Temporal and Spiritual

                     authority).

Kirtan : Singing of hymns of Guru Granth Sahib.

Langar : Practice of serving free food after the religious ceremony.  It was started by the first Guru and strengthened further by the later Gurus. The rules of Langar require that all irrespective of caste, sex, religion or nationality, should sit in the same row and partake of the same food without any discrimination. It really translates the principle of equality into practice.

Lavan : Circumambulating of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib during the Sikh marriage ceremony.

Nishan Sahib : Nishan Sahib is the name given to the flag of the Khalsa. It is saffron in color, triangular in shape and the Khanda in black. The flag post is generally covered with saffron cloth and has a metallic khanda at the top. The Nishan Sahib is installed in every Gurdwara (Sikh Church).

          

Paath : Reading of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib.

Panth : The Sikh community as a whole.          

Raagis : Musicians who sing hymns of Guru Granth Sahib.

Rumala : A cover cloth placed over the Holy Guru Granth Sahib in between readings.

Sabad (Shabad) : Divine Word. A stanza from Guru Granth Sahib.

Sadh Sangat : The Holy congregation.

Sant : Saint

Seva : Devoted service to humanity.

Sikh : Literally means disciple. Usually a follower of Sikh Religion.