A P P E N D I X
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 appearance intact. When we have beard and long hair, it has become religiously mandatory
in Sikhism to wear turban. A Sikh cannot go to any place without wearing turban. Turban is an 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. 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 dues to be part of the services in the Gurdwara.
Before entering the Gurdwara hall, one has to cover head and take shoes off as a traditional respect to the Guru. Guru Granth Sahib is installed
at a higher platform. All who enter, bow before it and make offerings. These offerings are made to the Holy Guru and are utilized for the 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. All sit on the floor in a praying 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 soul or in general to express devotion, must 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, concluding 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 is 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 followed by Langar (free meals).
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) are:
1. Birthday of First Guru (Guru Nanak Dev) is in November.
2. Birthday of Tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) is in January.
3. Creation of Khalsa (The Order of Baptized Sikhs) is on April 13.
4. Martyrdom day of Fifth Guru (Guru Arjan Dev) is in June.
5. Guruship to Holy Scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) is 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:
Wahayguru ji ka Khalsa
Wahayguru ji ki Fateh
(Khalsa belongs to the Glorious Master (God) and All Triumph be to His Name).
Sikhs also usually greet saying, "Sat Siri Akaal" (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
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'.
Bhog: (i) Completion of reading of whole of Guru Granth Sahib (1430 pages) and
(ii) completion of every day religious ceremony.
Chanani: A canopy is spread over the Holy Scripture whenever the Holy Guru Granth Sahib is kept in state as a mark of royalty.
Charanpauhal( Charnamrit): This was a form of initiation before the creation of the Khalsa by drinking the water in which Guru’s feet were washed or Guru’s toe was dipped. The preamble of Japji (Moolmantar) was also read at the same time. This ceremony was inaugurated by the Guru. Sabad was also given by the Guru to be meditated upon.
Chaur: Whenever Guru Granth Sahib is kept in state, an attendant waves the fly-whisk over it as mark of royalty.
5 K's: Every baptized Sikh must wear the five articles whose names begin
1. Kes: not to cut 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
5. Kirpan: A sword for self-defense and a symbol of dignity, power and
Granthi: The priest who looks after the Gurdwara and Guru Granth Sahib.
Gurmantar: Mantar given by the Guru to his followers to be meditated upon. It is ‘Waheguru’ in Sikh Religion.
Gurmukhi: Script popularized by second Sikh Guru (Guru Angad Dev) to write Punjabi language and also Guru Granth Sahib.
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
(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
(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.
Lavaan: Circumambulating of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib during the Sikh marriage ceremony.
Moolmantar: It is the opening stanza in Guru Granth Sahib which depicts the Attributes of God - “Ek-onm-kaar Sat-Naam Karta-purkh
Nirbhao Nirvair Akaal-murat Ajuni Saibhang Gurparsaad.”
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
Paath: Reading of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib
Panj Payaray: Five Beloved Ones (Five baptized Sikhs).
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.
Seva: Devoted service to humanity.
Sikh: Literally means disciple. Usually a follower of Sikh Religion.