sikh beliefs and practicessikh reht maryada, the definition of sikh, sikh conduct and conventionssikh religious conventions
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Chapter I: Sikh Defined
Article I Definition of Sikh
Chapter II:Aspects of Sikh Living
Article II Sikh Living
Chapter III: Individual Spirituality
Article III:Sikh's Personal Life
Article IV: Meditating on Nam and Scriptures
Chapter IV: Gurdwaras, Congregational Etiquette, Rites
Article V: Joining the Congregation for understanding of and reflecting on Gurbani
Chapter V: Kirtan
Article VI: Kirtan
Chapter VI: Taking Hukums - Other Items of Service
ArticleVII: Taking Hukum
Chapter VII: Reading of Guru Granth Sahib
Article VIII: Sadharan Path
Article IX: Akhand Path
Article X:Commencing the Non-stop Reading
Article XI: Concluding the Reading
Chapter VIII: Karhaha Prasahad
Article XII: Karhaha Prasahad
Chapter IX: Components of Gurdwara Service
Article XIII: Exposition of Gurbani
Article XIV: Expository Discourse
Article XV: Gurdwara Service
Chapter X: Beliefs, Observance, Duties, Taboos and Ceremonies
Article XVI: Living in Consonance with Guru's Tenets
Chapter XI: Ceremonies pertaining to Social Occasions
Article XVII: Ceremonies pertaining to Birth and Naming of Child
Article XVIIII:Anand Sanskar
Article XIX:Funeral Ceremonies
Article XX: Other Rites and Conventions
Chapter XII:Altruistic Work
Article XXI:Voluntary Service
Chapter XII:Panthic Life
Article XXII:Facets of Corporate Sikh Life
Article XXIII:Panth's Status of Guru-hood
Article XXIV:Ceremony of Baptism or Initiation
Article XXV:Method of Imposing Chastisement
Article XXVI:Method of Adopting Gurmatta
Article XXVII:Appeals against Local Decisions

living in sikhism, sikh religious scriptures, sikh religion living

Sikh Reht Maryada



Ceremonies pertaining to Birth and Naming of Child

Article XVII

     a. In a Sikh's household, as soon after the birth of a child as the mother becomes capable of moving about and taking bath (irrespective of the number of days which that takes), the family and relatives should go to a Gurdwara with Karhah Prashad (sacred pudding) or get Karhah Prashad made in the Gurdwara and recite in the holy presence of the Guru Granth Sahib such hymns as "Parmeshar dita bana" {Sorath M. 5} (The Almighty Lord has granted support. [Sorath M. 5, Guru Granth Sahib P. 628]), "Satguru sache dia bhej" {Asa M. 5} (The true Lord has sent this gift. [Asa M. 5, Guru Granth Sahib P. 396]) that are  expressive of joy and thankfulness. Thereafter if a reading of the holy Guru Granth Sahib  had been taken up, that should be concluded. Then the holy Hukam (command) should be  taken. A name starting with the first letter of the Shabad of the Hukam (command) should  he proposed by the Granthi (man in attendance of Guru Granth Sahib) and, after its  acceptance by the congregation, the name should be announced by him. The boy's name  must have the suffix "Singh" and the girl's, the suffix "Kaur".
        After that the Anand Sahib (short version comprising six stanzas) should be recited    and the Ardas in appropriate terms expressing joy over the naming ceremony be offered    and the Karhah Prashad distributed.
    b. The superstition as to the pollution of food and water in consequence of birth (There is     a wide-spread belief among certain sections of Indian people that a birth in a household    causes pollution (sutak) which is removed by the thorough bathing of the mother, the baby    and persons attending on her as also by a thorough cleaning of the house, the utensils    and the clothes, after prescribed periods of ten, twenty one and forty days.) must not be    subscribed to, for the holy writ is : "The birth and death are by His ordinance; coming and    going is by His will. All food and water are, in principle, clean, for these life-sustaining    substances are provided by Him."
  c. Making shirts or frocks for children out of the Holy Book's draperies is a sacrilege.   

   Anand Sanskar (Lit. Joyful Ceremonial : Sikh Matrimonial Ceremony and Conventions)

Article XVIII

    a. A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the prospective         spouse's caste and descent.
    b. A Sikh's daughter must be married to a Sikh.
    c. A Sikh's marriage should be solemnized by Anand marriage rites.
    d. Child marriage is taboo for Sikhs.
    e. When a girl becomes marriageable, physically, emotionally and by virtue of maturity of         character, a suitable Sikh match should be found and she be married to him by Anand         marriage rites.
    f. Marriage may not be preceded by engagement ceremony. But if an engagement        ceremony is sought to he held, a congregational gathering should be held and, after        offering the Ardas before the Guru Granth Sahib, a kirpan, a steel bangle and some        sweets may be tendered to the boy.
   g. Consulting horoscopes for determining which day or date is auspicious or otherwise for        fixing the day of the marriage is a sacrilege. Any day that the parties find suitable by        mutual consultation should be fixed.
   h. Putting on floral or gilded face ornamentation, decorative headgear or red thread band        round the wrist, worshipping of ancestors, dipping feet in milk mixed with water, cutting a        berry or jandi (Prosopis spieigera) bushes, filling pitcher, ceremony of retirement in        feigned displeasure, reciting couplets, performing havans (Sacrificial fire), installing vedi        (a wooden canopy or pavilion under which Hindu marriages are performed), prostitutes'        dances, drinking liquor, are all sacrileges.
   i. The marriage party should have as small a number of people as the girl's people desire.      The two sides should greet each other singing sacred hymns and finally by the Sikh       greetings of Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.
   j.  For marriage, there should be a congregational gathering in the holy presence of Guru        Granth Sahib. There should be hymn-singing by ragis or by the whole congregation.        Then the girl and the boy should he made to sit facing the Guru Granth Sahib. The girl        should  sit on the left side of the boy. After soliciting the congregation's permission, the        master of the marriage ceremony (who may be a man or a woman) should bid the boy        and girl and their parents or guardians to stand and should offer the Ardas for the        commencement of the Anand marriage ceremony.
             The officiant should then apprise the boy and the girl of the duties and obligations of        conjugal life according to the Guru's tenets.
             He should initially give to the two an exposition of their common mutual obligations. He should tell them how to model the husband-wife relationship on the love between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul in the light of the contents of circumambulation (Lavan) hymns in the Suhi measure (rag) section (The bulk of the Guru Granth (the Sikh  holy book ) is divided on the basis of the ragas (measures) of the Indian classical music. Suhi is one of the ragas featuring in the Guru Granth Sahib) of the Guru Granth Sahib.
             He  should explain to them the notion of the state of "a single soul in two bodies" to       be achieved through love and make them see how they may attain union with the       Immortal Being discharging duties and obligations of the householders' life. Both of them,  they should be told, have to make their conjugal union a means to the fulfillment of the purpose of the journey of human existence; both have to lead clean and Guru-oriented lives through the instrumentality of their union.
            He should then explain to the boy and girl individually their respective conjugal duties as husband and wife.
           The bridegroom should be told that the girl's people having chosen him as the fittest        match from among a whole lot, he should regard his wife as his better half, accord to        unflinching love and share with her all that he has. In all situations, he should protect        her person and honour, he should be completely loyal to her and he should show much        respect and consideration for her parents and relations as for his own.
            The girl should be told that she has been joined in matrimony to her man in the        hallowed presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation. She should ever        harbour for him deferential solicitude, regard him the lord master of her love and trust;        she should remain firm in her loyalty to him and serve him in joy and sorrow and in        every clime (native or foreign) and should show the same regard and consideration to        his parents and relatives as she would, to her own parents and relatives.
            The boy and girl should bow before the Guru Granth Sahib to betoken their        acceptance of these instructions. Thereafter, the girl's father or the principal relation        should make the girl grasp one end of the sash which the boy is wearing over his        shoulders and the person in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib should recite the        matrimonial circumambulation stanzas {Lavan of the fourth Guru in the Suhi musical        measure section of the Guru Granth Sahib } (Pp. 773-4). After the conclusion of the        recitation  of each of the stanzas, the boy, followed by the girl holding the end of the       sash, should go    round the Guru Granth Sahib while the ragis or the congregation sing       out the recited stanza.
            The boy and girl, after every circumambulation, should bow before the Guru Granth       Sahib in genuflexion, lowering their forehead to touch the ground and then stand up to       listen to the recitation of the next stanza.There being four matrimonial circumambulation       stanzas in the concerned hymn, the  proceeding will comprise four circumambulations       with the incidental singing of the stanza.After the fourth circumabulation, the boy and girl       should, after bowing before the Guru Granth Sahib, sit down at the appointed place and       the Ragis or the person who has conducted the ceremony should recite the first five and       the last stanza of the Anand Sahib. Thereafter, the Ardas should he offered to mark the       conclusion of the Anand marriage ceremony and the sacred pudding, distributed'.
          k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by        the Anand Karaj ceremony.
          l. No Sikh should accept a match for his/her son or daughter  for monetary              consideration.
         m. If the girl's parents at any time or on any occasion visit  their daughter's home and              a  meal is ready there, they should not hesitate to eat there. Abstaining from eating              at the girl's home is a superstition. The Khalsa has been blessed with the boon of              victuals and making others eat by the Guru and the Immortal Being. The girl's and             boy's people should keep accepting each other's hospitality, because the Guru has             joined them in relationship of equality (Prem Sumarag).
          n. If a woman's husband has died, she may, if she so wishes, finding a match               suitable for her, remarry. For a Sikh man whose wife has died, similar ordinance                obtains.
         o. The remarriage may be solemnized in the same manner as the Anand marriage.
         p. Generally, no Sikh should marry a second wife if the first wife is alive.
         q. A baptised ought to get his wife also baptised.
   Funeral Ceremonies (Antam Sanskar)

     Article XIX

       a. The body of a dying or dead person, if it is on a cot, must not be taken off the cot z            and  put on the floor. Nor must a lit lamp be placed beside, or a cow got bestowed in            donation  by, him/her or for his/her good or any other ceremony, contrary to Guru's           way,performed. Only Gurbani should be recited or "Waheguru, Waheguru" repeated            by his/her side.

       b. When some one shuffles the mortal coil, the survivors must not grieve or raise a hue       and cry or indulge in breast beating. To induce a mood of resignation to God's will, it is       desirable to recite Gurbani or repeat "Waheguru".

      c. However young the deceased may be, the body should be cremated. However, where       arrangements for cremation cannot be made, there should be no qualm about the body       being immersed in flowing water or disposed of in any other manner.

      d. As to the time of cremation, no consideration as to whether it should take place          during day or night should weigh.

      e. The dead body should be bathed and clothed in clean clothes. While that is done, the      Sikh symbols-comb, kachha, karha, kirpan-should not be taken off. Thereafter putting the      body on a plank, Ardas about its being taken away for disposal be offered. The hearse      should then be lifted and taken to the cremation ground. While the body is being carried      to the cremation ground, hymns that induce feelings of detachment should be recited. On       reaching the cremation ground, the pyre should be laid. Then the Ardas for consigning      the body to fire be offered. The dead body should then be placed on the pyre and the son      or any other relation or friend of the deceased should set fire to it, The accompanying      congregation should sit at a reasonable distance and listen to kirtan or carry on collective       singing of hymns or recitation of detachment-inducing hymns. When the pyre is fully       aflame, the Kirtan Sohila (prescribed preretirement night Scriptural prayer) be recited          and the Ardas offered. (Piercing the Skull half an hour or so after the pyre has been       burning with a rod or something else in the belief that will secure the release of the       soul- kapal kriya-is contrary to the Guru's tenets). The congregation should then leave.              Coming back home, a reading of the Guru Granth Sahib should be commenced at       home or in a nearby Gurdwara, and after reciting the six stanzas of the Anand Sahib,        the Ardas, offered and Karhah prashad (sacred pudding) distributed. The reading of the       Guru Granth Sahib should be completed on the tenth day. If the reading cannot, or is       sought not to, be completed on the tenth day, some other day may be appointed for the       conclusion of the reading having regard to the convenience of the relatives. The reading       of the Guru Granth Sahib should be carried out by the members of the household of the       deceased and relatives in cooperation. If possible, Kirtan may be held every night. No       funeral ceremony remains to be performed after the "tenth day."

         f. When the pyre is burnt out, the whole bulk of the ashes, including the burnt bones,      should be gathered up and immersed in flowing water or buried at that very place and the      ground levelled. Raising a monument to the memory of the deceased at the place where      his dead body is cremated is taboo.

       g. Adh Marg (the ceremony of breaking the pot used for bathing the dead body amid     doleful cries half way towards the cremation ground), organised lamentation by women,     foorhi (sitting on a straw mat in mourning for a certain period), diva (keeping an oil lamp lit     for 360 days after the death in the belief that that will light the path of the deceased), Pind     (ritual donating of lumps of rice flour, oat flour, or solidified milk (khoa) for ten days after      death), kirya (concluding the funeral proceedings ritualistically, serving meals and making     offerings by way of Shradh, Budha marna (waving of whisk, over the hearse of an old     person's dead body and decorating the hearse with festoons), etc. are contrary to the     approved code. So too is the picking of the burnt bones from the ashes of the pyre for     immersing in the Ganga, at Patalpuri (Kiratpur), at Kartarpur Sahib or at any other such     place.
     Other Rites and Conventions

     Article XX

         Apart from these rites and conventions, on    every happy or sad occasion, such as     moving into a new house, setting up a new business (shop), putting a child to school,     etc., a Sikh should pray for God's help by performing the  Ardas. The essential      components of all rites and ceremonies in Sikhism are the recitation of the Gurbani (Sikh       Scriptures) and the performing of the Ardas.

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