CODE OF SIKH CONDUCT AND CONVENTIONS
Joining the congregation
for understanding of and reflecting on Gurbani
One is more easily and deeply
affected by Gurbani (the holy Bani bequeathed
by the Gurus) participating in congregational gatherings.
For this reason, it is necessary for a Sikh that he visits
the places where the Sikhs congregate for worship and prayer
(the Gurdwaras), and joining the congregation, partake of
the benefits that the study of the holy scriptures bestows.
The Guru Granth Sahib
should be ceremonially opened in the Gurdwara every day
without fail. Except for special exigencies, when there is
need to keep the Guru Granth Sahib open during the
night, The Holy Book should not be kept open during the
night. It should, generally, be closed ceremonially after
the conclusion of the Rehras (evening scriptural
recitation). The Holy Book should remain open so long as a
granthi or attendant can remain in attendance, persons
seeking darshan (seeking a view of or making
obeisance to it) keep coming, or there is no risk of
commission of irreverence towards it. Thereafter, it is
advisable to close it ceremonially to avoid any disrespect
The Guru Granth Sahib
should be opened, read and closed ceremonially with
reverence. The place where it is installed should be
absolutely clean. An awning should be erected above. The
Guru Granth Sahib should be placed on a cot measuring
up to its size and overlaid with absolutely clean mattress
and sheets. For proper installation and opening of the
Guru Granth Sahib , there should be cushions/pillows
appropriate kind etc. and, for covering it, romalas
(sheet covers of appropriate size). When the Guru Granth
Sahib is not being read, it should remain covered with
a romala. A whisk too, should be there.
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
Guru Granth Sahib , burning of lights, 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.
No book should he installed like
and at par with the Guru Granth Sahib . 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 will not be improper to use any
occasion or gathering for the propagation of the gurmat
(The Guru's way).
Pressing the legs of the cot on
which the Guru Granth Sahib is installed, rubbing
nose against walls and on platforms, held sacred, or
massaging these, placing water below the Guru Granth
Sahib's seat, making or installing statues, or idols
inside the Gurdwaras, bowing before the picture of the Sikh
Gurus or elders - all these are irreligious self-willed
egotism, contrary to gurmat (the Guru's way).
When the Guru Granth Sahib
has to be taken from one place to another, the Ardas
should be performed. He/she who carries the Guru Granth
Sahib on his/her head should walk barefoot; but when
the wearing of shoes is a necessity, no superstitions need
The Guru Granth Sahib
should be ceremonially opened after performing the Ardas.
After the ceremonial opening, a hymn should be read from the
Guru Granth Sahib.
Whenever the Guru Granth
Sahib is brought, irrespective of whether or not
another copy of the Guru Granth Sahib had already
been installed at the concerned place, every Sikh should
stand up to show respect.
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 circumambulate with the
Guru Granth Sahib or the Gurdwara on one's right.
No person, no matter which
country, religion or caste he/she belongs to, is debarred
from entering the Gurdwara for darshan (seeing
the holy shrine). However, he/she should not have on his/her
person anything, such as tobacco or other intoxicants, which
are tabooed by the Sikh religion.
The first thing a Sikh should do
on entering the Gurdwara is to do obeisance before the
Guru Granth Sahib. He/she should, thereafter, have a
glimpse of the congregation and bid in a low, quiet voice, "Waheguru
ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh."
In the congregation, there
should be no differentiation or discrimination between Sikh
and non-Sikh, persons traditionally regarded as touchable
and untouchable, the so-called high and low caste persons,
the high and the low.
Sitting on a cushion, a
distinctive seat, a chair, a stool, a cot, etc. or in any
distinctive position in the presence of the Guru Granth
Sahib or within the congregation is contrary to Gurmat(Guru's
No Sikh should sit bare-headed
in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib or in the
congregation. For Sikh women joining the congregation with
their persons uncomfortably draped and with veils drawn over
their faces is contrary to Gurmat (Guru's way).
There are five takhts (lit.,
thrones, fig., seats of high authority) : namely-
The Holy Akal Takht Sahib,
The Holy Takht Patna Sahib,
The Holy Takht Kesgarh
The Holy Takht Hazur
The Holy Takht
Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo.
Only an Amritdhari
(baptized) Sikh man or woman, who faithfully observes the
discipline ordained for the batptized Sikhs, can enter the
hallowed enclosures of the Takhts (Ardas for and on behalf
of any Sikh or non-Sikh, except a fallen or punished (tankhahia)
Sikh, can be offered at the takhts.
At a high-level site in every
Gurdwara should be installed the nishan sahib (Sikh flag).
The cloth of the flag should be either of xanthic or of
greyish blue colour and on top of the flag post, there
should either be a spearhead or a Khanda (a straight
dagger with convex side edges leading to slanting top edges
ending in a vertex).
There should be a drum (nagara)
in the Gurdwara for beating on appropriate occasions.