Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar Punjab India
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Sikh Reht Maryada

Definition Gurdwara Kirtan Hukum
Paths Karhah Prashad Gurbani Gurmat Rehni
Birth & Name of Child Anand Sanskar Antam Sanskar Other Rites
Joining the congregation for understanding of and reflecting on Gurbani


a. 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 visit 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.

b. 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, Guru Granth Sahib should not be kept open during the night. It should, generally, be closed ceremonially after the conclusion of the Rehras (evening scripture recitation). Guru Granth Sahib 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 to it.

c. 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 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 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 romal. A whisk too, should 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 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.

e. 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 Gurdwaras. Nor should the festival of any other faith he 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).

f. 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).

g. 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 be entertained.

h. 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.

i. 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.

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 circumambulate with the Guru Granth Sahib or the Gurdwara on one's right. k. 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.

l. 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."

m. 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.

n. 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 way).

o. 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).

p. There are five takhts (lit., thrones, fig., seats of high authority) : namely-

I. Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Amritsar,
II. Takht Sri, Patna Sahib,
III. Takht Sri, Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur,
IV. Takht Sri, Hazur Sahib, Nanded,
V. Takht Sri, Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo.

q. Only an Amritdhari Sikh man or woman, who faithfully observes the discipline ordained for the Amritdhari Sikhs, can enter the hallowed enclosures of the Takhts (Ardas for and on behalf of any Sikh or non-Sikh, fallen or punished (tankhahia) Sikh, can be offered at the takhts.

r. 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 he a spearhead or a Khanda (a straight dagger with convex side edges leading to slanting top edges ending in a vertex).

s. There should he a drum (nagara) in the Gurdwara for beating on appropriate occasions.

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