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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

Published by:-
Secretary, Dharam Parchar Committee
(Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar)


This English version of the Sikh Reht Maryada is a faithful translation of the Punjabi original. Translations do not generally need prefaces. Why the author of this version has chosen to write a preface, therefore, needs to be explained.
             Translation of any work is an extremely hard job: translation of a book of laws is very much harder, particularly if the laws in question are moral or religious rules or social conventions which inevitably embody subtle nuances of a religion's metaphysical, moral and social philosophy. The translator in this case becomes burdened with the dual responsibility of ensuring that his translation embodies the full as also the exact import of the original.
            In the specific context of the Sikh Reht Maryada, that was essential for two reasons. Like any book of laws and rules promulgated by any other religion, the English version of the Sikh Reht Maryada may be taken as a key to the Sikh spiritual and social philosophy. It must, therefore, most faithfully, reflect the views of its exalted authors (men of profound learning, who had not only deeply meditated on Sikhism but lived it and who drew upon the collective wisdom of an extraordinarily fervent generation of Sikh divines and intellectuals, apart from a large number of texts, for compiling these rules) untainted by the translator's own moral or cognitive predilections which may affect his interpretation of these rules without his being even aware of it.             
               The second reason why the English version should embody the full and exact import of the original is that with the Sikh diaspora over the globe, the links of the Sikh migrants to other Indian states and foreign countries with Punjabi are loosening. Also, people, the world over, have begun to evince interest in Sikhism and some have embraced this religion. For ensuring uniformity of observances and avoiding unintended heresy, it was absolutely necessary that the English version of the Reht Maryada was not just a translation but a totally exact version of the Reht Maryada.
                   For securing that, the author of this Version has tried his level best to translate the original Punjabi text literally. Where the words used in the original did not have exact equivalents in English or embodied exotic concepts, he has employed descriptive phrases to bring the ideas they convey within an English knowing reader's ken.
                  For these very reasons, he has religiously adhered to the original text, appending footnotes where elaborations were necessary. At one or two places, he has interpolated a phrase. But that was to impart specificity to the context after making sure that the interpolation did not, in the least, affect the sense or tenor of the text. As regards the footnotes in the ensuing version, these fall into two categories. The original (Punjabi) version, had some footnotes. For the author of this version, they were the part of the sacrosanct text. They appear in this version against numerals. The footnotes contributed by him appear against astrick marks.
                  But, the author of this version has made a rather radical departure from the system of division of the original text and recast the text into divisions and sub-divisions devised entirely by him without rearranging the text. He submits it in all humility that he had found the division and classification of the original text some-what confusing. He felt that dividing the text into sections, chapters and articles would place the subject matter of the text in a clear and intelligible perspective. So, without tempering with the text in the slightest and preserving the subject-wise classification in the original, he has organised the entire text into six sections, thirteen chapters and twenty seven articles. Headings for most of the chapters were available in the original text. Where they were not, they have been provided by him.
                   And now, a few remarks which are indirectly but nonetheless, vitally relevant to the essence of this translator's mission : producing an English version of the Sikh Reht Maryada with the object of promoting uniformity in the Sikh conduct and observances in the interest of deeper religious cohesion. The Sikh Reht Maryada, as the ensuing preface to the original Punjabi text will show is the product of collective Panthic wisdom. What is more, some of the greatest Sikh scholars and savants of all times contributed to it and deliberated on its contents. So this work should take precedence on any sectional beliefs and preferences. In a wider context, the contents of the Reht Maryada should be taken as the final word as to the matters they deal with. That will foster panthic cohesion.
                  And finally, this English version of the Reht Maryada is in a very real sense the product of a collective endeavor. Into its making have gone not only this translator's modest talent for translation and labour but also the initiative taken by Dr. Surjit Singh Gandhi, who, in fact, prepared a version himself for the S.G.P.C. and put that at this translator's disposal -- this translator thankfully acknowledges having relied on it for guidance in relation to several subjects and constant goading by Principal Satbir Singh, a well-known Sikh Scholar and a member of S.G.P.C. and S.Manjit Singh, during whose earlier tenure of office as Secretary, S.G.P.C., the preparation of this version was taken up. No less valuable is the contribution of those who went through the manuscript to ensure that it completely corresponded to the Punjabi original. Considering the high status of these persons in the realm of Sikh religious learning, their approval of this English version of the Reht Maryada should bestow on it the status of an authentic version. Omitting to mention the name of Mr. Mewa Singh (who so painstakingly prepared the type-script from a none too neat manuscript) in this context, will be an unpardonable lapse. And finally, equally valuable in the production of the work has been the contribution, in its laser typesetting, of Mr. Gurvinder Singh of Standard Data & Word Processors, Patiala, a young man endowed with extraordinary competence and immense patience.
                This translator humbly dedicates his labour to all those who search for guidelines as to the truly Sikh conduct for self-education or for regulating their secular and religious life.

Patiala, 31st August, 1994
-Kulraj Singh
For Punjabi version of this page Click here

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