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Sikh Scriptures & Prayer

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Neutral Singh, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Guru Granth Sahib

    The holiest of the Sikh scriptures is Guru Granth Sahib. It was called Adi Granth (first scripture) until Guru Gobind Singh conferred on it the title of the Guru in 1708, after which it was called Guru Granth Sahib.

    Guru Granth Sahib is the only world scripture which was compiled during the life time of its compiler. All other world scriptures were compiled many years after the death of the prophet. (compare it with Vedas, written at least thousand years after their pronouncement; Bible, written about 60 years after the death of Christ; Koran, written about 80 years after the death of Mohammed, Three Baskets and Angas written about 40 years after the death of Buddha and Mahavir).

    Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. The work of compilation was started in 1601 and finished in 1604. The Granth, called by Guru Arjan as Pothi Sahib, was installed at Golden Temple (then called `Harimandir’ - the house of God) with great celebrations.

    Guru Arjan included the hymns of the following in the Granth:

    Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amardas, Guru Ramdas and himself (Guru Arjan), 15 renowned saints of both Guru period and pre - Guru period. Farid and Bhikhen were Muslims and others were Hindus. Hindu saints were from both higher and lower castes, e.g., Ravidas, Sain, Sadhna and Namdev were from lower castes, whereas Parmanand, Surdas, Jaidev and Ramanand were Brahmins. The Bhagats also represented different parts of India, e.g., Farid was a Punjabi, Dhanna was a Rajasthani, Jaidev was a Bengali, Namdev, Parmanand, Trilochan and Pipa were Maharashtrians, Sadhna was a Sindhi, Sain was from Madhya Pradesh, and Kabir, Bhikhen, Beni, Ramanand , Ravidas and Surdas were from Uttar Pradesh.
    17 bhatts (court poets) most of whom were Brahmins.
    3 other disciples Bhai Mardana, a Muslim, Sunder, and Satta & Balwand, Muslims.

    Guru Gobind Singh, later (1706), added the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur in it and declared it to be the Guru of the Sikhs.

    The scribe of the first version (Guru Arjan’s compilation) was Bhai Gurdas and of the second version (Guru Gobind Singh’s compilation) was Bhai Mani Singh.

    Like most of the world scriptures, the text of the Granth is:

    Praises of God
    Search of God
    Means of communication with God
    Methods to realise God.
    Religious commandments
    Rules of morality
    The Sikh theology

    All copies of the Granth have 1430 pages. It is divided into 39 chapters.

    The languages used in the Granth are:

    Panjabi - Sikh Gurus , Bhagat (saint) Sheikh Farid and others
    Sindhi - Guru Arjan
    Sanskrit - Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan and others
    Influence of Arabic and Persian - Bhagat Namdev
    Western Panjabi/Lehndi - Guru Arjan
    Gujrati and Marathi - Bhagat Namdev and Trilochan
    Western Hindi - Bhagat Kabir
    Eastern Hindi - Court poets
    Eastern Apabhramas - Bhagat Jaidev

    The text of Guru Granth Sahib is composed in poetry and is arranged in Musical measures. Thirty one out of the 39 Chapters have a musical measure as a heading. Musical measures refer to the timing, rhythm, and mood of singing a particular hymn. There are 31 musical measures (ragas) used in the Granth.

    The structure of the compositions differ from hymn to hymn.
    The popular formations are as follows:

    Couplets (sloaks), varying from 2 line to 6 lines
    Hymns (shabads) of 2-16 verses
    Ballads (vars) (made of pauris (hymns) of different sizes and sloaks)
    Stanza (Swayas) of different length and measures.
    Verses of praise (Chhants) of different lengths.

    Each composition composed by the Sikh Gurus ends with the name Nanak as the composer. The heading of the hymns, however, indicates the name (number ) of the Guru who had actually composed it. For example a hymn composed by Guru Arjan , the fifth Guru, will be headed `Mehla 5’, where the word `Mehla’ means `Refer to’ and number 5 means the fifth Guru.

    Guru Arjan has used a numeral system to number the hymns included in Guru Granth Sahib to avoid later interpolations by others. For example a number 4/1/34 at the end of a hymn would mean:

    First number 4 - means the number of verses in the hymn

    Second number 1 - means the number of composition of the present writer,

    Third number 34 - means the cumulative total of all the compositions in the chapter.

    The Sikhs regard Guru Granth Sahib as the living Guru and give it utmost respect. The Granth is always wrapped in clean sheets. It is ceremoniously opened every morning and closed at night time. It is placed on the small cot with cushions under and on its sides. Sheets are used to cover the Granth when it is open. The open copy of the Granth must be placed under a canopy. Every devotee must bow to it when he/she comes in its presence. (The only other religion which shows similar type of respect to its holy book is Judaism)

    Other scriptures/holy books/sources

    Dasam Granth:

    1. The second holy book of the Sikhs is called Dasam Granth, the book of the tenth Guru.

    2. This Granth was compiled three years after the Guru’s death.

    3. Mata Sundri, the widow of the Guru, asked Bhai Mani Singh, a contemporary of the Guru, to collect all the hymns composed by the Guru and prepare a Granth of the Guru. It was completed in 1711.

    4. In its present form it contains 1428 pages.

    5. The languages used in the Granth are:


    6. The Granth contains sixteen compositions versified in different forms of poetry in the following order:

    Jap (meditation)
    Bachitar Natak ( autobiography of the Guru)
    Akal Ustat (praises of God)
    Chandi Charitar I & II (the character of goddess Chandi)
    Chandi di Var (a ballad to describe goddess Durga)
    Gian Prabodh (the awakening of knowledge)
    Chaubis Avtar (24 incarnations of Vishnu)
    Brahm Avtar (incarnation of Brahma)
    Rudar Avtar (incarnation of Shiv)
    Shabad Hazare (ten shabads)
    Swayyae (33 stanzas)
    Khalsa Mehma (the praises of the Khalsa)
    Shaster Nam Mala ( a list of weapons)
    Triya Charitar (the character of women)
    Zafarnama (epistle of victory, a letter written to Emperor Aurangzeb)
    Hikayats. (stories)

    7. In addition to the praises of God, the Granth gives a description of the contemporary life as it existed at that period of time. For example, Bachitar Natak gives some life details of earlier Gurus and Guru Gobind Singh’s own mission. The Zafarnama describes the political corruption of the time and also explains the exploitation of the masses by the bureaucracy.

    Sarab Loh Granth:

    The authorship of this Granth is not known. Many writers, however, suggest that some parts of the Granth were written by Guru Gobind Singh. The Granth was found in Punjab in the late eighteenth century.


    The Hukam Namas:

    The Gurus wrote a number of letters, during their lifetime, to their disciples containing instructions, orders and notices. These letters are known as Hukamnamas. A Sikh research team was appointed by Shrimoni Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in the sixties to find and collect such letters. So far the following letters have been discovered from the descendants of the famous Sikh families:

    Guru Hargobind - 3 letters
    Guru Harkrishen - 1 letter
    Guru Tegh Bahadur - 30 letters
    Guru Gobind Singh - 31 letters
    These letters are a very rich and authoritative source of the Sikh history

    Varan Bhai Gurdas I & II:

    Bhai Gurdas I was a first cousin of Mata Bhani, mother of Guru Arjan Dev. He was the scribe of Guru Granth Sahib. He was a scholar of great repute. His book `Varan’ was designated as the `Key to Guru Granth Sahib’ by Guru Arjan Dev. The varan, inter alia, describes the life stories of the Gurus and is composed in poetry.

    Bhai Gurdas II was a contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh. His compositions also known as `Varan’ describe the time period of Guru Gobind Singh.

    Janam Sakhis:

    The Janam Sakhis are the life stories of the Sikh Gurus. They are not biographies but hagiographies. They describe the life of the Gurus in stories and in anecdotes. Numerous dialogues and parables are included to convey the teachings of the Gurus.

    The important Janam Sakhis are:

    Bhai Bala’s Janam Sakhis dated 1540
    Mehrban’s Janam Sakhis dated 1650 (Mehrban was a nephew of Guru Arjan)
    Puratan or Hafizabad or Wilayatwali Janam Sakhi dated 1635 (This book was found by an Englishman named Cole Brooke. He brought it to England. Most of the Sikh historians have drawn references from this book)
    Sri Gur Sobha by Sainapat, (a court poet of Guru Gobind Singh) dated 1711
    Gyan Ratnavli, by Bhai Mani Singh dated 1712
    Gurbilas Padshahi dus, by Koer Singh dated 1751
    Bansiwala Nama dus Padshahian, by Kesar Singh Chibber dated 1769
    Mehma Prakash Vartik, by Bawa Kirpal Singh dated 1776
    Mehma Prakash Kavita, by Sarup Das Bhalla dated 1776
    Gurbilas Dasvi Padshahi, by Bhai Sukha Singh dated 1797

    Other sources include:

    Works of Bhai Nand Lal, a contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh
    Dabistan-e-Mezahib by Mohsin Fani: work of a Persian writer who was a contemporary of Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Hargobind and Guru Harrai.
    Akbar Nama by Abul Fazal, an account of Punjab during the time period of Guru Amardas to Guru Arjan.
    Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri: the memoirs of Emperor Jahangir
    Khulasat-ut-Twarikh: A history book written by Sujan Rai Bhandari dated 1695. It contains details about the growth of Sikhism and also gives very valuable topographical details.
    Suraj Prakash by Bhai Santokh Singh dated 1843.
    Prachin Panth Prakash by Gyan Singh dated 1880
    Western Sources:

    A number of Europeans wrote papers and books on the Sikhs which are classified as secondary source material. These books/papers include the following:

    History of the origin and progress of the Sicks by Major James Brown dated 1788.
    The Siques by Antonine Louis Henri Potier dated 1787
    Observation of the Sikhs and their College at Patna by Charles Wlkins dated 1781.
    Observation of the Sikhs by George Foster dated 1798
    Memorandum on Punjab and Khandhar by John Griffith dated 1798
    The history of the reign of Shah Alam by William Franklin dated 1798
    Sketch of the Sikhs by Colonel Malcolm dated 1812
    The History of Sikhs by McGregor dated 1846
    History of the Sikhs by Captain Cunningham dated 1849
    The Adi Granth by E Trump dated 1877
    The Sikhs and the Sikh wars by Charles Gough and Arthur Innes dated 1880
    A short history of the Sikhs by C.H. Payne dated 1900
    The religion of the Sikhs by Dorothy Field dated 1901
    The Sikh religion by McArthur MacCauliffe dated 1909



    1. The Sikhs worship only one Almighty God in his abstract form. They are not allowed to worship any images or photographs or graves or objects. (Compare this with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism)

    2. Like other World religion, they respect their prophets and show extreme type of affection and honour for them, but they are not allowed to elevate them to the status of God. It is a blasphemy to give the status of God to the prophets.

    Guru Gobind Singh in one of his hymns has categorically said, "Whosoever will dare to equate me with God, he/she will be thrown in the cauldron of hell".

    3. The Sikhs bow to Guru Granth Sahib and other Sikh scriptures. This is an act of reverence and not worship.

    4. Like most of the world religions, the Sikhs recite/listen to the holy hymns from their scriptures and also say their prayers.

    5. A Sikh prayer can be either an individual prayer or a community prayer. An individual prayer can be said at any place. It can be said when a person is walking or commuting to his/her work or doing gardening or swimming or doing early morning exercises. There are no set formalities or rituals to say individual prayers. The set individual prayers are as follows:

    Morning prayers: (These must be said before starting the daily work)

    japji Sahib - a long hymn of 38 pauris (stanzas) and two sloaks (couplets) composed by Guru Nanak (as recorded by Guru Ramdas). First sloak also appears in Guru Arjan’s sukhmani, and the second sloak as the bani of Guru Angad (Rag Maj pages 146/147 of Guru Granth Sahib). It takes about 20 minutes to recite or read it. It is recorded on pages 1-8 of Guru Granth Sahib.
    Jap Sahib - a long hymn of 199 verses composed by Guru Gobind Singh (It takes about 25 minutes to recite or read it). It is recorded on pages 1-10 of the Dasam Granth.
    Sudha Swayas - a short hymn of 10 stanzas composed by Guru Gobind Singh (It takes about 7 minutes to recite or read it). These are recorded on the pages 13-15 of the Dasam Granth.
    Evening prayer: (This prayer is said at the time of sunset)

    Rehras Sahib - a long composition comprising hymns of different Gurus (It takes about 20 minutes to recite or read it. The Rehras as recorded in Guru Granth Sahib (pages 8-12) has nine shabads in it. Five shabads (3 of Guru Nanak, 1 of Guru Ramdas and 1 of Guru Arjan) are recorded under the heading of `Sodar’; and four shabads (1 of Guru Nanak, 2 of Guru Ramdas, and 1 of Guru Arjan) are recorded under the heading of `Sopurkh’. Later, tradition has added 15 more compositions with the original Rehras; 3 compositions of Guru Gobind Singh, 6 pauris of anand Sahib by Guru Amardas, 1 shabad by Guru Nanak and 5 compositions of Guru Arjan). The additional compositions appear only in the Gudkas.
    Night time prayer: (This prayer is said before going to sleep)

    Kirtan Sohila - a short composition comprising of hymns of different Gurus. (It takes about 5 minutes to recite or read it. It is recorded on pages 12-13 of Guru Granth Sahib and has 5 shabads (3 shabads of Guru Nanak Dev, 1 shabad of Guru Ramdas and 1 shabad of Guru Arjan Dev).
    In addition to the above prayers which are read or recited from the Gudkas, a short form of scriptures, a thanksgiving prayer is also said once in the morning and second time in the evening. This prayer is called Ardas.


    The community prayer is said or performed in a Sikh temple (Gurdwara) or in a house where the community gathers to say a collective prayer. Though community prayers were prevalent in the life times of all the Sikh Gurus, they were formalised and declared as an essential part of a Sikh life by Guru Hargobind during 1606-1645. In this era the tradition of morning choirs (prabhat pheris) was also introduced. The most popular community prayer is `sukhmani Sahib`, a long composition composed by Guru Arjan Dev. It takes about 1.5 hours to read or recite it. All prayers should be said in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.


    In a Gurdwara, the prayers are said every day of the week. Guru Granth is ceremoniously opened at about 4 a.m. and ceremoniously closed at about 10 p.m.

    The sequence of a Gurdwara service is as follows:

    Morning prayer:

    Asa di var - a long composition of pauris (24) and sloaks (59, 44 of Guru Nanak and 15 of Guru Anand) composed by Guru Nanak (It takes between 1.5 hours to 2.30 hours to recite it. It is recited with musical instruments). It starts on page 462, in Guru Granth Sahib. In total there are 22 Vars recorded in Guru Granth Sahib. .
    Other Shabads (the musicians, called raagis, sing other hymns from the scriptures)
    Anand Sahib - this is the end hymn and must be recited at the end of every service. It is composed by Guru Amardas. The complete bani has 40 pauris, but according to the tradition we recite 6 pauris (first 5 and the 40th) only. It starts on page 917, in Guru Granth Sahib.
    Ardas - This prayer is in three parts and is said when the congregation is standing with folded hand facing Guru Granth Sahib:
    Part 1 - it is a set prayer composed by Guru Gobind Singh (Var Bhagauti, page 119 of the Dasam Garnth).

    Part 2 - a set prayer composed by the Sikh scholars

    Part 3 - words of thanksgiving

    Vak (also called as Hukamnama): A random reading from Guru Granth Sahib. This is known as the order (of Waheguru) of the day.
    Distribution of Kara Prasad (a sweet pudding)
    Langar, the community meal
    During weekdays the services ends at about 8 a.m., whereas on weekends it ends at about 1 p.m.

    Evening prayer:

    The evening prayer starts at about 6 p.m. and ends between 9-10 p.m., after which the holy book is ceremoniously put to rest.

    Rehras Sahib (please refer to individual prayer)
    Anand Sahib
    Kara Prasad
    For ii-vii please refer to the morning prayer.

    The Reading of Guru Granth Sahib:

    In addition to the regular prayers, the Sikhs also do path (reading) from Guru Granth Sahib. These readings can be:

    Akhand Path: the continuous reading.. These are arranged for important days, like birthdays, anniversaries, house warming, bereavements etc. The readings are done by a groups of pathis i.e., readers, each reading for about 2-4 hours. It takes about 48 hours to complete the reading. The reading is done both at daytime and night. After the bhog (the end of the reading) an Ardas is offered followed by distribution of parshad and langar.
    Saptahak Path: the reading to finish in a week These are also arranged for important occasions and done by a group of people. The main difference between the Akhand path and the Saptahak path is that in Saptahak path most of the reading is done during the day and the Granth is closed for the night. After the bhog an Ardas is said followed by the distribution of parshad and langar.
    Sadharan or Khula Path: slow reading and no fixed time to finish the Granth. These are arranged to coincide with some important family diary dates. These are normally done by the immediate family member or members. Like Akhand path and Saptahak path, after the bhog an Ardas is said and parsahad and langar are distributed.


    The Sikh Shrine:Gurudwara:

    A Sikh shrine is called a Gurdwara, meaning the doorway to the house of God.
    The first Gurdwara was built by Guru Nanak Dev at Kartarpur.
    The Sikh Gurdwaras must have a religious flag, called Nishan Sahib in the front of the Gurdwara.
    Guru Granth is placed on the far side centre of the hall.
    There should be no photographs of the Gurus or others in the hall where Guru Granth Sahib is installed.
    Gurdwaras normally have two halls/rooms. The main hall where Guru Granth Sahib is placed and the second hall where the community kitchen is served.
    All entrants must take off their shoes, wash their feet and cover their heads before entering the main hall.
    All Sikh services end with the distribution of parshad (sweet pudding) and langar (dinner/lunch).
    Five historical Sikh gurdwaras have been declared as the Sikh Takhats (thrones). These gurdwaras are vested with the power and authority to regulate the religious life of the Sikh nation. The head priests of these shrines constitute a Sikh parliament and they are empowered with executive, legislative and judicial powers regarding the Sikh religious issues. All Sikhs are under the authority of the five takhats. The takhats are as follows:

    The name of the Shrine The names of the Guru its relates to:
    Takhat Akal Takhat Founded by Guru Hargobind
    Takhat Patna Sahib The birth place of Guru Gobind Singh
    Takhat Hazoor Sahib The place where Guru Gobind Singh breathed his last.
    Takhat Kesgarh Sahib The birth place of the Khalsa
    Takhat Damdama Sahib The place where Guru Gobind Singh composed the second version of Guru Granth Sahib.

    ll the five takhats relate to the two Gurus who were Saint-soldiers.

    1. The Sikh place of worship is called Gurdwara. The word is made up of two syllables, `Gur’ and `Dwara` meaning the doorway to the house of God.

    2. The first Gurdwara was built by Guru Nanak in 1523 at Kartarpur. He called it `Dharamsala` meaning an inn. Later Gurdwaras were built by the Sikh Gurus in the area of their residence.

    3. The most important historical landmark of the Sikh history was the building of Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by Guru Arjan Dev in Amritsar. This Gurdwara later became the holiest of the Sikh shrines and focus of all the Sikh activity. Everyday the Sikhs, in their prayer, pray to Waheguru to give them both means and efforts to visit and bathe at this shrine.

    4. Four times in the Sikh history, this shrine was desecrated by the rulers to put a stop on the growth of Sikh religion, but each time the Sikhs had come out victorious with more converts to their faith. The dates are as follows:

    1740 - When Masa Rangar, the police chief of Amritsar, occupied the shrine by force and converted it into a dance house. He was killed by two devout Sikhs at the cost of their own lives.
    1757- When Ahmed Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan led his fourth invasion on India, he ordered Harimandir Sahib to be blown up and the holy pool to be filled up with slaughtered cows, to avenge the resistance put up by the Sikhs. Baba Deep Singh, a veteran Sikh avenged the first attack by defeating the Mughals and re-occupying the shrine. After Baba Deep Singh’s death the Mughals took back the occupation of the shrine and desecrated it again.
    1764 - Ahmed Shah Abdali, during his sixth invasion on India, again blew up Harimandir and filled the pool with the cow dung and dead cows. The Sikh reoccupied the complex in 1765 and rebuilt the shrine and cleaned the pool.
    1984 -When at the orders of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, the army invaded the holiest of the Sikh shrines and indiscriminately killed thousands of innocent pilgrims. Two young Sikhs, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, later avenged this desecration of the temple by gunning down Indira Gandhi in the lawns of her own house.
    5. There are about 158 historical Gurdwaras in the world. In addition there are many thousand local Gurdwaras built by the natives and residents of various areas. In United Kingdom, there are about 160 local Gudwaras. In other European countries there are about 15 Sikh Gudwaras scattered all over the European Union. In Middle East there is one historical Sikh Gurdwara located in Baghdad. There are historical Gudwaras in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tibet and Sri Lanka. Most of the Gurdwaras outside India were built to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak there.

    6. A Sikh is required to attend a Gudwara as a part of his daily mode of worship. A congregational prayer is as important to a Sikh as an individual prayer. A Sikh believes that God is manifest in `congregation` (Sangat), and God’s blessings can be invoked by serving and loving the Sangat.

    7. A Gurdwara is open to all the visitors irrespective of their faith and religion. All entrants to a Gurdwara, however, must take off their shoes and cover their heads before entering the shrine. No intoxicants and tobaccos in any form are allowed inside the Gurdwara.

    8. Outside a Gurdwara a Sikh religious flag, called `Nishan Sahib` is sited at a distinctive place. The colour of the flag is Kesri, a mixture of yellow and orange colours.

    9. In the Gudwara complex there are also rooms to deposit the shoes and other prohibited items. There are also wash-hand basins and small water pools to wash both hands and the feet.

    10. Like other religious shrines, the Gurdwaras also have domes and minarets as a part of their outer structures.

    11. Inside a Gurdwara, the main focal point is `Guru Granth Sahib`. The holy book is placed on a specially designed couch resting on pillows and covered with sheets. The couch is usually placed at the far-end centre of the main hall. During the day the Granth is kept open, though covered with roomalas, specially made sheet-coverings. At night time, after the evening prayer, the Granth is ceremoniously closed and removed to a specially built room for the night rest, from where every morning it is taken to the main hall in a stately procession.

    12. Other objects which are found inside a Gurdwara are:

    A canopy - to cover the whole area where Guru Granth Sahib is placed.
    A fly flicker - to be waved over the holy book.
    A steel bowl - to distribute the Kara Prashad.
    A money box - to deposit the offerings
    13. No photographs or images are allowed inside the Gurdwara.

    14. Adjoining the main hall of the Gurdwara are the kitchen and dining room. All present at the service must join in here to participate in the community meals. There are examples in the Sikh history that Emperor Hamayun and Emperor Akbar were asked to eat in the community kitchen before they could have the audience of the Guru.


    1. The Golden Temple is the holiest of the Sikh shrines. The blue prints of its architecture were the master mind of Guru Arjan Dev. Its foundation stone was laid by a Muslim saint Mian Mir on 3rd January 1588. The work of its pool was, however, started by Guru Ramdas in 1577. Guru Arjan had envisioned an eternal shrine that would make the focal point of the Sikh faith, an image of its firmness, resolve, strength, courage and toughness. It would become an emblem of its immortality and indestructibility.

    2. The construction of the shrine and the bridge which connects it with the main complex was completed in 1604, when on 30th August, Guru Granth Sahib was courtly installed in there. Harimandir is a place of rejuvenating one’s soul, it is God’s house where one goes in search of peace, happiness and comfort.

    3. The dimensions of the pool are: length 500 feet, breadth 490 feet and depth 17 feet. The bridge which connects the main shrine with the entrance hall is 240 feet long and 21 feet wide. The shrine is floating like a lotus in the centre of the pool.

    4. The shrine has four gates, representing the equality of man. People of any country, caste, creed, sect and faith are welcome in the shrine.

    5. To reach the shrine the faithful have to go down the steps, which is symbolic of humility and modesty. All around the pool is a parikarma, walk-way, which every visitor has to follow to reach the shrine. This is reminiscent of oath of loyalty and faithfulness for Almighty God. Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England, visited the shrine, in October 1997, to pay her obeisance. She along with her entourage walked barefoot in the parikarma to reach the shrine, where she bowed to the holy book and asked for the divine blessings. It is a historical fact that in recent times, most of the Indian Prime Ministers visited the shrine to invoke the blessing of Waheguru though they were not Sikhs. The examples of V.P. Singh, Chander Shekhar, Atal Bihari Vajpaye, Dev Gowra and I.K. Gujral can be cited.

    6. From the main gates which open at the bridge, to the threshold of Harimandir, there are 84 steps which remind one of liberation from the 840,000 lives and their sufferings.

    7. Guru Hargobind, the son of Guru Arjan Dev, left Amritsar and retired in the Shivalik hills to avoid repeated conflict with the Mughals. Guru Harrai, Guru Harkrishen and Guru Gobind Singh could not go to Amritsar for political reasons. The control of the temple thus remained in the hands of the people hostile to the Sikh faith. Guru Tegh Bahadur, after his anointment as the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, did go to the temple to pay his respects, but the occupiers of the temple closed its doors and refused him an entry into the shrine.

    8. In the post Guru period, many times the Mughals and other Afghan invaders blew up and desecrated the temple to demoralise the Sikhs, but each time it gave the Sikhs more moral courage, strength and firm resolution to fight the tyranny and rebuild their temple.

    9. When Sikhs ruled Punjab (1749-1849), the Maharaja, Ranjit Singh, arranged for gold leaf to be set on to its upper two storeys and all the domes and minarets giving it a new name, the Golden Temple.

    10. In 1608, Guru Hargobind built another shrine opposite Harmandir and called it Akal Bunga, later on known as Akal Takhat. It represented both spiritual and temporal authority of the Guru.

    11. During the times of Mughals, when there was a prize on the head of every Sikh, and later after the fall of Sikh Empire in Punjab, both the Harimandir and Akal Takhat remained under the control of sects organised by Sri Chand, a son of Guru Nanak and Prithi Chand, the eldest son of Guru Ramdas. The members of these sects did not keep long hair so that they could denounce their faith in times of adversity. With the lapse of time the control became hereditary and corrupt and the Sikh masses revolted against it.

    12. Against the Sikh traditions, images were installed in the Harimandir and the people of low caste were refused entry into it.

    13. Even during the first fifty years of the British rule in Punjab, both shrines remained in the occupation of Mahants, the descendants of Sri Chand and Prithi Chand. The British gave them protection against the upsurge of the Sikh masses. For some time the keys of the treasury of Golden Temple were also confiscated by the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar. At the end, on 17th January 1922, the British government yielded and handed over the keys to the President of SGPC, a newly constituted body for the management of all the historical Gurdwaras in Punjab.

    14. The Golden Temple precincts were then cleaned and all the images removed and entry opened to all the devotees.


    1. The word Takhat means a throne. The dictionary meaning of the word throne is a ceremonial chair for a king or for the sovereign power. In Sikhism the word Takhat has been used in both of these senses. The Takhats are designated historical Gurdwaras, which have the power to legislate on the Sikh religion. The head priests of these shrines make a mini parliament and their decisions are law for the Sikhs. They have the authority to reprimand and punish the religious wrongdoers. They are also the final authority on all religious pronouncements.

    2. Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, built the first Sikh Takhat at Amritsar in 1608 known as Akal Takhat, the seat of Almighty God. During his stay at Amritsar, the Guru held his courts at the Akal Takhat. He said that this Takhat has been built, by the command of all powerful God, to guide the Sikhs for the planning and guidance of their political and religious future. All through the Sikh history the assemblies of the Sikh parliament (Sarbat Khalsa) had been held in the forecourt of this Takhat.

    3. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, built the second Takhat at Keshgarh in Anandpur. This is the place where the Khalsa was baptised in 1699..

    4. Later on in the Sikh history, the Gurdwaras of Patna Sahib, the birth place of Guru Gobind Singh and Hazur Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh breathed his last were also declared to be the third and fourth Takhats of the Sikh. The Gurdwaras at these places were built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

    5. For many hundred years the Sikhs had only four Takhats. However, in the sixties, Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, the place where Guru Gobind Singh had prepared the final version of Guru Granth Sahib and where he rested after a long spell of his battles with the Mughals and the hill Rajas, was declared by the SGPC as the fifth Takhat of the Sikhs.

    6. The important judgments from the Takhats are:

    Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the King of Punjab, was summoned before the Akal Takhat for his religious wrong, by the then high priest Akali Phoola Singh
    Master Tara, an undisputed leader of the Sikhs during 1940-1960 was reprimanded by the Takhats for his religious pitfalls.
    Sant Fateh Singh, another veteran of the Sikhs during 1950-1960 was punished by the Takhats for his religious betrayal.
    Surjit Singh Barnal, the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Buta Singh , the former Home Minister of India were also punished by the Takhats for their religious wrongs.

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  3. kanwaljit kaur

    kanwaljit kaur
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    Jul 17, 2005
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    wahegurur ji ka khalsa,wahegurur ji ki fateh,

    i wonder if someone can help, i am looking for laavaan-da-paath in hindi with meanings for a friend who can only read hindi please.
    i hope someone some where can help me.
  4. drkhalsa

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    Sep 16, 2004
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    Dear Kanwaljit Kaur ji

    Welcome to this forum and I hope you will enjoy your visit here

    The file you are looking for is as follows

    Laavaan in Devanagari
    Four stanzas generally known as Laavaan are recited to perform marriage among the Sikhs. On pages 773-774 of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Author Guru Ram Das



    In Microsoft Format


    I hope it will help but it case there is problem in downloading just give your email address I mail you as attachment

    Akal Sahai

    Jatinder Singh
  5. kanwaljit kaur

    kanwaljit kaur
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    Jul 17, 2005
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    gurfateh ji,

    thanks for very quick reply :thumbup:. but i need the translations of the lavaan in hindi.

    hope u can help me to find the translation.
    kanwaljit kaur

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