• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Sikh News Ardaas – What Are The Rules?


Jun 1, 2004
We’ve all sat through it before…or…stood through it, that is.

As Anand Sahib ends, we stand for Ardaas and collectively reflect on the lives and accomplishments of the Gurus and the 18th century martyrs who gave their lives to preserve our Sikh way of life. Somewhere in between this reflection, and wishing for “Sarbat da Bhala“, we take a bizarre detour in to the “ins and outs” of our community.” Yes…I am referring to the lengthy list of births, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and other milestones we find in the middle of our Ardaas.

I’m not sure when this practice started; where a member of the sangat would make an offering to the Gurdwara so an “Ardaas” can be done on their behalf. Birthdays are most common week to week, but I have heard more creative ones – celebrating a new job, new car, first mother’s day, wishing someone well on an upcoming exam, or safe travels for someone’s trip to India. Some even taken advantage of this process, by doing an “Ardaas” on behalf of their business week after week – essentially advertising their local store, while they have the entire community’s ear. I’ve raised this issue to the committee that perhaps there needs to be a better way to handle these “community announcements” rather than during Ardaas…I mean, seconds after we recount the martyrs who were cut limb by limb and scalped, we collectively thank Waheguru for Tinku’s new Benz? It just doesn’t seem right.

So what should we do an Ardaas for? What should be allowed? What rules need put be put in place? Looking at the Guru for guidance, there are many references to Ardaas, but to quote a few:

In Guru Raam Daas Patshah’s Ardaas, he asks to be in the company of those who praise/seek Naam:

thin kee sangath dhaehi prabh mai jaachik kee aradhaas
Grant me their company, God – I am a beggar; this is my prayer.

Bhagat Ravidas Ji, a cobbler and tanner who at the time was considered of low social status only had one request in his Ardaas… His darshan:

sagal bhavan kae naaeikaa eik shhin dharas dhikhaae jee ||1|| rehaao ||
O Lord of all worlds: reveal to me, even for an instant, the Blessed Vision of Your

Guru Angad Patshah explicitly states in Asa Ki Vaar:

naanak hukam n chalee naal khasam chalai aradhaas |22|
O Nanak, no one can issue commands to the Lord Master; let us offer prayers instead. ||22||

So what does this tell us? Should we really be doing an Ardaas for mundane issues, material things, or trivial matters?

Rather than asking for a bigger house, should we be asking for compassion instead? Rather than asking to ace an exam, should we not be asking for humility? And instead of asking for our problems to go away, should we be asking for the strength and courage to deal with our problems?

Even with such “academic” understanding of all this…in my most troubling of times, I too have asked for such mundane and worldly things in my Ardaas.
Is this a measure of how little I’ve progressed on the Guru’s path? Perhaps.
But then there’s another perspective to all this…

One of the many things I love about being a Sikh is there is no priest, intermediary, or holy man that stands between me and the Guru. Although there is a community element to that Sikh-Guru relationship (through Sangat), there is also a deeply personal and individual relationship a Sikh has with the Guru…and I for one, do not like to place any restrictions on that.

I do not belong to a God-fearing religion, but instead, a God-loving religion – and I feel my Guru accepts me for who I am, with all my strengths and weaknesses. And so my dialogue with the Guru should be open, honest, and unapologetic. So if that means in my Ardaas I ask for help in achieving a personal milestone, or for a sick friend to feel better, or for a prisoner of conscience in Rwanda to be released, or offer thanks for a new car…so be it.

Furthermore, I should be able to ask anything and seek guidance for whatever question or challenge I have…as long as I’m willing to seek his Shabad for answers.

To some extent, I still feel my Ardaas is indicative of my relationship with the Guru. And perhaps through seva, simran, and reflection, that connection will become stronger, the gaps in understanding will dissipate, and my Ardaas will no longer be filled with requests, but merely an expression of what my Guru has given me…Love.


  • ardaas.gif
    14.5 KB · Reads: 231


Mar 12, 2009


It is a conscious realization of a personal intimate relationship with Holy Omnipotent God, putting aside all selfish desires so one can experience communion with the Akal Purkh, while being hindered by worldly egos. It is a supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession). To pray is to know how to stand still and to dwell on the Word. It is the opportunity to remind one’s self of his priorities and what is most important and vital. Prayer is a reflexive verb meaning, “To judge you”. Reciting prayer with belief and conviction literally is the service of the heart and reciting it with out belief in it is lip service.

Through prayer one connects to a higher source of love and energy, whenever there is a need of comfort or direction. There is no other better way to open up to the universal, loving, and Universal Creative Energy available to human species.

God is unknowable, infinite, unapproachable (beyond the reaches of human intellect), formless, and imperceptible. One should pray to the Creator and not to the things created by the It.

Prayer does not require a language to communicate and can be done successfully in silence. All Knower is neither blind nor deaf and knows what is unsaid;

ਅਨਬੋਲੇ ਕਉ ਤੁਹੀ ਪਛਾਨਹਿ ਜੋ ਜੀਅਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਤਾ॥ਰੇ ਮਨ ਕਾਇ ਕਹਾ ਲਉ ਡਹਕਹਿ ਜਉ ਪੇਖਤ ਹੀਸੰਗਿ ਸੁਨਤਾ॥

Unbolay Kaou Tuhee Pachaaneh Jo Jee-an Meh Hota, Ray Man Kaa-ay Kahaa La-o Dehkahi Ja-o Paykhat Hee Sang Suntaa.

You know even what is not said, whatever is in the conscious. O mind, how long will you deceive others? The Akal Purkh hears and sees every thing.

ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਜਿਦੂ ਕਿਛੁ ਗੁਝਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥

Nanak Kartaa Sabh Kichh Jaandaa Jidoo Kichh Gujhaa Na Ho-ay.

O, Nanak, the Creator knows everything; nothing can be hidden from It. -----Guru Ramdas, Gauri Ki Var, AGGS, Page, 302-5

ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਮੁਨਾਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਚਢਹਿ ਸਾਂਈ ਨ ਬਹਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਾ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਤੂੰ ਬਾਂਗ ਦੇਹਿ ਦਿਲ ਹੀ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੋਇ ॥

Kabir MulaaN Munaaray Ki-aa Chadheh SaaN-ee Na Bahraa Ho-ay, Jaa Kaaran TooN BaaNg Deh Dil Hee Bheetar Jo-ay.

Kabir: O Mullah, why do you climb to the top of the minaret? The God is not hard of hearing. Look within your own heart for the One, for whose sake you shout your prayers. ----- Kabir Sloke #184, AGGS, Page, 1374-7 & 8

ਨਿਰਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਬਹੁ ਵਾਜੇ ਵਜਾਏ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਅੰਧਾ ਬੋਲਾ ਹੈ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਏ ॥

Nirat Karay Baho Vaajay Vajaa-ay, Ih Man AnDhaa Bolaa Hai Kis Aakh Sunaa-ay.

One may dance and play numerous instruments; but this mind is blind and deaf, so for whose benefit is this speaking and preaching? -----Guru Amardas, Raag Asa, Page, 364-14 & 15

It can be said at any time and at any place. Prayer is not a formal ritual. God is father, mother, sibling, relative, friend, lover etc. with whom you have the liberty of being informal. One does not need a middleman for a prayer and does not need any physical posture but needs honesty.

ਅਪਰਾਧੀ ਦੂਣਾ ਨਿਵੈ ਜੋ ਹੰਤਾ ਮਿਰਗਾਹਿ ॥ਸੀਸਿ ਨਿਵਾਇਐ ਕਿਆ ਥੀਐ ਜਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਕੁਸੁਧੇ ਜਾਹਿ ॥

ApraaDhee Doonaa Nivai Jo Hantaa Miragaahi, Sees Nivaa-eai Kia Thia Ja Ridai Kasudhay Jaa-eh.

The sinner, like the deer hunter, bows down twice as much. But what can be achieved by bowing the head, when the heart is impure? -----Guru Nanak, Asa Di Var, AGGS, Page, 470-15

ਕਾਂਇਆ ਸਾਧੈ ਉਰਧ ਤਪੁ ਕਰੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ਅਧਿਆਤਮ ਕਰਮ ਜੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਪਾਇ ॥

KaaN-i-aa SaaDhai UraDh Tap Karai Vichahu Ha-umai Na Jaa-ay, ADhi-aatam Karam Jay Karay Naam Na Kab Hee Paa-ay.

You may torment your body with extremes of self-discipline, practice intensive meditation and hang upside-down, but your ego will not be eliminated from within. You may perform religious rituals, and still never obtain the Name of the Akal Purkh. -----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 33-7

ਸਿਰ ਤਲਵਾਏ ਪਾਈਐ ਚਮਗਿਦੜ ਜੂਹੈ ॥ ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਜੇ ਮਿਲੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਖੁਡਾਂ ਚੂਹੇ ॥----ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਜਿਉ ਘਰੁ ਵਿਣੁ ਬੂਹੇ ॥

Sir Talva-ay Paa-ee-ai Chamgidrh Joohai, Marhee MasaNee Jay Milai Vich Khuddan Choohai-----ViN Gur Mukat Na Hova-ee Jeo Ghar ViN Boohay.
If bowing only could grant liberation then the bats in the forests, which hang from trees upside down, should be the first to be liberated and if liberation could be achieved in the loneliness of crematories than rats should get it in their holes. --- One cannot get liberation with out the Guru as a house is useless with out a door.----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 36, Pauri, 13

Prayer describes a state of mind of complete surrender to God in which a person becomes humility incarnate. God is always merciful and kind. Its nature is giving not taking. God never bounces back prayer from humble servants. However all powers are with God, which implies that to answer a prayer is Its prerogative. It is not a check that you can draw on the bank of God, whenever you are hard put to meet your needs. Prayer always springs out of a sense of need and belief, that God is a rewarder of them who seek it diligently whether literate or illiterate. True prayer coming out from the depths of the heart and bereft of selfish desires with complete unconditional surrender is always answered. The only way to compel the God is to love and praise, appreciate, and be thankful with an attitude of gratitude.

We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart- our whole being- to Akal Purkh, the ultimate mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. We open our awareness to the God whom we know by faith with in us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking and closer than consciousness it self and is perceptible in each one’s heart.
The guidelines for prayer: -

1. Choose a sacred word of your understanding (Lord, Jesus, Allah, Waheguru, Ram, Govinda) as a symbol of your intentions to consent to God’s presence and action with in.

2. When you become aware of your thoughts, return gently to the sacred Word. Thoughts are an umbrella term for any sense perception, including feelings, images, sounds, memories, and reflections and are a normal part of centering the prayer.

3. We are all parts of One Universal Spirit. True meaning of spirituality is to know Akal Purkh. You will realize that It is your Self, and It exists equally and impartially in all beings.

4. To pray is to offer one’s heart to Akal Purkh and thus conveying the attitude of the conscience therein.

5. Prayer says I am helpless, impure, and weak. I need you O’ Supreme Universal Power to strengthen me, to purify me and I offer my constant gratitude.

The ordinary prayer is made for some specific object, some advantage or possession of material or spiritual in nature. The virtuous disfigure their meritorious act by asking for salvation.

ਧਰਮੀ ਧਰਮੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਗਾਵਾਵਹਿ ਮੰਗਹਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥

Ḏẖarmī ḏẖaram karahi gāvāvėh mangėh mokẖ ḏu▫ār.

The righteous waste their righteousness, by asking for the door of salvation.
-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 469-3

The Truest prayer is “Not my will but Thine will be done” followed by dutiful and energetic action. We can only aspire to bring our lives, our wishes and thoughts in to harmony with the Divine Law. It means we have to ask in spirit of unselfishness and purity of heart, desiring nothing but submitting unconditionally to the Universal Spirit. Thus freeing the mind of attachments and desires. All that is remained was pure supreme light “the seed of our existence and identity”.

We are born naked and we leave naked. Yet in between we accumulate wealth, family, belongings, a good name, religious pride, pride of the body, and good looks. In themselves they are just things-neither good nor bad. These attachments in our minds have to be destroyed in the fire of focusing contemplative meditation.

The Truth will be revealed when the mind is freed “Oh man recognize yourself,” and see the source of pure supreme light. The aim of the seeker on this path is to have no aims for any desires. When you have no desires, you have conquered the all-wandering mind. The mind is the total sum of desires. The mind is like a bird flying aimlessly, and going in to the future hopes and desires or running back in to the past memories and sorrows. Most people spend their lives like this, resulting in stress, depression, burnt out, no happiness, and uncontented, unfulfilled hopes, bitterness, negativity and so on.

Ordinary consciousness is made up of desires, cravings, fears, and prejudices, fixed ideas, habits and lower instincts. The mysterious central power is located in Our Self. So we should strive to seek with in. Close the outer senses and open the eye of the mind upon the world with in.
Most prayers are more or less selfish requests to God to make exceptions in favor of the petitioner, which if not granted leads to:

• Loosing faith.

• Killing self-reliance.

• Developing more ferocious selfishness and egotism than what is already endowed by nature.

If one’s devotion is sincere, a response is drawn from the field of Universal Creative Energy that may be interpreted as an answer to the prayer. Prayer response, or having needs met without asking for assistance, does not prove that God cares for us (we understand caring expressed by one person to another). The situation and the process do not need to be analyzed and explained: if the relationship satisfies the seeking heart, with results following that is sufficient. Complete understanding will unfold with illumination of consciousness.

Because God's nature is what it is, so long as we have even a faint intellectual grasp or partial intuitive insight of the reality of God, there should be no questions in our minds about whether or not God loves us, cares for us, approves of us, or wants us to awaken spiritually. This is all right if one is willing to learn and to grow in knowledge and grace. A contrasting condition, which is also self-defeating, is an attitude of individual superiority, which may be expressed as arrogance, and denial of any need for a relationship with the Higher Power.

ਸਲਾਮੁ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਦੋਵੈ ਕਰੇ ਮੁੰਢਹੁ ਘੁਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੋਵੈ ਕੂੜੀਆ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਕਾਈ ਪਾਇ ॥

Salaam Jabaab Dovai Karay Mundhoh Ghutha Jaa-ey, Nanak Dovai Koorhee-aa Thaa-ay Na Kaa-ee Paa-ay.

One, who offers both respectful greetings and rude refusal to his master, has gone wrong from the very beginning. O Nanak, both of his actions are false; he obtains no place in the Court of the Akal Purkh. -----Guru Angad, Asa Di Var, AGGS, Page 474-5

There are and always have been human beings who have progressed spiritually beyond the majority of race and i.e. what we are aspiring in this spiritual growth. The whole purpose of life is to strengthen ch
aracter, which is the school of conscience, by humbly requesting God to remove our character defects.

ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸੇਤੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਚਲੈ ਕਹੀ ਬਣੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਕੂੜਿ ਕਮਾਣੈ ਕੂੜੋ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਵਿਗਾਸਿ ॥

Sahib Saytee Hukam Na Chalai Kahee BaNai Ardas, Koorh Kamaanai Koorho Hovai Nanak Sifat Vigaas.

No one can issue commands to the Supreme Master; offer instead humble prayers. Practicing falsehood, only falsehood is obtained. O Nanak, through the Akal Purkh's Praise, one blossoms forth. -----Guru Angad, Asa Di Var, AGGS, Page 474-13

One should implore for the strength to subjugate the lower instinct and fortitude to develop the higher instincts.


Prayer is not a way to manipulate God in to doing what an individual desires but it is an attempt to get in to fellowship with God. In prayer one should try to figure out what he or she should be as Akal Purkh wants him/her to be rather than asking God what It should do. In prayer one should accept Akal Purkh’s Will (ਭਾਣਾ) and say that, “Thy Will be done”.

The wording of the prayer does not matter and can be individualized by the petitioner. It is the sincerity of the prayer, which matters. It is the motive that makes difference between true and false prayer. Only the prayer coming from the depths of the heart is accepted at the door of the Creator. Other prayers are self-deception and hypocrisy.

Prayer is the constant yearning to know the Truth and be worthy of it. It is the striving of the mind towards its parent Divinity the Universal Spirit. Outwardly prayer should express it- self in actions by which we strive to manifest, which is best in us.


❤️ Tap / Click or Scan


Latest Activity