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Jan 23, 2009
Ardas is an invocation, supplication, appeal or a humble prayer to Waheguru (God). Sikhs pray to God, with the Guru and Guru Granth Sahib as their witness.

Ardas is recited to start and end every Sikh ceremony, or a session of individual or a congregational prayer.

In Gurdwaras (the Sikh places of worship), Ardas is offered twice morning and evening.

Guru Gobind Singh authored its first Pauri – step, i.e. part at its start. In this part, no alteration is permitted. The sections following it have seen changes and additions according to the progressing Sikh historical events.

In congregation, Ardas is offered standing with folded hands and facing Guru Granth Sahib. The one person leads and others listen to it calmly and attentively.

In Ardas, after remembering to Sikh Guru, God, sacrifices, history and achievements of Sikhs are repeated, Waheguru is thanked for his boons, high morale is begged for, and well-being of the whole humanity – creation, is sought by saying “Nanak Naam Char.hdee Kala, T.aerae Bhaan.ae sarbat d.aa bhalaa” (Nanak, the Naam is giver of high morale, may all be blessed by God!)

We should say a personal Ardas, before and after Naam-Jaap. Such a personal prayer is usually short. We humbly beg from God –

Everyone humbly begs from You, O Lord! 3-86-5
Sabhe t.d:haae paas-hu man:gd.ae nit. kar-e Ard.aase

Types of Ardas approved by the Sikh world.
Panthic Ardas – It is full length Ardas
Chotee Ardas or Short Ardas – Only first section of Ardas

Panthic Ardas
A Panthic Ardas is standard, full-length invocation approved by the Sikh World. It is said after the end of a prayer-session in Gurduwara (Sikh place of worship).
It is made to God, Standing before the Holy Book. It is also made before the start and at the end of any Sikh ceremony, or a religious function. Even other Sikh function e.g. political, may as well be started after a Panthic Ardas.

A Panthic Ardas (full length) should be kept as short as possible, with no repetitions and unnecessary additions may be of quotation from the Holy Hymns. The stanzas (quotes) from Gurbani should not be said within the main body of Ardas, and their limited number (a few of them) may be used before starting it.

Chhotee Ardas - Short Invocation
It is said before opening and closing Guru Granth Sahib, and when some offerings are made to God, by placing these before Guru Granth Sahib.

Chhotee Ardas – Is is only recitation of the starting Pauri (step) of Ardas. This step is composition of the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. It starts with “Ardas. Ik-Onkar Vaheguroo Jee Kee Fat.eh. Sree Bhagaut.ee jee sahaa-ae…” and ends at “D.assaan’ Pat.shaahee-aan’ d.ee jot.e Sree Guroo Granth Sahib… Bolo Jee Vaheguroo.”

Before opening the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book), to this Ardas is added supplication seeking permission to open it, and for the God’s Hukam (Order).

When closing Guru Granth Sahib, some at the individual level, first say Ardas and then close the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib. Others, say Ardas after closing the Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib.

Please leave a comment on this article.

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Allow me to paste an email from my good friend and a Sikh Scholar, S. Gurmit Singh ji from Australia.

With reference to the detailed Article under caption:
"Ardas and its Methodology" published at pages 24-27
in The Sikh Review - December 2009, Kolkata, India,
it is my humble request that you could have also read
all the (55) stanzas of Vaar Durga Kee, if not all,
at least First and the Last ones. If not in English,
its Text-editing and commentary in Punjabi could be
gone through in "Shri Dasam-Granth Sahib, Vol. I" by
Dr. Rattan Singh Jaggi and Dr. Gursharan Kaur Jaggi.

"Bhagauti" is not Akaal Purkh or Waheguru or God but
the said term refers to deity goddess. By reciting /
remembering Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Har Rai Sahib,
devotees get nothing but while remembering Guru
HarKishan Sahib and Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib then all
pains disappear, and all treasures are obtained !!

In the concluding stanza No. 55, it is advised that
the person, who sings the praises of the said Devi,
will get rid of transmigration.

It is thus evident that First Paragraph was lifted
from Vaar Durga Kee while including in Sikh Ardas
as reflected in the Sikh Rahat Maryada 1945.

The concluding verse: "Nanak Naam Charhdi Kalaa,
Tereiy Bhanaiy Sarbatt Daa Bhalaa" is not mentioned
in the Guru Granth Sahib. Then, who has dared to use
"Nanak", though it is used for the wellbeing of all?
It is a blasphemous act on the part of framers of the

It would be much appreciated if all the Editors and
Editorial Advisory Board undertake some Refresher
Course and update their understanding of Gurbaani
enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Thanks for your selfless services.

Gurmit Singh (Sydney-Australia)

Hardip Singh

Jan 14, 2009
I dont know why SRM is so much particular on the words of ardas. We are unnecessaily creating havoc on the issue. Ardaas is purely a personel issue between oneself and its diety / God. Whatever i want to Thanks or covey or ask to my Master, i should ask far in very simple words and staright away. No hesitations or lenghty buttering is required. One has a direct relationship with ones belif or God. However, in case of public or panthic gatherings , it could be something like the one we have in SRM. My personal way had been for a very short and direct ardas at any place.


May 9, 2006
Apologies for bumping an old thread, but this topic has confused me for some time.

Why does Ardas, the main Sikh prayer, not contain even a sentance from Guru Granth Sahib ji?

Why does it use such an unusual term to invoke "God"?

Why do Sikhs keep using it in this form?

Personally, as a convert, I've really struggled with Ardas as it is currently worded.

I also struggle with the concept of Ardas, as the impression I get from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is that Waheguru isn't the interfering type of God... and that praying for change is anti the theory of going along with the Hukam.

Your impressions much appreciated, and I apologise if I have caused any offense.



Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
Ishna Ji,
All very good questions that non-converts would struggle to answer too!

My personal ardaas comes from my heart rather than following any fixed mantra to recite. I have settled on the purpose of ardaas being for my benefit rather than for God's benefit. It is a way of sorting through my thoughts and me myself discovering what I want which will help me focus to achieve it. Verbalising it helps me, not God. It is an external manifestation of my attempt at connecting to God and is one of many attempts! (Have just read it again and it sounds very me orientated. I apologise as that is not how it is meant but its hard to verbalise that my purpose is to say its for the benefits humans rather than God).
Doing ardaas in together in public is a way of bringing the congregation together and I have issues with people bringing their own wants and desires into a public ardaas. I have known Gurdwara committees using it as a money making exercise as people are more likely to donate needed funds if their name will be announced in ardaas. It's a neat way of rounding up a diwan so everyone knows whats happening I guess.

The current form is used due to convention but you are right in that none of it is from the Guru Granth Sahib so the whole ardaas could probably do with a review. I wait for the day when SGPC/Akal Takht organise this.

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

[SIZE=+2]The Answering of an Ardas[/SIZE]

Translated from “Ardas Shakti”, written by Sardar Raghbir Singh Bir. This story is pretty inspiring.



My daughter (S. Raghbir Singh jee's daughter) was expecting a baby. Since this was her first time, it was expected to be a painful delivery. Till nine months, my daughter’s health was normal but at end of the ninth months, her whole body swelled and became sore. Due to some other reasons too, the doctors did not think that this would be a normal delivery case.

When I told the senior doctor that for while, everything in my home had been normal and that Vaheguru had never disappointed me, he started laughing, called the other doctors and said, “Look, Mr. Singh is sure that the baby will be delivered normally.” Other doctors too addressed me as Mr. Singh and told me that they too want the baby to be born by normal delivery but all circumstances are leading towards delivery through operation and that they have to be prepared for that.

When the time for delivery came, my daughter was taken to the hospital. All day she stayed in great pain and around 11pm the doctor told me that next day around 4am – 5am the baby will be born and that I should go home now.

My daughter had become very weak after enduring pain all day. She called me over and said to me that she does not have power to even do ardaas and that I should perform ardaas (prayer) for her. She said that she could sustain pain anymore and asked me to do ardaas to rid her of pain. I myself was in a state of shock and surprise over the events of the whole day. My daughter had been in pain all day and the doctors were suggesting that she would have to sustain pain all night as well. He condition was very serious at that time.

After much persuasion by the doctors to leave for home, I came back home around 11pm, so that I may knock the door of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and do ardaas. Before going for home, I went to the labour room (where babies are delivered) and I did ardaas and recited the following shabad with full faith:


I came home while my daughter and my wife stayed at the hospital.

It took me 10 minutes to come home in my car. At 11:10pm I started doing ardaas with folded hands. My idea was that since I will not be able to sleep, I would spend the whole night doing ardaas and simran.

Going through this ardaas what I experienced and what I saw, would be hard to explain but I will try my best to write for the benefit of readers of “Aatam-Science” (A Sikh spiritual magazine) what occurred during my ardaas:


In the beginning of my ardaas I had a very scary thought. This thought and vision had been created as a result of my faithlessness or maybe it was created as a test for me. I am not sure of this. I think before every spiritual experience, Maaiya tries its best not to let one escape from its clutches. If the spiritual student stays strong and does not falter during such tests, then illusions like maaiya cannot do anything and the infinite power of Vaheguru protects the Sikh.

In the beginning of the ardaas this thought came in my mind that first of all, Vaheguru in front of whom I am doing ardaas probably does not exist and even if he does exist, there is nothing he can do about it as the current situation of my daughter is the result of her bad karma from previous life.

The inner voice addressed me saying that my daughter must have done some very bad karma in her previous life and for this she will have to suffer. The thoughts came to my mind along the lines that the condition of my daughter in fact is very serious and that what the doctors are saying is truth. I am not going to get anything positive out of this ardaas.

Then the thought came to my mind that it was my duty to stick around my daughter who is at deathbed and instead of sticking around with her, I have run home to do ardaas like a coward. Instead of facing the problem, I am looking for refuge a futile thing like ardaas. After this I saw in my thoughts the dead body of my daughter and the thought came to my mind that it is futile to do ardaas for a dead body.


I was very surprised to see such attacks of my mind and got worried. After I saw the dead body of my daughter in my thoughts I cried out, “NO NO NO, this cannot happen! My father Vaheguru is all mighty. My Vaheguru will not consider my daughter’s previous karma. I have come under his protection and he always keeps honour of the ones who come to him. The scene and the thoughts that I had seen are all illusion. My Vaheguru is million times powerful than Maaiya the illusion. My eyes can be deceived, as what they see may be wrong. My ears can be deceived, as what they listen to could be wrong. My daughter can be deceived by illusion of maaiya. The doctors can be deceived by maaiya but I am a Sikh of Guru Arjun Dev jee and I am a Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh jee. I cannot be deceived (dhokha) by maiya. I know that if Vaheguru wants he can survive us without breathing. My daughter will surely get cured”.

After saying out all this, I extended my hazooriya towards Vaheguru and said, “Sache Paatshah, please don’t look at my weaknesses. Cure my sweet daughter. Please prove the falsehood of maaiya”.

When the above stated thoughts went across my mind, the previous scary thoughts vanished. My anxious and tired mind was filled with peace and fearlessness. In this new state of mind, I was saying:


While sitting in this state of mind, I heard the phone ring. I picked up the phone and found out that my daughter had given birth to a baby at 11:43pm and that the birth was natural and not by operation. Doctors were surprised at this. My daughter and her child were doing just fine.

After the phone call, I was filled with gratitude and started reciting the following pankiti of Gurbani:


***********END OF THE TRANSLATION************

This is a very good story that tells us a lot about Vaheguru and how to do ardaas. The key to ardaas is to not let negative thoughts come near and to let positive thoughts fill our mind. Faith is the key to the success of ardaas.

Vaheguru listens to ardaas from anyone who comes to his sharan. Dropati whose honour Vaheguru kept was no mahapurakh. Gajj who was saved by Vaheguru did not have any bhagtee. What we need to do is submit to Vaheguru. He does not know how to say no to his bhagats. If we lead our lives according to the hukams of Guru Sahib and try to keep his rehit and Naam, we have nothing to worry about.

Aug 6, 2006
I fully agree with Tejwant ji and Hardip ji
There are lots of questions regardig the structure od Ardas, but why dowe forget that SGGS ji is stating : ਵਿਣੁ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਕਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਕੀਚੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥
After reading the above statement of SGGS ji, I do not think that the wording of the ardas has much importance. The important is not the wording but the state of mind and truthfulness of the heart while performing ardas. Thats what I personally feel.


Apr 3, 2005

Ardaas: Philosophy, Form & Practice
The Talking Stick Colloquium # 33, October 25 - 31

The title of this week's colloquium is a give away. Yes, we intend to stop, pause and take a fresh look at the congregational prayer known as Ardaas - its essence, evolution and current practice. This will serve as a good supplement to the current Roundtable Open Forum on Prayer, concurrently running on sikhchic.com..

Oftentimes, we miss the obvious. Until I read Dr. Jaswant Singh Neki's book, Ardaas: Darshan, Roop, Abhiyas some years ago, I had never paid much attention to the ardaas, treating it much like a routine that happened at the gurdwara, at a Sikh event or at a rite of passage.

Reading the book was another one of those "wow" or "wah" moments for me. I came to appreciate - yet again - the genius of Sikhi for gifting us a unique gem of an ardaas: at once a prayer, a challenge, a resolution and a remembrance.

For this discussion, I have borrowed freely from Dr. Jaswant Singh's book as well as an essay that I co-authored with Dr. I.J Singh entitled, "On Faith, Grace and Prayer," being a review of Dr. Satnam Kaur's book, Three Basics of Sikh Religious Thought.

Incidentally, the title of this week's column is borrowed from Dr Jaswant Singh's book.


The word 'Ardaas' is believed by some scholars to be a derivative of the Persian "Arzdashat", which means a petition or the presetation of one. Others suggest that it is a Sanskrit compound word made up of "Aradan" and "aas" or the act of pleading.

For Sikhs, ardaas should be viewed as a petition reflecting the collective consciousness of the Panth, through which corporate concerns as well as individual pleas can be expressed as a way of seeking the welfare of humanity (sarbat da bhalla).

Traditional accounts suggest that the tradition of congregational ardaas began during Guru Nanak's times when he advised his Sikhs to do ardas with folded hands when feeling helpless. This practice was continued by the Second, Third and Fourth Masters. Guru Arjan started the practice of doing ardaas facing the Adi Granth (then known as 'Pothi Sahib') after its investiture in the Darbar Sahib.

It is believed that the present form of the ardaas can be attributed to Bhai Mani Singh, although there is no documentary evidence for this. Shorter forms of the ardaas exist (on paper), which can be traced to Guru Gobind Singh's time.

The Sikh congregational prayer is a unifying force for all Sikhs - the practice and repeated assertion of the credal statement, 'dhyan dhar ke bolo jee, Waheguru', followed by the collective pride in recalling our spiritual martyrs: 'jinnah singhaa(n) singhniaa(n) nay dharam haith sees ditaah', and listing the common institutions, 'panjaa(n_takhtaa(n) sarbat gurdwaariaa(n) da dhian dhar kay' - all these inspire and bond Sikhs together through a collective process of honouring our history.

The significant thing is that the Khalsa has had to earn every deed, every action, every sacrifice. These are not empty words: The Five Beloved Ones (panj pyarey); the four princes (chaar sahibzaadey); the forty liberated ones (chaali muktey) and an
assortment of spiritual warriors (hatth, jap, tap) have all earned their stripes.

In celebrating their martyrdom with pride and honor, the Ardaas is also an epistle of victory for the Sikhs as well the taking of an oath, a resolve to strive for universal harmony, to seek the welfare of all humanity (sarbat da bhalla), to sacrifice for the larger good.

Lastly, the ardaas is a prayer invoking blessings for a successful venture or mission, or victory in a just cause.

But in all this, one thing remains constant: Naam and its remembrance remains central and foundational.


Nowhere in the ardaas is there a provision for individual gain or prosperity. What, then, do you make of our impulse to pervert a prayer by treating Waheguru as a kind of answering service that you can call for a myriad of reasons? Or, as the satirist Ambrose Bierce likened prayer to "asking that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy."

The world around us teaches us to be self-reliant: fend for yourself, be your own person, etc. Prayer is an acknowledgement of dependency on a greater power. How do we square the two?

As Sikhs, we are taught to walk in Hukam and accept the Will of God. If so, why petition for intercession? A caring God must surely know our needs better than we do. So why bother with prayer?

More next week


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
In many places, especially rehraas, you see the phrase binwant nanak which means Nanak prays. It is often towards the end of a pauri and associated with a specific good thought.
Here are a couple fo examples:

page 248
ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਸ ਪਿਆਸੇ ਮਿਲਿ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰਾ ॥੧॥
Prays Nanak, I thirst for the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan; receiving Your Darshan, I am totally at peace. ||1||

ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਟੇਕ ਰਾਖੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਲਗਿ ਤਰਿਆ ਸੰਸਾਰੇ ॥੪॥੨॥
Prays Nanak, Yours is that Anchor, holding onto which the whole world is saved. ||4||2||

ਬਿਨਵੰਤ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਛ ਪੁਨੀ ਜਪਤ ਦੀਨ ਦੈਆਲਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
Prays Nanak, my desires are fulfilled by meditating on the Lord, Merciful to the meek. ||4||3||

The way I interpret this is that Guru Ji is trying to focus my attention on the aspects that I am to aspire towards. I'm sure I've also read Guru Ji dua haath jor (am bad with transliteration so apologies with mistakes-it means with 2 hands joined). This is a sign of prayer so has a similar theme. Can't remember the quotes for Gurbani for this at the moment-sorry but can look it up if you want me to.

The word ardaas has also been used many times. Here are a couple of examples
Page 25
ਜੇਤਾ ਦੇਹਿ ਤੇਤਾ ਹਉ ਖਾਉ ॥ ਬਿਆ ਦਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੈ ਦਰਿ ਜਾਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਏਕ ਕਹੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਸਭੁ ਤੇਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੩॥
Whatever You give me, that is what I eat. There is no other door-unto which door should I go? Nanak offers this one prayer: this body and soul are totally Yours. ||3||

Page 389
ਤੂ ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਮਇਆ ॥ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਨਾਮ ਸਗਲ ਰੋਗ ਖਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਅਨਿਕ ਦੂਖ ਦੇਵਹਿ ਅਵਰਾ ਕਉ ॥ ਪਹੁਚਿ ਨ ਸਾਕਹਿ ਜਨ ਤੇਰੇ ਕਉ ॥੨॥ ਦਰਸ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਪਿਆਸ ਮਨਿ ਲਾਗੀ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਅਨੰਦ ਬਸੈ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥੩॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਸੁਣੀਜੈ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੇ ਮਹਿ ਦੀਜੈ ॥੪॥੨੬॥੭੭॥
You enter into my mind, by Your Kind Mercy. Meditating on the Naam, the Name of the Lord, all diseases are destroyed. ||1||Pause|| Death gives so much pain to others, but it cannot even come near Your slave. ||2|| My mind thirsts for Your Vision; in peaceful ease and bliss, I dwell in detachment. ||3|| Hear this prayer of Nanak: please, infuse Your Name into his heart. ||4||26||77||

I have copied the translations from a website rather than writing my own,
Would love to hear how people interpret the concept of ardaas from this?

Jasleen Kaur


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
Dear Roopsidhu ji,
I completely agree that the wording is not specific.In fact the current wordings did not come into play until long after Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

What do you think the purpose of ardaas should be? Is it a unity thing? A personal thing? Is to provide thanks or think about what to achieve in life?

In Gurdwara, ardas seems ritualistic but it obviously has a deeper meaning as it is mentioned in Gurbani so much. It would be interesting to hear how others use and view ardaas?
Aug 6, 2006
The purpose of ardaas ? its multi-purpose.
The prayer is a plea to God to support and help the devotee with whatever he or she is about to undertake or has done.
It is a petition to God, the merciful creator of the universe. It lowers ones ego, brings calmness to the mental state, teaches one Humility, compassion, fearlessness, gives one inner strength and energy, elevates ones spiritual state, builds ones confidence.
While praying it reminds us that all the creation is dependent and only the God almighty' will prevails. This feeling helps us in being humble, honest, spirtual, caring and human.


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