Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Oldest Surviving Rehit Nama (1718/1719 AD)

Discussion in 'Sikh History' started by dalsingh, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. dalsingh

    Expand Collapse

    Jun 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    The following is a translation of the oldest surviving rehat nama.

    The rehit is generally thought not to be written to the Bhai Nand Lal who wrote the famous Persian verses about Guru Gobind Singh because of the wide difference in quality of poetry between the two.

    The manuscript was discovered at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar by Dr Jeevan Deol who is a Canadian born expert on Sikh Manuscripts (currently based in London). It has been dated to the 1718/1719 AD period which is virtually a decade after Dasmesh Pita's passing.

    The translation is by the notorious W H McLeod from Sikhs of the Khalsa.

    I have made some notes in brackets (as well as a single footnote) in areas I find interesting. One thing I noted was there was no reference to panj kakkar. Also there seems to be strong emphasis on not slandering others.

    Just so you know, I'm no disciplined guy myself, but find Sikh history fascinating. I hope we have some positive discussions from this. There are a few questions I have myself - I hope some of you can help me with these.



    He who utters the divine Word without understanding gains nothing.
    He who neglects to bow after completing a reading from the sacred scripture will find himself cut off from God.
    If he who distributes [karah] prashad is greedy (keeping a large portion for himself),
    Or if he serves unequal portions, he will eternally regret his transgression
    Hear now the method to be followed when preparing karah [prashad], how the three ingredients are to be mixed in equal quantities.
    The place where this is to be prepared is to be swept and plastered, the cooking vessel to be scoured and then washed clean.
    Bathe yourself so that you come to the task unpolluted, uttering nothing save ‘Vahiguru’.
    Fill a new pitcher with water, confident that Guru Gobind Singh will bless the undertaking.
    When it is ready place it on a four legged stool and sitting around it sing kirtan.


    We who accepts a Turak [Muslim?] as his master or who touches iron with his foot, (*see footnote 1 below)
    Says Gobind Singh, ‘Hear me, [Nand] Lal (the manuscript seems to jump at this point, indicating some missing portion perhaps?)

    Who takes prasad without reciting Japuji,
    Who lets evening pass without joining in Rahiras,
    Who retires at night without reciting Kirtan [Sohilla],
    Who disfigures his actions by slaundering others-
    Such a person was born for disgrace, his duty ever neglected.
    He who gives his word but fails to honour it ,
    Shall find no resting place, says Gobind Singh.
    He who eats meat prepared by Muslims (the word used in the original here is “Turakaan” or Turks).
    Who sings songs other than what the Guru has composed,
    Who delights in the songs which women sing,
    Hear me, [Nand] Lal, to Yam’s kingdom he will go.


    He who calls himself a sadhu should never be trusted if he does not adhere to the Rahit (Sadhus following rahit???).
    To deceive people he keeps impressively silent


    He who begins any undertaking without Ardas, who eats without setting aside a portion for the Guru,
    Who consumes anything that is prescribed (footnote gives beef as example- seems a bit Hindu?)
    Who lies with any women other than his wife,
    Who gives nothing when he sees someone in need-
    Such a person will gain no honour [when he appears] before the divine Court
    He who does not listen attentively to kirtan or katha,
    Who speaks ill of a pious Sikh,
    The slanderer, the gambler, the one who steals-
    Kal will bring them great suffering.
    Do not listen to anyone who defames the Guru;
    Take a sword and slay [him] (This line is problematic in translation according to the footnote and an alternative version refers to scoring prasad with a kirpan)


    He who does not keep a charity box (golak) or who conducts trade deceitfully,
    Hear me Nand Lal, declares Gobind Singh, he shall suffer a thousand hells.


    He who blows out a lamp [instead of extinguishing it with his fingers],
    Who extinguishes fire from water from which he has been drinking (Seems like plain old superstition to me?? Maybe a hang up from Fire worship? Also issues of impurities being spread by breathe?)
    He who eats without saying Vahiguru
    The Sikh who visits a prostitute,
    Or shows affection for another wife,
    Says Gobind Singh, I have no affection for that Sikh (note how the Rahit does not banish or exclude people from using the term Sikh).
    He who seduces the Guru’s wife, he who is deceitful,
    Know him to be a grievous offender [against the Rahit]
    He abandons the Guru and follows another,
    Who sleeps naked from the waist down ,
    Who engages in intercourse while naked,
    Or who bathes whilst naked {Let him be regarded as a grievous offender] (These injunctions are seen as references to never fully removing a katchera)


    He who streches himself out naked, who eats bareheaded,
    Or who thus distributes karah prasad – treat any such person as a grievous offender.


    He is a Khalsa who refrains from scurrilous talk;
    He is a Khalsa who in fighting never turns his back
    He is a Khalsa who gives gifts in charity
    He is a Khalsa who slays Khans
    He is a Khalsa who triumphs over the five (evil impulses) (kam, krodh, moh etc.).
    He is a Khalsa who despises the rituals [of the Brahmans].
    He is a Khalsa who abandons pride;
    He is a Khalsa who disregards glory (Khālsā soì jo ān ko tiāgai)
    He is a Khalsa who avoids another’s wife. (Khālsā soì jo paratriā so bhagai)
    Khālsā soì jo raini ko jāgai (Don’t understand this line can anyone help?)
    Khālsā soì jo pradrisati tiāgai ((Don’t understand this line can anyone help?)
    He is a Khalsa who fights face to face


    He [is a true Khalsa] who recognizes that the creation is the Creator’s and for this reason does not cause it harm.
    If anyone should cause harm to the creation, Nand Lal the creator is filled with wrath.


    He is a Khalsa who supports the needy;
    He is a Khalsa who destroys the oppressor
    He is a Khalsa who repeats the divine Name
    He is a Khalsa who fights his enemy
    He is a Khalsa who is absorbed in the divine Name
    He is a Khalsa who breaks free from that which binds him
    He is a Khalsa who is always fighting battles
    He is a Khalsa who carries weapons
    He is a Khalsa who smites the Turks
    He is a Khalsa who upholds his dharma
    He is a Khalsa who bears a canopy over his head! (A signifier of royalty in line with Guru Ji’s attempt at exalting Sikhs)


    Akal [Purakh] cries, Let slander cease. Everyone will flee away, down rivers or into mountains, but he (who does not engage in slander) will cross over [the ocean of the world and find there liberation from the torments of human existence].


    Hear this truth, Nand Lal.
    I shall establish my rule
    I shall merge the four castes into one
    I shall have people repeat Vahiguru
    [My Sikhs shall] ride swift horses and fly like hawks
    Turaks (Presumably Moghuls) once sighted shall be defeated
    One [Sikh] will confront a host of 125,000 (sava lakh),
    [Spiritual] liberation awaits that Singh who fights [for me].
    Banners shall wave, grand elephants [shall parade];
    Music shall resound at every gate
    The mighty host (sava lakh) shall discharge their guns.
    When they do the Khalsa shall arise and all enemies of the truth be overthrown


    The Khalsa shall rule, no traitor shall survive
    (Very important note: Today we say “Rāj karaigā Khālsā ākì rahe nā koi” but in the original it states “Rāj karaigā Khālsā yakì tikai nā koi” Can anyone translate yakì?)

    All who endure privation shall be shielded by the Guru’s protection

    Here ends the manual of instruction (nasihat nama) which is issued from the mouth of the Tenth King.

    Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vahiguru Ji Kee Fateh!

    1. The footnote in Mcleod’s translation says that Iron is sacred to the Khalsa and must not be shown disrespect. This is problematic because here in the West (at least) it is not unusual for us to walk over bridges or flooring made with iron or even say brake and accelerator pedals in cars. I was informed by family that this covered only karay, sarbloh battay and weapons and not just iron in general which would be beham.
  2. Loading...

  3. Arvind

    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Thinker Supporter

    Jul 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Veer ji,

    If you have Gurmukhi version, then pls post that as an attachment here.

    Regards, Arvind.
  4. OP

    Expand Collapse

    Jun 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Bhai Ji

    Sadly I haven't got the Gurmukhi original text and I don't think it is openly available. I have to rely on the translation.
Since you're here... we have a small favor to ask...     Become a Supporter      ::     Make a Contribution     

Share This Page