Sikhism > Rehat Maryada

Definition of a Sikh
Any human being who faithfully believes in
(i) One Immortal Being,
(ii) Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh,
(iii) The Guru Granth Sahib,
(iv) The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
(v) The baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh.

Sikh Living
A Sikh's life has two aspects: individual or personal and corporate or Panthic

Sikh's Personal Life
A Sikh's personal life should comprehend
(i) Meditation on Nam (Divine Substance) and the scriptures,
(ii) Leading life according to the Gurus' teachings and
(iii) Altruistic voluntary service.

Meditation on Nam (Divine Substance) and Scriptures
(1) A Sikh should wake up in the ambrosial hours (three hours before dawn), take bath and, concentrating his/her thoughts on One Immortal Being, repeat the name Waheguru (Wondrous Destroyer of darkness).
(2) He/she should recite the following scriptural compositions every day:
a) The Japji, the Jaapu and the Ten Sawayyas (Quartets) - beginning "Sarawag sudh" - in the morning.
(b) Sodar Rehras comprising the following compositions:
(i) Nine hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib, occurring in the holy book after the Japuji Sahib, the first of which begins with "Sodar" and the last of which ends with "saran pare ki rakh sarma"
(ii) The Benti Chaupai of the tenth Guru (beginning "hamri karo hath dai rachha" and ending with "dusht dokh te leho bachai")
(iii) The Sawayya beginning with the words "pae geho jab te tumre"
(iv) The Dohira beginning with the words "sagal duar kau chhad kai"
(v) The first five and the last pauris (stanzas) of Anand Sahib
(vi) and Mundawani and the Slok Mahla 5 beginning "tere kita jato nahi" in the evening after sunset.
(c) The Sohila - to be recited at night before going to bed.
(3) The morning and evening recitations should be concluded with Ardas (formal supplication litany).
(a) The text of the Ardas:
One Absolute Manifest; victory belongeth to the Wondrous Destroyer of darkness. May the might of the All-powerful help!
Ode to the might by the tenth lord. Having first thought of the Almighty's prowess, let us think of Guru Nanak. Then of Guru Angad, Amardas, and Ramdas - may they be our rescuers! Remember then Arjan, Hargobind, and Harirai. Meditate then on revered Hari Krishan on seeing whom all suffering vanishes. Think then of Tegh Bahadur, remembrance of whom brings all nine treasures. He comes to rescue everywhere. Then of the tenth lord, revered Guru Gobind Singh, who comes to rescue everywhere. The embodiment of the light of all ten sovereign lordships, the Guru Granth Sahib - think of the view and reading of it and say, "Waheguru (Wondrous Destroyer of darkness)". Meditating on the achievement of the dear and truthful ones, including the five beloved ones, the four sons of the tenth Guru, forty liberated ones, steadfast ones, constant repeaters of the Divine Name, those given to assiduous devotion, those who repeated the Nam, shared their fare with others, ran free kitchen, wielded the sword and overlooked faults and shortcomings, say "Waheguru", O Khalsa.

Meditating on the achievement of the male and female members of the Khalsa who laid down their lives in the cause of dharma (religion and righteousness), got their bodies dismembered bit by bit, got their skulls sawn off, got mounted on spiked wheels, got their bodies sawn, made sacrifices in the service of the shrines (gurdwaras), did not betray their faith, sustained their adherence to the Sikh faith with sacred unshorn hair uptill their last breath, say, "Wondrous Destroyer of darkness", O Khalsa.

Thinking of the five thrones (seats of religious authority) and all gurdwaras, say, "Wondrous Destroyer of darkness", O Khalsa.

Now it is the prayer of the whole Khalsa. May the conscience of the whole Khalsa be informed by Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru and, in consequence of such remembrance, may total well-being obtain. Wherever there are communities of the Khalsa, may there be Divine protection and grace, and ascendance of the supply of needs and of the holy sword, protection of the tradition of grace, victory to the Panth, the succour of the holy sword, ascendance of the Khalsa. Say, O Khalsa, "Wondrous Destroyer of darkness".

Unto the Sikhs the gift of the Sikh faith, the gift of the untrimmed hair, the gift of the disciple of their faith, the gift of sense of discrimination, the gift of truest, the gift of confidence, above all, the gift of meditation on the Divine and bath in the Amritsar (holy tank at Amritsar). May hymns-singing missionary parties, the flags, the hostels, abide from age to age. May righteousness reign supreme. Say, "Wondrous Destroyer of darkness". May the Khalsa be imbued with humility and high wisdom! May Waheguru guard its understanding!

O Immortal Being, eternal helper of Thy Panth, benevolent Lord, bestow on the Khalsa the beneficence of unobstructed visit to the free management of Nankana Sahib and other shrines and places of the Guru from which the Panth has been separated. O Thou, the honor of the humble, the strength of the weak, aid unto those who have none to rely on, True Father, Wondrous Destroyer of darkness, we humbly render to you (mention here the name of the scriptural composition that has been recited or, in appropriate terms, the object for which the congregation has been held). Pardon any impermissible accretions, omissions, errors, mistakes. Fulfill the purposes of all. Grant us the association of those dear ones, on meeting whom one is reminded of Your Name. O Nanak, may the Nam (Holy) be ever in ascendance! In Thy will may the good of all prevail!

(b) On the conclusion of the Ardas, the entire congregation participating in the Ardas should respectfully genuflect before the revered Guru Granth, then stand up and call out, "The Khalsa is of the Wondrous Destroyer of darkness; victory also is His". The congregation should, thereafter, raise the loud spirited chant of Sat Sri Akal (True is the Timeless Being).

(c) While the Ardas is being performed, all men and women in the congregation should stand with hands folded. The person in attendance of the Guru Granth should keep waving the whisk standing.

(d) The person who performs the Ardas should stand facing the Guru Granth with hands folded. If the Guru Granth is not there, the performing of the Ardas facing any direction is acceptable.

(e) When any special Ardas for and on behalf of one or more persons is offered, it is not necessary for persons in the congregation other than that person or those persons to stand up.