Sikhism > Rehat Maryada

Facets of Corporate Sikh Life
The essential facets of Panthic life are
(1) Guru Panth (the Panth's Guru status),
(2) The ceremony of ambrosial initiation,
(3) The statute of chastisement for aberrations,
(4) The statute of collective resolution and
(5) The appeal against local decisions.

Panth's Status of Guruhood
The concept of service is not confined to fanning the congregation, service to and in the common kitchen-cum-eating house, etc. A Sikh's entire life is a life of benevolent exertion. The most fruitful service is the service that secures the optimum good my minimal endeavor. That can be achieved through organized collective action. A Sikh has, for this reason, to fulfill his Panthic obligations (obligations as a member of the corporate entity, the Panth), even as he/she performs his/her individual duties. This corporate entity is the Panth. Every Sikh has also to fulfill his obligations as a unit of the corporate body, the Panth.

(a) The Guru Panth (Panth's status of Guruhood) means the whole body of committed baptized Sikhs. This body was fostered by all the ten Gurus and the tenth Guru gave it its final shape and invested it with Guruhood

Ceremonies of Baptism or Initiation
(a) Ambrosial baptism should be held at an exclusive place away from common human traffic.

(b) At the place where ambrosial baptism is to be administered, the holy Guru Granth Sahib should be installed and ceremonially opened. Also present should be six committed baptized Sikhs, one of whom should sit in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib and the other five should be there to administer the ambrosial baptism. These six may even include Sikh women. All of them must have taken bath and washed their hair.

(c) The five beloved ones who administer ambrosial baptism should not include a disabled person, such as a person who is blind or blind in one eye, lame, one with a broken or disabled limb, or one suffering from some chronic disease. The number should not include anyone who has committed a breach of the Sikh discipline and principles. All of them should be committed baptized Sikhs with appealing personalities.

(d) Any man or woman of any country, religion or caste who embraces Sikhism and solemnly undertakes to abide by its principles is entitled to ambrosial baptism.

The person to be baptized should not be of very young age; he or she should have obtained a plausible degree of discretion. The person to be baptized must have taken bath and washed the hair and must wear all five K's - Kesh (unshorn hair), strapped Kirpan (sword), Kachhehra (prescribed shorts), Kanga (Comb tucked in the tied up hair), Karha (Steel bracelet). He/she must not have on his/her person any token of any other faith. He/she must not be wearing any ornaments piercing through any part of the body. The persons to be baptized must stand respectfully with hands folded facing the Guru Granth Sahib.

(e) Anyone seeking to be rebaptized, having committed an aberration, should be singled out and the five beloved ones should award chastisement to him/her in the presence of the congregation.

(f) One from amongst the five beloved ones administering ambrosial baptism to persons seeking to be baptized should explain the principles of the Sikh religion to them:

The Sikh religion advocates the renunciation of the worship of any created thing, and rendering of worship and loving devotion to, and meditating on, the One Supreme Creator. For the fulfillment of such devotion and meditation, reflection on the contents of Gurbani and practicing of its tenets, participation in the congregational services, rendering service to the Panth, benevolent exertion (to promote the good of others), love of God's name (loving reflection on the experience of the Divine), living within the Sikh discipline after getting baptized etc. are the principal means.

He should conclude his exposition of the principles of Sikh religion with the query: Do you accept these willingly?

(g) On an affirmative response from the seekers of baptism, one from amongst the five beloved ones should perform the Ardas for the preparation of baptism and take the holy Hukam (command). The five beloved ones should come close to the bowl for preparing the amrit (ambrosial nectar).

(h) The bowl should be of pure steel and it should be placed on a clean steel ring or other clean support.

(i) Clean water and sugar puffs should be put in the bowl and the five beloved ones should sit around it in bir posture [Sitting in bir posture comprises sitting resting the body on the right leg, the right calf and foot gathered inward and the left leg upto the shin kept in a vertical position.] and recite the undermentioned scriptural compositions.

(j) The scriptural compositions to be recited are: The Japuji, the Jaap, The Ten Sawayyas (commencing with sarawag sud), the Bainti Chaupai (from "hamri karo hath dai rachha" to "susht dokh te leho bachai"), the first five and the last one stanza of the Anand Sahib.

(k) Each of the five beloved ones who recites the scripture should hold the edge of the bowl with his left hand and keep stirring the water with a double-edged sword held in his right hand. He should do that with full concentration. The rest of the beloved ones should keep gripping the edge of the bowl with both hands concentrating their full attention on the ambrosial nectar.

(l) After the conclusion of the recitation, one from amongst the beloved ones should perform the Ardas.

(m) Only that person seeking to be baptized who has participated in the entire ceremony of ambrosial baptism can be baptized. One who has turned up while the ceremony was in progress cannot be baptized.

(n) After the Ardas as per clause (1) above, thinking of our Father, the tenth Master, the wearer of the aigrette, every person seeking to be baptized should sit in bir posture, putting his/her right hand cupped on the left cupped hand and be made to drink the ambrosial mix five times, as the beloved one who pours the mix into his cupped hand exclaims: say, Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh! (The Khalsa is of the Wondrous Destroyer of darkness; victory too, is His!) The person being baptized should after imbibing the ambrosia, repeat: Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh. Then five handfuls of the ambrosial mix should be sprinkled into the eyes of the person being baptized and another five into his hair. Each such sprinkling should be accompanied by the beloved one administering baptism saying, "Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh", and the person being baptized repeating the chant. Whatever ambrosial mix is left over after the administration of the ambrosial baptism to all individual seekers, should be sipped by all (men and women) baptized, together.

(o) After this the five beloved ones, all together in chorus, communicating the name of Waheguru to all who have been administered the ambrosial baptism, recite to them the mul mantar (basic creed, seminal chant) and make them repeat it aloud: "Ik aunkar satnam karta purakh nirbhau nirwair akal murat ajuni saibhang gur prasad."