CODE OF SIKH CONDUCT AND CONVENTIONS
(Devotional Hymns Singing by a Group or an Indvidual)
a) Only a Sikh may perform Kirtan in a congregation.
b) Kirtan means singing the scriptural compositions
in traditional musical measures.
c) In the congragation, Kirtan only of Gurbani
(Guru Granth's or Guru Gobind Singh's hymns) and,
for its elaboration, of the compositions of Bhai Gurdas
and Bhai Nand Lal, may be performed.
d) It is improper, while singing hymns to
rhythmic folk tunes or to traditional musical measures,
or in team singing, to induct into them improvised and
extraneous refrains. Only a line from the hymn should
be made a refrain.
Taking Hukam* (Command)
(*Hukam:- Reading or Reading out to others,
including the congregation, of a Shabad (hymns)
or a unit of one or more slokas (short scriptural compositions
normally of two to four lines) and a pauri (short
stanza of four or more lines) from the Guru Granth Sahib
after, or even without performing, Ardas is an important
Sikh ritual. It is called Hukam laina (Taking the
order or command), Vak laina (taking the word), Awaz laina
(taking the voice). The hymn or unit goes by the
name of Hukam (order, command) Vak (uttered Word) or Awaz
a. Doing obeisance to the Guru Granth Sahib,
respectfully, taking a glimpse of the congregation,
an embodiment of the Guru's person, and taking the command
: these together constitute the view of the Satguru
(Immortal destroyer of darkness, the true guru). Raising
the drapery covering the Guru Granth Sahib and merely
taking a look or making others take a look at the
exposed page, without taking command (reading the prescribed
hymn) is contrary to Gurmat (Guru's way).
b. In the course of the congregational sessions,
only one thing should be done at a time : performing
of kirtan, delivering of discourse, interpretative
elaboration of the scriptures, or reading of the
c. Only a Sikh, man or woman, is entitled
to be in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib during
the congregational session.
d. Only a Sikh may read out from the Guru
Granth Sahib for others. However, even a non- Sikh
may read from it for himself/herself.
e. For taking the command (Hukam), the hymn that
is continuing on the top of the left hand page must
be read from the beginning. If the hymn begins on the
previous page, turn over the page and read the whole
hymn from the beginning to the end. If the scriptural
composition that is continuing on the top of the
left hand page is a var (ode) then start from the
first of the slokas preceding the pauri and read upto
the end of the pauri. Conclude the reading at the
end of the Hymn with the line in which the name 'Nanak'
occurs. f. Hukam must also be taken at the conclusion
of the congregational session or after the Ardas.
Sadharan Path (Completion of Normal Intermittent
Reading of the Guru Granth Sahib)
a. Every Sikh should, as far as possible, maintain
a separate and exclusive place for the installation
of Guru Granth Sahib, in his home.
b. Every Sikh, man, woman, boy or girl, should
learn Gurmukhi to be able to read the Guru Granth
c. Every Sikh should take the Hukam
(Command) of the Guru Granth Sahib in the ambrosial
(early)hours of the morning before taking
meal. If he/she fails to do that, he/she should
read or listen to reading from the Guru Granth Sahib
some time during the day. If he/she cannot do that
either, during travel etc., or owing to any other impediment,
he/she should not give in to a feeling of guilt.
d. It is desirable that every Sikh should carry
on a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib
and complete a full reading in one or two months or over
a longer period.
e. While undertaking a full reading
of the Guru Granth Sahib , one should recite the Anand
Sahib (the first five and the last stanzas)
and perform the Ardas. One should, thereafter, read
the Japuji. Akhand Path (Uninterrupted-Non-stop-Completion
of the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib)
a. The non-stop reading of the Guru
Granth Sahib is carried on at hard times or on occasions
of elation or joy. It takes approximately fortyeight hours.
The non-stop reading implies continuous, uninterrupted
reading. The reading must be clear and correct. Reading
too fast, so that the person listening in
to it cannot follow the contents, amounts to irreverence
to the Scriptures. The reading should be correct and clear,
due care being bestowed on consonant and vowel
even though that takes a little longer to complete.
b. Whichever family or congregation
undertakes the non-stop reading should carry it out itself
through its members, relatives, friends, etc.,
all together. The number of reciters is not
If a person, himself, cannot read, he should listen in
to the reading by some competent reader. However,
it should never be allowed to happen that the reader carries
on the reading all by himself/herself and
no member of the congregation or the family is listening
in to the reading. The reader should be served with food
and clothing to the best of the host's means.
c. Placing a pitcher, ceremonial clarified-butter-fed
lamp, coconut, etc. around, during the course
of the uninterrupted or any other reading of Guru Granth
Sahib, or reading of other Scriptural texts
side by side with or in the course of such reading is
contrary to the gurmat (Guru's way).
the Non-Stop Reading (Akhandpath)
While undertaking the intermittent
reading of the whole Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred pudding
(Karhah Prashad) for offering should be brought
and after reciting the Anand Sahib (six stanzas)
and offering Ardas, Hukam should be taken.
While beginning the unbroken
reading, the sacred pudding should first be
laid. Thereafter, after reciting the Anand Sahib(six
stanzas), offering the Ardas and taking the Hukam, the
reading should he commenced. Concluding the
a. The reading of the whole Guru Granth Sahib
(intermittent or non-stop) may be concluded with
the reading of Mundawani or the Rag Mala according to
the convention traditionally observed at the
concerned place. (Since there is a difference of opinion
within the Panth on this issue, nobody should
dare to write or print a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib
excluding the Rag Mala). Thereafter, after
reciting the Anand Sahib, the Ardas of the conclusion
of the reading should be offered and the sacred
pudding (Karhah Prashad) distributed.
b. On the conclusion of the reading, offering
of draperies, fly-whisk and awning, having regard
to the requirements of the Guru Granth Sahib, and of other
things, for Panthic causes, should
be made to the best of means.