Hukam – Inspiration
Hukam is the order of the Guru i.e. an inspiration.
It is called Hukam, Hukam-Namah, Shabad, or Vaak – order, edict, Holy Hymn, or Word of the Guru. This is inspiration for the day. The person in Tabeaa – in attendance – sitting behind the Holy Book, recites some appropriate quotes from Gurbani, gracefully uncovers the Holy Book, and starts reading a Shabad out of it. This is Hukam – order of the Guru: a Holy Hymn at random. Along with it, one who reads Hukam or someone else, keeps moving Chaur (hair wisp) over the Holy Granth. When taking Hukam, it should be carefully read out and attempt should not be made to say any word out of it without reading. This is to avoid any error in reading or phonation. His Hukam (revealed Bani) should be recited with no minor error even.
Hukam should be recited in a reasonably loud voice, reverently, calmly, with humility and clearly, without any hurry. The Holy Book is opened at random as a set precedence at about its middle part, and Shabad – the Holy Hymn, is recited from its start at the top on the left side page. If Shabad starts at the back of that (previous) page, then it is read (started) from there.
Shabad, Holy Hymn, is read from its start to the end however long it may be. Some Shabads are full-page length. If it is from the area wherein the script continues without breaks (continuously), the page of the Holy book may be changed. Such continuous Bani e.g. Jappu ji Sahib, Salok of Bhagat Kabir or Sheikh Farid, is in the beginning, or close to the end of Guru Granth Sahib. Unless we intentionally do so (open the Granth not at its middle part), we never get a Shabad from these areas. Some, may change the page if the Hymn is not according to the occasion, but others do not approve it. The page-change if desired, may be made to the right or left.
Sant Nand Singh used to take three chances to get a Shabad suitable to the need or occasion. Failing in three chances to get the right Shabad (in clear yes or no), he would postpone Hukam to the next day to get direction from the Guru, provided the time permitted. The professional Bhai (brother – caretaker of the Holy Granth) roughly know the areas of the Holy Book for the Shabads appropriate to the occasions, and try to open it there. Generally, it is not considered right, and it should be a random Shabad.
The right Shabad is that which gives direction about your need, and it may or may not be according to your desire – it may be in positive or in negative to your wish. Trying more than once to get the decisive Shabad is a personal choice. Usually, the chance Shabad at the very first instance is relied on, and in general the people do not accept trials.
Hukam – Translation
If the translation of the Hukam is done, it should be direct, very short, with no elaboration, quotes and stories. If the Holy Hymn is long one, then, only its gist should be given. Total time of the Gurdwara session has to kept in the mind. As well, children cannot fix their attentions on such things for more than a couple of minutes, and they will not follow a complicated description.
In the overseas countries, it is essential to translate Hukam into English.
Hukam – Katha of Hukam
It is different from the plain, straightforward translation of the Hukam. One may take his or her allotted time to elaborate and comment on the Shabad. It is a descriptive sermon on the Hukam. History, anecdotes, and quotations from Gurbani and other acceptable sources may be added.