Essential Daily Routines
1. Recitation of Gurbani – Scriptures
Gurbani is recited everyday. It makes no sense to play the pre-recorded Bani, or Kirtan, to replace a routine in the Gurdwaras, or even at homes. A cassette may be played just to fill up some free time. In some Gurdwaras, the programs are relayed on television to some other room. For the benefit of the people, extension of loudspeaker is set up in the Langar hall.
Now (presently), in a Gurdwara, the following Banis (Scriptures) are recited daily –
The following Scriptures are recited -
In the morning –
Jappu ji Sahib
Swa-ee-ae Patshahee Dasveen "Sravag sudh smooh sidhaan kae. "
In the Evening
Rahras – Sodar Dee Chaukee
Night – at Bed Time
Sohela (Kirtan Sohela). In a Gurdwara, it is recited along with closing the Guru Granth.
2. Asa Dee Vaar
This is very important daily routine (a must) in a Gurdwara.
Every morning, there is singing of complete Asa Dee Vaar. Sometimes, under urgent circumstances, someone may do it in parts and complete it in more than one day.
Devotional singing. Shabad-Kirtan (singing of the Hymns) is not a must for a Gurdwara, as there, Kirtan of Asa Dee Vaar with Shabads, is already done as a routine.
At Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar, After Asa Dee Vaar early in the morning, Kirtan continues day and night with a break from about 10 PM., to 2 AM.
Invocation - This is the prayer said at the end of the Gurdwara session.
We pray to God, through our Guru and Guru Granth Sahib - i.e. the Word of the Gurus. Ardas is done with humility, attentively and concentration.
* Everyone has to get up for Ardas, stand calmly with folded hands.
* Keep your face towards Guru Granth Sahib or its seat (where it is kept and opened in the hall). Outside, where the Holy Book is not present, the face should be towards Ardasia (one who leads supplication).
* All those attending Ardas, should stand calmly without talking. Even if someone is holding a child in her or his arms, it is a must to stand without moving, and if it is not possible, he or she should go out of the hall and attend to Ardas from outside.
* If you want to say Ardas with Ardasia, do so only in your heart. Do not speak it out and disturb others.
* Listen to Ardas attentively, and follow Ardasia when he or she says "Waheguru," and slogan at the end "Jo bole so nihaal, Satsri-Akaal." – Blessed is the one who utters God is great!
* Bow down when Ardasia bows down, follow him to stand up and to sit down.
* Nobody should place money into the hands of Ardasia while he or she is doing Ardas.
* If there is any urgent instruction, preferably give it as a note neatly written in block letters.
Also, see Ardas, on pages given in index.
Edict of the Guru: an inspiration for the day.
Hukam, or Vaak – Order, edict or the Word of Guru. The person in Tabeaa – in attendance, sitting behind the Holy Book, will read out Hukam – Order of the Guru. This is recitation of a Hymn at random, usually from about the middle portion of Guru Granth Sahib. When Hukam is read out -
* Maintain an absolute silence and no talking, as well as no other activity.
* Keep your children under perfect control.
* None else will speak out the Hukam, but will listen to it with attention.
* All others should listen to it silently, reverently, with folded hands and humility. This is Hukam and we should listen to what the Guru says, and try to adopt it practically.
Also, see Hukam, on pages given in index.
Karrah-Parshad - Sanctified Pudding
Parshad – Distribution Steps
Hukam is taken after Ardas
Kirpan Bhaet of Parshad is done after Hukam
Parshad is distributed after Kirpan Bhaet
Parshad – Discipline
* Parshad is a blessed gift from the Guru - Waheguru, and even a small quantity of it should suffice. It is not for filling the tummy.
* Parshad is taken in both hands cupped together, and not on a single hand. If the hands are not clean, better wash them with soap and water, or for the time being it may be taken on a napkin placed on the cupped hands.
* Keep sitting calmly to get Parshad in your turn. If you have been missed, you may request for it.
Anyone receiving Parshad should be watchful and if even a fraction of it falls on the floor, he or she should promptly pick it up and respectfully put aside so that it does not get trampled under the feet, or it be put in the napkin for disposal. It will maintain respect of Parshad and as well, protect carpet.
For all these, see pages in index.
Katha – preaching, mostly of the historical episodes, or of Gurbani. It is additional program in a Gurdwara, but is very common and popular. Katha may be a daily routine at some places, and is usually undertaken in the afternoon. Most of the Ragis, commonly combine Kirtan with some Katha.
It has its great importance in disseminating the Sikh history, so essential to make Sikhs aware of their past and to make them proud of the dignity of their precious heritage.
See pages in index.
2. Dhadi Vaars
Vaar – a ballad. Dhadi – a bard
This singing in a Gurdwara is not a regular feature. A Vaar is an episode from the Sikh history. Bards narrate these in poetry and use traditional instruments Dhad and Sarangi. The Vaar singing has its great value in raising morale and valor.
Dhad is a small, hand-held double-drum narrow at its middle. It is held in one hand and played with the other.
Sarangi is a stringed instrument, held against the left of chest and played with a bow.
Guru Hargobind introduced Dhadi Vaars to his Darbar – court.
It is not a regular feature but is common. Only the non-political talks by the scholars and others may be allowed. Politics is not a right thing in the Gurdwara where audience is almost always mixed. The people of the other faiths will be discouraged to come to the Gurdwara if something not acceptable is said. A neutral environment should always be maintained, and politics can be discussed anywhere else.