Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

3 Sakhi Rahit ki

The mid 1730s has already been suggested as a possible dating for Sakhi Rahit ki. Certainly its attachment to the Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama means that it could have been no later than 1765 . It gives an impression of peaceful times, which are not easily reconciled with the middle years of the eighteenth century.

Contents

Doctrine and devotion

A Sikh should believe and obey none save the Guru, loyally adhering to the Guru's Khalsa and worshipping only in the presence of the Guru's Word. He should read, hear, and repeat the divine Name, for thus is spiritual liberation attained. [2, 18, 21, 22, 27]

The daily discipline

During the last watch of the night, a Sikh should arise and bathe. After cleaning his teeth, he should either read both Japuji and ,lap or recite two stanzas of each from memory. At daybreak, he should proceed to a satsang and after hearing the divine Word he should proceed on his daily business. At midday, having washed his feet and hands, he should again recite both Japuji and Jap. An hour before the close of day, he should recite the Sodar Rahiras liturgy. [15]

Dress and outward appearance

A Sikh must be distinguished by a turban, a fine flowing beard, and an uncut kes. He must never use a razor or remove his beard. [3, 7]

Personal hygiene

A Sikh must never smoke tobacco nor use it as snuff. Using tobacco is as heinous a sin as eating beef. [5, 8]

Illness and need

In times of need summon five Sikhs and feed them. The five Sikhs will then say Ardas4 and the suppliant's wish will be granted. [12]

Sangat

Sikhs should regularly gather together, read the Anand, recite Ardas, and eat together. [10, 15]

Rituals

For a shraddh ceremony, prepare the tastiest of food and summon fellow members of the Khalsa. Read the Anand, recite Ardas, and feed the assembled Sikhs. Perform other unspecified rituals punctiliously, never. entrusting them to Brahmans. [16, 20]

Preparation and consumption of food

Giving food to a fellow Sikh is as meritorious as giving it to the Guru himself. Fellow Sikhs should be served, regardless of their status. [9, 13, 26]

Crimes and misdemeanours

Do not steal. Do not be mean. Do not slander others. [23, 24]

Treatment of women

Never trust a woman. Do not cast lecherous eyes on the women of another man's family. [23]

Attitude towards Hindus

A Sikh should spurn the teachings of Brahmans, Hindu teachers, and Nath masters. He should reject Brahmanical observances. He should never wear a sacred thread, perform head-shaving rituals, recite the Gayatri, make water offerings, worship idols, wear a dhoti, or eat with his head uncovered; and he should never solicit the services of those bare-headed Brahmans. He should never offer prayer at cremation grounds. [2, 7-11, 17-19, 28]

Attitude towards Muslims

A Sikh should spurn the teachings of Muslims. He should never pray at a tomb. [2]

The particular features of Sakhi Rahit ki are as follows:

1. The rahit-nama deals in detail with the daily discipline expected of all Sikhs, a feature which it shares with Prashanuttar. It does not normally distinguish the Khalsa specifically, though the author's views on head-shaving make it clear that the rahit-nama specifically concerns them.

2. This rahit-nama appears to be the first to specify the reciting of Ardas and Guru Amar Das's Anand as a part of Khalsa ritual.

3. It is also the first to mention tobacco. This would still be directed at hookah smoking. Other forms of smoking were not yet current in the Punjab.

4. Evidently the shraddh ceremony was still current among

at least some of the Khalsa. It may have been general in the mideighteenth century.

5. The influence of Hindu conventions is also evident in that the eating of beef is regarded as a particularly heinous practice.

6. Whereas Brahmans are several times targetted Muslims are treated very lightly. The author's feelings concerning Brahmans is at least partly due to the fact that they shaved their heads. In this respect he strongly agrees with Sainapati. In view of his repugnance for Brahmanical ceremonies the retention of the shraddh is interesting.

Excerpts taken from : Sikhs of the Khalsa : History of Khalsa Rahit
W.H.Mcleod Oxford Press 2003
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