Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Glossary of Religious Terms In Alphabetical Order

Click on the alphabets below to go direct to that list
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [R] [S] [T] [W] [Z]

A

Adi Granth
Adi means first, Adi Granth is the first edition of the Guru Granth Sahib as was compiled by Guru Arjun in 1604.
Akal Purukh
It means Timeless One, or The Being Beyond Time and is applied as a name of God.
Akhand Path
An uniterupted continous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is undertaken by a team of readers and takes approximately 48 hours.
Amrit
It means nectar. It is sugar water which is used during the Khalsa initiation ceremony.
Amrit Bani
A term applied to the Sikh Scriptures, meaning the words are as sweet as nectar (amrit).
Amrit Vaila
The early morning hours of dawn. This is considered an auspicious time for meditation and prayer as stressed by Guru Nanak.
Amritdhari
According to Sikh Reht Maryada, any person who is initiated into Khalsa brotherhood is called Amrit Dhari. An Amrit Dhari has to wear five Kakars
Amritsanskar
The rite of initiation into the Khalsa brotherhood.
Anand
A state of bliss which defies description. It is also the name of a composition by Guru Amar Das found on pg. 917 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Anand Karaj
The Sikh wedding ceremony.
Anand Sahib
Composition by Guru Amar Das found on page 917 of the Guru Granth Sahib. Parts of it are used in a number of Sikh ceremonies.
Anbhav Prakash
The enlightened perception of reality which is enjoyed by a person who has become a gurmukh.
Antim Ardas
The last of the Sikh funeral rites.
Artha
Wealth, it is acceptable to acqure wealth, but it should not become an end to itself.
Asa Di Var
A collection of hymns ment to be sung at dawn.
Atma
The soul which is considered immortal.
Ati Akhand Path
Bhai kahan Singh writes at page 5 of Mahan Kesh that Ali Akhand Path in the uninterrupted and continuous reading of Sri guru Granth Sahib by a reader (Pathi).

B

Back To Top

Babur Bani

References to the invasion of India by the Mughal emperor Babur found in the Guru Granth Sahib. God is said to have sent Babur as deaths messanger.
Baisakhi
The celebration which takes place every April 13th. Guru Amardas initiated the annual gathering of Sikhs at Goindwal in 1567. In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa order on this day.
Barhmaha
Compositions about the twelve months. By Guru Arjun in Raga Majh, by Guru Nanak in Raga Tukhari and by Guru Gobind Singh in Krishavtar.
Bani
An abbriviation of Gurbani, applied to any of the writings which appear in the Guru Granth Sahib.
Benati
An appeal for assistance made to Sikhs world wide.

Bhagat

Bhagat means a Saint. In Sikhism, Bhagat generally denotes the devout Sikhs. This ward is also used for those contributors whose bani finds place in Sri guru Granth Sahib. Other than Bani of the Guru's,Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains Bani of the Bhagats without any discrimination. Whatever Bani is incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib it is revered by the Sikhs at equal basis.
Bhagat Bani
Any of the writings which appear in the Guru Granth Sahib which were not written by the Gurus.

Bhai

Bhai literally means brother. In sikhs it is respectfully form of address called for brother. Learned sikhs and pious sikhs are acknowledged with the title of Bhai Sahib. It is used as synonymous to priests, Granthis and other employees working in Gurudwaras. It is also used as an ordinary title for al sikhs as Bhai Sahib.

Bhakti

Bhakti is devotion towards God. It is concentration of mind on the name of God. The main requisite for Bhakti are:- Love and Devotion, self control, truthful living and meditation on the name of God
Bhog
The ceremony marking the conclusion of a Path.
Bole So Nihal
Part of the Sikh salutation meaning "anyone who speaks will be happy."
Buddha Dal
The 'army of veterans' formed by Nawab Kapur Singh in 1733 to look after Sikh holy places, preach and initiate new converts to the Khalsa order.

C

Back To Top
Chandoa
The canopy which is placed over the Guru Granth Sahib.
Chanpada
A poetical composition consisting of four lines in a specified meter.
Charan Pahul
Baptism ceremony involving the drinking of water which the Guru or a member of the Gurus family had dipped their feet in.

Chardi Kala

The inspiring spirit of Sikhs is called Chardi Kala. It affirms the positive and firm belief in the bright side of life and ever rising high spirit.
Chaupai
A four line stanza form used by some of the Gurus.
Chaur(i)
Yak hair or manmade fiber embedded in a metal placed in a wooden handle. It is cerimonially waved over the Guru Granth Sahib as a symbol of respect.
Chela
A disciple of the guru, used in the Guru Granth Sahib to refer to Sikhs.
Chola
Clothing of the Gurus. Also applied to the coverings of the nishan sahib at a gurdwara.

D

Back To Top

Daan

It means an art of giving as charity, alms, offering, reward for religious rite or ritual performance.
The Sikh devotees always pray to God for a trio gift:
1. Naam 2. Daan 3. Ishnan
Naam is remembrance of God's name.
Daan is giving in Charity to the deserving and needy persons.
Ishnan is cleaning of mind and body.

Dal Khalsa
The Khalsa army set up on Baisakhi day 1748 and divided up into 11 misls.
Dasam Granth
The book of writings of Guru Gobind Singh compiled after his death by Bhai Mani Singh and finished in 1734.
Daswandh
Giving of one-tenth of ones income to charity.
Deg Teg
The dual responsibility of the Panth to provide food and protection for the needy and opressed.
Dhadi
One who sings the praises of God.
Dharam Yudh
War in the defence of righteousness.
Dharma
Religion or teaching or lifestyle, as in Sikh Dharma.
Diwali
Indian festival also celebrated by Sikhs. From the time of Guru Amar Das onwards Sikhs annually gathered on this day. In 1577 the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib was also laid on this day.
Diwan
Congregational worship where Guru Granth Sahib is present.
Doha
Verse form used commonly by Guru Nanak and Kabir consisting of stanzas of two rhyming lines.

E

Back To Top

Ek

One; God is one and second is none. Guru Gobind Singh Ji says that the type of ideal society contains neither class nor caste distinction. It is one.

Eka Kavao

One creative principle.

Ekadshi

Eleventh Lunar day, 11th day of Lunar fortnight.

Ekam

First day of Lunar fortnight.

Ekankar or Ekankar or Ek-Onkar

One absolute Being, One universal being. God is one. The one God.

Emanicipation

Emanicipation or Mukti means freedom from bondage, liberation from the cycle of birth and death by seeking unity with God and this may be attained through good deeds and Naam Simran.

F

Back To Top

Falcon

Eagle, Hawk, Baaz.

Farah/ Fani

End of existence, destruction, death.

Faqir

A saint or devotee or a religious minded person who is devoted to meditation. The word is also used for Muslim renunciants.

Farangi

The word is used for a person of European origin.

Farman

Divine order, Royal order.

Fateh

Victory, Salutation

Faujdar

An official who maintains troops for maintenance of law and order.

Forty Immortals
Forty Sikhs who died in the battle of Muktsar in 1762 and blessed by Guru Gobind Singh.

G

Back To Top
Gaddi
The seat or throne of guruship.
Giani
A person of spiritual knowledge.
Granthi
One who performs the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib at religious occassions, it may be a man or women.
Gristhi
Sikh ideal is that of being married, having a family, earning ones living by honest socially useful employment, serving ones fellow human beings and worshipping God.
Gurbani
The writings of the Gurus.
Gurdwara
Name given to a Sikh temple. It means 'Gateway to the Guru'.
Gurmat
A general term for Sikhism, including the teachings of the Gurus, as well as the Rahit Maryada.
Gurmata
A resolution passed in a council presided over by the Guru or the advice of the Guru.
Gurmukh
Someone who has become God oriented and God filled instead of self centred (manmukh).
Gurmukhi
The written form of Punjabi used in the Sikh scriptures, propogated by Guru Nanak and Guru Angad.
Gursikh
Someone who is deeply and sincerely devoted to the service of the Guru.
Gurpurb
The celebration of the anniversary of the birth or death of a Guru. Also applied to the anniversary of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1604 or the deaths of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh.
Gutka
Book containing the daily prayers of the Sikhs.

H

Back To Top
Hankar
Pride, one of the weaknesses.
Hazare Shabad
The common name given to 7 Shabads from the Guru Granth Sahib and 10 from the Dasam Granth.
Haumai
Pride and self centeredness.
Hola Mohalla
Annual spring gathering of Sikhs at Anandpur Sahib for sports contests, music and poetry compositions. The annual celebration was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh in 1680.
Hukam
The ordered will of God.
Hukamnama
Instructions issued by the Gurus, or other people in Sikh authority.

I

Back To Top

Idol Worship

Idol worship means worshipping of images. The sikh Gurus

did not approve such type of worship.

Ik Onkar
It is found at the beginning of the Mul Mantra meaning Their is Only One God.

J

Back To Top
Jalous
Outdoor procession led by the Guru Granth Sahib and five Khalsa Sikhs.
Janam Sakhi
A bibliographic account of the live of Guru Nanak, or other Gurus.
Jap
Devout repetition of the divine name of God, or a scripture.
Japu Sahib
A composition of Guru Gobind Singh read by Sikhs as part of their daily prayers.
Jathedar
The appointed head of one of the five Sikh Takhts.
Jhatka Meat
Meat of an animal which has been killed quickly with one stroke. Guru Gobind Singh dictated that Sikhs can eat jhatka meat of any animal but cannot eat Muslim Halal meat, where the animal has been slowly bled to death.
Jivan Mukti
The Sikh belief that a person may achieve spiritual liberation during their lifetime and not necessarily only on their death.

K

Back To Top
Kachha
Drawers or briefs. One of the five physical symbols that a Khalsa Sikh must wear. It is a symbol of self control.
Kalyug
An age in which righteousness and godliness is forgetten.
Kam
Lust, one of the weaknesses.
Kanga
Comb, one of the five physical symbols that a Khalsa Sikh must wear. It is a symbol of hygiene and discipline.
Kara
Steel bracelet, one of the five physical symbols that a Khalsa Sikh must wear. It is a symbol of restraint and rememberance of God.
Karah Parshad
A standard dish served at religious ceremonies in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and sanctified by prayers. It is a symbol of equality of all members of the congregation.
Karma
The reward or punishment of any action of man is given by Gods order according to merit, God may give it or withhold it.
Kaur
Middle or last name of a Sikh female. Mandatory last name for a Khalsa Sikh female.
Kar Seva
Term used to describe any voluntary work carried out for religious purposes, especially the building of gurdwaras. Also used to refer to the removal of silt from the tank surrounding Harmandir Sahib every 50 years.
Karta Purukh
A name of God, the Creator of all.
Katha
A religious lecture on Sikhism.
Kes
Uncut hair, one of the five physical symbols that a Khalsa Sikh must have. It is a symbol of spirituality.
Kesdhari
A Sikh who does not cut their hair, they may or may not be amritdhari.
Keski
Head covering worn between the turban and hair by some Sikhs. Also worn by some boys before they begin wearing turbans.
Kirpan
Sword, one of the five physical symbols that a Khalsa Sikh must wear. It is a symbol of the Sikh fight against injustice and religious oppression.
Kirtan
Musical rendering of Sikh gurbani.
Kirtan Sohila
Collection of 3 hymns by Guru Nanak, 1 by Guru Ram Das and 1 by Guru Arjun. It is recited as part of Nitnem at bed time and also forms part of the funeral rites.
Krodh
Anger, one of the weaknesses.
Kurahts
The vows of abstinece that one takes on becomming a Khalsa. Not to cut your hair, not to eat muslim halal meat, adultury, intoxicants.

L

Back To Top
Langar
Free community kitchen found in all Sikh Gurdwaras. A cornersone of the Sikh religion and a symbol of equality, it was instituted by Guru Nanak.
Lawan
Circumventing the Guru Granth Sahib during the Sikh marriage ceremony. Also the name of the four stanza composition by Guru Ram Das found on page 773 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Lobh
Greed, one of the weaknesses.

M

Back To Top

Maghi
Sikh festival held annualy on January 14 to celebrate the memory of the marytordom of the Forty Immortals in battle at Muktsar.
Mahala
Used in the Guru Granth Sahib to indicate the author of a composition by the Gurus. Each Guru used the name Nanak, for example Mahala 5 is Guru Arjun, Mahala 3 is Guru Amardas.
Mahant
Corrupt officials who had control of the gurdwaras prior to the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gaining control in 1925.
Manji
The stool or string bed upon which the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on as a symbol of its sovregnity.
Mala
A wool cord with knots used as an aid to prayer or meditation.
Manmukh
A person who is self-centered and has forgotten God, the opposite of a Gurmukh.
Matta tekna
Bowing down and touching the floor with your forehead in front of the Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect to the Living Guru.
Maya
The dillusion of being wrapped up in the material world and attached to it.
Mela
Any Sikh religious festival other than the birth or death of a Guru.
Miri & Piri
The concept of spiritual and worldly matters. Sikhs are expected to maintain the balance between the two, this idea was introduced by Guru Hargobind and represented by two swords.
Misl
A f ighting unit of the Sikh armies of the eighteenth century.
Mukti
Spiritual liberation from the cycles of birth and death.
Mul Mantra
It is the opening lines of the Japji by Guru Nanak and the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is considered the cornerstone of Sikhism. "God is one. His name is True. He is the Creator. His is without fear. He is inimical to none. His existance is unlimited by time. He is beyond the cycles of birth and death, self existent and can be realized through the grace of the Guru."
Mundavani
The word means seal and refers to the concluding poem by Guru Arjun in the Guru Granth Sahib which describes the spiritual qualites of reading and following the Guru Granth Sahib.

N

Back To Top
Nagara
A kettledrum found in some gurdwaras and introduced by Guru Hargobind to be beaten when langer was ready. It is also a symbol of royal authority.
Nam
Name, name of God. Sikhism places emphasis on the rememberance of God through meditation on Gods name.
Nam Japna, Kirt Karna, Vand Chakna
Meditation on Gods name, honest work and giving to charity. Three fundamental requirements for Sikhs.
Nam Simran
The rememberance of God through meditation.
Nanak Panthi
A follower of Guru Nanak.
Nihang
An order of Sikhs who follow the soldier lifestyle of the time of Guru Gobind Singh. They wear blue robes and reject household comforts.
Nirankar
A name of God meaning the one who has no physical form.
Nirguna
Applied to God meaning one without form or material attributes. God is considered beyond human knowledge and comprehension.
Nitnem
The daily prayers that Sikhs are expected to read. Nitnem consists of reading Japji of Guru Nanak, Jap and Ten Swayyas of Guru Gobind Singh in the morning; Rahiras, a collection of nine hymns by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das and Guru Arjun at sunset and Kirtan Sohila, five hymns by the same three Gurus at bedtime

O

Onkar
God as the Primal Being. Also refers to a compositon of Guru Nanak which appears of page 929 of the Guru Granth Sahib.

P

Back To Top
Pada
Division of a hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib, it varies in length from one to four verses.
Palki
The wooden, golden or marble palaquin in which the Guru Granth Sahib is ceremonially installed.
Panj Kakke
The five physical symbols which must be worn at all times by Khalsa Sikhs; kachha (briefs), kangha (comb), kara (steel bracelet), kes (unshorn hair) and kirpan (ceremonial sword).
Panj Piaras
The five beloved ones, referring to the first five Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa order by Guru Gobind Singh. Five Khalsa Sikhs are required for initiation of a new member.
Panth
The entire Sikh community.
Parkarma
The walkway around the sarovar (pool) found at many gurdwaras.
Patit
A Khalsa Sikh who has failed to live upto the vows of the Khalsa order.
Prakash Karna
The early morning ceremony when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally opened and the days worship begins.
Path
A reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Paudi
A stanza of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Pauri
Verses in the Guru Granth Sahib, their length and metre are both variable.
Phera
Circling of the Guru Granth Sahib during the wedding ceremony.
Pothi
A book or volume of religious hymns.

Principles of Sikhism

It has a prescribed code of conduct such as:

Kirt Karna - to earn livelihood with honest means and become independent from necessities of life.

Wand Chhakra - to share the earnings with others who have less.

Name Japna (Meditation) - remembering the name of God with concentration.

R

Back To Top
Rag
A tune or the series of five or more notes upon which it is based.
Rag Mala
The last composition in the Guru Granth Sahib. It is a listing of 84 rags used in Indian music in the early seventeenth century.
Ragi
A musician who sings the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib in gurdwaras.
Rahiras
A collection of 9 hymns, 4 by Guru Nanak, 3 by Guru Ram Das and 2 by Guru Arjun which are read at sunset as part of Nitnem.
Reht Maryada
The Sikh Code of Conduct concieved by the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Rahit Nama
A manual of conduct for Khalsa Sikhs. There are a number of them by various Sikhs dating back to the eighteenth century.
Raj Karega Khalsa
The battle cry of the Sikhs during the rule of Banda Singh Bahadur meaning "The Khalsa shall rule". It is the concluding line of the daily prayer Ardas.
Rumala
The cloth which is used ceremonially to cover the Guru Granth Sahib.

S

Back To Top
Sach Khand
The realm of truth, the final stage of spiritual ascent where the believer becomes one with God.
Sadh Sangat
The Sikh congregation or community.
Sahibzadas
The four sons of Guru Gobind Singh who all died as marytrs to the Sikh faith. Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh.
Sahaj
The state of spiritual peace resulting from the attainment of union with God.
Sahaj Path
A non continuos reading of the entire Guru Granth Sahib over any period of time.
Sahib
Term of respect used for the Sikh Holy Book as well as applied to historical gurdwaras.
Sakhi
Story about a Guru.
Sangat
Holy congregation.
Sangrand
The first day of the month according to the indian calander. The reading of the relevant portion of the composition Barhmaha by Guru Nanak or Guru Arjun Dev relating to each month is read out.
Sant
A holy person or saint.
Sarbat Khalsa
A representative meeting of all the Sikhs to consider important matters related to the panth.
Saropa
A gift of honour presented by the Sikh community. Usually a length of cloth for tying a turban or a scarf worn over the shoulders.
Sarovar
The pool for bathing found at many gurdwaras.
Sat Guru
The supreme Guru, God.
Sat Sri Akal
The Sikh greeting meaning "Immortal God is Truth".
Satyug
An era in which Truth prevails, the opposite of Kalyug.
Seli
A woolen cord worn by Guru Nanak around his turban. It was worn as a symbol of living in the world but not in worldly matters. It was passed on to each successive Guru upto Guru Hargobind who chose to wear the symbol of two swords of meri & peri instead.
Seva
Service to ones fellow beings, a cornerstone of Sikhism.
Seva Panthi
A Sikh whose life is devoted to the service of the Sikh community.
Shabad
The religious hymns contained in Sikh scriptures.
Shaheed
Title used before the name of someone who has died for the Sikh faith as a martyr.
Shlok
Couplet found in the Guru Granth Sahib.
Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.)
Committee which overseas the administration of many Gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh as well as involved in publication and education related to Sikhism.
Sikhi
Sikh teachings.
Sikhia
Advice given to the couple during the Sikh marriage ceremony.
Singh
Lion, the common last or middle name of male Sikhs. It is a compulsory last name for male Khalsa Sikhs.
Sodar
A composition of Guru Nanaks which is read by Sikhs at sunset as part of Rahiras.
Sukh Asan
The ceremony that takes place at the end of the day when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally closed for the night.
Sukhmani Sahib
A major composition of Guru Arjun found on page 262 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Swayya
A group of hymns composed by Guru Gobind Singh and found in the Dasam Granth.

T

Back To Top
Takht
A seat of Sikh authority, there are five gurdwaras which are designated as takhts.
Thambh Sahib
A pole or tower associated with a Guru.
Tankhaiya
A person who has committed a religious offence meriting punishment.
Turban
It is called Dastar (Pugree) in Sikhism. It is an inseparable part of Sikh dress and is mandatory for a Sikh to tie turban according to Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikh 'Code of Conduct'.

W

Waheguru
Wonderful Lord

Z

Back To Top
Zafarnama
The Letter of Victory written by Guru Gobind Singh
WorldGurudwaras.com
Worldgurudwaras.com will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
SearchGurbani.com
SearchGurbani.com brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas . You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.
TheSikhEncyclopedia.com
Encyclopedias encapsulate accurate information in a given area of knowledge and have indispensable in an age which the volume and rapidity of social change are making inaccessible much that outside one's immediate domain of concentration.At the time when Sikhism is attracting world wide notice, an online reference work embracing all essential facets of this vibrant faithis a singular contribution to the world of knowledge.
TheSikhEncyclopedia.com