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Sikh Rehat Maryada

Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama p3

Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama-3

Social Behaviour Within the Panth

Relationships with other Sikhs

A Gursikh should regard all fellow Sikhs as members of the Guru’s family and thus as his own relatives. He should serve all Sikhs with love and affection and never cause grief or distress to any of them. He should never look with evil intent on any of them, never betray their trust, and never obstruct their legitimate activity. The first-fruits of each harvest should be eaten by another Sikh. [22, 39, 59, 72-3, 76, 78-9, 94, 319, 446, 469, 484, 531]

Courtesy in speech and behaviour

A Gursikh should never criticize another Sikh nor quarrel with him. He must not abuse him, ridicule him, speak sarcastically to him, or address obscenities to him. Descendants of the Gurus should be treated with particular respect. Never insult another Sikh by making rude gestures, pulling his turban, knocking off his turban, pulling the hair of his kes, or grasping his beard. Do not be discourteous to poor Sikhs. A Gursikh should not keep a poor Sikh waiting while he finishes his meal. Do not address another Sikh by only half his name. Always attend a fellow Sikh’s funeral if possible. When drawing water from a well, always serve it to any Sikh who requests a drink. Never refuse an invitation thrice to dine with another Sikh, and never awaken a sleeping Sikh by kicking him. [18, 57, 107, 304, 309-15, 358, 408, 412-13, 415, 417, 447, 454, 495, 514, 530]

Assistance in times of need

Gursikhs should help fellow Sikhs who are in need. Assistance should always be given to a Sikh who requests in the Guru’s name. They should warn a fellow Sikh if they perceive that his business affairs are at risk and should assist him when he is afflicted by financial need. Shelter should always be given to a Sikh traveller who is in need. Always aid a wounded, disabled, or exhausted Sikh on the battlefield. [25-7, 135-6, 357, 418, 421, 486, 515]


A Gursikh must share his food with other Sikhs. Whenever he eats he should invite another Sikh to join him. Any Sikh who visits his house must be fed as generously as circumstances permit. A Gursikh should not eat good food himself while serving inferior food to another Sikh. Poor Sikhs should be invited .to dine, not merely those who are regarded as respectable. A Gursikh should not take possession of a bed if it means that other Sikhs must sleep on the floor. If a visiting Sikh wishes to wash his hair he should be supplied with whey if any is. available. The clothes of a poor Sikh staying in the house should be washed. [2, 63, 111, 316, 352, 354-5, 358, 391, 393, 404, 423]
Business dealings

Gursikhs should have business dealings only with other Sikhs. Honest Sikhs should be permitted to conduct their business without interference. If two Sikhs are involved in a business dispute they must effect a reconciliation by nightfall. A Sikh who has suffered a loss in trading should not be required to repay outstanding debts in full. A Gursikh should never take a bribe. Never dismiss a Sikh servant and then employ a non-Sikh in his place. Always pay a Sikh servant the wages that are his due. [17, 55, 444-5, 456, 459, 464, 481]

Treatment of women

A Gursikh should never trust a woman, neither his own-nor another’s. Never entrust a secret to them. Regard them as the embodiment of deceit. Never keep company with women belonging to another man’s family. Never touch the feet of any woman other than one’s own mother. Never eat food left by a woman. Never curse a respectable woman nor use weapons against any of them. [100, 192, 341, 342-3, 443]

Disputes between Sikhs

No Sikh should assault another Sikh, nor should he provoke disagreement between Sikhs. Any Sikh who deliberately has another Sikh imprisoned, plundered, or killed should be completely ostracized. He who kills another Sikh will go to hell. If two Sikhs are fighting, they must immediately desist when so commanded by another Sikh. Disputes between Sikhs must be settled within the Panth. They should not be taken to a magistrate unless the magistrate is a Sikh. [79, 319, 350, 459-60, 462, 470, 532]

Tanakhahs specified

In the case of the Chaupa Singh Rahit ndmd these are too numerous to mention. See items 286-549 in the translation of the Chaupa Singh Rahit-nama.

The Sangat

The satsang

A Gursikh should regularly join with other Sikhs to hear the sacred scriptures sung and expounded. Four blessings are conferred when Sikhs gather. The scriptures are read and sung; the deeper issues of the Sikh faith are explored; a better understanding of the Rahit is acquired; and each Sikh is encouraged to give alms according to his means. A Gursikh may participate only in a Sikh satsang. In it one may only read passages from Sikh scripture and sing Sikh kirtan. All must sit in lines without reference to status. The only exceptions are descendants of the_ Gurus’` and those who are leading the singing. They should be given seats at the front of the gathering. Every Gursikh should learn humility by placing in rows the shoes of those attending a satsang. Women may meet in a separate satsang. Do not dispute the verdict or consensus of a satsang. [96-8, 117-18, 123, 277, 289, 302, 345, 480, 539]

The dharamsala

Every village or locality with Gursikh homes should maintain a dharamsala dedicated to the Guru, where the sangat should regularly gather. This building should include facilities for Sikhs who may need a place to stay. There must be free access to it. No Sikh should be prevented from entering. A Sikh of the village must visit it regularly, taking an offering and bowing his forehead to the ground. If a Sikh passes a dharamsala while the scriptures are being read or kirtan sung he should enter and bow his forehead to the ground. He should not talk during kirtan, the reading of scripture, or a religious discourse. Rahiras should be sung in dharamsalas each evening at dusk. At its conclusion the officiating Sikh should address those assembled there with the cry Vdhi guru ji ki fate[h] (‘Hail the Guru’s victory!’). Every Sikhni should daily contribute a handful of flour to the dhararnsala kitchen. [1, 3, 133, 144, 388, 416, 494, 498, 501, 529, 561]

The dharamsalia

The person placed in charge of a dharamsala (the dharamsalia) should possess all virtues and be a careful observer of the Rahit. The conduct of divine worship and rituals is his duty. He should instruct the Sikh boys of his locality in the contents of the Granth Sahib, teaching them its hymns and how to sing kirtan. The Sikhs of each locality should support their dharamsalia. He should receive a portion of the offerings made in the dharamsala,though not from descendants of the Gunls. A dharamsalia should remain celibate and should never steal. [32-3, 69-72)

The Granth Sahib

Preparation and care of the sacred volume

Any Gursikh who is able to copy the Granth Sahib should prepare a volume and present it to his sangat. He should ask nothing for this service, but may accept anything which is offered. The sacred volume must never be kept in a demeaning place. It must always be given a place of honour. A lectern, wrapping-cloth, and whisk should be provided. When in the presence of the Granth Sahib never turn your back on it. [16, 64, 68, 383, 434, 493]

Reading the Granth Sahib

The Granth Sahib is to be revered as the Guru. Every Gursikh should regularly read or hear it and meditate on its meaning. Before touching the sacred volume a Gursikh must wash his hands. Before reading it he must bathe, or at least wash both hands and feet and rinse his mouth. While reading it he must never sit on a stool or string-bed which is higher than the sacred
volume itself, and he should not rest his forehead on his hand. Do not interrupt a Sikh who is reading or expounding the Granth Sahib. Respectfully announce when a reading is complete and touch the floor with your forehead. Do not use a piece of straw as a book-mark, and do not read the Granth Sahib when naked. If a copy of the Granth Sahib is kept in a private house it must be regularly read by the owner of the house or by someone else appointed for the purpose. A woman should not read the Granth Sahib in any Sikh assembly. [126, 131, 138-9, 339, 435, 437, 450, 467, 483, 492, 508-9, 538]

Complete readings

When a Gursikh concludes a reading of the Granth Sahib he should read the scribe’s ink formula, repeat,japuji, and end the entire reading with its terminal shalok. The complete Granth’ Sahib should be read following the death of a Sikh. This should
be spread over as many days as his family can afford to provide
hospitality for mourners. 14 [45, 141]


Post Natal

The newborn son of Gursikh should not be publicly displayed until he has been given an initiatory drink of water which has been sweetened with raw sugar and touched by the feet of five Sikhs. If the child is to be brought up a Kes-dhari his hair should be left uncut from birth. He should be given a name from the Granth Sahib and after the ceremony he should be bathed in whey.15 [60-1]


Marriage should be in accordance with caste and lineage prescriptions. A marriage should be performed at the house of the bride’s father, to which the bridegroom should be escorted by a marriage-party. A Gursikh should not demand a bride-price. A Kes-dhari’s son may be married to the daughter of a father with cut hair (mona) if she receives foot-wash initiation (charanan di pahul). He should not marry his daughter to a Sahaj-dhari Sikh unless the prospective bridegroom undergoes initiation. This is performed with sweetened water that has been used to wash a Granth Sahib lectern. Five stanzas of Japuji and five of Anand are recited and the couple then drink the water. If the bridegroom has previously worn a sacred thread he may continue to do so during the wedding ceremony, but he should subsequently remove it. [11, 13-16, 21, 503]


A Gursikh should receive initiation (pahul) before his hair has grown to its full length. It is a father’s duty to have his son initiated. 16 The procedure for conducting an initiation ritual is set out in detail (see pp. 196-8). He who accepts initiation is required to keep his kes uncut. Any Sikh who administers initiation must be devout, wise, and scrupulous in his observance of the Rahit. He should not be one-eyed, bald, lame, or a leper, nor should he be a beardless person. Sword baptism (hhande di pahul) should not be administered to a woman. [88, 90-1, 122, 178-83, 375, 506]


The head of a deceased Gursikh must not be shaved, not even that of a Sahaj-dhari. Kirtan should be sung and charitable offerings distributed. There should be no public lamentation. Karah prasad is distributed after the corpse has been washed. Katha and kirtan should continue for as many days as the family of the deceased can afford. The mourners should all be Sikhs. Spread a complete reading of the Granth Sahib over this period. After the funeral the ashes of the deceased should be deposited in the Ganga. On the anniversary of a father’s death hold a shraddh ceremony. [45-6]

Karah prasad

The preparation of karah prasad must not be entrusted to anyone who cuts his hair or smokes a hookah, nor to any other transgressor of the Rahit. Before it is prepared the cookingsquare must be freshly smeared and clean clothes put on. Anand should be recited before commencing the preparation. Karah prasad should not be weighed after it has been prepared. Before it is distributed, recite Ardas. Karah prasad should be
distributed to all without favouritism or discrimination. A Gursikh should never set aside his own portion before serving others. [288, 290, 294, 296, 305, 376-7, 430-3, 440]

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


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