Sikh Missionary Society
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A Glossary of Sikh Terms

Dictionary of Sikh TermsAad Granth : Aad means "without end",  Aad Granth was the name given by Guru Arjun Dev ji to the Granth compiled by him in 1604 (CE) It comprised of the compositions of his own and the predecessor Gurus as also other men-of-god. 

Ahankar :  Hankar. I-am-ness; egohood; Haumai. 

Akal : Beyond the limits and influence of time; beyond death; immortal.

Akal Purkh :  It means One Who is beyond the limits and influence of time. It is used as a name for God (Waheguru).

Akhand Path :  An uninterrupted, continuous recitation of the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib performed by a team of readers called the Pathis. It takes approximately 72 hours. There should be no special sanctity attached to performance of Akhand Path vis-a-vis Sahaj Path.

Amrit :  The nectar; the drink of immortality. It refer to the sanctified water used in the Sikh Initiation ceremony. It is prepared by stirring it in an iron bowl with the double-edged sword and continuous recitation of five bani’s by the five selected members of the Khalsa. 

Amrit Bani :

  1. A term applied to the Sikh Scriptures, meaning the words that are as sweet and immortalizing as nectar (Amrit).
  2. One of the five banis recited for the preparation of Amrit during the Sikh Initiation Ceremony.
Amrit Chhakna : Literally, to taste the Amrit ; to take the sikh baptism of the double-edged sword (i.e. Khande Bate da Amrit). After this the initiate is keep observe the Rehat Maryada. Any five Singhs can initiate, in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, the others to the order of the Khalsa 

Amrit Vela (Ambrosial Hour) : The ambrosial time, the morning hours before dawn. This is considered the most suited time for meditating on Naam.

Amritdhari :  A Sikh who has partaken Amrit and thus has been formally initiated into the Khalsa Panth. See Sehajdhari.

Amrit Sanchar :  The initiation of a person or persons into the Khalsa Panth. A Sikh when initiated becomes Khalsa. This is done by the Panj Piaré (the five beloved ones, i.e. the five Singhs chosen for the purpose), in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

Anand :

  1. A state of bliss which is beyond description.
  2. The name of a composition (Anand Sahib)  by Guru Amar Das ji, the third Nanak.
Anand Karaj :  The Sikh wedding ceremony. This ceremony takes place in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. The couple to be married present themselves before Sri Guru Granth Sahib and in the presence of the congregation (Sangat.)take four rounds ( Lavan ) around Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji to the accompaniment of the singing of the four stanzas(know as Lavan), composed by Sri Guru

Anand Sahib : A long composition by Sri Guru Amar Das ji, the third Guru Nanak contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji from page to. It is comprised of 40 stanzas. Six stanzas (the first five and last one)of this bani are recited before the congregation .

Anbhav Prakash : The experience of the existence and presence of God, when one is at the wish divine feelings. The enlightened perception of reality which is enjoyed by a person who has become a Gurmukh.

Antim Ardas: The prayer performed as the last of the funeral rites of the Sikhs.

Artha : Literally means Wealth. A Sikh may acquire wealth by honest means, but the acquisition of wealth should not become  the sole purpose of his life.

Asa Ki Var :   Bani which is sung at dawn. It is sung in a special way ( Us Raja Dhun).

Atma :  It is the principle of life, feeling, thought and action in man, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body. It is spiritual part of man which is immortal. The inner man or one’s spiritual being, the soul. The atma is a part of Parmatma (God) and is considered immortal like him.

Avtar :  Literally ‘Descent’. According to Hinduism, an incarnation of a deity, usually of the Hindu God Vishnu. According to Sikh philosophy, God is sans birth and sans death. He is neither born nor dies. Therefore, Sikhism does not recognize the avtarvad.

Babar Vani :  (That is the utterances concerning Babar) comprises some verses of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, recorded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (0n pages 360,417-18,722-23) in which the Guru refers to the invasion of India by the Moghul emperor Babar. In the eyes of Guru Nanak, Babar’s army was a marriage party of the sin (Pap Ki Janj). During thios invasion, not even the ladies and the nobles were spared dishonour. For the first time, in the history of Indian Literature, Guru Nanak rises, in these verses, the word Hindustan (India).

An eye witness to the atrocities suffered by the people, Guru Nanak was so much pained that he poured out:

Death disguised as the Moghul invaded us,
There was slaughter and lamentation all around;
Did thou, O Lord, not feel the pain?
Guru Nanak himself had to undergo imprisonment for his voicing protest against Babar.

Baisakhi : Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is celebrated every year on April 13th. Guru Amardas had initiated the annual gathering of the Sikhs at Goindwal in 1567 on the occasion of Baisakhi. Guru Gobind Singh ji founded the Khalsa order on the Baisakhi day in 1699 (the 29th march of 1699). 

Barahmaha : A twelve month; Compositions about the twelve months of a year by Guru Arjan dev ji in Raga Majh, by Guru Nanak in Raga Tukhari.

Bani : This word is applied to the utterances and writings of the Gurus and the Bhagats which recorded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is thus, an abbreviated form of Gurbani or Bhagat Bani 

Benati :  An humble prayer or earnest entreaty; an appeal for assistance; a supplication.

Bhagat Bani : The compositions of the Bhagats  included by Sri Guru Arjun Dev, in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. 

Bhog :  Conclusion of the reading of Guru Granth Sahib, generally followed by recitation of Gurbani and always followed by the ardas. The conclusion of a Sikh congregation.

Bole So Nihal : The first Part of the Sikh war-cry meaning "anyone who speaks will be happy." The second part of this war-cry is ‘Sat-Sri- Akal’.

Buddha Dal:  The 'army of the veterans' formed by Nawab Kapur Singh in 1733 to look after the Sikh holy places, to preach Sikh tenets and to initiate new converts to the Khalsa  order.

Chandoa:  The canopy which is hung above Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Chaupada : A poetical composition consisting of four stanzas.

Charan Pahul : Baptism ceremony involving the drinking of water which the Guru had dipped their feet in. This was carried out earlier till Sri Guru Gobind singh ji changed it into “Khande Bate Da Amrit”.

Chaupai : A four line stanza form used by some of the Gurus.

Chaur :  Yak hair or Man-made fiber embedded in a metal placed in a wooden handle. It is ceremonially waved over Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as a symbol of respect.

Chela : A disciple of the guru.

Chola : Clothing of the Guru Sahiban. Also applied to the coverings of the Nishan Sahib at a Gurudwara and the dress of the Nihangs.

Daswandh :  The giving of one-tenth of one’s income in charity.

Dhadi : A minstrel. The traditional singer  who used to sing in the praise of the Sikh Guru and recount the heroic deeds of the Sikhs.

Dharam Yudh : A holy struggle (or war) undertaken as a sacred duty in the defense of righteousness, or the cause of  religion or a way of life.

Diwali :  The Hindu festival lights. It is also celebrated by the majority of Sikhs. From the time of Guru Amar Das the Sikhs gathered every year on this day. 

Diwan :  Congregational worship where Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji  is also present.

Doha :  A verse form used commonly by Guru Nanak Dev ji and Bhagat Kabir ji. It  consists of stanzas of two rhyming lines.

Five Vices (Panj dokh) :  Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (attachment) and Hankar (pride).

Forty Immortals ( Chalih Mukte) :  Forty Sikhs who died in the battle of Muktsar in 1762 and were blessed by Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji.

Gaddi :  The seat or throne of guruship.

Gatka: The Sikh martial art.

Giani :  One who possesses knowledge (gaini). A person of spiritual knowledge. A university degree in Panjabi Language; also the person who has attained this degree.

Granthi: A professional reader of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. It may be a man or women, but has to be an Amritdhari. The functionary incharge of a gurudwara.

Grihasth : The Sikh ideal that requires that one should lead a married life. Have a family, earn ones living by honest socially useful employment, serve ones fellow human beings and worship the one wonderful God (Waheguru).

Grihasthi : One who follows the Sikh ideal of Grihasth.

Gurbani : The writings of the Sikh Guru recorded in Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru :  (Skt. Venerable, weighty) A preceptor, giving religious instructions, a spiritual guide. Guru is  an epithet used for the founder of Sikhism, Sri Guru Nanak Dev, and his nine successors. In Sikh scriptures and literature, ‘the word Guru’ does not always refer to a human being. According to the context, it is also used for God, the Guru’s word, the Holy Granth Sahib and the Panth.

Gurdwara :  Literally, the religious place of the Sikhs. Which generally is also the center of the social activity. It means ‘the Gateway to the Guru’.

Gurmat :  A general term for Sikhism, including the teachings of the Gurus, as well as the Rehat Maryada. The Sikh code of conduct.

Gurmatta :  A resolution passed in a council presided over by the Guru or the advice of the Guru.

Gurmukh :  The person who keeps the Guru before self and every thing else and thereby he becomes God-oriented and God-filled. It is opposite of manmukh.

Gurmukhi : The script in which Punjabi language is written. This is the script used in the Sikh scriptures. It was propagated by Guru Nanak and Guru Angad

Gursikh :  Someone who is deeply and sincerely devoted to and follows the teachings of the Guru; a true Sikh or follower of the Guru.

Gurpurb :  The celebration of the anniversary of the birth (Parkash) or death (Jyoti Jot samana) of a Guru. And also the anniversary of the installation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 1604 and the death anniversaries of the sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Granth Sahib :  The eternal (word) Guru of the  Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the Guruship on Sri Guru Granth Sahib and thus stopped the practice of the human gurus in Sikhism. 

Gutka :  A small book containing the daily prayers of the Sikhs. It may contain only one prayer, all the five daily prayers and also some additional bani’s from Guru Granth Sahib.

Hankar :  Pride, it is one of the five weaknesses of human beings. (see Panj vikar)

Haumai :  The sense of selfhood, I-am–ness; egohood; self consciousness or the sense of individuality in man. It is sense of self as filled against the universal soul. It is the tendency of isolating the human soul that leads it to regard as independent of the universal soul. When haumai is effaced, the soul merges into the oversoul. This sense of I-am-ness is the wall or pall of falsehood which is the malady which puts impediments in the path of development of the human soul. It is main cause of separation of human soul from its creator. Guru Amar Das says “The wife and the husband live together at the same place but between them there stands the strong wall of  I-ness” Matar.

Hola Mohalla :  Annual spring gathering of the Sikhs at Anandpur Sahib for contests, in sports and Sikh martial art, and warfare. This annual celebration was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh in 1680 as a substitute for the holi festival of the Hindus.

Hukam :  The ordered will of God

Hukamnamah :  A decree issued by the Gurus or the Sikh religio-social authorities concerning the Sikh community. (Also see Gurmatta)

Ik Oankar : The first word in Guru Granth Sahib, and the first word of the Mul Mantra meaning Their is Only One God.

Jaap Sahib:  A composition of Guru Gobind Singh. It is read by Sikhs as part of their daily morning prayers.

Janam Sakhi :  A bibliographic account of the live of Guru Nanak, or other Gurus

Japji Sahib : Bani written by Guru Nanak Dev ji which forms part of daily prayer in the morning .

Jathedar :  The leader of a jatha group of Sikhs; a leader organizer of the Shiromani  Akali Dal, wrongly applied to the appointed head of one of the five Sikh Takhts.

Jhatka : See, Jhatka Meat.

Jhatka Meat :  Meat of an animal which has been killed quickly with one stroke. Guru Gobind Singh dictated that Sikhs cannot eat Muslim Halal (Kuttha) meat, where the animal has been slowly bled to death or has been sacrificed  according to a religious ceremony.

Jivan Mukti :  The Sikh belief that a person may achieve spiritual liberation (unity with God) during their lifetime and not necessarily only on their death.

Kachha (Kachhera) : Special kind of knee-long underwear. One of the five kakaars that an Amritdhari Sikh must wear. It is a symbol of self control. 

Kakaar : The five articles of faith, the name of which begin with the Gurmukhi letter (kakkar) which resembles in sound to the Roman letter ‘K’. Also called that an Amritdhari Sikh must wear. These are Kesh(the uncut hair), Kirpan(the sword), Kara (the steel bangle), Kangha (the comb) and Kachhera (knee-length breeches). (Also see Panj Kakaars).

Kalyug : An age in which righteousness and godliness is forgotten; the iron age.

Kam : Lust, one of the five weaknesses. (See five vices)

Kangha :  The wooden comb, one of the five kakaars that every member of the Khalsa must wear. It represents hygiene and discipline.

Kara :  Iron bracelet, one of the five kakaars that every member of the Khalsa must wear. It is a symbol of restraint and remembrance of God.

Karah Parshad A standard sweet pudding like dish served at the conclusion of the religious congregations held in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. It is as sacramental food given in equal measure to all the members of the congregation.

Karma: Action, and also the reward or punishment of any action done by man which is given by God’s order according to merit of the action, God may give it or withhold it.

Kaur: The mandatory last name for a Khalsa / Sikh female

Kar Seva:  The term is used to describe any voluntary work carried out for religious purposes

Karta Purakh:  The Creator of  the universe. Who himself pervades its creation, a name of God (Waheguru).

Katha: An detailed expression of Gurbani as enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib or the writing of Bhai Gurdas or one of the major books of Sikh history.

Kesh: The uncut hair, one of the five kakaars that every member of the Khalsa must have. It is a symbol of spirituality.
Kesdhari : The Sikh who do not cut hair, may or may not be amritdharis.
Keski : A short turban, worn between the turban and the hair by some of the Sikhs. It is also worn by some Amritdhari Sikh females.
Khalsa: Literally: "The personal property of a King". Khalsa is the name Guru Gobind Singh gave to the Sikhs after having administered Khande ki Pahul (Amrit) for the first time at Baisakhi day, the 29th March 1699.
Khande Ki Pahul : The ceremony introduced by Guru Gobind Singh in place of Charanpahul. In it a double-edged sword is used for preparing Amrit to be dispensed to the person to be baptized.

Kirpan (Sword): One of the five kakaars that every member of the Khalsa must wear. It is a symbol of fight against injustice and religious oppression.

Kirtan:  Musical rendering of Gurbani, preferrably according to the Raag indicated there on, it is never to be sung to the tunes of film melodies or pop songs.

Kirtan Darbar : An elaborate performance of Kirtan by different Kirtani Jatha’s.

Kirtani Jatha’s : A group of professional and musicians and singers who sing hymns from the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs.

Kirtan Sohila : See Sohila.

Krodh Anger, one of the five weaknesses. 

Kurahits: The 4 cardinal sins for the Sikhs. These are: Cutting, trimming, shaving or removing hairs from one’s body, using tobacco or any other intoxicant in any form; eating kuttha meat, and committing adultery.
Kuttha : Muslim Halal or the Jewish Kosher meat, obtaining by slowly bleeding the animal to death or the meat that has been sacrificed  according to some religious ceremony.

Langar (Community Kitchen) : It is the charitable distribution of food. It was introduced by Guru Nanak Dev and every Sikh is expected to contribute towards it.

Maghi:  Sikh festival held every year on 14th January to celebrate the memory of the martyrdom of the Forty Immortals who died fighting in the in battle at Muktsar.

Mahla:  Pronounced as Maihla. Each of the six Gurus whose compositions have been included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib has used the word ‘Nanak’ as his pen name. The word Mahla has been used to specify the author of the composition following it. Thus, Mahla 1 stands for Guru Nanak Dev, Mahla 2 indicates Guru Angad Dev and Mahla 3 means Guru Amar Das.

Mahant: The corrupt officials who had control of the gurudwaras prior to the establishment of  Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1925. the Sikhs had to launch a long struggle against them during Gurdwara Sadhar Lahir to free the Gurdwaras from under their control.

Manji Sahib:  The  small cot or bed upon which Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is  placed as a symbol of its sovereignty. Even some of the Gurdwaras have been named as Manji Sahib.

Manmukh A person who is under the influence of ego, keeps his self or his own mana(mind) before him in relation to all other things including the Guru. He is therefore, self willed and self-centered person and has forgotten God, the opposite of a Gurmukh.

Mattha Tekna Bowing down and touching the floor with one’s forehead in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as a sign of reverence and veneration.

Maya:  The illusion of the reality of sensory expressions and the feeling of being wrapped up in the material world and being attached to it

Mela:  Any Sikh religious festival other than the celebration of the birth or the death anniversary of the Guru Sahiban.

Miri and Piri: The concept of spiritual and worldly sovereignty. Sikhs are expected to maintain the balance between the two. This idea was announced by Guru Hargobind Sahib, when at the time of his ascension to the Gur-Gaddi, he wore two swords symbolizing Miri and Piri.

Misal:  A combination of Sikh leaders in the eighteenh century for the purpose of defence and for the occupation of territories. A group of Sikhs headed by Jathedar in the eighteenth century. There were 12 Misals, each headed by a Jathedar. They were often fighting with each other. Maharaja Ranjit Singh united all  the Misals.

Moh:  Attachment, one of the five weaknesses.

Mukti:  Spiritual liberation from the cycles of birth and death.

Mul Mantra:   The opening lines 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 existence 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." The Mul Mantra appears over times in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, sometimes in an abbreviated form.

Mundavani:  The word means seal and refers to the conclusion in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji  and  describes the spiritual qualities of reading and following Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. 

Nagar Kirtan: Outdoor procession led by Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and five Amritdhari Sikhs usually prior to the celebration of a Gurpurab.

Nagara A Kettle drum found in some gurudwaras. It was introduced by Sri Guru Hargobind ji to be beaten when langar was ready. It is a symbol of royal authority.

Nam:  Name of God. Sikhism places emphasis on the rememberance of God through meditation on God’s name.

Nam Japna, Kirt Karna, Vand Chakna: Meditation on God’s name, honest hard work and sharing one’s earnings with others. These are the three fundamental requirements which a Sikh householder is expected to observe. Guru Nanak says- those who earn their livelihood through work, and give away a part of it to the charity. Such ones, Nanak know the ways to God. (See Langar).

Nam Japna : Practice of living in the presence of God.

Nam Simran:  The rememberance of God through meditation.

Nihang: Literally means an alligator who is supreme in the waters. It is an order of the Sikhs who follow the lifestyle of the Sikh soldiers of time of Guru Gobind Singh ji. They wear blue robes and practice martial arts.

Nirankar:  A name of God meaning the one who has no physical form.

Nirgun: Applied to God meaning one without form or material attributes. 
Nitnem: Literally, the daily routine; The daily prayers that a Sikh is expected to read. Nitnem consists of reading Japji Sahib of Guru Nanak Dev ji, Jaap and Ten Swayyas of Guru Gobind Singh ji in the morning; Rehras, a collection of nine hymns by Guru Nanak Dev ji, Guru Amar Das ji and Guru Arjun dev ji at sunset and Sohila comprising, five hymns by the three Gurus at bedtime.

Oankar:  God as the Primal Being. It also refers to a compositon of Guru Nanak Dev ji which appears on pages 929 to -of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Pada:  Division of a hymn record in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, it varies in length from one to four verses.

Palki: A ‘palanquin’; The wooden, metal or marble palanquin in which Sri Guru Granth Sahib is ceremonially installed.

Panj Kakaar:  Literaly the five things the names of which begine with ‘K’. The five articles of faith which must be worn at all times by every member of Khalsa. These are: Kesh (uncut hairs), kachhera (special type of resembling knickers), kangha (a wooden comb), kara (iron bracelet), and kirpan (the sword). These five articles of faith are also called the five symbols, because in one sense they are merely external observances. But , in another respect, these are the vows of self-discipline, quartial spirit, brotherhood and submission to the Guru. These five K’s not only mark out the Sikhs from the Hindus but also from all other people of the world.

Panj Piaras The five beloved ones, referring to the first five Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa order by Guru Gobind Singh. Five Khalsa Sikhs who initiate a new member into the Khalsa Panth..

Panth: The entire Sikh community.

Parkarma:  The walkway around the sarovar found at many gurudwaras; circum ambulation. 

Prakash Karna:  The early morning ceremony when Sri Guru Granth Sahib is formally opened and the day’s worship begins.

Path:  Reading of Gurbani. (See Akhand Path)

Patit:  A Khalsa Sikh who has failed to live upto the vows of the Khalsa order and has commited one of the 4 cardinal sins (Karuhits).

Pauri  :  Their length and metre are both variable.

Pothi:  A book or volume of religious hymns.

Raag:  One of the melodic formulas of Indian Music having the melodic shape, rhythm and ornamentation prescribed by tradition. (See some dictionary of Music).

Raagi: One who sings the hymns of Sri Guru granth Sahib. Literally of an expert in the raga vidya.
Raj Karega Khalsa:  The battle cry of the Sikhs during the rule of Banda Singh Bahadur meaning "The Khalsa shall rule".

Rehat Nama:  A manual of conduct for the Khalsa. There are a number of them written by various Sikhs dating back to the eighteenth century. 

Rehat Maryada:  The Sikh Code of Conduct finalized by 71 individuals, institutions and representative bodies of the Sikhs in the year 1945 published and distributed free by the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Its English and hindi translations have also now been published by the SGPC.

Rehras:  A collection of 9 hymns, 4 by Guru Nanak, 3 by Guru Ram Das and 2 by Sri Guru Arjun dev ji which are read at sunset as part of Nitnem.

Rumala:  The piece of cloth which is used as a ceremonial cover for Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Sach Khand : The realm of truth, the final stage of spiritual ascent where the believer becomes one with God.

Sadh Sangat:  Literally an association or congregation of the ‘Sadh’ or pions persons. A Sikh congregation or community.

Sahibzada : An epithet used for the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh named Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh. All of them died as marytrs to the Sikh faith. While Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh died fighting in the battle at Chamkaur Sahib; the younger Sahibzadas Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh embraced martyrdown by being bricked alive at Sirhind where Gurudwara stands to their memory.

Sahaj:  The state of spiritual equipoise resulting from the attainment of union with God.

Sahaj Path:  A non-continous reading of the entire Guru Granth Sahib. The period of time for finishing the entire reading is not fixed..

Sahib:  A term of respect used for the Sikh Guru. It is also applied to the historical gurdwaras and personages.

Sakhi:  Story about a Guru.

Sangat: A religious assembly or congregation. A congregation of Sikhs; the collective body of the Sikhs at a particular place.

Sangrand The first day of the month according to the Indian calendar. The relevant portion of the composition Barhmaha by Guru Nanak or Guru Arjun Dev relating to each month is read out. (See Sahib Singh- Baramaha).

Sant : Literally a holy person or saint. In the Sri Guru Granth Sahib only the Gurus or God have been addressed as Sant. Even Kabir, Namdev etc. have been referred to as Bhagats and not sants.

Sarbat Khalsa:  A representative meeting of all the Sikhs to consider important matters concerning the Panth.

Saropa: Literally head to foot; a robe or token of honour;  gift of honour presented to a person or persons by the Sikh community. Usually a length of cloth for tying a turban or a scarf worn over the shoulders.

Sarovar: The pool or a tank for bathing found at many gurudwaras.

Sat Guru: The supreme Guru, God.

Sat Sri Akal: The answer to the Jaikara, the Sikh war-cry. It Meaning "The Immortal God is True".

Satyug: An era in which Truth prevails, the opposite of Kalyug.

Seli:  A woolen cord worn by Guru Nanak Dev around his turban. It was worn as a symbol of living in the world but not being engrossed in the worldly matters. It was passed on to each successive Guru upto Guru Hargobind who chose to wear the two swords miri & piri instead of the seli.

Seva: Service to one’s fellow beings, one of the cornerstones of the Sikh way of life.

Seva Panthi: A Sikh whose life is devoted to the service of the Sikh community.

Shabad: The religious hymns contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Shaheed:  The person-Arabic meaning of this word is “A Witness”. Title used before the name of someone who has died for the Sikh faith as a martyr.

Shalok:  Couplet found in the Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.): Committee which overseas the administration of the historical Gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh. It is also publication of the literature on Sikhism and the establishment and management of many Sikh educational institutions.

Sikhi:  The teachings of Sikhism; the Sikh way of life.

Sikhia: Advice given to the couple during the Sikh marriage ceremony.

Singh: Literally, a Lion; the common last name of the male Sikhs. It is a compulsory last name of the baptized male Sikhs.

Sodar: Literally that door or gate; A composition with the tittle ‘so daru ragu Asa Mahala Pahila’ composed by Guru Nanak. It is the first hymn of the day at a Gurudwaras read by the Sikhs at sunset.

Sohila: Collection of 5 hymns. Three of these are by Guru Nanak, 1 by Guru Ram Das and 1 by Guru Arjun Dev. Sohila is recited as part of the Nitnem at bed time. It also forms a part of the Sikh funeral rites and is recited at the crematory after fire has been set to the dead body to be cremated.

Sukh Asan : The formal final closure of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, generally at the end of the day at a Gurudwara

Sukhmani Sahib:  A major composition of Sri Guru Arjun Dev recorded from page 262 to 296 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It has 24 astpadis.

Takht:  Literally; a throne; A seat of Sikh authority. There are five gurudwaras which are designated as takhts. These are: Sri Akal Takht Sahib (at Amritsar, opposite Sri Harimandir Sahib), Sri Damdama Sahib, Takht Keshgarh Sahib (at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab), Sri Hazoor Sahib (at Nanded) and Takht Patna Sahib (at Patna, at Bihar).

Tankhaiya:  A person who has committed a religious offence meriting punishment.

Waheguru : The Sikh name of God.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh: Sikh salutation.

Zafarnama:  The Zafarnama, literally meaning ‘an Episode of Victory’, is a historical letter written in haste person after the battle of Chamjaur Sahib (in 1705 AD) by Guru Gobind Singh to Emperor Aurangzeb. It is not a petition to the emperor. It is in fact an indictment of the emperor who has been repeatedly chided for breach of faith caused by a morally indefensible attack; by the Moghul troops, on the Guru and his followers after they had vacated Anandpur Sahib on the solemn assurances of safety given to them by Aurangzeb’s officers. The Zafarnama depicts Auangzeb as a biased, cunning and a willful hypocrite and a deceitful ooth-breaker whose oaths on the Quran were fraudulent and meaningless. The Guru’s letter of victory gives microscopic details of the misdeeds and crimes of the colons government and officials. it is the only reliable source which provides a vivid and detailed description of the battle of Chamkaur Sahib.

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