|Sikh Missionary Society:
Code of Conduct
Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code Of Conduct)
is@K rihq mrwdw
History judges a nation by its collective character and
conduct. It is believed that human life is full of problems and pains.
Discipline in life is the basic tool to address and solve these problems.
The ultimate aim of human being is to overcome the problems and lead
a pure and pious life to attain unity with God. According to Sikhism, the
remedy of pain lies within.
Dukh daroo sukh rog bhaia
Every religion has prescribed the code of conduct for
its followers. The Sikh religion is not an exception. Sikh religion is
a practical way of life.The Sikh Gurus prescribed comprehensive rules and
a code of conduct (Reht Maryada)
for the Sikhs to be followed truthfully in their day to day life.
The distinctive Sikh code of conduct is feature
of fundamental importance to the life of the "Panth" that is the Sikh religion.The
Sikh code of conduct can be traced from within Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Rehtnamas
and practical life of the Gurus.
Guru Nanak Dev says,
Reflecting on the Name, man's mind is accustomed
to serve others. Stilling one's ego, one is deemed to have practised worship,
penance and self mortification. When man hears the Lord's Name, he becomes
emancipated in life. Through such a true way of life, he is blessed with
Guru Nanak Dev is the founder of Sikhism. He started the
institution of Sangat and Pangat which is the first step
to Reht Maryada ladder.
syvw suriq sbid vIcwir ]
jpu qpu sMjmu haumY mwir ]
jIvn mukqu jw sbdu suxwey ]
scI rhq scw suKu pwey ]
According to Sikhism, the mission of human life is the
attainment of God and the realization is possible by observing the
principles of truth in their true spirit. It is desired of a Sikh
to live upto the discipline of Bani (Nam Simran) and Bana (Wearing
of Five Kakars and keeping piety of outlook) to attain the ultimate goal.
Sikh code of conduct provides social, cultural, religious
and spiritual precepts for governance of Khalsa corporate life. Sikh faith
is established on observance of the principles and rules formulated by
the Sikh Gurus in the true sense.
Sikhism is a way of life and the game of love needs truth
and commitment on that way. In micro sense, Sikhism is concerned with individual
life style (Gurmat and Reht Maryada style of life) of a Sikh but in macro
sense, it is concerned with his corporate style of life (Sangat, Pangat,
supermacy of Akal Takht and Wand Chhakna etc)conducted and governed truely
at all the times and at all the places and in every behaviour according
to the Word of God.
Guru Nanak Dev says,
“If you want to play the game of love, then enter
my path with head on thy palm. But once you set foot on my way, find
not the way out, and lay down thy head.”
Guru Gobind Singh says,
“I love Sikh but for his acceptance of my discipline.”
He commanded the Khalsa never to follow the rituals, rites
and traditions but if still they ever follow,
he shall withdraw his support and protection.
So long as Khalsa retains his distinct identity, I will give him my entire
radiance and strength. But if he should take on a non-Sikh way of life,
then I shall have no confidence in him and withdraw my support and protection.
There is significant truth in these words. When due to comforts
and pleasures, the Sikhs slackened and sacrificed the code of conduct,
the Guru withdrew his grace.
Jab lag Khalsa rahe niara. tab lag tej dio mai sara.
jab eh gahe bipran ki reet. mai na karo in ki parteet.
jb lg Kwlsw rhy inAwrw ]
qb lg qyj dIau mYN swrw ]
jb ieh ghY ibprn kI rIq ]
mYN nw kroN ien kI pRqIq ]
(Guru Gobind Singh, Sarb Loh Granth)
The Sikhs recite daily in Ardas that:
Only the Khalsa (Pure) shall rule. Those who
disobey shall perish and suffer. As a result of sufferings, they shall
return to the pure faith.
According to the code of conduct for the Sikhs,
Khalsa is a person who believes in one God. In whose heart the light of
the Almighty God shines for ever. He who has full love, faith
and confidence in God; Who meditates on the Name of God day and night;
Who believes in the teachings of the ten Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Who believes in honest labor, sharing his earnings with the less fortunate,
does selfless Seva and leads a virtuous life. He who does not have faith
even by mistake in fasting, worshipping, burial places, crematoriums
or places of Jogi sepulcher is recognized as a pure member of the Khalsa.
Khalsa is he who adopts the concept of Bani and Bana (Five Kakars).
Raj karega khalsa Aki rahe na koe,
khuar hoe sabh milainge bache sharan jo hoe
(Tankhahnama Bhai Nand Lal)
Guru Angad Dev says,
“He who both offers salutation and says ‘no’
to his Master, has gone wrong since the very beginning. Both of his actions
are false. He obtains no place in God’s court”.
Meaning of Rehat
slwmu jbwbu dovY kry muMFhu
GuQw jwie ]
nwnk dovY kUVIAw Qwie n kweI
Sikhism is a way of life which believes in pure and pious
living. It is a dynamic and practical religion. It has got certain principles
and discipline to follow. More important than belief in the principles
of the Sikh faith is the actual practice of the teachings of the Gurus.
There are set rules and ways for the ideal life in Sikhism which determine
Sikh beliefs and practices.
Sikh Code of Conduct is called Sikh Rehat Maryada. It
is a manual and code of discipline for the followers of Sikh faith for
social, moral, religious, spiritual and general living. According to the
Sikh code of conduct published in 1945 by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak
Committee Amritsar, a Sikh must practice the concept of Bani(Spiritual
life) and Bana(Uniform with Five Kakars). He must live upto the
Internal and External code of conduct.
Internal Rehat Maryada means living a pure, pious and
spiritual inner life. External Rehat Maryada means the outer code of conduct
and visible living of virtuous life (Bani & Bana ie. Norm and
Rehat Maryada literally means “the code of conduct or
way of life”. Reht means mode of living or conduct and Maryada means tradition,
practice of the faith or code or discipline of life. It extends
its meaning to life discipline. It meets the principles for ethical, moral
and spiritual life. It is a code which tells the Sikh followers “how to
live and how not to live”. It is a manual for the Sikh which tells him
to live like a Lotus which has its roots in muddy water but
its flower blooms floating pure and spotless over the muddy base.
Sikhism is essentially a practical religion. It gives
great significance to voluntary discipline and self restraint in the physical,
mental, moral and spiritual fields. Sikhism gives reverence to its sacred
traditions (Maryada), heritage, culture and religious living. It does not
call for blind and arrogant compliance of its way of life. Sikh Rehat is
touch stone which reveals the purity and perfection of the Khalsa.
Maryada is willing discipline
Sikhism believes in willing discipline of body and
mind. It aims at serving the mankind and attaining the Ultimate Reality
through Naam Simran, Sachi Kirt and Wand Chhakna. There is no use of coercion
in observance of the discipline. It is not punitive. The code of Sikh conduct
is positive, correctional and requires the devotee to attune with the Will
Sikhism believes in gradual progress of Sehaj Dharis to
become the Khalsa. The deviants and slow movers are to be treated with
sympathy and loving care so that they learn their roots and join the main
Sikh Rehat Maryada has been evolved on the basic principles
of God’s universe, discipline of planetary system and the law of nature.
Human body, mind and consciousness are gifts of the Lord leased to mankind
for a pre-determined life time. Sikhism wants these gifts to be used for
attainment of God through service of mankind.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the primary source of Sikh Code
of Conduct. It is supported by Dasam Granth, Vars of Bhai Gurdas
and writings of Bhai Nand Lal. The Rehat is further strengthened through
the Rehat Namas of Bhai Nand Lal, Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Desa Singh, Bhai
Champa Singh and others.
Gurbani says that blessed with infinite joy, without a
trace of sorrow, is the house that Guru Nanak has inherited. Sikhism wants
to keep peace and tranquillity in that house.
Harkh anant sog nahi biya, so ghar gur Nanak ko diaya.
The doctrine of five Kakars gifted by Guru Gobind Singh
helps the Sikhs to live life in full measure and with universal resources.
The Guru ordained not only the Khalsa how to live but also how not to live.
He gave certain do’s and don’ts to the Khalsa Panth.
It is very essential to point out that no individual
or individual organisation has the authority to change or alter the
Sikh Rehat Maryada as per personal needs and whims. Every Sikh is required
to bow head before the Sikh Rehat Maryada published by Shiromani Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee. There is only one Rahit Maryada for the Khalsa Panth,
it does not belong to any particular Jatha or entity, yet as Sikhs
we are all obliged to follow it.
It is explicit in Gurbani that the principles of Gurmat
are unchangeable and of permanent standing: The Instruction of the Guru
is Unshakable. None can change it.
“Gurmat Mat Achal Hai Chalaey Na Sakey Koey”
Every Sikh must strengthen its rallying point i.e. Sri Akal
Takht Sahib Amritsar failing which the Sikhs will lose their Vatican axle
resulting in confusion everywhere.
Reht and discipline
How can the traveller (Sikh) who asks the experts
(God-oriented) the way (of spirituality), but does not take even
a step, ever reach his destination by mere asking ? How can the patient
who consults the physician, but does not take the medicine or follow instructions,
be rid of the disease and regain his health? How can an apparently lewd
wife, who asks another woman about true love but herself is full of lust,
be loved by her husband ? How can the Sikh who apparently sings Kirtan
or listens to it with closed eyes and full brain (hypocritically) find
spiritual fulfilment, unless he accepts the Guru's teaching and practises
Sikhism is a religion of Bani and Bana, not
for show but for practice.
pUCq piQk ieh mwrig n DwrY
pRIqm kY dys kYsy bwqn sy jweIEY
pUCq hY bYd Kwq EOKiD n sMjm
kYsy imtY rog suK shij smweIEY
pUCiq suhwgin hY krim duhwgin
irdY ibBcwr kq ishjw bulweIEY
gwie sunY E~Ky mIcY pweIEY
n prm pdu
guru aupdys gih jO lO n kmweIEY
(Bhai Gurdas Kabit 439 - BweI
gurdws kib@q 439)
Guru Arjan Dev says,
"Man professes one thing and practises quite
another. In his heart there is no love, but with his mouth he talks tall.
The Omniscient Lord, Who is Inner Knower, is not pleased with the deceitful
show of garment of such person".
principles of Sikh Reht Maryada
rhq Avr kCu Avr kmwvq ]
min nhI pRIiq muKhu gMF lwvq
jwnnhwr pRBU prbIn ]
bwhir ByK n kwhU BIn ]
The code of conduct is (such as rigorous socio-moral discipline
for the Sikhs) prescribed so that the Sikhs must remain pure and emancipated.
Dharam-Di- Kirt Karna (Honest earning and truthful
Vand Ke Chhakna (Sharing honest earnings with needy
and less fortunate)
Naam Japna (Meditation on the Name of One God)
Puja Akal Ki (Worshipping the Almighty God)
Parcha Sabad Ka (Understanding and practicing Gurbani)
Didar Khalse Ka (Appreciation of Sikh Rehat) Attending
company of holy Sangat
Amrit Chhakna (Initiation of Amrit Pahul and stay
away from taboos)
Sarbat Da Bhala (Well-being of all)
Seva Sambhal (Selfless service for welfare of humanity)
Sacha Achar (Keeping good moral character in life)
Bhana Manana (Surrender before Will of God)
Believe in One God, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and teachings of
Practicing the principles of both Bani and Bana (Norm and
No commission of Kurehts
Adopt and practice compassion, honesty, generosity, patience,
perseverence and humility
Non observance of blind rites, rituals and superstitions.
No worship of idols and images
If a Sikh breaches the cardinal instructions
of no hair cutting, no adultery, no use of intoxicants and no eating
of Kutha meat, he is called Patit and the transgressor must
get rebaptized. If a Sikh violates the code of conduct other than the four
cardinal transgressions, he becomes Tankhaya and has to appear
before the Panj Pyaras for undergoing Tankhah.
The study of Sikh
Rehat Maryada published by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
Amritsar will answer many of the questions about Sikh way of life.
Views of different Sikh organizations, eminent Sikhs
and Sikh bodies on Sikh Rehat
Maryada were considered from 1936 to 1945. Sikh
Reht Maryada was finally approved by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak
Committee vide its resolution No: 97 on February 3, 1945.
It was published by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
Amritsar in 1945 after deliberations with different Sikh Individuals
and representatives of different organizations.