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|Sikh practices and discipline|
Sikh practices are simple, unprecise and practical guidelines laid out by the Gurus for the practice of the "Sikh way of life". The Gurus emphasise that a Sikh should lead a disciplined life engaged in Naam Simran, meditation on God's name, Kirat Karni, living an honest life of a house-holder, and Wand kay Shako, sharing what one has with the community. This translates into hard work, honest living, love of fellow humans and through them service of the God, the primal power. This way of life is said to have been stripped of complications, myths, jargon, rituals and exploitation of man by man in the name of religion. No benefits are gained by where and to which family the person is born to – All have to undertake the rigours of Simran (meditation) and Sewa (selfless service) to progress spiritually. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib asks the Sikh to "Practice truth, contentment and kindness; this is the most excellent way of life. One who is so blessed by the Formless Lord God renounces selfishness, and becomes the dust of all. (3) ( [SGGS] page 51 (1))
The Sikh is required to undertake the following observances:
- Wake up very early in the morning.
- Bathing and cleansing of the body should be performed.
- Cleanse the mind by meditating on God.
- Engage in family life and address your responsibilities within the family.
- Attend to a work or study routine and earn a living by earnest means.
- Undertake to help the less well off with monetary and/or physical help.
- Exercise your responsibilities to the community and take active part in the maintenance and safeguard of the community.
- Wear the 5Ks
- Kesh – long and uncut hair and a turban to protect the hair on the head.
- Kanga – small comb to be used twice daily to keep the hair in clean and healthy condition.
- Kacchera – worn in the form of shorts to exercise self-control.
- Kara – a steel slave bangle on the dominant arm to remind the Sikh to always remember the Guru before undertaking any action.
- Kirpan – a short, often dagger-sized sword to remind the Sikh that he is to defend against repression of the weak.
- Meditate by reciting his Gurbani and by singing his Kirtan (music based hymns) and remember Him always.
- Wash your mind clean with Sewa, selfless service to the community by doing manual work at the Gurdwara by cleaning the dishes, washing the floors, painting the walls; working in Community Centres; in old peoples homes, etc.
- Practice Truth at all times: To live by the Gurus instruction to practice Truth thus: "Those who practice Truth reap the profits, abiding in the Will of God. With the Merchandise of Truth, they meet the Guru, who does not have a trace of greed. (6)" (SGGS page 59 (2)) and also "O Siblings of Destiny, follow the Guru's Teachings and dwell in truth. Practice truth, and only truth, and merge in the True Word of the Shabad. ||1||Pause||" (SGGS page 30 (3))
- Be kind and merciful to others: Kindness is a virtue that the Sikh have been asked to exercise at all times. The Gurus have shown on many occasion how to practise and live a life of kindness and mercy and have the following message for the keen devotee: "Become 'Jivan-Mukta', liberated while yet alive, by meditating on the Lord of the Universe, O mind, and maintaining faith in Him in your heart. Show kindness and mercy to all (sentient) beings, and realize that the Lord is pervading everywhere; this is the way of life of the enlightened soul, the supreme swan. ||7||" (SGGS page 508 (4))
- Become a Gurmukh by doing Good deeds: The Sikh Gurus repeatedly ask the dedicated Sikh to always do good deeds as shown by this verse from the Guru Granth Sahib - "The Gurmukh practices doing good deeds; thus he comes to understand this mind. The mind is like an elephant, drunk with wine. The Guru is the rod which controls it, and shows it the way. ||2||" (SGGS page 159 (5))
- Organise Gurdwaras: As a community Sikhs set up local places of worship called Gurdwara. Services are held in the morning and evening including:
- Asa-di-war kirtan
- Sukhmani sahib paath
- Akhand Paath
- Ardas and Hukamnama
- Kirtan programs
- Naming Ceremony
- Marriage Ceremony
- Antam Sanskar
- Amrit Sanskar, etc.
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