Ardas - the sikh prayer
ARDAS - THE SIKH PRAYER
Ardas is a humble prayer to God with Guru Granth as witness. It is the instrument of expressing faith in the Lord, surrendering to Him and putting oneself to His care. It is the projection of the hope of the man.
The natural forces scared primitive man and his feelings were labeled as a fear. He adjusted to them in time and his fear was replaced be awe. It gave him the realization of a Higher Manifestation responsible for controlling the natural forces having unlimited power. This made his mind to set into the frame of a total submission to that manifestation - Supreme Being, the Lord. His submission changed into reverence for Him and it transformed into love - obverse of his fear. Fear, passing through all these stages changed into love and it produced sense of security for him. He started looking to Him for his protection, preservation and continuity. This was the birth of his invocation. The supplication from the primitive man, came down to various religions as their prayer and to the Sikhs, as their Ardas.
Ardas (Request), is modification of a Persian word "Arz-dasht' and in Urdu, it means a petition, an appeal, "Arz Karna"- a humble submission. Apparently, it has nothing to do with the Sanskrit, but Gursabd Ratnakar (Bhai Kahn Singh), gives its meanings as Ard - to ask for (Beg), Aas - desired thing. The word prayer is insufficient to express the sentiment of Ardas because in the Sikhs, it will denote reading or recitation of the scriptures, meditation on the Holy Name of the Lord or Simran.
WHY PRAY :
This prayer of a few minutes has in it about 530 years of the development of the Sikh history. Its main motives are -
1) To keep reviving the Sikh heritage, history, sacrifices and achievements. It is a recognition of and "Thanks-giving" to those who struggled and sacrificed themselves for the Sikh-Faith.
2) To get courage for High morale, from the sacrifices of the Gurus and the Sikhs.
3) To inculcate self-respect and fearlessness from the examples of martyrdoms, for remaining firm in the faith, fighting for rights, freedom of the religion, its practices and places, and to stand by the truth.
4) To develop universal love and a desire to help the week and the needy by seeking good for all - a quality to live selflessly for others.
5) It is an expression of faith in God. It keeps attached to the Lord. In itself, an Ardas is a kind of Simran (remembering God) and there is no doubt that Simran is a modified Ardas.
6) It means total surrender to His will and a request for strength to accept it.
7) Living according to the Sikh-tenets. To lead a life of a high order free from every thing base and freedom from attachments to keep evolving.
8) A promise. not to show back to a decision once made. (Maharaja Ranjit Singh said Ardas and did not fear to cross the raging river Attock. Akali Phula Singh, after performing it, did not stop to attack an outnumbered enemy-buildup at Naushehra).
As a set tradition, it is performed at the culmination of the morning and evening prayer and at the start or end of any religious function or program in the Gurdwara, house or anywhere else and at every occasion of joy or sorrow in a family. Every congregational invocation and one after completing a Paath (Prayer) out of Nitnem (Daily routine) and before starting or after completing recitation of Guru Granth Sahib, is always a Panthic one (Institutional). A personal or a Sampardaik (Of a sect) supplication may or may not be exactly so.
The Sikh religion started with the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who emphasized devotion to one God. All the succeeding Gurus promoted this belief. Sikhs often pay homage to God through meditation (Naam Japna), reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib and by singing of the hymns. At the end Ardaas is recited. The first five lines of the present Ardaas were composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in poetry (up to 'Teg Bahader Simariae'). It is said that Bhai Mani Singh Ji made many additions including the names of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Panj Piare (the five loved ones), Char Sahibzade (the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji), and Chali Mukte (the forty who attained salvation) and gave it the basic form of modern Ardaas. Further additions were made by various Sikh scholars at different times and are reflective of Sikh struggles. Thus every time Ardaas is recited a thought is reflected upon of all those Sikhs who laid down their lives for the sake of the community. The martyrs are not remembered by name, but by the tortures they suffered and the bravery they showed in sticking to the principles of their religion. They became an example for the generations to follow. The contents of Ardaas and its final format were approved by the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Ardaas is mainly composed of three parts. It begins in poetry by describing the role of the first nine Gurus in relation to God, then about Guru Gobind Singh Ji, followed by the important milestones in Sikh history. Thereafter it includes a plea to God for grace on whole of the humanity and the Khalsa and ends with the purpose of the gathering. Although on most of the occasions the whole of Ardaas is recited, at certain occasions a shorter version is recited instead. In the shorter version of Ardaas the names of martyrs are omitted. This type of Ardaas is usually recited after Sohila, before the beginning or at the end of a meal at a function.
IK ONKAR WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH.God is one. The victory belongs to God.
SRI BHAGAUTI JI SAHAI.The Great Eternal Power to help us.
VAR SRI BHAGAUTI JI KI PATSHAI DASWEEN.This Var, addressed to the Almighty was written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
PRITHAM BHAGAUTI SIMAR KE GURU NANAK LAIN DHIAEFirst of all after thinking of the Great Eternal Power I put my mind to Guru Nanak.
PHIR ANGAD GUR TE AMARDAS, RAMDASAE HOIEN SAHAI.Then I pray to Guru Angad, Guru Amardas and Guru Ramdas to look after me
ARJAN HARGOBIND NOO SIMRAU SRI HAR RAI.I will meditate on Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Hargobind and Guru Har Rai
SRI HARKRISHAN DHIAEY, JIS DITHE SABH DUKH JAIE.I think of Guru Harkrishan, on seeing his calm face all agonies disappear.
TEG BAHADAR SIMARIYE, GHAR NAO NIDH AWAI DHAI. SABH THAIN HOI SAHAI.If you meditate on Guru Teg Bahadar you will get the key for all the riches. He will help you everywhere.
DASWAN PATSHAH SRI GURU GOBIND SINGH SAHIB JI, SABH THAIN HOI SAHAI.I request Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru, to look after me everywhere.
DASAN PATSHAHIAN DI JOT SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI DE PATH DIDAR DA DHAYAN DHAR KE BOLO JI 'WAHEGURU'.Meditate on the teaching of SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB Ji which is the gospel of all the ten Gurus, and say 'WAHEGURU'.
PANJAN PIARIAN, CHOHAN SAHIBZADIAN, CHALI MUKTIAN, HATHIAN, JAPIAN, TAPIAN, JINHAN NAM JAPPIA, WAND CHHAKIA, DEG CHALAI, TEG WAHI, DEKH KE UNDITH KEETA, TINNA PIARIAN SACHIARIAN DI KAMAI DA DHIAN DHAR KE KHALSA JI BOLO JI - 'WAHEGURU'.Think of the five chosen ones; the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji; the forty martyrs and all those who meditated on God's name with strong faith and determination; shared with everybody whatever they had; participated in feeding the hungry; fought for the community; forgave the wrong doers; remember the great pieces of work done by those lovely and truthful people and say 'WAHEGURU'.
JINHAN SINGHAN SINGHANIAN NE DHARAM HET SIS DITTE, BAND BAND KATAE, KHOPRIAN LAHAIAN, CHARKHRIAN TE CHARHE, AAREAN NAAL CHEERAI GAE, GURDWARIAN DI SEWA LAI QURBANIAN KEETIAN, DHARAM NAHEEN HARIA, SIKHI KESAN SWASAN NAAL NIBAHEE, TINNA DI KAMAI DA DHIAN DHAR KE , KHALSA JI, BOLO JI 'WAHEGURU.'Those Sikhs, both men and women, who, for the sake of their religion, offered their heads; let their bodies be cut piece by piece; let their heads be scalped off; suffered torture under the body cutting wheel; let their body be sawed through the middle; who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the reformation of the Gurdwaras; but they did not relinquish their religion; who stuck to the principles of 'Sikhi' up to their last breath, think of their heroic performance and say 'WAHEGURU'.
PANJAN TAKHTAN, SARBATT GURDWARIAN DA DHIAN DHAR KE BOLO JI 'WAHEGURU'Think of the five supreme Gurdwaras and all the other Gurdwaras and say 'Waheguru'.
PRITHAMAE SARBATT KHALSA JI KI ARDAS HAI JI SARBATT KHALSA JI KO WAHEGURU WAHEGURU WAHEGURU CHIT AWAI, CHIT AWAN KA SADKA SARAB SUKH HOVEY; JAHAN JAHAN KHALSA JI SAHIB TAHAN TAHAN RACHHIA RIAYAT, DEG TEG FATEH, BIRDH KI PAIJ , PANTH KI JEET, SRI SAHIB JI SAHAI, KHALSA JI KE BOL BALE , BOLO JI 'WAHEGURU.'The first and foremost prayer of the Khalsa is to remember 'Waheguru' and through this, there should be peace everywhere. Wherever there is Khalsa, may God's grace be there. Khalsa should succeed in feeding and in protecting the poor people, Waheguru Ji, look after your people as your graceful nature is, Khalsa should always be successful, may the Eternal Power help us; think of the high esteem of the Khalsa and say 'Waheguru'.
SIKHAN NOO SIKHI DAN, KES DAN, REHAT DAN, BIBEK DAN, BHAROSA DAN, DANAN SIR DAN NAAM DAN, SRI AMRITSAR JI DE DARSHAN ISHNAN, CHOWKIAN JHANDE BUNGE, JUGO JUG ATTAL, DHARAM KA JEKAR, BOLO JI 'WAHEGURU.'It is our request, Waheguru Ji, that Sikhs should have your grace to keep 'Sikhi', the hair, all the 'Rehats' (the commandments given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji; see Panj Piare, mentioned earlier), high intelligence, trustworthiness, and above all the supreme gift of remembering Your Name; they may be given the pleasure of visiting Amritsar. The chownki (see below), your flags and the 'Bunge' (see below) may always be there for your Sikhs, and and let the 'Dharam' (virtues of the religion) prevail; everybody should say 'Waheguru'.
SIKHAN DA MAN NEEVAN, MAT UCHEE, MAT KA RAKHA AAP AKAL PURKH WAHEGURU. HAI AKAL PURKH PANTH DE SADA SAHAI DATAR JIO, SRI NANKANA SAHIB TE HORE GURDWARIAN GURDHAMAN DE, JINHAN TON PANTH NOO WISHORIA GIA HAI, KHULE DARSHAN DIDAR TE SEWA DA DAN KHALSA JI NOO BAKHSHO. HAI NIMANIAN DE MAAN, NITANIAN DE TAN, NIOTIAN DI OT, SACHE PITA WAHEGURU AAP DE HAZOOR, '*************' BHUL CHUK MAAF KARNI, SARBATT DE KARAJ RAAS KARNE, SAEE PIARE MAEL JINHAN MILYAN TERA NAAM CHIT AWAI.Sikhs should have humble minds and high in intellect (thoughts); may God take care of the intellect of the Sikhs. Waheguru Ji, please give us the chance to visit and look after the Gurdwaras, like Nankana Sahib, from which we have been separated. You always take care of the honour of those who have no honour; You are the force of those who have no force and You are the support of those who have no support. Waheguru Ji, at this time at Your service...... '************' (here we mention the reason why this prayer is being done; see below), please pardon our mistakes, please help everybody to accomplish their work (or mission), please help us meet those devotees who talk only about You.
NANAK NAM CHARDI KALA, TERE BHANE SARBATT DA BHALA.Nanak says, 'Oh God, under Your Name let everybody prosper and everybody should have your Grace'.
WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH.Khalsa belongs to God, the victory also belongs to God.
BOLE SO NIHAL, SAT SRI AKAL.He who speaks God's name, may have God's grace. The truth is supreme and immortal.