Question & Answer-39
680. Are there any set times of prayers for the Sikhs ?
are no set times in the sense that missing a time of prayer is to be
regarded as sin. The Sikhs are asked to keep repeating the hymns whenever
they find time. Usually they read Japji in the morning and Rehras in the
evening but there is no set time for them. Some people like to read Japji
before sunrise some after if. Similarly some say Rehras before sunset and
some after it.
681. Are there any feast or fast days for the Sikhs ?
are no feast days and neither are there any fast days. The Sikhs may have a
feast at any time and may observe a fast if they find it useful for health.
Observing fasts as a part of religion for spiritual benefit has no value in
Are there any restrictions regarding food ?
are no restrictions for the Sikhs regarding food, except that the Sikhs are
forbidden to eat meat prepared as a ritual slaughter. The Sikhs are asked to
abstain from intoxicants.
683. Are there any religious injunctions that may make certain
types of employment
non-acceptable to the Sikhs ?
Sikhs believe in dignity of labour and are always ready to accept
whatever work they may find. The baptised Sikhs will however refuse to
accept a job which requires them to remove their turban or to shave off.
684. What is the place of "service" in Sikh Religion ?
Manual labour and service to God's creation are an essential part of
Sikhism. The Sikh Gurdawaras are the training places where the Sikhs
practice the teachings of their Gurus demonstratively. In the Sikh Temple
the usual service involves singing hymns, sweeping the temple precincts,
fanning the congregation, cooking and serving food in the Langar (free
kitchen), drawing water or procuring fuel for the kitchen.
an early age the children learn to serve and shoulder responsibility in the
kitchen while doing selfless services side by side with the grown-ups. The
Gurus laid stress on the purity of life attained through honest labour done with a
sense of giving. Guru Nanak argued "This world is the chamber of God wherein
the True One resides (Eh jag sachhe ki hai kothri sachhe ka vich wass) so
whatever service we do in this world will secure for us a seat in the court
of the lord" (Vich Dunia sev kamaye ta dargah baisan paiye).
Guru thus wanted his followers to be the servants of society and move in the
rhythm of the universe in harmony with His laws. In Sikhism service is
considered to be of three types. It is done with Tan (body-manual service), Dhan
(money-material service), Man (mind-intellectual service).
service can be done anywhere, i.e., in the kitchen, on the road, feeding the
hungry, caring for the sick, serving the lepers, repairing the temple,
dusting the shoes of the holy congregation, and extending ready patronage to
the weak, the needy and the distressed.
Gurus extolled service so much that they said "Useless are the hands and
feet if they do not serve humanity (Bin sewa
dhrig hath paer). The Gurus practically demonstrated this in their lives.
Intellectual service involves understanding the holy scriptures,
interpreting the text and education the others about it. It also involves
praying for others and wishing the good of everybody. Material service means
donating money for langar, school, temples, asylums, hospitals wells and
other works of public good.
Gurus have laid down that every Sikh should donate one tenth of his earnings
to charity. In donating money the Sikh would not take into account the race,
religion, sex, colour or social status
of the recipient because this would result in strengthening his egoism.
done as a labour of love frees man from greed, pride and undue
attachment and teaches him humility, forgiveness, mercy, alms-giving,
charity and rational understanding. Guru Nanak was the first of all to
demonstrate the practically of this idea when he bought a farm at Kartarpur,
worked with his own hands and declared: "Work hard and share your earnings
with others This is the only way to find 'the way'."
685. What is Sarbat Khalsa ?
the Sikhs assemble to discuss an issue affecting the Sikh nation as a whole,
the assembly is called The Sarbat Khalsa. Every Sikh is entitled to
attend it. Sarbat Khalsa used to meet twice a year on Baisakhi day and
Diwali day but the practice became dormant when Ranjit Singh became the king
of the Punjab.
practice was revived in 1986 when The Sarbat Khalsa was
convened at Akal Takhat (Amritsar) to discuss the implications of the
operation Blue Star of June 1984 which resulted in the sacriledge and
destruction of the Akal Takhat and holy Sikh Temples at Amritsar and 48
other places. Decisions made at the Sarbat Khalsa are binding on all Sikhs
throughout the world.