Sikh Reht Maryada

Other Rites and Conventions:
Voluntary Service, Corporate Sikh Life, Status of Guruhood


Sewa (Voluntary Service)

Seva is a prominent part of Sikh religion. Illustrative models of voluntary service are organised for imparting training, in the Gurdwaras. Its simple forms are : sweeping and plastering the floors of the Gurdwara, serving water to or fanning the congregation, offering provisions to and rendering any, kind of service in the common kitchen-cum-eating house, dusting the shoes of the people visiting the Gurdwara, etc.

Guru Ka Langar : The philosophy behind the Langar (Guru's kitchen-cum-eating-house) is two-fold : to provide training to the Sikhs in voluntary service and to help banish all distinction of high and low, touchable and untouchable from the Sikhs' minds.
All human beings, high or low, and of any caste or colour may sit and eat in the Langar. No discrimination on grounds of the country of origin, colour, caste or religion must be made while making people sit in rows for eating. However, only Amritdhari Sikhs can eat off one plate.

Panthak Rehni (Facets of Corporate Sikh Life)

The essential facets of Panthak life are :

1. Guru Panth (the Panth's Guru status),
2. The ceremony of Amrit Sanskar (Khande di Pahul),
3. The statute of chastisement for aberrations,
4. The statute of collective resolution (Gurmata),
5. The appeal against local decisions.

Guru Panth (Panth's Status of Guruhood)

The concept of service is not confined to fanning the congregation, service to and in the Guru ka Langar etc. A Sikh's entire life is a life of benevolent exertion. The most fruitful service is the service that secures the optimum good by minimal endeavour. That can be achieved through organised collective action. A Sikh has, for this reason, to fulfil his Panthak obligations (obligations as a member of the entity, the Panth), even as he/she performs his/her individual duties. This corporate entity is the Panth. Every Sikh has also to fulfil his obligations as a unit of the corporate body, the Panth.

The Guru Panth (Panth's status of Guruhood) means the whole body of committed Amritdhari Sikhs. This body was fostered by all the ten Gurus and The tenth Nanak Guru Gobind Singh Sahib gave it its final shape and invested it with Guruhood.

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