Is it necessary for a Sikh to take Amrit, (initiation)? If don't take Amrit can we still be considered close to the Guru?

Yes, to be a Sikh one has to join the Sikh Panth, and for this, one is required to go through the Amrit ceremony, initiation. It is a promise made voluntarily, willingly and sincerely in the presence of the Panj Pyaras, to live the life of a Sikh. The person is told about the Do's and Don'ts to be observed by an Amritdhari Sikh.

Taking Amrit means making a public promise to join the Khalsa Panth, to live a right kind of virtuous life of sewa-Simran and remain free from vices. If one wants to benefit from being close to the Guru, one must obey the command of the Guru and then why should one hesitate to take Amrit? Some persons are reluctant to take Amrit because it means commitment to recite Gurbaani regularly, live according to its directions, and not to do wrong actions.

It should be made clear that one cannot, on his own, declare himself to be a Sikh, a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian. Every faith has an obligatory ceremony for a child to enter the faith of his/her parents. Having been born in a faith, one does not automatically become a member of the faith. In the Sikh faith, the ceremony is performed when one can practice the faith and can read Gurbaani to understand and follow it. As a matter of principle, one born in a Sikh family is expected to take Amrit anytime before marriage, which is to be performed according to Sikh rites.

If a Christian, a Muslim, or a Hindu keeps long hair, does not smoke or drink, reads Gurbaani and gives contributions to a Gurdwara, he cannot on his own declare himself to be a Sikh, a member of the Panth. To join the Panth, he or she has to take Amrit. A best player cannot himself claim to be a member of a team unless he joins the team and wears the uniform of the team.

How to be close to the Guru?

Guru is a spiritual light to guide all seekers to the holy path. No one has a franchise on the Guru or God. Everyone, whatever his faith, may be close to the Guru to the extent one desires to be. It is not the physical closeness, which matters; it actually means how much you listen to the Guru and how much you obey him. The two sons of Guru Nanak Dev were, of course, physically very close to the Guru but did not listen to him, hence they were spiritually away from him. Bhai Lehna Jee, a devotee of a Hindu goddess, became a disciple of the Guru. He listened to the Guru and obeyed him; as a result he became the Guru himself.

Gurbaani, the living spirit of the Gurus, is with us. To be close to the Gurus, we may recite it, listen to it and follow it. This is the way to be in touch with the Gurus and enjoy their sermons.



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