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|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.
|ARDAS AN OVERVIEW
|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.
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.
|The Book titled "ARDAAS"
, In Punjabi Language by Sr. Jaswant Singh Neki,
Published by M/s Singh Bros., Mai Sewa, Amritsar
India, is the best one to understand all the aspects
and word to word meanings of ARDAS.
get this book you may write to the publisher or
ask us for a free copy.