Sikh Worship

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Amit Wangoo        29/04/2012


Sikh Worship

Sikh worship, like many other religions is very important and it is has very specific aspects to its worship. Sikhism is considered to be a modern religion as it was founded in 15th and 16th century, despite this they have similar ways to much older religions like Hinduism.

The place of worship for Sikhs is the Gurdwara. Gurdwara means ‘the doorway of the Guru’. The Sikh holy book ‘The Guru Granth Sahib’ is kept in the Gurdwara. The Gurdwara is like a community centre where other Sikhs meet each other and pray together. Outside every Gurdwara there is usually a flag that tells people this is a Sikh place of worship. The flag is called the Nishan sahib and the symbol on the flag is known as the khanda that consists of 2 curved Kirpans and a Kara (bangle).

When in a Gurdwara, shoes should not be worn in the main place of worship. There are also sinks so that people can wash their hands before worship and a box of head coverings for non-Sikhs, because people must cover their heads as a sign of respect. In a Gurdwara anyone and everyone are welcome.  

In the main hall there is a large carpet and there are no chairs or seats so the congregation sit on the floor cross-legged. Men and women sit apart from each other in the Gurdwara; this is so they don’t distract each other. At one end of the hall there is a raised platform or manjii with a chanani (canopy). Cushions and a romalla (beautiful clothes) cover the Guru Granth Sahib Ji when it is not being read. The granthi is a like a priest who sits behind the Guru Granth Sahib Ji facing the worshippers. In front of the manjii there is a long box called a Golak for people to make money offerings. There is another platform called the ragis were musicians sit and play instruments during hymns. Music is important because it is an accompaniment to singing of the scriptures. Inside a Gurdwara there is a room that is like a bedroom for the holy scriptures. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is ‘put to bed’ each night by the granthi who says a special prayer and then each morning the book is ‘woken up’ and placed on the manjii for the day.

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In Sikhism there is no fixed day for worship, although Sunday in countries like India is a popular day for worship. Prayers are said every morning and evening in the Gurdwara, but not everyone attends these. The congregational worship is called diwan but can be called kirtan, which means hymn singing because versus are sung from the Guru Granth Sahib in the service.

After bathing, members of the congregation remove their shoes, cover their heads and wash their hands before entering the prayer hall. As they enter the prayer hall, Sikhs approach the manjii on which the Guru Granth ...

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