Intro to Sikhi

The fundamental principals

Naam japo - To remember god throughout the day and night, meditating on the mantra 'Va-hi-gu-ru'

Kirat karo -  To earn a livelihood by means of earnest and honest endeavours

Vand chakko - To serve others, sharing income and resources 


 Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539) – Humility/ oneness

Guru Angad (1539-1552) – Obedience

Guru Amar Das (1552 – 1574) – Equality

Guru Ram Das (1574 – 1581) – Service of humanity

Guru Arjan (1581 – 1606) – Self-Sacrifice

Guru Hargobind (1606 – 1644) – Saint & Soldier balance

Guru Har Rai (1664 – 1661) – Mercy

Guru Har Krishan (1661 – 1664) – Healer

Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664 – 1675) – Sacrificed himself for the freedom of another religion

Guru Gobind Singh (1675 – 1708) – Royal Courage through the establishment of Khalsa brotherhood.

Guru Granth Sahib - (1708 - Present) The eternal embodiment of the ten predeceasing Gurus

With each new Guru, lessons were learnt and precedents set. The Punjabi definition of 'Sikh-na' means to learn. Thus, the term 'Sikh'  came to be.

The 10th master in 1699 created the Khalsa, consisting of a baptismal ceremony and pledging allegiance. All Khalsa must adhere to the Rehit Maryada (Code of conduct) which stipulates how you speak, eat, sleep, dress, live etc.. 

Since the birth of the Khalsa, they have been the custodians in the preservation of the Sikh community. During the 1700s the mass of the community were Khalsa with a small minority living by the principles set out by the previous masters. Today there are over 27 million identifying as Sikhs worldwide, with Khalsa living as a minority however, rightfully still acting as custodians of the community. 

ਪਿ੍ਥਮਰਹਿਤਯਹਿਜਾਨ । ਖੰਡੇਕੀਪਾਹੁਲਛਕੇ ।।

ਸੋਈਸਿੰਘਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ । ਅਵਰਨਪਾਹੁਲਜੋਲਏ ।। 

ਪਾਂਚਸਿੰਘਅੰਮਿ੍ਤਜੋਦੇਵੇਂ । ਤਾਂਕੋਸਿਰਧਰਛਕਪੁਨਲੇਵੇਾਂ।।

Consider khande ki pauhl  (baptism by sword) as the primary injunction.

Such a Sikh is revered who does not accept any other method of initiation.

Bow in reverence and drink amrit (baptism) from the five singh's (baptists), stick firmly to the discipline ordined ~ Rehitnama (Code of conduct) as written by Bhai Desa Singh Ji 18thC

Five baptists prepare the nectar for the initiates

Five baptists prepare the nectar for the initiates

The rule book

Old manuscript of the Rehitnama (Code of conduct)


To join the Khalsa you must always keep five articles on your person at all times. Each of them provide spiritual and piratical benefits, they are; 

Kacch - Knee length under garments

Karra - Iron bangle worn on the wrist

Kirpan - Iron dagger kept in a sheath

Kanga - Sandalwood comb tucked into a topknot

Kesh - Unshorn hair accompanied by a turban 

ਨਿਸਾਨਿ ਸਿਖੀ ਈਂ ਪੰਜ ਹਰਫਿ ਅਸਤ ਕਾਫ ॥
ਹਰਗਿਜ ਨਾ ਬਾਸਦ ਈਂ ਪੰਜ ਮੁਆਫ ॥ ੧॥
ਕੜਾ ਕਾਰਦੋ ਕੱਛ ਕੰਘੇ ਬਿਦਾਂ ॥
ਬਿਲਾ ਕੇਸ ਹੇਚ ਅਸਤ ਜੁਮਲੇ ਨਿਸਾਂ ॥ ੨॥
ਹਰਫ ਹਕਾਇਤ ਅਸਤ ਅਜੀ ਪੰਜ ਕਾਫ॥
ਬਿਦਾ ਨੰਦ ਬਾਵਰ ਨ ਗੋਯਮ ਖਿਲਾਫ ॥ ੩॥  ~ ਅਸਫੋਕਟ ਸ੍ਵੈਯੇ, ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ 

The following five K’s are the mark of Sikhi. These five can never be parted from the body. Kara, Kirpan, Kashera, Kangha, recognise these as four of them. The fifth is Kesh, without which the other four are useless ~  Asfokat Svaye, Sri Guru Dasam Granth 


There are four major don’ts ‘Char Bujjar Kurehits’ that a Sikh abstains from, these are;  

Hooka (smoking)

Halaal (meat slaughtered in non-Sikh tradition)

Haram (being unfaithful)

Hajamat (cutting of hair) 

ਹੁੱਕਾ ਹਜਾਮਤ ਹਲਾਲੋ ਹਰਾਮ ॥
ਬਾਰੀਸੇ ਹਿਨਾ ਕਰਦ ਰੂ ਸਿਯਾ ਫਾਮ ॥ ੪॥ ੧॥ 

Tobacco, removing/cutting of hair, eating halaal and adultery. These are the four H’s.  Dyeing of beards and the wearing of mehndi is strictly forbidden ~  Asfokat Svaye, Sri Guru Dasam Granth 

ਕੁੱਠਾਹੁਕਾਚਰਸਤਮਾਕੂ l ਗਾਂਜਾਟੋਪੀਤਾੜੀਖਾਕੂ 

Eating halaal meat, smoking a pipe, hash, tobacco, ganja buds, religious hats and toddy wine consider these things dust ~  Rehitnama (Code of conduct) as written by Bhai Desa Singh Ji 18thC 

However, the Rehit Maryada (code of conduct) has been altered to suit scholars in the 1950s looking to create a better standardisation for the community to foster cohesion throughout. The char bujjar kurehits are open to interpretation as some argue Halaal can mean all meat is forbidden, and Hooka now includes all intoxicants e.g. illegal substances. Truth is, before the standardisation of the Rehit Maryada there were hundreds of impossible Hukkams (commands) to follow. Thus, many  denominations of Sikhs exist today, from Orthodox to non-Orthodox.

The fact of the matter is that for long enough maryadas (conducts) have been accepted and rejected to fit and suit the current time. Practising or being a Sikh should not infringe on your life whereby it is impractical. As time has seen we have evolved and abandoned certain disciplines and notions which were once followed by the Panth (community), notions by today’s standards would be seen as unnecessary or outdated.

The following are examples of Rehit (conduct) taken from Bhai Chaupa Singh Rehitnama which are rejected daily;

  • Sikhs should sit in a single line when eating together
  • A Gursikh should not talk while eating
  • A Gursikh should not talk while preparing food
  • It is an offence against rehit to wear shoes while eating


How many Sikhs do you know of washing their hair with yogurt? cooking and eating from iron? wearing blue dress? carrying 5 pieces arms daily? wears a 3 meter width Kashera (shorts) and a Kammarkassa (cummerbund)? etc.. According to the old Maryadas (conducts) roughly 99.9% of the Sikh community are in breach of the conduct or Tankhiya (punishable). Therefore, it is important to question yourself on how important you rank these rules that govern your Sikhi. But also remember that it should not be impractical to your life.

ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਦ ਛੱਲਾਦਿ

He keeps all iron chakars (discs) and karads (daggers)

ਪੰਜ ਸ਼ਸਤ੍ਰ ਧਰ ਦੇਹ ਪੈ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਨ ਗਾਤਰੇ ਰਾਖ

Wearing 5 weapons on the body, keeping a sword in the gatra (sling).

ਪਾਤਰ ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਕੇ ਭੁਗਤੇ ਅਸਨ ਸੁਆਦ

In dishes of all iron he should eat with pleasure.

ਲੱਕੜੀ ਕੋ ਭੋਜਨ ਭਖੇ ਨੀਲ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਮਿਰਜਾਦ

He cooks his food with fire wood, wearing blue clothes is the tradition.

ਕਛ ਅਢਾਈ ਗਜ ਮਾਨ ਸਾਫਾ ਭੀ ਤੁਲ ਤਾਸ

The Kashera should be 2 and 1/2 Gaj. Keep a waist belt (safa/kamar kassa) – Spoken by Siri Guru Gobind Singh ji (Siri Satguru Vaach), written in Bhai Daya Singh Ji Rehitnama ( Consolidated by Bhai Piara Singh Padam's Rehitnama Page 78)