As A Sikh, Who Do I Pray To?
Sikhing Answers - XXVIII
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TODAY'S QUESTION - # 28
As a Sikh, who do I pray to?
When I am alone in bed, for example?
Or in the gurdwara.
Or at home with my family, doing an ardaas.
While in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib?
Or at work, sitting at my desk in the office?
Posted on May 29, 2012
Closing Date: June 5, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Roopinder Singh Bains (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), May 29, 2012, 2:08 PM.
Sikhs pray to the Formless One - "nirankaar", the Everlasting One, "paraboobala".
2: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 29, 2012, 2:20 PM.
In the words of Bhai Vir Singh: "In time of trouble, offer ardaas,/ In time of peace, offer shukar,/ In day to day living, attach yourself in simran,/ The antidote for kalyug is shukar!"
3: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 29, 2012, 2:28 PM.
Ardaas is not a mere transaction. A baby's cry is heard by the mother and in an instant she is there. "jeea kee birthaa ho-ay so gur peh ardaas kar/ chhod si-aanap sagal man tan arap dhar/ poojahu gur kay pair doormat jaa-ay jar" [GGS:519.19] - "When your soul is feeling sad, offer your prayers to the Guru/ Renounce all your cleverness and dedicate your mind and body to Him/ Worship the Feet of the Guru and your evil mindedness shall be burnt away."
4: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), May 29, 2012, 5:41 PM.
Guru Nanak tells me to pray to the 'Creator of the Universe' ... the 'Formless One' ...the 'Deathless One'.
5: S.S. Chera (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), May 29, 2012, 8:18 PM.
As Sikhs, we remember and pray to the Creator of all, Supreme Being, Waheguru at all times, as we are guided by our Gurus.
6: Sophie Ouellet (Canada), May 29, 2012, 8:45 PM.
I am not a Sikh. However, if all is One, doesn't it all end up in the same 'place'? Praying is not so much reaching out to another identity as being in a state of unconditional love. Which is obviously easier said than done!
7: Gurjeet Singh (Happy) (Thailand), May 29, 2012, 8:50 PM.
As a child, my mother always taught me to do the Mool Mantar before going to bed, that has been my prayer everyday since I can remember, after which I follow with a normal prayer-conversation that I have about my troubles, worries, requests, gratitude - all of which is usually in English as it's easier for me to express myself thus. The question is, to who do I pray to? I thank my Gurus for giving me this lifestyle and gift of Sikhi, I however pray to that energy that gives us life, that created us and all that is around us. It could be a God that resembles us, a father or mother like figure, it could be anybody or anything, within our imagination or beyond our imagination, could be nature - the sun, the air, the water, it could be nowhere or everywhere, but the final connection I feel within myself is that I prayer to myself, to that energy or the soul within myself. Waheguru Ang Sang.
8: Angraj (London, United Kingdom), May 29, 2012, 9:45 PM.
9: Narinder (Sacramento, California, U.S.A.), May 29, 2012, 9:58 PM.
I pray to Guru Granth Sahib.
10: Kanwarjeet Singh (Franklin Park, New Jersey, U.S.A.), May 29, 2012, 11:21 PM.
Ever since I could understand what Waheguru meant, I have always interpreted this as the energy around all of us. More importantly, this energy is the purest and strongest in our hearts and minds. I pray to Waheguru - the 'God within'. This relaxes me and makes me realize the blessings I already have.
11: Babli Gujral (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 30, 2012, 12:47 AM.
I pray to Guru Granth Sahib. I always pray that "Waheguru, Gurmat deo!"
12: Ravinder Singh (Mumbai, India), May 30, 2012, 6:03 AM.
I pray to the one who was true before the ages began, has been true through the ages, is true, and will always be true. I also pray to my Gurus - Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, and Guru Granth Sahib - because as a Sikh I believe in the oneness of God, Guru and Gurbani.
13: Dharma (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 30, 2012, 6:29 AM.
14: Ravinder Singh (Mumbai, India), May 30, 2012, 8:24 AM.
I pray to the One God who is all pervading, is the truth, the creator, without fear, inimical to none, timeless, not in the cycle of birth and death and who once realizes, through the Guru and Grace.
15: Santa Kahlon (Singapore), May 30, 2012, 9:17 AM.
My prayer is firstly addressed to the All Pervading Waheguru. It is also directed to my mind. Through my prayer I hope to instruct my mind to practice the virtues of Sikhi in my daily life.
16: Manjeet Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 31, 2012, 10:18 AM.
In a sense, all the shabads in the Guru Granth are an ardaas to waheguru. Over the years, the Sikhs have developed a form of ardaas which can be done by all. Sikh history tells us that during the times of the Guru Sahiban, the names of the Gurus were taken and a short prayer stating the 'petitioner"'s request was made to God. From the time of Guru Arjan, however, the names of all the preceeding Gurus were mentioned and the pad (line), 'tu thakur tum pai ardas ...' was recited. After this pad, the plea of the Sikh was made in appropriate words. After the joti-jote of Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1708, Sikh records are scanty as to the form of the ardaas thereafter. After Banda Singh Bahadar's death in 1716, there was turmoil in Punjab. Sikhs were persecuted mercilessly. The Sikhs became guerillas and by 1733, they had become quite strong. The Governor offered a nawabship to placate them and guaranteed their unhindered access to Amritsar. This peace was shattered a few months later. Sikhs were again persecuted. Most Sikhs with the five kakaars fled to the hills and jungles. They were grouped into two brigades - the Buddha [older ones] and the Taruna [younger ones] l) Many heroic deeds were done by these dauntless Sikhs. In 1748, these two groups met and felt that two brigades had to be trimmed down into smaller units under the leadership of the jathedars. By this time, there were 65 bands of Sikhs under different Sardars! They carried out their operations independently of each other, although they all gave respect to Nawab Kapur Singh as their leader. It was Vaisakhi of 1748. All the Sardars agreed to reorganise themselves as the Dal Khalsa with a common aim of helping out each other. This Dal Khalsa was divided into 11 Misls or Division with a Sardar as Commander of his Misl. The Supreme Commander of all the Misls was Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. According to Principal Satbir Singh, it was at this meeting on 1748 that the main body of the ardaas we recite nowadays was agreed upon. The invocation to Waheguru [Ik Oangkaar Sri Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh] followed by a plea to the Ten Guru Sahiban and Guru Granth Sahib for 'saha-ae'. Then the important personalities who helped to shape and preserve Sikhism are entioned. [Punj Pyarey, Chaar Sahibzaadey, Chaali Muktay, etc]. It is a salute to their bravery and sacrifice. But we do not pray to them. Our prayer in the ardaas is addressed only to Waheguru and the Guru Sahibs.
17: Jaipreet Kaur (Holland), June 01, 2012, 12:31 PM.
I do Kirtan Sohila at night and when I recite, "gagan mein thaal rav chand ... sehas tav nain nun ..." I feel I am part of this universe and there is celestial music going all around me and He is part of me and part of everyone else around me. Ie feel a power within me and all around me.
18: Jagdeep (Punjab), July 08, 2012, 3:51 AM.
We are instructed: "sabh sikhan ko hukum hai guru maanyo granth" - this means that Sikhs should only follow the Guru Granth Sahib as their Guru and always do seva and be ready to serve for the betterment of humanity.
19: Ravinder Singh (Mumbai, India), July 20, 2012, 11:23 AM.
I worship the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh defines the Guru in Chaupai Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib describes the Guru through the shabad.
20: Hardev Singh (Delhi, India), September 24, 2012, 2:10 AM.
"sab sikhan ko hukam hai guru maanyo granth ..." This is all I can say :)
21: Justosh Singh (United Kingdom), October 23, 2012, 12:19 PM.
In the Guru Granth Sahin, as well as in Bhai Gurdas' compositions, we learn that Nirankar heard the cries of the world, then came down in the roop of Guru Sahib.
22: Prabhjot (Japan), March 28, 2013, 2:51 AM.
That's a good question - In my childhood days I used to pray to the pictures of our Gurus hanging on the walls or the Guru Granth Sahib whenever I made a visit to the gurdwara. For a long time it confused me at times, wondering who or what I should focus on, although in my times of distress I felt good when I recited the words Waheguru and Satnam. In my adulthood I had a picture of one of our Ten Gurus sitting in a white robe, eyes closed, with lit lamps around him, which used to comfort me when I closed my eyes in prayer. Though not all the pictures made me feel that way. But today, now that I'm a little wiser, I would say that we should all pray to Satnam because truth is his (God's) name. But if someone gets comfort and strength with Ik Oankar and also the two words Satnam and Waheguru - that would be just fine.
23: Tarachand Melvani (Panaji, Goa), June 13, 2013, 12:10 AM.
I pray to the One and only Akal Purakh Waheguru, the One Sat Naam, as described in the teachings of Guru Nanak.
24: Jasvinder Singh (Chicago, Illinois, USA), September 18, 2013, 2:13 PM.
As a Sikh, I am a student of my Guru. I go to my Guru for help, coaching and guidance. It is Guru's job to take me to the Lord. The relationship of a Sikh is with the Guru. Now the question becomes, who is the Guru? Shabad Guru or anybody or anything else? My understanding is that our Guru is only Shabad Guru. It is the Shabad Guru who is the source of enlightenment and knowledge.
25: Aashna (England), February 26, 2014, 1:01 PM.
What are the words to pray?
26: Lena (Malaysia), April 16, 2014, 1:02 PM.
Is Guru Nanak and Waheguru the same?
27: Gurvinder Kaur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 01, 2014, 8:33 PM.
In Guru Arjan's words: "jeea kee birathhaa hoe so gur peh aradaas kar ..." - When your soul is feeling sad, offer your prayers to the Lprd [GGS:519] Pleas try to read the whole shabad as it is very beautiful and inspiring. Really touches the soul.
28: Jagdeep Singh (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), December 13, 2015, 6:43 PM.
A Sikh prays to only Akaal Purakh, the timeless, formless, limitless primal being. There is no one else to pray to. All beings are his reflections. Whether Guru Nanak or Sahib-e-kamaal Guru Gobind Singh, or even a common man or a sinner like myself, all are His slaves. There is no other Master but One. Hence, praying to anyone else is only being lost in Maya. In Guru Granth Sahib, Gurus state that they themselves are sinners, worthy of nothing, have no quality (not that I wish to judge them; may I be a sacrifice to them). They all ask for Akaal Purakh's mercy. They all state that they have nothing special but Akaal Purakh's grace / blessings. Guru states that whatever he speaks comes from Akaal Purakh.