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Sikhing Answers

What Is A Vaak?
Sikhing Answers - XVII




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What is a Vaak? Why do we 'take' it?

How do we 'take' a Vaak? Is it the same as receiving "Hukam"?

What is its significance?

Who does it apply to?

When do we take one? How often?

Who takes it?


Is anyone restricted from taking it?

Posted on March 26, 2012

Closing Date: April 2, 2012


Conversation about this article

1: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 26, 2012, 6:07 PM.

The verses in gurbani constitute The Word for Sikhs. Therefore, for a Sikh, each hymn is His Hukam literally, a pronouncement. Hukam has another meaning in Sikhi - The Law, or The Order of Things, and every one is subject to Hukam. No one is exempt from or outside the divine command; that is, the Divine Will. To abide in Hukam is accept life as it presents to oneself. It is simply saying, "Yes, I accept", it is surrendering to all blessings - joy and suffering - as God's Will, (bhaana). Hukam is an essential part of the teachings of the Gurus. As a daily exercise, we open the Guru Granth at random, and the full verse at the top of the left page is selected, also known as the "vaak" or the Hukam. We are encouraged to meditate on that verse for the day or for a while, even though no extra or special significance need to be accorded otherwise to that verse. There is no superstition to be attached to the randomness of the selection. When in a congregation, the Hukam is read out aloud and shared with all. The sangat does not participate in this reading ... it silently "receives" the Hukam for personal contemplation. Thus, a Vaak or Hukam is also 'taken' at the commencement of any significant occasion, celebratory or sombre, merely to help give focus for one's thoughts for the day.

2: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), March 26, 2012, 11:05 PM.

The key is in not only listening to the Vaak attentively but in understanding it. And letting the message then guide you for the rest of the day.

3: Inder Singh (TarnTaran, Punjab), March 26, 2012, 11:24 PM.

It is the reading from the Guru Granth which immediately follows the congregational ardaas near the end of a service in a gurdwara ... or at home. The man or woman doing granthi seva then opens the Guru Granth at random, and reads loudly from the first full hymn at the top of the page on the left. Ideally, it should be done slowly and clearly and, if possible, with a very short explanation or translation right after it, so as to inspire the congregation. It is like a daily affirmation or inspiration. The Vaak is followed by the distribution of karah parshad, which marks the end of the service.

4: Chintan Singh (San Jose, California, U.S.A.), March 27, 2012, 1:28 PM.

Is there a particular maryada about where to start the hukamnama or vaak, i.e., if the shabad on the top of the left page is a continuation from the previous page, should the shabad starting at the bottom of the previous page be considered the hukam, or is it the first new shabad starting on the left page?

5: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 27, 2012, 5:33 PM.

S. Chintan Singh ji: On GGS:783, the last shabad on the right, Suhi Mahalla 5 - "santaa(n) ke kaaraj" - ends on 784, on the left side. This was the first hukam/vaak taken by Baba Buddha ji upon the investiture of the Adi Granth at Darbar Sahib in 1604. The same tradition is being followed ever since.

6: Balbir Singh (Germany), March 29, 2012, 3:52 PM.

Were the Gurus also taking vaaks?

7: Jaimal Singh (United Kingdom), March 29, 2012, 4:40 PM.

Balbir Singh: I think comment #5 above answers your question fully. Remember, when the Gurus were around, the sangat had the benefit of hearing from them directly. The idea of a daily inspiration arose only when we had the Guru Granth as our Guru.

8: Davinder Kaur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), September 30, 2012, 11:09 PM.

Could anyone tell me what page this Vaak comes from? "tum daate thakur ... Naanak khasam hamaare". [EDITOR: Guru Granth Sahib, M5, page 673, line 19.]

9: Sidak, Jashdeep & Sehaj (Tracy, Calfornia, USA), May 05, 2013, 2:14 PM.

The Vaak is read in the morning; it is a message from God from which you should get inspiration and follow for the rest of the day. The significance of the Vaak can be enhanced if the granthi or the person reading it translates it in simple terms. Hence, the message will inspire more people in the congregation and allow them to ponder upon, or contemplate on how to contribute to society or one's well-being. It applies not just to an individual, but the community or society too.

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Sikhing Answers - XVII"

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