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The Sikh prayer known as "Ardās" was initially crafted by Guru Gobind Singh.

The Ardās is a special prayer in Sikhism, commonly recited during various occasions like worship services in Gurdwaras (Sikh temples), daily rituals such as morning prayers and nighttime rituals, ceremonies like naming a child or cremating a loved one, and other significant events in the Sikh community.

 

Different sections of Ardas 

The Sikh prayer known as "Ardās" was initially crafted by Guru Gobind Singh. He set the first eight lines and the concluding part, which are seen as permanent in Sikh tradition. The middle section has seen changes over time, especially by Tat Khalsa in the 20th century. An authorized version of the complete Ardas has been released by the Sikh Rahit Maryada.

 

The first part invokes God’s presence and the blessings of the first nine Gurus. The second part tells the story of the Tenth Guru's life, Sikh history afterward, the challenges faced, and sacrifices made for the reform of the temple  and keeping up the Sikh tradition. The third part is about a person's own thoughts and any special purpose or occasion. Finally, the Sikh prays for a humble mind, wisdom, the victory of the Khalsa Panth, "the Word," and the betterment of humanity.

A Sikh believes in a personal God whom they must approach regularly because they see Him as a friend and benefactor. Before starting any work or business, they recite a prayer. Even if they don't have time for a full ardas, they will still offer a short prayer. During the recitation, Sikhs typically stand with folded hands, some bowing their heads, and many uttering "Waheguru" at certain points.

 

Sikh prayer welcomes both men and women, emphasizing community participation. It honors Sikh sacrifices without mentioning their adversaries, aiming to inspire similar acts of bravery in the future. Prayer serves as a remedy for the mind's troubles and desires, replacing them with noble thoughts and aspirations. It requires introspection and a strive towards purity and nobility, clearing the mind of worldly concerns to invite peace.

The Sikh Ardas asks for a complete acceptance of Divine Will, believing it to be beneficial in the long run. Surrendering to God's Will allows Him to address one's problems, fostering trust in His mercy. This submission also diminishes the ego, bridging the gap between individuals and their Creator.

 

Reading the Guru Granth Sahib is itself a prayer. People look for guidance from the Guru. The Guru offers wise advice, but it's up to individuals to follow it. Just worshiping the scripture without applying its teachings in everyday life goes against the essence of prayer. Real prayer means putting the Guru's teachings into practice in daily life and constantly striving for spiritual growth.

 

*Based on an article by G. S. Mansukhani, published in sikh24.com on 16th July 2013

 

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