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GLOSSARY OF SIKH TERMS

AdiGranth Adi means first. AdiGranth is the first edition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sikh Holy Scripture, as was compiled by Guru Arjun Dev Ji in the seventeenth century. The AdiGranth is kept in the Golden Temple at Amritsar, an important Sikh Holy Site.
Akal Purkh Akal Purkh means the Timeless One, or the One beyond time. This term is applied to name and describe God.
Akhand Path An uninterrupted continuous reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This is accomplished in shifts and takes about two days to complete.
Amrit Sweetened holy water prepared from ground sugar and water.
Amritdhari A baptised Sikh who has received Amrit and gone through the Khalsa initiation ceremony.

Anand Karaj The Sikh Marriage Ceremony.  Anand Karaj is a spiritual bond between a man and a woman in the presence of God.
Ardas A formal Sikh prayer recited at the conclusion of a service or ceremony.

Baba 'Father', a term of respect applied to holy men.

Baisakhi Birth of the Khalsa, New Year’s Day in rural Punjab, the first day of the month of Baisakh. Normally fixed date of 13th April.
Bani Works of the Gurus and other poets in the sacred text of Guru Granth Sahib. An abbreviation of Gurbani.

Bhai (or Bhai Ji) 'Brother', title of respect given for piety and/or learning.

DasamGranth Scriptures written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

DastarBandi Sikh Turban ceremony.

Daswandh One-tenth of income.

DeghTeghFateh 'Cauldron, sword, victory' - slogan of the eighteenth century Khalsa. May there be victory in the cauldron (that is, the community has enough to eat) and the sword (victory over the oppressors).

Dharamsala Place of worship for the early Sikh Panth, later to be known as a Gurdwara.

Gaddi The seat or throne of Guruship.

GatkaTraditional Sikh martial arts. The sport form is played by two opponents wielding wooden staves called gatka. These sticks may be paired with a shield.Gatka is a complete martial system which uses spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal portions to help one fully competent in defending themselves and others.

Granthi One who performs the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib at religious occassions, it may be a man or woman.

Golak Offering box.

Gurbani The writings of the Gurus.

Gurdwara The Sikh place of worship. It means 'Gateway to the Guru'.

Gurmukhi The written form of Punjabi used in the Sikh scriptures, propagated by Guru Nanak and Guru Angad.

Gursikh Someone who is deeply and sincerely devoted to the service of the Guru.

GurpurabThe celebration of the anniversary of the birth or death of a Guru.

Guru A spiritual leader sent by God. Gu means Darkness and Ru means Light. Literally translated, Guru means 'The Light that dispels darkness'.

Guru ManeyoGranth English: Granth Be Thy Guru. This refers to the historic statement of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), shortly before his death affirming the sacred Guru Granth Sahib Ji as his successor, thus terminating the line of human Gurus.

Gutka Book containing the daily prayers of the Sikhs.

Gyani Knowledgeable one, a learned Sikh

Haumai The self-centeredness (ego) of a human, which can only be overcome through meditation on God’s name (naam).

Hukam Literally "divine will." A decree by a high authority. Can also refer to a passage from the Guru Granth Sahib, selected by randomly opening the Sikh scripture during a daily ceremony. The passage is considered by Sikhs as the divine "command of the Guru" for the day.

IkOnkar IkOnkar means "God is One.

Jaikara Shout of victory, triumph or exultation. It is divided in two parts or phrases. The first, bole so nihal or jo bole so nihal, is a statement meaning “whoever utters (the phrase following) shall be happy, shall be fulfilled,” and the second part sat sriakal (Eternal is the Holy/Great Timeless Lord).
Kachhehra Special undergarment, resembling boxer shorts. Kachhehra is worn by Sikhs as a reminder to practice marital fidelity. It is a symbol of self-control. Kachhehra is one of the Five K.
Kanga Wooden comb carried by Amritdhari Sikh as a reminder to practice cleanliness. It is a symbol of hygiene and discipline. Kanga is one of the Five K.
Kara A steel bracelet worn by Sikh as a symbol of commitment to truthfulness, strength, and unity. Kara is one of the Five K.
KarahParsad A sacramental food served at religious ceremonies in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Karah Prasad is made of flour, sugar and ghee (clarified butter).
Karma A belief that if you do harm to someone, you will suffer because of your actions.
Kaur Denotes Princess. The surname given by the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji, to all female members of the Sikh community.
Katha Preaching from Guru Granth Sahib.

KeshUnshorn hair usually covered by a turban. Kesh symbolizes spirituality, living in a way God made us and the prohibition of harm to the body. Kesh is one of the Five K.
KhalsaIn Sikhism, Khalsa signifies 'Brotherhood of the Pure', and is often inferred (as a sign of respect) upon baptised Sikhs.  The term is also used as a collective description of the Sikh community.
KhandaTheKhanda is the emblem of the Sikh faith. It consists of four symbolic weapons.

KirpanA short sword or knife carried by Amritdhari Sikhs as a reminder to fight for justice and against oppression. Kirpan is one of the Five K.

Kirtan The devotional singing of sacred hymns, or shabads, from the Guru Granth Sahib, usually accompanied by instruments. Also referred to as ShabadKirtan.
Langar Free community kitchen. The devotional meal eaten by the congregation, as part of the religious service. Langar is free and open to all, regardless of religious background. Only vegetarian food is served in Langar.

Maya Materialistic things. For example money, gold, real estate and other worldly possessions.
NaamThe Name of God. Naam is recitated while meditating on God. Sikhs remember God by reciting Waheguru in meditation.

Naam Karan Sikh baby naming ceremony, held in Gurdwara.
Nishan Sahib The Sikh religious flag.

Nishkam Without desire 

Nitnem The daily Sikh prayers.

Operation Blue Star The Indian army attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar and other gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in June 1984.

PanjPiare "Five beloved ones". Often refers to the first five initiated Sikhs, during the Vaisakhi celebrations of 1699, who volunteered to give up their lives as a sign of their faith and love for their Guru. Currently, PanjPiare are necessary to perform baptisms, and officiate over special occasions like Gurpurabs etc.

Punjabi The language spoken by the Punjabi people. Most Sikhs speak Punjabi language.

Raagi A musician who is trained in performing kirtan.

RehatMaryada A formalized code of conduct setup by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth SikhGuru, for the Khalsa way of life.
SaadhSangat Company of the holy and wise people who are very close to God.
Sant A saint who is a true devotee of God and spends most of his time in meditation of God.
Sangat Literally translated "community." A Sikh congregation. Believed to be an essential aspect of living a spiritual and God-centered life. Also called SadhSangat, "holy congregation".

SantSipahi Literally "saint-soldiers." Guru Hargobind Ji decreed that Sikhs should be both devout followers of the teachings of the Gurus, while being prepared to take up arms for self-defense and protection of the oppressed.

Sarbat da bhala A Punjabi term which means "May everyone be blessed" or "May good come to all".

Sat Sri Akal A common Sikh greeting, meaning "God is True and Timeless."

Satsang True congregation.
Sewa (or Seva) Community service. A central aspect of Sikh theology; Selfless service, which is believed to bring one closer to God.

SewadarVolunteer in Gurdwara.

ShabadLiterally "Word." A sacred Sikh hymn from the Sikh scriptures. Shabads are sung in the Gurdwara Sahib and in holy congregations to praise God.
ShiromaniGurdwaraParbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.)Established in 1920, this elected governance committee, located in Amritsar, is responsible for the administration of Gurdwaras in India.

Sikh A follower of Sikhism. Sikh is a word derived from Sanskrit. Literally translated, the word means disciple or student.
Singh Means Lion. The surname was given by the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji to all male members of the Sikh community.
Waheguru Waheguru is a name for God. It means 'Wonderful Lord'.

Waheguru Ji KaKhalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh(Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory to the Wonderful Lord). This salutation was used for the first time among the Sikhs by command of Guru Gobind Singh at the time of the manifestation of the Khalsa in 1699.  Also a famous Sikh greeting.



 
 
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