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Sukhmandir Khalsa

Rising Before Daybreak

By November 13, 2012

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The Sikh tradition is to rise three hours before sunrise, bathe, meditate until dawn, and at first light, begin morning prayers of Nitnem. As far as I know, the practice of rising before daybreak to worship is unique to Sikhism in that waking up during the first watch of day to contemplate naam is proscribed by Rehit Maryada code of conduct and outlined in the scripture of Guru Granth Sahib:

"Gur satigur kaa jo sikh akhaa-ae su bhalkae outth har naam dhiaavai ||
A seeker of the True Enlightener who calls them-self a Sikh of the Guru, shall rise in the early hours of morning and contemplate upon the Lord's Name".

The hymn goes on to instruct the seeker of enlightenment to perform isnaan, ablution of body and soul, in the sacred nectar of the sarovar and of Gurbani.

Bathing at Dawn
Bathing at Dawn
Photo [courtesy Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

Gur Satigur Ka Jo Sikh Akhaa-ae - "One Who Calls Them-self a Sikh of the Guru"
Top Ten Reasons To Read Nitnem Every Day
Top Nitnem Prayers Books in Gurmukhi and English

November 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm
(1) caite@a lovely shore breeze..on the Amafi Coast says:

lovely photo..
but rising three hours before sunrise would be very early these days.

November 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm
(2) sikhism says:

Now that day light savings time is over in our part of the world, there is an extra hour of darkness before daybreak ;) but it’s cold brrr…

November 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm
(3) Indrani says:

A holy sight!
The story of Bandi chor is new to me. Thanks for sharing.
Happy Diwali! :)

November 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm
(4) Reno, the Biggest Little City says:

That’s a beautiful, peaceful picture. It takes more faith than I have to get up so early and bath in cold water.

November 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm
(5) Colleen@LooseLeafNotes says:

Looks very peaceful. I like the carved lighted pumpkins.

November 14, 2012 at 8:26 am
(6) Susan says:

Morning is indeed the very best time for meditation and prayerfulness. I would imagine that the three hour span gets cut short by many in this modern era, when jobs and family responsibilities keep us from getting to bed at an early hour.

November 14, 2012 at 9:41 am
(7) eastcoastlife says:

Waking up that early takes discipline and taking a bath at that hour is incredible. Love the peacefulness in that picture.

November 14, 2012 at 10:08 am
(8) phylameana says:

I always marvel at people who rise early. My body struggles to get out of bed most mornings. My “ritual” upon waking is to look at the clock across the room to see if I have overslept or if I can catch a few more minutes of shut eye. I try to make all my appointments in the afternoon so I don’t have to rush around in the morning. I also do my meditation mid-day.

November 14, 2012 at 11:47 am
(9) imaddy says:

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful picture and the story of Bandi chor.

November 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
(10) Simply Delicious says:

Love the photo.

November 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm
(11) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

You are right Susan, going to bed on time is actually much harder than getting up on time but crucial to the success of the venture over time.

November 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
(12) Newlyweds Guide Francesca says:

Rising before daybreak is something I often do now that I have a baby. It’s a peaceful time. I can see why it’s appealing to those of your faith. The image is a beautiful one.

November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm
(13) Donna says:

What a lovely, peaceful and spiritual photo. It calms me just to look at it.

November 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm
(14) Kerry says:

Thank you for a peaceful moment.

November 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm
(15) AVCr8teur says:

Wow, one has to be quite dedicated to get up so early and bathe in the dark and cold, but the view is breathtaking.

November 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm
(16) AVCr8teur says:

I forgot to mention that was Grants Pass with all the bears on display on my blog. Sounds like you have been there. ;)

November 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(17) Molly Hall says:

This is intriguing, because the times I’ve woken up before dawn — when I was a baker — I did experience such a calm with all the world asleep. I just realized it’s very much like the dark of the Moon, and yet it’s the Sun cycle, happening every day. It feels to me like an in-between, and how powerful to meditate until the sun breaks. Thank you for this food for thought.

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