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All About the Sikhism Code of Conduct

Principles and Mandates of Sikhism


The Sikhism code of conduct is known as Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM) and outlines the mandates of daily living for every Sikh as well as requirements for the initiated. The code of conduct defines who is a Sikh and offers guidance for the Sikh in personal and public life. The code of conduct stipulates principles and mandates, according to the teachings of Sikhism's 10 gurus and includes protocol guidelines for worship, care of the Guru Granth Sahib and reading of scriptures, important life events, ceremonies, practices, rituals, baptism and initiation requirements, prohibitions and penance.

Code of Conduct & Conventions Document

Sikh Reht Maryada
Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

The Sikh code of conduct outlined in the document Sikh Reht Maryada, (SRM), is based on historical mandates and the decrees established by the teachings of Sikhism's ten gurus and baptism bequeathed by Tenth Guru Gobind Singh:

The present SRM was drafted by a committee of Sikhs (SGPC) from around the world in 1936 and last amended February 3, 1945:

Five Defining Essentials of Sikhism

Ik Onkar - One God
Photo © [S Kahlsa]

A Sikh may be born into a family who practices Sikhs or may convert to the Sikh faith. Any one is welcome to become a Sikh. The code of conduct defines a Sikh as one who believes in:

Gurdwara Worship Protocol and Etiquette

Gurdwara Bradshaw Worship Service
Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

The code of conduct includes the etiquette and protocol for worship in the gurdwara which houses the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's Holy Scripture. It is necessary to remove shoes and cover the head before entering any gurdwara. Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the premises. Gurdwara worship service includes singing traditional hymns, prayer and reading scripture:

Guru Granth Sahib Scripture Etiquette

Guru Granth Sahib
Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

The holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, is the eleventh and everlasting guru of the Sikhs. The code of conduct requires Sikhs to learn to read Gurmukhi script and encourages reading of scripture every day with a goal of repeatedly reading the entire Guru Granth Sahib. Etiquette and protocol is to be followed when reading and caring for the Guru Granth Sahib in the gurdwara or home:

Prashad and Offering of Sacrament

Blessing the Prashad
Photo © [S Khalsa]

Prashad is a sweet sacred delicacy made with butter sugar and flour and is offered as a sacrament to the congregation with every worship service. The code of conduct gives guidance for preparing and serving prashad:

Tenets and Teachings of the Gurus

Children's Camp Kirtan Class
Photo © [Kulpreet Singh]

The code of conduct incorporates both personal and public aspects of life. A Sikh is to follow the tenets of the ten gurus teachings and recognize the Guru Granth Sahib, (Sikhism's holy scripture) as sovereign from birth until death, regardless of whether or not they have opted for initiation and baptism. Every Sikh is to be educated about Sikhism. Anyone interested in conversion to Sikhism ought to adopt the Sikh way of life at earliest opportunity as they go about learning the precepts of Sikhism:

Ceremonies and Important Life Events

Wedding Ceremony
Photo © [Hari]

The code of conduct offers guidance for conducting ceremonies marking important life events. Ceremonies take place in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scripture, and are accompanied by singing hymns, prayer, reading scripture, and a communal meal from the Guru's free kitchen:

Amrit Initiation and Baptism

Amritsanchar - Initiation of Khalsa
Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

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