2. Amrit – Initiation in Khalsa | Sikh Code |v2

3) Amrit Ceremony (Immortal Nectar)

Amrit is the blessing of the Guru that makes the individual immortal and breaks the cycle of birth and deaths.

"Drink Amrit, live forever! Attain extreme bliss by meditating on God
(SGGSJ Aug 496)

Satguru by creating sweet Amrit and Karah Parshad (blessed sweet food) has blessed us greatly. By blessing us with Amrit of the Khanda, Guru Sahib has enshrined a new way of life for humanity.

To resolve the dispute of the four ages men and women have been given the one bounty of Nām." (SGGSJ Ang 797)

Differences in caste, creed, colour, men & women, rich and poor all have been eliminated.

"My True Guru has the power to kill and revive the dead."
(SGGSJ Ang 1142)

In accordance with this Guru Sahib beheaded the Panj Pyare (The Five Beloved Ones) and then brought them back to life with his spiritual powers.

Out of the same iron bowl the Panj Pyare drank the Amrit, and Guru jī also begged to be initiated with the very same Amrit which he had just bestowed, thus becoming initiated into the Khalsa Panth.

"The wonderful man who is beyond human description
and a great warrior with no match, was revealed.
Wonderful, Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh who became Guru and Sikh.
"
(Bhai Gurdas jī, Vār 41)

For future generations, it was established that only the Panj Pyare can bestow Amrit and bless the individual with Guru Mantra:

Thus no one individual can ever perform the Amrit ceremony on his own, Without taking Amrit one cannot regard him/herself as a Sikh of the Guru.

Even mentioning the name of a Guru - less person is sinful:

Without the True Guru, there is no Guru at all; The name of a Guru-less parson is bad." {SGGSJ Ang 435)

When a child reaches the age when they can abide by the Rehat Maryādā (code of conduct) he/she must take Amrit from the Panj Pyare.

Importantly, before taking Amrit, every person should remember that once initiated, he/she must only marry an individual that is Amritdhari. It is the individual’s responsibility that this is met. If the person is of a young age, then the parents and/or close family must accept the responsibility.

If a married person takes Amrit by themselves and their spouse is not Amritdhari, then he/she cannot have a physical relationship with them unless they too become Amritdhari.

Just as a clean dish coming into contact with an unclean one also becomes dirty, the same is true for a married couple (this is because it becomes difficult to maintain their discipline).

A husband and wife should take Amrit together in order for them to maintain their Rehat.

A married person does not have permission to take Amrit without their spouse, but if they insist they must abide by the above conditions.

The Provision of Amrit and the Selection of the Panj Pyare

The Singh's bestowing the Amrit should be of the highest discipline, true Khalsa.

One Singh is to be the Pehradār (guardsman at the door where the Amrit Sanchar is taking place).

Two highly disciplined Singh’s should prepare Karah Parshad and bring it into the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī and then recite Anand Sahib (the whole 40 verses).

All the instruments for the ceremony have to be of Sarab Loh, for example the bowls, bucket, vessel, cauldron, spatula, Khanda and two large Kirpans and a stone mortar is to be used.

All the items are to be cleaned with sand prior to their usage:

The Panj Pyare and Granthi Singh are to also clean their Kirpans and Karas; they are to have a full bath from head to toe prior to the ceremony (including washing their hair) and to wear fresh clothes for the ceremony.

They are also lo have Panj Ishnana (wash their hands, feet, and face) directly before entering the Darbar of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī.

Those who do the seva of Panj Pyare are to be of high morality and spirituality, very disciplined in every aspect of life.

Bhai Choupa Singh jī writes in a Rehatnāma that a Sikh should:

"take Amrit and not partake in any other form of religious initiation. The Sikh is to take initiation from those that are very spiritual and moralistic.

The Panj Pyare are not to be one-eyed, bald, lepers beardless, of bad habits, be thieves or gamblers and not entangled in vice.

From those that we get initiated from - we take some of their virtues as this is what they invest in the Amrit, that is why someone of high Sikhi discipline is to be sought to get initiated from."

The Panj Pyare and the Granthi Singh are to all wear the same colour clothes and these should be one of the following colours: saffron, blue or white.

Their Kirpans are to be worn over their clothes, a Kamar-Kasa (waistband) is to be tied and a parṇa (scarf like cloth) is to be placed around their neck before entering the Darbar. Their Gātras (Kirpan holsters) are not to be of leather.

The Pehradār is to be a highly disciplined Sikh.

The five Singh's are to humbly bow to Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī and stand up, the sixth Singh is to do the same and stand holding his hands together.

The Jathedar is to hold a large Sri Sahib in his right hand and do the Chaur sahib seva with his left. He is to question the sixth Singh: -

"Are you a highly disciplined Sikh?
Do you keep the discipline of the 5 Kakārs?
Have you committed any of the cardinal sins?
Do you recite the specified daily Nitnem prayers?

If the Singh is married, he is to be asked if his spouse is living in accordance with the Rehat Maryādā.

The Singh is to face the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jī and reply humbly that:

...with the Guru Ji's blessing I am living according to the Rehat Maryādā.
I have not committed any cardinal sin and do recite the daily Nitnem prayers.
I am physically complete, fit and healthy.

He should say that he is forever erroneous due to the entrapments of the mind (showing his humility). If he is married then he should say that his wife is also a highly disciplined Sikh and lives by the Rehat Maryādā.

The Jathedar is to question all the six Singhs individually, moving from his right to his left.

After the questioning is over- if all are suitable, one Singh becomes the Granthi Singh and the rest join the Jathedar in becoming Panj Pyare.

NB: Those taking part in the seva of Panj Pyare must know all the five prayers from memory, A Jakara (war cry) is only to be sounded on the last Ardas (supplication prayer) of the ceremony.

Ardas for the worthiness of the Amrit ceremony sevadars

The Panj Pyare are then to stand in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī and perform the following Ardas:

True Guru, Great King, questioning of the Panj Pyare and the Granthi Singh have been performed, please forgive us for our shortcomings make us able to prepare Amrit."

Questioning of candidates who wish to take Amrit

The candidates are to enter the Darbar one by one:

They must have fully bathed including washed hair), wearing - clean simple clothes, the five Kakārs and a Kirpan with a Gātra worn over their clothes. If married, then the Singh and Singhni must go together.

All candidates are to bow to Guru Sahib, rise and bring together their hands. If a couple - the Singh is to stand on the right hand side and the Singhni on the left hand-side.

The Jathedar of the Panj Pyare with a drawn Sri Sahib (large sword) in his right hand should ask the candidates why they have come to the ceremony.

The candidates with both hands together should reply that they have come to take Amrit, bless us with the gift of Amrit.

The Jathedar is then to ask, - will you live according to the Rehat Maryādā?

The candidates are to reply with humility that with the grace of the Guru that they will be able to achieve this.

The Jathedar is to say that they must consider their head and life as belonging lo Guru jī, always remaining within the practices of the Khalsa nation and never going against the Guru Panth:

From this day on, they ore to consider their body, mind and wealth as belonging to Satguru.

By earning an honest living Dasvandh (one tenth of earnings) is to be given to the Guru and life is to be conducted in accordance with the Rehat.

If someone has come to retake Amrit, the Jathedar is to ask which cardinal sin have you committed, why have you come to retake Amrit?

The person who has come to retake Amrit must freely admit to their mistakes or sins.

The Panj Pyare will then unanimously decide on the punishment. An Ardas for forgiveness will be performed and the person can then retake Amrit.

NB: The Ardas for forgiveness is to be performed with the final Ardas of the ceremony.

In the presence of the Panj Pyare and Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī appropriate punishment is meted out for sinful actions, but even the most serious mistakes and sins can be forgiven.

The person who comes and begs for forgiveness is not punished in the afterlife. In the Court of God and Dharmarāja (Vaheguru’s Judge) cannot punish that person.

If the person does not admit to their sins here, then they will get punished in God’s Court and may have to go through various life-forms, births and deaths as punishment.

The person that retakes Amrit is to accept the punishment meted out as being just and act upon it. Until all the punishment has been completed, the person is to consider themselves as sinful and their sins as not having been forgiven.

After completing the punishment, Karah Parshad is to be prepared and an Ardas is to be performed. That person can then consider themselves as forgiven and can become one of the Panj Pyare in future Amrit ceremonies.

Those taking Amrit for the first time do not get punished for their past sins/mistakes.

It is the duty of each Amritdhari Singh that he gets his Singhni to take Amrit or vice versa.

All the candidates are to have their beards flowing and not tied up in anyway.

Their turbans are to have been tied one layer at a time (not placed on their heads like a hat). The turban is to be saffron, blue, black or white.

The male candidates should not be wearing watches or any jewellery.

The female candidates are not to have any jewellery on their hands, in their ears/nose and their hair is to be in a bun/top knot and not in plaits. They should remain like this for the rest of their lives.

After the questioning of all the candidates has been completed, they are to stand in the presence of Satguru and the Jathedar then questions all of them collectively:

"Have you all had a full Ishnana (bath) including the washing of hair?
Are you all wearing a Kangha, Kirpan, Kara, and Kachera?"

When all the preparations are complete the Jathedar is to tell all the candidates that they must stand up and remain standing until the Amrit is prepared.

The candidates are to listen attentively to the Five Prayers and are to look directly at Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī, concentrating their vision upon Guru Sahib jī.

If any of the candidates encounter any serious physical problems whilst standing, then they should sit down. No one is to talk whilst the Amrit is being prepared.

The candidates should have love, fear and faith in Guru Sahib, that they are about to be blessed with Amrit and the cycle of births and deaths shall end.

Ardas to prepare Amrit

In order to maintain purity, the Khanda, the iron bowl and stone-mortar are to be washed thoroughly before use.

A woollen blanket is to be laid out, upon which a stone mortar is placed, on which the iron bowl with the iron Khanda is positioned.

Water from a river/spring, a well or a hand-pump is to be filtered before use and added to the Bata (the iron bowl). It is essential the area or mouth of tap, well, or hand pump is washed prior to taking the water for Amrit ceremony.

Similarly, Patase (sugar cakes) are to be fresh and checked for dirt or any defects before they are brought into the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī.

The Panj Pyare then performs Ardas:

True King, the Panj Pyare stand in your presence in order to prepare Amrit da Bata. As per your order, you will be present in the Panj Pyare:

We beg you to bless us with perfect concentration and pronunciation whilst reciting the Five Prayers. Bless us so we may be able to bestow Amrit upon the gathered here today."

Preparing Amrit

After the Ardas the Granthi Singh is to take a Hukamnāma from Sri Guru Granth Sahib jī, and the candidates are to remain standing after bowing.

The candidates are to fix their sight upon Guru Sahib and listen attentively to the Gurbani with their hands together. They are not to talk or wander about.

The Panj Pyare are to form a circle around the Bata and take up the Bir Āsan (a warrior stance in which the right knee is upright and the left knee is on the ground). The Panj Payre will add Patase (sugar cakes) to the water in the Bata turn by turn.

The Panj Pyare are to start from the right-hand side of Guru Sahib Ji and pass the Khanda from one to the other. It is to be held with four fingers clasped with the thumb at the top.

In the left hand a large Sri Sahib is to be held, the blade of which is to be rested upon the shoulder and the handle rested on the edge of the Bata.

Before commencing to recite Gurbani, the Granthi Singh is told to fix his sight upon the Bata and to mentally follow the prayers being recited.

The first Singh will concentrate on the Bata and begin reciting the Japji Sahib from memory, in a loud clear voice. He is to continually stir the Khanda in the Bata simultaneously as he recites Japji Sahib.

The other four Pyare are to place both their hands upon the Bata. They too will recite the Gurbani that is being read and concentrate on the Bata.

Upon completion of Japji Sahib, all are to respectively bow their heads and utter the Fateh - ’Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa. Vaheguru ji ki Fateh

When the Khanda is passed to the second Singh, it is to be kept in the Amrit and is to be passed to his hand. The Kirpan is also to be passed in the same way, maintaining complete contact with the Bata at all times.

The second Singh reads Jaap Sahib, the third reads Tvaeparsad Svaye ("Sraavag sudh..."),

the fourth Singh reads Kabyo Bach Benti Choupai (up to "...teer satudrav granth sudhara") and Svaye (“Paae(n) gahe jab te tumre...') and Dohra ("Sagal duar ko shaad kae...“).

The fifth Singh recites all forty verses of Anand Sahib.

After the complete recitation of each prayer, 'Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa. Vaheguru ji ki Fateh’ is uttered.

Whilst Gurbani is being recited no one is to utter a single word. They must not allow their eyes to wander around and through the whole ceremony must remain fully alert.

The ten eyes of the Panj Pyare looking into the Bata of Amrit are considered to be ten eyes of the ten Guru Sahibs looking into the same Bata of Amrit.

The placing of ten hands of the Panj Pyare on the Bata also have the same significance as if the ten Guru Sahibs hand's being placed upon the Bata of Amrit.

Ardas upon the creation of the Amrit

Once the Amrit has been created, the Panj Pyare are to lift the Bata upon their hands and stand up. The Jathedar is to carry on stirring the Khanda in the Amrit and perform Ardas:

True King with your blessing Panj Pyare have recited Five Prayers and created the Bata of Amrit. Whilst reciting the prayers and creating Amrit many mistakes could have been made, please bless us and forgive our faults.

In the Amrit is vested your unlimited spiritual power, please free those who have become initiated, from the cycle of births & deaths and assist them in upholding their Rehat, bless them with Gursikhi."

After the Ardas has been performed the Bata is to be placed upon the stone-mortar. A covering is to be placed over the Bata and held by the Panj Pyare and the candidates told to be seated.

The Granthi Singh then takes a Hukamnāma.

Bestowing Amrit

A blanket is placed on a table, upon which the stone-mortar and the Bata of Amrit is placed. Two smaller iron Batas are placed on the floor.

Men and women are separated and turn by turn each person steps forward. They will sit in 'Bir Āsan' placing their right palm over their left.

The Pyara bestowing Amrit is to place a hand full of Amrit into the hands of the candidates and he/she is to drink it with true love.

At this point the Pyara bestowing the Amrit is to say:
"Utter - Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa. Vaheguru ji ki Fateh",

the candidates are to respectively reply:
"Vaheguru ji ka Khalsa. Vaheguru ji ki Fateh."

The candidate is not to say "Śrī" during the Fateh nor is he/she to say "Utter/Bol."

In this manner the Pyara bestowing the Amrit is to place five cupped handfuls of Amrit into the hands to be drunk.

He splashes Amrit five times in the eyes and five droplets into the hair of each candidate and the Guru fateh is to be uttered as mentioned above for each time that Amrit is given to the candidate.

"The Sikh takes Amrit of the Pahul (cauldron/iron bowl) to become initiated according to the code of conduct. Five cupped handfuls are placed in his/her mouth, five in the head and five in the eyes..."
(Rehatnāma Bhai Choupa Singh ji, Shibar. p.9h

After taking Amrit, each person is to respectfully bow to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and utter the Gurfateh to all the Sangat.

When everyone has taken Amrit, then they are all to stand up in a line.

Two Pyare will hold the Bata in their hands and the candidates will in turn place both their hands on the Bata and take two mouthfuls of Amrit each. If there is still Amrit left then this should be shared out.

If an Amritdhari has committed a minor mistake, then he/she should be given appropriate punishment and Choola (a handful of Amrit) is to be given.

Punishment can be washing dishes, cleaning shoes, doing seva in the Langar or something of a similar nature. If the Panj Pyare wish, an individual can be told to recite Gurbani or meditate for a specific time or length as punishment.

An Amritdhari’s children should be given Choola and they are not to eat from the same plate as non-Amritdhari.

NB: If there are many candidates then more than two iron Bata's can be placed on the floor when administering Amrit.