Glossary of Religious Terms A to G

Adi Granth
Adi means first, Adi Granth is the first edition of the Guru Granth Sahib as was compiled by Guru Arjun in 1604.

Akal Purukh
It means Timeless One, or The Being Beyond Time and is applied as a name of God.

Akhand Path
An uniterupted continous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is undertaken by a team of readers and takes approximately 48 hours.

It means nectar. It is sugar water which is used during the Khalsa initiation ceremony.

Amrit Bani
A term applied to the Sikh Scriptures, meaning the words are as sweet as nectar (amrit).

Amrit Vaila
The early morning hours of dawn. This is considered an auspicious time for meditation and prayer as stressed by Guru Nanak.

A Sikh who has undergone the Khalsa initiation ceremony.

The rite of initiation into the Khalsa brotherhood.

A state of bliss which defies description. It is also the name of a composition by Guru Amar Das found on pg. 917 of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Anand Karaj
The Sikh wedding ceremony.

Anand Sahib
Composition by Guru Amar Das found on page 917 of the Guru Granth Sahib. Parts of it are used in a number of Sikh ceremonies.

Anbhav Prakash
The enlightened perception of reality which is enjoyed by a person who has become a gurmukh.

Antim Ardas
The last of the Sikh funeral rites.

Wealth, it is acceptable to acqure wealth, but it should not become an end to itself.

Asa Di Var
A collection of hymns ment to be sung at dawn.

The soul which is considered immortal.


Babur Bani
References to the invasion of India by the Mughal emperor Babur found in the Guru Granth Sahib. God is said to have sent Babur as deaths messanger.

The celebration which takes place every April 13th. Guru Amardas initiated the annual gathering of Sikhs at Goindwal in 1567. In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa order on this day.

Compositions about the twelve months. By Guru Arjun in Raga Majh, by Guru Nanak in Raga Tukhari and by Guru Gobind Singh in Krishavtar.

An abbriviation of Gurbani, applied to any of the writings which appear in the Guru Granth Sahib.

An appeal for assistance made to Sikhs world wide.

Bhagat Bani
Any of the writings which appear in the Guru Granth Sahib which were not written by the Gurus.

The ceremony marking the conclusion of a Path.

Bole So Nihal
Part of the Sikh salutation meaning "anyone who speaks will be happy."

Buddha Dal
The 'army of veterans' formed by Nawab Kapur Singh in 1733 to look after Sikh holy places, preach and initiate new converts to the Khalsa order.


The canopy which is placed over the Guru Granth Sahib.

A poetical composition consisting of four lines in a specified meter.

Charan Pahul
Baptism ceremony involving the drinking of water which the Guru or a member of the Gurus family had dipped their feet in.

A four line stanza form used by some of the Gurus.

Yak hair or manmade fiber embedded in a metal placed in a wooden handle. It is cerimonially waved over the Guru Granth Sahib as a symbol of respect.

A disciple of the guru, used in the Guru Granth Sahib to refer to Sikhs.

Clothing of the Gurus. Also applied to the coverings of the nishan sahib at a gurdwara.


Dal Khalsa
The Khalsa army set up on Baisakhi day 1748 and divided up into 11 misls.

Dasam Granth
The book of writings of Guru Gobind Singh compiled after his death by Bhai Mani Singh and finished in 1734.

Giving of one-tenth of ones income to charity.

Deg Teg
The dual responsibility of the Panth to provide food and protection for the needy and opressed.

One who sings the praises of God.

Dharam Yudh
War in the defence of righteousness.

Religion or teaching or lifestyle, as in Sikh Dharma.

Indian festival also celebrated by Sikhs. From the time of Guru Amar Das onwards Sikhs annually gathered on this day. In 1577 the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib was also laid on this day.

Congregational worship where Guru Granth Sahib is present.

Verse form used commonly by Guru Nanak and Kabir consisting of stanzas of two rhyming lines.


Forty Immortals
Forty Sikhs who died in the battle of Muktsar in 1762 and blessed by Guru Gobind Singh.


The seat or throne of guruship.

A person of spiritual knowledge.

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

Sikh ideal is that of being married, having a family, earning ones living by honest socially useful employment, serving ones fellow human beings and worshipping God.

The writings of the Gurus.

Name given to a Sikh temple. It means 'Gateway to the Guru'.

A general term for Sikhism, including the teachings of the Gurus, as well as the Rahit Maryada.

A resolution passed in a council presided over by the Guru or the advice of the Guru.

Someone who has become God oriented and God filled instead of self centred (manmukh).

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

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

The celebration of the anniversary of the birth or death of a Guru. Also applied to the anniversary of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1604 or the deaths of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh.

Book containing the daily prayers of the Sikhs.