Glossary of Religious Terms M to R


Sikh festival held annualy on January 14 to celebrate the memory of the marytordom of the Forty Immortals in battle at Muktsar.

Used in the Guru Granth Sahib to indicate the author of a composition by the Gurus. Each Guru used the name Nanak, for example Mahala 5 is Guru Arjun, Mahala 3 is Guru Amardas.

Corrupt officials who had control of the gurdwaras prior to the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gaining control in 1925.

The stool or string bed upon which the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on as a symbol of its sovregnity.

A wool cord with knots used as an aid to prayer or meditation.

A person who is self-centered and has forgotten God, the opposite of a Gurmukh.

Matta tekna
Bowing down and touching the floor with your forehead in front of the Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect to the Living Guru.

The dillusion of being wrapped up in the material world and attached to it.

Any Sikh religious festival other than the birth or death of a Guru.

Miri & Piri
The concept of spiritual and worldly matters. Sikhs are expected to maintain the balance between the two, this idea was introduced by Guru Hargobind and represented by two swords.

A f ighting unit of the Sikh armies of the eighteenth century.

Spiritual liberation from the cycles of birth and death.

Mul Mantra
It is the opening lines of the Japji by Guru Nanak and the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is considered the cornerstone of Sikhism. "God is one. His name is True. He is the Creator. His is without fear. He is inimical to none. His existance is unlimited by time. He is beyond the cycles of birth and death, self existent and can be realized through the grace of the Guru."

The word means seal and refers to the concluding poem by Guru Arjun in the Guru Granth Sahib which describes the spiritual qualites of reading and following the Guru Granth Sahib.


A kettledrum found in some gurdwaras and introduced by Guru Hargobind to be beaten when langer was ready. It is also a symbol of royal authority.

Name, name of God. Sikhism places emphasis on the rememberance of God through meditation on Gods name.

Nam Japna, Kirt Karna, Vand Chakna
Meditation on Gods name, honest work and giving to charity. Three fundamental requirements for Sikhs.

Nam Simran
The rememberance of God through meditation.

Nanak Panthi
A follower of Guru Nanak.

An order of Sikhs who follow the soldier lifestyle of the time of Guru Gobind Singh. They wear blue robes and reject household comforts.

A name of God meaning the one who has no physical form.

Applied to God meaning one without form or material attributes. God is considered beyond human knowledge and comprehension.

The daily prayers that Sikhs are expected to read. Nitnem consists of reading Japji of Guru Nanak, Jap and Ten Swayyas of Guru Gobind Singh in the morning; Rahiras, a collection of nine hymns by Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das and Guru Arjun at sunset and Kirtan Sohila, five hymns by the same three Gurus at bedtime.


God as the Primal Being. Also refers to a compositon of Guru Nanak which appears of page 929 of the Guru Granth Sahib.


Division of a hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib, it varies in length from one to four verses.

The wooden, golden or marble palaquin in which the Guru Granth Sahib is ceremonially installed.

Panj Kakke
The five physical symbols which must be worn at all times by Khalsa Sikhs; kachha (briefs), kangha (comb), kara (steel bracelet), kes (unshorn hair) and kirpan (ceremonial sword).

Panj Piaras
The five beloved ones, referring to the first five Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa order by Guru Gobind Singh. Five Khalsa Sikhs are required for initiation of a new member.

The entire Sikh community.

The walkway around the sarovar (pool) found at many gurdwaras.

A Khalsa Sikh who has failed to live upto the vows of the Khalsa order.

Prakash Karna
The early morning ceremony when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally opened and the days worship begins.

A reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.

A stanza of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Verses in the Guru Granth Sahib, their length and metre are both variable.

Circling of the Guru Granth Sahib during the wedding ceremony.

A book or volume of religious hymns.


A tune or the series of five or more notes upon which it is based.

Rag Mala
The last composition in the Guru Granth Sahib. It is a listing of 84 rags used in Indian music in the early seventeenth century.

A musician who sings the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib in gurdwaras.

A collection of 9 hymns, 4 by Guru Nanak, 3 by Guru Ram Das and 2 by Guru Arjun which are read at sunset as part of Nitnem.

Rahit Maryada
The Sikh Code of Conduct concieved by the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Rahit Nama
A manual of conduct for Khalsa Sikhs. There are a number of them by various Sikhs dating back to the eighteenth century.

Raj Karega Khalsa
The battle cry of the Sikhs during the rule of Banda Singh Bahadur meaning "The Khalsa shall rule". It is the concluding line of the daily prayer Ardas.

The cloth which is used ceremonially to cover the Guru Granth Sahib.