Chaupa Singh Rahit-Nama IV


The Preparation and Consumption of Food

The Preparation of food

The Sikh who can afford a cook should employ only a Sikh. He must never employ anyone who smokes a hookah, wears a top cuts his hair, steals, fornicates, gambles, or otherwise flouts the Rahit. Shoes must never be worn in a kitchen. Hands must be washed before kneading dough and finger-nails should not permitted to grow long. Remain silent while preparing a meal. Burn wood when cooking, not dung. If wood is insufficient burn
equal parts of wood and dung. [84, 86, 105, 298]


Eating and Drinking

A Gursikh should wash his hands and feet, rinse his mouth, an say `Sat nam vahi guru’ before eating. Before commencing heshould also put aside a portion as an offering to the Guru. Take care not to begin to eat before a guest does so. Sikhs should sit in a single line when eating together. Before eating a Gursikh should remove his shoes, but not his turban. Do not talk while eating and do not stand up if anyone arrives during the meal. When others are present do not eat carelessly, spitting out particles of food. Eat no more than is necessary to satisfy your hunger. A Gursikh is strictly forbidden to eat meat killed according to Muslim rites. If possible he should also avoid drinking water from a leather bag. He should certainly never drink water served by a Muslim. A cup received from someone who cuts his hair must be washed before it is used. A Gursikh will never give others food that he has already tasted. He will never eat food left by a woman. [8, 10, 42, 52, 104, 119-20, 299, 301, 342, 372, 399, 521, 542]


 Weapons and Warfare


The obligation to bear and revere arms

A Gursikh should carry weapons, both large and small. He should always have at least one weapon on his person. A Gursikh should revere and worship his sword (sin sahib). Worship is due first to the Guru and secondly to the sword. The right to rule is won and sustained by the sword. Arms should only be used, however, when there is good cause for so doing. [41, 146, 188, 196, 250, 279, 322, 332]


The fighting Singh’s equipment

A Singh should regularly practise the use of his weapons to ensure that he maintains and improves his skill. A Singh should wear a kachh made from strong cloth, not a flimsy article which will fail to serve its purpose. A weapon should never be left uncleaned. [189, 193-4, 197]


The Need for Vigilance

A Singh should never keep his sword on his person while defecating. Place it some distance away to ensure that it is not defiled, or else entrust it to another Singh who will keep watch for him. He must remain ever alert, even when sitting and thinking or when defecating. He will always remain ready to spring into action with his sword. He should always sleep prepared, clothed and wearing a turban. His sword should never be carried behind his back nor slung over the shoulder with the hilt behind the shoulder. Never entrust your sword to a Muslim while you walk ahead. A Singh should don his kachh as soon as he has bathed, regardless of whether it is wet or dry. [189, 191, 195, 198, 204, 328-31]


The Battlefield

A Singh should never turn his back in battle. Always aid a wounded, disabled, or exhausted Sikh on the battlefield. Always have a slain Sikh cremated on the battlefield if possible. [190, 418, 4201



Personal relationships amongst Sikhs should be based on the belief that there is only one caste and only one lineage for those who are followers of the one true Guru. Sikhs should, however, observe the distinctive customs of their various castes, and they should marry according to the traditional prescriptions of caste and lineage. This they should do in order that no stigma may attach to their name. Sikh marriages should be performed by Brahmans. Brahman Sikhs should receive double the deference and attention normally bestowed on a Sikh. In the langar, however, Brahmans should not be seated in front of others. All should be required to sit in the same line and Brahmans should not necessarily be served first. [11, 24, 79, 120-1, 499]


Women’s Duties

Personal Behaviour

A Gursikhni should maintain a dutiful and placid disposition as a wife. She should regard her husband as her lord, serving him better food than other members of the family and instructing him in the principles of the Sikh faith. A Gursikhni should never abuse or berate, nor should she fight with one. She should spurn ridicule, mockery, vulgar jokes, and obscene language. She should not sing coarse songs at weddings or at any other times. The songs which she sings should always be chaste and wholesome. A Gursiklmi should not bathe naked, nor should she stand naked in water and cast it towards the sun. [550, 552, 554, 556-8, 565, 567]


Cooking and Serving Food

A Gursikhni should wash and cleanse herself with fresh earth before preparing or serving food. To avoid pollution a Gursikhni should observe the following rules while preparing food:

She should not speak.

If she clears her nose or scratches her body she should wash her hands before proceeding.

 Small children should be kept out of her cooking area. [551, 562-3]


Women’s prayer and devotions

Before reciting the Gunt’s mantra a Gursikhni should bathe, or at least wash her hands and feet and rinse her mouth. She should visit the dharamsala twice daily; she should keep her head covered in a satsang; and she should learn portions of the sacred scripture by heart. She should not read the Granth Sahib in a Sikh assembly. A Gursikhni should spin cotton, and with it weave cloth to be used as a wrapping (rumdl) for the Granth Sahib or as a covering for the dharamsala floor. She should not offer prayers at tombs or cenotaphs. Sword baptism is not to be administered to women. [506, 538, 553, 559-60, 566]


Social Relationships

A Gursikhni should not keep the company of men other than those of her own family. She should not sit with malicious women, exchanging gossip with them. Social contacts with women belonging to the Five Reprobate Groups (panj mel) are to be avoided. [555, 564]


Travel and Pilgrimage

Visiting a pilgrimage centre does not free a Gursikh from obedience to the Rahit. If he decides to go on pilgrimage, he should visit only places associated with the Gurus. Before commencing any journey, he should ffer Ardas to the Guru and ask for his protection. When he returns he should proceed to his dharamsala as soon as possible and make his thanksgiving. When on pilgrimage he should not accept support from offerings made by others if this can be avoided. He should himself make offerings in order that others may be fed. Any Gursikh traveller in need should receive assistance from local Sikhs regardless of his capacity to pay. [108-9, 111-12, 121, 135, 537]



Main Index


Excerpts taken from : Sikhs of the Khalsa : History of Khalsa Rahit
W.H.Mcleod Oxford Press 2003




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