Sikh Word Glossary

Adi Granth

Adi means first. Adi Granth is the first edition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Sikh Holy Scripture, as was compiled by Guru Arjun Dev Ji in the seventeenth century. The Adi Granth is kept in the Golden Temple at Amritsar, an important Sikh Holy Site

Akhand Path

A continuous reading from beginning to end of the entire Guru Granth Sahib. This is usually accomplished in shifts by a group of readers and takes about two days to finish.


Holy water – a mixture of sugar and water, used in ceremonies.

Anand Karaj

The anand karaj is the Sikh wedding ceremony. Anand Karaj means “ceremony of bliss.”


A special prayer that is done before performing or after undertaking any significant task. Ardas is recited after reading the daily prayers or completion of any religious service.


The ceremony marking the completion of a conclusion of a paath.


Whisk that is ceremonially waved over the Guru Granth Sahib as a symbol of respect.


Congregational worship where Guru Granth Sahib is present.


Closest concept to “priest” in Sikhism. It means a person of spiritual knowledge.


The writings of the Gurus as recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib.


Gurmukhi is the cursive script in which Punjabi is written. The word gurmukhi means “from the Guru’s mouth”.


Celebration of the anniversary of the birth or death of a guru, and of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib.


A gutka is a book containing a collection of the Sikh daily prayers.


Devotional singing of the hymns of the Gurus; divine music.


The langar is an open kitchen found in all Sikh Gurudwaras which provide free meals after Sikh services. The langar was instituted by Guru Amar Das, and is open to the public. The food served in the Langar is vegetarian in deference to the food restrictions of visitors of other faiths. Participants in the Langar are served while seated on the floor, a tradition emphasizing the equality of all persons.


The daily prayers that Sikhs are expected to read morning, sunset and bedtime.


A reading from the sikh scriptures. Paath may be done alone or in a group with others listening or reciting along.


The entire Sikh community.


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


Congregation; group of devotees.


Pool for bathing found at many Gurdwaras.


Service to one’s fellow beings.