Sukhasan Ceremony Illustrated

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Sukhasan Ceremony Ardaas

Granthi Performs Sukhasan Ceremony Ardas
Granthi Performs Sukhasan Ceremony Ardas. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Wherever the Guru Granth Sahib has been installed with prakash, at the end of the day, the holy scripture is put to rest. After the final hukam of the worship service has been read, the Guru Granth is closed and draped with the rumala, or decorative coverlet, as the evening prayer of Sohila is recited. The sukhasan concluding ceremony commences with ardas, as the final prayer is performed. All the sangat, present in the congregation stand quietly and remain in place while the sukhasan ardas is reverently recited aloud. The granthi, or officiating attendant, respectfully waves the chaur sahib over the closed and covered volume of Guru Granth Sahib.

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Granthi Carries Guru Granth Atop His Head

Singh Carries Guru Granth Sahib atop His Head During Sukhasan Ceremony
Singh Carries Guru Granth Sahib atop His Head During Sukhasan Ceremony. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The granthi attending Guru Granth sahib places a clean cloth over his turban and then lifts up the volume which has been ceremonially closed and covered and places it on his head. The granthi carries the Guru Granth on his head as he walks to the left of the

palki

platform to begin the sukhasan procession.

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Panj Pyare Join the Sukhasan Procession

Sukhasan Ceremony Procession Commences
Sukhasan Ceremony Procession Commences. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The granthi is joined by by the Panj Pyare, a council of five all wearing saffron robes, or traditional chola worn on ceremonial occasions. Four of the Panj walk before, and one behind, the Guru Granth Sahib as they make the turn around the Palki platform.

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Nishan Sahib in Sukhasan Procession

Sukhasan Ceremony Procession in Progress
Sukhasan Ceremony Procession in Progress. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Two of the pyare, or beloved ones walk at the head of the sukhasan procession and carry the Sikh flag, or nishan sahib. One beloved walks at the rear and waves the chaur sahib over the Guru Granth Sahib being carried on the head of the granthi. A nagara kettle drum (not pictured) sounds loudly as it is rhythmically beaten from the sidelines. Its tempo quickens the pulse of onlookers.

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Child in Sukhasan Procession

Singhs Carry Nishan Sahib in Sukhasan Ceremony Procession
Singhs Carry Nishan Sahib in Sukhasan Ceremony Procession. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The nishan sahib carried by the pyare are embellished with the khanda coat of arms or Khalsa crest. A child is included in the sukhasan ceremony procession.

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Chaur Sahib in Sukhasan Procession

Singh Waves Chaur Sahib Over Guru Granth Sahib During Sukhasan Ceremony Procession
Singh Waves Chaur Sahib Over Guru Granth Sahib During Sukhasan Ceremony Procession. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Chaur sahib seva is performed as an act of respect by the pyare walking behind Guru Granth Sahib carried on the head of the granthi. The sangat stand and join in as the procession makes a turn to walk in front of the palki where offerings of milk for langar have been placed.

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Performing Parkarma

Sangat Follows at Rear of Sukhasan Ceremony Procession
Sangat Follows at Rear of Sukhasan Ceremony Procession. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Shoes are never worn in side the gurdwara as is evidenced by the bare feet of the panj pyare performing parkarma, or respectfully circumambulating the altar area by walking in a complete circle around the palki platform.

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Sangat Pays Respects

Suhhasan Ceremony Circumambulating Guru Granth Sahib
Suhhasan Ceremony Circumambulating Guru Granth Sahib. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The sangat stand with folded hands to pay their respects to Guru Granth Sahib as the final turn is made and the stairway to Sachkhand approached. The Sikhism code of conduct advises everyone present to stand whenever any volume of Guru Granth sahib is being transported, even if another volume of Guru Granth Sahib happens to be open.

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Stepping Up to Sachkhand

Sukhasan Ceremony Proceeds Up Stairs to Sachkhand
Sukhasan Ceremony Proceeds Up Stairs to Sachkhand. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The panj pyare make the final turn and mount the steps to Sachkhand, a room at the top of the stairs which has a bed where the scripture of Guru Granth Sahib will be put to rest for the night. The

palki

platform has been stripped of decorative rumala coverlets. Pillows have been removed and stacked for the night.

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Sangat on Stairway to Sachkhand

Sangat Mounts Steps to Sachkhand During Sukhasan Ceremony
Sangat Mounts Steps to Sachkhand During Sukhasan Ceremony. Photo © [S Khalsa]

As the panj pyare pass by with Guru Granth Sahib, more of the sangat joins in the sukhasan procession. Every one proceeds to mount the steps on the stairway to Sachkhand where the Guru Granth will be laid to rest.

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Sachkhand sukhassam

Sukhasan Sangat in Sachkhand
Sukhasan Sangat in Sachkhand. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Sachkhand is a narrow room reserved for sukhassan with a bed upon which rest copies of the scripture of Guru Granth Sahib which are not in use. Every one bows respectfully as the Granth is transferred to the bed. A rousing jakara, "Jo Bole so Nihaal," is called out loudly. Sangat respond in one voice with "Sat Siri Akal."

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Sukhasan Ceremony Conclusion

Sukhasan Ceremony Concludes With Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib at Rest
Sukhasan Ceremony Concludes With Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib at Rest. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Panj Pyare and sangat exit Sachkhand where the Guru Granth Sahib is in sukhasan at rest on the bed beneath sheets which protect the scripture from dust until which time the scripture is opened in the prakash ceremony.

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Shastar Seva

Sukhasan Ceremony Shastar Seva
Sukhasan Ceremony Shastar Seva. Photo © [S Khalsa]

At the conclusion of the sukhasan ceremony Panj pyare perform shastar seva removing, cleaning, and arranging, weaponry displayed on the palki in the gurdwara.

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Rumala seva

Sukhasan Ceremony Arranging Rumala
Sukhasan Ceremony Arranging Rumala. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The final seva of the sukhasan ceremony is removal, changing, and cleaning, of rumala draperies which adorn the palki platform where the scripture of Guru Granth Sahib is installed when opened in prakash.

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Doorway to Sachkhand

Doorway to Sachkhand
Doorway to Sachkhand. Photo © [S Khalsa]

An external doorway leads to Sachkhand, meaning realm of truth, the room where Guru Granth Sahib is kept in sukhasan.