it necessary for a Sikh to take Amrit,
(initiation)? If don't take Amrit can
we still be considered close to the Guru?
Yes, to be a Sikh one has to join the
Sikh Panth, and for this, one is required
to go through the Amrit ceremony, initiation.
It is a promise made voluntarily, willingly
and sincerely in the presence of the Panj
Pyaras, to live the life of a Sikh. The
person is told about the Do's and Don'ts
to be observed by an Amritdhari Sikh.
Taking Amrit means making a public promise
to join the Khalsa Panth, to live a right
kind of virtuous life of sewa-Simran and
remain free from vices. If one wants to
benefit from being close to the Guru,
one must obey the command of the Guru
and then why should one hesitate to take
Amrit? Some persons are reluctant to take
Amrit because it means commitment to recite
Gurbaani regularly, live according to
its directions, and not to do wrong actions.
It should be made clear that one cannot,
on his own, declare himself to be a Sikh,
a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian.
Every faith has an obligatory ceremony
for a child to enter the faith of his/her
parents. Having been born in a faith,
one does not automatically become a member
of the faith. In the Sikh faith, the ceremony
is performed when one can practice the
faith and can read Gurbaani to understand
and follow it. As a matter of principle,
one born in a Sikh family is expected
to take Amrit anytime before marriage,
which is to be performed according to
If a Christian, a Muslim, or a Hindu keeps
long hair, does not smoke or drink, reads
Gurbaani and gives contributions to a
Gurdwara, he cannot on his own declare
himself to be a Sikh, a member of the
Panth. To join the Panth, he or she has
to take Amrit. A best player cannot himself
claim to be a member of a team unless
he joins the team and wears the uniform
of the team.
How to be close to the Guru?
Guru is a spiritual light to guide all
seekers to the holy path. No one has a
franchise on the Guru or God. Everyone,
whatever his faith, may be close to the
Guru to the extent one desires to be.
It is not the physical closeness, which
matters; it actually means how much you
listen to the Guru and how much you obey
him. The two sons of Guru Nanak Dev were,
of course, physically very close to the
Guru but did not listen to him, hence
they were spiritually away from him. Bhai
Lehna Jee, a devotee of a Hindu goddess,
became a disciple of the Guru. He listened
to the Guru and obeyed him; as a result
he became the Guru himself.
Gurbaani, the living spirit of the Gurus,
is with us. To be close to the Gurus,
we may recite it, listen to it and follow
it. This is the way to be in touch with
the Gurus and enjoy their sermons.