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The Key Aspects We Covered

In the final moments of life, and at the time of passing, the Sikh family encourages their ailing loved one to focus on the divine by reciting “Waheguru,” or suitable passages of scripture from the Guru Granth Sahib. In Sikhism, after a death occurs, funeral arrangements are made by the family which includes conducting a Sehaj Paath, or a complete reading the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sehaj paath is carried out over a period of ten days following the funeral ceremony after which formal mourning concludes.

In Sikhism, a funeral ceremony may take place at any time of day or night, as is convenient and be either formal or informal. Sikh funeral services are meant to induce detachment and promote resignation to the will of the divine. A service may be conducted:

  • Out of doors

  • In a gurdwara

  • At a funeral home

  • At the home of relatives

Every Sikh funeral service, however simple or complex, consists of reciting the final prayer of the day, Kirtan Sohila, and the offering of Ardaas. Both may be performed prior to cremation, the scattering of ashes, or otherwise disposing of remains.

The ceremony in which the Sehaj Paath is begun, may be held when convenient, wherever the Guru Granth Sahib is present:

  • Hymns are sung from the scripture of the Guru Granth.

  • The first five and final verses of “Anand Sahib,” the “Song of Bliss,” are recited or sung.

  • The first five verses of Sikhism’s morning prayer, “Japji Sahib,” are read aloud to begin the Sadharan Paath.

  • Hukam, or random verse, is read from the Guru Granth.

  • Ardas, a prayer, is offered.

  • Prashad, a sacred sweet, is distributed.

  • Langar, a meal, is served to guests.