For many people, at some point in their spiritual development, they realize that they are already living their lives according to certain principles. They are at that stage of their personal and spiritual growth where they have made significant changes in their lifestyle and commitment to Self. Sikh vows and taking Amrit are a way to seal one's inner commitment to oneself with the power of one's word.
There are two levels of commitment in Sikh Dharma. They naturally evolve from one another.
Sikh Vows are simple statements of commitment, understanding, and self-discipline. With Sikh Vows, we surrender to the Shabad Guru as our Guide to spiritual awakening.
Sikh Vows provide a foundation of living a certain lifestyle to further develop and enhance your spiritual practice. The vows include not cutting your hair; refraining from meat, alcohol and other stimulants; remaining celibate until married and maintaining a monogamous relationship with your spouse; and committing to meditation and prayer each day.
If you would like to find a Sikh Dharma International minister in your area to learn more about Sikh Vows, kindly contact Sarb Nam Kaur Khalsa at the Ministry Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amrit: The Path of the Soldier Saint
The most powerful vows on the path of Sikh Dharma are known as Amrit. Amrit is often translated as "nectar" into English. But the root sounds of the word literally mean, "Deathless Blood."
Amrit is a state of consciousness where a person knows in the very marrow of their bones that they are beyond the power of death; that the physical body and the mind are temporary - and that the eternal, undying Spirit within each one of us is who we truly are.
The story behind the Amrit vows is a very powerful one. To understand the historical background of Amrit, read The First Baisakhi, 1699.
Description of the Amrit Ceremony
The Amrit Ceremony re-creates this experience from 1699. It gives a chance for the Sikhs of any time, and in any country, to give themselves to the Light of the Guru in a complete and absolute way. Those who take Amrit commit to becoming protectors and custodians of the Universal Truths held within the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and, in fact, of all living beings. They also embody the spiritual way of life that the Sikh Masters created. Those who take Amrit commit to surrender everything - body, mind, property and life - to preserve this tradition and wisdom.
The Amrit Ceremony takes place during the Amrit Vela - the hours before sunrise. Five people who have already taken Amrit serve as the Panj Piaray. They represent the original five Beloved Ones who gave their heads to Guru Gobind Singh. Collectively the Panj Piaray is the channel of the Guru's Light for the ceremony. Gathering together in the Gurdwara, the people who will be taking Amrit meditate while the Panj Piaray stir water and sugar in an iron bowl, each one reciting one of the five Banis (daily prayers of the Sikhs). The power of the sacred vibrations infuse the water and, it is said, impact its molecular structure. The frequency of the Shabad enters the water and transforms it. When this process is complete, those receiving the Amrit come forward and participate in a beautiful and powerful ceremony of transformation - charged with the power of the Shabad Guru through the prayers of the Panj Piaray, the Amrit Sanchar (ceremony) opens the door for a person to manifest their purity and light in every aspect of their lives. This is the inner experience of Khalsa.