While in the presence of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and when reading in an the Akhand Paath, everyone should have their heads covered and readers should wash their hands prior to sitting down and touching the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Maintaining the Sound Current
An Akhand Path is the continuous reading of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib which is completed in 72 hours. As a part of this continuous reading, when a reader begins their reading slot, they continue reading until the next reader replaces them.
Readers should not stop reading! If for some reason, a reader loses their place while reading, they can briefly chant wahe guru while quickly finding their place again. Also, readers should not read silently; it is important to keep an unbroken sound current going throughout the entire Akhand Path.
How to Transition Between Readers
Since reading is continuous with no breaks in the recitation, when it is time to switch readers, the person reading should point to exactly where they are so the next person can easily see. The next reader should start reading together with the current reader until they are sure that the next reader has fully taken over the reading. This ensures that no words are skipped and the transition is completely smooth.
What Speed to Read
When reading an Akhand Path using a translated version in English, it takes 3 days from start to finish. (reading in English is slower than reading in Gurumukhi). People read at different speeds or may be reading in other languages which have varying speeds, so the general guideline to keep the Akhand Path ending on time is to read 65 pages for each one hour reading period. On the sign-up sheet there is a page range indicated for each hour. Before starting to read, check the page numbers on the sign-up sheet. If the place you start reading at is ahead or behind, you can adjust your reading speed accordingly.
If Communication is Needed with or by the Reader During their Reading Period
If the next reader hasn’t arrived yet at the end of their reading time, or the reader is having some kind of difficulty, the current reader can notify the sevadar that there is a problem by ringing the bell next to them. It’s important to keep reading until someone comes to replace you. When the next reader arrives, point out where are you reading until you hear the next reader has taken over completely where you are leaving off.
If someone needs to communicate something to the current reader, start reading as if it’s your turn to read and pass the note to the reader. The reader will either read the message and then continue reading, or if they are required to leave the Akandh Path for some reason, the person who took over reading for them will reading until the next reader arrives.
If the Next Reader Hasn’t Arrived at the End of the Current Reader’s Time
The current reader can notify the sevadar that there is a problem by ringing the bell next to them. It’s important that the current reader keep reading until someone comes to replace them. When the next person arrives, transition reading as explained previously.
In a four-volume set, volume changes usually happen at midnight on the 1st day, 6 p.m. on the 2nd day and 1:00 p.m. on the 3rd day.
If the current reader comes to end of a volume during their reading period, they should take the next volume out as smoothly as possible, all the while, continuing to read without break. (Volumes are usually kept on top up the “manji” behind the current volume being read. or somewhere within reach of the reader.) They should then put away the volume they were reading from and set up the next volume in front of them. Be sure to keep reading!
Taking a Hukam for the Sangat to Hear During an Akhand Path
If reading from a volume of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that has both Gurumukhi and another language, the Granthi (person reading) can read the hukam in that language. Afterwards, if the Granthi prefers to continue to read in Gurmukhi for the rest of their time slot, they can do so once they complete reading the hukam to the sangat.
If the Akandh Paath is being read from a Gurumukhi only version, or if the Sangat has 2 copies of the translated version, the Granthi can read the hukam in Gurumukhi and then while they continue reading quietly, another person can read the translation to the Sangat.
Sevadars to Oversee the Akhand Path
Scheduling sevadars to keep an eye on the Akandh Paath is often key to its success. A sevadar’s duties include:
• Calling to remind people that they are reading
• Keeping track of page #s and informing readers if the Akhand Path is getting behind or too far ahead (readers can adjust their reading speed to help end on time)
• Relieving a reader who needs to go to the bathroom or has some other kind of emergency
• Relieving a reader if their replacement does not show up on time and continuing to read until the next reader arrives
For an Akhand Path, these are the items needed:
- Siri Guru Granth Sahib
- Rumallas (the beautiful “clothes” that cover the Guru)
- Chor Sahib (the Chori is that horse hair wisk that is used to keep flies off of and maintain good vibrations around the SGGS)
- A powerful lamp for night time reading
- All volumes of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib within reach of the reader (see protocols for handling a multi-volume Siri Guru Granth Sahib)
- Sign-up Sheet (plus an optional Sevadar Sign-up Sheet) / pen / clipboard
- Clock within sight of the reader
- Bell within reach of the reader (best way for them to notify sevadar if they need assistance)
- Flashlight within reach of the reader ( to ensure the reader can continue reading in case the power goes out)
- A note pad in case someone needs to write a message to the reader
- An informational paper with Akhand Path guidelines. (You can print the guidelines from our Website)
- Reading glasses (sometimes people who use glasses forget to bring them and it’s good to have an extra pair handy) – OPTIONAL.