The Four Tools of a Sikh

Sikhs who have been baptized (Amritdhari Sikhs) are expected to strive to uphold the disciplines of Bana, Bani, Seva and Simran. 


Bana is the distinctive style of clothing worn by those committed to the Sikh path. Bana is the outward projection of a Sikh. It includes uncut hair and beards, the turban, and for many on the Sikh Dharma path, the wearing of modest white clothing. Sikhs believe that wearing Bana is a reminder to act consciously, because when you stand out and look regal, your behavior must match up to your appearance.


Bani means vibration or frequency of consciousness. Bani is when the frequency of your communication is divine. Sikhs believe that reciting the powerful syllables of the banis (Sikh daily prayers), and singing/chanting the sacred songs written by the 10 Sikh Gurus, provides automatic self-cleaning of the subconscious mind and helps Sikhs to constantly focus on the Infinite with every breath.


Seva is selfless service: actions done to serve others without expectation of payment or reward. Seva is a state of being in service to humanity. When doing Seva, one does service, not as the finite self, but as the God-self serving the God in others. That’s the beauty of Seva. Sikhs strive to constantly be awake for opportunities to be of service.


Simran is constantly reminding oneself of one’s own divine identity through the use of Shabad Guru and meditation. With the tool of Simran, one can see the God in all. Sikhs believe that meditating on the words of the Shabad Guru and chanting those Sacred Sounds (mantra) facilitates the experience of one’s own Divinity.

In the Sikh view, Simran trains the mind and senses to recognize—and remember—the Divine Light within us and in all of creation, and to live based on that knowledge and experience. Sikhs believe that this creates inner peace.


~Resources: MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa, “Shabad Guru: Sacred Sound Current,” Heroes, Saints and Yogis (2012) by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and Guruka Singh Khalsa and “Spiritual Practice” (Sikh Dharma International).

Note: additional information about the 10 Gurus and Shabad Guru has been shared in previous Sikh Dharma 101 lessons.