What is the Rehit Maryada?

The Sikh “Rehit Maryada” is defined as the Code of Conduct for Sikhs. It was developed through the practices and examples of Guru Nanak, and the nine successive incarnations of the Guru, culminating in the ultimate form of Khalsa in 1699, during the life of Guru Gobind Singh. 

Rehit Maryada means “To live in the constant remembrance of death.” It is a code of conduct for living. “Reh,” from the verb “rehenaa,” means to continue, or to live. Adding “it,” it means “lifestyle.” “Mar” is derived from the verb “marna,” to die, and “yad” means remembrance; thus, “maryada” means “the remembrance of death.” A more common translation is simply a code of conduct for living. The Rehit Maryada is made up of techniques and tools to help maintain the consciousness of the Sikh which is to live like the lotus, with roots entrenched in the mud of the world, but with the flower of consciousness floating upon the surface, pure and spotless. 

The Rehit Maryada was compiled from writings known as “Rahitnamas,” which were communications from the Gurus. They were written by certain prominent writers such as Bhai Nand Lal, Bhai Chaupa Singh, Bhai Prehlad Singh, Bhai Desa Singh, and others. The collection of all such Rahitnamas led to the release of the first Rehit Maryada in 1874. In 1945 the SGPC released a revised Rehit Maryada, and it was revised again in February 1998. Many scholars and researchers have contributed to the formation of the present Rehit Maryada. It is available free of charge from the SGPC.

Click Here to Access the full Rehit Maryada in English from the SGPC

~Resources: this information was originally shared in the books Victory and Virtue (2001) by the Office of the Bhai Sahiba of Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere and Living Reality (1994) by Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa.