You might remember my articles about my recent visit to Ieper where I recited a special ardás written for the occasion. This made me think about the standard ardás, and this article is the result of that.
In my personal routines I very rarely recite the standard ardás. I do regularly speak to God, usually asking Her/Him to help me to stick to Guru’s path, and to give me peace of mind if I am upset or overexcited about something.
As God is ‘antarjamí’ (All Knowing), my prayers are usually short. The wording might change slightly, but the message is simply ‘God please help me’. When I ask for something more specific, which is mostly when I pray for somebody else, I add ‘whatever is your will’ or words to that effect.
There are two more general thoughts I want to add. Why is it that everything ‘freezes’ in the Gurdwara, even outside the divan hall, while we do ardás. When the Granthí recites the hukamnámá people start moving around again and pay respect to the Guru Granth Sahib, while in the langar the sevadars start serving again.
Similarly, when you sit outside the divan, you are still supposed to get up when the ardás is recited. This is not an issue of vital importance to the panth, but things that seem illogical bother me.
Looking up the meaning of ‘ardás’ in the dictionary I find the following meanings : request, prayer, supplication, representation, offering to a deity. Our ardás is a request, but the first two sections of the ardás are a request to the sangat, and not to God.
The first section is where sangat is asked to remember God and the ten Gurus, each one of them getting a special mention. The line about remembering the Guru Granth Sahib does not belong to the first part, which comes from what is now known as the Dasam Granth. The line referring to the Guru Granth ends with ‘bolo jí Vahiguru’, just like the three lines.
The next section starts with the Guru Granth, the light of the ten Gurus, and then deals with those who gave their lives in the struggle against injustice. The final line in this section refers to the five Takhats and all Gurdwaré. As far as my understanding goes there is only one Takhat, Akál Takhat.
Having four ‘Takhats’, each in places where Guru Gobind Singh lived, makes no sense to me. The Akál Takhat (which originally was not a building) was there to represent together with Harmandr Sahib the idea of Miri and Piri, and I cannot see why there is a need for further Takhats.
In the next article I will have a detailed look at the rest of the ardás.