The last three lines of the Ardás do not need detailed comment. Even before knowing the meaning I loved to recite : hé nimánia de mán, nitánia de tán, niotiá di ot, sache pita Vahiguru !
I am not at all happy with the custom of ‘reciting’ long lists of people who have given 101 Pounds, Euros, and Dollars etc to the Gurdwara as part of the Ardás. Going by Gurmat, boasting about your good deeds takes away their spiritual value, so the Gurdwaré do a disservice to the kind donors.
Before summing up my conclusions I want to make one last remark about our practices around the Ardás. Reciting the Ardás in the Sach Khand before taking out the Guru Granth and then reciting the Ardás again after installing the Guru Granth seems to me exactly the sort of ritual behaviour that our Guru speaks out against.
I would be in favour of a more concise Ardás, and I also think we should use the freedom that we have to use different prayers, as long as their content is in tune with the Guru Granth.
I discussed the three first sections of the Ardás. The first section is part of the compilation known as the Dasam Granth, of disputed authorship. I do not believe in a God called Sword, or in a sword being God. But other interpretations of Bhagautí are possible and fit into Sikhí.
I do not think that there is a need to mention each of the 10 Gurus by name, as they are all the same Light, which is God’s Light, but the first line of the next section which refers to the Guru Granth as the Light of the ten Gurus does put everything in the right context.
As I wrote in my first article on the Ardás, I do not think that we should have five Takhats. Guru Gobind Singh is one of the ten Sikh Gurus in human form. If we have a Takhat at his place of birth and another Takhat where he passed away we should do the same for the other Gurus. Otherwise I do not think there is anything wrong with the second section apart from the fact that there is too much detail.
We should remember and thank God for the 10 Gurus, and those Sikhs who gave their all in the struggle against oppression, against injustice. But we are praying to God who we rightly call the ‘All-Knower’. By going into detail we are bound to leave out some very worthy people and include some ‘historical’ figures who might not have existed, or who might not have played the role we think they have.
As I wrote in my second article I cannot understand why the choirs (people who walk around the parkarma of Harmandr Sahib lead by somebody holding a ‘Sri Sahib’ to whom everybody does mata tek), banners and bungé get a special mention and I do not want to give anybody the impression that by taking bath one becomes holy or that our uncut hair is more important than the other 5 Ks !