All Sikhs should follow the Sikh Rehat Maryada as published by SGPC in 1945. That does not mean that we cannot consider or propose changes, as I do below.
On the first 13 pages of the Ádí Granth Guru Arjan gave us his nitnem: Japjí Sahib for the ‘amrit vela’, Rahras, from So Dar till Asa M 5 (bhaí prápat mánukh dehuríá) for the late afternoon/early evening and Sohilá for before going to bed.
There is a story in which Guru Gobind Singh teaches that if you fully understand ‘Ik Ongkár sat gur prsád’ you understand all of Sikhí. If this story is historically true I do not know, but there is certainly truth in the statement.
To make sure you get full understanding It might to be a good idea to read the full múl mantr as it appears on page one of the Guru Granth and at the start of most rágs. If you also read 5th Guru’s nitnem you will receive a good overview of the different themes discussed in the Guru Granth.
Japji, Rahras and Sohilá offer you verses praising God and verses that teach basic principles, like living in hukam and ‘listen & apply’ in Japji Sahib. At the end of Rahras and Sohilá are beautiful verses summing up essential Sikhí.
Guru Arjan’s nitnem gives you all the tools you need for you daily life. Guru gives you the opportunity to do quality reading, with time to think about what you read or to check meanings from a dictionary or stík.
In the final version of the Guru Granth, Guru Gobind Singh added 9th Guru’s verses, but no other changes were made. No shabads were added to the nitnem, although the Guru Granth was finished after Vaisakh 1699.
For reasons that are not clear to me we now have all these additions to Japji and Rahras, even in the Rehat Maryadá of 1945. Adding Jáp Sahib and Tav Prsád Svaié to your morning routine leads to speed reading without vichár, and the same goes for all the additions to the beautiful, well balanced Rahras of 5th Guru.
The problem is not that a lot of the additions are from the ‘Dasam Granth’, as these are in tune with Guru, although I am a bit concerned about the references to enemies in the Chaupaí Sahib, which seem to contradict the Sant-Sipahi concept.
Why this emphasis on quantity, which leads to a lack of quality ? There are 1430 pages in the Guru Granth Sahib, why should we have to read only a limited number of shabads where there is such a rich source of beautiful spiritual poetry ?
Most Sikhs think that every day we should repeat the verses recited on Vaisakh 1699. The problem is not that various 18th century authors have different ideas about which shabads were recited on the day. I just do not think that Guru’s Amrit depends on the reciting of certain shabads at the exclusion of others. On the 14th of July 1996 I have given my head to Guru, and since then I try to live up to that commitment. To help me stay on that path I listen to any shabad in tune with Guru and join the company of true people, regardless of their background.