The word Ardās ( ਅਰਦਾਸ ) is derived from Persian word ‘Arazdashat’, meaning a request, a supplication, a prayer, a petition or an address to a superior authority. It is Sikh prayers that is done before performing or after undertaking any significant task; after reciting the daily Banis (prayers); or completion of a service like the Paath, kirtan (hymn-singing) program or any other religious program. In Sikhism, these prayers are also said before and after eating. The prayer is a plea to God to support and help the devotee with whatever he or she is about to undertake or has done.
The Ardas is usually always done standing up with folded hands. The beginning of the Ardas is strictly set by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. When it comes to conclusion of this prayer, the devotee uses word like “Waheguru please bless me in the task that I am about to undertake” when starting a new task or “Akal Purakh, having completed the hymn-singing, we ask for your continued blessings so that we can continue with your memory and remember you at all times”, etc.
Following are the main features and benefits of Ardas
* It is a petition to God, the merciful creator of the universe
* It lowers ones ego and brings calmness to the mental state
* Teaches one Nimrata (Humility), Daya (Compassion), fearlessness, Chardi Kala (soaring spirit)
* One is reminded of the level of dedication required to become a better human being
* Gives one inner strength and energy
* Links the mind with the pure ones from human history
* Elevates ones spiritual state; builds ones confidence
* Brings a sense of “community” to the person.
Ardas is composed of three sections:
The Ardas is often adorned with various passages from the Guru Granth Sahib. Here we shall give the basic structure. The recitation of ardas commences with the opening stanza of Var Sri Bhagauti Ji written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji (The Var Sri Bhagauti Ji is contained with the Dasam Granth). This smoothly written ode begins by going through the order of meditation by placing Waheguru foremost above all else, and then systematically referring to each of the other Gurus in turn entreating them for aid and protection.
The second portion of ardas discusses the sacrifices made by various Sikhs throughout history. The sacrifices made by these noble individuals range from sacrificing children to being placed onto rotating wheels of torture.
The third section’s composition varies from one oration to the next. It is in this section that the Sikhs specify what they are reciting ardas for, make their supplications to Waheguru, and ask for forgiveness for any mistakes made during the recitation of any and all prayers.
These three sections together constitute ardas, and in conjunction with one another contribute to making it a powerful piece of work capable of evoking a multitude of feelings within the Sikh people.
Ardas in English text:
Translation and Meaning:
There is one God. All Victory belongs to God.
May the dynamic power of God help us.
The poetic verse of Sri Bhagauti, composed by the Tenth King.
Having first meditate upon Bhagauti (sword), call on Guru Nanak.
Then on Angad Guru, Amar Das and Ram Das, may they ever protect us.
Then call on Arjan, and Hargobind, holy Har Rai.
Remember Holy Har Krishan, whose sight dispels all sorrows.
Then remember Teg Bahadur by whose remembrance the nine treasures come hurrying to one’s home.
Be ever with us O Masters.
May the tenth king, Guru Gobind Singh be ever on our side.
Let us now turn our thoughts to the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib, the visible embodiment of the ten Gurus and utter, O Khalsa Ji, Waheguru! (glory be to God).
The five Beloved Ones, the four Sahibzaade (sons of the tenth Master), the forty emancipated ones, the martyrs, the true disciples, the contemplators of God, and those who remained steadfast on the path of Dharma, remember their glorious deeds and utter O Khalsa Ji, Waheguru!
Those who dwelled on God’s Name, shared their honest earnings with others, wielded sword in battlefield, distributed food in companionship, offered their heads at the altar of Dharma, were cut up limb by limb, skinned alive, boiled or sawed alive, but did not utter a sigh nor faltered in their faith, kept the sanctity of their hair until their last breath, sacrificed their lives for the sanctity of Gurdwaras; remember their glorious deeds and utter O Khalsa Ji, Waheguru!.
Turn your thoughts to the five seats of Sikh authorities and all the Gurdwaras and utter O Khalsa, Waheguru!
First, there is supplication for all the Khalsa Panth.
May the Lord bestow upon His Khalsa the gift of His remembrance, Waheguru, Waheguru,Waheguru, and may the merit of this remembrance be happiness of all kinds.
O God, wherever are the members of Khalsa, extend Your protection and mercy on them; let the Panth be ever victorious, let the sword be ever our protector. May the order of the Khalsa achieve ever-expanding progress and supremacy. Utter O Khalsa, Waheguru!.
May God grant to the Sikhs, the gift of faith, the gift of uncut hair, the Kesh, the gift of discipline, the gift of spiritual discrimination, the gift of mutual trust, the gift of self confidence and the supreme gift of all the gifts, the communion with Waheguru, the Name, and the gift of bathing in Amritsar, May the administrative centres, banners, the cantonments of Khalsa ever remain inviolate.
May the cause of truth and justice prevail everywhere at all times, utter O Khalsa, Waheguru!.
May the minds of Sikhs remain humble, and their wisdom exalted. Waheguru! You are the protector of wisdom.
Almighty Lord! Our helper and protector ever, restore to us the right and privilege of unhindered and free service and access to Nankana Sahib and other centers of Sikh religion from which we have been separated.
God, the Helper of the helpless, the Strength of the weak, the Supporter of the fallen, the true father of all.
Forgive us God, all our faults, extend Your helping hand to everyone. Grant us the company of those who may help keep Your Name fresh in our hearts.
Through Satguru Nanak, may Your Name be exalted and may all of mankind prosper according to your Will.
The Khalsa belongs to God and to Him belongs the victory.
Ardas – The Sikh Prayer explained