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7 Sikhism Clergy Terms and What They Mean

7 Sikhism Clergy Terms and What They Mean

7 Sikhism Clergy Terms and What They Mean

For any religion to run smoothly without any hiccups, there are certain roles of administration that aids the uninterrupted functioning of the rituals and daily duties. The terms such as a priest, a minister or sermon might be familiar to the common people but do you know there are many roles in the Sikh religion that possess a specific set of responsibilities. The clergy of the Sikhs hold a special degree of respect amongst the Sikhs who practice the faith.

The most prominent feature of the Sikh Clergy is that anyone regardless of gender, age, and or background may apply for the position but there may be conditional eligibility criteria that might be mandatory to go get ordained to the said positions.

For any religion to run smoothly without any hiccups, there are certain roles of administration that aids the uninterrupted functioning of the rituals and daily duties. The terms such as a priest, a minister or sermon might be familiar to the common people but do you know there are many roles in the Sikh religion that possess a specific set of responsibilities. The clergy of the Sikhs hold a special degree of respect amongst the Sikhs who practice the faith.

The most prominent feature of the Sikh Clergy is that anyone regardless of gender, age, and or background may apply for the position but there may be conditional eligibility criteria that might be mandatory to go get ordained to the said positions.

1. Gianni (Gi-ya-nee):

The position of Gianni is more subjective than the one that could be obtained. A person who is a Gianni has to acquire a formal education regarding the Sikh religious code of conduct and history. One who is a Gianni is the one who has special training and education in a variety of

fields of Sikh living life and can be a teacher for the same after a certain experience to another young aspiring Gianni. A Gianni has to be thorough with the understanding of the Guru Granth Sahib and may or may not know the following:

? The Gurmukhi script

? History of the Sikhs from the origin till today

? Raaga: the Indian classical music notes used to recite Gurbani

In some cases, a master's degree in Punjabi literature can also be referred to as a Gianni and a Punjabi laureate can also be regarded as a Gianni.

2. Granthi (Grun-thee):

The word emerges from the word Granth and it means the one who attends the Granth Sahib. The equivalent of a Granthi could be a priest and a minister of the religion. The duty of the Granthi can be performed by someone who possesses a rich skill of reciting the daily Path of Gurbani without any pronunciation fallacies. It is also not necessary that a Granthi must always be a male, but any person who is an Amritdhaari (a baptised Sikh) can take over the role. There is certainly no bar to age, gender or background.

Every sacred event in any Sikh’s life from their birth till his death never goes without the recital of Gurbani and a Granthi is the one who performs the following duties:

? Parkash: The initiation and establishment of The Granth Sahib at the Gurudwara or at someone’s house where the initiation is supposed to begin.

? Akhand and Sehaj Path: The Akhand Path is the non-stop recital of the Granth Sahib from the first page to the last is also the duty of a skilled Granthi who can sit on Tabya (behind the Granth Sahib to pronounce the Baani). 

? Anand Karaj: The ceremonial tying of the knot in the Sikh religious code is recited by a Granthi who initiates and ordained the marriage.

? Antim Sanskaar: The funeral of the Sikhs is followed by the three-day Akhand path where the granthi is obligated to read the scripture at the home of the deceased under the Seva (service) of the family members.

3. Raagi (Raa-gee):

In the Sikh religion, Kirtan plays an honourable role among the Sikh denizens and the person who recites the same is also a respected man. A raagi needs to be trained in the field of classical music and Ragas with expertise. Along with that, they are mostly equipped with a profound knowledge of musical instruments such as a harmonium, Tabla (a pair of longline drums that is tightened by the neck to adjust the pitch) or a Sitar (a long stringed acoustic instrument). The Raagi plays an integral role as the reciter of poetic Gurbani, that is the Shabad in the form of Kirtan. 

4. Kathawachak (Ku-thha-va-chuck):

The basic etymology of the word Kathawachak can be understood by knowing the significance of the root word ‘Katha’ which modestly means a story or a series of events that contain a piece of subsequent moral evidence and Dharmik integrity. The word Vachak is none other than an orator who propagates an idea of moral importance in the form of stories inspired by the

lives of the Gurus. The time Katha assembles the cordial congregation called Sangat and professes the Sangat about wellness and the true Dharmik path. There have been many Kathavachaks who have resonated with their signature styles of story reciting for decades on the stretch and one of them is the famous Giani Sant Singh Maskeen.

5. Jathedaar (ja-thhey-daar)

Since the Sikh religious community has further developed multifarious sects but identify oneself as the Sikhs, a Jathedaar is usually the head of such a group. A Jatha means a group or a congregation of people with like-minded ideology and faith towards certain pertainments. There could be a variety of Jathas and therefore, jathedars as their leader's heads. 

? Raagi Jatha: The Raagi Jatha is a group of skilled reciters of the Gurbani who possess expertise in one or more musical instruments. 

? Jathedar of the global denominations: There are multiple sects and denominations under the umbrella of Sikhism. Jathedars are also the leaders who possess clergy powers and authority and whose decisions are deemed supreme.

? Jathedars of the 5 Takhts: There are five Takhts (the sacred authoritative seat of the Sikhs) at various locations across India and each Takht or the imperial seat of the Sikhs and the Jathedaar’s decision remains all pervasive.

6. Kirtani (Keer-tuh-nee) :

A Kirtani is not an exact expert of musical arts and of the vocal music raagas, but a Kirtani is a devotee who wishes to intentionalize their love for the Gurbani in the form of a recital. There is no restriction upon its establishment but in simple words, is a free will to become a kirtani. Any person who sings in the praise of the God, whether it be in a gurdwara or at someone’s home.

7. Paathi (Paa-Thh-ee):

This is another position that does not necessarily demand an expertise but could be undertaken by anyone, a Giani and or by any person who knows how to read the Guru Granth Sahib. Gender again stands no bar as any Sikh who is interested in fulfilling the duties given during the Akhand Path.

All in all, these interlocked projections of the Sikh religion help run the institution smoothly as authority, power, spiritual awakening and exchange of knowledge is the major fundamental of Sikhism. The responsibilities partaken by them stands at an honourable one as without their tight knit system, there could be paradigm alterations in the functionality of the Sikhs.

 

 

 

 

 

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