The Sikh religion uses prayer to improve various areas of life.
The Sikh religion uses prayer to improve various areas of life.

Sikhism was founded more than 500 years ago and is considered the world’s fifth-largest religion. While the faith denounces superstitions and blind rituals, there are many Sikh prayers that believers use for the purpose of increasing well-being, health, fortune and more. The prayer focused most closely on happiness is the Anand Sahib.

Origin and Meaning

Guru Amardas, the third guru of the Sikhs, developed the Anand Sahib in the 16th century. 'Anand' means bliss, and the prayer deals with human kind’s spiritual achievement, as opposed to more earthly accomplishments, and being one with God or the Infinite, a state known alternately as harmony, equipoise, or Sahaj.

Themes

The Anand Sahib prayer, considered to be both inspirational and philosophical in its content, addresses the human pursuit of happiness through material wealth, success in business, competition with neighbors or physical senses. It is said that man's desire for more material gains and fears of losing what he has already gained stops him from experiencing true joy, or Sahaj. Sahaj encourages a life of commitment to family and involvement in community as well as an awareness of the trappings of worldly pleasure. Self-discipline and obeying the Guru are necessary to fulfillment. The prayer also critiques the rituals of much organized religion, which only serve to disguise the egotism of its practitioners.

Prayer Text

The Anand Sahib consists of 40 pauries, or stanzas. The first five pauries describe bliss as obtained through the guru’s instructions. Pauries six through 20 describe the obstacles to happiness; 21 to 25 identify two types of people -- ego-oriented and God-oriented; 26 to 34 describe desires that hold humankind back from happiness; 35 to 39 deal with the physical senses; and 40 affirms the necessity of sincere recitation of the prayer.

Other Prayers

There are other Sikh prayers that can bring happiness in different forms. The Japji Sahib may be recited when one’s soul is sad to help connect it to God again. The Jaap Sahib is used to bring grace and inspire personal greatness. The Sawaya is a short hymn said to bring satisfaction, energy, and vitality, when all else fails you.