Updated 5th April 2016
Sikhism Death Emergency Assistance
Submitted by The Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon CBE.
Advisor on Sikhism to Faith and Fire.
Death in the Sikh Community
(a) No rituals derived from other religions, or from any other source, should be performed when a death occurs. Solace must be found in reading the Guru Granth Sahib and meditating on God.
(b) Deliberate exhibitions of grief or mourning are contrary to Sikh teachings. The bereaved should seek guidance and comfort in the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib and try to accept God’s will.
(c) A dead person, even one who dies very young, should be cremated. However if arrangements for cremation do not exist (e.g. at sea) the body may be disposed of by immersion in water.
(d) Cremation may be carried out at any convenient time whether day or night.
(e) The five Ks should be left on the dead body, which should, if possible, be cleaned and clothed in clean garments before being placed in a coffin or on a bier.
(f) Hymns should be said as the body is taken to the Place of cremation.
(g) A close relative should light the pyre and those assembled should sing appropriate hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib.
(h) The cremation ceremony is concluded with the Kirtan Sohila prayers and the saying of the Ardas
(i) Prayers for the departed soul should then be commenced at the deceased’s home or at a convenient Gurdwara. These prayers should commence with the usual six stanzas of the Anand Sahib, the saying of Ardas and distribution of Kara Prashad, and should be continued for about ten days. The near relatives of the deceased should take as large a personal part in reading and listening to readings from the Guru Granth Sahib as possible.
(j) The ashes of the deceased may be disposed of by burial or by immersion in water, but it is contrary to Sikh belief to consider any river holy or specially suitable for this purpose.
(k) The erection of a memorial in any shape or form is contrary to Sikh belief.