The Sacred Pudding or Karha Parshad is an Important Ritual in Sikhism

M G Singh By M G Singh, 4th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Eastern

Preparing and distributing the Karha Parshad or sacred pudding is an important ritual in Sikhism and its importance cannot be understated.

A Significant Ritual

Guru Nanak (1469-1539) is universally recognized as the Founder of Sikhism. His basic concept was transmigration of soul and one god. He thus differed from both Muslim and Hindu concepts as Hinduism accept plurality of gods and Islam rejects the theory of rebirth and transmigration of soul. Over the years the Sikh religion became a distinct entity with its own rituals and practices, for after all ritualism and allied matters are the corner stone of all religions.

The Sacred Karhah Parshad

One aspect of a Sikh worship is the preparation and distribution of the sacred pudding often referred to as Karhah Parshad. The sacred pudding is a very important part of Sikh worship and there is nothing like it in other religions. Detailed instructions are laid down as to the method of preparation and distribution of the Karhah Parshad. It must be clearly understood that the only the sacred pudding which has been prepared or got prepared according to the prescribed method shall be acceptable in a congregation.

Preparing the Karhah Parshad

The Karhah Parshad is to be prepared in a clean and hygienic environment. The first step is to take equal quantities of flour, pure sugar and clarified butter (pure ghee) and mixed together in a large container. The churning should be accompanied by reciting from the Guru Granth. The entire mixture is stirred and roasted over a flame till the pudding is ready. It will thicken and slowly bubble, once it is ready. The entire mixture is then covered with a cloth and placed on a clean stool in front of the Guru Granth sahib.

Reciting the Holy Stanzas from Anand Sahib

The next step has great significance. The priest or head Granthi will recite the first five and last stanza of the Anand Sahib. This should be recited loudly so that the congregation can hear. In modern times it is not uncommon to use a proper PA and loudspeaker system so that the sound can travel to all present.
The Ardas is the final prayer which must be recited after the prayers are over. All persons in the congregation stand up and recite the Ardas the final prayer. It’s a relatively short prayer and may take 5 to 7 minutes. Once the Ardas is recited the head priest will take a small kirpan (dagger) and lift the cloth and cut the Parshad with the dagger.
The priest will remove 5 portions of the Karhah Parshad and put them aside. These are the share of the 5 loved ones called the Punj Piyaras. The five loved ones have a special place in Sikh ethos and culture as they were the first who volunteered to be sacrificed to the great guru Gobind when he baptized the Sikhs and converted them to a martial race. This was in 1699 and is a day of great importance in Sikhism. This took place on the day of Baisaikhi and has a special significance for all Sikhs. As after the baptism the Sikhs took up arms against the Moguls and defeated them to establish the Sikh Empire in 1798

Distributing the Karhah Parshad

The last step is the distribution of the Parshad to the assembled believers. Before distribution, the share of the person who is in attendance of the Granth Sahib is put aside and the sewadars (volunteers) will carry the Parshad to the people and distribute it. The parshad will be accepted with folded hands and it will be ensured that the distribution is done equally to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. There will be no discrimination in the distribution of the holy parshad or sacred pudding. Even untouchables and menial castes of Hindus if attending the prayer are to be treated with respect and given an equal share of the sacred pudding.

Last Word

Distribution of the Karhah Parshad marks the end of the prayer meet and all are enjoined to leave the hall for the Langar. This is a lunch or meal that is served to all who are present. Again no discrimination of caste or religion is allowed and all sit together on the floor and partake of the Guru’s Langar. Only vegetarian food is served.
The ritual of the sacred pudding or Karhah Parshad is a special ritual of Sikhism and no prayer meet or celebration is complete without it.


Karha Parshad, Sacred Pudding, Sikhism

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author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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author avatar micheal
4th Sep 2014 (#)

another interesting article, this sounds like a very fair religion, it is a shame they are not all as graceful.

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author avatar M G Singh
5th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks Micheal

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
6th Sep 2014 (#)

Another interesting page.Thanks for the share.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Interesting and one of a kind post mate, and nice to read your work again cheers!!

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