Amrit: literally means "nectar." When referring to the Khanda-ki-Pahul ceremony, the Amrit is composed of water and sugar and is stirred with a double-edged sword (Khanda) while prayers are said. Initiation into Khalsa domain involves the taking of Amrit. It is the word used to refer to this holy water used in the baptism ceremony by the Sikhs. It is believed that this word is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Amrita'.
It also refers, more generally, to the "Ambrosia of God's name". It is said that the enlightened being who is elevated to a high spiritual plane, has Amrit trickling into their mind and this maintains their high state of consciousness.
- "In His Kindness, He blesses the Gurmukh with it; the Ambrosial Nectar of this Amrit trickles down." (sggs page 41)
- "His Ambrosial Amrit is so sweet to my mind and body." (sggs page 698)
- "By His Command, the Amrit Bani of the Word prevails, and by His Command, we drink in the Amrit. ||4||" (sggs page 118)
- "In the Amrit Vaylaa, the ambrosial hours before dawn, chant the True Name, and contemplate His Glorious Greatness." (sggs page 2)
Different Perspectives on Amrit
Definintion: AMRIT, derived from Sanskrit "amrta", defined variously as: not dead, immortal, imperishable; beautiful, beloved; world of immortality, heaven; immortality, eternity; final emancipation; nectar, ambrosia; nectarlike food; antidote against poison; or anything sweet. Commonly means a liquid or drink which by consuming one attains everlasting life or immortality.
It is in the sense of a liquid or drink which by consuming one attains everlasting life or immortality that the word was first used in the Vedic hymns. According to Hindu mythology, Amrit was extracted by the gods by churning the ocean with the assistance of the demons and it was by drinking it, that the gods became immortal. A similar concept of an immortalizing drink also exists in Greek and Semitic mythologies, wherein it is variously called ambrosia, nectar or abihayat.
In the Sikh tradition, Amrit is not some magical potion that would confer upon the consumer an unending span of life or bring about automatic release from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The term is however retained figuratively to signify what leads to such release. In this sense, Amrit is not something external to man "but is within him and is received by God`s grace" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 1056,1238). Historically, amrit in the Sikh tradition refers to the baptismal water Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Nanak, Nanak X, created for the initiatory rites promulgated in supersession of charanamrit at the time of the creation of the Khalsa brotherhood. This is called Khande da Pahul or nectar touched with the doubleedged sword. See Pahul
In Gurbani (or holy hymns), Amrit is repeatedly equated with naam, the Name, or Sabda, the Word (e.g. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 729,644,538,394). It is Amrit of the True Name which when imbibed quenches and satiates all appetites (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 594).
Amrit is also used in Gurbani in the adjectival sense of sweet, delicious, good, sweetsounding, etc. in phrases such as "amritu bhojanu namu hari" "God`s Name is delicious food" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 556), "amrit katha" dulcet discourse (GG, 255), "amrit dristi" immortalizing glance (GG, l9l), "Amrita pria bachan tuhare" sweet are Thy words, 0 Dear One (GG, 534). Guru Amar Das Ji in an Astpadi (eightstanza hymn) in Majh measure describes different characteristics of amrit such as eradicator of ego, producer of amrit effect, a means to liv (concentration,) and giver of happiness (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 11819).
This amrit of God`s Name is realized from within one's self and can be realized at any hour of day or night, but the best time conducive to realization is the last quarter of night or the early morning to which Guru Nanak refers as Amrit Vela; when the devotee may contemplate the greatness of God (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 2). Guru Angad Ji says that during early morning, the last quarter of night, the awakened ones develop a fondness for cultivating the True Name (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 146).
1. Sikh RAHIT MARYADA. AMRITSAR, 1975
2. Kapur Singh, Parasaraprasna. Amritsar, 1989
3. Cole, W. Owen, and Piara Singh Sambhi, The SIKHS: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Delhi, 1978
4. Sher Singh, ed.. Thoughts on Symbols in SIKHISM. LAHORE, 1927
5. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983