AMRIT VELA, literally means the "ambrosial period".
Though many have a habit of believing only when some researcher says this in one his report published in news, but one can if one wants, just believe in what Guru Sahib has earmarked. Time bachdaa hai.
Days & Nights as divided into 8 pehrs (3hr duration each)are..
Times are true within a deviation of say ~15min.
3am-6am 4th pehr of night 6am-9am 1st pehr of day 9am-12pm 2nd pehr of day 12pm-3pm 3rd pehr of day 3pm-6pm 4th pehr of day 6pm-9pm 1st pehr of night 9pm-12pm 2nd pehr of night 12pm-3am 3rd pehr of night
Best sleeping times are considered to be 2nd & 3rd pehrs of night ie. 9pm-3am (Total 6 hours)
Amrit Vela is usually ascribed to 4th pehr of night, ie. 3am-6am.
The time of 4th pehr is important for reasons that don't require much explanation except to those minds who just either want to contend everything that comes along or those who haven't taken first hand experience of that time. Perhaps, thats why many excuses are scattered here and there.
Anyhow, biggest reason in favor of 4th pehr still being most vivaciously described by first hand experience, another key reason that is mostly unknown is that the dreams that occupy the mind and one's that make it heavy start building up as one is crossing the 4th pehr. This is due to the biological clock, ofcourse there may be slight variations.
So, if one gets up at onset of 4th pehr, one avoids a heavy mind with all those illogical dreams (see, you have illogic going on in logical minds too, lol). Thus, the Jap done during that time is more fruitful. All other qualifications to make the awastha still apply.
It is regarded by many dedicated Sikhs as the time anywhere from about 2.15 am. to 6 am. Some say it is the duration of time from about three and three-quarters of an hour before sunrise. However, there is no convincing fixation of the time or exact definition of this time-period. The term is frequently used in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib but an exact definition is not rendered.
Guru Nanak urged his disciples to get up at this auspicious time and recite God's name - in the "divine nectar period", arise and chant and meditate on the Great Lord:
|ਅੰਮਰਿਤ ਵੇਲਾ ਸਚ ਨਾਉ ਵਡਿਆਈ ਵੀਚਾਰ ॥
Amriṯ vėlĝ sacẖ nĝo vadiĝī vīcẖĝr.
|(sggs page 2)|
In this period of calm and peace, before the 'hassle and bassle' of life, one can easily meditate on God and receive the Lord's divine blessing. In the Japji, Guru Nanak emphasises, the need of rising early for prayer. Due to the change of season and geographical location, AMRIT VELAA is likely to differ in various countries.
Early morning is called Amrit-Velaa, which means that it is the time to worship God. Great importance has been put on this Godly hour. The most generous definition of Amrit-Velaa must be that it starts after midnight and ends around six in the morning, although some think that during the summer months it is accepted that it ends at sunrise which can be as early as 3.00am.
|ਹਰਿ ਧਨ ਰਤਨ ਜਵੇਹਰ ਮਾਣਕ ਹਰਿ ਧਨੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਅੰਮਰਿਤ ਵੇਲੈ ਵਤੈ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥|
ਹਰਿ ਧਨ ਅੰਮਰਿਤ ਵੇਲੈ ਵਤੈ ਕਾ ਬੀਜਿਆ ਭਗਤ ਖਾਇ ਖਰਚਿ ਰਹੇ ਨਿਖਟੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥
Har ḝẖan raṯan javėhar mĝṇak har ḝẖanai nĝl amriṯ vėlai vaṯai har bẖagṯī har liv lĝī.
The Lord's wealth is like jewels, gems and rubies.
At the appointed time in the Amrit Vaylaa,
The devotees of the Lord plant the seed of the Lord's wealth in the ambrosial hours;
|(sggs page 734)|
The Gurus, starting with Guru Nanak and culminating in Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s rehat (code of conduct for a Sikh) stress the need to rise at Amrit-Velaa and perform your Nitnem - ie. recite Gurbani. A Sikh is instructed to rise early in the morning and bathe. During this time it is advisable to start reciting Gurbani continually from the time one gets up until your full Nitnem is complete. Baptised Sikhs are required to recite at least the 5 prescribed daily panj banis (5 Banis) followed by Ardas.
True is the Master, True is His Name-His language is infinite love.
People beg and pray, ""Give to us, give to us"", and the Great Giver gives His Gifts.
So what offering can we place before Him, by which we might see the Darbar or His Court?
What words can we speak to evoke His Love?
In the Amrit Vaylaa, the ambrosial hours before dawn, chant the True Name, sing his praises and contemplate His Glorious Greatness.
By the karma of past actions, the robe of divine love is obtained. By His Grace, the Gate of Liberation is found.
O Nanak, know this well: the True One Himself is All. ||4|| Japji Sahib
1) Dharam di Kirat karni - Earn by honest means.
2) Daswand dena - Give one tenth of your salary.
3) Gurbani kantth karni - Memorize Gurbani.
4) Amrit Vaelae utthna - Wake up Amrit Vela (before dawn).
5) Sikh sewak di sewa ruchi naal karni - Serve a Sikh Servant with devotion. . . .
(Reference: Sikh Virsa, December 2000, Vol. 6, No. 61, Pg. 29).
One falls asleep after a long day and it is a blessed person who through some inner strength can arise at such an hour out of ones cosy bed for the sake of remembrance of the Almighty, for which he or she is duly rewarded. At this time most people are in deep sleep and disturbances are at a minimum. The atmosphere is sacred because the vibrations of the mind involved in world matters are not emitted from the masses since they are in deep sleep. At this hour worldly thoughts, worries, anxieties, although not completely eliminated, are at a minimum.
The mind is also a form of energy, the mind disappears in deep sleep. The atmosphere is not polluted by the radiations of worldly feelings and desires. At this time the disciple of the one true Lord will make an effort and arise. Their pure mental rays pervade all over the world and make this time sacred. Thus it becomes a congenial and encouraging atmosphere for the remembrance of God.
Dhan Sri Guru Ram Das, the Fourth Nanak, leaves no doubt about what he expects a Sikh to do, and in plain and clear language, he writesin Gauree Raag on Pannaa 305:
mehla 4 ||
gur sathigur kaa jo sikh akhaaeae s bhalakae out(h) har naam dhhiaavai || oudham karae bhalakae parabhaathee eisanaan karae a(n)mrith sar naavai || oupadhaes guroo har har jap jaapai sabh kilavikh paap dhokh lehi jaavai || fir charrai dhivas gurabaanee gaavai behadhiaa out(h)adhiaa har naam dhhiaavai || jo saas giraas dhhiaaeae maeraa har har so gurasikh guroo man bhaavai || jis no dhaeiaal hovai maeraa suaamee this gurasikh guroo oupadhaes sunaavai || jan naanak dhhoorr ma(n)gai this gurasikh kee jo aap japai avareh naam japaavai ||2||
One who calls himself a Sikh of the Guru, the True Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord's Name. Upon arising early in the morning, he is to bathe, and cleanse himself in the pool of nectar. Following the Instructions of the Guru, he is to chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. All sins, misdeeds and negativity shall be erased. Then, at the rising of the sun, he is to sing Gurbani; whether sitting down or standing up, he is to meditate on the Lord's Name. One who meditates on my Lord, Har, Har, with every breath and every morsel of food - that GurSikh becomes pleasing to the Guru's Mind. That person, unto whom my Lord and Master is kind and compassionate - upon that GurSikh, the Guru's Teachings are bestowed. Servant Nanak begs for the dust of the feet of that GurSikh, who himself chants the Naam, and inspires others to chant it. ||2||
This should leave no doubts amongst the Sikh devotees, what Guru Nanak meant for Amrit Velaa to be. There is no more room for discussion, if one is to follow the above Shabad.
Guru Ram Das Ji, the fourth Nanak, further tells us :
Suhi, Fourth Mehl:
Wherever the Lord is worshipped in adoration, there the Lord becomes one's friend and helper.
By Guru's Grace, the Lord comes to dwell in the mind; He cannot be obtained in any other way. ||1||
So gather in the wealth of the Lord, O Siblings of Destiny,
so that in this world and the next, the Lord shall be your friend and companion. ||1||Pause||
In the company of the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, you shall earn the wealth of the Lord;
this wealth of the Lord is not obtained anywhere else, by any other means, at all.
The dealer in the Lord's Jewels purchases the wealth of the Lord's jewels; the dealer in cheap
glass jewels cannot acquire the Lord's wealth by empty words. ||2||
The Lord's wealth is like jewels, gems and rubies. At the appointed time in the Amrit Vaylaa, the ambrosial hours of the morning, the Lord's devotees lovingly center their attention on the Lord, and the wealth of the Lord.
The devotees of the Lord plant the seed of the Lord's wealth in the ambrosial hours of the Amrit Vaylaa; they eat it, and spend it, but it is never exhausted.
In this world and the next, the devotees are blessed with glorious greatness, the wealth of the Lord. ||3||
After sunrise the masses awake and the materialistic mental radiations are emitted through their physical senses. The atmosphere once again becomes polluted. People will disturb you dragging you to materialistic discussions. Even by seeing faces you will be affected. The mind and body are inter-related. Since mind is energy and energy is matter, even if you see the body, the mind in that body emits thoughts and feelings that will affect you. Therefore, in this most sacred hours of Amritwehla avoid even the vision of materialistic people, not to say about their touch and conversation as all this will have an effect on your connection with AkalPurkh. It is however true that one must remain as a lotus flowers in a pond or lake, which is likened to the sea of maya or illusion. That is, to remain pure within this impure world ocean. As the journey goes on, it is important to remain pure in any company, good or bad, but to begin with the control of the mind is difficult and the five thieves are at their strongest. They will use any means necessary to distract the mind. Hence, one must be aware of this and one must avoid all things that will cause a distraction of the mind, one must not give it any excuse to wander off.
The Vaars of Bhai Gurdas Ji repeatedly tell us the importance of awaking at Amrit Velaa.
Even if Shastras, Smritis, Lakhs of Vedas, Mahabharat, Ramayan etc. are joined together;
Thousands of gist’s of the Gita, Bhagvats, books of astronomy and acrobats of physicians are joined;
Fourteen branches of education, musicology and Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesa are put together;
if Lakhs of ses, serpent, Sukr, Vyas, Narad, Sanal et al. are all collected there;
Myriad's of knowledge's, meditations, recitations, philosophies, varnas and guru-disciples are there; they all are nothing.
The perfect Guru (Lord) is the Guru of the gurus and the holy discourse of the Guru is the basis of all the mantras.
The tale of the Word of the Guru is ineffable; it is neti neti (not this not this). One should always bow before him.
This pleasure fruit of the gurmukhs is attained in the early ambrosial hours.
Getting up at the ambrosial hour of morning the Sikhs bathe in the river.
By putting their mind in the unfathomable God through deep concentration, they remember Guru, the God by reciting Japu (Ji).
Getting fully activated then they go to join the holy congregation of the saints.
Becoming absorbed in remembering and loving the sabad they sing and hear the Guru's hymns.
They love to spend their time in meditation, service and fear of God and they serve the Guru by observing his anniversaries.
They sing the Sodar in the evening and heartily associate with one another.
Having recited the Sohila and made supplication at night they distribute sacred food (prasad). Thus gurmukhs gladly taste the fruit of happiness.
If in your laziness you wake after sunrise and wish to worship God, you will close your eyes to avoid such people. But, their mental radiations spread all around you and are inevitable. You wish to shut out the noises and the general humdrum of life but they will invade your sacred space and distract you. So, it is better to wake in the early morning and sing devotional kirtan as part of your Naam Simran routine. In addition, there is importance placed on repeating Naam at all times, throughout the day, with every breath I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who get up in the last quarter of night.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who getting up in the ambrosial hours, and bathe in the holy tank.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who remember the Lord with single devotion.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs also who go to the holy congregation and sit there.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who sing and listen to Gurbani daily.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who meet others whole-heartedly.
I am sacrifice unto those Gursikhs who celebrate Guru’s anniversaries with full devotion.
Such Sikhs become blest by the service of the Guru and progress further successfully.
1. Encyclopedia of SIKH Religion and Culture, R.C.Dogra and Dr.G.S. Mansukhani 1995
- [Amrit Vela] - A Perspective