Kirat Karni

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Part of a series on
Sikh Beliefs

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History of Sikhism
Sikh practices

1a. Simran
1b. Seva

2. Three Pillars
2a. Naam Japo
2b. Kirat Karni
2c. Wand kay Shako

3. Five Evils
3a. Kam
3b. Krodh
3c. Lobh
3d. Moh
3e. Ahankar

4. Five Virtues
4a. Sat
4b. Santokh
4c. Daya
4d. Nimrata
4e. Pyare

Articles on Sikhism

Kirat Karni (or kirit karo) is one of three primary pillars of Sikhism. The other two primary pillars are Naam Japo and Wand kay Shako.

Dharam di Kirat Karni - To work and earn by the sweat of the brow in a honest way, to live a family way of life, and practice truthfulness and honesty in all dealings. Both of the above terms mean to carry out good deeds and earn a honest, pure and truthful livelihood by exercising ones God given skills, abilities, talents and hard labour for the benefit and improvement of the individual, their family and society at large.

This means to work with determination and focus by the sweat of your brows and not to be lazy and to waste your life to time. To do these things without 'personal gain' becoming your main motivation. Make Simran and dedication of the work to God your main motivation. To perform Kirat is like saying a prayer or performing meditation. It is equal to your ‘Sunday Service’ attendance at your place of worship.

SGGS Page 1245 Full Shabad
ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥

ghaal khaa-ay kichh hathahu day-ay. naanak raahu pachhaaneh say-ay.1.
One who works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has - O Nanak, he knows the Path. (1)

Guru Ji says on page 8 of SGGS Read Text in Red

  • Those who have meditated on the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and departed after having worked by the sweat of their brows - O Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord, and many are saved along with them! ||1||

And again on page 317 Read Text in Red

  • Deep within the hearts of His GurSikhs, the True Guru is pervading. The Guru is pleased with those who long for His Sikhs. As the True Guru directs them, they do their work and chant their prayers. The True Lord accepts the service of His GurSikhs.

Also on Page 1234 Read Text in Red

  • Those who understand the Lord’s Court, never suffer separation from him. The True Guru has imparted this understanding. They practice truth, self-restraint and good deeds; their comings and goings are ended. ||6||
  • jinH dar soojhai say kaday na vigaarheh satgur boojh bujhaa-ee. sach sanjam karnee kirat kamaaveh aavan jaan rahaa-ee. ||6||
Three Pillars
1. Naam Japo 2. Kirat Karni 3. Wand kay Shako

Alternative Spellings and Terminology

Kirat Karo Earn your money righteously and honestly. This is a guideline given to the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh. The idea is based on the concept of karma. Concept of karma relates to conduct of previous births rewarded in this one. This does not tally with Sikh view. Here while you may be born in human form due to any previous birth privilege, you cannot get any rewards like that. This life depends on your work and conduct which will result in His grace. Good conduct and character will make you eligible for grace. Freedom from avagaman will come through Lords grace. One should therefore work honestly in accordance with Guru's advice to reach that level.

See also