HUKAMNAMA , is a compound of two Persian words “hukam”, meaning command or order, and “namah”, meaning letter. In the Sikh tradition, historically it refers to the letters sent by the Sikh Gurus to their Sikhs or sangats (congregation) in different parts of the country during the period of the Ten Gurus from 1469 to 1708. However, now it is used to refer to the Shabd (Sacred Hymn) that is read after the Ardaas prayer is said in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In this case the word is can also be shortened to just the “Guru’s Hukam”. Hukamnama is not just a random Shabad. It is a conversation with Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
Guru Nanak DEV JI wrote:
” Hukam manae sirdaar dar deebaanee-ai ||
One who respects the Hukam of the Lord’s Command is honored and respected in the Court of the Lord.” SGGS||142
A 17 year old girl who addicted to cocaine came forward and asked, “Can Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj forgive my past sins, and put me on the path in the future?”. We took a Hukamnama Sahib, and the Guru said:
ਪਿਛਲੇ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਬਖਸਿ ਲਏ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਗੈ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥2॥
Please forgive my past actions, God, and place me on Your path for the future. ||2||
This can also be interpreted: I have forgiven your past sins, and I put you on the future.
On another tour when Bhai Sukha Singh was in America someone came up to him and asked, “Can Guru Granth Sahib ji talk? He said, “Let’s go to Guru Granth Sahib”. The man said, “I want to hear Guru Granth Sahib ji say that they can speak. It if doesn’t come up in the Hukamanma then think about what I’m saying”. Sukha Singh thought, “Ok my job is done, Guru ji it is up to you to take care of this from here”. The man wasn’t a bad person, he just misunderstood what the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is. He thought it is a book with some spiritual understandings. No, Guru Granth Sahib Ji IS spirituality. It is not a prophet. It is the message. It is the voice. So they did an ardas and received a Hukam. When one line came up the man put his head down. Not with shame but with Sharda (humility). The line was:
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਗਲਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਮਸਲਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੀ ਕਰਦਾ ਨਿਤ ਸਾਰਾ ॥
My conversation is with the Lord’s Name, and my counseling is with the Lord’s Name; the Lord’s Name always takes care of me.
This line is saying: You can speak to me. You can ask my advice. It is the Name of God that looks after me.
So when we take a Hukamnama Sahib, it’s that it’s just a random Shabad that may or may not be applicable. It is a direct message to you.
In this short video Bhai Sukha Singh shares two experiences relating to the power of a Hukamnama Sahib. Recorded at West Coast Sikhi Camp, Dec 2014.