I’m not sure when this practice started; where a member of the sangat would make an offering to the Gurdwara so an “Ardaas” can be done on their behalf. Birthdays are most common week to week, but I have heard more creative ones - celebrating a new job, new car, first mother’s day, wishing someone well on an upcoming exam, or safe travels for someone’s trip to India. Some even taken advantage of this process, by doing an “Ardaas” on behalf of their business week after week - essentially advertising their local store, while they have the entire community’s ear. I’ve raised this issue to the committee that perhaps there needs to be a better way to handle these “community announcements” rather than during Ardaas...I mean, seconds after we recount the martyrs who were cut limb by limb and scalped, we collectively thank Waheguru for Tinku’s new Benz? It just doesn’t seem right.
So what should we do an Ardaas for? What should be allowed? What rules need put be put in place? Looking at the Guru for guidance, there are many references to Ardaas, but to quote a few:
Guru Angad Patshah explicitly states in Asa Ki Vaar:
But then there’s another perspective to all this…
I do not belong to a God-fearing religion, but instead, a God-loving religion - and I feel my Guru accepts me for who I am, with all my strengths and weaknesses. And so my dialogue with the Guru should be open, honest, and unapologetic. So if that means in my Ardaas I ask for help in achieving a personal milestone, or for a sick friend to feel better, or for a prisoner of conscience in Rwanda to be released, or offer thanks for a new car...so be it.
Furthermore, I should be able to ask anything and seek guidance for whatever question or challenge I have...as long as I’m willing to seek his Shabad for answers.