Akhand Path (akhand = uninterrupted, without break; path = reading) is the non-stop, continuous recital of the Guru Granth Sahib from beginning to end. Such a recital is normally completed within 48 hours. The entire Holy Volume, 1430 large pages, is read through in a continuous ceremony. This “ritual” is considered a very holy practise and is said to bring peace and solace to the participants and the passive listener of the recitation. For it to be classified as a “Akhand paath”, this reading must go on day and night, without a moment’s intermission. The relay of reciters who take turns at reading the scripture must ensure that no break occurs in the reading. As they change places at given intervals, one picks the line from his predecessor’s lips and continues. When and how the custom of reciting the canon in its entirety in one continuous service began is not known. Conjecture traces it to the turbulent days of the eighteenth century when persecution had scattered the Sikhs to far off places. In those exilic, uncertain times, the practice of accomplishing a reading of the Holy Book by a continuous recital is believed to have originated. The Akhand Path can be held at the Gurudwara or at your home.
Sahej or Sadharan Paath is the complete reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib from start to finish accomplished at the reader’s pace. A Sahej Paath may be fulfilled by one or more readers. The pace of the paath is undetermined and will depend entirely on the reader(s). Some dedicated Sikhs who have the Guru Granth Sahib installed at their home, carry out a Sahaj paath on a continuous basis at home. They begin one Sahaj paath and in some cases take up to one year to read the whole of the holy Granth. After they have carried out the bhog of the paath, they begin another paath. So in this way, they are continuously reading Gurbani at home for a little while perhaps on a daily basis. The Sahj Path can be held at the Gurudwara or at your home.
Sukhmani Sahib Path
Sukhmani Sahib is the name given to the set of hymns divided into 24 sections which appear in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures on page 262. Each section, which is called an Ashtpadi (asht means 8), consists of 8 hymns per Ashtpadi. The word Sukhmani literally means Peace in your mind. This set of Hymns or Bani is very popular among the Sikhs, who frequently recite it in their places of worship called Gurdwaras and at home. The full recital takes about 90 minutes and is normally undertaken by everyone in the congregation. According to Sikh doctorine, this Bani is believed to bring peace to one’s mind and compoundly peace to the world. This set of 192 hymns were compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.