Vaheguruu ji ka khalsa, Vaheguruu ji ki fateh !!
Hukamnama is the command of Guru Ji intended for the whole congregation in a congregational session to understand and follow. Therefore when commencing or finishing a congregational session, when doing parkaash (ceremoniously opening Guru Ji) or sukhaasan (when Guru Ji ceremoniously is closed and is taking to Guru Ji's private room) then reading a Hukamnama is essential. Through Hukamnama, the living and speaking soul of Guru Nanak Ji gives us guidance, instruction and blessings.
How to take a Hukamnama step by step:
(1) An Ardaas or standing prayer, should be offered before taking a Hukamnama.
(2) If Guru Ji is covered with a Rumaala Sahib (beautiful fabric draping), then slowly with reverence roll or fold the Rumaala Sahib on itself. It is advisable to tuck the rolled up section of the Rumaala Sahib between the hard cover of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Angs on both sides. Ang litterally means 'part' as in part of a body. Each ang is reverently considered to be part of the body of the living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahibji
(3) If Guru Ji has not been opened, then when opening Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the opening angs at the top will be the Hukamnama. If Guru is already open then from the middle of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, lift an equal amount of Angs from one side and the other side, and with both thumbs carefully and randomly select an ang from the middle section of Guru Ji.
(4) Before reciting a Hukamnama, it is common to recite a mangla-chaaran, which means an invocation. We not only invoke the blessing of the Guru but clear our minds that we may read the Hukamnaama with proper attention. This can be a small shabad, salokh or saying 'Satnaam Vaahiguroo' in between opening Guru Ji for the Hukamnama and before reading the Hukam.
Some examples of Mangla-chaarans which are commonly used when taking Hukamnamas are:
Mool Mantar: -
ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
"One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace." (Ang 1, SGGS)
"Salokh: I bow down, and fall to the ground in humble adoration, countless times, to the All-powerful Lord, who possesses all powers. Please protect me, and save me from wandering, God. Reach out and give Nanak Your Hand. 1" (Ang 256, SGGS)
A pauree (stanza) from a shabad:
ਸਲੋਕੁ ॥ਡੰਡਉਤਿ ਬੰਦਨ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਾਰ ਸਰਬ ਕਲਾ ਸਮਰਥ ॥ ਡੋਲਨ ਤੇ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਕਰਿ ਹਥ ॥1॥
I seek Your Sanctuary - You are my only hope. You are my companion, and my best friend. Save me, O Merciful Saviour Lord; Nanak is the slave of Your home. 312 (Ang 673)
(5) The Hukamnama according to the Rehat Maryada is always from the top left hand side. If the shabad is continuing from the previous ang turn the ang over to the point where the shabad begins.
If the Bani is a Salokh (couplet) or a Pauree (stanza), read the Salokh and the Pauree (if it starts on the previous ang, start from there). The pauree typically at the end of a given Shabad, which is deliniated by the pause or 'Rahao' line, in a shabad contains the central idea of Guru Ji's message. The other stanzas then expound in greater detail on this central theme.
(6) You need to read the first two lines of the Hukamnama twice. Again the Pauree before the "Rahaao" (if applicable) is usually the central idea of the Shabad. The last two lines are then to also read twice (as indication that this is the end of the Hukamnama).
(7) A shabad usually ends with "Nanak" Also you can tell by looking at the numbers following after the line after a given Pauree where you are. The final Pauree contains a number then another number indicating fianlity of the Shabad. Thus Gurbani is organized in a logical way most can follow.