A Gyani or Giani is an honorific Sikh title used by someone learned in the Sikh religion and who often leads the congregation in prayers, such as Ardas, or in singing (kirtan). The word "Ghian" in Punjabi means knowledge, derivative of Sanskrit word, Jnana. So a "gyani" is someone who has spiritual and religious knowledge and can help the congregation, called the Sadh Sangat, in understanding the Sacred Texts and the history of the religion.
A gyani can be a male or a female, as the Sikh religion gives equal rights to both sexes. He or she will have undergone an intensive course of study and evaluation at an academic or religious institute, will have a thorough knowledge of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Granth (or Book), and will have the ability to translate the words of sacred text into simple everyday language. Gyanis can also communicate in English, a major bonus to western children who are not fluent in Punjabi or Gurmukhi, the language of the holy scriptures.
Spiritually, a true gyani is called a Brahm gyani. This is what the Guru Granth Sahib says about such a person:
The True One is on his mind, and the True One is upon his lips. He sees only
the One. O Nanak, these are the qualities of a Brahm gyani (knower of God). The Brahm gyani is always uncontaminated, as the lotus in the water remains detached. The Brahm gyani is always unstained, like the sun, which gives its comfort and warmth to all. The Brahm gyani looks upon all alike, like the wind, which blows equally upon the king and the poor beggar. The Brahm gyani has a steady patience, like the earth, which is dug up by one, and anointed with sandal paste by another. This is the quality of the God-conscious being: O Nanak, his inherent nature is like a warming fire...
— Guru Granth Sahib Page 272
Notable people with Giani
- Pratap Singh Giani
- Giani Chet Singh
- Giani Zail Singh, President of India
- Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir, first Chief Minister of Punjab
- Gyani Inder Singh
- A Popular dictionnary of Sikhism from W. Owen Cole and Piara Singh Sambhi, Curzon Press, p.68, ISBN 0700710485
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