Guru Granth Sahib
|Guru Granth Sahib Ji
ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ
|Predecessor||Guru Gobind Singh|
|Part of a series on|
|Guru Granth Sahib|
|Varan Bhai Gurdas|
Guru Granth Sahib Ji ([ɡʊɾu ɡɾəntʰ sɑhɪb]), is the central religious text of Sikhism, considered by Sikhs to be the final sovereign Guru of the religion. It is a voluminous text of 1430 Angs (pages), compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708. It is a collection of hymns (Shabad) or Baani describing the qualities of God and why one should meditate on God's nām. Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth guru, after adding Guru Tegh Bahadur's bani to the Adi Granth affirmed the sacred text as his successor, elevating it to Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The text remains the holy scripture of the Sikhs, regarded as the teachings of the Ten Gurus. The role of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, as a source or guide of prayer, is pivotal in Sikh worship. The Adi Granth, the first rendition, was first compiled by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjun (1563–1606), from hymns of the first five Sikh gurus and 15 other great saints, or bhagats, including those of the Hindu and Muslim faith. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh guru added all 115 of Guru Tegh Bahadur's hymns to the Adi Granth and this second rendition became known as Guru Granth Sahib Ji. After the tenth Sikh guru died many copies were prepared for distribution by Baba Deep Singh Ji and Bhai Mani Singh Ji.
- 1 History
- 2 Meaning and role in Sikhism
- 3 Elevation of Adi Granth to Guru Granth Sahib Ji
- 4 Composition
- 5 Sanctity among Sikhs
- 6 Printing
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Message
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
During the Guruship of Guru Nanak, collections of his hymns were compiled and sent to distant Sikh communities for use in morning and evening prayers. His successor, Guru Angad, began collecting his predecessor's sacred writings. This tradition was continued by the third and fifth guru.
When the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan, was collecting the writings of his predecessor, he discovered that pretenders to the Guruship were releasing forged anthologies of the previous gurus' writings and including their own writings alongside them. In order to prevent spurious scriptures from gaining legitimacy, Guru Arjan began compiling a sacred book for the Sikh community. He finished collecting the religious writings of Guru Ram Das, his immediate predecessor, and convinced Mohan, the son of Guru Amar Das, to give him the collection of the religious writings of the first three Gurus. In addition, he sent disciples to go across the country to find and bring back any previously unknown writings. He also invited members of other religions and contemporary religious writers to submit writings for possible inclusion. Guru Arjan selected hymns for inclusion into the book and Bhai Gurdas acted as his scribe.
While the manuscript was being put together, Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, received a report that the manuscript contained passages vilifying Islam. Therefore, while traveling north, he stopped en route and asked to inspect it. Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas brought him a copy of the manuscript so far, and after choosing three random passages to be read, determined the report to be false. He also granted a request from Guru Arjan to remit the annual tax revenue of the district because of the failure of the monsoon.
In 1604, Guru Arjan's manuscript was completed and installed at the Harmandir Sahib with Baba Buddha as the first granthi, or reader. Since communities of Sikh disciples were scattered all over northern India, copies of the holy book needed to be made for them.
The sixth, seventh, and eighth Gurus did not write religious verses, however the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur did and the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh included Guru Tegh Bahadur's writings into Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Gobind Singh had his own writings compiled in a separate granth, which today is called Dasam Granth Sahib. It is not revered as Guru by the Sikhs. The Guru is only Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
In 1704, at Damdama Sahib, during a one-year respite from the heavy fighting with Aurengzeb which the Khalsa was engaged in at the time, Guru Gobind Singh and Bhai Mani Singh added the religious compositions of Guru Tegh Bahadur to Guru Granth Sahib Ji to create a definitive version. The religious verses of Guru Gobind Singh were not included in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, but some of his religious verses are included in the daily prayers of Sikhs. During this period, Bhai Mani Singh also collected Guru Gobind Singh's writings as well as his court poets and included them in a secondary religious volume known as the Dasam Granth.
Meaning and role in Sikhism
Sikhs consider Guru Granth Sahib Ji to be a spiritual guide for not only for Sikhs but for the all of mankind; it plays a central role in "guiding" the Sikhs' way of life. Its place in Sikh devotional life is based on two fundamental principles: that the text is the living Guru and that all answers regarding religion and morality can be discovered within it. Its hymns and teachings are called Gurbani or "Word of the guru" and sometimes Guru ki bani or "Word of God". Thus, in Sikh theology, the revealed divine word is written by the past Gurus. There are numerous holy men, other than the Sikh Gurus, who are collectively referred to as Bhagats, or "devotees." Their writings were included in the Adi Granth and are referred to as Bhagat bani, "Word of Devotees".
Elevation of Adi Granth to Guru Granth Sahib Ji
The Adi Granth was conferred the title of "Guru of the Sikhs" by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, 1708. The event, when Guru Gobind Singh installed Adi Granth as the Guru of Sikhism, was recorded in a Bhatt Vahi (a bard's scroll) by an eyewitness, Narbud Singh, who was a bard at the Guru's court. There are a variety of other documents attesting to this proclamation by the tenth Guru.
Thus, despite some aberrations, the Sikhs overwhelmingly accept that Guru Granth Sahib Ji is their eternal Guru. This has been the understanding and conviction of the Sikhs, since 1708.
A close associate of Guru Gobind Singh and author of Rehit-nama, Prahlad Singh, recorded the Guru's commandment saying "With the order of the Eternal Lord has been established [Sikh] Panth: all the Sikhs hereby are commanded to obey the Granth as their Guru".(Rehat-nama, Bhai Prahlad Singh) Similarly Chaupa Singh, another associate of Guru Gobind Singh, has mentioned this commandment in his Rehat-nama.
Bhai Nand Lal, a court poet of Guru Gobind Singh recorded the words of Guru in his writing "rehitnaama bhai nand laal"  as:
- ਜੋ ਮੁਝ ਬਚਨ ਸੁਣਨ ਕੀ ਚਾਇ,ਗ੍ਰ੍ਰ੍ਰੰਥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਣੇ ਚਿੱਤ ਲਾਇ ॥ (੧੯)
- ਮੇਰਾ ਰੂਪ ਗੰ੍ਰ੍ਥ ਜੀ ਜਾਣ,ਇਸ ਮੇਂ ਭੇਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੁਝ ਮਾਨ ॥ (੨੦)
- jō mujh bacan suṇan kī cāi, grrra°th pad̲ē suṇē ciੱt lāi || (19)
- mērā rūp ga°`rrath jī jāṇ, is mēṃ bhēt nahīṃ kujh mān || (20)
- "Ones who aspires to listen to my sermons, Diligently, should he read and recite Guru Granth Sahib Ji.(19)
- Deem Granth Jee as my embodiment, And concede to no other perception.(20)"
The Sikh Gurus spoke Punjabi and developed a new writing script for the language, Gurmukhī, for writing their sacred hymns. Although the exact origins of the script are unknown, it is believed to have existed in an elementary form during the time of Guru Nanak. According to Sikh tradition, Guru Angad invented the script, and popularised its use among the Sikhs. It is stated in Mahman Prakash, an early Sikh manuscript, that the script was invented by Guru Angad at the suggestion of Guru Nanak during the lifetime of the founder. The word Gurmukhī translates as "from the mouth of the Guru". The script was used, from the outset, for compiling Sikh scriptures. The Sikhs assign a high degree of sanctity to the Gurmukhī language script; it is also the official script for the Indian State of Punjab.
Guru Granth Sahib Ji is divided by their musical setting in different ragas into fourteen hundred and thirty pages known as Angs (limbs) in Sikh tradition. It can be categorized into two different sections:
- Introductory section consisting of the Mul Mantra, Japji and Sohila composed by Guru Nanak
- Compositions of Sikh Gurus followed by those of Different Bhagats who just know Only the God, collected according to chronology of ragas or musical notes (see below).
The word raga refers to the "color," and more specifically the emotion or mood prodcuced by a particular combination or sequence of pitches. A raga is composed of a series of melodic motifs, based upon a definite scale or mode of the 7 Swara solmization, that provide a basic structure around which the musician performs. Some ragas may also be associated with different times of the day and year. The total number of ragas in the Sikh system is thirty one, divided into fourteen ragas and seventeen raginis (less important or less definite ragas). Within the raga division, the songs are arranged in order of the Sikh gurus and Sikh bhagats with whom they are associated.
The various ragas are, in order: Sri, Manjh, Gauri, Asa, Gujri, Devagandhari, Bihagara, Wadahans, Sorath, Dhanasri, Jaitsri, Todi, Bairari, Tilang, Suhi, Bilaval, Gond (Gaund), Ramkali, Nut-Narayan, Mali-Gaura, Maru,[disambiguation needed] Tukhari, Kedara, Bhairav (Bhairo), Basant, Sarang, Malar, Kanra, Kalyan, Prabhati and Jaijawanti. In addition there are twenty-two compositions of Vars (Traditional ballads). Nine of these have specific tunes and the rest can be sung to any tune.
Sanctity among Sikhs
Sikhs observe total sanctity of the text in Guru Granth Sahib Ji. No one can change or alter any of the writings of the Sikh Gurus written in Adi Granth. This includes sentences, words, structure, grammar, and meanings. This total sanctity was observed by the Gurus themselves. Guru Har Rai had disowned his elder son, Ram Rai, because he had attempted to alter the wording of one of Guru Nanak's hymn. Ram Rai had been sent to Delhi, by Guru Har Rai, to explain Gurbani to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. To please the Emperor, he altered the wording of some hymns of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The matter was reported to the Guru, who was displeased with his son and disowned him. Later when aged, Ram Rai was forgiven by Guru Gobind Singh.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is always placed in the center of a Gurudwara, on a raised platform known as Takht (throne). Guru Granth Sahib Ji is given the greatest respect and honour. Sikhs cover their heads and remove their shoes while in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is normally carried on the head and as a sign of respect, not touched with unwashed hands or put on the floor.
Guru Granth Sahib ji is always the focal point in any Gurudwara. It is attended with all signs of royalty. It is placed upon a throne, and the congregation sits on the floor. Above it, a chaur sahib is waved and a canopy is always placed over it. Peacock feather were waved over royal or saintly beings as a mark of their spiritual or temporal status, which was later replaced by the modern Chaur sahib. The devotees bow before the Guru as a sign of respect.
Guru Granth Sahib ji is taken care of by a Granthi. He is responsible for reciting from Guru Granth Sahib ji and leading the Sikh prayer. The Granthi also acts as the caretaker of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Granth Sahib is kept covered in clean cloths, known as Rumala, to protect from heat, dust, pollution etc. Guru Granth Sahib Ji rests on a manji sahib under a rumala until brought out again.
The editing of Dhan Dhan Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj is done by the official religious body of Sikhs based in Amritsar. Great care is taken while making printed copies and strict code of conduct is observed during the task of printing.
Before the late nineteenth century, only hand written copies of Guru Granth Sahib Ji were prepared. The first printed copy of Guru Granth Sahib was made in 1864. Since the early 20th century, Guru Granth Sahib Ji has been printed in a standard 1430 Angs.
Any copies of Guru Granth Sahib Ji which are deemed unfit to be read from are cremated with a similar ceremony as cremating a deceased person. Such cremating is called Agan Bheta. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is currently printed in an authorized printing press in the basement of the Gurudwara Ramsar in Amritsar, with the misprinted being cremated at Goindval.
Max Arthur Macauliffe writes about the authenticity of the scriptures:
- The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote of his tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Buddha has left no written memorial of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucius, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social system. The founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing and for them we are obliged to trust to the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The prophet Muhammad did not himself reduce to writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of Sikh Gurus are preserved and we know at first hand what they taught.
Pearl Buck gives the following comment on receiving the First English translation of Guru Granth Sahib Ji:
- I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God, to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzles me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century, when explorers were beginning to discover that the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
Some of the major messages can be summarized as follows: -
- Women are equal to men (see also Women in Guru Granth Sahib Ji).
- One God for all.
- Speak and live truthfully.
- Control the five vices.
- Live in God's hukam (will/order).
- Practice Humility, Kindness, Compassion, Love, etc.
- Keene, Michael (2003). Online Worksheets. Nelson Thornes. p. 38. ISBN 0-7487-7159-X.
- Penney, Sue. Sikhism. Heinemann. p. 14. ISBN 0-435-30470-4.
- Ganeri, Anita (2003). Guru Granth Sahib and Sikhism. Black Rabbit Books. p. 13.
- Kapoor, Sukhbir (2005). Guru Granth Sahib an Advance Study. Hemkunt Press. p. 139.
- Partridge, Christopher Hugh (2005). Introduction to World Religions. p. 223.
- Kashmir, Singh. "Sri Guru Granth Sahib — A Juristic Person". Global Sikh Studies. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
- Singh, Kushwant (2005). A history of the sikhs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-567308-5.
- Kapoor, Sukhbir. Guru Granth Sahib an Advance Study. Hemkunt Press. p. 139. ISBN 9788170103219.
- Pruthi, Raj (2004). Sikhism And Indian Civilization. Discovery Publishing House. p. 188.
- Religion and Nationalism in India By Harnik Deol. Published by Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0-415-20108-X, 9780415201087. Page 22. "Remarkably, neither is the Qur'an written in Urdu language, nor are the Hindu scriptures written in Hindi, whereas the compositions in the Sikh holy book, Adi Granth, are a melange of various dialects, often coalesced under the generic title of Sant Bhasha."
The making of Sikh scripture by Gurinder Singh Mann. Published by Oxford University Press US, 2001. ISBN 0-19-513024-3, ISBN 978-0-19-513024-9 Page 5. "The language of the hymns recorded in the Adi Granth has been called "Sant Bhasha," a kind of lingua franca used by the medieval saint-poets of northern India. But the broad range of contributors to the text produced a complex mix of regional dialects."
History of Punjabi Literature by Surindar Singh Kohli. Page 48. Published by National Book, 1993. ISBN 81-7116-141-3, ISBN 978-81-7116-141-6. "When we go through the hymns and compositions of the Guru written in Sant Bhasha (saint- language), it appears that some Indian saint of 16th century".
Introduction: Guru Granth Sahib. "Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in Gurmukhi script. The language, which is most often Sant Bhasha, is very close to Punjabi. It is well understood all over northern and northwest India and is popular among the wandering holy men. Persian and some local dialects have also been used. Many hymns contain words of different languages and dialects,depending upon the mother tongue of the writer or the language of the region where they were composed."
Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth By Nirmal Dass. Published by SUNY Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7914-4683-2, ISBN 978-0-7914-4683-6. Page 13. "Any attempt at translating songs from the Adi Granth certainly involves working not with one language, but several, along with dialectical differences. The languages used by the saints range from Sanskrit; regional Prakrits; western, eastern and southern Apabhramsa; and Sahaskrit. More particularly, we find sant bhasha, Marathi, Old Hindi, central and Lehndi Panjabi, Sgettland Persian. There are also many dialects deployed, such as Purbi Marwari, Bangru, Dakhni, Malwai, and Awadhi."
Sikhism . Guru Granth Sahib (GGS) By Harjinder Singh. "Guru Granth Sahib Ji also contains hymns which are written in a language known as Sahiskriti as well as Sant Bhasha, it also contains many Persian and Sanskrit words throughout."
- Singh, Khushwant (1991). A history of the Sikhs: Vol. 1. 1469-1839. Oxford University Press. p. 34. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Singh, Khushwant (1991). A history of the Sikhs: Vol. 1. 1469-1839. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–56,294–295. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Singh, Khushwant (1991). A history of the Sikhs: Vol. 1. 1469-1839. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–55,90,148,294–296. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- McLeod, W. H. (1990-10-15). Textual sources for the study of Sikhism. University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Singh, Gurbachan; Sondeep Shankar (1998). The Sikhs : Faith, Philosophy and Folks. Roli & Janssen. p. 55. ISBN 81-7436-037-9.
- Singh, Ganda; Gurdev Singh (199676767676). Perspectives on The Sikh Tradition. Singh Brothers, Amritsar (India). p. 224121211212121212129. ISBN 81-7205-178-6.
- rehitnaam bhai nand lal http://www.searchgurbani.com/bhai_nand_lal/rahitnama/page/40
- Hoiberg, Dale; Indu Ramchandani (2000). Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan. p. 207. ISBN 0-85229-760-2.
- Duggal, Kartar Singh (1998). Philosophy and Faith of Sikhism. Himalayan Institute Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-89389-109-6.
- Gupta, Hari Ram (2000). History of the Sikhs Vol.1; The Sikh Gurus, 1469-1708. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers (P) Ltd. p. 114. ISBN 81-215-0276-4.
- Mann, Gurinder Singh (2001). The making of Sikh Scripture. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-19-513024-3.
- Brown, Kerry (1999). Sikh Art and Literature. Routledge. p. 200. ISBN 0-415-20288-4.
- Giriraj, Ruhel (2003). Glory Of Indian Culture. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 96. ISBN 9788171825929.
- The Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 2. Routledge. 2013. p. 935. ISBN 9781136096020.
- Amrita, Priyamvada (2007). Encyclopaedia of Indian music. p. 252. ISBN 9788126131143.
- Bains, K.S. "A tribute to Bal Guru". The Tribune.
- Fowler, Jeaneane (1997). World Religions:An Introduction for Students. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 354–357. ISBN 1-898723-48-6.
- Jolly, Asit (2004-04-03). "Sikh holy book flown to Canada". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- Eleanor Nesbitt, "Sikhism: a very short introduction", ISBN 0-19-280601-7, Oxford University Press, pp. 40-41
- Foreword to the English translation of Guru Granth Sahib Ji by Gopal Singh, 1960
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (English Version) by Dr Gopal Singh M.A Ph.D., Published by World Book Centre in 1960
- Singh, Sahib (Prof) (1996). About The Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Amritsar: Lok Sahit Parkashan.
- Dilgeer, Harjinder Singh (2010), Spiritual Manifesto of the World: Guru Granth Sahib, publisher Sikh University Press & Singh Brothers Amritsar, 2010.
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