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 Scripture, and will have the ability to translate the words of sacred text into simple everyday language. Gyanis can also communicate in English (not always the case), 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.
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
- A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism from W. Owen Cole and Piara Singh Sambhi, Curzon Press, p.68, ISBN 0700710485
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