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The Mūl Mantar (Punjabi: ਮੂਲ ਮੰਤਰ, IPA: [muːlᵊ mən̪t̪əɾᵊ]) is the first composition in the Sikh holy text, the Adi Granth, which would become the Guru Granth Sahib, written in Punjabi. It is a series of affirmations and is the basis of Sikh theology, as well as the fundamental prayer. The Mul Mantar is the first composition of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Guru Granth Sahib begins with the Mul Mantar and it occurs more than one hundred times throughout the text where it is placed at the beginning of the particular Shabad, or hymn. In one of the Janamsakhis, the martyr Bhai Mani Singh explains that the reason for placing the Mul Mantar at the beginning of a Shabad is that a Gursikh, or full devotee of the Guru, is reminded that everything else will fade, and only the Satnam, the all-pervading supreme reality, will remain.
Some Sikh institutions, like the SGPC, consider the Mūl Mantar proper to end at "Gur prasad," arguing that what follows is the name of the Bani composition "Jap", and the first line of the Jap Bani. Such groups claim this can be corroborated by the number of times that the mantar appears at the beginning of every Raag ending in "Gur prasad." On the other hand, other historic institutions, like taksals, or traditional Sikh religious educational institutions, and some Gurmat schools tracing back to the time of the Sikh gurus, hold the Mūl Mantar to be the full following verse, arguing that traditionally the Mūl Mantar in its full Naad goes from Ik Oankar until "Nanak Hosi bhi sach," and that the Mūl Mantar in the full Naad is given in the Amrit Sanchar baptizing ceremony since 1699.
The included grave accent illustrates tones found in the Punjabi language, and are meant to reflect the verbal pronunciation of the verse. The small letters in the following transliteration, denoting short vowels, are not etymologically part of the word they are added to, but are included in the Guru Granth Sahib for vocalization purposes.
ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
॥ ਜਪੁ ॥
॥ jap(u) ॥
agentive (doer) being,
without fear, without hatred,
known by the Guru's grace.
Recite:True at the beginning,
true through the ages,
is yet true,
O Nanak, and will be true.
The Mul Mantar is a widely known part of Sikh scripture, but it has posed a challenge to translators. The first affirmation, for example, Ik Onkar has been rendered multiple ways. It has been translated as "'There is one god', as ‘One reality is’, and ‘This being is one’" and the varying capitalization of "God", "Reality", or "Being" affects the meaning in English. A number of translations erroneously change the Mul Mantar from a list of qualities to a statement of facts and possessive adjectives. For example, they may change Satnam from "truth by name" to "His name is truth", which adds a masculine quality to God which does not appear in the original Gurmukhi.
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- Mool Mantar, Damdami Taksaal
- Basics of Sikhi
- Five main mantar in Sikhi
- English and Hindi translations
- Translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in >52 languages Machine translation of SGGS can be read from linked site by choosing appropriate language in transliterate and translation fields
- Ek Onkar - Shabad Gurbani
- Mool Mantar Recitation