Articles: Essays on Sikh
Values: Essence of the Faith
Essence of the Faith
Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Nanak Dev preserved his Bani - Hymns, and later,
got it written by Bhai Mansukh (Bhai - brother). He also, collected the
selected Banis of various Bhagats (Saints) on the basis of his principles,
totally ignoring their status, caste, religion, or place. The Second Guru
Angad Dev added his Bani to this collection, and got it scribed by Bhai
Paaerra Mokha. The Third Guru Amar Das, contributed his Bani to this collection,
and got the whole of it recorded by Bhai Sahansar Ram into the volumes
called “Pothis” (books). After the Fourth Guru Ram Das added to it his
Bani, the Pothis passed on to the fifth Guru Arjun Dev.
To safeguard the authenticity of Bani, Guru Arjun Dev
collected, checked, compiled and got it written by Bhai Gurdas at the bank
of Ramsar (Sar - pool), at Amritsar. There stands the Gurdwara Ramsar.
It had 2218 Shabads of Guru Arjun Dev himself.
Guru Arjun Dev rejected the poems which did not come up
to his measure, like those of Kahna, Chhaju, Peelo and Shah Hussain. It
contained Bani of the 5 Guru, 15 Bhagat, 11 Bhatt (wise ones - Brahmin
scholars), Sunder, Satta, Balwand and Mardana. It had 974 pages, total
5721 Shabads in 30 Raag (Raga - the musical measures). It had Raag-Mala
(description of Ragas) at its end. It was completed in 1604, after working
on it for four years. It was named the Pothi Sahib (the Revered Book).
The same year, its Parkash (placed, opened, installed) was done in Harimandir
Sahib (Golden Temple), at Amritsar, Punjab, India. Its first Granthi (caretaker)
was Baba Budha ji. Later, it was called Adi Granth (book from beginning
of the time). With changing time, it went to the Sodhi of Kartarpur, District
Jalandhar, Punjab, and came to be known as “Kartar Puri Beerr” (the Kartarpur
Book). The original was lost and the present volume is a copy of that.
Bhai Bano made a copy of Guru Arjun Dev’s Beerr and put
into it a few extra poems on his own. Guru Arjun Dev rejected and called
it “Khari Beerr” (khari - saltish, unacceptable book). This Beerr is perhaps
somewhere in Uttar Pradesh or elsewhere.
The Beerr bIV
bIV - Granth
The Holy Volumes
The Sodhis refused to part with the Adi Granth (Kartarpuri
Beerr), and Guru Gobind Singh recompiled it adding 116 Shabads of his father
Guru Tegh Bahadur, some in Raga Jaijaiwanti, and got it rewritten by Bhai
Mani Singh at Damdama Sahib (Talwandi Sabo, near Bathinda), Punjab. It
came to be known as “Damdami Beerr” (Damdama Book). It had 5894 Shabads
- hymns, in 31 Ragas. It contained the Bani (Hymns) of 6 Gurus.
Baba Deep Singh Shahid, at the time of Guru Gobind Singh,
made copies both of Kartarpuri Beerr and Damdami Beerr. Damdami Beerr
was lost during attacks of Ahmed Shah Abdali in “Wadda Ghalughara” (Greater
One day before his death in 1708, Guru Gobind Singh declared
this D.amd.ami Beerr to be the ‘Guru’, and no human ever to be the
guru of the Sikhs after him. This Beerr (Damdami) came to be addressed
as “Adi Guru Granth Sahib,” or “Guru Granth Sahib.” (Adi - from the beginning.
Guru - Prophet. Granth - Book. Sahib - an honorific word like Sir). The
original Guru Granth Sahib (Damdami Beerr) was lost in the Sikh struggle,
and its available Beerrs are copies of Damdami Beerr.
The first original version of the hymns collected by Guru
Arjun Dev and scribed by Bhai Gurdas, at Amritsar, is Adi Granth (Book
from the beginning of the time) called Kartarpuri Beerr, and the word “Guru“
is not used for it. It is not the Sikh Guru.
Its second version compiled by Guru Gobind Singh with
added Bani of Guru Tegh Bahadur, scribed by Bhai Mani Singh at Damdama
Sahib, called Damdami Beerr, is known as Adi Guru Granth Sahib. This is
- a general consideration.
A good many so called scholars conduct research
mostly to find faults, deficiencies, shortcomings, and present it as their
constructive work. Mostly, they follow the dictates of their arrogance,
put all their efforts for the name, without bothering for precedences,
or the accepted norms. On the other hand, the faithful ones make
a study with reverence. They want to learn and know more. They put in their
best efforts to make up their deficiencies. They want to evolve in the
light of Gurbani (Hymns in Sri Guru Granth Sahib).
Between a scholar and the faithful is the middle path
of practicing religion with intelligent faith, and this is the path the
scholars have to pave for the coming generations. They should follow
the precepts with constructive approach and scientific understanding. They
should not mess up the minds of the youth with contradictory conclusions
in the name of research.
Nobody has a right to temper with the faith, and its followers
will never tolerate anyone who will try to do so. Guru Granth Sahib is
the Sikh Holy Book, and the Hymns in it are acceptible to its followers
as these are originally given there.
A religion overflowing with uncertainties will push the
youth away from itself. They will break away from the main stream in search
of peace elsewhere. This is the danger of a research which, rather than
ameliorating adds confusion to it. Therefore, research should be properly
controlled, so that rather than straying the people away, it should attempt
to bring them back to the fold of the faith. The Sikh world has to take
preventive measures to safeguard against any research that is not in line
with the set ethics of the faith, creates confusions in its adherents and
It is our duty to protect a genuine author lest his or
her hard labor, time and money go to waste. Banning a book is killing an
author. The Sikh world should try to watch that he or she does not set
a self destructive path by working on the damaging research. Both the ends
can be met with by a central body which should directly and as well indirectly
through local institutions, control, supervise, as well guide and conduct
research on the faith - “Sikhi, Sikheaa, Gur veechaar” (1-465-10.
Sikh religion, its teachings and Scriptures). We have to be careful that
this procedure does not cause undue delays and that it is run without prejudice
or discrimination of any sort whatsoever. No doubt, the search should promote
Gurbani and Sikhi in its totality.
Anyone talking of Sri Guru Granth Sahib has to keep it
very clearly in the mind that it is living Guru of the Sikhs - “Dh:ur
Kee Banee” - the revealed Scriptures, the “Word-Guru,” and it has to
be held in that high esteem. Its contents are the revealed one (5-628-4),
and not a poetry composed by any human being.
The question can be as to what is the status of the Bani
(in Sri Guru Granth Sahib) that is not composed by the Gurus. This is very
simple. The moment Guru Gobind Sigh installed the Granth as the Guru, its
all the contents became Shabad-Guru - the Word-Guru, one and the same as
the Bani by the Gurus i.e. every word in the Holy Book attained the status
of the revealed Bani. The second question can be about the position of
the lippi (script) used i.e. Gurmukhi, in which Guru Granth Sahib is originally
Lipi - Gurmukhi Script
The fact is that Gurmukhi lippi was already there, and
Guru Angad Dev improved as well as popularized it. Earlier, Guru Nanak
Dev mentioned Gurmukhi characters in his Bani named Patti. Even the
recording of Bhagat Kabir’s poetic composition named ‘Patti,’ has a mention
of the Gurmukhi characters in it. When Guru Arjun Dev dictated Bani to
Bhai Gurdas, he wrote according to the grammar of the time. Guru Granth
Sahib is one that is exact replica of Damdami Beerr which Guru Gobind Singh
declared as the Guru. It is written in Gurmukhi in the exact order of the
original Damdami Beerr, and is in one volume. Its 1430 pages, 19 lines
per fully written page, were later standardized by the panth in the recent
The studies should solve the mysteries of Gurbani and
render its dictates easily understandable by the novice to follow and to
apply them into life. Guru Granth Sahib shows the way to one God, and its
approach is through an ethical daily life based on equality of everyone.
The attainment of such an ethical life makes him or her fit for the
“Naam Jaap” - recitation of the name of God. This in turn enables that
person to receive “Nadar” - benevolence of the Lord, for realizing Him.
We should simplify things rather than complicating them with our questionable
conclusions of our ill founded researches.
The people should not try to conform Bani to their
specifications, rather they should make themselves acceptable to it - adopt
its discipline. If the West wants to investigate the Holy Granth, it will
have to keep its own values and techniques aside, and will have to tailor
its mind to the norms of the East. It will have to discard its methodology
and yardsticks, as well as its litmus-tests, and learn the Eastern ways
of approach, observing due respect to the sentiments of the faithful. Moreover,
to study in depth, and to reach the essence and reality, it is very important
to master the script- Gurmukhi, in which it is written, and as well its
language - Sant-Boli. Without this quality, the scholars have to depend
on the translations by others, and so they may get easily misled.
The Object of Faith
Sri Guru Granth Sahib is an object of faith, for the faithful
it is perfect, and for them there is nothing lost in it which a researcher
has to find out for them. The research is to establish something which
is not apparent there. The faithful cannot permit any finding which is
not in keeping with the fully established belief that it is “Dh:ur Ki
Banee” - Revealed Scriptures. This attitude may restrict the
so called research work on Gurbani, but Gurbani is directly for the faithful
who has faith in it, and he or she will never accept anything that will
disturb something already deep set in the minds. A researcher need not
take on him or her an uncalled for and self imposed duty to make a research
that leads to nowhere and creates disruption, or controversy. He or she
need not have to be keen about search, unless the work is in harmony with
the edicts of the faith. As well, it may not be possible for the researcher
to realize the underlying sentiments of the faithful if one is not an adherent
of that particular faith. No one has any right to utter anything one pleases
about a faith whether it is his own or not. One has to be careful to say
out anything about any faith.
It is important for the faithful too, not merely to dump
away the talent, time and energy put into a work, and all the money spent
on the efforts for the project. After making desirable changes and modifications
to render the work acceptable, it should be allowed to be released to the
masses. Otherwise, all the work done will go to waste, and the author
will feel persecuted by those whom he or she will label as fanatics. No
good work done should go to waste. A few reasonable changes can save a
great work done. It is better for an author to work within limits and under
restraint rather than getting the whole of his or her hard work annihilated
in the end.
Our studies should expound the Gurbabi and should expose
us to the Joy of its beauty and lofty philosophy for us to ever stay in
the peace of mind. This will be a great uniting and elevating force
and the bestower of harmony.
The negative approach (wrong research causing confusion)
will bring in anarchy, disruption, disintegration in faith, and it
will be hard for the Sikh world to absorb the sudden shock emanating from
the tremendous loss from the dwindling number of the faithful - Sikhs going
away from the Sikhi right in its face. The cleavage may give birth to a
new generation of Sikhs that may have its own values, definition of a Sikh,
and the mode of practicing the Sikhi - the Sikh faith. If at all it happens,
it will be very unfotunate and a dark day! Our studies of Guru Granth
Sahib should be directed to prevent such a catastrophy (may be imaginary).
It has to be kept in the mind that nobody has any right
to challenge the supremacy of Guru Arjun Dev in selecting the Bani for
compiling this Holy Book and for his plan of editing and placing the selected
Bani into it. Even Guru Gobind Singh, while recompiling it, did not make
any change even in the spellings. He simply entered into it the Bani of
his father Guru Tegh Bahadur. He himself did not accept the idea of entering
his own Bani into it.
The Bani of Gurus in the Holy Granth is under the name
of the one and the same Guru-Spirit - Nanak. This way, all the Gurus are
there in the Holy Granth (The Holy Book) as one indivisible ‘Guru-Spirit
- Nanak.’ Therefore, Bani of all the Ten Gurus whether they uttered it
or not, should be taken to be present in the Holy Granth in the form of
the “Word” - ‘Shabad Guru’. In the Holy Granth, Bani of all others beside
the Gurus, should be interpreted in its right perspective i.e. considered
It will be a gross injustice and incorrect to say that
the Sikhs are to believe and follow the Bani composed only by the Gurus.
When Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed the Holy Granth to be the Guru of the
Sikhs, he said so not about certain parts, but about whole of its contents
- the Word - ‘Shabad-Guru’. In this form, total contents of ‘Sri Guru Granth
Sahib’ are the Guru of the Sikhs without any doubt, distinction or discrimination.
It includes the Bani of Guru Gobind Singh also, though it is not in ‘Sri
Granth Sahib’. He is the Tenth Guru and his Bani is the “Word,” too. If
he did not use “Nanak” in his Bani, he did not use his own name as well.
Being a Guru, his Bani also, is the “Revealed One’ - ‘Dh.ur Kee.Banee’
A Sikh cannot think otherwise. Guru Gobind Singh himself affirmed that
in his poem Bachitar Natak (A Wondrous Drama) -
Dasam Granth was compiled by Bhai Mani Singh after the death
of Guru Gobind Singh. Besides the Guru’s own Bani, his 52 poets also, composed
their poems. Whole of the contents of Dasam Granth are not universally
accepted as the Guru’s Bani, and generally it is felt that there is a good
lot of mix-up. We have to be careful in assigning a writing in Dasam Granth
to Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikh Panth has to resolve many such problems,
controversies and contradictions.
Style of the Script
I have said what God told me.
I tell what the Lord told me.
I tell to the world what God revealed to me.
The Bani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is originally as ‘Mala
Likhat’ - continuous writing, but of late the Panth, keeping in view the
convenience of its reading and recitation, permitted its padd-chhaed. -
scribing it in the separated words. There are some Sikhs who strongly advocate
against this ‘separated words printing,’ but it has made the reading of
Guru Granth Sahib very easy. Separation of the words might not be
perfect, and it also needs an urgent attention.
Before the partition of India in 1947, the author had
seen Guru Granth Sahib scribed in the Urdu and Hindi scripts - the language
remaining unchanged. Those were adored, revered and respected in the usual
set and accepted (traditional) way. He did not exactly remember having
seen one in Roman, but perhaps it existed.
The writing done in any script other than Gurmukhi (the
language remaining original) may be another aspect to be decided by the
Panth - the Sikh world. A translation in any language, may be Gurmukhi
or English cannot be accepted as Guru Granth Sahib, may be it is in one
volume. To be the “Holy Guru,” the Book has to be in one volume. The Holy
Guru Granth, has to be in its original “Sant Boli” (the language of saints),
the script may be any. This should as well be decided by the Sikh Panth
(the Sikh World).
The Panth should decide on writing Guru Granth as one
volume in the standardized, universally accepted roman (English) and other
scripts e.g. Hindi, Arabic (Urdu) etc. The same way, the Sikh world should
decide to print the Holy Book in the standard, and universally accepted
translations in other languages, most important and immediate need of the
time being Hindi, Urdu and English.
Sooner or later (even now) a need may arise for one-volume
standardised translations by the Sikh world, to be honored and cared for
(revered) like the original Holy Book (Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurmukhi
script). Only the Panth - the Sikh world, can decide if a translation should
be taken as a Guru. Apparantly, the idea cannot be accepted by the Sikhs.
The Tenth Master designated Damdami Beerr and nothing else to be the Guru.
The scholars of the Sikh faith have to carefully watch
that no one out of them becomes a crazy critic merely to do unnecessary
hair-splitting to scare away the adherents - old or young,
and students of Guru Granth Sahib. They should find means to help their
study of it.
The Adi Granth II
- Collection of Bani
The nebular form of the Holy book of the Sikhs came into
being with the advent of Guru Nanak (1469 A.D) especially from the time
he took to uttering Bani (Scriptures), especially when Pandit Gopal became
his tutor and he (Guru) was given the first lesson in writing. The Guru’s
this Hymn is called Patti (Tabloid - the board on which he wrote). Thereafter,
he captured into his Bani about his Janju ceremony (Sacred-Thread Ceremony),
which Pandit Hardyal tried to perform on him. The history tells that Guru
Nanak narrated these Shabads - Hymns, at the time of these incidences as
a child. By about 25, he started saying his Hymns more frequently.
Whatever Bani was revealed to the Gurus, it was recorded
on the paper. Paper, ink and pen (usually reed pens) were no problem in
those days. It might very likely have been written by the Guru himself,
or by his some disciples. There is no doubt, Guru Nanak had a book with
him when he went to Mecca. Very likely, it was the book of his own Hymns
and other collections.
Guru Nanak had a clear cut plan of discipline to be placed
before the humanity. It is quite possible that wherever he found some hymn
by a Bhagat (devotee, a saint) in keeping with his philosophy, he recorded
and preserved it. He wanted to take with him the like thinking people,
gone by or contemporary, in his mission to unite the people to one
God by evolving them to that level. It is wonderful that the Guru had such
a broad vision, and he wanted to involve in his mission the maximum number
of the people believing in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.
He was interested in the “Shabad” i.e. the ‘Word’ - the Word of God,
and so, besides his own compositions, he went on collecting the hymns,
from different sources, too. He himself was the prepounder of the “Shabad
- Guru Philosophy” - real Guru is the Word itself.
In the last part of his life, the Guru settled at Kartarpur
in District Sialkot on the bank of the river Ravi (now in Pakistan),
just opposite Dera Baba Nanak in District Gurdaspur, Punjab, on the Indian
side. Here, Bhai Mansukh spent 3 years to compile the Guru’s Bani into
a Pothi - a book. The Guru was fully aware of the value and need of preserving
the “Shabad” - Hymns.
Guru Nanak gave the collection of his own Bani to Bhai
Lehna Ji (Later, Guru Angad Dev. Bhai - brother). Out of it, he selected
the Hymns and composed Jappu ji Sahib (by Guru Nanak). All this shows that
Guru Nank himself composed the Bani, and he continued to do so till his
last days. The Guru clarified that he uttered whatever “Waheguru” - God,
ordered him to do.
On June14, 1539 AD, Guru Nanak installed Bhai Lehna a
Guru with his name “Guru Angad,” also commonly called Guru Angad Dev, and
gave him his Pothi - collection of Hymns. Guru Angad, searched and collected
more of the Bani of Guru Nanak, and got it scribed in Gurmukhi by Bhai
Paaer.a Mokha. Guru Angad added to it his own Bani, 63 Slokes (Slokas).
On 29 March, 1552 AD, Guru Angad declared Amar Das a Guru
and gave to him his collection of Bani. Guru Amar Das deputed his grand
son Sahansar Ram (son of Baba Mohan. Baba - a word of respect for a senior,
or an elevated person) to put together his Bani with the previous collection.
It made two volumes. First vol. had 600 and the second 448 pages. It is
said that from Sahansar Ram, these Pothis went to his father Baba
Mohan, at Goindwal. Prof. Sahib Singh does not accept this view, and his
opinion is that Guru Ram Das got both these volumes form Guru Amar Das
on becoming a Guru on 1st September, 1574 AD. These two Pothis (books,
volumes) came to be known as “Baba Mohan Walian Pothian” - Books of Baba
Mohan. Guru Amar Das collected some more Bani of Bhagats (saints), and
entered it into these Pothis.
Prof. Sahib Singh advanced the hypothesis of the succession
of Bani from first to the next Guru on very strong similarity in the Bani
of the first Four Gurus. This influence was possible only if in turn,
they had the Bani of the previous Gurus with them. He had done a very deep
study of this aspect and had critically compared the Bani of Guru Nanak,
Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das in his book “Adi Beerr Barey” - about the
Adi Beerr. He found strong similarities in the Bani of Guru Ram Das, too.
This collection of the four Gurus went to Guru Arjun (also called Guru
Arjun Dev) on taking up the responsibility of the Guru on 1st September,1581
AD. By studying an author deeply, one adopts his or her style, may be temporarily.
The Gurus devotedly studied and recited the Bani of the previous Gurus
and got the effect.
To establish himself as a Guru, Prithi Chand (elder brother
of Guru Arjun ) and his son Manohar Das with the title “Mehrban” wrote
a lot of poetry, and passed it on under the name of Nanak. Mehrban, even
used “Mehla VII” (Seventh Guru) with his name.
It is asserted that on listening the spurious poems being
sung as Bani, a couple of devotees brought this fact to the notice of Guru
Arjun, and requested him to protect the original Bani from admixture.
Besides Prithi Chand and Mehrban, who even prepared their
own Granth, many others like Yogis etc. took up writing poetry under the
title of “Nanak.” Had it not been curbed, the number of Guru Nanak’s Shabads
might have become astronomical. This would have been self defeating by
contradictory thoughts entering the cohesiveness of the Sikh philosophy.
It could have severely damaged the Sikh faith, leaving it handicapped
and very difficult to recover.
Decision to Write. Guru Arjun Dev was aware of
the value of the “Shabads” (Hymns) and he wanted to attach the Sikhs to
it rather than to the physical body of a Guru. For this, and to consolidate
the Sikh thought to bring in harmony, to provide a central pivot
of the Sikh philosophy, to strengthen the Sikh unity, to give something
to them to depend on, to evolve themselves, to make an object for the Sikhs
to look upon, and to place before the world a practically workable religious
thought, the Guru wanted to put the ‘Bani’ in the book form.
Guru Arjun Dev sent his messages far and wide to pool
up the Bani of Guru Nanak. He got much of the collection of Bani from Guru
Ramdas. This was the Bani of his four predecessors. It is also said
that with great humility and love Guru ji borrowed two Pothis of Bani from
Baba Mohan. Playing “Saranda” (string instrument played with a bow),
the Guru is said to have sung the Hymn “Mohan taerae oochae mand.ir.....”
to bring him out of trance. Baba Mohan had already refused Baba Budha and
Bhai Gurdas to part with the Pothis. Humility of the Guru worked. Baba
Mohan was mellowed down on listening to the praise of Waheguru, and gave
the volumes to the Guru.
Guru Arjun Dev brought the Pothis from Goindwal covered
in nice clothes, placed in a planaquin, he himself walking behind it barefoot
and gracefully moving the “Chaur” (yak hair wisp) over it. At Harimandir
Sahib, it was placed near “D.ukh-bhanjanee-Baer” - the berry tree
that removes all inflictions. The Guru instructed Baba Budha for the Sangat
(congregation) to continue the Jaap (recitation) of “Satnam-Waheguru” and
“Kirtan” throughout the night. The ‘Bani’ was held in such an exalted esteem!.
On his way to Amritsar from Goindwal, the Guru met Guru Angad Dev’s son
Bhai Datu, and got a Pothi from him, but its contents are not known.
The Guru collected some more Bhagat-Bani - the hymns by
various saints, as well. He scrutinized oral and written Bani offered by
the people, checked it, including the Pothis, and sifting it thoroughly,
he selected the Bani that was fully in keeping with the Gur- philosophy.
To this, he added his own compositions. Bhagat-Bani was selected based
only on Bhagti-Bhav (devotion to God) and nothing else.
The Guru sent Bhai Paaerra Mokha to Sangladeep (Cylone).
From there, he brought the book “Pran Sangli” - supposed to be the Guru
Nanak’s Bani. This book had only some formulas for “Ridhi-Sidhi (Occult
Powers),” and the Guru rejected it.
Varaaan Bhai Gurdas
Bhai Gurdas was asked to contribute, but he declined with
humility. He could not give the status of Bani to his poetry. This pleased
the Guru, and he blessed his “Varan of Bhai Gurdas” and called the book
“Key to the Pothi (Adi Granth, later Guru Granth Sahib).” Bhai Gurdas composed
major part of his work almost after Adi Granth was complete. It mostly
expounded philosophy of the Gurus.
Somone named Bhagat Singh took Baba Mohan’s Pothis from
Goindwal to the North Western Frontier (Rawalpindi, Peshawar side) and
now, there is no more a trace of them. There was a copy of these at Mahyapur
in Hoshiarpur (Giani Partap Singh, Gurmatt lectures).
The Guru rejected some verses of the bhagats from the
Mohan’s Pothis and even simplified (modified) the language of others (The
Sikhs, Wowen Cole, Piara Singh Sambhi, page 48). He rejected the verses
of Bhagat Kahna, Chhajoo, Shah Hussain and Peeloo - all from Lahore. The
Guru also checked the collection of Bhai Bakhta Arora of Jalalpur (Hasanabdal
- Panja Sahib) to select Bani out of it (Twareekh Khalsa, Giani Gian Singh).
Scribing the Granth
The Guru collected, selected, edited and compiled the raw
material. He camped close to a secluded place with a small pond and trees,
named Ram-Sar, in Amritsar. Bhai Gurdas was assigned the duty of scribing
it. The Guru himself supervised this work. Baba Budha was given the duty
of meeting the Sangat when the Guru was busy compiling the Pothi and was
not at his usual place.
The Manuscript was completed in the year 1601 AD, but
its editing took four years more - 1604 AD. Guru Amar Das had blessed Guru
Arjun, “D.ohta Ban.ee d.aa boht.aa” - son of my daughter, the scholar
of Gurbani. Guru Arjun proved it and his own Shabads - Hymns, in this Holy
Granth total about one third (about 2,000) out of the whole Bani in it
(about 6,000 Hymns). When complete, initially it was called “Pothi Sahib.”
it is said, the Guru blessesd that glory of this Holy Book would spread
all over the world (History of the Sikh People, Part - I, Gopal Singh,
Installing the Granth
of Granth Sahib
When completed, the Pothi Sahib (Granth - Book) was brought
from Ram-Sar to Sri Harimandir Sahib with a brass band in the form of an
impressive procession. It was placed on a sandal wood palanquin and perhaps
Baba Budha carried it on his head. The Guru walked behind it with naked
feet and kept waving Chaur (wisp of the yak-hair) over it. It was
the same year as that of its completion - 1604 (Bhado Sudi Ekam, 1661 Bikrami),
when its “Parkash” - consecration, was done in Harimandir Sahib. At this
time, the Guru himself performed Ardas - invocation, and Bhai Gurdas took
“Vaak” - its order for the day: random recitation of one Hymn from
the Holy Book, and this started with -
ivic krqw purKu KloAw
Kirtan of the same Shabad was performed. Baba Budha, 98,
was given the responsibility of a Granthi (caretaker - a sort of priest).
A Diwan - congregation, was held in the front of Akal Bunga (Akal Takht:
between Akal Takht and Harimandir Sahib). Bhai Gurdas presided on this
session. The poets recited their poems. Bhai Gurdas did the Katha (expounded
the Hymn) of the following Shabad -
vwlu n ivMgw hoAw ]
ivic krqw purKu KloAw ]
vwlu n ivMgw hoAw ]
Viche Kart.aa Purukhu khaloaa |
Vaalu naa vingaa hoaa
When the Lord is there,
nothing can go wrong.
jgqu jlMdw riK lY AwpxI
ikrpw Dwir ]
The saints, scholars and poets came from Kashmir, Benaras,
and other near and distant places. Saint Mianmir joined the occasion with
his disciples. King Akbar sent 500 Gold Mohars (Ashrafis - gold coins)
and other gifts through his minister.
jgq jlñdw rK lY AwpxI
k¡pw Dwir ]
Jagat. jaland.aa rakh laae apnee kirpaa dh:aare
O Lord, save the burning world with your mercy.
The Guru ordered that everyone would go into the presence
of the Holy Granth with reverence, respectfully bow before it, be in its
presence with veneration, and hold it in a very high esteem. The Guru
was fully aware of the “Word -” name of God, and of its supremacy.
A new bed was made on the cot in the Kotha Sahib - a room
on the right of Akaal Takht, where the Guru used to take rest, and on it
the closed Holy book was placed for the night (Bisram, or Sukhasan - rest).
Since then the Guru rested on the cloth sheet spread on the floor in front
of that bed, and did not use this cot after that.
Shabad “Word” was propounded as the Guru right from the
beginning, and the Pothi was accorded the highest place of honor. The Pothi
was replica of Waheguru, abode of God -
poQI prmysr kw Qwnu
poQI prmysr kw Qwn ]
Pothi Parmesar kaa thaan
Pothi (Holy Book) is the abode of God.
Later, the Pothi Sahib came to be designated as Adi-Granth
- Primordial Book. It should not be taken as “Number one,” and “Number
two” being Dasam Granth. Dasam Granth was compiled by Bhai Mani Singh much
after the death of Guru Gobind Singh - about 23 years later.
The Guru Found. After Guru Arjun, Adi Beerr went
to Guru Hargobind when he was designated Guru on 25 May, 1606 AD. Guru
Hargobind had two grand sons Dhir Mall and (Guru) Har Rai. Guru Hargobind
selected Har Rai and prepared him for the responsibilities of the Guru.
He became Guru on 8th March, 1664 AD, but his elder brother Dhir
Mall did not part with the Adi Granth. Presently, it is in the possession
of Sodhis, descendants of Dhir Mall at Kartarpur, District Jalandhar, Punjab,
and is known as Kartarpur Wali Beerr or Kartarpuri Beerr (Beerr - book).
Later, when Tegh Bahadur became the Guru, Dhir Mall continued his excesses
on him. While countering Dhir Mall, Makhan Shah Lobana and other Sikhs
forcibly got possession of the Adi Beerr, but the gracious Guru did not
keep and returned it honorably to Dhir Mall.
On the complaints of Prithi Chand (elder brother of Guru
Arjun Dev), and his accomplices, King Akbar listened to some Shabads at
Random out of the Adi Granth. He did not find anything objectionable. Rather,
he was pleased to listen to the devotional Hymns. He dismissed the complaints,
expressed his respect for the Holy Granth, and honorably sent back
Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas, emissaries of Guru Arjun Dev.
Except Guru Granth Sabib, there is no other religious
book in the world having the status and authority of a Guru. This is the
only Holy Book that was written by the Precepts (Gurus) themselves. No
other religious book is democratic having compositions of the saints
from other faiths besides the Bani of the Sikh Gurus. This is the
Book of the “World Religion” - Sikhi.
Guru Granth and
We have to keep in the mind that only Damdami Beerr, compiled
under the supervision of the Tenth Guru, and scribed by Bhai Mani Singh
at Damdama Sahib, was declared the Guru, and no other version. To be honored
and revered like a living Guru, the Holy Book has to be in the single volume
(one composite book and not in its parts). Reading it on the computer as
a Paath, or as Hukam - verdict of the Guru, is misleading and ignorance.
For these purposes, only the proper Guru Granth Sahib - hard copy and in
one volume, should be used. The Sikh Panth should pass a verdict on such
Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi, Urdu, roman were accorded
the same respect as in Gurmukhi. The Holy Book written in any script, should
be honored equally as it is in Gurmukhi. To be the Holy Book, all these
volumes should have standard 1430 pages, with 19 lines on its fully written
page, as in Guru Granth Sahib. This is important to maintain the current
standard accepted by the Sikh world.
To read and recite the Holy Book means reading and reciting
the Holy Granth in one volume. If body infirmity does not permit you to
sit down and read the Holy Book in one volume, rather than not reciting,
you may read it in different volumes, in a comfortable posture, and at
the end beg the Guru to forgive you.
If the health problem is so much that you cannot sit down
with legs crossed, use such a seat that you can easily do so without bending
the legs as when using a chair. Sitting on the pillows may help. May be,
there is left a gap in the boards of Takhtposh (wooden bed) or a hole is
made to put down the legs. One must not give up, and try adjustments to
recite the Holy Book. The Guru will pardon the shortcomings.