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Sri Guru Granth Sahib G Mharaj

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee ImageThe Guru Granth Sahib contains the scriptures of the Sikhs. It is an anthology of prayers and hymms which contain the actual words and verses as uttered by the Sikh Gurus. The Guru Granth Sahib, also known as the Adi Granth, consists of 1430 pages and has 5864 verses. Its contents are referred to as bani or gurbani. An individual hymm is a shabad.  

The Granth was compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev Ji. He undertook the enormous task of collecting, compiling, and scrutinizing the hymns and compositions of Guru Nanak and his predecessors. He decided to include not only the hymns of the Gurus but also that of other saints. At the invitation of the Guru, followers of different sects, both Hindu and Muslim, came to the Guru and recited the hymns of their teachers. Guru Ajun Dev Ji chose only those hymns which echoed sentiments he wanted to include in his own community. After the selections were made, the Guru dictated the hymns to Bhai Gurdas Ji, who wrote the Granth Sahib.

Having compiled the Granth, the Guru placed it in the newly-built Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. The first parkash (opening ceremony) was performed in Sri Darbar Sahib by Guru Arjun Dev Ji on August 3, 1604. The Guru nominated Bhai Budda Ji as the custodian of the Granth Sahib. At this time, the Guru bowed before the collection, acknowledging the higher authority of the bani to that personal importance and significance which he possessed as Guru. After this time, he no longer sat at a level above the Granth Sahib, but bellow it. The Guru also instituted daily public worship at the temple where the Granth was recited all day long to the long to the accompaniment of stringed musical instruments (kirtan).

With the passage of time, the original Granth Sahib passed on from Guru Arjun Dev Ji to Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji and then to his grandson, Dhir Mal, who took permanent possession of it. To restore the Granth compiled by Guru Arjun Dev Ji to the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji sent some Sikhs to Dhir Mal’s descendants, who possessed the original Granth Sahib, and requested for its return. But they rufused to part with it and asked the Guru to write his own Granth if he was a real Guru. Therefore, the second version of Guru Granth Sahib was prepared by Guru Gobind Singh in 1706. At Damdama Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Ji dictated the entire Granth Sahib from his memory to Bhai Mani Singh Ji; the Granth Sahib was dictated word by word as it originally was. At this time, Guru Gobind Singh Ji re-edited the Adi Granth to the form which we find it today. The Guru removed some unauthenticated writings in the Granth and added four hymns in the beginning for evening prayers. Guru Gobind Singh Ji also added several hymns from his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Otherwise, the Granth was left as it was before in the days of Guru Arjun Dev Ji.

Several copies of this Granth were transcribed in hand by Baba Deep Singh Ji at Damdama Sahib. It is believed that four copies of the Granth Sahib were prepared; the first one was sent to the Harmandir Sahib at Amritsar, the second to Anandpur, the third to Patna and the fourth was kept by Guru Gobind Singh at Nander.

Guru Gobind Singh ended the line of living Sikh Gurus by raising the Adi Granth to the status of a permanent Guru. Guru Gobind Singh Ji transmitted Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s divine light into the divine Word and declared that after him, the next Guru would be Guru Granth Sahib Ji. He commanded the Sikhs that it was to be revered as the body and spirit of the ten Gurus:

From the Timeless One there came the injunction,
In accordance with which was established the Panth.
To all Sikhs there comes this command:
Acknowledge the Granth as Guru,
For it is the manifest body of the Masters.
Ye whose hearts are pure, Seek Him in the World.

When the Guruship was passed on, Guru Granth Sahib Ji like the Gurus became the embodiment of Divine Light. It should, therefore, be remembered very clearly that bowing before Guru Granth Sahib Ji as Sikhs, is not bowing before a book, but it is a bowing before the Divine Light or Jot (Guru) which was passed on when the Guruship was conferred upon it. Respect and veneration for Guru Granth does not imply idol worship, but rather respect for a divine message, the ideas and ideals contained in the Sikh scripture. It is the source or a means to the worship of God through His Word, and not an object of worship in itself. Both the Gurus and the Book deserve the respect which they are accorded because of the bani which they express, the word of divine truth. Bhai Gurdas Ji states that “the picture of the Guru is the gurbani” (Bhai Gurdas, Var 24, pauri 11).