On the 15th Day of Bhadon (Full moon), 1604, that falls on 28 August this year, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was ceremonially installed in the inner sanctuary at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. Baba Buddha Ji opened it with reverence to obtain from it the Hukamnama (Divine command) as Guru Arjun stood in attendance behind. The Hukamanma was “Santa Ke Karaj Aap Khaloiya Har Kam Karavan Aaya Raam” (Waheguru ji Himself come to see task of HIS disciples fulfilled).
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, also called Adi Granth or Adi Guru Darbar, is the holy book or scripture of the Sikhs and is looked upon as a perpetual, ultimate,eternal and living Guru of its devotees. It is a spiritual guide for mankind that plays a central role in “guiding” the way of life of its devotees. Its place in Sikh devotional life is based on two fundamental principles:
- The text is a divine revelation
- All answers regarding religion and morality can be discovered within it.
Guru Granth Sahib comprises of 1430 Angs (pages) and 6000 hymns or verses called Shabads. Its contents are preaching’s of the Gurus and are referred to as Guru’s Bani (holy words) or Gurbani. Guru Nanak Dev, composed many holy hymns for the Sikhs to recite in their morning and evening prayers. His successor Guru Angad Dev continued the tradition. Guru Granth Sahib consists of this divine Bani of six Gurus of the faith and renditions from many more saints both Hindu and Muslim..
The first book called Adi Granth was compiled by the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Guru Arjan Dev initiated a process to collect the original verses of all the Gurus before him. He sent Sikhs like Bhai Piara, Bhai Gurdas and Baba Buddha across the country in search of original manuscripts. The Guru personally travelled to Goindwal, Khadur Sahib and Kartarpur to visit the families of the previous Gurus and collected original manuscripts from Baba Sri Chand (son of Guru Nanak), Bhai Datu (son of Guru Angad) and Bhai Mohan (son of Guru Amar Das. He finally incorporated the hymns composed by Guru Nanak and thirty-six Hindu and Muslim saints like Kabir, Ravi Das, Naam Dev and Sheikh Farid. After having selected the best hymns Guru Arjan Dev dictated the final version to Bhai Gurdas who wrote the Granth Sahib.
The Adi Granth was completed in 1604 and installed in the Golden Temple. This original copy was translated into many different languages, reflecting its many different authors. Prakash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib is on the 15th day (New Moon) of the Bhadon, the sixth month of the Punjabi calendar, which occurs in August or September in the Western calendar.
Illustration of Prakash of Adi Granth with Guru Arjan Dev in attendance
Some people poisoned the mind of Mughal Emperor Jahangir by spreading a rumour that Guru Granth Sahib and Gurbani preached hatred against the Muslims. An enraged Jahangir ordered Guru Arjan Dev to delete some of the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib manuscript and imposed upon him a fine of 200,000 rupees. Guru Arjan Dev refused to expunge the so-called offensive text or pay the fine since he did not have a personal wealth of 200000 Rupees and was unwilling to take the amount from his Sikhs despite their begging him to be given permission to pay the fine and save his life. Guru Arjan Dev was against making alterations in the hymns as required by Jahangir and instead preferred a martyr’s death. This led to his execution.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib
The tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh, added one Shloka (Dohra Mahala 9 – Ang 1429) and all 115 hymns of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. This second edition came to be known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Status of Guru
Guru Gobind Singh decreed the Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs in 1708 by declaring the Guru Granth Sahib to be the Guru after him. He commanded the said, “Sab Sikhan Ko Hukam Hai, Guru Manyo Granth” (All Sikhs are commanded to regard the Granth as a Guru)
Guru Gobind Singh commanded the Sikhs in the following words:
Agya Bhai Akal Ki Tabhi Chalayo Panth.
(Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created)
Sabh Sikhan Ko Hukam Hai Guru Manyo Granth.
(All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru)
Guru Granth Ji Manyo Pargat Guran Ki Deh.
(Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus)
Jo Prabhu Ko Milbo Chahe Khoj Shabad Mein Le.
(Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns)
Raj Karega Khalsa Aqi Rahei Na Koe,
(The pure shall rule, and impure will be no more)
Khwar Hoe Sabh Milange Bache Sharan Jo Hoe.
(Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved)
When Guru Gobind Singh left is human form in 1708, Baba Deep Singh and Bhai Mani Singh prepared many copies of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib for distribution. The original version of The Guru Granth Sahib can be found at Nanded Sahib, a city in Maharashtra.
The first Shabad of the Guru Granth Sahib is the “Mool Mantra”. This is a statement of recognition for Sikhism since it underlines the belief in one God. The first line of the Guru Granth Sahib is “Ik Onkar”. It literally means ‘There is only one God’.
Facts about Guru Granth Sahib
- Guru Granth Sahib has a total of 1430 page
- The pages are written in landscape orientation
- There are normally nineteen lines of text per page
- Pages with headlines (starting with a new Raga) have less than nineteen lines
- Total number of lines – 26852
- Total words – 398697
- Most often repeated word is “Hari” – 9288 times
- No punctuation marks have been used
- Six Sikh Gurus: First Five Gurus, Guru Nanak dev Ji , Guru Angad Dev Ji , Guru Amar Das Ji , Guru Ram Das Ji , Guru Arjan Dev Ji ) and Guru Tegh Bhadur Ji
- Three 3 Sikhs: Bhai Satta Ji , Bhai Balwand Ji and Bhai Sundar Ji
- 17 Bhatts: The Bhatts were a group of musicians who lived in the sixteenth century. All of them were scholars, poets and singers. Bhat Kal, Bhat Kalsehar , Bhat Tal, Bhat Jalup, Bhat Jal, Bhat Kirat, Bhat Sal, Bhat Bahil, Bhat Nal, Bhat Bhikha, Bhat Jalan, Bhat Kas , Bhat Gend , Bhat Sevak , Bhat Mathra , Bhat Bal and Bhat Harbans.
- 15 Bhagats: Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas, Sheikh Farid, Trilochan, Dhanna, Beni,Sheikh Bhikan, Jaidev, Surdas, Parmanand, Pipa, Ramanand, Sadhna and Sain
Layout of Guru Granth Sahib
- The Guru Granth Sahib begins with a Bani known as the Japji followed by the Sodar.
- It then resumes sections each known as a Rag – Musical composition.
- Within each of these Rags, the Bani is presented in chronological order of Guru, followed by the Bhagats.
- Following the 32 Rags, a section known as the Rag Mala completes the Guru Granth Sahib.
A check appears throughout the Guru Granth Sahib, the check states the number of verses in the current Shabad, the number of Shabads in the current sub-section, the number of sections in the current Rag etc. It causes for difficulty in anybody wishing to alter the Guru Granth Sahib as most changes in the way of additions or removals of lines can be detected by scrutinizing this check figure.