Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Guru Granth Sahib is the scripture of the Sikhs. No Sikh ceremony is regarded as complete unless it is performed in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The Granth was written in Gurmukhi script and it contains the actual words and verses as uttered by the Sikh Gurus. Initially known as the Adi Granth, it was coompiled by the fifth Guru (Guru Arjan Dev) and installed in 1604, in the Darbar Sahib (aka Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple), Amritsar. The tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) added to the Adi Granth the compositions of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru Gobind Singh did not include his own verses in the Granth due to his modesty and humility.
Guru Gobind Singh ended the line of living Gurus by raising the Adi Granth to the status of a permanent Guru and renamed it Guru Granth Sahib. He then commanded the Sikhs that it was to be revered as the body and spirit of the Ten Gurus.
Every copy of the Guru Granth Sahib consists of 1430 pages. It contains the Banees (the sacred compositions) of the five Gurus and the ninth Guru as well as a number of passages of verses writtenb y several saints from Muslims, Hindus and even the so called “untouchables”. This was done to demonstrate the Sikh respect for other saints and tolerance for all faiths. Altogether, Guru Granth Sahib included 5,894 Shabads (hyms of holy verses) which are arranged in 31 Ragas (musical measures). Theh first verse is the Mool Mantar, the root verse, followed by daily prayer or Nitname namely, Japji, Sodar and Kirtan Sohila. The remaining verses have been arranged according to their individual musical pattern of Ragas, which began with Siri Raag and ends with Jai-Jaiwanti.
Guru Granth Sahib is an anthology of prayers and hymns. Most of the hymns are addressed to God and often describe the devotee’s condition: his aspirations and yearning, his agony in separation and his longing to be with the Lord. The subject of Guru Granth Sahib is truth; how to live a truthful living, that is, an ultimate for an ideal person. As Guru Nanak Dev states in Mool Mantra, God is the ultimate Truth and one has to cultivatethose qualities, which are associated with him, in order to like Him. THe basic concept behind the hymns is that sacred music, when sung or listened to with devotion and undivided attention, can link individual’s consciousness with God. A mind may become stable and enjoy the peace of His divine presence, as listening to the hymns can exert powerful influence on the mind and help to establish its communion with God.
Guru Granth Sahib is a remarkable storehouse of spiritual knowledge and teachings. It does not preach any rites or rituals but meditation on the Name of God. Through its teachings, it can enable men and women to lead a purposeful and rewarding life while being productive members of a society. It seeks universal peace and the good of all mankind. Guru Granth Sahib also stresses the democratic way of life and the equality of all people. Respect and veneration for Guru Granth Sahib does not imply idol worship, but rather respect for a divine message, the ideas and ideals contained in the Sikh scripture. Meditation on the True Word, Satnam or the wonderful Enlightened, Waheguru, or on any line of a verse in the Guru Granth Sahib, may bring the true devotee or disciple to be in tune with God.
*Note: the use of 'Him' for God is due to limitations in language. God is referred to as a Father and Mother in Sikhi.