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Guru Granth Sahib English Translation and Transliteration - Book By Dr. Darshan Singh

Publisher: Sikh University Press
Authors: Dr. Darshan Singh
Page: 2986
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: SGGS104
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Guru Granth Sahib English Translation and Transliteration - Book By Dr. Darshan Singh

This one is a complete translation and transliteration of Guru Granth Sahib . The format is like each line of original bani in Gurmukhi is followed by its English Transliteration (what is also called the romanised version ) and then the english translation (meaning in english ) . Dr Darshan Singh has done a great job by giving the english transliteration of bani in which differentiates these Volumes from those by other authors and gives it an advantage . So what that essentially means is that if you are not well versed in Gurmukhi you will still be able to read the Romanised version of bani and associate its meaning with it . All in all a great translation of complete Guru Granth Sahib .

From the Frontcover of the Book 'Guru Granth Sahib English Translation and Transliteration' By Dr. Darshan Singh

Not every scholar can translate Gurbani; and rendering it in English is a Herculean task. It is not due to its gigantic volume or the multiplicity of languages of the verses of Guru Granth Sahib but because of great philosophic thought of Guru Sahibs and the other celebrated religious poets contained in it. To understand all this, one needs great command over Punjabi and English languages as well as deep understanding of the Sikhs' philosophy, history and ethos.

The magnitude, complexity and depth of the fourteen hundred and twenty-nine pages of the verses of Divine love, wisdom, humanism, spiritualism, polity, sociology, psychology, astronomy and other genres of Knowledge could not have been grasped without Divine blessing. Only a creative, mystic philosopher could have accomplished this fete.

Dr. Darshan Singh's erudition, genius, zeal, devotion and command over languages and philosophy , blessed by Divine benediction, has granted him the honour of accomplishing this commendable project. There are already four English translations of Guru Granth Sahib available to readers, but this is more than a mere translation'

I hope that the intelligentsia as well as the general readers will experience a unique feeling of learning from this translation.

-Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer
National Professor of Sikh Studies


I believe that every scholar can not translate Gurbani and thus rendering it in English is a Herculean task. It is not only due to its gigantic volume or the multiplicity of languages of the verses of Guru Granth Sahib but because of great philosophic thought of Guru Sahibs and the other celebrated poets. One needs great command over Punjabi and English languages as well as deep understanding of the Sikh philosophy, history and ethos.

The magnitude, complexity and depth of the fourteen hundred and thirty pages of the verses of Divine love/wisdom, humanism, spiritualism, polity, sociology, psychology, astronomy and other genres of knowledge could not have been grasped without Divine blessing. Only a creative, mystic philosopher could have accomplished this fete.

Guru Granth Sahib is spiritual manifesto of the world. It is scripture of scriptures. It is the epitome of the wisdom of the sages, the social reformers, devotees and steadfasts from different walks of life, linguistic and geographical backgrounds. It has been and is the code of conduct for millenniums. It is a synthesis of noble traditions of the sacred world. This spiritual heritage is the quintessence, thus alternate of all 'Gospels'.

In a society (world), which is suffering from hatred, jealousy, terrorism, inhumanism and above  all paganism, Guru Granth Sahib has a message of Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of Man. It is the only hope for an oppressed globe, which can dispel darkness and brings an end to fanaticism, racism, war and destruction.

Dr. Darshan Singh's erudition, genius, zeal, devotion and command over languages and philosophy, blessed by Divine benediction has granted him the honour of accomplishing this commendable project. It is honour for me to welcome and present this great work by writing an Introduction/preface.

I hope that the intelligentsia as well as general readers will experience a unique feeling of learning from this translation. There are some English renderings of the Guru Granth Sahib (by Gopal Singh, Gurbachan Singh Talib, Manmohan Singh and Pritam Singh Chahal) and more than three in Punjabi (Nirmala i.e Faridkoti rendering, Principal Sahib Singh's Giani Mani Singh's and Harbans Singh Nirnaykaar's) two in Hindi and one in French. I don't want to compare Dr. Darshan Singh's excellence with the other woks. I leave it to readers to pay tribute to Dr Darshan Singh whom scholars call 'doyen of the Sikh philosophy'.

(Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer)
National Professor of Sikh Studies
Former Director
Sikh History Research Board (S. G. P. C.)

Preface to the Second Edition

We did except that Dr Darshan Singh's this work will get exceptional response from the readers/scholars. The first edition is sold in a very short period and still orders are coming up with and from the book suppliers. So we are responding to the public demand and are pressed to publish its edition urgently. This edition is reprint of the first edition, excepting corrections of a few clerical mistakes.


About the Author 'Dr. Darshan Singh' of the Book 'Guru Granth Sahib English Translation and Transliteration'

Dr Darshan Singh was born in 1938, in a remote small village in district Montgomery (now Sahiwal, in Pakistan). After doing M.A.,he started his career as a Lecturer in Government College Ludhiana. In 1963, he joined Punjab University Chandigarh as a Research Scholar. In 1966, he joined the Khalsa College Amritsar and after completing his Ph.D. in 1967, he joined as a Lecturer in Panjab University Chandigarh. In 1977, he became a Reader and in 1984, he became Professor and Chairman of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies department at the same university. Now, he is 'Professor Emeritus' in the same university. He is the first scholar in Sikh studies to receive this honour.

Before 1984, Sikh studies meant something about Sikh religion, philosophy, history and politics. On joining the Guru Nanak Sikh Studies Chair, Dr Darshan Singh diversified the area of Sikh Studies like Sikh model of economics, cosmology, ecology, music, art, architecture, sociology, culture, linguistics etc in addition to earlier explored areas. This way a large number of academicians from different universities were involved to guide research scholars registered for Ph. D. programme with this department, thus he gave a promising exposure to this area study.

Dr Darshan Singh wrote several books/research papers and extensively lectured in India and abroad to get Sikh studies accepted as an academic area, a new dimension. Luckily, this endeavoure proved a success and its results are visible, as this area is now under research all over the world in different universities and the other institutions.

Keeping in view his experience of reading, teaching and understanding Gurbani for 40 years. Dr Darshan Singh was persuaded to translate Guru Granth Sahib in English simply because earlier translations do not satisfy the urge to know the correct meaning of Gurbani and perspective of Sikh ethos emerging out of it. The real value of the present translation can be judged only by comparing any part of it with that of the earlier translations. We hope that some curious soul will undertake it and examine it worth.


Introduction to the Book 'Guru Granth Sahib English Translation and Transliteration' By Dr. Darshan Singh

Guru Granth Sahib is a religious scripture different from other religious scriptures.It is unique in many ways. It is not delivered , spoken or written by one spiritual leader. It includes the compositions of thirty-six elders, yet it maintains the homogeneity of thought , and practice. Religious, linguistic, geographical, national and cultural diversity of the Indian people has, in Guru Granth Sahib, found a platform to present a single unified religious poetics. The credit for this goes to Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikh religion, and first poet of Guru Granth Sahib. After a few Buddhist preachers, before the fourth century, it was Guru Nanak, who traveled extensively in India and abroad. He traveled for nearly fifteen years, through towns, villages , jungles, mountains, deserts, seas and reached to approach  the headquarters of almost all the contemporary religious communities like Buddhists, Jains, Vaishnavs, Shaivs Sakats, Yogis, Sufis and other (now) obscure sects and thus, in the modern idiom, of the Hindus and Muslims. He approached the heads of these seats, debated with them and finally convinced them to form a single unified group of thinkers for ensuring a creative growth of the society for the coming generations. Society, when divided, is poor on all accounts, temporal or spiritual, but society, when united, is always a strength also on all accounts. This way, he was a pro-human thinker and not of a particular discipline of life, or community. Therefore, his mind is not the reserve of a sect, a religion or a nation. His focus is on the whole beings. His strain that runs through his words, his actions and objectives, testifies to this effect. He was determined to bring about a revolution in the existing order of the life, on the whole, and for this he knocked at every door, which mattered, to communicate the gravity of the situation, prevailing in contemporary society. He tried to convince the contemporary leaders that: God is one, alone and same for all beings. He cannot be a God for a sect or a community. The approach of having a separate God or one God for a place or for a people is wrong. If the people of a community have a separate God, then they become a separate people and this weakens their spitit. Indian society, since very long time, was victim of this malady and this proved, in history, the greatest weakness and falling ground of the people of this land. How such an alienated society could be strong? How such a mutually alienated people could feel for each other? How people with no sense of belonging could remain unalienated? Thus the spirit of mutual bond suffered and the civilization and the history, became unrelated.

It is in this context that God of Guru Nanak is Formless, thus related to everyone, yet detached. The problem is that if God has a form, like that of god of the idol-worshippers, that occupies place and it has to be placed in time. But Formless one is free from both time and place and, therefore, transcends all bonds and contexts, though He vibrates in every being. At this point Formless is manifesting through all forms. He is One for all, irrespective of one's affiliations and absoluetly formless in all contexts.

If God is one, His people are also same. Everyone on earth, in waters, in air, in space, is the creation of the same, and thus, is the child of the same of God. This praxis of the relationship of father and His children was to be put in practice. Guru Nanak has the vision of one God and everyone else as His child. This binds the humanity in blood relationship of being brothers and sisters. Thus everyone is a brother or sister of every other one in Guru Granth Sahib. The idea of everyone being son or daughter of God solves so many problems engulfing the society continuously, like:

  1.  It mitigates the clashes and animosities in the name of God, in mind.
  2. It overcomes the ego of being member of a particular church. Religion, thus, serves to strengthen the emotional ties instead  hatred.
  3. One learns that no individual is special for God in the sense that he/she is an incarnation of God, prophet of God or son of God, instead everyone is son/ daughter of God, incarnation of God, a direct descendent of the Supreme One. So, anyone, with the blessing of God and serving the humanity can rise to any of the above said exalted positions. It is not a reserve of one person or one community. Thus God in Guru Granth Sahib is related to every being, accompanying everyone, participating in life of everyone , yet transcending evey being.  

God in Guru Granth Sahib is fundamental to everything seen or unseen in the universe. Flowing from this perception of God, Guru Granth Sahib identifies a few core issues, which are related to God on the one hand and to the individual and collective life of the created world on the other hand.

Next to God, in the created world, is human being. It is modeled on the image of the creator that is God to the extent that, if God is a creator, His son, a human being is also a creator. Both create their own worlds. His son creates the world that works for worldly life. It includes all that is man-made, in different fields of human world. If God creates wonders, man, His son, also creates wonders. In no way the son  is less creative than the father. Though in the quality of their product, they differ. Son is no match to the father because the difference between the two is that all that God creates is true, external like the Creator and all that his son/daughter creates is false, is for a limited period and perishable like its creator. Guru Granth Sahib focuses this point (page 463, 468). This dual status of the created world is one thing that exalts the status of the human world. It is not insignificant for them that child of God is also a creator like father. Guru Granth Sahib wants the child to come up and be on the wave-length of his/her father. This tuning with Him will lead him to liberation from worldly ties and temporal bondages.

Mind is another word, used very frequently in Guru Granth Sahib. In it mind, heart (Hirdai) consciousness (Chit) and body are used almost for the same meaning and for the same purpose. Very frequently, the mind and body are used for the same meaning and same purpose. This use is very strange and sometimes confuses a reader. But once one tries to enter the core of these words or tries to understand the contextual and associational meaning of the word, then this problem itself is solved. Not only that things or meanings become clear, but this understanding gives a sense of satisfaction and thrill also.

The factual position that emerges from the reading of Guru Granth Sahib is that, mind is the supreme ruler in an individual and it rules everything else, connected with the body or is abiding in the body. It determines the whole of the human activity whether mental or physical, whether connected with inner world or outer world. It is in this context that Guru Granth Sahib reverses the process of traditional parameters of the concept of mind. This fact is accepted by the both whether one is an ascetic or householder, that one must have a disciplined and regulated life, whether of an individual, of a family, of a nation or of a country. This discipline is intimately connected with mind, so much so that mind becomes fundamental to the discipline. The traditional perception is that this discipline is achieved by external excercises like a particular poise, a particular action or a particular set of rituals or taboos. Thus through external exercises, mind is disciplined and it can conquer the world. Guru Granth Sahib believes that one must first control the mind, mind will discipline the outer self and thus by disciplining the outer self, it can conquer the world. So, the correct procedure is: discipline your mind , gain control over your outer self and then rule the world. The strength of mind is the mightiest. It creates wonders if rightly directed and again creates wonders if wrongly directed, but in non-constructive and non-creative manner. Thus mind-set determines the kind of spiritual and physical health, an individual or a nation wants to live in, to make or mar oneself; because this mind-set is reflected in whatever one speaks or does.

In Guru Granth Sahib, two words occur again and again. These are Haumai and Ahankar or Hankar. Haumai is for I-ness or ego and Ahankar is for vanity, arrogance and pride. No doubt that they are mutually related, but then they are two different words, carrying different meanings and message though sometimes they mix up too. In Guru Granth Sahib use of first is more frequent than the second one. About the second one i.e. Ahankar or Hankar, there is nothing to discuss. Its meanings in Guru Granth Sahib are self-explanatory and that this is very damaging to an individual. This further promotes anger and this anger is the cause of almost all damage. This leads to clashes and so many mental and physical ailments. In Guru Granth Sahib, there are repeated references to read, learn and save oneself from this damaging tendency and its products such as are mentioned above.

Ego, in Guru Granth Sahib has more frequent, detailed and illustrated references. It is central to the human existence. So much so that:

- The very birth of an individual is due to ego.

- After birth, the very existence of an individual is due to ego.

- The whole expansion of the seen world is due to ego.

- The whole range of human activity whether mental or physical, is the product of ego. So much so, sometimes even spiritual activity is the product of ego. It is very deep, vast and not easily fathomable. But the major problem is that  above all, as is stated, its exercised influence is negative, non-creative and very damaging as for as individual's or group's life in concerned. The purgation of ego or disciplining of ego is essential to the health of life, temporal or spiritual. The two, the ego and health of life, cannot live together. When Guru Granth Sahib says that the minds of devotees and worldly people's are irreconcilable, they cannot live on the same wave-length, it is illustrating this point of view. Simply because, in no time, ego changes itself into Ahankar.

Guru Nanak, in Guru Granth Sahib, takes a different view of ego as well. His approach in this regard is intrinsically realistic, nearest to the ground reality when he says that no doubt the ego is very serious and chronic disease, but then its remedy is also in the same. It is not curable by any medicine-manufactured by machines.

Guru Nanak suggests that ego is remedy for chronic disease (ego) if, with the grace of God, and hard labour, it is rightly directed. If wrongly directed it is a disease, if rightly directed, it is a cure (p. 466). This explains the dual of father-son relationship. As said above, if father is creator son is also creator, though the areas and scope of both are different. Son's ceation is linked with ego. If his ego is rightly directed, if it is disciplined by the word and vision of Father, if the beats of Ahankar and anger are not over-riding, then it is creative. It is here that the grandeur of this relationship (of father and son) takes a shape. Son creates and creates a lot of things, almost everything that is related to life: the painting, the poetry, the drama, the dance, the music, the homes, the dams, the gardens, the crops for food and what not. Everything created by man is creation of ego, in the eagerness to manifest his ego, in the urge to satisfy his ego, in the sense to beautify the God given world. In such a situation ego is most creative, it is just superb, profoundly spiritual.

This way, whatever is ugly in this world, it is the product of wrongly directed ego and whatever is beautiful in this world, it is the product of rightly directed ego. But the beauty of the situation is that the capacity to direct one's ego in the wrong or right direction is also gifted by God. Ego in an individual is very powerful but is not self-sufficient at all, even to act. Once God is central to everything, seen or unseen in the world, then He is one to direct ego, to make it creative and result oriented. Son is poor without Father.

For the last one hundred years or so, religion is the most maligned institution. During this century two political groups, the capitalist and communist have been ruling the world. In fact, the world rolled into one or the other of these groups. The third group called non-aligned one, could never muster strength and the joining countries remained always dependent upon one or the other group. So, the world remained divided into two groups. But the irony of the situation is that both have tried their utmost to malign the  religion. Both, in their own ways, have condemned and capitalized its influence at the same time. One group tried to drive it out of the people's life, as something, which is not living, which is hindrance on the people's way to progress, to freedom from exploitation and to a self-supporting life-style. The other group built an opinion that religion is only related to personal life. It has nothing to do with the community life, particularly with the political life of the people. So, all institutions built for community life should be built upon or conducted with secular model and secular outlook. One in the name of Communism and the other in the name of secularism, tried to provide an alternative model for governing life. The religious model was rejected by the both. Also religion is being projected as cause of violence, blood-shedding, communal divide and everything that the intelligent minds, can exploit to prepetuate their political dominance. They do not bother, what religion stands for, they only bother how it can be used for their personal ends.

The religion was being exploited at the time of Guru Nanak also though not exactly in this way. Then it was being misused for personal ends, not by formulating a doctrinal base, logic, against its influence, but by the hypocritical and greedy mind of the priestly class, mostly in collaboration with ruling class. This subject is elaborately illustrated in Guru Granth Sahib. Almost all the contributors have spoken against this trend. Thus, it seems that a good institution was mostly maligned and misused by vested interests and so the only source of security and relief for the poor was also taken away from them. The poor is always a prawn for the rich and powerful, in all ways. The institution of religion is no exception.

In Guru Granth Sahib, the religion is seen and depicted from many angles. First religion is pure, satisfying and blissful human activity. It does not separate but unites. It says in a pure mind; it expects a fully pure conduct and always keeps one in tune with the purest. Then how can it play a role for which the vested interests blame it. The best, in terms of human resource, during the entire History of human civilization, is produced by religious leaders and not by political or economic leaders. Religion itself or any genuine religious leader has never thought of harming any individual or community on any account. Their main objective has always been to create harmony between mind and body of an individual and also between different people. The reason for this is very simple and this has been amplified in Guru Granth Sahib. It firmly believes that God Himself has created all bodies, He Himself manifests through all bodies and thus His light is shining through all eyes. Religion is to bring this theory into practice and to provide spiritual base to every relationship, every desire and every action. This subject is so dear to all poets of Guru Granth Sahib, that everyone has repeatedly expressed it. Their charismatic expression, in this regard, is that when God Himself is abiding in everybody, then whom to call bad or whom to harm? Thus religion, according to Guru Granth Sahib, is essential, indispensably essential, for the ensured healthy growth of an individual, a community or a civilization. Life without religion is life without soul. Religion of Guru Granth Sahib, thus, is based upon spirituality, creating so many institutions dedicated to the service of mankind, particularly to the oppressed ones, and thus is moving forward in History.

In Guru Granth Sahib, the damaging side of religion has also found expression. One it had been misused by the power hungry. Throughout the History of human civilization the power-hungry(s)  have always used it for personal interests. They would divide the population mostly in the name of religion, marginalize their strength and would rule over them. Such, is the History of generations, all over the world. Second the priestly class is normally very greedy, pretentious and hypocrite. They would threaten the poor people, in terms of their dead elders, their future birth and their present well being. Third, they would spread the net of rituals and taboos, trap the people for monetary gains and keep them mentally slave. In such a situation what to talk of individual, so many nations are also ruined. The poets of Guru Granth Sahib are very careful about these aspects of religion. If they preach to be religious in the will of God, they equally preach to beware of such religious leaders (perpetuating taboos), who in the name of religion do exactly non-religious things. Guru Nanak says, that they wear religious garb, recite God from mouth and keep dagger (of exploitation ) under their arms. So, much so in the opinion of Guru Nanak , they are like a fence, which itself is eating the crop. In  this  sense, with wider base and implications, Guru Granth Sahib proves to be a critique of contemporary reality, in almost all areas related to human life.

Devotion is another subject, which is very dear to all poets of Guru Granth Sahib.Everyone has again and again referred to it. In Indian tradition of search for Reality, a good number of methods are available, which continued to be in use by different people at different levels. First page of Guru Granth Sahib illustrates them and rejects them as insufficient methods for their purpose. Four methods in Indian tradition, in the process of time have gained importance. They are: Yoga, Karm (action) Gyan (Knowledge) and Bhagti (devotion).

Yoga starts from disciplining physical system of the body to discipline mind. Through different  bodily postures, different systems of body, including inhaling and exhaling are brought under control, this will result in the control of mind. The poets of Guru Granth Sahib have no objection to yoga, as a system, but their problem is that the scope of pretension and , therefore exploitation always remains there. This possibility cannot be ruled. Therefore, in their opinion, this method is neither valid nor dependable, but, Raj-yoga and Dhyan-yoga find favour with them. Simply, because the possibility of pretention in them is ruled out.

Another method requires doing good actions to achieve the final goal. Good actions produce good behaviour, good conduct and hence good character, the truthful living. This method in itself cannot be overlooked. Probably, that is why it is found central to the Buddhist spiritual aesthetics. But for the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, problem remains the same. They again and again emphasize the essential nature of its utility. But, for the achievement of final goal, this method, like yoga, is a insufficient. One, because the chances of pretention are present therein, second it encourages ritualism and exploitation by the priestly class, third in it, the increased arrogance and chances of challenging the authority of God remain alive. This process for the desired goal is absolutely not acceptable to Guru Granth Sahib, though the importance of good actions in it is not made irrelevant.

Gyan Marg, Knowledge as a method for spiritual progress is another method, which Indian traditions have used and advocated for the required progress. Guru Granth Sahib also appreciates its utility for the growth of the mind. But fundamentally problem remains the same. Ones final stage of this method is to be face to face with Reality. After passing through two stages of Shravan (listening) and Manan (reflecting) one reaches at third and final stage of Nidhiyasan (to be face to face). This is not enough for satisfying the longing of the poets of Guru Granth Sahib. This interest is to merge in Reality. Secondly, in it the chances of pretensions, inflated ego are always there. Both are treated as hindrances on the way to spiritual growth. Therefore it is not favoured for achieving the final goals, i.e. to merge in God.

For the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, the most competent and valid method is devotion of God. In Indian Bhagti tradition, Bhagti is also of so many kinds. Nine of them have finally found authentically in the tradition. Narad, in his Bhakti-Sutras, has illustrated this point of view and finally formulates nine kinds of Bhagti, known as Navdha-Bhagti. Guru Arjan Sahib has not accepted this kind of categorization oof Bhagti available in the tradition and instead accepted only emotional attachment with God, that is: loving devotion for Him.

The saints and experts on the subject of Bhagti, in the earlier tradition, believe that this method for spiritual growth is the most easy and simple to follow. For them, this method (1) is the easiest one and simple one to follow and (2) even the ignorant, the weak and the illiterate can follow it. Sikh Gurus do not accept this point of view. They are of the opinion that this is the severest abd the most difficult method for emancipation. While following this method, a devotee has to walk on the path, which is thinner than a hair and sharper than a double-edged sword. Secondly, for entering this area, he has to cut his head for providing a seat to the Master, and has to serve Him with no head on his body. Thus, this method demands complete surrender of one's being. It is not so simple and easy a method, as is preached in tradition.

The poets of Guru Granth Sahib have innovatively evolved a method. They accept yoga (Raj-Yoga)  for disciplining the mind and through it the body. Then they accept the practice of doing good deeds in terms of honest labour for earning one's livelihood and thereby for serving the needy. This is essential for living a purposeful house-holder's life. At many places they have mentioned that a truthful living is for better a way of life than that of an ascetic or renouncer. Gyan is again not negligible a method. Guru Nanak in Jap Ji Sahib has substituted Nidhiyasan, the final stage of the followers of the method of knowledge, with Bhav (love) which means the preceding two stages i.e. listening and reflecting are acceptable to him, provided they finally help to develop and sustain loving devotion to God. Rather these are essential in this context. Broadly speaking, all the three methods are acceptable to the galaxy of poets in  Guru Granth Sahib, but only up to the extent that they contribute in developing a devotee who disciplines his mind, lives truthful living, is fully knowledgeable person and surrenders completely before Guru-God with full sense of detachment. Thus, they accept such a loving devotion as perfect method and to live while completely merging in God  as the real and final aim of life.

The poets of Guru Granth Sahib yet go a step further. Even such a highly perfect stage of loving devotion (Bhagti) does not answer their intense yearning for their love i.e. God. For this they have introduced the method of remembering name (Naam Simran) of God. This Naam-Simran is not unknown to the Indian traditions, but at the hands of poets in Guru Granth Sahib, its form, its content and its objective are changed; into a completely new model. They want to absorb themselves constantly, uninterruptingly and completely in God, by living while remembering Him. They preach that God should always be in the mind of devotee, by every breath and every morsel. According to them, even for the sustenance of loving devotion, this method of remembering His name is fundamental. Thus they evolved a method, assimilating the best of the given methods in human civilization. This is one method, in  which the scope of pretension and hypocrisy is minimized and in the process of chances of exploiting people are negligible. In this method, God lives in mind, soul touches another soul and a kind of madness in His love takes place. Therefore, in Guru Granth Sahib, the most favoured method is Naam-marg, the method of remembering His name.

Service is another core issue in Guru Granth Sahib. Sometimes it seems as if the service of Guru-God, service of the people, is the only method, or at least it supercedes every other method, for the achievement of the final goal. It can also be said that in Guru Granth Sahib, anything done in the pursuance of the goal, must be accompanied by service. So much so that without doing the service of others, of God, no method is complete. Somtimes it seems, as if service and Sikh are two sides of the same coin. One is Sikh, only if he is involved in active service and if one serves he is a Sikh. So, the advice to the Sikh is that earn with honest labour, enjoy while remembering name of God and Share the earned (temporal and spiritual) with the needy, because only then, he can find and follow his path towards liberation. These are the basic identifiables of a Sikh of Guru Granth Sahib.

Service in Guru Granth Sahib is of three kinds. The service done through body, through donating money and through surrendering mind before Guru. The easiest one is that of donating money and the most difficult one is that of surrendering the mind completely. But for a Sikh of Guru Granth Sahib, it is binding to follow all the three methods, simultaneously and very sincerely. Then there is one condition too. It must be a service without motive. Guru Nanak is of the opinion that to be involved in religious essentials, like meditating, remembering name of God and so many other austerities, and expecting reward, even of emancipation, is to waste the endeavour. A Sikh has always to be available to serve one in need with no personal motive. He must not hesitate to sacrifice even the dearest thing, i.e. his life, if it is necessary to save the honour of  a person, whose honour is at the risk of being in peril. This tradition  of service and sacrifie is the most cherished and glorified tradition of the Sikhs, for the last five hundred years and still inspires the mind of a Sikh to be readily available for it, when and where it is necessitated. Guru has given this gift to them in abundance; let this flag be kept flying.

For the achievement of any goel, temporal or spiritual, according to Guru Granth Sahib, one has to be extremely modest. It is placed against anger, jealously, animosity and greed atc. All these tendencies are in fact maladies, which dampen the mind and let not awake it to respond to any situation  creatively. They shake the very base of a person and stigmatize the very face of a person. The remedy for all these ailments lies in modesty. It is so important in Guru Granth Sahib that it is the base for all other activities. It range is so wide that Guru Granth Sahib repeatedly teaches to be the feet-dust of an individual, of a congregation, of a saint and then of God. Baba Farid, in Guru Granth Sahib, advices to be like straws of grass, spread upon the path-way, so that while walking, the people should place their feet on it to be comfortable. Guru says: "Let the poverty (modesty) be my food". It is the most powerful and effective method to please Guru-God and to attract His love, His blessing for being comfortable here and hereafter. Thus modesty, in itself, is a great gift, a great achievement.

According to Guru Granth Sahib, God is the king of the kings, that means, He is the only king, everyone else at any stage, of any status, of any level, is His subject. So, one is always placed in His order and willingly or unwillingly lives in His will. He has given a job to everyone to work. Seemingly, these statements may look without any substance, but in the ultimate analysis,  these form the real image of the Real authority. Everything and every act originates from Him and in process merges in Him. In this context, whatever one holds, does, enjoys and owns, in the real sense, belongs to God. Anyone, on earth, does not own anything. One only nourishes an illusion that he/she owns. But, the fact is that everything is placed by God under one's custody. Thus if one is a ruler, a giver, a rich, God has given him this job to do responsibly, to behave like a responsible custodian and to function under His command. Keeping this syndrome, in mind, one should disperse things, act and speak with a sense of justice.

Thus for Guru Granth Sahib, the justice is the first and only identifiable of an individual, a group or an institution. It is made central to all thoughts, and actions. If, in a situation, this is sacrificed, then there are problems all around and if this maintained at every step, then there is no problem. Justice, arrived at or delivered is the only identifiable of an authority.

Guru Granth Sahib, tries to build a culture based upon sense of justice. Though it was, in the given circumstances, not an easy job, yet the contributor of Guru Granth Sahib could succeed in reconciling the irreconcilable.

The poets of Guru Granth Sahib dreamt of a composite culture for the mankind and keeping the example of Indian society in mind, they worked for the realization of their dream at the wider level.

In this context, Guru Nanak's perception is that whatever God has given it, is the collective heritage and thus the collective ownership of His children, the whole mankind. Principles are illustrated essentials for creating this kind of paradigm of a creative composite culture. His idea of one God, one religion (of mutual love), one ownership, equal right to work, equal right to worship, right to justice and right to speech etc. form the foundation of his vision of composite culture based upon perfectly just governance and just dispensation. Thus sense of justice was key to His vision of building a world without borders. The borders, dividing the humanity, on the basis of country, religion, race, colour, gender, economic, and social or political status are unacceptable to him. Any prejudice on any ground is inhuman. This kind of culture base is core of his teachings. Thus even those separated by religion are to be united by culture. Thus Guru Nanak symbolizes the culture of one God, (formless) one religion (of mutual love) one language (of mutual understanding) one civilization (without borders) and one purpose ( of merging in Higher soul) of life.

For perfecting the world civilization through remodeling Indian civilization, Guru Granth Sahib preaches to take several such steps as to make the life purposeful and dignified.

Mutual communication is another sector which has found a theory and practice in the bani of Guru Granth Sahib. As a matter of common sense, it is understandable that communication is central to the success of any of the above said core issues. Modern social scientists are of the opinion that lack of communication is the reason for most of our domestic or social conflicts. We are victims of close mind. First we do not listen to the other party. Secondly, if we listen, we listen partially, and without understanding him or her, we react. In the process, misunderstanding and anger take place and the clash begins to overtake. The real issues and their solutions, are lost, so both the parties suffer grief. Patience and sense to understand are basic to the success of communication.

Guru Nanak, in Guru Granth Sahib says, for everyone of us, till we live in this world, we must say something and listen something. This process must remain alive at all times and at all stages of life. This is the pre-requisite for any fully developed mind and creative society. To make the communication a success, Guru Nanak traveled a lot. He visited headquarters of almost all contemporary religious seats and the centres of learning of mystical groups. He used to have a personal dialogue with them, to debate the issues of the contemporary society and reach at their solutions.

The treasure (of divine word) of forefathers came down to Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. This treasure includes the bani of four Sikh Gurus, his predecessors, and many saints/devotees and Bhats (bards). Later on the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh included the bani of ninth Guru, Teg Bahadar and still later, in year 1708 A. D. he declared it Guru of the Sikhs/world.

Guru Granth Sahib contains the bani of thirty-six persons. Six of them are the Gurus and remaining thirty are the saints/bards from different regions, castes, classes and professions. Thus, persons from different social and religious status, different linguistic groups and very different way of life were to be together in Guru Granth Sahib. It was compiled to give a sacred scripture to the mankind through the Sikhs and also to illuminate their faith; proving:

  1.     That their belief in oneness of God and oneness of mankind is not only a hearsay.
  2. That the future society has to be a plural society with an urge to develop a type of relationship on the basis of which people of divergent views, faith, life-style will have to live together. It is not only a question of adjustment or accommodation but it is in the interest of every individual to accept this way of life, without any grude or provocation from either side.
  3. That barriers dividing mankind are false and not meaningful for the future growth of progressive society.
  4. That the revealed truth is the common heritage of the whole mankind. It should not divide but unite.
  5. That the variety in language and culture is natural and, therefore, respectable.
  6. That the word (spirit) is the real guide. Even while continuing to be a Muslim, Christian or a Hindu, one can be part of the divine wisdom, contained in Guru Granth Sahib.

Every word of Guru Granth Sahib conveys this kind of meaning. These words formed the ground upon which, later on, various institutions of Sikhism were established.

In addition to the above core issues, certain other related issues are also framed in the doctrinal base of Guru Granth Sahib. These issues are like, life, birth, death, sin, transmigration, hell, heaven, eating, dressing, ceremonies, equality, freedom, sovereignty , human dignity, truth, falsehood, courage, cowardice, violence, non-violence, slavery and many more.

There was a serious threat which was likely to damage the invaluable gift of God to the mankind. We have a long tradition of interpolation. This ugly monster started showing its face then also. In this respect, many people were active in order to:

  1. Dilute the message of bani-kars.
  2. Deprive the people from re-energizing their tradition into creativity.
  3. Satisfy their greed for power and position.
  4. Satisfy their urge to communicate themselves by mixing up their own poetry into the poetry of divinely inspired poets.
  5. Prove that they are aslo great poets and thus deserve people's attention and support. Some of them, even desired to usurp Gaddi also.

The greatest, in the wonderful techniques of Guru Nanak, was to redefine everything, every leader religious , political, academic - every institution and every belief current in the existing order of Indian society. For example, what kind of a king and his subjects, a husband and his wife, a father and his children, male-female perception, a Pandit, a Kazi, a Brahman, education, culture, character-good and bad - and above all mutual interaction should be. This amounts to total remodeling of the society through this exercise. For this Guru Arjan after sifting the true bani from false bani, collected the bani of saints, devotees and bards. He compiled the whole material into one volume. Thus the true bani was saved for ever and the future Guru of the mankind was made available to successive generations.

From this sacred granth (scripture) originates the syndrome of Guru and Sikh. God is word, Guru and Guru is God, thus God in word in this granth is Guru. Word-Guru-God are same. One whose process of learning remains alive from birth to death, is a sikh (a student, a learner) so, God is teacher and man/woman is a student, both are bound in a creative relationship.

When Guru Granth Sahib teaches that there is one God, one mankind and one religion, the Guru is giving a commune-religion to mankind. Guru Granth Sahib does not agree that religion is personal, on the other hand, it believes that real religion is collective, and thus all followers form a commune. They eat together, meditate tigether, pray together, and struggle together to serve and liberate those who are in chains. The problems, the pleasures and pains are, collective and same for all.

In this way Guru-God is same for all and all are same for God, bound in the relationship of father and son, teacher and student.

In Guru Granth Sahib, God is father, as well as a teacher. A human being is His child, as well as a Sikh (student). This way, God takes the responsibility of teaching and guiding, providing food and protecting His created beings. He takes care of His Sikhs and their political, social, economic and religious problems, in whichever context these are. A Sikh in Guru Granth Sahib is a wholesome being. Every life is a multidimensional creation. So are their aspirations and problems. God keeps constant vigilance to respond and to keep the life of HIs children safe.

In Guru Granth Sahib, there is very interesting phenomenon. Male and female genders in almost all forms of life are frequently and correctly used. But at the same time, there are a few key-words which are deliberately used without any gender distinction. Same word is used for both the genders. For example, male and female both are a Sikh, a Sachiar, a Kudiar, a Gurmukh , a Manmukh, a Saint, a devotee, a Sadh, a Gyani, an Agyani, a Kuchaji, a Suchaji, a Gunwanti etc. This is probably to let people know their mind about the subject of gender bias. For them, male and female are equal in all respects, in rights, duties and honour. In some cases, for the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, women is more sensitive than man thus she performs better than man. When both the sexes are children of God, who is mother and father both, with common heritage are human beings then there is no question of one being superior and the other being inferior.

In fact the banikars of Guru Granth Sahib were aiming at creating a completely changed mindset and thus a society. For this, as stated above, they redefined every institution. In this way, a process of change from status quo to a new creative society was introduced. Secondly there are some references in which more than one words are used for the same object. For example mind (man) heart (Hirde) and conscience (chit) are used for the same meaning. All the three mean different from their is a tendency to use the same word for two opposite meanings. For example : Dharam, karam, worship, yoga, knowledge(gian) and so many more words are used for the double meanings. It indicates the process of discarding and accepting.

Scholars in literature have tried to distinguish between poetry and divine or revealed poetry. Objectively speaking all poetry, if it poetry, is divine or revealed and thus all poetryis mystical in nature. The extreme kind of abstraction makes it so. But the poetry of Guru Granth Sahib is absolutely revealed one and abstract in nature. Poetic mind, as such, is difficult to understand, that is one reason that a poet tries to create images and metaphor used by the poets of Guru Granth Sahib is that contact with this kind of poetry is like that of a Gur (jaggery), eaten by a mte, who can enjoy its taste, but cannot express it. That is why, it is repeatedly expressed in Guru Granth Sahib that this kind of experience of poets and by the inadequate capacity of teh language to fully communicate, it is simple to believe that poetry of Guru Granth Sahib is not easy to understand and grasp.

In order to solve this problem, the poets of Guru Granth Sahib have tried at two levels. First by choosing a medium for communication and second to make this  medium a success, beautiful, aesthetically rich, and understandable. For this they have created their own lingua franca.

In the realm of literature, predominantly, there are two genres; prose and poetry. They are further divided into many sub-groups in both the genres. In Guru Granth Sahib the chosen genre to communicate is poetry. Thay have used many forms of poetry, some are longer in size and some are shorter. Jap Ji Sahib, Dakhni Onkar. Patti, Baara Maha, Sidh Ghost, Anand Sahib, Sukhmani Sahib, Var Bavan Akhri etc are longer; whereas Pade, Gharian, Alahunia, Mundavani, Phere, Pauri etc, are the shorter forms of poetry.

Before one tries to fully and deeply understand the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, he must keep two things in mind: One that their process of understanding and communicating moves from complication to simplication. They are of the opinion that many vested interests have complicated the matters regarding religious ceremonies, reducing them to rituals, social ceremonies, reducing them to taboos and personal life, reducing it to pretention and hypocrisy. So, the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, particularly Guru Nanak started the process of simplification. He simplified and replaced the religious rituals by the purity of mind; the defiled social ceremonies and taboos by clear vision and sincerity of purpose and pretentious personal life by liberating the mind rather than liberating the body.

The process of simplification was in the matter of language too. First they abandoned the use of classical language. For them, it was based on complicated structure. The people by and large could not understand it and so, a priest, in between a reader/listener and the poet, was necessitated to explain the abstract idiom to the people. He would explain it in the way it suited his vested interest. Thus, even in the matter of religious foundations, the complicated structure of the language created a gap and foundations started crumbling down. This was a matter of great concern for the poets of Guru Granth Sahib. Secondly they attempted to re-establish the purity in personal and social life. Therefore, they adopted the spoken language, and the spoken idiom so that direct understanding between God and His people is activated. This way, the service (disservice) of the priest was dispensed with. Probably, this is the context of calling classical language a blind well and the lingua franca a stream of flowing pure water.

The contributors to Guru Granth Sahib are themselves poets and in their own right and own way, they are exceptionally great poets. Poetry is revealed to them, therefore they are clearly in direct communication with God. It is not small thing that they are poets and then their mind is on the wavelength of God. Thus they, do not need to prove that they are scholars or highly creative poets. They do not need to follow rotten generic disciplines in order to prove that they are scholars. They were much above it. So, they adopted music, a language of the soul, a touch of the soul to capture the soul of the listener. A simple, motivating and enriching medium for reaching to the soul of the audience.

Poetry and music both have an intrinsic relationship between themselves and then have an intrinsic relationship with soul. This way, they are a language, the language of the soul, for the soul. Actually, this was the most suitable medium for them and this choice gave them success in vast and unending area of influence.

For poetry, prosody is the classical discipline. A poet is expected to follow it, when  writing and a critic is expected to follow it when applying parameters of excellence in a poetic piece of work. But the poets of Guru Granth Sahib cared little for it. One, their baani reveals itself in such a subtle and fast momentum, that it cannot be kept under check with some external discipline. Second, prosody itself is a complicated system of using language, meters and formations then it further complicates the meaning and impact of the creative art. This may be necessary for establishing oneself as great scholar or a master poet. But this was not their objective that was unsuitable for the kind of audience they were addressing. So, they skirted this route, yet in the ending part of Guru Granth Sahib, a few metres like Rad???????, Jhulna, Sorath and Dohra etc are used by bard poets, this can be treated as exception only. By and large, the construction of poetic form, even line in Guru Granth Sahib is based only upon different aspects of music, the pure lyrical base.

Some scholars have tried to find certain grammatical identifiable for understanding Gurbaani, therefore,they have applied them on Gurbaani, to study and interpret or explain it. In this adventure, the very beginning is wrong. One, that grammer is not a discipline for poetry, much less for divine or revealed-poetry. It is certainly for prose and Guru Granth Sahib is not a piece of prose. Second, the poets of Guru Granth Sahib were not prepared even to accept the yardstick of prosody, what to talk of grammar, an irrelevant discipline for the system of their creative process. Therefore, to study a line, a couplet or a stanza of Gurbaani  with tools provided by grammar and to find out the lexicons used, and the meaning of words with these tools, is not feasible.

No doubt, such attempts are good and appreciable in the context of their concern and labour they have put in. But these are not relevant to the area under study. The reason for such an assertion may be that almost all such scholars are from the area of divinity and their understanding of the creative piece of art, its devices and its codes is limited.

As stated above, music flows from soul and it touches the other soul. So it is a medium for soul. No other method is so immediate, so capturing and so much thrilling for the soul. The poets of Guru Granth Sahib chose this for addressing the large number of people, mostly innocent ones. They themselves were writers, composers and great singers. This helped them to attract people and their ears.

While composing and then singing their hymns, they were, as well, not bound by the discipline of classical musicology. They used many clssical Raagas ,but experimented to give them a different content and purpose. They experimented in such a manner, that classical at their hands turns folk and folk at their hands turn into classical. Thus in certain cases, in most of the cases, they turn out to be different forms. This way the pattern of Raagas and Raanis is changed, the concept of classical is changed and the current folk music is given respectability. This experiment is likely many unique contribution of Guru Granth Sahib.

Scholars differ on the number of Raagas used in Guru Granth Sahib. But all agree on their number being thirty-one. The number is basic, but the number of Raagas composed on the basis of one Raaga varies and number of Raagas used goes up. Like Cheti, Purbi, Dakhni etc; are added thus increasing the number of Raagas used.

The Baani of Guru Granth Sahib and music are thus indispensable to each other. The poets are sure of one thing, that the word communicated through music is the most effective one. That is how; they believe that in the present times, the singing of God's praise is the most prominent way to please Him. No other method is any match for it. Therefore, they adopted it, inspired and taught others to learn and sing for Him.

The second medium, th epoets of Guru Granth Sahib, adopted is that of Language.  Since the birth of civilization, language has contributed a lot towards its growth. The poets of Guru Granth Sahib, particularly Guru Nanak, have identified its importance, right in the beginning of Guru Granth Sahib. He says that all that is created by human or by God exists only because of Language. This is exactly what the modern structuralists are saying today. Language has given songs, the singing, the stories, the power to narrate, the names, the art to praise God and so much more. It seems odd, but it is a fact that without language, the human  existence and human civilization, can be at stake. The Guru/Saints of Guru Granth Sahib had a definite mission and for the success of that mission, they required a strong medium of communication. It could be none other than language. So, they needed an expression, which could be understood by all. For this purpose, they developed their own lingua franca. Since Guru Nanak Sahib was the beginner of this movement, he experimented to create such an idiom and Guru Arjan Sahib gave it a form (i.e. Guru Granth Sahib). By estabilishing a personal contact with the contributing saints having different language background, Guru Nanak tried at evolving such a lingua franca which could be medium of expression for all. Adopting Punjabi Language as base, the poets of different places wrote, using freely the words of their spoken language. Thus a lingua franca, common to all, usable and understandable by all, was brought into practice. This is the greatest contribution of Guru Nanak went a step further. To whomever he met, say a Vaishnav, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, or a farmer, a trader, a priest, he would speak in his idiom keeping the base of Punjabi language intact. This became a language of Guru Granth Sahib. Because the contributors of Guru Granth Sahib were poets, their language has to be poetic. First their experience, mystical experience, is very subtle; secondly, it is being communicated through poetry, to relate the unrelatable; thirdly, the audience is common masses. So, certain measures had to be devised and they did so. For this they took the help of music. Then, in their poetry, they created images, metaphors, similes, poetic figures, ornamentation, which were already introduced to masses and were a part of their mind-set and day life. The most favourite and repeatedly used by the poets of Guru Granth Sahib, is the image of man-woman relationship. This image in its full entirely is used in a very exuberant manner, giving touch of reality and relish to the image created by words. It transforms the process of creativity from subtle to simple. Then this image is extended , to the extent, that they claim that there is one and only man, husband i.e. God and everyone else, whether male and female is His wife. This makes the reading aesthetical and interesting and its understanding becomes easy. Thus combining music with such a kind of rich images in poetry, it becomes a powerful medium of expression. The poets of Guru Granth Sahib gave so much to Indian civilization and India's common man that its full evaluation is impossible. They gave life to the dead Indian tradition of creativity. Prior to their advent, for many hundred years, the Indian creative tradition was in peril, groping in dead darkness of History. Writing of Teekas, (exegeses) grammars, explanation etc. were in practice. Whatever was being done in poetry, in drama, in dance, in painting, it was all repetition being performed in palaces to appeal to the sensuousness of kings and their families. Only the poets of Guru Granth Sahib created an era of creativity in relationship with God and His people. They gave life to the poetry, the music, the language, and the soul, running through the pages of Guru Granth Sahib. Thus they made the Indian civilization alive and enabled it to respond to the people of the world in the centuries to come.


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