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Philosophy of Sikh Gurus - Book By Gurbachan Singh Makin

Publisher: Guru Tegh Bahadur Educational Centre
Authors: Gurbachan Singh Makin
Page: 380
Format: Hardbound
Language: Punjabi
Product Code: SGE171
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Frontcover of the Book 'Philosophy of Sikh Gurus' By Gurbachan Singh Makin

The Book on "Philosophy of Sikh Gurus" deals with Gurbani (Compositions) recited by the followers of the Guru as a part of daily prayers. An effort has been made to bring out the meaning of the hymns, rather than a literal translation but within  the failings of a seeker of Guru's Grace. It comprises Two parts; Part I consisting of 13 Chapters, with a complete translation in serial order of the various compositions, while Part II in Ten Chapters lists all the hymns under different headings alongwith the Central Theme of each hymn briefly, ending with Chapter XI giving the Sikh Prayer (Ardas). There are cross-references both in Part I and Part II so as to co-relate each hymn alongwith page number of Guru Granth Sahib. Part I shows the Page No. of Guru Granth Sahib in the first bracket along with the Chapter of Part II in the second bracket, while Part II shows the Page No. of Guru Granth Sahib in the bracket.


Foreword To the Book 'Philosophy of Sikh Gurus' By Gurbachan Singh Makin

I am pleased to introduce this valuable book , Philosophy of Sikh Gurus, to those esteemed readers who are interested to know the thought and teachings of the Sikh prophet-teachers through the translation of some of their sacred writings and the presentation of their cardinal themes in simple English prose.

This laudable effort has been made by S. Gurbachan Singh Makin, a blessed devout follower of the faith, who has been an electrical engineer during his career in the Indian Navy and a lecturer in Business Management & after his retirement in 1973 from active service. It has, therefore, been a pleasant surprise for me to know how after having remained engaged all along in such technical and professional pursuits, he has been drawn so devotedly towards a thorough study of Guru Granth Sahib and has become so keen to share his knowledge, experience and bliss, gained therefrom, with his fellow-beings. He has undertaken this noble task in the form of a monumental project aimed at presenting in five volumes the entire text of the Holy Book in its original form alongwith its rendering given in simple English prose on the opposite page. The sixth volume is planned to include an indepth study of the basic concepts propounded therein under various headings and sub-headings.

The present work is a fore-runner of that commendable project and consists of two distinct parts. The first part presents the English translation of some selected hymns as contained in the daily prayerbook of the Sikhs, called Nitnem da Gutka, such as 'Japu Ji' by Guru Nanak Dev, 'Sukhmani Sahib' by Guru Arjan Dev and 'Jaap Sahib' by Guru Gobind Singh. It also includes the English rendering of some selected hymns of some Hindu and Muslim saints which also form a significant part of Guru Granth Sahib. The second part deals with an indepth study of its basic concepts explained by him under various headings, such as God, Nam, Life, Bliss, etc. Besides giving the central idea of each and every hymn, their themes are also interlinked through references and cross references to the contents of the first part. It is concluded with chapter on the 'ideal man' as conceived and produced by the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

I wish its devoted author and his lofty projects every success with the grace of God and Guru who may always be with him in the successful fulfilment of his long-cherished desire.

  Harnam Singh Shan
605, Sector 16, Formerly Professor & Chairman
Chandigarh Departments of Panjabi and Sikh Studies
10 February, 1994 Panjab University, Chandigarh
About the Author 'Gurbachan Singh Makin' of the Book 'Philosophy of Sikh Gurus'

Gurbachan Singh Makin, an Electrical Engineer and a Management professional, having qualified from the Institute of Marketing, London, in 1970, after retirement from Indian Navy in February, 1973 has settled in Chandigarh practising as a Management Consultant. Apart from teachings 'Business Management & Marketing Technology' to Post Graduate Courses in Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan for the last 15 years, he has published a book on 'Marketing Management' in 1991.

Now he is a student of Sikh Studies, and is presently, engaged in the Translation of 'Guru Granth Sahib' in English Prose out of which Two Volumes would be published by end 1994. He would  like to share his experiences with other fellow beings. So this volume is being published as a fore-runner to the main project.


Preface of the Book 'Philosophy of Sikh Gurus' By Gurbachan Singh Makin

The Philosophy of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, could be described as hinging on one word, "ik-Onkar", i.e. Unification of Man with the Lord Almighty, who is manifested by Himself, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, all combined in one.

According to Guru Nanak, this life is the only chance available to us to unite with the Sublime Soul, the True Lord, by singing His praises in the company of holy saints, through the Guru's guidance and meditating on Lord's True Name through the Grace of the Lord while following the Lord's Will with complete self-surrender. These points have been beautifully explained by the Guru in 'Jap Ji', the first composition, included in the "Guru Granth Sahib", which brings out the philosophy of Sikhism in its entirety. Infact, a whole treasure of Gurbani (Guru's word) in the form of 'Guru Granth Sahib' has been handed over to humanity, with the Universal message of love and attainement of the Lord by singing the praises of the Lord, in the company of holy Congregations.

At one place, the Guru says, "Nanak ke' ghar kewal Naam", there is only recitation of 'True Name' as the panacea of all ills and means of uniting with the Lord".

So the philosophy of Sikhism has been expounded by Guru Nanak, followed by nine other Gurus till Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master. Guru Nanak composed 'Jap ji' which gives the basic philosophy, while Guru Gobind Singh gave us the 'Jaap Sahib', which again concentrates on the True Lord, the motto of life.

To bring out the cardinal principles of Sikh philosophy, an effort has been made, through the Guru's Grace, to translate some portions of the 'Guru Granth Sahib' in English Prose, along with some Compositions of Guru Gobind Singh included in Dasam Granth. This forms Part I of the work, while Part II comprises the Central Theme of each hymn, listed under ten main headings, into which all the hymns have been classified. These themes are shown in the following Ten Chapters of Part II.

Chapter I --------a) Lord's Manifestation b) Attainment of Lord & c) Lord's Benevolence

Chapter II         -------Guru - Importance & Role

Chapter III        -------True Name

Chapter IV ----------a) Lord's Will b) Lord's Grace

Chapter V ----------a) Ideal of life b) Equipoise (Sahej)

Chapter VI ---------------a) Holy Saints & Congregations. (Sat Sangat) & b) Guru-minded or faithfuls (Gurmukh) & Self-willed or faith-less. (Manmukh)

Chapter VII --------a) Vices (ego, greed etc.) b) Maya (worldly falsehood)

Chapter VIII -----------Miscellaneous Discussions or Discourses including Topics like death and world hereafter.

Chapter IX -------Perfect Bliss or Anand

Chapter X ----------Creation of Khalsa, the Saint-Soldier By Guru Gobind Singh.

Chapter XI ------------Ardas (Sikh Prayer)

This book is a fore-runner to the main project of  a complete translation  of the 'Guru Granth Sahib' in six volumes in English Prose, depicting the Complete philosophy of Guru Nanak. The following compositions (Banis) have been included in this book, forming Part I :-

(i)   Jap ji  -----------        By Guru Nanak

(ii)  Jaap Sahib-----------By Guru Gobind Singh

(iii)  Swaiyyas-----------   By Guru Gobind Singh

(iv)  Choupaie-----------   By Guru Gobind Singh

(v)    Anand Sahib---         By Guru Amar Das

(vi)   Rehras -----------      By Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das & Guru Arjan Dev

(vii)  Kirtan Sohila--------By Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das & Guru Arjan Dev

(viii)  Shabad Hazare ---By Guru Nanak & Guru Arjan Dev

(ix)    Sukhmani Sahib ---By Guru Arjan Dev

(x)     Asa-di-Vaar ---------  By Guru Nanak & Guru Ram Das

(xi)    Baramaha ---------   By Guru Arjan Dev

(xii)   Slokas of Guru Tegh Bahadur

(xiii)   Hymns of Kabir and other Saints

It would appear from the above list that some portions of 'Dasam Granth viz the compositions of Guru Gobind Singh, have also been included in this book as Guru Nanak's  mission was completed by Guru Gobind Singh with the creations of 'Khasla', so it forms an important part of the philosophy of Sikhism, which has been included in this book to make it a comrehensive study.

Another aspect of the 'Guru Granth Sahib', which makes its message universal for the whole world, is based on the fact that certain hymns of Hindu Bhaktas and Muslim Saints are also included in the holy book; so a Chapter in the end, includes few hymns from Kabir, Ravidas, Namdev and Farid.

Apart from 'Jap Ji', which deals with the philosophy of Guru Nanak in a simple and beautiful manner, Asa-di-Vaar brings out the prevailling conditions in Indian Public life while "Sukhmani Sahib", is the fountain-head of bliss and tranquillity, alongwith 'Anand Sahib' giving the true meaning of bliss. On the other hand Guru Gobind Singh's 'Jaap Sahib' is vibrating with single-minded devotion to the Lord sublime, giving vent to the Lord's Virtues, alongwith Kabir's hymns replete with the basic philosophy of life Condemning formalism and ritualism in a vigorous manner as done by Guru Nanak later. So this book would give an insight to various aspects of Guru Nanak's philosophy briefly only, for a Comprehensive study, the other publications on "The Philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib" (in 6 volumes) will have to be referred; the first Two Volumes being brought out in end 1994, followed by the other four volumes in 1995 and 1996; depending upon Lord's Grace and Lord's Will; based purely on a Translation of the "Guru Granth Sahib" in English prose in two parts as in this book. Some hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Master, appearing at the end of the Guru Granth Sahib", under the heading "Slok Mahalla-9, have also been included in this book. These hymns prove the transient nature of this human life and the efforts needed to cross this ocean of life successfully by meditating on Lord's True Name. It may be argued by some learned people, that some hymns listed under one heading in Part II could also be included under another heading, as the themes in some of the hymns are based on more than one concept. To avoid duplication, these hymns have been listed under the main theme only; but could also be read under another heading.

(b) Guru Nanak & His Mission

Guru Nanak had revolted against the religious practices of both Hindus and Muslims from his childhood, which were full of ritualism and fundamentalism. Secondly Guru Nanak was so God-intoxicated that no normal profession would interest him and he would spend long hours in meditation alone. Under the advice of his brother-in-law, however, he accepted the job of a store-keeper at Sultanpur Lodhi and spent a few years alongwith his family there where he got two sons. Baba Sri Chand and Laxmi Das. Very soon he got disgusted with this life style and undertook long journeys, travelling far and wide to the South, East, West and the North including Ceylone, Assam & Jagan Nath Puri in Orissa, Mecca and Baghdad and Tibet etc spreading his message of Universal love. During these journeys spreading over almost 17 years he had long discourses with various god fearing men of different religious faiths. Finally he settled down at Kartarpur (West Pakistan) and spent his last years alongwith his family doing farming for a living and holding discourses both in the mornings and evenings; which was the beginning of a new religion, Sikhism. According to him it was essential for man to seek the guidance of a Guru who could be a link between man and the True Lord, for meditation of True Name by singing the praises of the Lord. He was followed by Nine other Gurus for completing his mission when Guru Gobind Singh appointed "Guru Granth Sahib" as the living Guru in the form of "Guru's Word", in 1708. The three main principles of life enunciated by Guru Nanak were:

(i) Earning a living by hard labour (Kirt karna)

(ii) Remembering the Lord. (Naam-japna)

(iii) Sharing your earnings with needy and others, needing your help. (Vand Chhakna)

The main stress was on leading life remembering the Lord all the time by singing His praises, while serving the poor and the needy by helping men of all communities to lead a better life. The second theme was to join holy congregations while performing one's prayers in the mornings and evenings, a practice which is being followed till to-day by the Sikhs all over the world. In this exercise, the company of holy saints or Gurmukhs i.e. Guru-minded Sikhs, is sought so as to help us follow the mission of life better with proper guidance. Thus the true Saints among Sikhs have an esteemed position even to-day.

So all these aspects of life have been brought out in following pages by following the true meaning of the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib; and the directions of the Guru, who is representing the Lord Himself. The teachings include Meditation of True Name by singing Lord's praises in the company of holy saints by following Lord's Will with complete self-surrender, as the main pillars.

1585, Sector 34 D G. S. MAKIN
Chandigarh Lieut. Commander (Retd.)
Phone 600244  
13th April, 1994  


Table of Contents of the Book 'Philosophy of Sikh Gurus' By Gurbachan Singh Makin



  Part - I  
I Jap Ji 1
II Jaap Sahib 26
III Swaiyyas 62
IV Choupaiee 66
V Anand Sahib 70
VI Shabad Hazare 91
VII Rehras 100
VIII Kirtan Sohila 111
IX Sukhmani Sahib 115
X Asa-di-Vaar 177
XI Bara maha 224
XII Slokas of Guru Tegh Bahadur 234
XIII Hymns of Hindu and Muslim Saints 242
  Part - II  
I (a) Lord's Manifestation 252
  (b) Attainment of Lord 268
  (c) Lord's Benevolence 282
II Guru---Role and Importance 296
III True Name 304
IV Lord's Will and Grace 321
V (a) Ideal of life 326
  (b) Equipoise (Sahej) 327
VI (a) Holy Saints and Congregations 347
  (b) Gurmukh and Manmukh 347
VII (a) Vices 355
  (b) Maya 355
VIII Miscellaneous Discussions 365
IX Anand or Perfect Bliss 371
X Creation of Khalsa 373
XI Ardas (Sikh Prayer) 376
XII Glossary 378


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