Sri Guru Granth Sahib
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a collation of many hymns, poems, shabads and other writings from many different scholars, including the Gurus and Hindu and Muslim writers. Every Guru Granth Sahib Ji has 1,430 Angs (pages), and every copy is identical
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not just the holy scripture of Sikhism. It is also considered as the living Guru. Before Guru Gobind Singh died, he declared that there would be no more human Gurus and that the Guru Granth Sahib would be the Eternal Guru.
Significance of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji
- It contains the words spoken by the Gurus. This is known as Gurbani, which means ‘from the Guru’s mouth’.
- It is believed to be the word of God and is therefore infallible.
- It is written in Gurmukhi. This is the script the Punjabi language is written in.
- It is placed in the prayer hall within the gurdwara. Any building that has a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is considered a gurdwara.
- It is considered as the Living Guru, because the Gurmukhi scripture is considered the word of God and therefore treated with respect as a human might be.
Compilation and contents of the Guru Granth Sahib
- -Many of Guru Nanak’s hymns and prayers were preserved and complied by Guru Angad and Guru Arjan. This collection became known as the Adi Granth.
- -The Adi Granth also included writings from Hindu and Muslim writers who believed in the oneness of God. Some of these writers were from lower castes, which shows the inclusiveness of Sikhism.
- -The Guru Granth Sahib was completed in 1604 and installed in the Golden Temple. This original copy is written in many different languages, reflecting its many different authors.
- -Every other copy of the Guru Granth Sahib is identical.
- -The first shabad of the Guru Granth Sahib is the Mool Mantra. This is the statement of belief for Sikhism. It outlines the belief in one God.
- -The first line of the Guru Granth Sahib is “Ik Onkar”. This literally means ‘there is only One God’.
Respect for the Guru Granth Sahib
As the Guru Granth Sahib is considered to be the Eternal Guru, Sikhs believe it should be treated in the same way the human Gurus were treated. This means it must be treated with the utmost respect.
There are various ways in which respect for the Guru Granth Sahib must be shown:
- -Sikhs remove their shoes and wash their hands before entering the gurdwara.
- -Sikhs wear head coverings inside the gurdwara in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib.
- -The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is placed on a takht , which is a raised platform. This is under the manji, which is a bed for the Guru Granth Sahib Ji to be placed on. Above this there is the palki, which is a domed structure that covers the area that holds the Guru Granth Sahib. This is covered by the chanani, which is a canopy made from decorated cloth known as the rumalla.
- -The sangat sit on the floor in the Darbar Sahib to ensure their heads are not higher than the Guru Granth Sahib.
- -Sikhs make offerings to the Guru Granth Sahib when they enter the prayer hall.
- -Sikhs never turn their backs on the Guru Granth Sahib.
- -A granthi is a person appointed to read the Guru Granth Sahib. When the Guru Granth Sahib is being read, a chauri, which is a special fan made from yak hair, is waved above it.
- -The Guru Granth Sahib is placed in a separate room at night.
Equality in the Guru Granth Sahib
The Guru Granth Sahib gives Sikhs guidance on how to live their lives. It teaches them about the oneness of humanity. Within the Guru Granth Sahib, the hymns and poems express the importance of the equality of all humans. They also highlight the belief in monotheism and the importance of Waheguru.
The key messages of the Guru Granth Sahib are:
- -Everyone in the world is equal.
All beings and creatures are His; He belongs to all.(Guru Granth Sahib 425)
- -There should be equality between men and women.
- -There is only one God of all religions.
- -Sikhs should live and speak truthfully.
- -Sikhs must avoid the five vices, which are anger, greed, lust, pride and attachment to material possessions.
- -Sikhs should live according to God’s Hukam. This means Sikhs should accept that the world is created because of God’s will and that everything in the world happens because of Waheguru. This will lead to contentment.
- -Sikhs should practise the virtues, which are truth and truthful living, compassion and patience, love, humility and self-control, contentment, and wisdom and courage.
- -Everyone in the world is equal.