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5. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib and it’s attributes

What is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib? Simply, it is the Holy Book of the Sikhs. “Guru†means illuminator of darkness/ignorance, “Granth†means scripture and “Sahib†is a mark of respect shown to it. After Guru Gobind Singh’s passing, the Granth was the spiritual Guru of the Sikhs. This ended the petty disputes of imposters over Guruship by transferring eternal responsibility to the Granth.

The Guru Granth Sahib is now the core of the Sikh Panth, providing all spiritual teachings. Far from being an ordinary book, the Granth has a number of unique attributes and properties. It is in total 1430 pages, composed of 31 Raags, or musical scales. These scales are used for almost every composition in the Granth, meaning the entire scripture, being comprised of divine poetry, can be sung pretty much from start to finish. The 31 Raags are used primarily to structure the Granth, and within each Raag compositions are ordered by the author (Guru Nanak being first and various Saints and Bhatts coming last) to give a clear and structured order. It is also worth noting that the words inside the Granth are written so that there are no gaps between them, forexamplelikethis. This means it takes a skilled reader to read the flowing lines of the Granth.

One of the distinguishing features of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib that has been passed on from the living Gurus is it’s universality. Whilst other religious books tend to give teachings relating only to their own followers, the teachings of the Granth are equally applicable to any religion; after studying the Granth for a period the seeker will have a natural yearning to become a Sikh. Rather than cursing the heathers, kafirs or gentiles, Guru Ji teaches morals, ethics and practices which can be applied to a Hindu, Muslim or Christian on the best way to meet God.

“The mala is around my neck, and the Lord’s Name is upon my tongue. I repeat the Naam, the Name of the Lord, a thousand times, and bow in reverence to Him. Says Kabeer, I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord; I teach both Hindus and Muslims.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 479

The Guru Granth Sahib tells us that even a Hindu or Muslim can receive salvation but Sikhism is the most direct route to God; the Gurus, in their infinite knowledge, have basically written a manual for how to reach God not from so called revalations in caves or hearsay from others, but from first hand experience. Discarding rituals which give the seeker no particular spiritual benefit, Sikhism has been created by God as to allow the disciple to realize the Truth as quickly as possible. It is likely that after contemplating the Guru Granth and following it’s principles one will have a yearning to become a Sikh, and after a period of time, as discussed later, one will have a strong urge to take Amrit as soon as quickly.

“His bonds are loosened, and the Guru liberates him. He sees You, O Lord, everywhere. Drinking in the Amrit of the Naam, his mind is satisfied. Tasting it, his tongue is satiated. Says Nanak, I have obtained celestial peace and poise; the Guru has quenched all my thirst.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1212

What is the main content of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib? First one must ask, what the aim of religion actually is – to praise God and realize oneself in context of God. It seems, however, that many other faiths’ scriptures have become tied up in how to pray to an idol, who is burning in hell, or recalling historical exploits and wars of certain men. The Granth has none of these – all of the Gurbani, or Guru’s word, has been devoted to God and how to reach him.

Not only have the Gurus had their work included in the Granth, but also a number of other enlightened souls. Bhagat Kabeer, a well known Saint, has large amounts of his work included in the Guru Granth. An enlightened Sufi Saint known as Fareed has also had his Bani included. All the work included in the Granth is divinely inspired; rather than it being written down by the followers of a man who claimed to have heard God, the Gurus themselves, who were divinely inspired, and through countless hours of meditation had their soul already merge into Waheguru whilst alive, spoke words imbued with divine Raas, or divine essence.

“He is beyond calculation, beyond measure, uncountable and unfathomable. As You inspire him to speak, O Lord, so does servant Nanak speak.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 293

Another factor that makes the Guru Granth Sahib different to other holy books is the fact the original copy still remains. Guru Arjun dictated the Bani to his scribe, Bhai Gurdas, which still remains as the Kartarpuri Bir. This was know as the Adi Granth. After compilation, it was installed at Harmandir Sahib on a raised platform (the Golden Temple) and Guru Arjun slept on the floor below it. The Granth took it’s final form when Guru Gobind Singh dictated the entire Granth from memory to his scribe, Bhai Mani Singh, adding in Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Bani where Guru Arjun had left a space. Thus the Guru Granth Sahib was finished and known as the Damdama Bir. Guru Ji made a number of replications of it before passing; however some of these were destroyed or taken away by the Indian Army in 1984 when they attacked the Golden Temple, burnt down the reference library and took away many of the books there.

The ideals presented in the Granth are the teachings of all the Gurus; work hard, share the fruits of your labor, be honest and praise God always, and follow the Guru’s path faithfully. If one sticks to this lifestyle rigidly one will eventually gain the Naam and will be liberated from this world. Whilst only one out of millions actually do this, the Guru Granth is the soul spiritual guide needed for a Sikh.

Divinity of Gurbani

Some of the qualities which make the Guru Granth Sahib unique have been discussed above, however there are many others which make Gurbani unique. For example:

• Quality of poetry – most consider the Guru Granth Sahib to be one of the most perfectly written scriptures ever written; from start to finish every line rhymes and follows musical scales. Even many non Sikhs will admit that the Guru Granth Sahib’s poetry is possibly the most perfected to have come out of India.

• No contradictions – unlike other texts the Guru Granth Sahib does not have a single contradiction. Whilst many try to twist and distort the lines of Gurbani to suit them on issues such as allowing meat or having a living Guru, with very simple logic and common sense in intepritation these can be proven to be false meanings.

• Raas – every line of Gurbani has been imbued with divine essence or raas, which can be clearly felt by the spiritually advanced. This is one of the signifying features of Gurbani; it’s divine Book truly is divine. For someone who is not yet at this stage, even after a short period of spiritual progression, very specific feelings can be obtained from particular shabads. For example, Anand Sahib brings on feelings of ecstacy, whilst Sukhmani Sahib will induce peace and tranquility, often used for calming the mind. In the Dasam Granth, works such as Var Bhagauti Ki is used for inciting warrior instinct, and was used by Nihung Singhs (warriors of the Gurus times) before entering battle. Every shabad has a unique meaning, purpose and feel.

• Protection from corruption – the Gurus added a meticulous numbering system is employed where every couplet is numbered so a single line cannot be added in the Guru Granth Sahib at any place. This is why one may see such things as ||1|| written between couplets and when there are pauses.

• Extremely modern views – ideas such as equality of, science (as discussed below) and the brotherhood of mankind are all espoused in the Granth, ideas that do not develop till hundreds of years later.

• Universality – the Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings transcend culture and time. None of it’s ideas have outdated, nor are they any less applicable to certain cultures, unlike other teachings which almost force a person back into the culture that the holy book was written in.

Science in the Guru Granth Sahib

Many people try to claim there are scientific miracles in their own holy book by twisting lines out of context to produce “extraordinary†meanings. However, in Gurbani we have simple, clear cut statements which are literally hundreds of years ahead of itself. Mentions of different galaxies, countless planets, solar systems, are all spoken of by Guru Ji without any ambiguity.

“Having created the creation, He watches over it. By His Glance of Grace, He bestows happiness. There are planets, solar systems and galaxies. If one speaks of them, there is no limit, no end. There are worlds upon worlds of His Creation. As He commands, so they exist.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 8

At this time, there was no normal way that the Gurus could articulate such advanced beliefs at the time, giving further evidence for their divinity.

Many religions also create stories and myths on the creation of the world which have no real scientific backing. On the other hand, Gurbani clearly describes the period pre-creation as follows:

“For endless eons, there was only utter darkness. There was no earth or sky; there was only the infinite Command of His Hukam. There was no day or night, no moon or sun; only God stayed in solitary meditation.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1035

It is important to remember that this time, described as the “Primal Void†in a number of places in Gurbani, will come over and over again, countless times. However, as to creating the world we live on, details are also given:

“From the True Lord came the air, and from the air came water. From water, He created all things within the universe, and in each and every heart He has infused His Light.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 19

Clearly we can see here, that Guru Ji is describing the air (gases) eventually forming water which was the basis of life on earth. As anyone with simple knowledge of evolution and science knows, from water organisms formed and from this life sprung up on earth to where we are today.

“As the bubbles in the water well up and disappear again, so is the universe created; says Nanak, listen, O my friend!†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1427

If we go into detail into the creation of the universe and life, we see that here Guru Tegh Bahadur explains how the universe is created in a series of “bubblesâ€, expressing a similar idea as Professor Jayant Narlikar. This view has become very well backed up with the ideas of quantum physics, suggesting that there was not a single “Big Bang†but many smaller “bursts†of “bubblesâ€. It is interesting that the scientist Oparin also had similar ideas of the bubble theory when it came to synthesizing proteins for the first time for the first life forms.

““The moon of the mind is cool and dark; how is it enlightened? How does the sun blaze so brilliantly? How can the constant watchful gaze of Death be turned away? … Give us your thoughtful reply, O Nanak.†Giving voice to the Shabad, the moon of the mind is illuminated with infinity. When the sun dwells in the house of the moon, the darkness is dispelled. Pleasure and pain are just the same, when one takes the Support of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. He Himself saves, and carries us across. With faith in the Guru, the mind merges in Truth, and then, prays Nanak, one is not consumed by Death.†Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 943

Whilst seeming trivial, we can see from the above couplet that Guru Ji knew that the moon, acting like a mirror, was illuminated by the sun, rather than the moon giving off light as previously thought. By using the metaphor of the sun “dwelling in the house†(in other words, being directly in line with it) Guru Ji also tells us that when enlightenment is gained, we will not feel the difference between pleasure and pain as we will enjoy them both equally from God. By this time, the Sikh no longer dies, as after his physical end he will be merged with God. Although this stage is probably far off for most people, it does illustrate a good point.

There are many, many more quotes from Gurbani that speak of science; Asa Di Var talks of water being the basis for the earth’s greenery, in Guru Gobind Singh’s Chandi works the rotation of the earth is mentioned, at a time when people believed the earth to be flat and the sun rotating it. Also, Kirtan Sohila comments on how the seasons, days and nights originate from the sun rather from the earth as believed at the time. The authors leave it up to the reader to find more scientific evidence in Gurbani, but it is important not to get too carried away with the idea of scientific miracles as Waheguru should always be focused on first and foremost.

Other opinions on the Guru Granth Sahib and it’s authors

With such unique and divine properties surrounding it, it is no surprise that many non-Sikhs have commented on the Guru Granth Sahib. Miss Pearl S Buck, a Nobel laureate, says:

“I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length and are a revelation of the concept of God to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body.â€

Rev. H L Bradshaw from the USA says

“The religion preached by Guru Nanak is the faith of the New Age. It completely supplants and fulfills all the former dispensations of older religions. Books must be written proving this. The other religions contain the truth, but Sikhism contains the fullness of truth… The Guru Granth Sahib of all the world religious scriptures, alone states that there are innumerable worlds and universes other than our own. The previous scriptures were all concerned only with this world and its spiritual counterpart. To imply that they spoke of other worlds as does the Guru Granth Sahib, is to stretch their obvious meanings out of context. The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of the modern man.â€

Max Arthur Macauliffe, a well known British historian who studied Sikhism in detail and wrote a number of books on it, is known to have said:

“Unlike the scriptures of other creeds, they do not contain love stories or accounts of wars waged for selfish considerations. They contain sublime truths, the study of which cannot but elevate the reader spiritually, morally and socially. There is not the least tinge of sectarianism in them. They teach the highest and purest principles that serve to bind man to man and inspire the believer with an ambition to serve his fellow men, to sacrifice all and die for their sake.â€

In his book, The Sikh Religion, he later says:

“Now there is here presented a religion totally unaffected by Semitic or Christian influences. Based on the concept of the unity of God, it rejected Hindu formalities and adopted an independent ethical system, ritual and standards which were totally opposed to the theological beliefs of Guru Nanak’s age and country. As we shall see hereafter, it would be difficult to point to a religion of greater originality or to a more comprehensive ethical system.â€

Finally, Macauliffe’s beliefs on Sikhi can be summed up with his following words:

“Guru Nanak was not a priest either by birth or education, but a man who soared to the loftiest heights of divine emotionalism and exalted his mental vision to an ethical ideal beyond the conception of Hinduism or Mohammedanism.â€

It was not only westerners who were amazed by the Guru Granth and Sikhi. Swami Nitya Nand, who lived till 135 years of age, said of his own spiritual teacher:

“During the visit to the Golden Temple, Amritsar, his soul was so much affected that he became a devotee of the Guru. After spending some time in Punjab he went to Hardwar. Though he was hail and hearty, one day I saw tears in his eyes. I asked the reason for that. He replied, “I sifted sand the whole of my life. The truth was in the house of Nanak. I will have to take one more birth in that house, only then will I attain salvation.†After saying that the soul left his body.â€

Swami Nitya Nand also spoke of his use of his own experience with Sikhi through the Guru Granth Sahib:

“I also constantly meditate on Waheguru revealed by Nanak. I practiced Yoga Asanas under the guidance of Yogis and did that for many years; the bliss and peace which I enjoy now was never obtained earlier.â€

any comments/improvements to be made would be greatly appreciated. ill post up other sections later......be critical......if theres nything u think is shabby dont hesitate to say what........

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Guest Javanmard

Khalsa Soulja wrote:

What is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib? Simply, it is the Holy Book of the Sikhs

Nice Christian Protestant answer... I always thought that Shri Guru Granth Sahib was not a "Holy Book" like the Bible, Qur'an etc... but our living Guru. It's interesting to see how some people accuse others to be influenced by other religions but are unable to see that they are themselves under the grip of Protestant Christianity. :roll:

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thnx 4 ur input.......

considering that so far theres 40 pages n im doing them pretty quickly, plus the fact i dont get virtually any time to do it during hte week, i do have the odd mistakes in there...........ill rephrase it......it dnt mean its got christian influence......bt eitha way guru granth sahib is still the holy book of the sikhs :roll:

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Over all i thinks its a GREAT article

if you wish to have more science in Gurbani

I recommend:

http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopi...science+sikhism

http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopi...science+sikhism

http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopi...science+sikhism

http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopi...science+sikhism

WHy SIkhiwsm is the best religion:

http://www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopi...science+sikhism

As you have replied in some of these links you probably know most of these links, as u are a member of faithfreedom, but in case you can ahceive any extra info

i pasted the links for you

Hope this helps

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aight aight aight

its bin corrected...havin red it ova again i rekon i did emphasise the guru aspect

as for the science bits....well to be honest alot of the ones MI posted were good but the backing behind it was a bit shakey.....like the rocks and stones one is translated differently by other authors.....and the moon and sun bit should actually be translated as "out of fear of god hte sun and moon exist"......etc.....i may use sum tho......but it would be embarrassing to have a quote refuted by sum1 :oops:

altho its likely it will stay as an ebook......is it true some gurdwaras offer free printing of sikhi related books???? :)

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