The history of Sikhism is closely associated with the history of Punjab and the socio-political situation in medieval India. Sikh distinction was further enhanced by the establishment of the Khalsa (ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ), by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.[1] Sikhism was created by Guru Nanak Dev, a religious leader and a social reformer during the fifteenth century in the Punjab region. The religious practice was formalized by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699. The latter baptised five persons from different social backgrounds to form Khalsa. The first five, Pure Ones, then baptized Gobind Singh into the Khalsa fold.[2] This gives the Khalsa, as an organized grouping, a religious history of around 400 years.

Generally Sikhism has had amicable relations with other religions. However, during the Mughal rule of India (1556–1707), emerging religion had strained relation with the ruling Mughals. Prominent Sikh Gurus were martyred by Mughals for opposing some Mughal emperors' persecution of minority religious communities.[3] Subsequently, Sikhism militarized to oppose Mughal hegemony. The emergence of the Sikh Confederacy under the misls and Sikh Empire under reign of the Maharajah Ranjit Singh was characterized by religious tolerance and pluralism with Christians, Muslims and Hindus in positions of power. The establishment of the Sikh Empire is commonly considered the zenith of Sikhism at political level,[4] during this time the Sikh Empire came to include Kashmir, Ladakh, and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the Commander-in-chief of the Sikh army along the North West Frontier, took the boundary of the Sikh Empire to the very mouth of the Khyber Pass. The Empire's secular administration integrated innovative military, economic and governmental reforms.

The months leading up to the partition of India in 1947, saw heavy conflict in the Punjab between Sikh and Muslims, which saw the effective religious migration of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus from West Punjab which mirrored a similar religious migration of Punjabi Muslims in East Punjab.
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GURU NANAK DEV JI (1469-1538)

Guru Nanak Dev (1469–1538), founder of Sikhism, was born to Kalu Mehta and Mata Tripta, wherein the Bedi Khatri clan of a Hindu family in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore.[5] His father, a Hindu named Mehta Kalu, was a Patwari, an accountant of land revenue in the government. Nanak's mother was Mata Tripta, and he had one older sister, Bibi Nanki.

From an early age Guru Nanak seemed to have acquired a questioning and enquiring mind and refused as a child to wear the ritualistic "sacred" thread called a Janeu and instead said that he would wear the true name of God in his heart as protection, as the thread which could be broken, be soiled, burnt or lost could not offer any security at all. From early childhood, Bibi Nanki saw in her brother the Light of God but she did not reveal this secret to anyone. She is known as the first disciple of Guru Nanak.

Even as a boy, Nanak was fascinated by religion, and his desire to explore the mysteries of life eventually led him to leave home. It was during this period that Nanak was said to have met Kabir (1440–1518), a saint revered by many. Nanak married Sulakhni, daughter of Moolchand Chona, a trader from Batala, and they had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakshmi Das.

His brother-in-law, Jai Ram, the husband of his sister Nanki, obtained a job for him in Sultanpur as the manager of the government granary. One morning, when he was twenty-eight, Guru Nanak Dev went as usual down to the river to bathe and meditate. It was said that he was gone for three days. When he reappeared, it is said he was "filled with the spirit of God". His first words after his re-emergence were: "there is no Hindu, there is no Muslim". With this secular principle he began his missionary work.[6] He made four distinct major journeys, in the four different directions, which are called Udasis, spanning many thousands of kilometres, preaching the message of God.[5]

Guru Nanak spent the final years of his life in Kartarpur where Langar (free blessed food) was available. The food would be partaken of by Hindus, rich, poor, high or/and so called low castes. Guru Nanak worked in the fields and earned his livelihood. After appointing Bhai Lehna as the new Sikh Guru, on 22 September 1539, aged 70, Guru Nanak met with his demise.
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GURU ANGAD DEV JI (1504-1552)


In 1538, Guru Nanak chose Lehna, his disciple, as a successor to the Guruship rather than one of his sons.[6] Bhai Lehna was named Guru Angad and became the successor of Guru Nanak. Bhai Lehna was born in the village of Harike in Ferozepur district in Punjab, on March 31, 1504. He was the son of a small trader named Pheru. His mother's name was Mata Ramo (also known as Mata Sabhirai, Mansa Devi, Daya Kaur). Baba Narayan Das Trehan was his grand father, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Mukatsar. Under the influence of his mother, Bhai Lehna began to worship Durga (A Hindu Goddess). He used to lead a group of Hindu worshippers to Jawalamukhi Temple every year. He married Mata Khivi in January 1520 and had two sons, (Dasu and Datu), and two daughters (Amro and Anokhi). The whole Pheru family had to leave their ancestral village because of the ransacking by the Mughal and Baloch military who had come with Emperor Babur. After this the family settled at the village of Khadur Sahib by the River Beas, near Tarn Taran Sahib, a small town about 25 km. from Amritsar city.

One day, Bhai Lehna heard the recitation of a hymn of Guru Nanak from Bhai Jodha (a Sikh of Guru Nanak Sahib) who was in Khadur Sahib. He was thrilled and decided to proceed to Kartarpur to have an audience (darshan) with Guru Nanak. So while on the annual pilgrimage to Jwalamukhi Temple, Bhai Lehna left his journey to visit Kartarpur and see Baba Nanak. His very first meeting with Guru Nanak completely transformed him. He renounced the worship of the Hindu Goddess, dedicated himself to the service of Guru Nanak and so became his disciple, (his Sikh), and began to live in Kartarpur.

His devotion and service (Sewa) to Guru Nanak and his holy mission was so great that he was instated as the Second Nanak on September 7, 1539 by Guru Nanak. Earlier Guru Nanak tested him in various ways and found an embodiment of obedience and service in him. He spent six or seven years in the service of Guru Nanak at Kartarpur.

After the death of Guru Nanak on September 22, 1539, Guru Angad left Kartarpur for the village of Khadur Sahib (near Goindwal Sahib). He carried forward the principles of Guru Nanak both in letter and spirit. Yogis and Saints of different sects visited him and held detailed discussions about Sikhism with him.

Guru Angad introduced a new alphabet known as Gurmukhi Script, modifying the old Punjabi script's characters. Soon, this script became very popular and started to be used by the people in general. He took great interest in the education of children by opening many schools for their instruction and thus increased the number of literate people. For the youth he started the tradition of Mall Akhara, where physical as well as spiritual exercises were held. He collected the facts about Guru Nanak's life from Bhai Bala and wrote the first biography of Guru Nanak. He also wrote 63 Saloks (stanzas), which are included in the Guru Granth Sahib. He popularised and expanded the institution of Guru ka Langar that had been started by Guru Nanak.

Guru Angad travelled widely and visited all important religious places and centres established by Guru Nanak for the preaching of Sikhism. He also established hundreds of new Centres of Sikhism (Sikh religious Institutions) and thus strengthened the base of Sikhism. The period of his Guruship was the most crucial one. The Sikh community had moved from having a founder to a succession of Gurus and the infrastructure of Sikh society was strengthened and crystallized – from being an infant, Sikhism had moved to being a young child and ready to face the dangers that were around. During this phase, Sikhism established its own separate spiritual path.

Guru Angad, following the example set by Guru Nanak, nominated Sri Amar Das as his successor (the Third Nanak) before his death. He presented all the holy scripts, including those he received from Guru Nanak, to Guru Amar Das. He breathed his last on March 29, 1552 at the age of forty-eight. It is said that he started to build a new town, at Goindwal near Khadur Sahib and Guru Amar Das Sahib was appointed to supervise its construction. It is also said that Humayun, when defeated by Sher Shah Suri, came to obtain the blessings of Guru Angad in regaining the throne of Delhi.         

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GURU AMAR DAS JI (1479-1574)


Guru Amar Das became the third Sikh guru in 1552 at the age of 73. Goindwal became an important centre for Sikhism during the Guruship of Guru Amar Das. He continued to preach the principle of equality for women, the prohibition of Sati and the practise of Langar.[7] In 1567, Emperor Akbar sat with the ordinary and poor people of Punjab to have Langar. Guru Amar Das also trained 140 apostles, of which 52 were women, to manage the rapid expansion of the religion.[8] Before he died in 1574 aged 95, he appointed his son-in-law Jetha as the fourth Sikh Guru.

It is recorded that before becoming a Sikh, Bhai Amar Das, as he was known at the time, was a very religious Vaishanavite Hindu who spent most of his life performing all of the ritual pilgrimages and fasts of a devout Hindu. One day, Bhai Amar Das heard some hymns of Guru Nanak being sung by Bibi Amro Ji, the daughter of Guru Angad, the second Sikh Guru. Bibi Amro was married to Bhai Sahib's brother, Bhai Manak Chand's son who was called Bhai Jasso. Bhai Sahib was so impressed and moved by these Shabads that he immediately decided to go to see Guru Angad at Khadur Sahib. It is recorded that this event took place when Bhai Sahib was 61 years old.

In 1635, upon meeting Guru Angad, Bhai Sahib was so touched by the Guru's message that he became a devout Sikh. Soon he became involved in Sewa (Service) to the Guru and the Community. Under the impact of Guru Angad and the teachings of the Gurus, Bhai Amar Das became a devout Sikh. He adopted Guru as his spiritual guide (Guru). Bhai Sahib began to live at Khadur Sahib, where he used to rise early in the morning and bring water from the Beas River for the Guru's bath; he would wash the Guru's clothes and fetch wood from the jungle for 'Guru ka Langar'. He was so dedicated to Sewa and the Guru and had completely extinguished pride and was totally lost in this commitment that he was considered an old man who had no interest in life; he was dubbed Amru, and generally forsaken.

However, as a result of Bhai Sahib's commitment to Sikhi principles, dedicated service and devotion to the Sikh cause, Guru Angad Sahib appointed Guru Amar Das Sahib as third Nanak in March 1552 at the age of 73. He established his headquarters at the newly built town of Goindwal, which Guru Angad had established.

Soon large numbers of Sikhs started flocking to Goindwal to see the new Guru. Here, Guru Amar Das propagated the Sikh faith in a vigorous, systematic and planned manner. He divided the Sikh Sangat area into 22 preaching centres or Manjis, each under the charge of a devout Sikh. He himself visited and sent Sikh missionaries to different parts of India to spread Sikhism.

Guru Amar Das was impressed with Bhai Gurdas' thorough knowledge of Hindi and Sanskrit and the Hindu scriptures. Following the tradition of sending out Masands across the country, Guru Amar Das deputed Bhai Gurdas to Agra to spread the gospel of Sikhism. Before leaving, Guru Amar Das prescribed the following routine for Sikhs:

“ He who calls himself a Sikh of the True Guru, He must get up in the morning and say his prayers. He must rise in the early hours and bathe in the holy tank. He must meditate on God as advised by the Guru. And rid him of the afflictions of sins and evil. As the day dawns, he should recite scriptures, and repeat God's name in every activity. He to whom the Guru takes kindly is shown the path. Nanak! I seek the dust of the feet of the Guru's Sikh who himself remembers God and makes others remember Him. (Gauri) ” Guru Ji strengthened the tradition of 'Guru ka Langar' and made it compulsory for the visitor to the Guru to eat first, saying that 'Pehle Pangat Phir Sangat' (first visit the Langar then go to the Guru). Once the emperor Akbar came to see Guru Sahib and he had to eat the coarse rice in the Langar before he could have an interview with Guru Sahib. He was so much impressed with this system that he expressed his desire to grant some royal property for 'Guru ka Langar', but Guru Sahib declined it with respect.

He introduced new birth, marriage and death ceremonies. Thus he raised the status of women and protected the rights of female infants who were killed without question as they were deemed to have no status. These teachings met with stiff resistance from the Orthodox Hindus. He fixed three Gurpurbs for Sikh celebrations: Diwali, Vaisakhi and Maghi.

Guru Amar Das not only preached the equality of people irrespective of their caste but he also fostered the idea of women's equality. He preaching strongly against the practice of Sati (a Hindu wife burning on her husband's funeral pyre). Guru Amar Das also disapproved of a young widow remaining unmarried for the rest of her life.

Guru Amar Das constructed "Baoli" at Goindwal Sahib having eighty-four steps and made it a Sikh pilgrimage centre for the first time in the history of Sikhism. He reproduced more copies of the hymns of Guru Nanak and Guru Angad. He also composed 869 (according to some chronicles these were 709) verses (stanzas) including Anand Sahib, and then later on Guru Arjan (fifth Guru) made all the Shabads part of Guru Granth Sahib.

When it came time for the Guru's younger daughter Bibi Bhani to marry, he selected a pious and diligent young follower of his called Jetha from Lahore. Jetha had come to visit the Guru with a party of pilgrims from Lahore and had become so enchanted by the Guru's teachings that he had decided to settle in Goindwal. Here he earned a living selling wheat and would regularly attend the services of Guru Amar Das in his spare time.

Guru Amar Das did not consider anyone of his sons fit for Guruship and chose instead his son-in law (Guru) Ram Das to succeed him. Guru Amar Das Sahib at the age of 95 died on September 1, 1574 at Goindwal in District Amritsar, after giving responsibility of Guruship to the Fourth Nanak, Guru Ram Das.                                                                                                               More information>

GURU RAM DAS JI (1534-1581)

Guru Ram Das (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਰਾਮ ਦਾਸ) (Born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan on 24 September 1534 – 1 September 1581, Amritsar, Punjab, India) was the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, and he became Guru on 30 August 1574, following in the footsteps of Guru Amar Das. He was born in Lahore to a Sodhi family of the Khatri clan. His father was Hari Das and mother Anup Devi, and his name was Jetha, meaning 'first born'. His wife was Bibi Bhani, the younger daughter of Guru Amar Das, the third guru of the Sikhs. They had three sons: Prithi Chand, Mahadev and Arjan Dev. As a Guru one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the hymns of the Marriage Rites, the designer of the Harmandir Sahib, and the planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur (later Amritsar). A hymn by Guru Ram Das from page 305 of the Guru Granth Sahib: "One who calls himself a Sikh of the True Guru shall get up early morning and meditate on the Lord's Name. Make effort regularly to cleanse, bathe and dip in the ambrosial pool. Upon Guru's instructions, chant Har, Har singing which, all misdeeds, sins and pains shall go away." Guru Ram Das nominated Guru Arjan Dev, his youngest son, as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

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Guru Arjan dev ji  (1563-1606)

Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Punjabi: ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ, IPA: [gʊru əɾdʒən dev]) (15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606) was the fifth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. He was born in Goindval, Punjab, India, the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das.[1] He became the Guru of the Sikhs on 1 September 1581 after the death of his father Guru Ram Das. Guru Arjan died in Lahore, Punjab, (now in Pakistan). Before his death, he nominated his son Har Gobind as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

Guru Arjan was head of Sikhism for a quarter of a century and accomplished a lot during his regime. He completed the construction of Amritsar and founded other cities such as Taran Taran and Kartarpur. He constructed a Baoli at Lahore. The most important work of Guru Arjan was the compilation of Adi Granth. He collected all the work of the first four Gurus and dictated it in the form of verses in 1604. It is, perhaps, the only script which still exists in the form first published (a hand-written manuscript) by the Guru. It and the Guru Granth Sahib which includes the writing of the later Gurus have managed to avoid the embellishments, additions and alterations that have plagued the original writing of other more ancient religious texts.[2]

Guru Arjan organised the Masand system, a group of representatives who taught and spread the teachings of the Gurus and also collected the Dasvand, one-tenth of a Sikh's income (in money, goods or service) that Sikhs paid to support the building of Gurdwara Sahib, the all important Guru ka Langars (free communal kitchens) originally intended to share with sense of love, respect and equality, still an important element today in any Gurdwara. The Langars were open to any visitors and were designed from the start to stress the idea of equality and a casteless society. The land that Amritsar is built upon is believed to be a jagir (estates gifted to individuals under the Mughal system which included one or more villages and often a portion of the crops produced on the land) given as a gift by the Emperor Akbar, who was impressed by the practice, after sharing a meal in the Guru's communal kitchen, seated on the floor among commoners.                                                                                                                           

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Guru Hargobind ji(1595-1644)

Guru Hargobind Sahib, (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ, IPA: [gʊru həɾgobɪnd sɑhɪb]) also Saccha Badshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ True King) (19 June 1595–2 March 1644) was the sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. He was the sixth Guru in Sikhism. He was not, perhaps, more than eleven at his father's execution.[1] Before ascension, he nominated Guru Har Rai, his grandson as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

From the very beginning he was the deadly enemy of Mughals.[2]

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Guru Har rai ji (1630-1661)


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Guru Har krishen ji  (1656-1664)

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Guru Teg bhadur ji  (1621-1675)

He was born in 1621 in Amritsar.

He established the town of Anandpur. The Guru laid down his life for the protection of the Hindu religion, their Tilak (devotional forehead markings) and their sacred (janeau) thread. He was a firm believer in the right of people to the freedom of worship.

It was for this cause that he faced martyrdom for the defence of the down-trodden Hindus. So pathetic was the torture of Guru Tegh Bahadur that his body had to be cremated clandestinely (a follower burned down his own home to cremate the Guru's body) at Delhi while his severed head was secretly taken four hundred kilometers away to Anandpur Sahib for cremation. Because of his refusal to convert to Islam a threatened forced conversion of the Hindus of Kashmir was thwarted.                                                                          More information>

Guru gobind singh ji  (1666-1708)

Guru Gobind Singh Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ, IPA: [gʊɾu gobɪnd sɪ́ŋg]); 22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708) was the tenth Guru of Sikhism. He was born in Sikh Hunjan near Patna, Bihar in India and became a Guru on 11 November 1675, at the age of nine years, succeeding his father Guru Tegh Bahadur. He was the leader of the Sikh faith, a warrior, a poet and a philosopher. In Sikh society, Guru Gobind Singh is considered an epitome of chivalry; scholar, skilled in horsemanship, armed combat, chivalrous, and generous in character.[2]

Guru Gobind Singh's life and teachings have had a lasting impression on Sikh ideology as well as in their daily life. His establishment of the Khalsa in 1699 is considered as one of the most important events in history of Sikhism. He fought several defensive battles with the Mughals and their alliances, such as Rajas of Shivalik Hills. Guru Gobind Singh was the last human Sikh Guru; and in Nanded he declared the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, as the final Sikh Guru on October 7, 1708.

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Guru Granth sahib

Compilation of Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjan gave a central place of worship to the Sikhs in Harmandir Sahib. What now he wanted was a scripture for the Sikhs. So he collected from Bhai Mohan, the son of Guru Amar Das, the hymns of the first three Gurus and some Bhagats, and added to them the compositions of his father Guru Ramdas, and his own. He got the Adi Granth written by Bhai Gurdas. Guru Arjan gave the copy to Bhai Bano for binding. He took it for binding to Lahore and on the way prepared a copy. This is known as Bhai Bano's copy. Guru Arjan got the original after binding. He installed the Guru Granth Sahib at Harmandir Sahib in 1604. Baba Buddha was appointed as its first Granthi or keeper. This copy passed into custody of Bhai Dhirmal, son of Guru Hargobind, who refused to give it to the Guru. Subsequently some Sikhs brought this copy to the ninth Guru who returned it to Dhirmal. It is said that Guru Gobind Singh stayed at Damdama Sahib for nine months in 1706 and dictated the whole Adi Granth to Bhai Mani Singh. Undoubtedly, the Guru expunged certain unauthorised pieces which had crept into some pirated copies and gave it a final form.

Gurbani and Bhagatbani. The major principle of compilation was that verses which praised God and denounced superstition and caste were to be included in the Guru Granth Sahib. As regards the compositions of Bhagats, generally the same principle was observed. Guru Arjan included the verses of those who believed in the unity of God and brotherhood of man.

The Granth Sahib was to be broadbased. It could contain with itself principles of mono-theism and the Bhakti cult. No puristic or linguistic tests were applied to the compositions. Foreign words, coined words and current words were put into this literary dish. In selecting the musical scores-Ragas, the Guru employed homely and simple metaphors. Gene-rally speaking, hymns of devotion, the glory of God, men's spiritual efforts and equality of men and women were incorported in the Guru Granth Sahib.

The Contents The Granth Sahib also called Adi Granth contains compositions of the first five Gurus, the ninth Guru, fifteen Bhagats (Jai Dev, Nam Dev, Trilochan, Parmanand, Sadna, Ramanand, Beni, Dhanna, Pipa, Sain, Kabir, Ravidas, Farid, Surday, Bhikhan) and eleven Bhattas (Mathra, Jalap, Harbans, Talya, Salya, Bhal, Kulh Sahar, Nal, Kirat, Gayand, Sadrang).

Guru Granth Sahib contains 5894 hymns. The number of stanzas according to Pincott is 15575. 974 hymns are written by the first Guru, 62 by the second Guru, 907 by the third, 679 by the fourth, 2218 by the fifth, and 115 by the ninth. Among the remaining 922 hymns of Bhagats, the highest number of hymns (541) is by Kabir.

Music forms the basis of the classification of the hymns. Under each Rag, the hymns are arranged in the following order :

1. Chaupadas-hymns of four verses.
2. Ashtapadas-hymns of eight verses.
3. Long poems.
4. Chhants-Verses of six lines.
5. Short poems.
6. Vars consisting of two or more Saloks and a Pauri.
7. Poems of Bhagats in the same order.
The hymns are further classified according to the musical clef (Ghar) in which each is to be sung. Although according to the index of Ragas in Ragmala, the total number of Ragas and Raginis is 84, the Guru has used only 31. So the Granth is arranged firstly according to the Raga, secondly, according to the nature or metre of the poem, thirdly authorship, and fourthly the clef . The ordinary edition of Adi Granth Sahib contains 1430 pages as under :

1. Japji-pp. 1-7.
2. Musical hymns-pp. 8-1351.
3. Salok Sanskriti-pp. 1352-1359.
4. Gatha-pp. 1359-1361.
5. Funhe-pp. l36l-1362.
6. Chaubole-pp. 1363-1364.
7. Saloks of Kabir and Farid-pp. 1364-1384.-
8. Swayyas of the Gurus and the Bhattas- pp. 1384-1408.
9. Saloks of the Gurus-pp. 1409-1428.
10. Rag Mala, index of musical measures- pp. 1429-1430.

Characteristics of Adi Granlh. At the end, Guru Arjan Dev has summed up the nature of the Guru Granth Sahib in Munda-wani; "In this dish are placed three things : Truth, Contentment and Wisdom. These are seasoned with the Name of God which is the basis of all; whoever eats and enjoy it, shall be saved." Guru Arjan's aim was to provide a book of universal religion, for everybody, everywhere. He wanted to guide and regenerate all types of men. He says:

"It is a thing which you cannot afford to neglect.You must take it to your hearts." The Guru Granth Sahib is both metaphysics and ethics, the science of reality and the art of union with Reality. It gives us a vision of truth, and it opens up new paths for the mind of man. It is a work of divine inspiration, primarily spiritual and incidentally philosophical. It is a collection of devotional poems and prayers. The Gurus accept certain fundamentals laws like Karma, cycle of birth and death, Maya etcetera. Guru Arjan incorporated the hymns of some Bhagats who subscribed to the unity of God and the cult of Bhagti. Such hymns enshrine the essence of four centuries (thirteenth to sixteenth) of Indian thought in simple but telling words. Moreover the verses are set to appropriate musical scores.

The Guru Granth Sahib is an authentic scripture. The compositions of the Sikh Gurus were preserved, and subsequently collected by Guru Arjan. When the original copy (which is now at Kartarpur) could not be obtained. Guru Gobind Singh dictated it to Bhai Mani Singh.

Guru Arjan Sahib who com-piled it ,installed it with all reverence and devotion at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar in 1604. He emphasised the importance of this Guru Granth Sahib in the following shabad (hymn): The race of man is saved !

God's word goes to the people, blessing them
And bestowing immortality on them.
My house is full of the light
Of the song of life to-day!
This is the staff on which
The old and the miserable, the strayed and rich shall lean
In their distress, and obtain solace,
People of God ! come, assemble, live in this light
Dissolve this song into your soul.
Rejoice and partake of this immortal feast.

The Granth contains Gurbani or the Guru's teaching. It is the Guru incarnate. Guru Gobind Singh installed Guru Granth Sahib as the timeless Guru. Guru Granth Sahib is a sort of living Guru in the midst of the Sikhs. Guru means guide or torchbearer. Guru Granth Sahib gives light and good counsel. Those who are in difficulty or trouble read Guru Granth Sahib and obtain solace and comfort from its hymns. It is used by the sikhs at the time of birth, marriage and death.

Guru Granth Sahib is regarded as the body of the Guru and is kept on a raised platform under a canopy, covered in clean clothes. A Pauri is waved over it when it is read. One must put off one's shoes, wash the feet and cover the head before taking one's seat before the Guru. This is a mode of reverence and no idolatory. The service of the Guru is following his instructions and yoking the mind to the Name.

Guru Granth Sahib is a treasure of divine knowledge and mysticism. Guru Nanak says, My mind is a temple of love. My body is a robe divine. The Sacred Nectar flows in the temple. The Word is my breath and the Song is My blood." It is therefore in the fitness of things that both Sikhs and non-Sikhs show great respect to Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Granth Sahib as Literature:

Punjabi language is said to have emerged from Apbhransh about 1000 A.D. In the twelfth century, Baba Farid wrote his saloks in Lehndi dialect. During the next three centuries, India was attacked by muslim adventurers and, therefore, heroic verses known as Vars became popular. During this period, the Yogis developed a dialect of their own which was called the saint-language and contained terms of systems of Indian philoso-phy. There was very little literature worth the name before the Sikh Gurus. Moreover, Panjabi was regarded as a language of the vulgar by the aristocratic and Brahamanic sections of Hindu society. The Yogis also wrote in the Sanskrit. Some Sanskrit! saloks, are included in Guru Granth Sahib.

The Sikh Gurus preached their principles in the language of the masses. The adopted popular forms of poetry such as salok Chhant, Bara Mahan, Thhittin, Bawan Akhari, Var (heroic ballad). The Var is also a song of praise. The Gurus praised the Name and at the same time denounced egoistic pursuits.

The Sikh Gurus enriched Panjabi literature. The crude and poor language became in their hands a treasury of thoughts. They absorbed the diction of saint-language and current philoso-phies. In Guru Granth Sahib are found words associated with the Vedas, Vedanta, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shakatism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Panjabi was also enriched by words of saint-language which owed its origin to Sanskrit. Persian and Arabic words came through Islam.

The Japji, Asa-di- Var of Guru Nanak, the Anand of Guru Amardas, the Sukhmani of Guru Arjan are rightly esteemed as classics of Panjabi literature. The verses of the ninth Guru are included in the Guru Granth Sahib. Formalism and ritualism of Hinduism and Islam have been condemned. Great spiritual truths have been illustrated through simple and homely similes. The devotional hymns are full of sincerity and emotion. Guru Nanak's compositions are pithy and pregnant with meaning. He has not only touched spiritual problems but also social and human relationships.

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