Saturday, November 25, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Gurbani is jag meh ohanan,karni vase man aaye
(The sayings of the Gurus are a beacon of light,It ingrains virtuous deeds deep into the mind)

Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Guru =spiritual teacher; Granth = book or volume; Sahib, an honorific signifying master or lord is the name by which the holy book of the Sikhs is commonly known. It is a voluminous anthology of the sacred verse by six of the ten Gurus whose compositions it carries and of some of the contemporary saints and men of devotion. The book is treated by the followers as Word incarnate, the embodiment and presence manifest or the spirit of the ten historical Gurus (Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh). The anthology was prepared by Guru Arjan (1563-1606), Nanak V. It was in the beginning referred to as pothi, pothi sahib, the revered book. It was treated with great veneration. The Guru himself described the pothi "as God's own repository" (GGS, 1226). It was also called the Granth Sahib. The prefix "Guru" came to be applied as Guru Gobind Singh ended, before his passing, the line of personal Gurus. "Granth Sahib" was designated as "Guru Granth Sahib." The Guru had declared the Word to be the same as Guru (GGS, 943). Guru Amar Das, Nanak III, had announced that for the sake of liberation, contemplation of the Word was more efficacious than even the sight of the Guru (GGS, 594). Over the years, the holy book has received the honours due to the living Gurus. No Sikh assembly can properly speaking be so named unless the holy book be present in it. The holy volume in wraps or without wraps, which is but a rare occurence, wherever located commands the reverence that was shown the living Gurus. The Holy Book is the centre of all Sikh usage and ceremony.

The Guru Granth Sahib- some of the variations on the title being Adi Granth, Sri Adi Granth or Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib- is today the living Guru for the Sikhs. The basic Word in the expressions listed is granth which means a book, Sahib and Sri being honorifics, guru indicating its status as successor in the Guruship and adi, literally, original, first or primary, distinguishing it from the other sacred book of the Sikhs, the Dasam Granth, the book of the Tenth Master, which contains the compositions of the Tenth (Dasam) Guru. A simpler form with a clear rural voice is Darbar Sahib, the holy court. The contributors to the Guru Granth Sahib came from a variety of class and creedal background-there were among them Hindus and also Muslims, "low" castes as also "high" castes.

There were as many different contributors as there were rhymes and rhythms. The entire text was cast in verse patterns of a wide variety. There were 31 different measures used. They were all set in padas (verses), astpadis ( stanza hymns) and chhants (lyrics usually of 4 stanzas each) and longer compositions such as vars in the order of the succession of the authors. In the 1430 page recension which is now the standard form and which carries the statutory approval of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in the present day Sikh complex the sequence of contents is :

The liturgical part (1-13), Siri Raga (14-93), Majh (94-150), Gauri (151-346), Asa (347-488), Gujari (489-526), Devagandhari (527-536), Bihagara (537-556), Vadahansa (557-594), Sorathi (595-659), Dhanasari (660-695), Jaitsari (696-710), Todi (711-718), Bairari (719-720), Tilang (721-727), Suhi (728-794), Bilaval (795858), Gaund (859-875), Ramkaf (876-974), Nat Narain (975-983), Mali Gaura (984988), Maru (989-1106), Tukhari (1107-1117), Kedara (1118-1124), Bhairau (1125-1167), Basant (11(18-1196), Sarang (1197-1253), Malar (12541293), Kanara (12941318), Kalian (1319-1326), Prabhati (1327-1351), Jaijavanti (1352-1353), Salok Sahaskriti (1353-1360), Gatha, Phuneh and Chaubole (1360-1364), Salok Kabir (13641377), SalokFarid (1377-1384), Savaiyye (13851409), additional salok (1410-1429), Mundavani, and Ragmila (1429-1430).
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Even before the time of Guru Arjan, pothis or books, in Gurmukhi characters, existed containing the holy utterances of the Gurus. A line in Bhai Gurdas, var 1.32, suggests that Guru Nanak during his travels carried under his arm a book, evidently comprising his own compositions. According to the Puratan Janam Sakhi he handed over such a manuscript to Guru Angad as he passed on the spiritual office to him. Two of the collections of hymns or pothis prior to the Guru Granth Sahib are still extant. They are in the possession of the descendants of Guru Amar Das. One of the families in the line used to live in Patiala and has only recently migrated to Pinjore, in the Sivaliks, and the pothi it has inherited is on view for the devotees in their home on the morning of the full-moon day every month. A collateral family which is in possession of the second pothi lives in the village of Darapur, in Hoshiarpur district of the Punjab.

The bani, or word revealed, was held in great veneration by the Sikhs even before the Holy Volume was compiled. It was equated with the Guru himself. "The bani is the Guru and the Guru bani," says Guru Ram Das in Raga Nat Narain (GGS, 982). The bani echoed the Divine Truth ; it was the voice of God- "the Lord's own word," as said Guru Nanak in the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Amar Das (GGS, 515).

vahu, vahu, bani nirankar hai
tis jevad avar ni koe
Hail, hail, the word of the Guru, which is the Lord Formless Himself
There is none other, nothing else to be reckoned equal to it.


The compilation of the Holy Book, a momentous event in Sikh history, is generally described in the briefest terms. The Sacred Volume was prepared by Guru Arjun (1563-1606) and the first copy was calligraphed by Bhai Gurdas (1551-1636) at his dictation this is all we learn from most of the sources. What amount of planning, minute attention to detail and diligent and meticulous work it involved is slurred over. An old text which gives some detailed information is the Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi. Written in 1718, this, in fact, is the oldest source. Although it does not go into the technical and literary minutiae, it broadly describes the process from the beginning of the transcription of the Holy Volume to its installation in the newly built Harimandar at Amritsar.

Why Guru Arjun undertook the task is variously explained. One commonly accepted assumption is that the codification of the Gurus' compositions into an authorized volume was begun by him with a view to preserving them from garbling by schismatic groups and others. According to the Mahima Parkash (1776), he set to work with the announcement: "As the Panth (Community) has been revealed unto the world, so there must be the Granth (Book), too." By accumulating the canon, Guru Arjun wished to affix the seal on the sacred Word. It was also to be the perennial fountain of inspiration and the means of selfperpetuation for the community.

Guru Arjan called Bhai Gurdas to his presence and expressed to him the wish that the sacred verse be collected. Messages were sent to the disciples to gather and transmit to him the hymns of his predecessors.

Baba Mohan, son of Guru Amar Das, Nanak III, had manuscript collections of the Gurus' hymns inherited from his father. Bhai Gurdas travelled to Goindval to bring these pothis, but the owner refused to see him. Bhai Buddha, one of the oldest and most revered Sikhs from Guru Nanak's days, was similarly turned away from the door. Then Guru Arjan went himself. He sat in the street below Mohan's attic serenading him on his tambura. Mohan was disarmed to hear the hymn. He came downstairs with the pothis and presented these to the Guru. As says the Gurbilas, the pothis were placed on a palanquin bedecked with precious stones. The Sikhs carried it on their shoulders and Guru Arjan walked behind barefoot. He refused to ride his horse, saying that the pothis were the very spirit, the very light of the four Gurus his predecessors.

The cavalcade broke journey at Khadur Sahib to make obeisance at shrines sacred to Guru Angad. Two kos from Amritsar, it was received by Hargobind, Guru Arjan's young son, accompanied by a large number of Sikhs. He bowed at his father's feet and showered petals in front of the pothis. Guru Arjan, Hargobind, Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Buddha now bore the palanquin on their shoulders and marched towards Amritsar led by musicians, with flutes and drums. Reaching Antritsar, Guru Arjan first went to the Harimandar to offer karah prasad in gratefulness.

To quote the Gurbilas again, an attractive spot in the thick of a forest on the outskirts of Amritsar was marked out by Guru Arjan. So dense was the foliage that not even a moonbeam could pry into it. It was like Panchbati itself, peaceful and picturesque. A tent. was hoisted in this idyllic setting. Here Guru Arjan and Bhai Gurdas started work on the sacred volume.

The making of the Granth was no easy task. It involved sustained labour and a rigorous intellectual discipline. Selections had to be made from a vast amount of material. Besides the compositions of the four preceding Gurus and of Guru Arjan who himself was a poet with a rare spiritual insight, there were songs and hymns by saints, both Hindu and Muslim. What was genuine had to be sifted from what was counterfeit. Then the selected material had to be assigned to appropriate musical measures and transcribed in a minutely laid out order.

Guru Arjan carried out the work with extraordinary exactness. He arranged the hymns in thirty different ragas, or musical patterns. A precise method was followed in setting down the compositions. First came sabdas by the Gurus in the order of their succession. Then came astpadis, chhants, vars, and other poetic forms in a set order. The compositions of the Gurus in each raga were followed by those of the Bhaktas in the same format. Gurmukhi was the script used for the transcription.

According to Bhai Gurdas' testimony, the text had been transcribed by Bhidoit vadi Ekam 1661/1 August 1604. At the head of the index he recorded: "Sammat 1661 miti blhadori vadi ekarn pothi likhi pahuche, i.e. on Bhadoh vadi Ekam 1661 he had reached this spot where the index was to begin after completing the writing of the book." The index, giving the opening words of each sabda or hymn and pagination, is itself a marvel of scholarly fastidiousness. A genius, unique in spiritual intuition and not unconcerned with methodological design, had created a scripture with an exalted mystical tone and a high degree of organization. It was large in size- nearly 7,000 hymns, comprising compositions of the first five Sikh Gurus and fifteen Bhaktas and Sufis from different parts of India, including Shaikh Farid, Kabir and Ravidas. The Sacred Volume consisted of 974 leaves, or 1948 pages, 12"x 8", with several blank ones at the end of a raga where there were not sabdas enough to fill the section assigned to it. The site of these marvellous labours is now marked by a shrine called Ramsar.

The completion of the Granth Sahib was, says the Gurbilas, celebrated with much jubilation. In thanksgiving, karah prasad was prepared in huge quantities. Sikhs came in large numbers to see the HolyBook. Theywere rejoiced in their hearts by a sight of it and bowed before it to pay homage. Among the visitors was Bhai Banno who had led a group of Sikhs from Mangat, in western Punjab. Guru Arjan, who knew him as a devoted Sikh, instructed him to go to Lahore and have the Book bound. Banno sought the Guru's permission to be allowed to take the Granth Sahib first to Mangat for the Sikhs see it. The Guru allowed this, but enjoined him not to stay at Mangat, or at any other place, more than a night.

As Banno left Amritsar with his sacred charge, it occurred to him to have a second copy transcribed. The first copy, he argued, would remain with the Guru. These must be an additional one for the sarigat. The Guru's direction was that he should not stay longer than. one night at a place, but he had said nothing about the time to be spent on the journey. So he proceeded with his plans and sent a Sikh to purchase paper. He proposed to his companions that they should travel by easy marches of five miles a day. The time thus saved was utilized in transcribing the holy text. Sikhs wrote with love and devotion and nobody shirked his duty whether it was day or night. By the time they reached Lahore, the second copy was ready. But Banno had added to it some apocryphal texts. He had both volumes bound and returned to Amritsar as fast as he could.

At Amritsar, he was received with due ceremony, though Guru Arjan was not a little surprised to see two volumes instead of one. Bhai Banno spoke truthfully : "Lord, there is nothing that is hidden from you. This second copy I have had made for the sake of the sarigat." But the Guru accepted only the volume written in Bhai Gurdas' hand. He enjoined the Sikhs to own the Granth equal with the Guru and make no distinction between the two. "lie who would wish to see the Guru, let him see the Granth. He who would seek the Guru's word, let him read the Granth with love and attention."

Guru Arjan asked the Sikhs where the Granth Sahib be installed. Bhai Buddha spoke, "You are omniscient, Master : But there is no place more suitable than the Harimandar." The Guru was happy to hear these words,"like one '. who had sighted the new moon." He then recited the praise of the Harimandar : "There is nothing like it in all the three worlds. Harimandar is like the ship the means for the people to cross over the worldly ocean triumphantly. A newjoy pervades here every day. A sight of it annuls all sins."

It was decided to spend the night at Ramsar and return to Amritsar the next morning. The Granth Sahib rested on a seat under the canopy, whereas the Guru and the Sikhs slept on the ground.

guruA disciple had to be chosen to take charge of the Granth Sahib. As says the Gurbilas, Guru Arjan lay awake through the night reflecting on the question. His choice finally fell on Bhai Buddha whose devotion was universally applauded. As they awoke, the Guru and his Sikhs made ablutions in Ramsar. The former thereupon practised his wonted meditation. At dawn, the entire sangat marched towards Harimandar. Bhai Buddha carried the Holy Book on his head and Guru Arjan walked behind swinging the fly whisk over it. Musicians sang sabdas. Thus they reached the Harimandar. The Granth Sahib was ceremonially installed in the centre of the dinner sanctuary. The date was Bhadon sudi 1, 1661 Bk/16August 1604. Bhai Buddha opened it with reverence to obtain from it the divine command, as Guru Arjan stood in attendance behind. The following hymn was read as God's own pronouncement for the occasion:

He Himself has aided his saints in their task,
He Himself has come to see their task accomplished.
Blessed is the carth, blessed the tank,
Blessed is the tank with amrit, nectar, filled.
Nectar everfloweth the tank: He has had the task completed;
Eternal is the Perfect Being,
His praises Vedas and Puranas sing.
The Creator has bestowed on me the nine treasures, and all the charisms
No lack do I suffer now.
Enjoying His largesse, bliss have I attained, Ever-expanding is the Lord's bounty.


Guru Arjan directed that during daytime the Holy Book should remain in the Harimandar and by night, after the Sohila was read, it should be taken to the room he had built for himself in Guru-ka-Mahal. As evening advanced by twowatches, Bhai Buddha recited. the Sohila and made the concluding ardas or supplication. The Granth Sahib was closed and wrapped in silks. Bhai Buddha held it on his head and marched towards the chamber indicated by Guru Arjan, The Guru led the sangat singing hymns. The Granth Sahib was placed on the appointed seat, and the Guru slept on the ground by its side. Daily in the small hours of the morning as the stars twinkle in the pool below, the Holy Book is taken out in state to the Harimandar and brought by night to rest-now, in a room at the Akal Takht. The practice continues to this day. But the volume is not the same. That original copy was taken to Kartarput when Guru Arjan's successor, Guru Hargobind, left Amritsar in 1634. There it passed into the possession of his grandson, Dhir Mall. It has since remained in that family.

In the Sikh system, the word Guru is used only for the ten prophet preceptors, Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, and for none other. Now. this office of Guru is fulfilled by the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sacred Book, which was so apotheosized by the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, before he passed away in 1708. No living person, however holy or revered, can have the title or status of Guru. For Sikhs, Guru is the holy teacher, the prophet under direct commission from God-the Ten who have been and the Guru Granth Sahib which is their continuing visible manifestation.

Guru Gobind Singh manifested the Khalsa in 1699. In 1708, he supplied another permanent-and final-feature in the evolution of the Sikh faith when he installed the Holy Scripture as Guru. This is how describes the event:

Guru Gobind Sirigh mahal dasmari beta Guru Tegh Bahadur ka poti Guru Hargobind ji ki parpota Guru Arjan ji ka bans Guru Ram Das ji ki Surajbansi Gosal gotra Sodhi Khatri bisi Anandpur parganah Kahlur muqam Nander tat Godavari des dakkhan sammat satran sai painsath kartik mas ki chauth shukla pakkhe budhvar ke dihun Bhai Daya Singh se bachan hoya Sri Granth Sahib lai ao bachan poi Dayi Singh Sri Granth Sahib lai aye guru ji ne panch poise narial age bheta rakha matha teka sarbatt sangat se kaha mera hukam hai men jagah Sri Granthji ko jinana jo sikh janega tis ki ghal thaen paegi guru tis ki bahuri karega sat kar manana.

Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master, son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, grandson of Guru Hargobind, great-grandson of Guru Arjan, of the family of Guru Ram Das, Surajbansi Gosal clan, Sodhi Khatri, resident of Anandpur, parganah Kahlur, now at Nanded, on the Godavari bank in the Deccan, asked Bhai Daya Singh, on Wednesday, shukla chauth of the month of Kartik, 1765 Bk (6 October 1708), to fetch the Sri Granth Sahib. The Guru placed before it five pice and a coconut and bowed his head before it. He said to the sangat "It is my commandment: Own Sri Granthji in my place. He who so acknowledges it will obtain his reward. The Guru will rescue him. Know this as the truth.

According to Giani Garja Singh, who discovered this entry, the author was Narbud Singh Bhatt, who was with Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded at that time.

Bhatt Vahis are a new source of information discovered by Gaini Garja Singh (1904-77), a dogged searcher for materials on Sikh history. The Bhatts were hereditary panegyrists, genealogists or family bards. (A group of them were introduced to Guru Arjan by Bhatt Bhikkha, who himself had become a disciple in the'time of Guru Amar Das. According to Bhai Gurdas, VarXI. 21, and Bhai Mani Singh Sikhan di Bhagat Mala, he had earlier visited Guru Arjan with the sangat o£ Sultanpur Lodhi.) Those of them who came into the Sikh fold composed hymns in honour of the Gurus which were entered in the Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Arjan.

These Bhatts also recorded events of the lives of the Gurus and of the members of their families in their scrolls called vahis Some of these vahis are preserved to this day in the families, especially at the village of Karsindhu, in Jind district of Haryana The script in which they are written is called bhataksri- a kind of family code like laude and mahajani. The only known scholar to have worked with these materials was Giani Garja Singh.

Apart from this new testimony culled by Giani Garji Singh from the Bhatt Vahis, another contemporary document which authenticates the fact of Guru Granth Sahib having been invested with the final authority is a letter issued by reference of Guru Gobind Singh's wife, MatA Sundariji. To quote from the original, which is now in the possession of Bhai Chet Singh, of the village of Bhai Rupa, in present-day Bathinda district, to whose ancestors it was addressed:

Ik Oankar Wahguru ji ki fateh, Sri Akalpurkh ji ka Khalsa yak rangjina dithia Wahguru ji chit avai. Bhai Sahib Dan Singhji Bhai Duni Singh ji Bhai Jagat Singhji Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh ji Ugar Singhji Bhai Ram Singhji sarbatt K alsa Wahguru Akalpurkhji ki pase likhtam gulam Khalsa ji ka Kahn Singh Nival Singh Mul Singhji Sujan Singh Gaja Singh Maha Singh Sarbatt Khalsa Wahguru Akalpurkh ka Wahguru ji ki fateh vachani k karna ji Wahguru Akalpurakhji har dam chit avai sukh hoe Khalsa ji ka bol bala hoi ardas tusadi marfat Bhai Dulcha Singh ke hath pahuti parhkai Khalsa ji bahut khushwaqat hoya tusadi bab Khalsa ji dayal hoya hai ha th jore kai jo rakhya hove. "Jo janu harika sevako hari tiske kami." Guru Guru japna Wahguru ang sang hai fajal karkai rakhia hovegi KhalsajI Bhai Kahn Singhji kau Mata Sahibji ne gumastgiri Amritsar ji ki mukarar kin hai Khalsa ji ne gurmata karke Harimandar ate bagh di murammat imarat ka kam shuru kits hai sri Mata Sahibji ne likha hai ki Wahguru Akalpurkh ji ki nagari hai langar jarur karna... Khalsa Sri Wahguru ji ka suchet bibek budh chahie jo sivai Akalpurkh duje no janai nahi Dasam Patshahian tak jamai paidhe yarvin barvin Banda Chaubanda Ajita vagaire to aitkad lei avana hatiya hai. Hor hatiya Guru japan nil dur hosan,par ih hadya gunah bakshiaiga nahi jo manmukh ke jame upar aitkad karenge, 'Mukh mohi pheriai mukh mohijuttha hoi.' Khalsaji tusan sivai Akal daje no manana nahi. Sabad dasvin patshaji tak khojna, "Sabad khoji ihu gharu lahai Nanak to k5 dasu. "Guru ki nivas sabad vich hai. "Guru mahi ap samoi sabad vartaiya. " "Jian andar jiu sabad hai fit sahu milava hoi." Wahguru ji ki fateh. Bhai Mehar Shigh tahlia Bhai Bule ki pattar ke khasmane vich rahina Guru nal gandh paisi.

Ik Oankar Wahiguru ji ki Fateh. The Khalsa, of the timeless Himself, immersed in the One, and whose sight brings Wahiguru to mind. Addressed to Bhai Sahib Dan Singhji, Bhai Duni Singhji, Bhai Jagat Singhji, Bhai Gurbak Singhji, Ugar Singhji, Bhai Ram Singhji, the entire Kh of Wahiguru, the Timeless One. From the slaves of the Khalsaji, Kahn Singhji, Nival Singh, Mul Singhji, Sujan Singh, Gaja Singh, Maha Singh Wahiguruji ki Fateh to the entire Khalsa. May you be rejoiced in constant remembrance of the Timeless Wahiguru. May prosperity prevail; may supremacy belong to the Khalsa. Having received your missive through Bhai Dulcha Singh, Khalsaji is highly pleased. Khalsaji happily prays with folded hands for your security. "He who to Lord surrenders himself, his affairs the Lord will set to rights." Repeat always the name of Guru. Wahiguru is by your side. He will extend to you His grace and protection. Khalsaji, Mata Sahibji has appointed Bhai Kahn Singhji to the superintendence of Amritsarji. The Khalsaji, through a gurmata, has taken in hand the construction and repair o£ the Harimandar and the garden. Sri Mata Sahibji has written that langar must be run in that place which is the abode of God Himself. ...Wahiguru's Khalsa must always be alert, possessed of discriminating wisdom. The Khalsa must believe in none other than the Timeless One. There have been only Ten Masters in human form; to believe in the eleventh and twelfth, Banda Singh Bahadur, Ajita [Ajit Singh, adopted son of Mata Sundariji . a mortal sin. Every other sin can be had cancelled by repeating the Guru's name, but this sin of believing in human forms will not be remitted. "The faces turned away from the Guru are faces perverted." Khalsaji, you must believe in none other except the Timeless One. Go only to the Ten Gurus in search of the Word. "Nanak is the slave of him who by seeking the Lord's Name obtains his goal." The Guru resides in gabda. "The Lord hath merged His own Self in the Guru through whom He has revealed His word." "The Word is the life of all life, for, through it, one experiences God." Victory to the Lord, Bhai Mehar Singh, the messenger, son of Bhai Bula : keep the letter secure in your custody. You will gain the Guru's favour.

From this letter it is clear how the Sikhs after Guru Gobind Singh believed that the Guruship had passed to the Sabda, i.e. the Word as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib. None in the human form after the Ten Gurus was to be acknowledged by the Sikhs as Guru. Those who, like some of Banda Singh's or Ajit Singh's followers, called their leaders Gurus were committing a mortal sin. All other sins, says the letter, could be had forgiven by repeating the Guru's name, but not the sin of believing in a living Guru after the Ten Masters of the Sikh faith.

Several other old Sikh documents also attest the fact of succession having been passed on by Guru Gobind Singh to the Guru Granth Sahib. For instance, the Rahitnama by Bhai Nand Lal, one of Guru Gobind Singh's disciples remembered to this day for his elegant Persian poetry in honour of the Gurus. In his Rahitnama, or code of conduct, Bhai Nand Lal, who was at Nanded in the camp of Emperor Bahadur Shah as one of his ministers at the time of Guru Gobind Singh's passing away, thus records his last words in his Punjabi verse

He who would wish to see the Guru, Let him come and see the Granth. He who would wish to speak with him, Let him read and reflect upon what says the Granth. He who would wish to hear his word, He should with all his heart read the Granth, or listen to the Granth being read.

Another of Guru Gobind Singh's disciples and associates, Bhai Prahlad Sfngh, records in his Rahitnama, the Guru's commandment

By the word of the Timeless One, Has the Khalsa been manifested. This is my commandment for all of my Sikhs: You will acknowledge Granth as the Guru.

In Gurbilas Patshahi 10 (author Kuir Singh ; the year of writing 1751), Guru Gobind Singh is quoted as saying
This is no more the age for a personal Guru to be anointed I shall not place the mark on anyone's forehead. All sangat is owned as Khalsa now, under the shelter of the Almighty Himself, They are now to the Word attached. He who believes is the Sikh par excellence. On the Guru Granth should he put his reliance, To none else should he direct his adoration. All his wishes the Guru will bring to fulfilment, This he should believe, Casting away all dubiety.


Another authority that may relevantly be quoted is Devaraja Sharma's Nanakacandrodayamahakavyam an old Sanskrit manuscript which has recently been published by Sanskrit University, Varanasi. It records Guru Gobind Singh's proclamation that the Scripture would be the Guru after him. "While the Master lay on his deathbed, Nand Lal (?) came forward and asked the following question : 'Who shall be the object of our discourses ?'The Master replied, `The Granth, which itself is the doctrine of the Guru, shall be your teacher. This is what you should see ; this is what you should honour ; this is what should be the object of your discourses."

This point has been laboured somewhat lengthily for the reason that cavil is sometimes raised. Certain cults among Sikhs still owning personal Gurus ask for authentic evidence to the effect that Guru Gobind Singh bad named Sri Guru Granth Sahib his successor. No archival testimony can be presented, unless the Bhatt Vahi entry be included in that category. But evidence bequeathed through traditionwritten as well as oral-supports this fact. This is what has come down through Sikh memory. Had there been the 11th Guru, the name could not have been effaced from the pages of history. Guru Gobind Singh brought to an end the line of personal Gurus and declared the Holy Word Guru after him.

Along with the Guru Granth Sahib, the K was now the person visible of the Guru. The word Khalsa is derived from the Arabic khalis, meaning pure or pious. Guru Gobind Singh used the term in its symbolic and technical sense. In official terminology, Khalsa in Mughal days meant lands or territory directly under the king. Crown-land was known as Khalsa land. As says a contemporary poet, Bhai Gurdas II, Guru Gobind Singh converted the sangat into Khalsa. Sikhs were the Guru's Khalsa, i.e. directly his own, without any intermediary or local sangat leaders. On that point, we have the evidence of Sri Gur Sobha s by Sainapat, a contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Gobind Singh's own hukamnamas. To quote from the former

A day preceding the event, i.e. passing of Guru Gobind Singh The Sikhs gathered together And began to ask "What body will the lord now take ?" The Guru at that moment spoke "In the Khalsa will you see me "With the Khalsa is my sole concern; "My physical form have I bestowed upon the Khalsa."

Guru Gobind Singh, in his hukamnama issued on Phagun 4, 1756 Bk/ 1 February 1700, to the sangat of Pattan Farid, modern Pakpattan, refers to the sangat as "his own Khalsa Hukamnamas are letters written by the Gurus to sangats in different parts of the s country. Some of them have been traced in recent years and two collections were published in 1967- one by Dr Ganda Singh (Punjabi University, Patiala) and the second by Shamsher Singh Ashok (Shiromani Gurdwara 'Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar). Most of the hukamnamas are common to both anthologies. These hukamnamas are another valuable source of information on the lives of the Gurus and on the Sikh communities forming in farflung places.

That Sri Guru Granth Sahib is Guru Eternal for it has been the understanding and conviction of the Sikh community since the passing of Guru Gobind Singh. In their hard, exilic days soon afterwards when they were outlawed and had to seek the safety of the hills and jungles, the Sikhs' most precious possession which they cherished and defended at the cost of their lives was Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Holy Book was their sole religious reference, and they acknowledged none other. To quote the Prachin Panth Prakash : "Thou Guru Granth art the true Presence. Impart to the Sikh sangat the true counsel." This is how the Sikhs address Sri Guru Granth Sahib as they assemble at the Akal Takht to seek its guidance before. launching an attack on the Pathan citadel of Kasur. In the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established sovereignty in the name of the Khalsa, personal piety and court ceremonial centred upon the Guru Granth Sahib. As contemporary records testify, Ranjit Singh began his day by making obeisance to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. On festive occasions, he made pilgrimage to Amritsar to bow before Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Harimandar. For the Sikhs in general Guru Granth Sahib was the only focus of religious attachment.

None other existed otherwise, either in human form or symbolically. In all Sikh literature after Guru Gobind Singh, the Holy Book is uniformly referred to as Guru Granth.

The personal Guruship was ended by Guru Gobind Singh himself. Succession passed to the Guru Granth Sahib in perpetuity. This was a most significant development in the history of the panth.

The finality of the Holy Book was a fact rich in religious and social implications. The Guru Granth became Guru and received divine honours. It was acknowledged the mediurn of the revelation descended through the Gurus. It was for the Sikhs the perpetual authority, spiritual as well as historic

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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