The Guru Granth Sahib, also called Adi Granth or Adi Guru Darbar, is not any other holy book or scripture for the Sikhs but a perpetual, ultimate and eternal Guru. Sikhs believe the Guru Granth Sahib to be a living Guru, hence the Guru Granth Sahib has its own place to sleep also commonly known as ‘Sach Khand’. Sikhs consider the Granth to be a spiritual guide for mankind, and it plays a central role in “guiding” the Sikhs’ way of life. Its place in Sikh devotional life is based on two fundamental principles: that the text is divine revelation, and that all answers regarding religion and morality can be discovered within it.
It is probably the only holy Scripture in the world; written by the founders of a religion in their lifetime. All other holy scriptures were compiled after the founders left for their heavenly abode.
The Guru Granth Sahib comprising of 1430 angs (pages) and 6,000 hymns or verses called Shabads as their living Guru. Its contents, considered to be the preaching of the Gurus are referred to as Guru’s bani or Gurbani.
The first Sikh leader, Guru Nanak Dev, started the trend of collecting his holy hymns for the Sikhs to recite in their morning and evening prayers. His successor Guru Angad Dev continued the tradition.
Jahangir ordered Guru Arjan Dev to delete some of the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib manuscript and imposed a fine of 200,000 rupees. Guru Arjan Dev refused to expunge the text or pay the fine. Guru Arjan Dev was dead against making alterations in the hymns as required by Jahangir and instead preferred a martyr’s death. This led to his execution.
Rendition of Guru Granth Sahib:
- Adi Granth, the first rendition, was compiled by the fifth Sikh guru Guru Arjan Dev – the fifth Sikh Guru compiled the holy Granth incorporating the hymns composed by – Guru Nanak and thirty-six Hindu and Muslim saints like Kabir Das, Ravi Das, Naam Dev and Sheikh Farid. After having selected the best hymns Guru Arjan Dev dictated the final version of the Adi Granth to Bhai Gurdas who wrote the Granth Sahib.
- The tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, added one shloka, dohra mahala 9 ang, 1429 and all 115 hymns of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. This second rendition came to be known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib. After Guru Gobind Singh’s martyrdom in 1708, Baba Deep Singh and Bhai Mani Singh prepared many copies of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib for distribution.
At the time when it was being written, some people poisoned the mind of Mughal emperor Jahangir by spreading a rumour that Guru Granth Sahib and Gurbani preached hatred against the Muslims. An enraged Jahangir ordered Guru Arjan Dev to delete some of the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib manuscript and imposed a fine of 200,000 rupees. Guru Arjan Dev refused to expunge the text or pay the fine. Guru Arjan Dev was dead against making alterations in the hymns as required by Jahangir and instead preferred a martyr’s death. This led to his execution.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, raised the Adi Granth to the status of a permanent Guru and conferred it the title of “Guru of the Sikhs” in 1708. Declaring the Guru Granth Sahib to be the next Guru after him, Guru Gobind Singh commanded the Sikhs to regard the Granth Sahib as their next and everlasting Guru. He said – “Sab Sikhan ko hukamhai Guru Manyo Granth” meaning thereby that all Sikhs are commanded to regard the Granth as a Guru. Guru Gobind Singh commanded the Sikhs in the following words:
Agya Bhai Akal kitabhichalayo Panth.
Sabh Sikhan ko hukamhai Guru manyo Granth.
Guru Granth Ji manyopargatGurankideh.
Jo Prabhu ko milbochahekhojshabadmein le.
Raj karega Khalsa aqiraheinakoe,
Khwar hoe sabhmilangebachesharan jo hoe.
Original version can be found at Nanded, a city in Maharashtra state. In this, Guru Gobind Singh included the Shabads of Guru Teg Bahadur (the ninth guru). The volumes of the Guru Granth Sahib which preside over our Gurdwaras now are copies of this edition.
The Guru Granth Sahib Facts:
- The Guru Granth Sahib has a total of 1430 pages.
- The pages are written with a landscape orientation.
- There are 19 lines of text per page. However, many pages with headlines (starting with new raag) have less than 19 lines per page.
- Total number of lines are 26852.
- Total number of words are 398,697.
- Total dictionary words are 29445 (these are the words that have been used again and again to make the whole text). Many of these words have been used only once.
- The word that has been repeated most often is ਹਰਿ. It has occurs 9288 times.
- No punctuation marks like comma, semicolon or colon have been used. A ‘colon’ shaped character that has been used is not a colon.
- No ‘Adhak’ charcater has been used.
- No ‘PaireenBindi’ character (dot at the bottom of character) has been used.
a)Six Sikh Gurus , first Five (Guru Nanak dev ji , Guru angad dev ji , Guru Amar das ji , Guru Ram das ji , Guru Arjan dev ji ) and ninth guru ji (Guru Tegbhadur ji ) .
b)3 Sikhs (Bhai satta ji , Bhai Balwand ji and bhai Sundar ji ) ,
c)17 Bhatts :The Bhatts were a group of musicians who lived in the sixteenth century. All of them were scholars, poets and singers. (namely :Bhat Kal, Bhat Kalsehar , Bhat Tal , Bhat Jalup , Bhat Jal , Bhat Kirat , Bhat Sal , Bhat Bahil , Bhat Nal , Bhat Bhikha, Bhat Jalan, Bhat Kas , Bhat Gend , Bhat Sevak , Bhat Mathra , Bhat Bal and Bhat Harbans ) .
d)15 Bhagats (Kabir, Namdev,Ravidas,Sheikh Farid, Trilochan, Dhanna, Beni,Sheikh Bhikan,Jaidev,Surdas,Parmanand,Pipa,Ramanand, Sadhna,Sain,)
Musical spiritual writing : The Guru Granth Sahib consists of 1430 pages, It begins with a Bani known as the Japji followed by the Sodar. It then resumes sections each known as a Rag – Musical composition. Within each of these Rags, the Bani is presented in Chronological order of Guru, followed by the Bhagats. Following the 32 Rags, a section known as the Rag Mala completes the Guru Granth Sahib. A check appears throughout the Guru Granth Sahib, the check states the number of verses in the current shabad, the number of shabads in the current sub-section, the number of sections in the current Rag etc. It causes for difficulty in anybody wishing to alter the Guru Granth Sahib as most changes in the way of additions or removals of lines can be detected by scrutinizing this check figure.