Archive for the ‘Sacred Literature & Sikh Studies’ Category

Is the ‘GurMantar’ really the first letters taken from the names – Vishnu, Hari Krishna, Govind and Raam?

We will discuss how the Pauri of Bhai Gurdas Ji to prove that its actual meanings are contrary to what is being propagated. Bhai Gurdas Ji in the last Pauri (49) of his first Vaar explains the significance of Gurmantar. ਸਤਿਜੁਗ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਵਾਸਦੇਵ ਵਾਵਾ ਵਿਸ਼ਨਾ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਾਵੈ॥ ਦੁਆਪਰ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਹਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨ ਹਾਹਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ […]

What do the different spellings of Naam mean in Gurbani?

“The word “Naam” appears in Gurbani in the following ways: ਨਾਮੁ ਨਾਮ ਨਾਮਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਨਾਮੇ ਨਾਮੋ ਨਾਮਹਿ We will go through the first three forms listed above at this time and discuss the grammatical positions of this word and how meanings change as spellings change. The vichaar of remaining forms of the word Naam will […]

What is Gurbani?

The sacred literature of Sikhism is called Gurbani which means the Guru’s word – A Song message – as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. In Sikhism, the Guru Means ‘The Word’ and not the physical body. God revealed the bani through the Guru and it will ultimately lead one to its source. The bani is […]

What do you know of Sri Guru Granth Sahib?

Guru Arjan compiled the Aad Granth popularly known as the Granth which contain the hymns of the first five Gurus and some of the Bhagats of medieval India. He installed this scripture in the Har Mandar in 1604. This copy got into the hands of Dhirmal, the son of Guru Har Gobind. Subsequently some Sikhs […]

What do you know of Dasam Granth?

Dasven Patshaah Da Granth (ਦਸਵੇ ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹ ਦਾ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ: “Book of the Tenth Emperor”) or Dasam Granth (ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ), a scripture of the Sikh religion,  which is a collection of different books that has been bounded into a single volume. It  contains texts composed by the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh Ji. The Granth (volume) itself was […]

Give the substance of the Japji.

The Japji contains the whole basis of the Sikh religion and philosophy. The theme – the evolution of spiritual life – is developed systematically. As a first step, Guru Nanak defines God and sums up His attributes. The goal of human life is for a union with the Divine Being, often called salvation or Nirvana. […]

Give the substance of the Aasa-ki-vaar.

Guru Nanak’s Aasa-ki-vaar or the morning prayer, consists of Slokas and 24 Pauris. Guru Ramdas Ji added 24 Chhands (Quatrains). A vaar or ode is a heroic measure, popular in the Panjab. This particular var is sung in the early morning in all Sikh Temples. Here Guru Nanak sings of the glory of God and […]

Give the substance of the Sukhmani Sahib.

The Sukhmani Sahib is the simplest and the most popular of all the Banis in the Guru Granth Sahib. Literally, “Sukhmani” means some thing which gives peace of mind or the touchstones for happiness. Guru Arjan’s aim in writing the Sukhmani – The Psalm of Peace – was that the reader may feel composure of […]

Give the substance of Anand Sahib.

The Anand Sahib – or “The Song of Bliss” – is the spiritual and musical masterpiece of Guru Amardas. Some biographers have tried to make it a historical piece by stating that it was composed in 1554, after the birth of his grand-son called Sidh-yogi, to whom he gave the new name of Anand. This […]

Give a brief survey of Sikh studies.

Sikh studies in its broadest sense means creative literature on Sikh History, Sikh Philosophy, culture and fine arts. Such studies may be divided in five headings. Historical, Theological, Institutional, Cultural and Practical. Historical studies will cover the lives of the Ten Gurus (1469-1708) persecution of the Sikhs in the eighteenth century and the growth of […]

What is the meaning of the Lavan (Sikh marriage hymns)?

The four marriage rounds (Lavan) were written by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Raam Daas Ji, which is found on Ang 773 – 774: —- Gurmukhi & English Translation —- ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿਲੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਬਾਣੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਵੇਦੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਪਾਪ ਤਜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ […]

In some Gutkas, why are the Banis and Ardaas longer than normal?

All Gutkas have the same length of Banis in them. It is only in the case of Rehras that a few Gutkas have a couple of additional Shabads. Ardas of course is different in different Gutkas because it was written by different persons. We should all follow the standard Ardas and Rehras written in the […]

What do you know about the musical terminology used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

ਅਖਰੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਖਰੀ ਸਾਲਾਹ ॥ ਅਖਰੀ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਗੀਤ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਹ ॥ ਅਖਰੀ ਲਿਖਣੁ ਬੋਲਣੁ ਬਾਣਿ ॥ Through the letters, comes the Naam; through the letters, You are Praised. Through the letters, comes spiritual wisdom, singing the Songs of Your Glory. Through the letters, come the written and spoken words and hymns…” (Ang 4) The Sikh […]

What are the common themes & emotions conveyed in the 31 main Raags in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

Raag conveys a feeling and Shabad a message. A Raag is capable of touching the hearts with the feeling like Joy, Sorrow, Detachment, etc. Upon studying the structure of Guru Granth Sahib it can be seen that shabads relating to common THEMES are generally placed under each Raag. When the broad THEMES of Shabads are […]

Give a glossary of Sikh terms.

Aad Granth : Aad means “without end”, Aad Granth was the name given by Guru Arjun Dev ji to the Granth compiled by him in 1604 (CE) It comprised of the compositions of his own and the predecessor Gurus as also other men-of-god. Ahankaar : Hankar. I-am-ness; egohood; Haumai. Akaal : Beyond the limits and […]

What is Charitropakhyan?

ਜੋਰਾ ਦਾ ਆਖਿਆ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਸੇ ਅਪਵਿਤ ਅਮੇਧ ਖਲਾ ॥ ਕਾਮਿ ਵਿਆਪੇ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਨਰ ਸੇ ਜੋਰਾ ਪੁਛਿ ਚਲਾ ॥ “Manmukhs (self-willed people), under the spell of Kaam (lust), do what women tell them to do and for this reason they are impure and stupid. Such persons who are under the spell of Kaam are impure […]

If Bachittar Natak is the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, then why there is no mention of Vaisakhi 1699 and other events?

Bachittar Natak is a voluminous work and includes Apni Katha, the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh ji. This is the fifth composition in Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. Sri Dasam Granth Sahib has fifteen compositions. The first is Jaap Sahib and the last is Zafarnamah. Except for the Zafarnamah, the letter written to Aurangzeb, the rest […]

Is Sri Dasam Granth also a Granth like Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

No. Sri Dasam Granth is not one granth like Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It is a kuliyat, or collected works. Sri Dasam Granth is collection of different books in one volume. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is one granth comprising banee of different Gurus, Bhagats, Bhatts etc. The banee of Sri Guru Granth Sahib […]

What do you know of Bachitra Natak?

By Dr. Jodh Singh (Head, Encyclopedia of Sikhsim. Punjabi University, Patiala) BACHITRA NATAK (bachitra = marvellous, wondrous + natak = drama, play) is the name given a complex of compositions, commonly attributed to Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru or prophet teacher of the Sikh faith, assembled in his book, the Dasam Granth: hence, the […]

Give a brief description of the various writings in Dasam Granth.

A brief description of the various writings in the Dasam Granth follows: JAAP SAHIB Jaap Sahib, given place of prominence in the Dasam Granth is the invocation made by the khalsa-a hymn in praise of the omnipotent God. The attributes and qualities of God delineated herein are based on the transcendental nature of God, He […]

If Gurmukhi lipi was created by the second Guru, what lipi did Guru Nanak use? Does any of Guru Nanak’s hand-wrriten Bani exist?

While Guru Angad Sahib formalized Gurmukhi, Guru Nanak Sahib originated this script and utilized it as well. The composition entitled ‘patti’ serves as evidence for this fact. In ‘patti,’ Guru Nanak Sahib writes in a poetic form similar to the western ‘acrostic’ style, while naming the Gurmukhi letters that we still use today. Another important […]

What is the difference between “Rehraas” and “Sampooran Rehraas”?

The word “sampooran” means complete. If we think to call something “Sampooran Rehraas”, it is actually highly blasphemous and disrespectful to Gurbani. There is Rehraas sahib written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib which is significantly shorter. Is that Rehraas Sahib incomplete? If a longer version of Rehraas with extra Shabads is “sampuran” (complete), then does […]

What do you know of Bhai Gurdas’ Varan?

Varan Bhai Gurdas is the name given to the 40 Varan (chapters) of writing by Bhai Gurdas. They have been referred to as the “Key to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib” by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. Bhai Gurdas was a first cousin of Mata Bhani, mother of Guru Arjan Dev. He was […]

What do you know of Bhatt-Vahees?

Bhatt Vahees were scrolls or records maintained by Bhatts, hereditary bards and genealogists. According to Nesfield as quoted in W. Crooke, The Tribes and Castes of the North Western India, 1896, Bhatts are an “offshoot from those secularised Brahmans who frequented the courts of princes and the camps of warriors, recited their praises in public, […]

What is the substance of the Rehras?

Rehrās is the name given to the main evening prayer of the Sikhs. The word itself implies supplication, though some traditionalist scholars have interpreted it as rāh-i-rāst which, in Persian, means the straight path, the path of faith and devotion as against that of mere ritual practices or yogic austerities. The title ‘Rehrās’ however does […]

Why is “Waheguru” is mentioned only 17 times in Guru Granth Sahib whereas “Raam” is mentioned hundreds of times?

The RSS says in Guru Granth Sahib God’s name “Waheguru” is mentioned only 17 times whereas God’s name “Raam” is mentioned some couple hundred times which means “Raam” is given more significance by the Gurus and Gurus accepted Rama as a God? There is mention of God’s name Raam in Guru Granth Sahib as well […]

In Chaupai Sahib, Guru Ji prays to destroy the enemies but in Ardaas we pray for the welfare of humanity. Explain.

We mistakenly assume our enemies to be human beings. In spiritual life our enemies are those who mislead us from the path of truth and put us in trouble. The major ones among them are lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego. They are called ‘diseases’ or ‘devils’ which ‘kill’ our soul. They attack our mind […]

What is considered ‘kachi bani’? What can be sung in kirtan during divan?

As you may have guessed, there are protocols on what can be sung in the public Gurdwara setting. According to the Panthic Sikh Rehit Maryada – the document that functions as the Sikh code of conduct: “The exposition can only be of the ten Guru’s writings or utterances, Bhai Gurdas’s writings, Bhai Nand Lal’s writings […]

Why did the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Gurus leave us with no Bani?

There was only ever ONE Guru, i.e. the one Jaagdi Jyot (Living Light). To non-Sikhs the Guru Sahibaans may be 10 human bodies. To Sikhs there has always been and right now only ONE. Gurbani is “Dhur Kee Baani” – revealed from the Almighty according to His will. The same Guru-jyot was working in all […]

What is the arrangement and layout of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

Guru Arjan Dev Ji planned to arrange the writing not by subject, but accordingly to musical measures, or ‘Raags’ in which the hymns are meant to be sung. The composition which is musical is also metrical, and so follows definite metrical schemes. So on this basis, the Hymns of Shabads are divided into different parts […]

What do you know of Raag Mala?

The literal meaning of the word Raag Mala (ਰਾਗ ਮਾਲਾ) is: a chain/necklace (Mala) of Raags (musical measures) i.e., a list of Raags. This list differs according to the author and the music school it is based upon. Thus there exists a number of such lists in the music text books. Raag Mala is also […]

What Teeka (commentary) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji do you recommend?

Gurbani is Agam Agaadh Bodh. For this reason, you can’t find a perfect teeka (commentary). The best thing is to refer to the Darpan (Prof Sahib Singh’s teeka), and Giani Harbans Singh’s Nirnai i.e. Teeka, because both of these teekas are based on Gurbani Viyakaran (grammar). Apart from this one can refer to Bhai Veer […]