Sacred Literature & Sikh Studies
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 forcibly obtained the copy from Dhirmal and presented it to Guru Tegh Bahadur. He returned it to Dhirmal. Guru Gobind Singh dictated the entire Granth to Bhai Mani Singh and incorporated the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur, in 1706 at Damdama Sahib. At the time of his death, Guru Gobind singh conferred permanent Gurudom on the Guru Granth Sahib(1708).
The Guru Granth Sahib contains 5894 hymns. The largest number of hymns (2216) were contributed by Guru Arjan. The 937 hymns of fifteen Bhagats and eleven Bhatts whose compositions tallied with the gospel of Sikhism were also included. Here the Hindu, the Muslim, the Brahmin, and the untouchable, meet on an equal footing. From the linguistic point of view, it is a treasury of old Hindi dialects.
Music forms the basis of the classification of the hymns. They follow a definite metrical system. The total number of Ragas(Raga in Indian classical music means a pattern of melodic notes) is 31. Under each Raga, the hymns are arranged thus: Chaupadas, Ashtapadas, long poems, Chhands, Vars, and poems of Bhagats. The Guru Granth Sahib is written in the Gurmukhi script and contains 1430 pages.
Guru Arjan commenting on the nature of the Granth said: “In this dish are placed three things: Truth, Harmony and Wisdom. These are seasoned with the Name of God which is the basis of all; whoever eats it and relishes it, shall be saved.” It is a work of divine inspiration. It is both metaphysical and ethical reality and imagination, mysticism and philosophy. According to Prof. Puran Singh, “it is a scripture for all nations. it is a lyric of divine love, on which all the people of the earth subsist of such glowing lyrical power. The Guru Granth Sahib is of one Song, one Idea and one Life.” Guru Arjan wanted the book to be translated into foreign languages because it is the scripture of universal religion. It is a unique treasure, a noble heritage for all mankind.