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14-Guru Granth Saahib


14-Gur Granth Saahib

The Guru Granth Saahib is the Holy book of the Sikh religion. It was written in the 16th century. Having been created more recently compared to the other books, it is also closer to the humankind in many respects. Which means that in addition to being full of spiritual teachings it also includes other truths which a common man needs to know. It contains less of biographical parables, and more of knowledge. Any book of knowledge or holy book becomes a classic only if it talks of the mind and deeds of human beings. Its other feature is that this Granth is not the utterance of any one Guru or one prophet or one great man.

Just about five centuries ago the fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev Jee started editing the Guru Granth Saahib in the beginning of the 16th century. He completed it in four years. It was first placed in Shree Hari Mandir Sahib at Amritsar and Baabaa Buddha was appointed the first priest. The Granth includes the verses of the first five Sikh Guru and the poetry of saints, devotees, dervishes, experienced balladeers. In all, verses of 36 poets were included in Guru Granth Saahib. Later Guru Gobind Singh Jee included the poetry of the ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur Jee in the Granth. This holy book consists of 1,430 pages and the poetry has been set on 30 Raag. It starts with Shree Raag. It has a total of 5,894 poems of which 937 have been written by devotees. Verses of 11 Minstrels also form a part of it. The verses of Guru Arjun Dev Jee are the most, their number being 2,300.

Why Guru Granth Was Written?
Guru Nanak Dev Jee was born in the 15th century (in 1469). Before him, India passed through many ages. For thousands of years the Ved and the Shaastra were revered as supreme and were practiced too. But a unity of the mind and deeds could not be brought about in the society. The people, divided by different
castes, creeds, races and religions, could not get any real and appropriate direction. The situation became even more complex due to foreign invasions. The disenchantment displayed in the deeds of Guru Nanak Dev starting from the beginning of the 16th century (1507 onwards) demonstrated that not only in India but in other countries too, various societies were in a state of decay. Both religion and politics had become enemies of the society. Bearing the torch of renunciation, love of man, truth, service and loving worship, the Sikh Guru, starting from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh carried on this continuous movement for two and a half centuries (1469 to 1708). Guru Gobind Singh Jee brought this welfare movement to its culmination. Steeped in sacrifices and full of virtuous lives, this movement came to be known as the Sikh movement. By naming Shree Guru Granth Sahib as the next Guru, Guru Gobind Singh brought it to such a conclusion that it became the eternal truth for the whole world.

Guru Arjun Dev Jee, who collected the truth of the ages in the form of verse in the Granth, perceived like all other Guru that unity of humankind was the biggest need of the day in order to fight the dark forces at the national and international level and to create a common brotherhood. And although the mission was welfare of one and all, the dark forces of hypocrisy and terror could not be represented in it.

The religion depicted in Guru Granth Sahib is based on experience and belief which requires that religion be reflected in daily life. Harmony of the mind, utterances and deeds is the main sign of spiritualism.

Literary significance
It would be very fair to say that Guru Granth Saahib is one of the best literary creations in the whole world. Although basically it is not counted amongst literary texts, but its language, style and scientific approach and psychological expression can hardly be found in any other literary work. The beauty of Guru Granth Sahib lies in the wonderful use of order, the expressive system of ragas, meters, tropes, imagery and signs.

All the verses of the Granth are set on 30 ragas such as Shree Raag, Aasaa, Goojaree, Dev Gaandhaaree, Sorath, Dhanaashree, Todee, Soohee, Bhairav, Malhaar, Kalyaan, Jayajayavantee, Raamkalee, etc. The poetic images in the Guru Granth Saahib depict the life of people of Panjaab and India. The Guru and their followers have based their poetry on the social, religious and political life of the people. Another literary significance of Guru Granth Saahib lies in the fact that all the moods such as calm, beauty, compassion, awe, anger, heroism, surprise, wit have been widely used in it.

Of course, there can be different opinions on the influence of Guru Granth Saahib in today's world, society and the times. However, one can say that because of the overriding role of politics in the modern social and religious life, the sayings of the Guru are also being twisted to suit the situation. The Sikh society is ridden by ancient and Braahman traditions and mores. Religion has become decadent. Different sects have also proliferated, due to which worship is being turned from a spiritual experience into more of a ritual.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/17/11