The most valuable achievement of Guru Arjan was the compilation of the Adi (first) Granth. Guru Arjan wanted to establish the credibility of the Sikh religion as a casteless and secular society. In Sikhism worship consisted of singing the hymns of Gurus (also known as Gurbani). Guru Arjan wished to lay down the exact Gurbani to be sung and performed by the Sikhs. This would also increase consistency and hinder divergent principles.
This was necessitated by the fact that his elder brother Prithi Chand (who had been excluded from the Guruship) was composing his own writings and was spreading them among the Sikhs as those of Guru Nanak and other Gurus. Guru Arjan also desired to raise the status of Sikhism as a religion far advanced and superior to others with its philosophy. This object could only be attained by providing the Sikhs with holy scriptures of their own.
Guru Amar Das, in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth pauris of Anand Sahib, had decided that only the real Gurbani of the Guru should be repeated and revered by Sikhs;
ਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਖ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਪਿਆਰਿਹੋ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Āvhu sikẖ saṯgurū ke pi▫āriho gāvhu sacẖī baṇī.
Come, O beloved Sikhs of the True Guru, and sing the true word of God's bani.
ਬਾਣੀ ਤ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਾਣੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Baṇī ṯa gāvhu gurū kerī bāṇī▫ā sir baṇī.
Sing the Guru's Bani, the supreme word of words.
ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਤਿਨਾ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥
Jin ka▫o naḏar karam hovai hirḏai ṯinā samāṇī.
Those who are blessed by the Lord's glance of grace - their hearts are imbued with this bani.
ਪੀਵਹੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਦਾ ਰਹਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਜਪਿਹੁ ਸਾਰਿਗਪਾਣੀ ॥
Pīvhu amriṯ saḏā rahhu har rang japihu sārigpāṇī.
Drink in this ambrosial nectar, and remain in the Lord's love forever; meditate on the Lord, the sustainer of the world.
ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਦਾ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਏਹ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥੨੩॥
Kahai Nānak saḏā gāvhu eh sacẖī baṇī. ||23||
Says Nanak, sing this true bani forever. ||23||
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਬਿਨਾ ਹੋਰ ਕਚੀ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Saṯgurū binā hor kacẖī hai baṇī.
Without the True Guru, other songs are false.
ਬਾਣੀ ਤ ਕਚੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਹੋਰ ਕਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Baṇī ṯa kacẖī saṯgurū bājẖahu hor kacẖī baṇī.
The songs are false without the True Guru; all other songs are false.
ਕਹਦੇ ਕਚੇ ਸੁਣਦੇ ਕਚੇ ਕਚੀ ਆਖਿ ਵਖਾਣੀ ॥
Kahḏe kacẖe suṇḏe kacẖe kacẖīŉ ākẖ vakẖāṇī.
The speakers are false, and the listeners are false; those who speak and recite are false.
ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਿਤ ਕਰਹਿ ਰਸਨਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਜਾਣੀ ॥
Har har niṯ karahi rasnā kahi▫ā kacẖẖū na jāṇī.
They may continually chant, 'Har, Har' with their tongues, but they do not know what they are saying.
ਚਿਤੁ ਜਿਨ ਕਾ ਹਿਰਿ ਲਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਬੋਲਨਿ ਪਏ ਰਵਾਣੀ ॥
Cẖiṯ jin kā hir la▫i▫ā mā▫i▫ā bolan pa▫e ravāṇī.
Their consciousness is lured by maya; they are just reciting mechanically.
ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਹੋਰ ਕਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥੨੪॥
Kahai Nānak saṯgurū bājẖahu hor kacẖī baṇī. ||24||
Says Nanak, without the True Guru, other songs are false. ||24||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Anand, Ang 920
Guru Arjan, therefore, took a crucial decision and set out to collect the Gurbani of all the Gurus including his own in the form of a volume in Gurmukhi script. The research for material began shortly after Akbar's visit, early in 1599.
Guru Nanak had preserved his own compositions as well as those of some other bhaktas (bhagats). Before Guru Nanak re-joined God, he handed them over to his successor, Guru Angad. Following this example Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das preserved their own Gurbani. This individual collection was called Bani Pothi or Book of Gurbani. The Gurbani was arranged by Guru Amar Das's grandson, Sahansar Ram, son of Mohan, in two volumes.
One of them contained 300 leaves and the other 224 leaves. They were written in Gurmukhi. These volumes contained some writings of Jaidev, Kabir, Ravidas. Sain and Trilochan. The second volume bears marks of revision. This was probably done by Guru Amar Das. These volumes are known as the Goindwal manuscript. They were in possession of Mohan who lived at Goindwal. Guru Arjan wished to obtain them.
In addition to the Gurbani of the Gurus, Guru Arjan praised the compositions of Bhai Gurdas (especially his 'Varan'). Bhai Gurdas volunteered to go to Goindwal for the volumes containing the Guru's compositions. Bhai Gurdas, however, failed to attract Mohan's attention. He had locked himself in his house, and was said to be intent on his prayers. Bhai Gurdas remained knocking at his door for a whole night, but failed to receive an answer. He then returned to Amritsar, and told the Guru the story of his failure.
Then Baba Budha, a Sikh of Guru Nanak who was held in the highest esteem, called at Mohan's house. On arriving in Goindwal he endeavoured to gain Mohan's attention, but also failed. He then broke open his door, and found Mohan in a state which simulated unconsciousness. Mohri, Mohan's younger brother, on hearing the noise, arrived and advised Baba Budha not to awaken the sleeper. Baba Budha stopped and returned to Amritsar.
Finally, in 1603 AD, Guru Arjan decided that he would visit Mohan himself. On arriving at Mohan's house he called out to him, but received no answer. The Guru then addressed him the following stanza, which might be considered partly as addressed to God and partly to Mohan. 'Mohan' meaning the enchanter, being one of many Sikh names for God;
ਗਉੜੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Ga▫oṛī mėhlā 5.
Gauree, Fifth Mehl:
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੇਰੇ ਊਚੇ ਮੰਦਰ ਮਹਲ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥
Mohan ṯere ūcẖe manḏar mahal apārā.
O Mohan, your temple is so lofty, and your mansion is unsurpassed.
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੇਰੇ ਸੋਹਨਿ ਦੁਆਰ ਜੀਉ ਸੰਤ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲਾ ॥
Mohan ṯere sohan ḏu▫ār jī▫o sanṯ ḏẖaram sālā.
O Mohan, your gates are so beautiful. They are the worship-houses of the saints.
ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ਅਪਾਰ ਦੈਆਰ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਸਦਾ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਗਾਵਹੇ ॥
Ḏẖaram sāl apār ḏai▫ār ṯẖākur saḏā kīrṯan gāvhe.
In these incomparable worship-houses, they continually sing kirtan, the praises of their Lord and Master.
ਜਹ ਸਾਧ ਸੰਤ ਇਕਤ੍ਰ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਤਹਾ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਧਿਆਵਹੇ ॥
Jah sāḏẖ sanṯ ikaṯar hovėh ṯahā ṯujẖėh ḏẖi▫āvhe.
Where the saints and the holy gather together, there they meditate on you.
ਕਰਿ ਦਇਆ ਮਇਆ ਦਇਆਲ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹੋਹੁ ਦੀਨ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਰਾ ॥
Kar ḏa▫i▫ā ma▫i▫ā ḏa▫i▫āl su▫āmī hohu ḏīn kirpārā.
Be kind and compassionate, O merciful Lord; be merciful to the meek.
ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਰਸ ਪਿਆਸੇ ਮਿਲਿ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੁਖੁ ਸਾਰਾ ॥੧॥
Binvanṯ Nānak ḏaras pi▫āse mil ḏarsan sukẖ sārā. ||1||
Prays Nanak, I thirst for the blessed vision of your darshan; receiving your darshan, I am totally at peace. ||1||
On hearing this, Mohan opened the door, to find that the Guru himself had come to visit him. Not being totally appeased by the verses he had heard, he reproached the Guru with having taken the Guruship out of his family, and said he had come to steal the religious and literary memorials of his predecessors. The Guru took no notice of his blustering, but proceeded to address him with another stanza;
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੇਰੇ ਬਚਨ ਅਨੂਪ ਚਾਲ ਨਿਰਾਲੀ ॥
Mohan ṯere bacẖan anūp cẖāl nirālī.
O Mohan, your speech is incomparable; wondrous are your ways.
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੂੰ ਮਾਨਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਜੀ ਅਵਰ ਸਭ ਰਾਲੀ ॥
Mohan ṯūŉ mānėh ek jī avar sabẖ rālī.
O Mohan, you believe in the One. Everything else is dust to you.
ਮਾਨਹਿ ਤ ਏਕੁ ਅਲੇਖੁ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਜਿਨਹਿ ਸਭ ਕਲ ਧਾਰੀਆ ॥
Mānėh ṯa ek alekẖ ṯẖākur jinėh sabẖ kal ḏẖārī▫ā.
You adore the One Lord, the knknowable Lord and Master; God's oower gives support to all.
ਤੁਧੁ ਬਚਨਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਵਸਿ ਕੀਆ ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਬਨਵਾਰੀਆ ॥
Ŧuḏẖ bacẖan gur kai vas kī▫ā āḏ purakẖ banvārī▫ā.
Through the Guru's word, you have captured the heart of God, the Lord of the world.
ਤੂੰ ਆਪਿ ਚਲਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਆਪਿ ਸਭ ਕਲ ਧਾਰੀਆ ॥
Ŧūŉ āp cẖali▫ā āp rahi▫ā āp sabẖ kal ḏẖārī▫ā.
You yourself move, and you yourself stand still; You yourself support the whole creation.
ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਪੈਜ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਸਭ ਸੇਵਕ ਸਰਨਿ ਤੁਮਾਰੀਆ ॥੨॥
Binvanṯ Nānak paij rākẖo sabẖ sevak saran ṯumārī▫ā. ||2||
Prays Nanak, please preserve my honor; all your servants seek the protection of your sanctuary. ||2||
Mohan, somewhat softened on hearing this, descended from the upper chamber in which he had been seated, in order to receive his distinguished visitor. The Guru followed up his poetical address with a third stanza;
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਧਿਆਵੈ ਦਰਸ ਧਿਆਨਾ ॥
Mohan ṯuḏẖ saṯsangaṯ ḏẖi▫āvai ḏaras ḏẖi▫ānā.
O Mohan, the Sat Sangat, the true congregation, meditates on you; they meditate on the blessed vision of your darshan.
ਮੋਹਨ ਜਮੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਤੁਧੁ ਜਪਹਿ ਨਿਦਾਨਾ ॥
Mohan jam neṛ na āvai ṯuḏẖ jāpėh niḏānā.
O Mohan, the messenger of death does not even approach those who meditate on you, at the last moment.
ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਤਿਨ ਕਉ ਲਗੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੋ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਧਿਆਵਹੇ ॥
Jamkāl ṯin ka▫o lagai nāhī jo ik man ḏẖi▫āvhe.
The messenger of death cannot touch those who meditate on you single-mindedly.
ਮਨਿ ਬਚਨਿ ਕਰਮਿ ਜਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਅਰਾਧਹਿ ਸੇ ਸਭੇ ਫਲ ਪਾਵਹੇ ॥
Man bacẖan karam jė ṯuḏẖ arāḏẖėh se sabẖe fal pāvhe.
Those who worship and adore you in thought, word and deed, obtain all fruits and rewards.
ਮਲ ਮੂਤ ਮੂੜ ਜਿ ਮੁਗਧ ਹੋਤੇ ਸਿ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਰਸੁ ਸੁਗਿਆਨਾ ॥
Mal mūṯ mūṛ jė mugaḏẖ hoṯe sė ḏekẖ ḏaras sugi▫ānā.
Those who are foolish and stupid, filthy with urine and manure, become all-knowing upon gaining the blessed vision of your darshan.
ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਜੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਪੂਰਨ ਪੁਰਖ ਭਗਵਾਨਾ ॥੩॥
Binvanṯ Nānak rāj nihcẖal pūran purakẖ bẖagvānā. ||3||
Prays Nanak, your kingdom is eternal, O perfect Lord God. ||3||
When Mohan examined the Guru's face, he saw in it such preternatural splendour, that he recognized the light of all the Gurus. He then surrendered the Gurbani he had, deeming the divine Guru before him their proper custodian. Upon this the Guru uttered a fourth stanza, and completed the Gurbani;
ਮੋਹਨ ਤੂੰ ਸੁਫਲੁ ਫਲਿਆ ਸਣੁ ਪਰਵਾਰੇ ॥
Mohan ṯūŉ sufal fali▫ā saṇ parvāre.
O Mohan, you have blossomed forth with the flower of your family.
ਮੋਹਨ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਮੀਤ ਭਾਈ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਸਭਿ ਤਾਰੇ ॥
Mohan puṯar mīṯ bẖā▫ī kutamb sabẖ ṯāre.
O Mohan, your children, friends, siblings and relatives have all been saved.
ਤਾਰਿਆ ਜਹਾਨੁ ਲਹਿਆ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Ŧāri▫ā jahān lahi▫ā abẖimān jinī ḏarsan pā▫i▫ā.
You save those who give up their egotistical pride, upon gaining the blessed vision of your darshan.
ਜਿਨੀ ਤੁਧਨੋ ਧੰਨੁ ਕਹਿਆ ਤਿਨ ਜਮੁ ਨੇੜਿ ਨ ਆਇਆ ॥
Jinī ṯuḏẖno ḏẖan kahi▫ā ṯin jam neṛ na ā▫i▫ā.
The messenger of death does not even approach those who call you 'blessed'.
ਬੇਅੰਤ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਕਥੇ ਨ ਜਾਹੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੁਰਖ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ॥
Be▫anṯ guṇ ṯere kathe na jāhī saṯgur purakẖ murāre.
Your virtues are unlimited - they cannot be described, O True Guru, primal being, destroyer of demons.
ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਟੇਕ ਰਾਖੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਲਗਿ ਤਰਿਆ ਸੰਸਾਰੇ ॥੪॥੨॥
Binvanṯ Nānak tek rākẖī jiṯ lag ṯari▫ā sansāre. ||4||2||
Prays Nanak, yours is that anchor, holding onto which the whole world is saved. ||4||2||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 248
The Guru composed the following also on that occasion;
ਗਉੜੀ ਗੁਆਰੇਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Ga▫oṛī gu▫ārerī mėhlā 5.
Gauree Gwaarayree, Fifth Mehl:
ਹਮ ਧਨਵੰਤ ਭਾਗਠ ਸਚ ਨਾਇ ॥
Ham ḏẖanvanṯ bẖāgaṯẖ sacẖ nā▫e.
I am prosperous and fortunate, for I have received the true name.
ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਹ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Har guṇ gāvah sahj subẖā▫e. ||1|| rahā▫o.
I sing the glorious praises of the Lord, with natural, intuitive ease. ||1||Pause||
ਪੀਊ ਦਾਦੇ ਕਾ ਖੋਲਿ ਡਿਠਾ ਖਜਾਨਾ ॥
Pī▫ū ḏāḏe kā kẖol diṯẖā kẖajānā.
When I opened it up and gazed upon the treasures of my father and grandfather,
ਤਾ ਮੇਰੈ ਮਨਿ ਭਇਆ ਨਿਧਾਨਾ ॥੧॥
Ŧā merai man bẖa▫i▫ā niḏẖānā. ||1||
then my mind became very happy. ||1||
ਰਤਨ ਲਾਲ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਮੋਲੁ ॥
Raṯan lāl jā kā kacẖẖū na mol.
Overflowing with priceless jewels and rubies,
ਭਰੇ ਭੰਡਾਰ ਅਖੂਟ ਅਤੋਲ ॥੨॥
Bẖare bẖandār akẖūt aṯol. ||2||
the storehouse is inexhaustible and immeasurable. ||2||
ਖਾਵਹਿ ਖਰਚਹਿ ਰਲਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਭਾਈ ॥
Kẖāvėh kẖarcẖėh ral mil bẖā▫ī.
The siblings of destiny meet together, and eat and spend,
ਤੋਟਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਵਧਦੋ ਜਾਈ ॥੩॥
Ŧot na āvai vaḏẖ▫ḏo jā▫ī. ||3||
but these resources do not diminish; they continue to increase. ||3||
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸੁ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਲਿਖਾਇ ॥
Kaho Nānak jis masṯak lekẖ likẖā▫e.
Says Nanak, one who has such destiny written on his forehead,
ਸੁ ਏਤੁ ਖਜਾਨੈ ਲਇਆ ਰਲਾਇ ॥੪॥੩੧॥੧੦੦॥
So eṯ kẖajānai la▫i▫ā ralā▫e. ||4||31||100||
becomes a partner in these treasures. ||4||31||100||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 185-186
After this the Guru and Mohan held a long conversation on the subject of the Gurus from the time of Guru Nanak. Mohan was so pleased with the interview, that he pressed his visitor to remain with him. The Guru excused himself on account of the project he had formed to compile the Gurbani of his predecessors. He then left, promising to visit Mohan again whenever he was honoured with an invitation.
On the Guru's return journey to Amritsar he stayed at Khadur Sahib. Datu, Guru Angad's son who had kicked Guru Amar Das off his throne, went to meet him, and for the sake of self-abasement and as an act of contrition put himself the following questions in presence of the Guru;
"How can there be worship without merits?
How can there be honour without learning?
How can there be victory without bravery?
How can there be meditation without mental composure?
How can the heart have peace without contentment?
How can empire be obtained without the performance of meritorious acts?
How can there be divine knowledge without the true Guru ?
How can there be honour without virtue?
Since the ocean of life is unfathomable, how can one cross it without a vessel?
How can there be worship without loving God's lotus feet?
How can there be deliverance without God?
How can there be singing without a tune?
How can one acquire fame without verse, praise without the bestowal of gifts?
The ocean of the world is wide; how can one cross it without the Sikh religion?
How can there be day without the sun?
I had no virtues or good qualities, so how could I have been Guru?
Such have been my reflections."
Datu then narrated all his misconduct to Guru Arjan and the result thereof. He said he still felt pain in his foot which the robbers had injured. He had gone to visit Guru Amar Das on his deathbed, and begged pardon for his violence. Guru Amar Das told him that the fifth Guru would heal him. Guru Arjan, in consideration of Datu's descent, put his hand on the injured limb and made it whole. He then, after a conversation with Datu on the subject of the preceding Gurus, and after an interview with his brother Dasu, set out for Amritsar.
On the Guru's arrival in Amritsar, he made plans for the compilation of the Granth Sahib. A nearby secluded spot was fixed for the purpose, where jand, wild caper, Indian fig, and pipal trees gave good shade, and leafy green plants were pleasing to the eyes. green herbage gratified the eye and afforded a pleasant carpet for the feet. Tents were put up for the accommodation of the Guru and his bards and minstrels.
Guru Arjan also decided to have a modest sarovar constructed there, and set about its excavation. On the completion of the sarovar, and at the time of giving it the name 'Ramsar', the Guru composed the following, which may be understood literally or spiritually;
ਗਉੜੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Ga▫oṛī mėhlā 5.
Gauree, Fifth Mehl:
ਨਿਤਪ੍ਰਤਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਰਾਮ ਸਰਿ ਕੀਜੈ ॥
Niṯparaṯ nāvaṇ rām sar kījai.
Every day, take your bath in the sacred pool of the Lord.
ਝੋਲਿ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Jẖol mahā ras har amriṯ pījai. ||1|| rahā▫o.
Mix and drink in the most delicious, sublime ambrosial nectar of the Lord. ||1||Pause||
ਨਿਰਮਲ ਉਦਕੁ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਕਾ ਨਾਮ ॥
Nirmal uḏak govinḏ kā nām.
The water of the name of the lord of the universe is immaculate and pure.
ਮਜਨੁ ਕਰਤ ਪੂਰਨ ਸਭਿ ਕਾਮ ॥੧॥
Majan karaṯ pūran sabẖ kām. ||1||
Take your cleansing bath in it, and all your affairs shall be resolved. ||1||
ਸੰਤਸੰਗਿ ਤਹ ਗੋਸਟਿ ਹੋਇ ॥
Saṯsang ṯah gosat ho▫e.
In the society of the saints, spiritual conversations take place.
ਕੋਟਿ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਖੋਇ ॥੨॥
Kot janam ke kilvikẖ kẖo▫e. ||2||
The sinful mistakes of millions of incarnations are erased. ||2||
ਸਿਮਰਹਿ ਸਾਧ ਕਰਹਿ ਆਨੰਦੁ ॥
Simrahi sāḏẖ karahi ānanḏ.
The holy saints meditate in remembrance, in ecstasy.
ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਰਵਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦੁ ॥੩॥
Man ṯan ravi▫ā parmānanḏ. ||3||
Their minds and bodies are immersed in supreme ecstasy. ||3||
ਜਿਸਹਿ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣ ਨਿਧਾਨ ॥
Jisahi parāpaṯ har cẖaraṇ niḏẖān.
Who have obtained the treasure of the Lord's feet,
ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਤਿਸਹਿ ਕੁਰਬਾਨ ॥੪॥੯੫॥੧੬੪॥
Nānak ḏās ṯisėh kurbān. ||4||95||164||
slave Nanak is a sacrifice to those. ||4||95||164||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 198-199
When Guru Arjan, started living near the sarovar, he was accompanied by a crowd of Sikhs. He now occupied himself with collecting further materials for his compilation of Gurbani, and with composing Gurbani of his own. He therefore instructed Baba Budha to take his place in Harmandar Sahib, and do duty for him by giving religious instruction to all who presented themselves.
Guru Arjan sent for Bhai Gurdas and appointed him to write the Gurbani of the Gurus from his dictation. He ordered that they should afterwards be translated by learned men into regional and foreign languages, so that they might extend over the whole world as oil spreads over water.
The followers of the principal saints, hindu and muhammadan, since the days of Jaidev, were invited by the Guru to attend and suggest suitable writings for insertion in the sacred volume. They repeated hymns of their respective sects; and such as conformed to the spirit of reform then in vogue, or were not wholly inconsistent with the Guru's teaching, were adopted and incorporated in the Granth.
It may be here conceded that those hymns received some alterations in the process of transmission from the saints to their followers who were contemporaries of Guru Arjan; and this will explain why so many Panjabi words are found in the Bhagats writings, and why they differ from their compositions preserved in other parts of India.
According to the hindu religion it was deemed a sin to listen to the teaching of muslims, to say nothing of Shudras (low castes). It was one of the Guru's objectives to show the world that there was no such superstition in the Sikh religion, and that every person, no matter of what caste or creed, was worthy of honour and reverence.
The Gurbani is arranged according to Raags, or musical measures. The Gurbani of the first Guru, Mehla I, come first, then those of the second Guru, Mehla II, and so on. After the Guru's Gurbani, the Bani of Bhagats, or saints who had previously conceived reformatory ideas, were inserted, though without any fixed order of precedence. Satta, the minstrel who had visited Guru Ram Das, now came and completed the long shabad begun by Balwand by adding the following pauri in praise of Guru Arjan;
ਚਾਰੇ ਜਾਗੇ ਚਹੁ ਜੁਗੀ ਪੰਚਾਇਣੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੋਆ ॥
Cẖāre jāge cẖahu jugī pancẖā▫iṇ āpe ho▫ā.
The four Gurus enlightened the four ages; the Lord itself assumed the fifth form.
ਆਪੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਆਪੁ ਸਾਜਿਓਨੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਥੰਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਖਲੋਆ ॥
Āpīnĥai āp sāji▫on āpe hī thamiĥ kẖalo▫ā.
God created itself, and God itself is the supporting pillar.
ਆਪੇ ਪਟੀ ਕਲਮ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ਲਿਖਣਹਾਰਾ ਹੋਆ ॥
Āpe patī kalam āp āp likẖaṇhārā ho▫ā.
God itself is the paper, God itself is the pen, and God itself is the writer.
ਸਭ ਉਮਤਿ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਵਣੀ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਨਵਾ ਨਿਰੋਆ ॥
Sabẖ umaṯ āvaṇ jāvṇī āpe hī navā niro▫ā.
All God's followers come and go; God alone is fresh and new.
ਤਖਤਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਅਰਜਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਖਿਵੈ ਚੰਦੋਆ ॥
Ŧakẖaṯ baiṯẖā Arjan gurū saṯgur kā kẖivai cẖanḏo▫ā.
Guru Arjan sits on the throne; the royal canopy waves over the True Guru.
ਉਗਵਣਹੁ ਤੈ ਆਥਵਣਹੁ ਚਹੁ ਚਕੀ ਕੀਅਨੁ ਲੋਆ ॥
Ugavṇahu ṯai āthavṇahu cẖahu cẖakī kī▫an lo▫ā.
From east to west, he illuminates the four directions.
ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਨ ਸੇਵਿਓ ਮਨਮੁਖਾ ਪਇਆ ਮੋਆ ॥
Jinĥī gurū na sevi▫o manmukẖā pa▫i▫ā mo▫ā.
Those self-willed manmukhs who do not serve the Guru die in shame.
ਦੂਣੀ ਚਉਣੀ ਕਰਾਮਾਤਿ ਸਚੇ ਕਾ ਸਚਾ ਢੋਆ ॥
Ḏūṇī cẖa▫uṇī karāmāṯ sacẖe kā sacẖā dẖo▫ā.
Your miracles increase two-fold, even four-fold; this is the True Lord's true blessing.
ਚਾਰੇ ਜਾਗੇ ਚਹੁ ਜੁਗੀ ਪੰਚਾਇਣੁ ਆਪੇ ਹੋਆ ॥੮॥੧॥
Cẖāre jāge cẖahu jugī pancẖā▫iṇ āpe ho▫ā. ||8||1||
The four Gurus enlightened the four ages; the Lord itself assumed the fifth form. ||8||1||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Bhai Satta, 968
Kahna, Chhajju, Shah Husain, and Pilo four religious men of Lahore also came and requested the Guru to find a place in his Granth for their compositions. He invited them to give him specimens of their poetical abilities. Kahna was the first to deliver his composition;
"I am He, I am He, whom the Veds and Purans sing, but whom none have found by searching."
This, a deification of Kahna himself (ie. he was treating himself as a God), was promptly rejected by the Guru as rank blasphemy. Chhajju's composition was the following;
"Do not look at a woman, even though she be cut out of paper;
Like a plundering band of Baloches she will take you away and kill you. (Note: Baloches are a people who live mainly in the
Balochistan region of the southeastern-most edge of the Iranian plateau in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan)"
This was rejected as being too derogatory to females. According to Guru Nanak, domestic life was the best of all, and he had no wish to disparage or belittle women. Shah Husain's turn came next. The following was his composition;
"Be silent, my friend, be silent;
There is no necessity, my friend, for speaking;
My friend, there is no necessity for speaking.
Within and without us is the one Lord; to whom else shall we address ourselves?
The one Beloved pervadeth every heart; there is nowhere a second.
Said the humble faqir Husam, I am a sacrifice unto the true Guru."
This was rejected by Guru Arjan on the ground that he did not consider it the duty of holy men to conceal the message which God had commissioned them to give to the world. Pilo, the last to claim the honour of immortality in the Granth Sahib, submitted the following;
"They who have died at their birth are superior to us;
They do not thrust their feet into the mud, and are not polluted."
This was also rejected on the ground that better is the man who struggles with the world to make his life profitable than he who quits the scene at the outset.
Krishan Lai and Har Lal, two elderly learned pandits of Banaras, came to behold the Guru. They told him that Guru Nanak had given them much instruction on his visit to their holy city. That instruction was now incorporated in the 'Asa Ki War', and had become the common property of men; but they came to Guru Arjan to receive from him special instruction to suit their own particular case.
Guru Arjan composed what are called the 'Sahaskriti sloks', written in a species of Prakrit (which could be any of the ancient or medieval vernacular dialects of north and central India which existed alongside or were derived from Sanskrit), for their edification. To these compositions he subsequently added the Gatha, now found near the end of the Granth Sahib.
Guru Arjan, probably to make trial of his learned and able scribe Bhai Gurdas, whose compositions he admired, offered to insert them in the Granth; but Bhai Gurdas said that they were not worthy of such honour. The Guru complimented him on his modesty and ability, and said that whoever read the Bhai's writings should acquire spiritual profit and instruction and faith in the teachings of the holy Gurus. Indeed, Bhai Gurdas's writings are said to be the key that unlocks the Gurbani of the Guru Granth.
Several bards who had accepted the Sikh religion appeared before the Guru, and offered him panegyrics (a public speech) of himself and his predecessors. The Guru graciously gave such compositions a place in the sacred volume. When all the hymns for insertion had been determined on, the Guru sat within his tent and dictated them to Bhai Gurdas. After much time and labour the volume was completed on the first day of the light half of Bhadon, Sambat 1661 (1604 AD). The Guru then wrote the Mundavani. The Mundavani is as follows;
ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Munḏāvaṇī mėhlā 5.
Mundaavanee, Fifth Mehl:
ਥਾਲ ਵਿਚਿ ਤਿੰਨਿ ਵਸਤੂ ਪਈਓ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੋ ॥
Thāl vicẖ ṯinn vasṯū pa▫ī▫o saṯ sanṯokẖ vīcẖāro.
Upon this Plate, three things have been placed: truth, contentment and contemplation.
ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਾ ਪਇਓ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਸਭਸੁ ਅਧਾਰੋ ॥
Amriṯ nām ṯẖākur kā pa▫i▫o jis kā sabẖas aḏẖāro.
The ambrosial nectar of the Naam, the name of our Lord and Master, has been placed upon it as well; it is the support of all.
ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਵੈ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਭੁੰਚੈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੋ ॥
Je ko kẖāvai je ko bẖuncẖai ṯis kā ho▫e uḏẖāro.
One who eats it and enjoys it shall be saved.
ਏਹ ਵਸਤੁ ਤਜੀ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਰਖੁ ਉਰਿ ਧਾਰੋ ॥
Ėh vasaṯ ṯajī nah jā▫ī niṯ niṯ rakẖ ur ḏẖāro.
This thing can never be forsaken; keep this always and forever in your mind.
ਤਮ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਚਰਨ ਲਗਿ ਤਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੋ ॥੧॥
Ŧam sansār cẖaran lag ṯarī▫ai sabẖ Nānak barahm pasāro. ||1||
The dark world-ocean is crossed over, by grasping the Feet of the Lord; O Nanak, it is all the extension of God. ||1||
After this the Guru in his self-abasement (humility) inserted the following slok;
ਸਲੋਕ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Salok mėhlā 5.
Shalok, Fifth Mehl:
ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਤੋ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਨੋ ਜੋਗੁ ਕੀਤੋਈ ॥
Ŧerā kīṯā jāṯo nāhī maino jog kīṯo▫ī.
I have not appreciated what you have done for me, Lord; only you can make me worthy.
ਮੈ ਨਿਰਗੁਣਿਆਰੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਆਪੇ ਤਰਸੁ ਪਇਓਈ ॥
Mai nirguṇi▫āre ko guṇ nāhī āpe ṯaras pa▫i▫o▫ī.
I am unworthy - I have no worth or virtues at all. You have taken pity on me.
ਤਰਸੁ ਪਇਆ ਮਿਹਰਾਮਤਿ ਹੋਈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਜਣੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ॥
Ŧaras pa▫i▫ā mihrāmaṯ ho▫ī saṯgur sajaṇ mili▫ā.
You took pity on me, and blessed me with your mercy, and I have met the True Guru, my friend.
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾਂ ਜੀਵਾਂ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਥੀਵੈ ਹਰਿਆ ॥੧॥
Nānak nām milai ṯāŉ jīvāŉ ṯan man thīvai hari▫ā. ||1||
O Nanak, if I am blessed with the Naam, I live, and my body and mind blossom forth. ||1||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 1429
Raag Mala literally means a beaded string of musical melodies. "Mala" means "a beaded string" and "Raag" is a "musical composition". It is the name given to the last composition in the Guru Granth Sahib appearing after Mundavani (riddle) and a Slok by Guru Arjan. Like Japji Sahib, which appears at the beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib this composition has no heading to show the name of the author.
The traditional position among all Sikhs and the official position of all Sikh Gurdwara management committees worldwide including the SGPC in Punjab is that Ragamala is a part of the Guru Granth Sahib and it must be included in all printed copies of this sacred scripture. The Sikh Rehat maryada mentions;
"The reading of the whole Guru Granth Sahib (intermittent or non-stop) may be concluded with the reading of Mundawani or the Rag Mala according to the convention traditionally observed at the concerned place. (Since there is a difference of opinion within the Panth on this issue, nobody should dare to write or print a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib excluding the Raag Mala)."
The Guru invited all his Sikhs to see the precious compilation, the fruit of so much anxious labour, and distributed sacred food amongst them as a thanksgiving for the completion of his toil. The volume was by the advice of Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas kept at Harmandar Sahib.
At the conclusion of his task the Guru told his Sikhs that the Granth Sahib was the embodiment of the Gurus, and should therefore be held in extreme reverence. He then considered to whom he could entrust the sacred volume. If he entrusted it to the Bedis, Tehans, Bhallas, or Sodhis the tribes from whom the Gurus had sprung they might become proud, and consider themselves far superior to their surroundings; or they might perchance, owing to their mutual jealousies and quarrels, treat it with disrespect.
Guru Arjan therefore decided on giving charge of it to Baba Budha, who had seen Guru Nanak, whose devotion had been often tried, and who would perform the duty with reverence and love. And so, Baba Budha became the first Granthi. Supplementary to the instructions contained in the Granth Sahib the Guru prescribed the rites to be observed on the decease of a Sikh, and also on occasions of rejoicing.
When Baba Budha first opened the sacred volume in the temple, his eyes fell on the Gurbani quoted above, beginning, "The creator stood in the midst of the work," which he regarded as favourable and having a direct reference to the compilation of the Guru Granth.
Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji gave the Adi Granth to Bhai Bano to take to Lahore for binding. On the way, Bhai Bano prepared a copy. This is known as Bhai Bano’s copy. Guru Arjan kept the original after the binding. This copy passed into the custody of Bhai Dhirmal, son of Sri Guru Hargobind.
Subsequently some Sikhs brought this copy to the ninth Guru who returned it to Dhirmal. It is said that Sri Guru Gobind Singh stayed at Damdama Sahib for nine months in 1706 and dictated the whole Adi Granth to Bhai Mani Singh. Undoubtedly, the Guru expunged certain unauthorised pieces which had crept into some pirated copies and gave it a final form.
Associated with Sri Guru Ram Das Ji, Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji.
It was here that Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji completed the Adi Granth, the first Guru Granth of the Sikhs.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors