The Guru Granth Sahib is truely unique among the world's great scriptures. It is considered the Supreme Spiritual Authority and Head of the Sikh religion, rather than any living person. It is also the only scripture of it's kind which not only contains the works of it's own religious founders but also writings of people from other faiths. The living Guru of the Sikhs (not considered as a mere book) is held in great reverence by Sikhs and treated with the utmost respect.
Sikhism rejects idol worship, so the Guru Granth Sahib is not worshipped as an idol. Instead emphasis is placed on the writings which appear within, also known as Gurbani. Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of devotional hymns and poetry which proclaims God, prayer for the True Guru (God), and lays down moral and ethical rules for development of the soul, spiritual salvation and unity with God.
The Guru Granth Sahib serves as the symbolic representation of the Gurus, who are considered as only one, Guru Nanak, the light of whose soul passed on to each of his successors one by one. The hymns establish a deep spiritual unity between man and God. The hymns of Bhaktas represent three schools of thought, Vaishnavism of Rama Nand, Krishna cult of Surdas and Sufism of Farid.
The Guru Granth Sahib, though purely a religious work, throws some light on political, social and cultural conditions of the times. In his hymns Guru Nanak called the kings butchers on account of their fanaticism and misgovernment. Guru Sahib compared the government officials with dogs because of their greed and lust. He depicts the sad plight of women in Babar's camp. Guru Sahib also makes a reference to the social customs practised at the time of a girl's marriage. Against the existing usage, Nanak accorded an equal status to women in his congregations and langars.
Guru Amar Das in his hymns incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib advised his disciples not to retaliate against their cruel treatment by muslim officials in particular and muslim population in general. Guru Sahib condemned sati, infanticide and purdah, and considerably added to the status of women.
Similarly Guru Arjan mentions Sulhi Khan's cruel conduct against him. Guru Tegh Bahadur also refers indirectly to the paralytic state of hindus under Aurangzeb.
The arrangement of the Guru Granth Sahib based upon Ragas gives us aglimpse into the development of Indian music. In matters religious the Guru Granth Sahib affords a unique example of tolerance, as it contains hymns of hindu and muslim saints.
Useful information is also gathered about the food and dress of the people and about the various ceremonies, practices and institutions prevalent in society. For instance, there are references to chewing of pan, (betel-leaf), wearing of dhotis and blue clothes, prevalence of sari and purdah, existence of varidus castes and professions, sources of amusements and performance of numerous kinds of rites by the people.
Here and there the reader comes across enchanting scenes of nature's majesty. One is struck with the sublime beauty of dawn, birds singing the glory of sunrise, magnificence of rainy clouds, sweet music of rainfall and the cuckoo, the intoxicating dance of peacocks in mango groves, leaping deer in the jungles, and smiling grainfields.
Everybody, man or woman, rich and poor, high and low, any caste, creed or colour, can have a dip without any restriction. The Guru Granth Sahib purifies heart, stimulates mind and animates the soul. The Guru Granth Sahib is a repository of many languages.
The Guru Granth Sahib is written in the Gurmukhī script, in various dialects, including Lahnda (Western Punjabi), Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Sanskrit, Sindhi and Persian – often coalesced under the generic title of Sant Bhasha. The compositions of Rama Nand and Kabir are in pure hindi. Farid's verses are in pure Punjabi. The language of Trilochan and Namdev is Marathi. Guru Granth Sahib contains words of Lehndi, Persian and Sindhi also.
The Guru Granth Sahib embraces territorially the whole of India and people of all castes and creeds. The Gurus themselves and Farid, a muslim saint, belonged to Punjab, Surdas to Haryana, Kabir, Rama Nand and Ravidas to U.P., Jaidev to Bengal, Namdev, and Trilochan to Maharashtra, Sain to Madhya Pradesh, Dhanna to Rajasthan, and Sadhna to Sind.
As regards religion Farid, Kabir and Mardana were muslims. Of the hindu castes Jaidev, Rama Nand and Surdas were Brahmans. The Gurus were Kshatriyas. Trilochan was a Vaish, Namdev. Ravidas, Sadhna and Sain were Shudras. and Dhanna was a Jat. The Guru Granth Sahib is indeed the greatest work of Punjabi literature.
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)
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