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The Sikh Holy Scriptures  

 

Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the central text of Sikhism, is considered to be the 'Supreme Spiritual Authority' for the Sikhs. Known as the sovereign 'Living Guru', the book is held in great reverence by the Sikh community. SriGuru Granth Sahib or SGGS is a collection of devotional hymns, teachings and poetry of the Sikh Gurus, and other great saints of Hindu and Muslim faith.The holy book, is written in Gurmukhi script and divided in 1430 pages (known as Angs). Its hymns and teachings are called Gurbani or Bani or "Word of the Guru."


The copy of scriptures arranged together by the fifth Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563-1606) was called the Adi Granth. The final version compiled by the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708), which included hymns of the ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, is known as the GuruGranth Sahib. The religious verses of Guru Gobind Singh were not included in the Guru Granth Sahib, but some of his religious writings are compiled in a non-religious volume known as the Dasam Granth.

Shortly before his death in 1708, Guru Gobind Singhdeclared that there would be no more physical Gurus after him, and that Guru Granth Sahib was to be considered the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. By doing so, Guru Gobind Singh transferred all spiritual authority to the dual agency of Guru Granth Sahib and the Khalsa Panth (community of Sikh followers). The Guru also instructed that the Khalsa Panth would collectively resolve all issues relating to the body of Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh then sang a self-composed hymn (used in Sikh prayers):

Agya Bhai Akal Ki Tabe Chalyo Panth, Sabh Sikhan Ko Hukam Hai Guru Manyo Granth

As was ordained by the Timeless, thus was established the Panth. To all Sikhs, let this be the order, recognize the Granth as your Guru.

Therefore, for the Sikh community, Guru Granth Sahib is the 'living embodiment of the Guru' and is said to imbibe living Spirit of the Ten Sikh Gurus.  Though they treat it with utmost respect, they do not worship it. 

Reverence to Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)

In Gurdwaras, GuruGranth Sahib is respectfully placed on an elevated structure (in the centre of the main Gurdwara hall) under a canopy, amidst lot of decorations like flowers and heavily embroidered cloths (donated by the devotees) with incense sprinkled around it.

At night, after finishing the daily devotions and reciting the evening scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib is kept in a separate room inside the Gurdwara. During this daily ritual, as the congregation (Sangat) recites and sings scriptures, a devotee places the SGGS on his head and carries it respectfully to its night abode.

Then, in wee hours of dawn, Guru Granth Sahib is taken out of its place of night rest and respectfully placed again at the elevated structure inside the main hall. This is a daily routine followed in the Gurdwaras world over.

It is Sikh tradition for devotees to carry Guru Granth Sahib on their heads. They do so with full reverence and respect, as Granth is the 'Living Guru'. 

Gurbani and Gutkas

The compositions and teachings of the Sikh Gurus are known as Gurbani (Word of Guru).  The extracts from Guru Granth Sahib, which contain sections of Gurbani, are compiled in small booklets called Gutkas. So there are Gutkas for various devotions of morning, evening and night. Most people prefer Gutkas as they are easy to handle and carry. The Gutkas are considered sacred but they are not accorded the status of Guru Granth Sahib. 

 

Other Sikh Holy Scriptures

Apart from Guru Granth Sahib, there are other Sikh scriptures too, but their authenticity and relevance remains debatable to this day. These are

· Dasam Granth (Holy book of Guru Gobind Singh)

· Hukamnama (Letters written by Sikh Gurus)

 
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