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Evolution and Significance of the Guru Granth Sahib in Sikhism

August 16, 2023

Although Guru Nanak and his followers were seen as regular people, the shabad (word) of their hymns is revered as God’s own Word. It originates in an intimate relationship with God. The collected hymns eventually became known as Guru, or the Guru Granth Sahib, because it is through them that one gains knowledge of God.

Guru Nanak considered himself a conduit for the Holy Word, and he wrote down his hymns with great care. This poem was augmented by the hymns of Guru Amardas (1479-1574). Guru Arjan (1563–1606), the fifth guru, is widely credited with compiling the first complete collection of scripture in its present form. Sikh scripture is unique in that it contains the inspired hymns of non-Sikhs, as he compiled the hymns of the first four gurus and added some of his own, as well as those of fifteen Hindu and Muslim saints.

It was Bhai Gurdas, a respected member of Guru Arjan’s community, who wrote the first draft of the Adi Granth, often known as the “First Book.” The Gurmukhi script, unique to the Sikh religion and the songs of the Holy Book, was used. When the Darbar Sahib shrine in Amritsar was finally finished in 1604, Guru Arjan publicly installed the Adi Granth there.

Guru Gobind Singh (1675–1708), the tenth guru, completed the final recension of the Adi Granth. Before he died in 1708, he did something of critical importance: he moved the Guruship from a human successor to the Granth (scripture) and the Panth (community), with the Granth serving as the spiritual embodiment of the Guru and the Panth as the physical manifestation. Initiated Sikhs are now known as Guru Khalsa Panth, and the Sikh text is known as the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh community is energized and inspired by the text since it includes God’s word. Not the book itself, but the words of God’s revelation it contains are holy.

Sikhs gather regularly to worship by reading from and singing from the holy book of Guru Granth Sahib. At the gurdwara, during communal gatherings, the scripture is placed on a canopied altar. The Guru Granth Sahib is referred to when choosing a name for a kid. They make a ring around the Bible as a symbol of their marriage. On auspicious occasions, Sikhs engage in the Akhand path, a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.

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