By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Granth-Sahib, Granth-SAhib, Granth-Saahib
Granth-Sāhib literally means ‘the Master-Book’.
Sikhism is the youngest of all the religions in the world. It was started by Guru Nānak (CE 1469-1539) and developed and nourished by nine more Gurus of whom the last was the illustrious Guru Gobind Singh (CE 1666-1708).
Sikh Guru's Contribution in Granth-Sāhib
The basic scripture of Sikhism is the Ādi-Granth, also known as Granth Sāhib or Śri Guru Granth-Sāhib. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev (CE 1563-1606) compiled the original edition of the Granth-Sāhib in CE 1604. Then it was revised by Guru Gobind Singh in A. D. 1705 by including the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahādur (CE 1621-1675) also. In CE 1708, he declared that there would be no more Gurus to guide the Sikhs. The Book itself would be the Guru and hence it should be revered very much.
Hymns of Sikh Gurus
The Book comprises of 6000 hymns. The Gurus represented and the hymns composed by them are as follows:
- Guru Nānak - 974 hymns
- Guru Aṅgad - 62 hymns
- Guru Amar Das- 907 hymns
- Guru Arjan Dev - 2,218 hymns
- Guru Tegh Bahādur - 115 hymns
Hymns of Saints
Compositions of other saints, known as Bhagats, have also been included. The saints whose hymns forms a part of the book are:
- 61 hymns of the Maharashtrian saint Nāmdev (CE 1270-1350)
- 39 of the mocī (shoe-maker caste) saint Raidas (15th cent. CE)
- 226 of Kabīr (CE 1440-1518)
Content of Granth- Sāhib
The Book starts with the Japji, the famous morning prayer. This is followed by Rahiras and Kirtan Sohila the evening and night prayers. The gist of its teaching is that God is one and his name is Sat or Truth. He is free from the cycle of birth and death. He can be realized only by the grace of the Guru. He also lives in our bodies. Repeating God’s nāma or name and remembering him through it is the chief mode of spiritual discipline.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore