- Japji Sahib Translation by Premjit Singh Pruthi - Download *.rtf file here
Japji Sahib is ‘Dhur’ ki Bani. ‘Dhur’ is root or the origin. Japji Sahib, therefore, is the Bani that has originated from the Lord Himself. This was revealed to Guru Nanak on His penance in the river Beni, where He attained enlightenment at the age of 31 years.
Japji Shaib is a masterful composition that gives sufficient spiritual knowledge about God in a very concise manner – This Bani tells us about the broad Virtues/attributes of God, how he created the universe (ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾੳ), what is God’s purpose of giving human form on mother earth (ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ॥)and more importantly, He reveals how this purpose (salvation) can be achieved by the mortals on this earth (ਏਤੁ ਰਾਹਿ ਪਤਿ ਪਵੜੀਆ ਚੜੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਇਕੀਸ). He also reveals the milestones to be crossed or benchmarks (Dharm Khand, Gyan Khand, Sarm Khand, Karm Khand, Sach Khand) to be used to evaluate our progress on the path to spiritual evolution.
In the process He also breaks some of the myths/beliefs prevalent during His times – that the Bull is holding the Earth patiently on its horns, that pilgrimage, penance, acts of charity (ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ) are simple ways to earn the Lord’s Grace. He reveals that it is the Lord’s Divine cosmic force that is holding the entire expanse in its place; that physical acts of purification at pilgrim centres or mechanical recitation of bani is of no avail in the Lord’s Court. More important is the requirement to spiritually cleanse the mind of its impurities (Kaam, krodh, lobh, moh & ahankaar) by listening to, accepting (ਸੁਣਿਆ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਭਾਉ), and living by the teachings of the Guru (ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ; ਏਤੁ ਰਾਹਿ ਪਤਿ ਪਵੜੀਆ ਚੜੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਇਕੀਸ).
He explains the working of the law of Karma (ਕਰਮੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਹੋਇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ.; ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ). He emphasises that human form is acquired by a mortal on the basis of his karmas, but salvation can be attained only by earning His Grace(ਕਰਮੀ ਆਵੈ ਕਪੜਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ).
In summary, Japji Sahib is a composite Bani that covers almost all aspects of spirituality. In fact, it could be said to be the essence of the ‘Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib’. That is why Guru Arjan Devji rightly placed this Bani -- a jewel in the crown of spiritual knowledge, as a prologue to the Granth Sahib. By practicing, that is, by living as per the teachings revealed by Guru Nanak in this Bani, one can hope to achieve salvation.
Essence: Mool Mantra: The Virtues/characteristics of God cannot be fully described in words. In the ‘Moolmantra’ Guru Nanak Devji describes the very broad attributes of God/Akaal Purukh, whom he reverentially (respectfully) calls as the ‘Guru’