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The manuscript of the Sikh Gurus' hymns contained in Guru Granth Sahib were handed down by Guru Nanak to Guru Angad: by Guru Angad to Guru Amardas and by Guru Amardas to Guru Ramdas. Guru Amardas compiled the first Granth (book) of the hymns. Guru Arjan Dev compiled the first edition of the Granth, called the Adi Granth. He started the preparation of the Granth in August, 1601, and completed it in August, 1604. The scribe of the Granth was Bhai Gurdas, an uncle of Guru Arjan. The place of compilation of the Granth is Ramsar (Amritsar). Guru Gobind Singh compiled the second edition of the Granth in 1706 at Damdama Sahib near Bhatinda, Punjab. The scribe was Bhai Mani Singh, a classmate of Guru Gobind Singh.
Guru Gobind Singh bestowed upon the Granth the Guruship at Nanded in 1708. Munshi Sant Singh, author of the Sikh history, composed the most popular verse in 1865 which a Sikh recites daily after his prayer. "All community should recognize Guru Granth as the Guru. All obey the commandments contained therein. Recognize the Granth as the visible body of the Guru. The Sikh who wishes to meet me should find me there."
Praise for the Guru has been part of Sikh history since the time of the first Guru. The Gurus did not praise themselves. They called themselves as humble servants of God and worked in the service of mankind. It were only the successive Gurus who praised and appreciated the works of the predecessor Gurus. It were the Bhatts (singers) in the time of Guru Arjan Dev who praised the Gurus. While writing about the Guru's greatness, one "Bhatt" (singer) by name "Mathura" wrote in the praise of Guru Arjan Dev: "Whoever meditates on Guru Arjun Dev, shall not have to pass through the painful womb of reincarnation ever again. ||6||" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib -page 1409).
Praise of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by modern Scholars
The Sikh scriptures are unique among the religious "Holy Books" of the world in that they don't just offer spiritual guidance for the Sikhs alone but impart guidance and assistance for all the peoples and religions of the world.
The Siri Guru Granth is a supreme treasure for all mankind. It is the true and permanent spiritual guide of the Sikhs. Guru Granth Sahib transcends creed and caste, cant and convention. It does not belong to the Sikhs alone. It consecrates the sayings of 11 Hindu bhagats and as many bard poets and seven Muslim saints, along with the teachings of six Sikh gurus. No other religion has included in its holy book the sayings of others, however revered. The Guru Granth Sahib provides unique and unequalled guidance and advice to the whole of the human race. It is the torch that will lead humanity out of Kaljug, (the dark era) to a life in peace, tranquillity and spiritual enlightenment for all the nations of the World.
Rev. H.L. Bradshaw of the U.S.A., Sikh Review, Calcutta.
Sikhism is a Universal world Faith…a message for all men. This is amply illustrated in the writings of the Gurus.
Sikhs must cease to think of their faith as just another good religion and must begin to think of Sikhism being the religion for this New Age.
The Guru Granth Sahib of all the world religious scriptures, alone states that there are innumerable worlds and universes other than our own. The previous scriptures were all concerned only with this world and its spiritual counterpart. To imply that they spoke of other worlds as does the Guru Granth Sahib, is to stretch their obvious meanings out of context. The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of the modern man.
Miss Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate
Miss Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel laureate wrote: When I was in India in 1962, one of the notable events of my Visit was the presentation to me of the English version of Sri Guru-Granth Sahib, translated and annotated by Dr. Gopal Singh. I was deeply grateful to receive this great work, for in the original it was inaccessible to me, and this was a matter of regret, for I have had many Sikh friends, and have always admired their qualities of character. Now that I have had time in my quiet Pennsylvania home to read their scriptures slowly and thoughtfully, I can understand why I have found so much to admire. The religion of a people has a profound and subtle influence upon them as a whole, and this is true whether individuals do or do not profess to be religious.
I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length and are a revelation of the concept of God to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzled me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century when explorers were beginning to discover the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
Archer in his book on Sikh faith
The religion of the Guru Granth is a universal and practical religion…Due to ancient prejudices of the Sikhs it could not spread in the world. The world needs today its message of peace and love.
Dorothy Field in her book, The Sikh Religion
Pure Sikhism is far above dependence on Hindu rituals and is capable of a distinct position as a world religion so long as Sikhs maintain their distinctiveness. The religion is also one which should appeal to the occidental mind. It is essentially a practical religion. If judged from the pragmatic standpoint which is a favorite point of view in some quarters, it would rank almost first in the world (emphasis by the author). Of no other religion can it be said that it has made a nation in so short a time.
The religion of the Sikhs is one of the most interesting at present existing in India, possibly indeed in the whole world. A reading of the Granth strongly suggests that Sikhism should be regarded as a new and separate world religion rather than a reformed sect of Hinduism.
Arnold Toynbee, a historian
Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889 – 1975) was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934-1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global perspective. His work includes over 50 titles on various aspects of world history.
Toynbee has given very high and prominent place to the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Sikh History. He calls Guru Ji a "divinity of highest rank." He gets emotional when he writes about Guru Sahib’s contribution in the formation of Khalsa. Again and again he emphasizes the fact that there cannot be any person like the Sikh Gurus.
(Foreward to the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs by UNESCO)
Mankind’s religious future may be obscure; yet one thing can be foreseen. The living higher religions are going to influence each other more than ever before, in the days of increasing communications between all parts of the world and branches of human race. In this coming religious debate, the Sikh religion and its scriptures, the Guru Granth, will have something special of value to say to the rest of the world.
Dr. W.O. Cole of U.K.
who has written more than half a dozen books on Sikhism. In 1985, he visited India where in a keynote lecture by him on the Mission and Message of Guru Nanak Dev, he gave a message to the Sangat there and through them to all of humanity:
Remember the tenets of Guru Nanak, his concepts of oneness of God and Universal Brotherhood of man. If any community holds the key to national integration of India, it is the Sikhs all the way.
After the lecture, he was asked what drew him to the study of Sikhism. (Quoted from Spokesman, Toronto, Canada) He replied:
Theologically, I cannot answer the question what drew me to the study of Sikhism. You may call it, the purpose of God. But to be more specific, the unique concept of universality and the system of Langar (free community meal) in Sikhism are the two features that attract me towards the study of Sikhism. Langar is the exclusive feature of Sikhism and found nowhere else in the world. Sikhism is the only religion which welcomes each and every one to its langar without any discrimination of caste, creed, color, or sex.
This is the man who destroyed Christianity (same applies to Islam and Judaism) and exposed its absurdities; but even this great man got stuck when it came to Sikhism! In fact he gave up and said "that if some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them." Russell was asked that he was talking about the third world war, but isn't this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? In reply, Russell said, "Yes, it has the capability, but the Sikhs have not brought out in the broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of this religion which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it."
Swami Nitya Nand
A Hindu mystics mentions his experiences with the Sikh faith. (he is believed to have expired at the age of 135 years) writes in his book “Gur Gian”:
I, in the company of my guru, Brahma Nand Ji, went to Mathura…While on pilgrimage tour, we reached Punjab and here we met Swami Satya Nand Udasi. He explained the philosophy and religious practices of Nanak in such a way that Swami Brahma Nand Ji enjoyed a mystic lore. During the visit to the Golden Temple, Amritsar, his soul was so much affected that he became a devotee of the Guru. After spending some time in Punjab he went to Hardwar. Though he was hail and hearty, one day I saw tears in his eyes. I asked the reason for that.
He replied, “I sifted sand the whole of my life. The truth was in the house of Nanak. I will have to take one more birth in that house, only then will I attain Kalyan.”
After saying that the soul left his body.
Swami Nitya Nand also wrote his own experience:
I also constantly meditate on Waheguru revealed by Nanak. I practiced Yoga Asanas under the guidance of Yogis and did that for many years; the bliss and peace which I enjoy now was never obtained earlier.
President George W. Bush
Our Nation has always benefited from a strong tradition of faith, and religious diversity has been an important part of this heritage. The Guru Granth Sahib has provided strength, wisdom, and guidance to hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in America and millions more around the world.
I applaud the Sikh community for your compassion and dedication to your faith. By sharing its message of peace, equality, and the importance of family, you help change lives, one heart and one soul at a time. Bush added, Laura (Bush’s wife) joins me in sending our best wishes.
Authenticity of Guru Granth Sahib
This is what Max Arthur Macauliffe writes about the authenticity of the Guru's teaching:
"The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote of his tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophanes. Buddha has left no written memorial of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucius, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social system. The founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing and for them we are obliged to trust to the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Arabian Prophet did not himself reduce to writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of Sikh Gurus are preserved and we know at first hand what they taught."
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Dr Gopal Singh
- Pearl S Buck
- Dr Gopal Singh
- SGGS offers guidance for all
- Guru Granth Sahib