(Dya Singh of Australia)
Who is my Guru?
We sing a couplet (dohera) after ‘Ardaas’ (supplication):-
Aagea bheyi Akaal ki, tebhi chelayo Panth,
Sabh Sikhan ko hukm hai,
GURU MANEO GRANTH.
By the order of the Timeless Being, the ‘Path’ to be followed by the Khalsa was shown.(To walk that path) all Sikhs are ordered henceforth, to accept the Granth as the Guru.
But are not the ten human Guru Ji’s our Gurus?
Yes they are, through Guru Granth Sahib. We invoke their spirit whenever we do the Ardaas. They were different human forms (Guru personalities) but with the same Guiding Light of Guru Nanak Sahib, which received Waheguru’s message for humankind in Gurbani, the Guru’s Word, the Revealed Word. For that reason, the essence of the message of Sikhee is in the everlasting Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Therefore, Guru Granth Sahib represents all Guru personalities and teaching received from Waheguru through them. Ultimately, it is the Guru’s teaching in Guru Granth Sahib (The Word Guru) which is our everlasting Guru.
Was the idea of the Aad Granth becoming the Guru the initiative of our tenth Guru Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Ji?
The answer is an emphatic ‘NO’. It was pre-ordained and referred to right from Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Let us find out how that is so.
Let us start with Guru Nanak Sahib. Gurbani (the word of God) used to come to him from God Almighty at different times and his inspiration was the rebeck (a Middle Eastern stringed instrument. My musical companion Keith Preston, plays a similar instrument) of his life-long Muslem companion, Bhai Mardhana. Hence the famous line which you would have heard – “Mardanea, shaid rebarb, bani aayee” (O my friend Mardana, touch the strings of your rebeck, I can sense the coming of the ‘Word of God’).
“As the Lord’s Word comes to me, O Lalo, so do I deliver it” GGS p. 722
As a side note, it is worth noting that Guru Nanak Sahib then used to note the verses down and also the musical scale in which the ‘Word’ used to come. These notes which Guru Ji wrote into a book, came to be called the Pothi Sahib. The Pothi Sahib was added to, by our second to fourth Guru Ji’s and then compiled, including the inspirational writings of about thirty other sages from as far back as the 12th Century, considered relevant by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji himself, and hence the Aadh Granth was compiled by our fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in 1604. This Aad Granth was adopted as the embodiment of the spirit of all ten Guru Ji’s by Guru Gobind Singh Ji after he had inserted the revealed Word of God to his own earthly father and ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, in 1708. So, this year (2008) we celebrate the 300 Anniversary of the Aad Granth becoming the final Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
So back to the question, ‘Was it the initiative of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji to make the Aad Granth the Guru in 1708 or was it pre-ordained’?
The glory of our faith, Sikhee, is that though it passed through the hands of ten Guru Ji’s in human form over a period of two hundred years, the consistency in thought and action is so remarkable that it will appear as if the same ‘being’ directed its progress. Well, that is true because it was always the guiding Light (Jot) of Guru Nanak Sahib.
In this case we are discussing the progress of the ‘Word of God’ through ten generations of Guru Ji’s in human form to become the ultimate ‘Guru’ – our Guru. It was pre-ordained and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji merely carried out a pre-ordained transition in 1708.
Guru Nanak Sahib Ji makes numerous mentions of the ‘Shabad’ or ‘Bani’ (both meaning ‘Word of God’) being the Guru.
The Word is the Guru and my mind in reflective meditation , the disciple. GGS p 943
The profound and unfathomable ‘Sabad’ is his Guru and spiritual guide. Without the ‘Sabad’ the world is gone mad. GGS p 635
This consistency is carried on by third Guru Ji, Sri Guru Amar Das
“Hail, hail, the word of the Guru. which is the Formless Lord Himself. There is none other, nothing else to be reckoned equal to it.” GGS p 515
Fourth Guru Sahib says
“Bani, the word of God, is the Guru, the Guru is Bani, in ‘Bani’ is the nectar of life.” GGS p. 982
Our fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji says,
“I myself know not what to speak, all I speak is what the Lord commands.” GGS p 762
“As You inspire me to speak, so do I speak, O Lord. What other power do I have to speak? Nanak, sings His Praises in the holy congregation which is very dear to Lord.” GGS p 508
So, all the above quotations, which have been taken directly from our Guru Ji, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and as revealed to our Guru Ji’s in human form, show beyond doubt that first of all, we possess the authentic ‘Word of God’ and secondly, that our Guru Ji is the Granth – Guru Maneo Granth.
How do we fully utilise our ‘Guru’ to benefit us in this life form as human beings, and as Sikhs?
By spending time with our Guru. It is not good enough that we ‘metha tek’ to Guru Ji. We need to read Bani, to sing Bani, to learn Gurmukhi so that we can read Bani in the original language of the Guru Ji’s – Gurmukhi and as time goes on and we read and sing Bani, we will come to understand Bani. Every process from reading, singing and finally understanding our Guru Ji makes us better human beings because it is the ‘nectar of life’.
Dya Singh (Australia)
Editor’s note: Sardar Dya Singh is the world renowned Gurbani sangeetkar who has taken the universal message of Gurbani to global Sikh and non-Sikhs audiences in his unique “world music” style, while retaining Gurbani Raag bases.)
Gurmukh Singh (UK)