Sri Guru Granth Sahib (The Holy Scripture)
Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Adi Granth) is the Sikh Holy Scripture. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev, compiled the sacred writings of the first Gurus and also those of some Hindu and Muslims saints whose views were in accord with Sikh principles. This large volume is known as Adi Granth, is written in Gurmukhi, and contains 1430 pages.
Later on, Guru Gobind Singh added writings of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru Gobind Singh declared that there would be no more Gurus in human form after this death. The Sikhs would recognize the Adi Granth as their perpetual Guru. Therefore, it is called Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikhs respect it as a living Guru.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib starts with Mool Mantar, Guru Nanak’s description of God.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib is written in poetic form and contains the philosophy of Sikhism. The basic Sikh principles contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are love of God and mankind, community service, gender equality, honest living and tolerance of other religions. Honest living is the best form of worship in Sikhism.
The Guru’s teachings forbid Sikhs from worshipping idols and deities, fasting, and performing rituals. The Guru attached great importance to family life.
The Sikhs do not worship any Gurur or Sri Guru Granth Sahib as an idol or deity. Instead they worship and reverse the teachings of God revealed through sacred writings. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is central to all the Sikh festivals and ceremonies.
Whatever advice or religious instructions Sikhs need, they can find it in this sacred scripture. It is traditionally seated on a Palki (decorated seat), which is kept on a Takhat (raised platform) at a prominent place in the Gurdwara (Sikh house of worship). It is covered with richly embroidered cloth called Romalas. Above it is a colorful Chaandani (canopy).
Everyday, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed ceremoniously and a hymns is read from a randomly opened page. This is called Hukam, or the order of the day. The entire process is called Prakash. Ragees are the professional singers who sing Kirtan (hymns in praise of the Lord).
A Granthi is appointed to perform all religious ceremonies and other duties. S/he recites Sri Guru Granth Sahib and conducts prayers. During the singing of hymns s/he sits behind Sri Guru Granth Sahib and periodically waves a Chaur over it. A Chaur is made from synthetic fiber embedded into a wooden or metallic handle.
After the evening prayer, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is ceremoniously closed and taken to its place of rest. This process is called Sukh-Asan.
Akhand Path is the continuous uninterrupted recitation of the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib by a relay of readers. It usually takes about 48 hours.
Every Sikh is encouraged to recite Sri Guru Granth Sahib in its entirety at least once in his/her lifetime.
Text From: “Who are the Sikhs” distributed by Guru Nanak Mission Inc. Miami, Florida