Granth Sahib

Granth Sahib is the holy scripture of the Sikhs, also known as the Adi Granth (First Book). It is called the Adi Granth to distinguish it from the Dasam Granth (Dasven Padshah Ka Granth) or tenth book written by the tenth guru, Gobind Singh (1666-1708). The Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi script. The contents are metrical and, except for the japji, a religious poem composed by Guru nanak, intended to be sung. The Granth Sahib was compiled and edited in 1601/4 by the fifth guru, Arjun Singh (1563-1606).

The Sikhs followed the teachings of ten gurus, of whom Guru Nanak, the founder of sikhism, was the first. The Granth Sahib contains the teachings, thoughts and religious concepts of the first five gurus. Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) added to it the compositions of his father, the ninth guru, Teg Bahadur Singh (1621/2-1675).

In addition to the ideas, sayings and hymns of the Sikh gurus, the Granth Sahib also contains writings of other well-known sages and Muslim sufis of India, including jaydev from Bengal, Sheikh Farid from Multan, Namdev, Trilochan and Paramananda from Maharashtra, Beni, Ramananda, Pipa, Saina, Kabir and Ravidas from Uttar Pradesh, Dhanna from Rajasthan, Surdas from Ayodhya.

The Granth Sahib has been translated into several languages, but has not yet been fully translated into Bangla. rabindranath tagore translated a couple of the shlokas of Guru Nanak, while some parts of it were translated by Jnanendranath Datta in prose and Kiranchand Dervish in verse. A two-volume translation of parts of the Granth Sahib by Haranchandra Chakladar in his Shri shri gurugrantha sahibji was published in 1957 and 1962.

The Granth Sahib is installed in every gurdwara, the Sikh house of worship, and is treated with veneration. A chauri, a ceremonial whisk, is kept beside it and waved above it as a sign of respect. At night it is ceremonially laid to rest. Marriages are solemnised in its presence, and it is consulted for daily advice and for the naming of children.

Gurdwara Nanak Shahi, in Dhaka, possesses a copy of the Granth Sahib, written on handmade paper in Gurmukhi script. The book measures 20” x 14”. It is traditionally believed to date from the time of Guru Arjun Singh. The text has colourful borders with paintings of creepers and leaves. The letters of the book are comparatively large and must have been written by an expert calligrapher. Originally kept at the Sikh dharmashala at Tola Mahalla in old Dhaka, the book was moved to this gurdwara in 1985. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]