Respecting Gurbani - The Guru's Word (Full Version)
- 1. Foreword
- 2. Acknowledgments
- 3. Respecting Gurbani
- 4. Our Commitments to Respecting Gurbani
- 5. Translator’s Note
It is with the grace of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Maharaj that the translation of ‘Gurbani Da Adab’ (‘Respecting Gurbani’) took place. The inspiration for this translation came from the 300th anniversary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Gurta-Gurgaddi Divas in October 2008. Sri Guru Ram Das Jee writes:
ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥
The Word/Bani is the Guru and the Guru is the Bani.
Within the Bani all the Ambrosial Nectar is contained.
ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੫॥
If a humble servant believes and acts according to the Words of the Guru’s Bani,
then the Guru, in person, emancipates that person.”
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 982)
We as Sikhs are expected to believe, follow and accept the above declaration. However, the respect and honour that has been shown to Gurbani has rapidly deteriorated since 1708 AD, when Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaj graced us with our Everlasting Satguru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Maharaj. Unfortunately, and quite tragically, this disrespect and ignorance is down to us - the self-proclaimed followers of the True Guru.
As we look back into Sikh history, we discover that the level of respect that was previously shown to Gurbani was supreme. Some misguided people may believe Gurbani to be mere words, however, Gurbani has always been revered in the most supreme manner, continually placed on palanquins and fanned with Chaur Sahib (whisk waved over Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, it is waved over Guru Jee out of respect, in the past such a whisk was waved over the heads of Kings- it is a sign of royalty and respect in the Indian sub-continent and other parts of the world). In this day and age, as the Sikh Panth is on a numerical rise, we find the same divine Gurbani being thrown away, vandalised on wedding cards, exploited in newspapers and, even worse, our Beloved Satguru – The King of Kings, is being placed in suitcases and taken to pubs and clubs, which support anti-Gurmat weddings. More recently, incidents of sacrilegious acts against Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee in India have been occurring far too often, including acts of deliberate arson & pre-meditated disrespect of Guru Sahib.
The need for this publication is paramount, in order for us as individuals and as a nation to implement the supreme standards of respect that our Gurus instilled. We need to unite and realise that our only salvation in this world is Gurbani and we must ensure respect of Gurbani is implemented by ourselves and others. Without this realisation, we cannot increase the level of respect for Gurbani; without respect for Gurbani, we cannot be called disciples of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, the Eternal Light of the world, continues to provide guidance for the whole of mankind. It is now our duty to endeavour to uphold respect, love and a firm belief in Gurbani and spread this throughout the world through the propagation of the teachings of Gurbani.
First and foremost: Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee has been our guide & inspiration in translating this publication. Our heartfelt gratitude and thanks goes to Guru Sahib for being a source of inspiration and the Beacon of Light for us. May Guru Sahib continue to grace us with such seva and forever keep us in their immortal Charan (feet).
Although the following Gurmukh Singhs of Damdami Taksal would prefer to go unmentioned, it is our duty to include them and thank them for blessing us with this seva as it was the following Gurmukhs who gave us the agiyaa (permission) to start the translation of Gurbani Da Adab. We shall be forever grateful to Bhai Sahib Bhai Gurdial Singh Jee ‘Madho Jee’, Jathedar Bhai Sahib Bhai Nirvair Singh Jee, Bhai Sahib Bhai Pargat Singh Jee, Baba Gurdev Singh Jee ‘Bapoo Jee’ and Gyani Pritam Singh Jee ‘Likhari’.
Throughout the translating and editing of this publication, there have been many times when we were unable to grasp the complete meaning and understanding of the Gurmukhi. On many occasions, we had to consult learned Gursikhs such as Bhai Sahib Bhai Balbir Singh Jee, Kathakaar Damdami Taksal, and other countless gupt Gursikhs (‘gupt’ means anonymous or those who want to remain so), who gave up their time to help us through the translating and editing of this publication. We pray, with our hands folded, that Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Maharaj blesses and keeps all those, who gave agiyaa and assisted us in the translation of this panthik booklet, in Chardikala (ascending high spirtis). May the Light of Satguru Jee reside within them forever.
It gives us great pleasure to dedicate this publication to the immortal memory of the supremely respected Saint, Baba Thakur Singh Jee Khalsa, acting leader of Damdami Taksal, whose lifetime of seva, simran, and Gursikhi Jeevan (discipline of this Sikh) will forever bear an everlasting impression on the Sikh nation.
Sukha Singh & Jaskeerth Singh
3. Respecting Gurbani
ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ॥
Bani emanated from the Primal Lord.
ਤਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਮਿਟਾਈ ॥
It eradicates all anxiety.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Ang 628)
ਬਾਣੀ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਉਚਾਰੀਐ ਹੁਇ ਰੁਸਨਾਈ ਮਿਟੈ ਅੰਧਾਰਾ।
When Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee uttered Bani,
light spread and the darkness was dispelled.
(Bhai Gurdas Jee, Vaar 1, Pauri 38?)
The True Guru respected the divine Bani in all Their Ten Forms – the following are examples of how each Guru respected Gurbani:
3.1. 1. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee
During the time of the Goshts (discussions of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee with the Sidhs), the Sidhs asked Satguru Nanak Dev Jee;
ਤੇਰਾ ਕਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਤੂ ਚੇਲਾ ॥
Who is your Guru? Whose disciple are you?
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Ang 942)
The respected King (Guru Nanak Dev Jee) answered:
ਸਬਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਚੇਲਾ ॥
The Shabad is the Guru, upon whose vibration I lovingly focus my consciousness as the disciple.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Ang 943)
ਗੁਰੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਨਾ ਦੂਜੀ ਓਟ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ ਰਾਈ।
I have no support except of the Guru, holy congregation, and Bani.
(Bhai Gurdas Jee, Vaar 1, Pauri 42)
Oh Sidhs! Without the Guru's congregation and without the Guru's Bani, there is no other support at all for us.
2. Sri Guru Angad Dev Jee
The Bhatts recited the following about the Second King, Sri Guru Angad Dev Jee:
ਨਾਨਕਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਜਾਨੵਉ ਕੀਨੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥
Guru Nanak realised the Immaculate Naam, the Name of the Lord. He was lovingly attuned to loving devotional worship of the Lord.
ਤਾ ਤੇ ਅੰਗਦੁ ਅੰਗ ਸੰਗਿ ਭਯੋ ਸਾਇਰੁ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਕੀ ਨੀਵ ਰਖਾਈ ॥
Guru Angad was with Him, life and limb, like the ocean; He showered His consciousness with the Word of the Shabad.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 1406)
3.2. 3. Sri Guru Amar Das Jee
Sri Guru Amar Das Jee says the following in 'Anand Sahib', from the daily Nitnem:
ਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਖ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਪਿਆਰਿਹੋ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Come, O beloved Sikhs of the True Guru, and sing the True Word of His Bani.
ਬਾਣੀ ਤ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਕੇਰੀ ਬਾਣੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Sing the Guru's Bani, the supreme Word of all Words.
ਜਿਨ ਕਉ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਮੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਤਿਨਾ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥
Those who are blessed by the Lord's Glance of Grace - their hearts are imbued with this Bani.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 920)
ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਏ ॥੧॥
Gurbani is the Light to illuminate this world;
by His Grace, it comes to abide within the mind.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 67)
Sri Guru Amar Das Jee told Their Sahibzada (son), Baba Mohan Jee, to look after the Gurbani, which had been compiled by Sri Guru Amar Das Jee and by the previous two Guru Sahib Jees, as well as to make sure to not give this Gurbani to anyone apart from the Fifth Divine King, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee. Sri Guru Amar Das Jee blessed Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee in Their childhood by saying:
ਦੋਹਿਤਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਾ ਬੋਹਿਤਾ
My Grandson is the Boat of Gurbani.
Gurbani has been called the boat, which can liberate us from worldly beings:
ਗੁਰੁ ਜਹਾਜੁ ਖੇਵਟੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਤਰਿਆ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
The Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Boatman. Without the Guru, no one can cross over.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 1401)
3.3. 4. Sri Guru Ram Das Jee
Sri Guru Ram Das Jee states:
ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥
The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 982)
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਚਨ ਬਚਨ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਾਧਰੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਜਨਾਵੈਗੋ ॥੫॥
The True Guru is the Word, and the Word is the True Guru, teaching the Path of Liberation.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 1309)
3.4. 5. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee
The Fifth King, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee, personally went to Sri Goindwal Sahib to collect Pothia (Collections of Gurbani written by the previous Guru Sahibs) from Baba Mohan Jee. After receiving the Pothia, Guru Jee respectfully seated the Pothia on a palanquin. Guru Sahib Jee did not seat themselves on the same level as the Pothia, nor did Guru Jee ride Their horse back towards Amritsar Sahib. Instead, Guru Sahib Jee walked barefoot, keeping the palanquin to Their right, and waved a Chaur Sahib over the Pothia, until They arrived in Sri Amritsar Sahib. Guru Sahib Jee seated the ambrosial Gurbani on a platform at the place of Ath-Sath-Ghaat (a place within Sri Harimandar Sahib known as the place of 68 pilgrimages). Kirtan (hymn singing) was recited and the Gurbani Pothia were respected by reciting the following divine words:
ਪੋਥੀ ਪਰਮੇਸਰ ਕਾ ਥਾਨੁ ॥
These Pothia are the home of the Transcendent Lord God.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 1226)
After compiling and completing Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, the first Parkash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee was performed at Sri Harimandar Sahib (NOTE: this is the first time Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee was placed upon a throne to bless the congregation). Once this had taken place, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee never sat on a pillow in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, or on the same level as Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Guru Sahib Jee insisted that the Chaur Sahib was not waved over Them, but instead over Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, and then sat amongst the holy congregation. By showing great respect and reverence to Gurbani, the respected Fifth King blessed us with guidance on how to respect and revere Gurbani.
Near Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib is Kothri Sahib; here at night, on a daily basis, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee resumes the posture of bliss (Sukhaasan – takes rest after the day’s ceremonies). Satguru Jee (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee) would not take rest on a bed alongside Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, but would instead lay a white sheet on the floor and rest below Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. To this day, a white sheet is kept on the floor alongside the bed of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee as a reminder of Their devotion.
The True King, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee, highlighted the greatness and supreme importance of Gurbani and gave this teaching to the Sikhs:
ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਰੀਰ ਜੁਊ; ਸਭਿ ਥਾਨ, ਸਮੈ ਸਭਿ, ਨਾ ਦਰਸ ਹੈ ।
You cannot have Darshan (blessed sight) of the physical body of the respected Guru in all places or at all times.
ਗ੍ਰਿਥ ਰਿਦਾ ਗੁਰ ਕੋ ਇਹ ਜਾਨਹੁ, ਉਤਮ ਹੈ ਸਭਿ ਕਾਲ ਰਹੈ ਹੈ ।
Know that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is the Heart of the Guru, and is supreme, because Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee will remain for all time.
ਮੇਰੇ ਸਰੂਪ ਤੇ ਯਾਂ ਤੇ ਹੈ ਦੀਰਘ, ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜਾਨਿ ਅਦਾਇਬ ਕੈ ਹੈ ।
Know that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s form is greater than mine; know and respect Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee as the embodiment of the Lord.
ਪੂਜਹੁ ਚੰਦਨ ਕੇਸਰ ਕੋ ਘਸਿ, ਧੂਪ ਧੁਖਾਇ ਕੈ ਫੂਲ ਚਢੈ ਹੈ ।
Worship Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee by grinding down sandalwood and saffron (to apply them as perfumes), lighting incense and offering flowers.
(Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth, Page 2140)
3.5. 6. Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Jee
ਦਲਿ ਭੰਜਨ ਗੁਰੁ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਵਡ ਜੋਧਾ ਬਹੁ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ।
The warrior Guru, the vanquisher of armies, is very brave and benevolent.
(Bhai Gurdas Jee, Var 1, Pauri 48)
After gaining victory in the battle of Hargobindpur Sahib, the Sixth Satguru, Sri Guru Hargobind Jee, listened to the recitation of Jap Jee Sahib from Bhai Gopala Jee. Bhai Gopala Jee was seated on a platform higher than Guru Jee’s own throne (out of respect for Gurbani as he was reading Gurbani). Upon hearing such a pristine pronunciation of Jap Jee Sahib from Bhai Gopala Jee, Satguru Jee was prepared to bestow the Guruship upon him.
Mata Damodari Jee’s sister, Bibi Ramo Jee and her husband Bhai Saee Das Jee, remembered and meditated upon Guru Sahib with great respect and affection; for this reason, Satguru Jee prepared to visit them at their village, Daroali. On reaching Sachkhand Sri Harimandar Sahib, Guru Sahib performed the Ardaas, circumbulated around Sri Harimandar Sahib four times and then went to Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib. Satguru Jee seated Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee on a beautiful throne at the front of the procession. Then Guru Sahib Jee followed gracefully and respectfully, along with the rest of the Sangat and made Their way to the village.
3.6. 7. Sri Guru Har Rai Jee
Sangat from a faraway country came singing Kirtan towards the lotus feet of the Seventh King, Sri Guru Har Rai Jee. When the Sangat got very close, Guru Sahib Jee got up very quickly from Their throne, hitting Their knee against the side of Their throne, thus causing Themselves an injury (in order to maintain respect for Gurbani). When the shocked Sangat asked, “Maharaj, why did you arise in such a rush?” Guru Sahib Jee replied, “O’ Brothers! The Sangat was reciting Gurbani. We arose so quickly out of respect for Gurbani. If we falter from respecting Gurbani, how can we expect others to respect Gurbani?” Satguru Jee blessed the Sangat with the following Divine Words:
ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਭੈ ਕਰੈ । ਬਿਨ ਪ੍ਰਯਾਸ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਤਰੈ।… ॥੧੫॥
Any Sikh who fears Gurbani will cross this world ocean without any effort|...||15||
ਜੋ ਗੁਰ ਭਗਤਿ ਸੋ ਸਿਖ ਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ । ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਭੈ ਤਿਸੈ ਘਨੇਰਾ।
The one who is lovingly devoted to the Guru is my Sikh and has great awe and respect for Gurbani.
ਜਿਨ ਭੈ ਅਦਬ ਨ ਬਾਨੀ ਧਾਰਾ । ਜਾਨਹੁ ਸੋ ਸਿਖ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥੨੦॥
The person who has no fear or respect of Gurbani is not my Sikh. ||20||
(Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth, Page 3344 – 45)
The Seventh King’s highly intelligent Sahibzada, Sri Ram Rai Jee, was graced with the blessing by Guru Sahib Jee that “We (Guru Sahib Jee) will abide on your tongue, and whatever you say will come true”. This boon came true and Ram Rai Jee showed great miracles in the court of Aurangzeb. Every day, 13,000 Rupees would come to Ram Rai Jee’s headquarters, courtesy of Emperor Aurangzeb. However, when Ram Rai Jee changed the line ਮਿਟੀ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਕੀ which translates to, “Soil is of the Muslim” to ਮਿਟੀ beIਮਾਨ ਕੀ “Soil is of those that are fraudulent”. (This line is from Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee’s Asa Raag Ang 466 and is talking of when Muslims are buried their bodies disintegrate into the soil) Satguru Har Rai Sahib Jee was extremely offended and disappointed - They told Ram Rai that They did not wish to even see someone who had altered Gurbani of the most respected Satguru (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee), and had altered the word of God. Ram Rai was ordered to continue to walk in whichever direction he was facing, and to never return. It was also ordered that no Sikh should worship or acknowledge Ram Rai. In this way, he was excommunicated from the house of the Guru.
3.7. 8. Sri Guru Har Krishan Jee
When the Eighth King, Sri Guru Har Krishan Jee, went to Delhi, Emperor Aurangzeb asked to see Them. The True King wrote down the following:
ਕਿਆ ਖਾਧੈ ਕਿਆ ਪੈਧੈ ਹੋਇ ॥
What good is food, and what good are clothes?
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 142)
Guru Sahib Jee sent this to Aurangzeb as a message that the true Darshan of the King of Kings was within the Shabad, which should reside within one’s heart.
3.8. 9. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Jee
Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Jee went to visit Prayagraj Tribeni (today this is the city of Prayagraj). At that place, Guru Sahib Jee’s respected Mother, Mata Nanaki Jee, requested to have the sight of a Grandson. Guru Sahib Jee said, “Carry out an Akhand Paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee and God will most definitely fulfil your request.”
In the Dharam Vijai Shastar (an ancient text), it is written that the Akhand Paath Sahib was conducted from the Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (compiled by Bhai Banno Jee). The Akhand Paath Sahib was conducted by Guru Sahib Jee, at the site of ‘Vadee Sikh Sangat Gurdwara’ in Prayagraj. These five Sikhs were the Paathis (reciters) of the Akhand Paath,
- Bhai Mati Das Jee
- Bhai Dayala Jee
- Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Jee Masand
- Bhai Gurdita Jee, (who was the 6th descendant in the lineage of Baba Budha Sahib Jee)
- Bhai Sati Ram Jee (who was a Sikh of the Eighth King)
The Ninth King blessed these five Sikhs with the responsibility to carry out the Akhand Paath for the arrival of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee. Only after the completion of this Akhand Paath did Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee arrive:
ਤਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਭਯੋ ॥
There (in Allahabad) I was conceived (March 1666 CE).
ਪਟਨਾ ਸਹਰ ਬਿਖੈ ਭਵ ਲਯੋ ॥
Later, I took birth at Patna (December 1666 CE)
(Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 59)
3.9. 10. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee
In Anandpur Sahib, the Tenth King punished a Singh for pronouncing a vowel of Gurmukhi incorrectly. Guru Jee said, “O’ Singh! You have just broken my limbs!” Subsequently, at Guru Ki Kaanshi (Sri Damdama Sahib), Guru Jee gave the knowledge of correct pronunciation and meanings of Gurbani. The Chief Poet, Bhai Nand Lal Singh Jee humbly asked Guru Jee, “Oh Great King, where can we have your blessed vision (Darshan)?”
ਨੰਦ ਲਾਲ ਓਵਾਚ ।
The words of Bhai Nand Laal Singh Jee.
ਤੁਮ ਜੁ ਕਹਾ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਜੀ, ਦਰਸਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੁਹਿ ਆਇ ।
Gurdev Jee (my Guru who provides everything), you have commanded us (the Sikhs), to have Your Darshan (blessed sight).
ਲਖੀਏ ਤੁਮਰਾ ਦਰਸ ਕਹਾਂ, ਕਹਹੁ ਮੋਹਿ ਸਮਝਾਇ ॥੫॥
How can all Sikhs have your Darshan (because some Sikhs may live miles away)? Please explain this to me.
ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਵਾਚ।
The divine words of the Respected Guru.
ਤੀਨ ਰੂਪ ਹੈਂ ਮੋਹਿ ਕੇ, ਸੁਨਹੁ ਨੰਦ! ਚਿਤ ਲਾਇ।
I have three forms; listen O’ Nand Lal! Whilst focusing with all your concentration.
ਨਿਰਗੁਣ, ਸਰਗੁਣ, ਗੁਰਸ਼ਬਦ, ਕਹਹੁੰ ਤੋਹਿ ਸਮਝਾਇ ॥੬॥
Without attributes (Nirgun), with attributes (Sargun) and the divine word of the Guru (Gurshabad), I say this to make you understand (that these are the three forms of the Guru).
Three days prior to their ascension to Sachkhand, the True Father, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaj, gave the Eternal Guruship to the Spiritual Light of the Ten Gurus, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, with their own hands. Guru Sahib Jee made Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee the Master of the Chaur (fan), Chhattar (royal canopy) and Takhat (royal throne) for eternity and put the whole world under the protection and guidance of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee and gave the following command:
ਆਗਿਆ ਭਈ ਅਕਾਲ ਕੀ, ਤਬੀ ਚਲਾਇਓ ਪੰਥ।
The Great Timeless Lord commanded me to create and start this Nation.
ਸਭ ਸਿੱਖਨ ਕੋ ਹੁਕਮ ਹੈ, ਗੁਰੂ ਮਾਨਿਓ ਗ੍ਰਥ ।
It is a commandment that all Sikhs are to accept Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee as their Guru.
4. Our Commitments to Respecting Gurbani
In Their ten forms, the Gurus upheld the respect, love and fear of Gurbani. We should continue to uphold this respect of Gurbani as Satguru Jee did. In order to show the utmost respect to Gurbani, there are certain rules which must be adhered to:
- You should not sit on Guru Jee’s Tabiya (platform), without having bathed and washed your feet.
- When the body has become impure or unclean due to sexual activity, one should wash their hair, wear clean clothes, recite Jap Jee Sahib and perform Ardaas before sitting on Tabiya.
- If you touch your face, feet, kachhera, moustache, have an itch or have wet or dirty hands then you should not touch Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Pothia or Gutke.
- Whilst sitting on Tabiya, you must not eat or put anything in your mouth.
- A person sitting on Guru Jee’s Tabiya must sit upright in a cross-legged position, without any pillows for support and must not rest their elbows on the ManJee Sahib.
- He should always sit unaided and behind the ManJee Sahib (he must ensure that his legs are not under the ManJee Sahib).
We must respect and accept Guru Jee’s Command with the full faith that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is seated before us and is the Spiritual Light of our Ten Satguru Jees. We should recognise and accept the Bani from the first Ang through to the 1430 Ang, including Raagmala as Gurbani, the Eternal Guru.
Maharaj Sahib, the Respected King, should never be placed or kept in a cupboard, wardrobe or trunk; instead, They should be kept in a clean, airy room which should house a palanquin for Them to be seated upon. The throne (Palki), where Guru Jee takes Their seat during the day, should be spacious and should contain a small canopy and, above that, there must be a bigger canopy because Satguru Jee is the King of the Chaur, Chhattar and Takhat (royal fan, canopy and throne).
ਤਖਤਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਅਰਜਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਖਿਵੈ ਚੰਦੋਆ ॥
Guru Arjan Dev Jee sits on the throne; the royal canopy waves over the True Guru.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 968)
Wherever Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is Parkash or in Sukhaasan, no one should sit on a chair or platform in front of Guru Sahib Jee - everyone should sit on the floor with a sheet beneath them, if needed.
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਕੇ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਜੋੜੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੈਸਹੁ ਸਫਾ ਵਿਛਾਇ ॥੧॥
Let yourselves be joined to the Name of the Lord; become Gurmukh, spread out your mat, and sit down.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 1185)
Whenever you see Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, or whenever you see Guru Jee’s Sangat reciting or singing Gurbani Kirtan, you should take off your shoes and place your hands together, stand with respect and bow. For however long Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is present, you should stand in respect. Whenever Guru Jee is travelling, there should be five Singhs alongside them. The Singhs should walk barefoot, without any shoes or sandals. One Singh should wave the Chaur Sahib over Guru Jee, and one should walk before Guru Jee who should be purifying the path before them by splashing water. If Guru Jee is to be seated in a car then the water should be taken along with them.
If you are to recite Gurbani from a Pothi Sahib or Gutka Sahib then a sheet should be placed down in order for you to sit on. If there is a bed or chair, you should recite the Gurbani sitting on the highest seat.
Every time you have a Gutka Sahib in your hands, you should also always have a Rumala Sahib to cover it. Whenever you use a Pothi Sahib for Kirtan or Gutka Sahib for Nitnem or to read any Bani, it is highly important to always keep a Rumala Sahib with the Gutka or Pothi Sahib. If you are reciting Gurbani or reading from a Gutka Sahib and there is another person sitting on a higher platform than you, you should not: face their feet, sit lower than them or on the floor, or sit behind them. Should someone wish to learn Santhia (correct pronunciation of Gurbani) then the teacher should not sit at a higher level than the student (unless they both have Pothi Sahibs in front of them; in this situation, they would sit at the same level).
All scriptures of Gurbani, whether they be Gutke Sahibs, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Jee, Bhai Gurdas Jee’s Bani and any other scriptures that are Gurmat based, should be shown the utmost respect at all times. Any other books should be kept separate and Gurbani or Gurmat related scriptures should be kept in a higher place. The Pothi or Gutka Sahib should be clothed with clean, fresh Rumala Sahibs (which are made to fit them) and kept respectfully closed in a high clean place on the same side as your pillow (if in your bedroom so your feet are not in Their direction when you sleep/lay down).
On many occasions it has been known that some people keep a small Gutka Sahib in their pocket, leather purse or bag for when they are travelling on buses or in cars, etc. Without thinking about their Joothe (unclean) hands, they begin to recite Gurbani with their shoes and socks on – this a huge mistake and very disrespectful. In these instances, you should recite Gurbani that you have memorised or simply repeat Gurmantar ‘Vaheguru’. It is not acceptable to begin to read from a Pothi or Gutka Sahib whilst wearing shoes or sandals and without having your head and body covered.
If a Gutka Sahib or Pothi Sahib is to be kept in a trunk or cupboard, then it must be kept in a clean state without any dirty clothes, shoes or Kachheras. When keeping Gutka Sahibs or Pothi Sahibs in the house, they should be kept in a clean place which is high and away from where you will point your feet (i.e. near your pillow – if in your bedroom). They should be kept in decorative Rumalas and each Gutka or Pothi Sahib should have its own Rumala and should not be in a position where feet can be directed towards them, nor should you turn your back to that place.
Within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, or any Gutka or Pothi Sahib, there should be no pieces of paper or thread to act as a bookmark. When the Paathi Singh is reciting Paath, he should remember to turn the Ang with his right hand from the top of the Ang and should not use his left hand from the bottom (this is to ensure respect of the Angs and this method reduces the Ang on the right hand-side getting worn at the edges). Whenever doing Paath, you should never put your feet underneath Satguru Jee’s ManJee Sahib and you should always sit back from the ManJee Sahib and remain sitting upright with legs crossed. Your knees should never be bent so that you are sitting on them nor should they be raised (it is important to remain sitting in a cross-legged position). Also, if a Singh or a Kaur is performing Katha in the Hazoori of Guru Sahib Jee, he/she should keep the limbs of his body under control – he/she should not raise his/her hands higher than Guru Sahib or make inappropriate hand movements in order to explain something to the Sangat.
When reading from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, you should not keep your hands or fingers placed on the Angs. If there is a breeze coming through the room then place the Rumala Sahib over Guru Jee and then hold down the Ang - you should not keep your hands or fingers over the Angs without a Rumala.
Red or green Rumalas, or Rumalas with pictures on them, should not be placed over Guru Jee (the colour prohibitions are in line with the Khalsa colours explained earlier in the code of conduct). Instead, beautiful and expensive Rumalas should be washed and then offered to Guru Sahib Jee. They should be large and should fit the ManJee Sahib with ease. The Chaur Sahib should be waved over Satguru Jee and if you wish to apply perfume then apply it only to the Rumalas, not on the Angs directly. You should endeavor to have flowers present as well as dhooph (incense), and a jot (lantern made from Desi Ghee). Lanterns that burn gas should not be used to provide light in the Hazoori of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.
At any time when a Gursikh is listening to Gurbani through a radio, tape cassette, CD or television, the form of communication should be placed higher than those that are listening in order to maintain the respect of Gurbani. If Gurbani appears in newspapers, letters, sweet boxes, books or wedding cards, these should not be thrown away or allowed to be placed amongst rubbish or near the feet. If you are unable to keep or look after them then they must be placed in a fire, following the Maryada of Agan Bhet (in which you carefully cremate the Gurbani, keep the ashes and disperse them in flowing water, stream, river or ocean).
If you have been to the bathroom or have been outside where someone has been smoking and your clothes have become unclean due to the smoke, then do not sit at Guru Jee’s Tabiya. You should bathe and change into clean clothes, or wash your existing clothes and wait for them to dry before sitting at Guru Jee’s Tabiya.
Whilst wearing a Choti Dastar (Keski), or a Patka, you should not sit at Guru Jee’s Tabiya; instead, you should tie a full Dastar (a full dastar consists of a Keski/Choti Dastar underneath with a larger Dastar on top) and then proceed into Guru Jee’s Darbar. Women should never sit at Guru Jee’s Tabiya whilst wearing jewellery, bindis or make-up, such as lipstick. They should wear pale coloured, clean, simple clothes and must always keep their head completely covered – with an appropriate head covering that does not keep slipping. Women who are menstruating should not sit at Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Tabiya, nor should they do Chaur Sahib seva.
Kaviraj (poet) Sant Nihal Singh Jee tells us about the code of conduct regarding Paath:
ਅੰਨ ਕੋ ਬੰਧੇਜ ਬਾਂਧ, ਆਸਨ ਕੋ ਸਾਧ ਬੇਸ, ਘਾਤ ਕੋ ਅਲੋਲ ਸੂਧ, ਏਕ ਚਾਲ ਲੀਜਿਯੇ।
The conduct regarding Paath (before going onto Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Tabiya): make sure you eat little. Whilst sitting on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Tabiya, sit with your legs crossed; keep the volume and tone of your voice under control and recite Gurbani in one clear tone.
ਚੀਤ ਕੋ ਨਿਰੋਧ ਕੈ, ਪ੍ਰਬੋਧ ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ, ਗਾਦੀ ਨਾ ਬਿਛਾਇ, ਨਾ ਪ੍ਰਯੰਕ ਹਾਥ ਦੀਜਿਯੇ।
Keep your consciousness focused, and read with loving devotion; do not place a pillow under yourself and do not rest your hands on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s ManJee Sahib.
ਖਾਂਸੀ, ਕ੍ਰੋਧ, ਵਾਰਤਾ, ਜੰਭਾਈ ਔ ਡਕਾਰ, ਛੀਂਕ, ਹਾਸੀ, ਸੀਂਢ, ਮੰਦ ਪੌਨ, ਥੂਕ ਨਾ ਕਰੀਜਿਯੇ।
From Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Tabiya do not cough, and do not say any angry words, do not yawn, do not burp, do not sneeze, do not laugh, do not clean your nose, do not produce flatulence and do not spit.
ਸਾਂਤਕੀ ਸੁਭਾਵ ਸੌਂ, ਅਕਾਲ ਕੋ ਲਗਾਇ ਧਯਾਨ; ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰਥ ਜੂ ਕੋ ਪਾਠ ਪਯਾਰੇ ! ਐਸੀ ਭਾਂਤ ਕੀਜਿਯੇ।
(Gurmat Maartandd, Second Section, Panna 421)
After going to the toilet, washing your hands five times with soap, sand or soil is a bare minimum (this is for when you are about to handle Gurbani in order to ensure the utmost hygiene). Even after passing urine, it is required for you to wash your hands. If your hands have come into contact with shoes then you are required to wash your hands twice; if soil or sand is unavailable as a detergent then soap is acceptable. You must wash your hands thoroughly and then dry them with a cloth before coming into contact with Gurbani. When washing your hands, make sure that you wash your hands completely and thoroughly (starting from the fingers and going all the way up to, and including, the wrist) as some people tend to just wet their fingers – this is unacceptable.
Some shopkeepers do Parkash of Gutka Sahibs and read Gurbani whilst they are running the shop; as soon as a customer arrives, they put the Gutka Sahib down on the (joothee) unclean counter and begin to serve the customer. As soon as the customer leaves, they do not wash their hands and pick up the Gutka Sahib with (joothe) unclean hands and continue to read – this is a huge mistake and very disrespectful. For this reason, it is advised that whilst you are working you should recite Gurbani from memory, or if not, simply repeat Gurmantar (the word Vaheguru).
The cleaning of your teeth is paramount, every day (Puratan Singhs used to use daatan to clean their teeth – this method is still used in Sampardas, such as Damdami Taksal, Nihang Singhs, etc). If you do not have access to daatan then using toothpaste is acceptable. If you use daatan, tear it and throw it away after using it.
It is important that you have the utmost respect for Shastar (weapons) as well. Do not place your feet in the direction of Shastar. You should not place your faith in, or bow to, anyone other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or Gurbani.
ਜਾਗਤ ਜੋਤਿ ਜਪੈ ਨਿਸ ਬਾਸੁਰ ਏਕੁ ਬਿਨਾ ਮਨਿ ਨੈਕ ਨ ਆਨੈ ॥
The Khalsa meditates on the Ever-radiant Light of God, day and night, rejecting all else but the one Lord from his mind.
ਪੂਰਨ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਤ ਸਜੈ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਗੋਰ ਮੜ੍ਰਹੀ ਮਠ ਭੂਲ ਨ ਮਾਨੈ ॥
He decorates himself with perfect love and faith, and does not believe in adhering to fasts, or worshipping tombs, crematoriums and graves, even by mistake.
ਤੀਰਥ ਦਾਨ ਦਇਆ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਏਕੁ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਹਿ ਏਕ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥
Acts of pilgrimage, charity, compassion, austerities and superstitious self-control are to no avail if one does not recognize the One Lord God.
ਪੂਰਨ ਜੋਤਿ ਜਗੈ ਘਟ ਮੈ ਤਬ ਖਾਲਸ ਤਾਹਿ ਨ ਖਾਲਸ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੧॥
Such a being, in whose heart shines the full Divinely Radiant Light is truly a pure Khalsa, others are false.
(Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 712)
Do not eat the parshaad or any other food from a Peer Fakeer’s tomb, Marree (tombs), Gugga (snake worshippers) or Mata Rani (goddess worshippers) because
whoever eats parshaad from such places (as mentioned above) is not at all a Sikh.
Do not have lewd photos inside your house. Display pictures of great warriors, saints, and of the True Gurus but do not point your feet towards these photos. At the Gurdwara, or if Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee are present within the home, do not display pictures in front of Them. Pictures in which people are wearing shoes must not be displayed in front of Guru Jee as it is a grave sin.
In small villages, many people used cow dung as a floor cover on the floors in the kitchen area. The area in which Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Parkash is to be done should never have such floor covering because the cow dung is both unclean and foul smelling.
Amritdhari women are forbidden from participating in teeya (a day where all the ladies of a village would get together and dance), nor should they indulge in bhangra or gidha (neither should the men as these practices are condemned in Gurbani and in the code of conduct).
The Khalsa should remain alert and stay away from anyone who sits on a raised platform or on a pillow in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s blessed Hazoori (presence), or anyone who allows people to bow before them in Guru Jee’s Hazoori or practices black magic.
Just as a Gursikh is required to take 10% of their earnings and donate them to the Gurdwara, in the same way, out of 24 hours a Gursikh is required to take two and a half hours out for Simran. It is compulsory for a Gursikh to memorise the names of the ten Guru Sahib Jees, five Beloved Gursikhs that were first blessed with Khande-Batte-da-Amrit (Panj Pyare), four sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee (Sahibzaday), and the five Highest Thrones (Panj Takhat Sahib).
In many homes there are Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, however, even the Parkash Seva of these Saroops is not done, hence there is a lot of disrespect of these Saroops. The Parkash, respect and worship of these Saroops should certainly take place. Those people who keep Satguru Jee’s Saroops at home, but do not respect them fully, are committing a grave sin. Those people should respectfully take the Saroops of Satguru Jee to a place where the respect of Satguru Jee is upheld. Some people believe they lose everything by taking Satguru Jee from their homes to a place of respect; this, however, is not the case. In fact by taking Satguru Jee to a place of respect, they will be blessed with a great reward. According to the Maryada created by our Satgurus, it is imperative to upkeep the utmost respect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.
Satguru Amar Das Jee’s daughter, Bibi Bhaani Jee, was an embodiment of loving devotion. The story of how Bibi Jee placed her hand under the broken leg of the chair of her father and how the wood pierced through her hand is well known; and it shows how much respect Bibi Jee had for Guru Jee. For this reason, wherever there is a devoted Gursikh Parcharak (preacher), he or she should uphold the respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee by spreading the message throughout his or her local area and wherever he or she may go.
Inside the Gurdwara Sahib, incense sticks, candles and ghee lamps, etc, should be kept in a case, which either has wire mesh or glass around the outside. Many times foolish people light incense sticks or candles and then leave. Many fires have been started due to this reason. Indeed incense should be lit both in the morning and evening, however, the incense sticks or ghee lamps should be placed away from the Rumalas. These should only be lit as long as a Sevadar is present, otherwise they could become fire hazards; for this reason, devoted servants of Guru Jee must be aware.
Sometimes the ghee from the ghee lamps spills onto the Angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee and mice come and gnaw away at the spoiled Angs. Some foolish people put candles directly above the Angs whilst they read and so wax melts and falls onto the Angs, which spoils them. This is a terrible sin - may Maharaj Jee save us from such sins.
At many places, flowers placed in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee catch fire due to the waving of ghee lamps in a plate during Aartee. For this reason, ghee lamps should not be lit during Aartee. Satguru Jee has recited the Shabads for the Aartee, therefore, only the Kirtan of these Shabads should be performed.
Some people lie down with their feet towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or the Gurdwara Sahib. If you tell them this is wrong, they reply with, ‘‘God is in all four directions.’’ You should never cite the example of the form of God, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee, in order to justify lying down with your feet facing towards a religious place of worship of any religion or Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. When Guru Sahib Jee used to go outside, the Sikhs who were on guard duty used to run in front of Them; if anyone was lying down with their feet facing towards the path of Guru Jee, the Sikhs would wake them up and say, ‘‘Wake up O’ brother! Be alert, cover your head, bow down and be blessed with great fortunes.’’ The person sleeping would become ecstatic and say, ‘‘Thank you for waking me up and blessing me with the Darshan of Guru Sahib Jee.’’
Shopkeepers should give full guidance about the worship and respect of religious scriptures to customers. Sometimes, out of greed, shopkeepers do not even tell customers, ‘First wash your hands, then have Darshan,’ before viewing blessed Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or religious scriptures.
Most cassettes and CDs have mispronounced Gurbani recorded on them. Instead of listening to a cassette or CD of Nitnem, it is better to read Nitnem yourself. When we read Gurbani to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee and to the Sangat, then Maharaj Jee becomes pleased with us. Most people turn on cassettes and CDs whilst lying on their beds. There was already a lot of laziness but, with this, it has increased even more. Due to this, people have stopped learning the Shudh Santhia (correct pronunciation of Gurbani). For this reason, it is an urgent request to all to learn Shudh Santhia and read correctly pronounced (Shudh) Gurbani to Guru Sahib and the Sangat in order to receive Their blessings. Only Gurbani recordings that are Shudh should be listened to; by doing so, you can learn how to read Gurbani correctly. Also, we humbly request that those people, who record Gurbani, to take full care that Gurbani is recorded correctly.
ਹਮਰੋ ਕਰਤਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਸਨੇਹੀ ॥
The Creator Lord is our only friend.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 692)
Saroops, Gutkas, Pothis and religious literature containing Gurbani from the Perfect Embodiment of the Creator Lord, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, should be lovingly printed correctly on the best paper possible, and should be respectfully kept in the best Rumalas possible.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is the revered Satguru of all. No one should launch an attack on the respected Saroops of Satguru Sahib Jee, or on any Gurdwaras. Those evil egotistical people who carry out such disrespect are hacking away at themselves with the axe of evil. To attack someone in the Hazoori of Guru Jee, or someone who is reading Gurbani anywhere, is also a terrible sin.
May Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee bless the Panth with such determination that there is a high level of organisation in which a list is made of all the divine and respected Saroops of Guru Jee in the world. In each area there should be groups of people who get together and make sure that the respect and honour of the divine and respected Saroops of Guru Jee and Gurdwaras are upheld. Every Sikh should up hold respect of Satguru Jee himself or herself and should make sure others uphold this as well. Those who do not keep the respect of Guru Jee should be subjected to a punishment (tankhaah) - this will mean that everyone will remain vigilant and maintain respect.
In houses, the Parkash or accommodation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, should not take place under stairs or in a tight confined space. In this way there is terrible disrespect and a lot of sins are accumulated. For this reason, any brothers or sisters, who want to have Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s divine presence (Parkash) in their homes, must ensure they have a beautiful, clean well ventilated room available.
You should cover the heads and remove shoes of small children before they enter the presence (hazoori) of Satguru Jee.
Those fakes who indulge in black magic, the harnessing of ghosts as well as other such anti-gurmat activities whilst keeping Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, should be banned from doing so in accordance to the command of the Khalsa Panth. When we do not want to go to such places ourselves, why are Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee taken and kept at such places?
At some places, fake preachers sit on the same level as Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, with a canopy above themselves, and get people to worship them; they are afflicted by the heinous sin due to disrespecting Satguru Jee.
The numbers that are used for counting lines in Gurbani should not be pronounced. By pronouncing these numbers, the Gurbani recitation is broken. Also, the concentration of those listening is broken. Those listening to the Gurbani cannot focus. According to Guru Jee’s code of conduct (Maryada), the numbers counting up Astpadis, Shabads, etc, should not be recited.
Someone, who is reading from a Pothi Sahib or Gutka Sahib, should lay down a cloth under where he or she is sitting and a separate cloth under the wooden stand on which the Pothi or Gutka Sahib is placed. The cloth that is laid under the Pothi or Gutka Sahib should be higher than the one lying under the reader. You should not read a Pothi or Gutka Sahib on the bare floor, without laying anything on the ground.
That table upon which religious scriptures are placed should not be dragged. Respectfully pick up the religious scriptures - if you pick up the table with the religious scriptures still upon it, make sure that the table does not topple over.
When removing the Pothi at the bottom of a pile of Pothis, please first respectfully bow and remove the Pothis on top. Then respectfully remove the Pothi from the bottom of the pile. If you try and pull the Pothi at the bottom of the pile, the Pothis on top could fall over.
There are many Gurdwaras that are without Granthi Singhs due to the lack of pay as well as petty politics; Gurmukhs blessed with these skills rarely take on this Seva. In the old days, there were few Gurdwaras and they were less grand, however, the feeling of Gursikhi was abundant in them. Nowadays, the Gurdwaras are lavish but also ravaged by petty politics and personal agenda; unfortunately, the sentiments of Gursikhi and Seva are decreasing day by day. Because there is more than one Gurdwara in virtually every village, we are not fully respecting Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or Granthi Singhs. In many places there is not even a separate room made for the Sukhasan Seva of Guru Jee. In the summer, a fan is not turned on and in winter blankets are not offered. Pigeons and other animals are allowed to make noise and mess, thus disrespecting Guru Jee. Many people believe Granthis to be useless and idle; Granthi Singhs will only stay where there is love and respect. For this reason, that person who has taken Shudh Santhia of Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee with full attention to all consonants and vowels, his or her pay should be generous according to the economic conditions that exist at that time. This will mean that the Gurmukh Sikh can focus on reading Gurbani Shudh, learning meanings and Sikh history and commit himself or herself totally to the true service of Guru Sahib Jee. This will really help spread the message of Sikhi. For example, if 200 households gave 2000 rupees as a monthly wage - this would only mean 10 rupees a month from each house. (In line with inflation now the wage would have to be more in India too, this figure is taken from when the original publication went to print). Wherever Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Jee ‘Khalsa’ Bhindranwale travelled with their Jatha, in those places the Sangat fully respected the Granthi Singhs as these teachings were enshrined in those villages and cities.
The Granthi Singh should carry out his Seva with love to receive the blessings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee even if wages are low because:
ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਤ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਹਕਾਮੀ ॥
ਤਿਸ ਕਉ ਹੋਤ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ॥
One, who performs selfless service without thought of reward,
shall attain his Lord and Master.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 286)
Even if someone speaks harshly to him, he should consider himself a servant of the Guru and carry out his duty happily. He should be humble, kind and loving to all. He should not be lazy and sleep all the time; such a pleasure ends up becoming a disease. Those great souls who have done Seva are immortal forever. To this day, there are institutions that flourish in their name (like Bhai Ghanaiya Jee who kept healing and giving water to all the soldiers in the midst of battle). When the next Mahapurakh (great soul) takes charge of this Samparda (institution) started by Bhai Ghanaiya Jee, he is given a broom, a box of healing balm and a pitcher; the broom is for sweeping the house of the Guru, the box of healing balm is to heal people for free and the pitcher is to welcome all and offer them food and water, which symbolises dying on a worldly level in order to perform true selfless service.
It is the duty of the Granthi Singh to read Nitnem and the Sri Mukhvak to the congregation in the morning and evening and to teach children (Shudh Santhia) accurate pronunciation of Gurbani. He should look after Pothi Sahibs and distribute and collect them in from the Sangat in order for the Sangat to read them. He should remove any dust from the blessed Angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. He should perform the Seva of conducting Katha (religious sermons) and Kirtan. He should encourage the Sangat to visit important religious places and to give up using any intoxicants. He should happily carry out Seva without any desires and should spread the message of righteousness (Dharam).
We humbly ask all beloved readers to help your local Granthi Singh as much as you can. Whilst Parkash and Sukhasan Seva are being performed, you can wave the Chaur Sahib above Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Do not think “Why should we do the Seva? This is just the duty of the Granthi Singh.” One person alone cannot carry out complete Seva with full respect - when the whole Sangat carries out the Seva with true devotion then it is true Seva. Seeing the love of the Sangat, the Granthi Singh’s love increases and, seeing the love of the Granthi Singh, the Sangat’s love increases. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee protects us in this world and the next. Beloved Gursikhs should lovingly, and with full respect, unite with the Granthi Singh to carry out the Seva of Guru Jee. The Granthi Singh should also lovingly spread the message and encourage the Sangat to join in with the Seva. He should remain alert that they are taking part in all the Seva and he, too, should do the Seva as well. The Granthi Singh should take no part in politics. Wherever he hears slander, he should leave it there; he should never indulge in slander. He should consider himself the slave of Guru Nanak Sahib, and should consider it in his own welfare to bring an end to politics.
Granthi Singhs who teach the true pronunciation of Gurbani, Katha and Kirtan are very rare. To such Gurmukhs, we humbly bow again and again. By serving and respecting those Granthi Singhs, the whole Sangat should take the benefit of the (Shudh Santhia) correct pronunciation of Gurbani, Katha and Kirtan.
At many places arguments arise regarding loud speakers (being used in villages or publicly relaying the Gurdwara program, mainly relevant in India). It is argued that the use of loud speakers are detrimental to the education of children and do not let people sleep at night. However, if lewd songs are played, no one tries to stop them (when people have parties and weddings). At many places, due to these arguments, the Amrit Vela Nitnem is done later in the morning. In reality we should have faith ourselves and encourage faith in the children. By listening to Gurbani, the children’s moral character develops, therefore, the children are saved from the use of intoxicants. If the ears hear the sweet sound of Gurbani, then the ears are blessed and the mind becomes calm and peaceful. With a calm mind, worldly education is also more easily performed. We also make the mistake of saying, “Gurbani entering our ears will mean we cannot go to sleep.” In fact, listening to the ambrosial Katha, Kirtan and recitation of Gurbani calms the mind: thinking, anxieties, stresses are all removed, the mind becomes tranquil and sleep comes naturally.
Gutkas and Pothis of Gurbani and Rumalas for Sri Guru Granth Sahib that are kept in trunks or wardrobes, and the beds for Guru Sahib, should be kept with mothballs, etc, so that insects do not ruin them. Blessed Saroops, Gutkas and Pothis should be carefully kept away from damp as well. Gutkas and Pothis should not be kept in wardrobes that are built into walls because damp can arise through them and affect the Gutkas and Pothis. At least every 6 months, the Pothis should be aired and perfumed with incense. Due to neglect and damp, etc, many important Pothis have been lost. After the passing away of a Sant or a Giani Singh, special care should be taken in looking after the Pothis.
It is a great disrespect of Guru Sahib to make Rumalas containing pictures of Guru Sahib or lines of Gurbani. Only those Rumalas should be presented to Guru Sahib Jee which do not have lines from Gurbani written on them because Rumalas are offered out of respect for Gurbani. Although, if Gurbani is written on the Rumalas then dust and dirt will fall upon them.
Those cassettes, records and CDs which have Gurbani on them should be respected like Pothis - when they break, they should not be left to waste away beneath our feet.
Phones and electronic devices such as tablets and anything else that you read Gurbani off should be sanitized before use and where possible Gutka Sahibs used instead. Sanitization should preferably be done with alcohol free products and only carried out on electronic devices and never on Gutka Sahibs. Gutkas and Gurbani pothia should be wiped down regularly to keep them dust free but no wet applications of cleaning are needed for them.
Every month you should take a soft cloth and clean each Ang of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee to remove any dust. Do not press down the cloth too hard because the ink in some Saroops may run. Even the hand should not be pressed against the Angs as the hand is sweaty and dirty.
Young children copy the elders and start waving the Chaur Sahib, however, they do not know about washing their hands and feet and they do not know about the respect required. For this reason, one Sikh should remain on guard with Guru Sahib whilst reciting Gurbani (children are allowed to do the seva but should be adequately supervised and/or trained).
If one person is sitting behind Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee on Tabiyaa then make sure to pass Pothis in front of this person – not behind them. If someone is standing beside a table on which Pothi Sahibs are rested then you should not hand out or return a Pothi behind their back. Nothing should be passed over the top of Guru Sahib Jee or a Gutka Sahib or Pothi Sahib. When sitting on your bed, pass Pothi Sahibs over the side of the pillow. We should not be sitting on the side of the pillow and passing the Pothi Sahib over the side where our feet usually lie (your head is the supreme point of your body and it rests on the pillow at night. This is why it is referred to so often here in these descriptions).
If one person is reading from a Gutka Sahib or a Pothi Sahib then another person should not start reading a Gutka Sahib back to back with that person as is now commonly seen in many Gurdwara Sahibs. In this way, both have their backs facing towards Gurbani.
If you are practising Kirtan on your bed then place the instrument on the side of your pillow. The cloths of the instrument should not touch your feet. Do not place the Amrit Kirtan Pothi Sahib on the instrument without a Rumala and do not commit the sin of placing keys, money, etc, or anything on top of the Pothi Sahib.
Some people keep their hands in the middle of the Pothi Sahibs whilst reading from it, and needlessly keep turning over the Angs of the Pothi Sahib - doing so can make the Angs dirty, thus causes them to rip. If your Pothis or Gutka Sahibs become torn, the best way to repair them is by using starch paste and a good quality paper which is thin enough to blend in. Using any form of tape to repair Pothis or Gutka Sahibs causes the paper to degrade.
Whilst reading from a Pothi Sahib or Gutka Sahib, you should not allow a fly or any other insect to rest upon it. Sometimes seeing a creature on the Ang, we act in haste and squash the animal into the Ang. We should feel mercy towards the creature and move it away gently with a piece of cloth.
You should never say disrespectful words like Paath-Pooth, Pothi-Paathi, Nitnem-Nitnoom, Baani-Booni, Gutka-Gatka, Kirtan-Koortan, etc. Whilst reading from a Gutka Sahib or Pothi Sahib, some people leave the Gutka or Pothi Sahib open (Parkash) or upside down. You should respectfully close (Santokh) the Gutka Sahib, wrap it up in a Rumala and leave it facing the right way up. By leaving Pothi Sahibs uncovered, they accumulate dust and insects sit upon them.
One should never write any Gurbani on their body, nor even get someone’s name written on their body in Gurmukhi. Otherwise, whilst going to the toilet and eating, the Gurmukhi letters are greatly disrespected.
Do not rip pieces of paper out of a notepad or book in which Gurmukhi letters are written, or turn the pages after putting spit on your fingers. Even if you write Gurmukhi letters on a black board, you should not wipe them off with spit. Never sit on any paper with Gurmukhi letters written on it, never touch it with impure (Joothe) hands, never put it on the floor, never put it in your mouth, never roll it up and blow on it with your mouth because your spit goes on it in this way. Never fan yourself with any such papers and do not disrespect them by tapping on them like a tabla drum. Keep your notebooks (with Gurmukhi written in them) in a high place and do not point your feet towards them.
Whichever cupboard, bag or box contains Pothi Sahibs or Gutka Sahibs, do not place glasses, medicines, letters, passports, etc, or anything else in it. Even when in the cupboard, the Pothi Sahibs should not be lower than the bed where you sleep (or any chair you sit on).
You should never place a watch, spectacles, your shoulder or anything else on top of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or a Pothi Sahib. You should not even place a pin on Guru Sahib or a Pothi Sahib. Only Rumalas should be used to stop the Angs from fluttering (due to a gust of wind). All Kathakaars, writers and virtuous people should uphold this respect.
If we are reading a Pothi Sahib or Gutka Sahib, it does not matter which saintly soul (Mahapurakh) walks in, we should remain seated as upholding the respect for Gurbani, which is being read, is paramount. We should not let anyone bow (Matha Tek) to us and we should not bow to any other human being. The status of Gurbani is esteemed. If anyone tries to bow to you, you should say, “I have Pothi Sahibs with me - bow to them and say the Guru’s Fateh loudly to me”.
You should not offer any of the following items for bhog (to bless) to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee - cannabis, meat, alcohol or tea (due to caffeine).
Some people ridicule those who read Gurbani day and night and say that they do not let Satguru Jee sleep. However, Satguru Jee is always awake. For example:
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਾਗਤਾ ਹੈ ਦੇਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The True Guru is the awakened Lord (is always alert/awake).
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Ang 479)
For this reason, words that break someone’s faith should not be spoken.
At Gurdwara Sri Akhand Parkash in village Bhindran, Brahamgiani Mahapurakhs Sant Baba Sundar Singh Jee Khalsa, Sant Baba Attar Singh Jee and Sant Baba Maghar Singh Jee were discussing which divine Mahapurakh had been blessed with spending time with the most Satgurus. It was discussed that Baba Buddha Sahib Jee was blessed with Darshan of 7 Satgurus and that Baba Budhan Shah was blessed with Darshan of the 1st and 6th Satguru. Sant Baba Sundar Singh Jee Khalsa folded their hands and said, “This slave firmly believes that anyone who has had Darshan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, and has meditated upon and understands the Shabad of the Guru, he or she has done complete Darshan of all 10 Paatshaahis.” Whenever Sant Baba Sundar Singh Jee used to lift the Rumala from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee and do Their Darshan, Baba Jee’s face would light up with an extraordinary glow and they would go into ecstasy. Sant Baba Attar Singh Jee said back to them, with hands folded, “We bow to your firm faith.”
The souls of Shaheed Singhs stay on guard in the lotus presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, to up keep the respect and worship of the Guru of all Gurus, the Saint of all Saints, Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Maharaj. The Shaheed Singhs’ souls are quick to help those beloved people who maintain the respect, worship and belief in Guru Sahib Jee.
Only those beloved people, who are blessed by God, uphold the respect for Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Those people who maintain the respect are always graced with peace of mind, which comes with respect for Guru Sahib Jee; we bow humbly again and again to those Gurmukhs.
When holy Saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee or Gutka Sahibs and Pothi Sahibs become very old, the Angs rip and Parkash cannot be done; please take them to ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib Bhavan’ at Sri Goindwal Sahib where they can be respectfully cremated. This can be done by contacting Damdami Taksal or S.G.P.C (in other countries get in touch with Satkar Committees or local sevadars who may be able to offer help to do this seva).
Khalsa Jeeo! We should respect Satguru Jee’s Bani as much as we can, in any way possible; by doing so, Maharaj Jee will bless us with Their unfathomable grace, and Guru Sahib will bestow countless blessings upon us.
5. Translator’s Note
We have attempted to make this publication as close to a word for word translation of the original Gurmukhi version printed by Damdami Taksal (Jatha Bhindran) as possible, with no alterations or additions being made to the text. This English version is not an attempt to replace the original Gurmukhi version, which was authored under the guidance of the Mahapurakhs of Damdami Taksal; rather it is intended to be a stepping-stone for the Sikh youth to turn to for guidance as they begin their path to Sikhi.
We beg for forgiveness from Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee Maharaj for any mistakes made whilst translating, publishing, and distributing this publication. May Satguru Jee and the Guru Pyaaree Sadh Sangat kindly forgive our countless errors and continue to bless us with seva of the Khalsa Panth.
Jaskeerth Singh & Sukha Singh (UK)