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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh



Problems of Translating Gurbani and the Universal Message of Guru Granth Sahib

Dr G S Makin

The well-known scholar Sardar GS Makin recently delivered a lecture on this vital subject at Kalghidhar Niwas, Madhya Marg, Chandigarh. Sardar Makin has spent ten years in translating Guru Granth Sahib into English, in prose, to reach the core of each sabd and to appreciate the central theme of each verse. (Editor)

There are four main basic angles from which we could discuss or understand the message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib viz:

a) Research Angle (Historical Otherwise)
b) Religious Angle (Basic Philosophy)
c) Literary Angle (Its poetry’s excellence a musical aspect)
d) Spiritual angle

The previous 2 lectures were mainly concerned with the Research angle in one aspect or the other but my 13th lecture will concentrate on the religious aspects of the message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, especially the problems faced by me or other scholars like Dr Gopal Singh, Prof G S Talib (while translating the Gurbani into English) or Dr Sahib Singh (in Punjabi Language). In fact, it is impossible to bring out the in-depth meaning of the Gurus' word (Gurbani) in any language especially foreign languages like English etc. The Guru says, “ਆਪ ਆਪਣੀ ਬੁਧ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੀ ਭ੍ਰਣਤ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਤੋਹੀ ਤੇਤੀ” – Guru Gobind Singh

So, everyone has tried to understand and then explain the Guru's message as per his vision but no one could say that this is the final version of Guru's message either in Punjabi or English etc. In fact, Dr Sahib Singh has done a wonderful job in explaining the Guru's word (Gurbani) in ten volumes in Punjabi, especially taking the grammatical meaning of the whole text.

Before translating Guru Granth Sahib into English, one has to understand the in-depth meaning of the Guru's word rather than its literary meaning. In fact most of the Gurbani has been sung in 'musical meters" giving similes from everyday life, thus making the original poetry rising to unimaginable heights. As such a literal translation of Gurbani in any language would be a futile effort. For example Guru Nanak Dev calls himself a poet, in Dhansari Rag (Page 660) when He says, "ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਇਰ ਏਵ ਕਹਿਤ ਹੈ ਸਚੇ ਪਰਵਦਗਾਰਾ".

As an example in Tukhari Rag (page 1112) Guru Nanak Dev says, "ਜਬ ਨਾਚੀ ਤਬ ਘੁੰਘਟ ਕੈਸਾ ਮਟਕੀ ਫੋੜ ਨਿਰਾਰੀ || ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੇ ਆਪ ਪਛਾਣ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਤ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ". Now the literal translation would refer to a dancer, as to why should she cover her face, while she is dancing (before the public) discarding her prestige or shame (honour) whereas the in-depth meaning refers to the human being, while worshipping the Lord, he should not be bothered about the worldly opinion, as to what people think about him. O Nanak! One should attain self-realisation by trying to understand the real meaning of this life through the Guru’s teachings. As he has said, " ਭਇਆ ਦਿਵਾਨਾ ਸਾਹ ਕਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਉਰਾਨਾ || ਕੋਈ ਆਖੇ ਭੂਤਨਾ, ਕੋ ਕਹੇ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ | ਕੋਈ ਆਖੇ ਆਦਮੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ,” which means, “Nanak is madly in love with the Supreme being whereas people do not appreciate his effort and call him a wicked or deranged fellow, while some others call him a human being. Such is his poor status”.

So such examples can be discussed only when we consider the literary angle of Gurbani, which places Nanak as a poet par excellence. In fact, Gurbani has enriched Punjabi Language with a spiritual heritage. Today I am going to restrict my talk to Religious angle only, thus bringing out the problems faced in interpreting Gurbani (Guru’s word) into English, and finding suitable terminology to explain the Guru’s message. Now, to appreciate the problems faced by translators, we will take up three examples from Gurbani and compare the English versions of three different authors. In fact, while translating Gurbani into English my effort comprised writing the meaning of each hymns in Punjabi first, after understanding its true in-depth meaning (with reference to the topic) and then translating it into English by spending two full days (working from 4 AM to 6 PM) for every single page; thus it took me 10 years to complete this project from 1990 to 2000 (namely "The essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 5 Volumes the original hymns from Gurbani) is also given on the left of the page along with its English version on the right. For this I am really indebted to the Late Dr Harnam Singh Shan who had advised me to include the full version of Gurbani in original along with its English version side by side. The literal translation by taking each line at a time does not enable one to comprehend the real theme of the verses. Hence, I have taken each Para as a whole, while explaining it in -depth.

Interpretation in English Prose

First ExempleL i) ;{jh wjbk 1 (gzBk 762) e[uih ..
nkyoh nze - s[X r[D w? ;fG ntrD fJe BkBe eh nodk; ihT[ .. ;G oksh ;'jkrDh w? d[jkrfD ekJh oks ihT[ ..

a) Dr Sahib Singh says,

"ਹੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ! ਤੂੰ ਬੇਅੰਤ ਗੁਣਾਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਸਾਰੇ ਅਵਗਣ ਹੀ ਅਵਗਣ ਹਨ ਫਿਰ ਭੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੀ ਬੇਨਤੀ (ਤੇਰੇ ਦਰ ਤੇ) ਹੈ ਕਿ ਭਾਗਾਂ ਵਾਲੀਆਂ ਜੀਵ-ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀਆਂ ਸਦਾ ਹੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਮ-ਰੰਗ ਵਿੱਚ ਰੰਗੀਆਂ ਹੋਈਆਂ ਹਨ | ਮੈਨੂੰ ਅਵਗਣ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਕੋਈ ਇਕ ਰਾਤ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ (ਮੇਰੇ ਉਤੇ ਵੀ ਕਦੇ ਮੇਹਰ ਦੀ ਨਿਗਾਹ ਕਰ ".

b) Dr Gopal Singh has translated it as follows:
“Thou art the Lord of merit and I am merit-less. O Lord, this yea, is the only prayer of Nanak to thee. Thou hast blessed all thy brides with your company for all these many nights. Is not there a night for me too.”

c) Prof G S Talib says:
“The Ill-natured Female) Cherished Friend! States - Nanak in supplication, Thine all merits, mine demerits all cherished Friend! all joy of nights to the happily wedded one belongs; what nights joy for me of cursed matrimony.”

d) In the Essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Gurbachan Singh Makin has translated these lines in prose as follows:

“O Nanak ! My only supplication to the Lord is that I possess no qualities while the Lord is a personification of virtues only. May the Lord bestow this separated person (like the deserted wife (woman) from the spouse) having no experience of the Lord’s love when all the wedded women were enjoying conjugal bliss in the company of their spouses, at least some time in His company to enjoy His bliss. My whole life has been a sheer waste. May the Lord give me the boon of his company for a short while even (a moment) so as to gain the bliss of life through His Grace."

II. Second Example : ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ || ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ 1 ਛੰਦ ਘਰ 3|| (ਪੰਨਾ 438) 
ਤੂੰ ਸੁਣਿ ਹਰਣਾ ਕਾਲਿਆ ਕੀ ਵਾੜੀਐ ਰਾਤਾ ਰਾਮ || ਬਿਖੁ ਫਲੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਚਾਰਿ ਦਿਨ ਫਿਰਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾਤਾ ਰਾਮ| ਫਿਰ ਹੋਇ ਤਾਤਾ ਖਰਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਪਰਤਾਪਏ || ਓਹ ਜੰਞ ਸਾਇਰ ਦੇਇ ਲਹਰੀ ਬਿਜੁਲ ਜਿਵੈ ਚਮਕਦੇ || ਹਰਿ ਬਾਝ ਰਾਖਾ ਕੋਇ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੋਇ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਬਿਸਾਰਿਆ || ਸਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਚੇਤਿ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਮਰਹਿ ਹਰਣਾ ਕਾਲਿਆ ||

a) Gopal Singh has translated as follows:

"O Black deer ! Why are you attached to the beauty of the garden? The fruit of verify is sweet for a day and then it giveth immense pain. Yea, giveth pain the fruit which intoxicate, thee now (for) without the name one gatherith sorrow. The world yea, is like the sea-wave the lightning flash. And without the Lord no one is there to protect why him forsakest then? Nanak speaketh the 'truth' dwell then on thy Lord in the mind for tomorrow thou diest, O black deer!"

Prof G S Talib has translated it as:
“Listen, Thou black buck, why in this orchard art so absorbed! The fruit of poison tastes sweet for a few days only, then will it begin to torment thee. This fruit which has intoxicated thee will then torment without the Name Divine is deep suffering will there be. Pleasure is unstable like the stromy ocean like the flashing lightening. None other than the Lord is thy protector – Him hast their forgotten. Believe Nanak in thy self. Contemplate this. Death to thee must come, thou black deer.”

c) The Essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (by G S Makin) in English prose has stated as follows:

“O my Mind ! Wandering like the black deer! Why are you so much pleased with your involvement in worldly vices as this would be transient and does not last long and you will end up in great suffering? The life without true name is going to be full of afflictions, so why are you so much amused with its enjoyment? This world rises and falls like the waves of the ocean and flashes like the lightening are noticed. “

“O man! You have totally forgotten the Lord, who is your only protector and saviour and none else could save you. O Nanak! Let us meditate on True Name. O my mind! The truth is that without the True Name, you will suffer like the deer, being caught up by god of death in great distress suffer like the deer, being caught up by the god of death, in great distress.”

III The Third Example is quoted now:
ਰਾਮੁ ਮਲਾਰ ਮ: 5 ਚਉਪਦੇ ਘਰ 1|| (1266)
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ || ਕਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਸੋਚਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਤੂੰ ਚਿਤਵਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਤੂ ਕਰਹਿ ਉਪਾਏ | ਤਾਂ ਕਉ ਕਹਹੁ ਪਰਵਾਹ ਕਾਹੂ ਕੀ ਜਿਹ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਸਹਾਏ || 
ਬਰਸੇ ਮੇਘ ਸਖੀ ਘਰਿ ਪਾਹਨ ਆਏ || ਮੋਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਨਿਧਿ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਨਵਨਿਧਿ ਲਗਿ ਸਮਾਏ || ਰਹਾਉ
The main theme in this hymn is that in my heart, the Lord's love is showering His grace like the rainfall, on me, so O Lord-benign ! Keep me absorbed in Your true Name, which is like the nine treasures of the world. Now let us see whether these points are brought out in the various translations clearly and how far.

Dr Gopal Singh's version says:
“O my mind! Why are thou ridden with care why thinkest thou of the life of effort. For he on whose side is God becometh care-free and leaneth on naught else.
Lo, the rains have come. O friend! A guest hath walked into my Home. O God of grace, Be merciful to me, the poor one, and merge me in thy name, the nine treasures (of bliss)" (I-Pause)

b) While Prof G S Talib has translated as follows:
“What point thy anxiety, thy thinking? Why makest this efforts? What needs he whose helper the Lord is? My sister-friend ! Clouds of Grace are raining and saintly guests in our home have arrived. Lord, Ocean of Grace is the Name repository of Nine Treasures. Absorb me, humble one (1-Pause)".

c) The Essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by G S Makin has translated this hymn as follows:
“O my mind! Why are you engrossed in worries and dual-mindedness? What are you deliberating? By speech) What are you contemplating (by mind) and what corrective actions are you taking (by body)? The person who has the support of the Lord should have no worries on any score. (There is no need to worry, if one has sought the support of the Lord)

This person who has been (blessed) showered with the rain of the nectar of true name, through the cloud of the Guru's Grace, has been bestowed with the presence of the Lord (guest) in the heart. Such a person has controlled the vices like worldly attachment through the Grace. If the true master and is imbued with the love of True Name, the source of all the nine treasurers. (Pause - 1)

Now from all the above three examples it would be evident that translating into English poetry as done by Dr Gopal Singh and Prof G S Talib involves lot of limitation of words, space etc, thus keeping the in-depth meaning into check, while the effort involved in poetic translation is indeed colossal, along with greater skill and mastery of the foreign language. Thus the true interpretation of Gurbani is not possible in poetry whereas writing in English prose is much easier as compared to poetry and the in-depth meaning of the Guru’s word could be brought out, as far as possible, depending upon the understanding of the individual author. But it is rather impossible to bring out the true interpretation in any language especially the foreign languages as the Guru’s word (Gurbani) is full of wisdom, knowledge and philosophy of life much beyond the human comprehension. In spite of all these failings and limitations, the message of the Guru has to be brought out for the benefit of the whole humanity speaking different languages. In fact Guru Nanak Dev had gone out, traveling throughout the world, through different terrains so that the message of Lord's love and his worship could reach the whole human race. Of course, his method of approach through singing Lord's praises in his own language mostly (using foreign language at times like Persian, Arabic etc) was really unique. Thus it would be evident that understanding the Guru's message fully involves lot of insight into the true in-depth meaning, whereas any literal version would not serve any useful purpose. The Guru's word is proclaimed by the Lord Himself as stated in Gurbani, " ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ਤਿੰਨ ਸਗਲੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਮਿਟਾਈ || " So it involves a spiritual approach alone to understand the full impact of the Guru's word, and then putting it across in any language, specially the foreign languages, as equivalent words are not readily available, which could convey the exact meaning.

The Guru has stated, “ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦ ਰਤਨ ਹੈ, ਹੀਅਰੇ ਜਿਤ ਜੜਾਉ “ which means, "The Guru’s word (hymn) is like the jewel studded invaluable treasurer or wealth which could be attained through the Guru's teachings alone.”

So all our efforts at understanding and interpreting Gurbani are welcome, but not enough to grasp the full meaning in its totality. It depends on the individual approach mainly based on his spiritual level of divine attainment or self-realisation.

Now I would like to deal with the second aspect of my lecture viz. The Universal message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib for the whole human race. This would be dealt with under the following headings:

i. The ideal or aim of life ( ਸਾਡਾ ਮਨੋਰਥ ) and the Lord's limitlessness ( ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੀ ਬੇਅੰਤਤਾ )
ii) Our Actions in practical life and rituals ( ਕਰਨੀ ਤੇ ਕਰਮਕਾਂਡ )
iii) Brotherhood of man ( ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲਤਾ )
iv) Love of Human Race ( ਮਨੁੱਖਤਾ ਦਾ ਪਿਆਰ )
v) To gain good qualities (virtues) ( ਗੁਣ ਗ੍ਰਹਣ ਕਰਨਾ, ਅੋਗਣ ਤਿਆਗਣਾ ) and discard vices
vi) The Guru-minded and self willed
vii) The worldly attachment

With the limitation of time at my disposal, I will briefly deal with these aspects by taking examples (verses) from Gurbani:

i) Our aim of life
According to Guru Granth Sahib is: “ ਇਸ ਤੇ ਊਪਰ ਨਹੀ ਬੀਚਾਰ, ਜਾਕੈ ਮਨ ਵਸਿਆ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ”. That is there is nothing higher than the thought of remembering the lord in one’s mind or imbibing the love of the Lord in one's heart.

Secondly, the Gurbani says vide Devgandhari, M-5 page 533 “ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਇਹੈ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਮੇਰਾ || ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਨਿਧਾਨ ਦਇਆਲ ਮੋਹਿ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਚੇਰਾ ” Which means, “O Lord? My only aim in life (motto) is that the Lord through His Grace may bestow on me the job of total service of His beloved-saints only.” or

Bhai Dr Vir Singh (the great poet and writer ) has said, "ਤੇਰਾ ਜੀਵਨ ਸੀਮਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੀ ਜੋਗਾ, ਤੂੰ ਆਪੇ ਆਪ ਨਾਲ ਪਲੇ | ਤੂੰ ਕਿਵੇਂ ਰੋਲਿਆਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਆ ਖਲੋਤੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਚਾਰ ਚੁਫੇਰੇ ਝੰਭਲੇ || "

O Man! Your life was meant for you alone so as to enjoy your life within yourself by looking inwards/ Why have you joined the maddening crowd, surrounded by all sorts of noises and rumblings around?"

In fact, this life was meant for reciting Lord’s praises and remembering Him all the time but man is wasting this life being engaged in unwholsome matters and worldly attachments. The four pillars of Sikhism are: i) Guru's importance; ii) Hukam (Lord’s will); iii) Sadh Sangat or Holy congregations and iv) Reciting True Name (Naam Simran)

But all this would be possible only through the Guru’s grace (or Guru Kirpa as the Gurbani says “ਗੁਰੂ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਿਹ ਜਨ ਕੋ ਕੀਨੀ, ਤਿਹ ਇਹ ਜੁਗਤ ਪਛਾਨੀ; ਨਾਨਕ ਲੀਨ ਭਇਓ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿਉਂ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਨੀ ਸੰਗ ਪਾਨੀ ||” which means. “O Nanak! This path of leading a true life will depend on the Guru's grace alone. So that one mingles with the Lord, as water mingles with water.”

Further Gurbani says:
" ਐਸੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਕਰੋ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜਾਨੋ ਨੇਰੇ || 
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਾਗ | ਹਰਿ ਚਰਨੀ ਤਾਕਾ ਮਨ ਲਾਗ ||

Which means, “O my mind! One should develop such a true love for the Lord, so that one way perceive the Lord closely. O Nanak! The person who is having good luck (due to his previous actions) imbibes the love of the Lord and remains immersed in His remembrance.”

Then the Lord's greatness is beyond our comprehension as he is limitless and His benevolence has no end. As Gurbani in Asa Kabir Ji (p 478):

ਸਨਕ ਸਨੰਦ ਅੰਤ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਇਆ || ਬੇਦ ਪੜੇ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੇ ਜਨਮ ਗਵਾਇਆ || ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਬਿਲੋਵਨਾ ਬਿਲੋਵੋ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ || ਸਹਜ ਬਿਲੋਵੋ ਜੈਸੇ ਤਤ ਨਾ ਜਾਈ which means “Nanak and Sanad Brahma’s sons, could never grasp the greatness of the Lord while Brahma having read four Vedas has wasted his life in trying to find the Lord's limits.”

Let us try to sing the praises of the Lord by appreciating His vastness and Greatness to the extent that the true worth of our deliberations does not lead us astray, and we enjoy the bliss of Lord's love in a state of equipoise.

Then Guru Nanak Dev has said, ਸਾਗਰ ਮਹਿ ਬੂੰਦ ਬੂੰਦ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਗਰ ਕਵਣ ਬੂਝੇ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ || i.e., The ocean abides in the drop of water and the drops amount result to the ocean, but who knows the depth of this statement except one, bestowed by the right intelligence (understanding) through Lord's Grace.

ii) Our actions in life and Rituals (eoBh s/ eow eKv)
Bhai Gurdas has said, “ ਬਾਬਾ ਆਖੇ ਹਾਜੀਆਂ ਸ਼ੁਭ ਅਮਲਾਂ ਬਾਝੋਂ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਰੋਈ || " i.e. when questioned by the Hajis in Mecca whether Muslims were superior to Hindus or vice versa, and Guru Nanak Dev responded by saying that it depended on their practical life and actions or deeds, else both were to be condemned.

In “Sukhmani” Guru Arjan Dev (5th Nanak) says: “ਕਰਤੂਤ ਪਸੁ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ || ਲੋਕ ਪਚਾਰਾ ਕਰੇ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤਿ || ਬਾਹਿਰ ਭੇਖ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਮਾਇਆ | ਛਪਸਿ ਨਾਹਿ ਕਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਛਪਾਇਆ ||” i.e. though he calls himself a human being, his actions resemble those of animals, as he always tries to win the applause of the people. Though he dresses like a saint, his attachment is for the worldly falsehood (Maya) and he cannot hide his real self in spite of his efforts.

In fact our actions in life should be in accordance with our saying, else it is a waste of this precious human life given to us once only. Again in Asa Ki vaar, Guru Nanak Dev condemns hypocrisy very strongly saying "ਮਾਣਸ ਖਾਣੇ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਜ | ਛੁਰੀ ਵਗਾਇਨ ਤਿਨ ਗਲ ਤਾਗ" i.e. people who devour human beings, are offering (Muslim) prayers, so what is the use of wearing a rosary around the neck when they are brandishing a knife to kill others. So our actions should correspond to our spoken words, else it will not lead us to peace of mind and finally unity with the Lord.

iii) Brotherhood of Man ( ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲਤਾ)
The Gurbani says, “ ਸਭੇ ਸਾਂਝੀਵਾਲ ਸਦਾਇਨ ਤੂੰ ਕਿਸੇ ਨਾ ਦਿਸਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਜੀਓ”. i.e., all are equal partners in life and the Lord is not an outsider for any one (being present within all the beings)

Further it says, " ਤੂੰ ਸਾਂਝਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਬਾਪ ਹਮਾਰਾ || ਨਉਨਿਧਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਅਖੁਟ ਭੰਡਾਰਾ || ਜਿਸ ਤੂੰ ਦੇਹਿ ਸੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਅਘਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਭਗਤੁ ਤੁਮਾਰਾ ਜੀਉ || which means, "O Lord! You are our common Father and our Master and your nine treasures are always enriched with endless wealth. Whosoever is blessed with this wealth (of true Naam) gets satiated in life and is known as your true saint or worshipper. Then again vide slok M 3 (Vaar Sorath M 4, p 647) the Gurbani says, " ਪਰਥਾਇ ਸਾਖੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਹਾਨੇ || i.e. the virtuous person speak something on certain occasions as it suits the situation which is applicable to the whole humanity. Guru Amar Das has said vide Slok M 3 (p. 863) ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲੰਦਾ ਰਖਿ ਲੈ ਆਪਣੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ || ਜਿਤ ਦੁਆਰੇ ਉਬਰੇ ਤਿਤੈ ਲੈJ ਉਬਾਰਿ|| i.e. “O Lord ! Save this burning world (with the fire of having more worldly possessions) through Your grace whichever path one follows, pray protect him through your benevolence.” In fact, Guru Nanak had traveled all over the known areas of the universe, spreading His gospel of peace, truth and tranquility along with Lord’s love through singing His message of love with his melodious voice through Gurbani. Furthermore, Guru Arjun Dev (the 5th Nanak) included the bani (sayings) of 15 saints both Hindu and Muslims, while compiling Guru Granth Sahib, thus the saying of Kabir, Farid, Ravidass and many others are forming a part of the holy Granth which proves the point. Moreover there is no high or low in the eyes of the Guru and they all deserve the same honour and veneration when the Sikhs bow to the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

There were three main religious factions prevalent in India, viz Hindu, Muslim and Yogis. So the Guru’s message was addressed towards them all to shun all rituals and pay attention only to Lord's love and remember Him by singing His praises and reciting True Naam, Guru Nanak Dev says in Asa ki Vaar:

ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਸਿਫਤ ਸਰੀਅਤ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ||
ਬੰਦੇ ਸੇ ਜੇ ਪਵੇ ਵਿਚ ਬੰਦੀ ਦਰਸਨ ਰੂਪ ਅਪਾਰੁ ||
ਹਿੰਦੂ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ਸਾਲਾਹਨ ਦਰਸਨਿ ਰੂਪਿ ਅਪਾਰੁ || 
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਅਰਚਾ ਪੂਜਾ ਅਗਰ ਵਾਸ ਬਹਕਾਰ || 
ਜੋਗੀ ਧੁਨਿ ਧਿਆਵਨਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਅਲਖ ਨਾਮ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ||
ਸੂਖਮ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਆਕਾਰੁ || 
ਨਾਨਕ ਭਗਤਾ ਭੁਖ ਸਾਲਾਹਣ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਆਧਾਰ ||
ਸਦਾ ਮਸੰਦ ਰਹਹਿ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤੀ ਗੁਣ ਵੰਡਿਆ ਪਾਛਾਰੁ ||

Thus the Guru’s message treated all human beings at par without caste or creed considerations.

iv) Guru's love for the whole humanity ( ਮਨੁਖਤਾ ਨਾਲ ਪਿਆਰ)
Guru Gobind Singh has remarked, “ ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਭੇ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਿਚਾਨਬੋ ||” i.e. consider the whole human race as one entity. So the message of Guru Granth Sahib is directed or addressed to the whole humanity, considering it as one entity without any distinctions of race , class, creed or religion. The Gurbani preaches love for each other as humans only. This point was proved by Bhai Ghaniya while offering water to the injured in the battle field to Sikhs or Muslims equally. Guru Nanak Dev preached his universal message of love for one another through His hymns sung by him, while the Muslim bard (Mardana) played out the rebeck (Rabab).

For instance Kabir says in Parbhati Kabir Ji (p. 1349), " ਅਵਲ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ || ਏਕ ਨੂੰਰ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਜਗ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕੋਣ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ || or Guru Arjan Dev says vide Ramkali M 5 (p 885) ਕੋਈ ਬੋਲੇ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਕੋਈ ਖੁਦਾਇ || ਕੋਈ ਸੇਵ ਗੁਸਈਆਂ ਕੋਈ ਅਲਾਹਿ || ਕਾਰਨ ਕਰਣ ਕਰੀਮ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ ਰਹੀਮ , which means whether a Hindu recites Ram Ram or a Muslim talks of Allah, both are singing the praises of the same Lord, while the cause and effect is the same benevolent Lord. Kabir has stated earlier that the Lord created the whole world through the same light and Nature as his manifestations and all the human beings belong to the same Lord, so who could be considered good or bad as all are His own creation. In fact, Guru Nanak Dev raised the status of women to be equal to man's level when He said, “ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡ ਨਿਮੀਐ ਭੰਡ ਮਗਣ ਵੀਆਹੁ || ਭੰਡੋ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਿ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹ | ਭੰਡ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡ ਤਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡ ਹੋਵੈ ਬਧਾਨ|| ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤ ਜੰਮੇ ਰਾਜਾਨ || .... ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੇ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਏ |

When the world was treating women with disaim and disrespect, Guru Nanak Dev stressed the point that how could woman be inferior in any respect when she gives birth to kings and all our dealings including births, weddings and friendship depends on our relations with the woman. It is only God who is above all this, else the whole world is created through the woman’s womb. So let us not disrespect her. In Sidh Gosht (page 938) Guru Nanak Dev has said, ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲ ਨਿਰਾਲਮ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੇ ਸਾਣੇ || ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਨਾਮ ਵਖਾਣੇ || which means O Nanak ! just as the lotus remains aloof and unperturbed (unaffected) by the water or the Duck remains unaffected by water, we could cross this worldly ocean by reciting Lord’s true Name being unaffected by worldly falsehood (Maya), with the help of Guru’s word.

v) Now to restrict my lecture within the limited time available, I will deal with the three aspects of gaining Good qualities, Guru-minded and self willed persons ( ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ) and worldly attachment ( ਮਾਇਆ ਦੇ ਬੰਧਨ) briefly:

The main philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib lays emphasis on reciting true name of the Lord through the Grace of the Perfect Guru by imbibing virtues and discarding vices, the sexual desire, egoism, anger, lust and worldly attachment. This is possible provided one becomes a Gurmukh (Guru-minded) by following the Guru’s teachings instead of a Manmukh (self-willed) and getting rid of the bondage of (Maya) worldly falsehood, through the benevolence of the Guru.

Gurbani stresses as follows: ਵਿਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ਦਾਤਾਰ ਅਪਣਾ ਨਾਮ ਦੇਹੁ || ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਾ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਚਾਉ ਏਹੁ || which means, "O Nanak! May the Lord bestow this boon to me that I may not forget the Lord any time (of my life) and continue singing His praises, thus craving for attaining unity with the Lord.” But all this would be possible provided the Guru bestows His Grace!

Further, Gurbani (Guru’s word) says: ਗੁਰ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਜਿਹ ਨਰ ਕਉ ਕੀਨੀ ਉਹ ਇਹ ਜੁਗਤ ਪਛਾਨੀ || ਨਾਨਕ ਲੀਨ ਭਿਉ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿਊ ਜਿਉ ਪਾਨੀ ਸੰਗ ਪਾਨੀ || which means, “O Nanak! this state of self-realisation is achieved by a person bestowed with the Guru's Grace. Then the individual attains vision with the Lord like water mingling with water, without any distinction.” Now I will quote some opinion of world's scholars about Guru Granth Sahib at the end of this talk.

Some Opinions of Scholars of the world
i) Lala Har Dayal has remarked in “Hints for self-culture” (Chapter on Religion): "All the Sikh Gurus, who followed Guru Nanak were really teachers, each one of them, giving new directions to the Sikh movement thus solidifying the foundation laid by Guru Nanak, inspiring a sense of purpose, sacrifice, humility, godliness and bravery, thus making the movement a grand success."

ii) Miss Pearl S Buck (Noble Laureate) has said, “Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a source and expression of man's aspirations, his languages, his yearning for communication with the Divine being.”

iii) Duncanles has remarked that Guru Granth Sahib is certainly one of the master pieces of poetry and few if any among the world scriptures attain so high a literary level or so constant a height of inspiration.

iv) Dr S Radhakrishnan, a great Indian philosopher and exponent of Religious studies and a former President of India has said, “We find in the Guru Granth Sahib a wide range of mystical emotions, intimate expression of the personal realization of God, and rapturous hymns of divine love.”

v) Prof Puran Singh, a great Sikh scholar and poet says, “It is the scripture of all nations for it is the lyric of divine love and all the people of the Earth submit on such lyrical prayer that Guru Granth is one song, one idea and one life. Immensity is the substance of Sublime”.

Finally, this holy scripture in unique is its approach prescribing no rituals like visiting holy places of pilgrimage fasting, or observing penance to achieve unity with the Lord. It goads us to approach God through simran (repeating true naam) and singing Lord's praises through Guru's Word.”


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