Compilation of Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjan gave a central place of worship to the Sikhs in Harmandir Sahib. What now he wanted was a scripture for the Sikhs. So he collected from Bhai Mohan, the son of Guru Amar Das, the hymns of the first three Gurus and some Bhagats, and added to them the compositions of his father Guru Ramdas, and his own. He got the Adi Granth written by Bhai Gurdas. Guru Arjan gave the copy to Bhai Bano for binding. He took it for binding to Lahore and on the way prepared a copy. This is known as Bhai Bano's copy. Guru Arjan got the original after binding. He installed the Holy Book at Harmandir Sahib in 1604. Baba Buddha was appointed as its first Granthi or keeper. This copy passed into custody of Bhai Dhirmal, son of Guru Hargobind, who refused to give it to the Guru. Subsequently some Sikhs brought this copy to the ninth Guru who returned it to Dhirmal. It is said that Guru Gobind Singh stayed at Damdama Sahib for nine months in 1706 and dictated the whole Adi Granth to Bhai Mani Singh. Undoubtedly, the Guru expunged certain unauthorised pieces which had crept into some pirated copies and gave it a final form.
It is a religious scripture, a compilation of spiritual/mystical hymns with a common philosophy but written by different spiritual masters, prominent saints (Bhagats) and some others spiritual poets from the Indian subcontinent. The different authors who's writing are included in the scripture lived between the twelfth to the seventeenth century and belonged to different faiths and classes/strata of society. This scripture is also called Adi Granth (Adi means original & Granth means scripture) to differentiate it from another Scripture written by the tenth Sikh Guru.
This is the latest of the principal religious scriptures from the Indian subcontinent and this is the only known scripture that contains the original writings from the masters of a major faith know as Sikhism. The compilation of the original scripture was completed by the fifth Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev in 1604. Probably the most unique feature of this scripture is that it contains a universal message of spiritual living for the whole human race.
Guru Arjan Dev provided the following epilogue;
"Three things are there in the vessel; Truth, contentment and intellect. The ambrosial Name of God is added to it, The Name that is everybody's sustenance. He who absorbs and enjoys it shall be saved. One must not abandon this gift, It should ever remain dear to ones heart. The dark ocean of the world can be crossed by clinging to His feet. Nanak, it is He who is everywhere." (Guru Arjan Dev, Mundawani)
The great task was finally completed in 1705. The Damdama Sahib Bir was then taken to Nanded where it was installed as desired by the Guru. Near the end of his life Guru Gobind Singh ended the line of personal Guruship by investing the Granth Sahib with the status of Eternal Guru and his official successor in 1708. Bhai Nandlal one of Guru Gobind Singhs disciples recorded the Guru's words as; "He who would wish to see the Guru, Let him come and see the Granth. He who would wish to speak to him, Let him read and reflect upon what says the Granth. He who would wish to hear his word, He should with all his heart read the Granth." (Rahitnama) In 1721 Mata Sundri the widow of Guru Gobind Singh instructed Bhai Mani Singh to go to Harmandir Sahib as the head Granthi along with the Sacred Volume. This Sacred Volume which was carried by the Sikhs before their troops on march was tragically lost in battle during the Second Sikh Holocaust - Wadda ghalughara on February 5th 1762. Fortunately since a number of copies had been made, this text has survived to today become the official authorized version of the Guru.
The scripture contains compositions of 6 Sikh Gurus (the first five Gurus and the ninth Guru), seventeen saints/Bhagats (Kabir, Farid, Namdev, Ravidas, Beni, Trilochan, Jaidev, Sundar, Parmanand, Sadna, Ramanand, Dhanna, Pipa, Sain, Soorday, Bhikhan, Mardana); poets Balwand & Sata and eleven Bhattas or poets of the Sikh Gurus (Mathra, Jalap, Harbans, Talya, Salya, Bhal, Kulh Sahar, Nal, Kirat, Gayand, Sadrang).
Guru Granth Sahib contains 5894 hymns. 974 hymns are written by the first Guru, 62 by the second Guru, 907 by the third, 679 by the fourth, 2218 by the fifth, and 115 by the ninth Guru. 541 hymns are by sait/Bhagat Kabir. The remaining 381 hymns are by others saints/Bhagats and poets listed above.
The scripture in its customary form has 1430 pages. The allocation of pages is like this: 1. Japji 1-8. 2. Musical hymns 8-1351. 3. Salok Sahskriti 1352-1359. 4. Gatha 1359-1361. 5. Funhe l36l-1362. 6. Chaubole 1363-1364. 7. Saloks of Kabir and Farid 1364-1384. 8. Swa-ee-ay (poetry of parise) of the Gurus by the Bhattas 1384-1408. 9. Saloks of the Gurus 1409-1428. 10. Rag Mala, the index of musical measures 1429-1430.
Most of the hymns in Sri Guru granth Sahib are classified according to musical forms called Rags. Under each Rag, the hymns are further arranged in the following order :1. Chaupadas, hymns of four verses. 2. Ashtapadas, hymns of eight verses. 3. Long poems. 4. Chhants, Verses of six lines. 5. Short poems. 6. Vars, consisting of two or more Saloks and a Pauri. 7. Poems of Bhagats in the same order.
The hymns are further classified according to the musical clef (Ghar) in which each is to be sung. Although according to the index of Rags in Ragmala, the total number of Rags and Raginis is 84, but only 31 have been used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. So the Granth is arranged firstly according to the Rag, secondly, according to the nature or matter of the poem, thirdly by authorship, and fourthly the clef.
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