Evie Nichols 9y3
Can Sikhism continue to exist without the Guru Granth Sahib?
The Guru Granth Sahib is the active living Guru of the Sikhs: a long text with 1430 pages, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708. A collection of 5,894 hymns and 1430 pages, the Guru Granth Sahib describes the qualities of God and why you should meditate on God’s name. The hymns are arranged into 31 ragas, which are musical groupings. Every copy of the Guru Granth Sahib has an identical layout of pages. The Guru Granth Sahib was declared as Guru Gobind Singh’s (1666-1708) successor, by himself. It is the holy scripture of the Sikhs and is regarded as the teachings of the ten Gurus, as well as treated like as a sovereign living Guru. The Guru Granth Sahib has a pivotal role in Sikh worship, as a source or guide of prayer; and it in many ways defines Sikhism: outlining all of the laws, rules and ideas of it. It is written in the Gurmukhī script, in various dialects – including Lehndi Punjabi, Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Sanskrit and Persian – often merged under the broad title of Sant Bhasha. There are approximately 20 million followers worldwide of Sikhism, most of whom live in the Punjab province of India: a state in the northwest of India. The 2001 census recorded 336,000 Sikhs living in the UK. In this essay I am going to examine information surrounding the Guru, and I am going to analyse whether Sikhism could exist without it, and come to a conclusion that it could not.
Firstly, I am going to look at the history of the Guru Granth Sahib. During the Guruship of Guru Nanak (1469-1539) collections of his hymns were compiled and sent to Sikh communities for use in worship. Guru Nanak wrote 974 published hymns. His successor, Guru Angad, collected these writings. This tradition was continued by the third, fourth and fifth gurus. Guru Amar Das wrote 907 hymns, Guru Ram Das wrote 679 hymns. Guru Arjan (fifth Guru) compiled a sacred book for the Sikh community, selecting hymns, to prevent fake scriptures from gaining legitimacy. The published version today has most hymns from Guru Arjan, with 2,218. In 1604, Guru Arjan’s manuscript was completed and copies were sent all over Northern India. The sixth, seventh and eighth Gurus did not add anything to the text, but the ninth Guru (Guru Tegh Bahadur) wrote 59 hymns. In 1704, a definitive version was created, with the addition of the compositions of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
I am now going to briefly look at the structure of the Guru Granth Sahib. The first section has three prayers: the Morning Prayer, or Japji; the Evening Prayer, or Sodar; and the Bedtime Prayer, or Sohela. In the next section, Bani, Guru Nanak’s pen-name, ‘Nanak’ ends each verse, even though some were composed by the Gurus who succeeded him. This presents a unity in the authorship of the Granth Sahib, designed by Guru Arjan. Still, the identity of each Guru is shown by their succession number to Guru Nanak. The verses by Guru...