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Changes in Sikhi: Does it depend on the way we interpret Gurbani?

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by Tejwant Singh, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    The Following was discussed in another forum. It shows how literal translation of Gurbani in english can be misleading. I thought it is worth sharing that here too.


    Changes in Sikhi: Does it depend on the way we interpret Gurbani?


    --- In learning-zone@yahoogroups.com, Jagpal S Tiwana <tiwana@...>
    wrote:

    > Karma theory and the Cycle of births and rebirths are the basic
    > tenets of Sikhism. You can get mukti (liberation) from the cycle of
    > births and rebirths and free urself from the evils of past deeds
    if you meditate on divine name. Guru Granth Sahib is full f hymns
    > expounding this philosophy, I m here producing only a few in
    support.

    > Cycle of births and rebirths
    >
    > Page 67, Line 18
    > ?? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ? ??? ?
    > ?? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ? ??? ?
    > lakh cha-oraaseeh fayr pa-i-aa bin sabdai mukat na paa-ay.
    > They wander around the cycle of 8.4 million reincarnations; without
    > the Shabad, they do not attain liberation.
    > Guru Amar Das

    Dear Tiwana ji,

    Thanks for the prompt reply with the partial verses of the Shabads in
    order to show your thought process. I do appreciate that. This is a
    great forum for us to interact and learn in. Let's discuss each verse
    in its entirety and ask all to pitch in with their input so all of us
    can savor the Amrit together.

    Following is the whole first Shabad.

    sireeraag mehalaa 3 ||
    maaeiaa mohu maerai prabh keenaa aapae bharam bhulaaeae ||
    manamukh karam karehi nehee boojhehi birathhaa janam gavaaeae ||
    gurabaanee eis jag mehi chaanan karam vasai man aaeae ||1||
    man rae naam japahu sukh hoe ||
    gur pooraa saalaaheeai sehaj milai prabh soe ||1|| rehaao ||
    bharam gaeiaa bho bhaagiaa har charanee chith laae ||
    guramukh sabadh kamaaeeai har vasai man aae ||
    ghar mehal sach samaaeeai jamakaal n sakai khaae ||2||
    naamaa shheebaa kabeer juolaahaa poorae gur thae gath paaee ||
    breham kae baethae sabadh pashhaanehi houmai jaath gavaaee ||
    sur nar thin kee baanee gaavehi koe n maettai bhaaee ||3||
    dhaith puth karam dhharam kishh sa(n)jam n parrai dhoojaa bhaao n
    jaanai ||
    sathigur bhaettiai niramal hoaa anadhin naam vakhaanai ||
    eaeko parrai eaeko naao boojhai dhoojaa avar n jaanai ||4||
    khatt dharasan jogee sa(n)niaasee bin gur bharam bhulaaeae ||
    sathigur saevehi thaa gath mith paavehi har jeeo ma(n)n vasaaeae ||
    sachee baanee sio chith laagai aavan jaan rehaaeae ||5||
    pa(n)ddith parr parr vaadh vakhaanehi bin gur bharam bhulaaeae ||
    lakh chouraaseeh faer paeiaa bin sabadhai mukath n paaeae ||
    jaa naao chaethai thaa gath paaeae jaa sathigur mael milaaeae ||6||
    sathasa(n)gath mehi naam har oupajai jaa sathigur milai subhaaeae ||
    man than arapee aap gavaaee chalaa sathigur bhaaeae ||
    sadh balihaaree gur apunae vittahu j har saethee chith laaeae ||7||
    so braahaman breham jo bi(n)dhae har saethee ra(n)g raathaa ||
    prabh nikatt vasai sabhanaa ghatt a(n)thar guramukh viralai jaathaa ||
    naanak naam milai vaddiaaee gur kai sabadh pashhaathaa ||8||5||22||



    Allow me to indulge you in the Rahao verse of the whole shabad
    first. I am sure you would agree with me that Our Gurus were
    visionaries. Punctuation marks in English or Gurmukhi or in other
    languages are for the reader, which he/she, depending on the
    punctuation, expresses it to the listener with the change in
    intonation. As Gurbani is recited to the sangat in a poetic manner,
    the intonation becomes mute, hence the insertion of the word 'Rahao'
    which asks us to pause and understand the center idea of the whole
    message. One can call it a punctuation word.

    The Rahao verse is like the nectar of a flower and the rest of the
    verses are like petals protecting/complimenting the nectar, making
    the whole Shabad a flower that emits its scent in all directions sans
    bias.

    man rae naam japahu sukh hoe ||
    gur pooraa saalaaheeai sehaj milai prabh soe ||1|| rehaao ||

    Literal Translation:
    O mind, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and find peace.
    Praising the Perfect Guru, you shall easily meet with that God.
    ||1||Pause||

    Interpretation:

    Hey mann(Conscience) only by contemplating(gaviei,suniei,mann rakhiei
    bhao- by singing,listening and making the Gurmat ideal part of one's
    everyday life) one finds peace.

    Only by listening/following the True Guru one becomes a true seeker
    hence is in touch with Ik Ong Kaar forever.

    So the main idea we can derive about the whole Shabad from the Rahao
    verse is that, for a Sikh the only way to lead a peaceful life is by
    finding the true connection with Ik Ong Kaar through Gurbani Vichar.

    Now let's check the petals of this beautiful flower.


    sireeraag mehalaa 3 ||
    maaeiaa mohu maerai prabh keenaa aapae bharam bhulaaeae ||
    manamukh karam karehi nehee boojhehi birathhaa janam gavaaeae ||
    gurabaanee eis jag mehi chaanan karam vasai man aaeae ||1||

    Literal Translation:

    Siree Raag, Third Mehla:
    Emotional attachment to Maya is created by my God; He Himself
    misleads us through illusion and doubt.
    The self-willed manmukhs perform their actions, but they do not
    understand; they waste away their lives in vain.
    Gurbani is the Light to illuminate this world; by His Grace, it comes
    to abide within the mind. ||1||

    Interpretation:
    Enticement in Maya (material world-life of Miri) is created by Ik ong
    Kaar (as is everything else) to create doubts in the seeker's mind as
    a training for a Sikh to remain on the Sikhi Marg against all odds. A
    Manmukh-an ignorant,does not follow Satguru's instructions, goes
    his/her own way, and hence lives his /her life in vain.
    Gurbani – Satguru's guidelines- is the only way the veil of darkness-
    ignorance- can be taken off so that the Gurmat light can illuminate
    one's mind.

    This verse shows us the difference between ignorance- manmat and
    Guru's wisdom- Gurmat. One lives the life of a manmukh by dwelling in
    the realm of Me-ism - which is not the Sikhi marg- whose road map can
    only be obtained via Gurbani.

    bharam gaeiaa bho bhaagiaa har charanee chith laae ||
    guramukh sabadh kamaaeeai har vasai man aae ||
    ghar mehal sach samaaeeai jamakaal n sakai khaae ||2||

    Literal Translation:

    Doubt departs, and fear runs away, when you focus your consciousness
    on the Lord's Feet.
    The Gurmukh practices the Shabad, and the Lord comes to dwell within
    the mind.
    In the mansion of the home within the self, we merge in Truth, and
    the Messenger of Death cannot devour us. ||2||

    Interpretation:

    When one gets rid of Me-ism, by focusing on Guru's teachings, all
    doubts (insecurities) and fear dissipate. Gurmukh, the true seeker
    puts into practice all that he has learned through Gurbani. With this
    Gurmat practice, he finds peace ( Ik Ong Kaar) within. Because of
    this, the fear of death exists no more.

    Here in the second petal Guru Sahib continues with the same thought
    process. Guru ji shows us that in order to find peace within one has
    to follow Gurmat path. By doing so one becomes fearless and death
    becomes welcoming by making us realize that it is the second surest
    thing after birth.


    naamaa shheebaa kabeer juolaahaa poorae gur thae gath paaee ||
    breham kae baethae sabadh pashhaanehi houmai jaath gavaaee ||
    sur nar thin kee baanee gaavehi koe n maettai bhaaee ||3||

    Literal Translation:

    Naam Dayv the printer, and Kabeer the weaver, obtained salvation
    through the Perfect Guru.
    Those who know God and recognize His Shabad lose their ego and class
    consciousness.
    Their Banis are sung by the angelic beings, and no one can erase
    them, O Siblings of Destiny! ||3||

    Interpretation:

    Naam Dev, a printer and Kabeer, a weaver were outcast in Hinduism
    because of their low castes and we know that the Brahmins, the
    temple `owners' believe that lower caste people do not get to heaven
    hence have no salvation. Guru ji is saying that even the ones that
    were considered having no salvation found home in Guru Shabad. Those
    who follow Gurbani obtain salvation no matter what their social
    status is.
    This third petal shows us the main religion of the time, Hinduism
    discriminated people of lower castes who were not allowed to enter
    the Hindu temples to pray. Sikhi changed all that. All who follow the
    Gurmat path are welcome in Guru's home, irrespective of their social
    or caste status. Guru Ka Langar is the best example in Sikhi to show
    this welcome.

    dhaith puth karam dhharam kishh sa(n)jam n parrai dhoojaa bhaao n
    jaanai ||
    sathigur bhaettiai niramal hoaa anadhin naam vakhaanai ||
    eaeko parrai eaeko naao boojhai dhoojaa avar n jaanai ||4||

    Literal Translation:

    The demon's son Prahlaad had not read about religious rituals or
    ceremonies, austerity or self-discipline; he did not know the love of
    duality.
    Upon meeting with the True Guru, he became pure; night and day, he
    chanted the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
    He read only of the One and he understood only the One Name; he knew
    no other at all. ||4||

    Interpretation:

    In this petal Guru ji is clarifying the Sikhi thought process by
    using a parable from Hindu mythology of Harnakash who was a cruel
    father living in Me-ism wanted his son Prahalaad to chant only his
    name, perform rituals about him rather than meditating on Ik Ong
    Kaar. But Prahalad after encountering the True Guru refused to chant
    his father's name or anyone else's but of Satguru.
    The forth petal shows us that Ik Ong Kaar is formless, genderless,
    timeless and dwells within and is not a personified deity that needs
    to be worshiped.

    khatt dharasan jogee sa(n)niaasee bin gur bharam bhulaaeae ||
    sathigur saevehi thaa gath mith paavehi har jeeo ma(n)n vasaaeae ||
    sachee baanee sio chith laagai aavan jaan rehaaeae ||5||

    Literal Translation:

    The followers of the six different life-styles and world-views, the
    Yogis and the Sanyaasees have gone astray in doubt without the Guru.
    If they serve the True Guru, they find the state of salvation; they
    enshrine the Dear Lord within their minds.
    They focus their consciousness on the True Bani, and their comings
    and goings in reincarnation are over. ||5||

    Interpretation:

    People who do not understand nor practice the Sikhi way of life of
    Miri-Piri will always be astray and dwell in the realm of Me-ism.
    Because they, the so called learned yogis and sanyaaasees consider
    themselves as Gurus with the direct divine connection. Once they shed
    the egoistic aura of Me-ism and serve the true Guru through Gurbani,
    they cease to be in the realm of reincarnation.

    This petal shows us that for a Sikh there's no cycle of birth and
    death. Man used to dwell in this before the birth of Guru Nanak
    because his religion at that time- Hinduism had instilled this fear
    of life and death in him.

    pa(n)ddith parr parr vaadh vakhaanehi bin gur bharam bhulaaeae ||
    lakh chouraaseeh faer paeiaa bin sabadhai mukath n paaeae ||
    jaa naao chaethai thaa gath paaeae jaa sathigur mael milaaeae ||6||

    Literal Translation:

    The Pandits, the religious scholars, read and argue and stir up
    controversies, but without the Guru, they are deluded by doubt.
    They wander around the cycle of 8.4 million reincarnations; without
    the Shabad, they do not attain liberation.
    But when they remember the Name, then they attain the state of
    salvation, when the True Guru unites them in Union. ||6||

    Interpretation:

    This verse again shows how the dogmatic religions, in this case
    Hinduism, manipulate their respective followers with scare tactics.
    The Vedantic philosophy says there are 8.4 million species on this
    earth, it is just like the biblical assumption of the world created
    in 6 days which the Muslims also believe in. The honchos use fear
    tactics declaring that they are the only ones who have the say as of
    what kind of joon – specie one would turn into after death. Little do
    they know that they themselves will go through the same joon cycles
    they condemn their followers to without Guru Shabad.

    This verse does not show anywhere that Sikhi believes in the 84 lakh
    joons. To the contrary. It shows us that it is fruitless to indulge
    in this rhetoric if one follows the Sikhi Marg.

    sathasa(n)gath mehi naam har oupajai jaa sathigur milai subhaaeae ||
    man than arapee aap gavaaee chalaa sathigur bhaaeae ||
    sadh balihaaree gur apunae vittahu j har saethee chith laaeae ||7||

    Literal Translation:

    In the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, the Name of the Lord wells
    up, when the True Guru unites us in His Sublime Love.
    I offer my mind and body, and I renounce my selfishness and conceit;
    I walk in Harmony with the Will of the True Guru.
    I am forever a sacrifice to my Guru, who has attached my
    consciousness to the Lord. ||7||

    Interpretation:

    This verse gives us the Sikhi school of thought complimenting what is
    said in the above verse that when one renounces Me-ism and
    contemplates on SatGuru one is at peace with oneself.

    so braahaman breham jo bi(n)dhae har saethee ra(n)g raathaa ||
    prabh nikatt vasai sabhanaa ghatt a(n)thar guramukh viralai jaathaa ||
    naanak naam milai vaddiaaee gur kai sabadh pashhaathaa ||8||5||22||

    Literal Translation:

    He alone is a Brahmin, who knows the Lord Brahma, and is attuned to
    the Love of the Lord.
    God is close at hand; He dwells deep within the hearts of all. How
    rare are those who, as Gurmukh, know Him.
    O Nanak, through the Naam, greatness is obtained; through the Word of
    the Guru's Shabad, He is realized. ||8||5||22||

    Interpretation:

    This last petal completes the whole flower. It says that the only
    true Brahmin is the one who is not dogmatic but pragmatic, who does
    not use scare tactics on others and allots them the joons he deems
    fit for them. In other words a true Sikh is sans ego and doesnot play
    God nor does he claim to have the direct link to the almighty about
    what others should become or not. He is busy carving his own way of
    life according to the Gurmat ideals..

    Tiwana Ji,

    I did not find in this Shabad your above claim. Am I missing
    something?

    Tejwant


    Literal Translation from:
    http://www.{url not allowed}/sggs/translation/0067.html
     
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  3. simpy

    simpy
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    Respected Vaheguru Seekr Ji,

    If i am understanding it correctly, interpretation part is yours- (even if not, seems clear that you are for it)

    you say


    can you explain which part of this Shabad under disscussion makes this point' or if you say the whole Shabad- HOW?????

    This is Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Amar Das Ji Di Bani- Miri Piri Concept started later on..........

    just wondering who is misinterpreting!!!!!!!

    humbly asking for your forgiveness
     
  4. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Surinder Kaur ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You write:
    <<If i am understanding it correctly, interpretation part is yours- (even if not, seems clear that you are for it) >>

    Yes, the interpretation part is mine.
    <<This is Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Amar Das Ji Di Bani- Miri Piri Concept started later on..........>>

    You are wrong here. The seedling of Sikhi panth was planted by Guru Nanak. He showed us the concept of Miri- Piri when he gave us the 3 basic tenets of Sikhi.
    • Naam Japnah- Remembering Ik Ong Kaar all the times not only by mere lip service but by deeds.
    • Kirat Karani- Whatever is to be done must be done honestly whether it is work,studies etc.etc.
    • Vand Kei Shaknah. Sharing with others. Only Ik Ong Kaar gives. A Sikh shares. A Sikh shares materially and spiritually.
    Guru Nanak Dev gave us the concept of Miri Piri and Guru Hargobind reminded us the same by wearing 2 kirpans, one for Miri and the other for Piri.

    Now after this if you have difficulty understanding the interpretation of the Shabad then please let me know and we can discuss it in details. Please specify your objections which would make it easier for both of us.

    Tejwant
     
  5. Lionchild

    Lionchild
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    On the topic of translations…

    I think one of known issues with translations into any language, in particular English - is that English is a mish mash of many languages, dialects and slang that over time, it has become one of the most confusing and hard to understand languages in the world.

    Despite this fact, one should not think that all translations follow the same fate as English. It is well noted that Chinese, Persian, Urdu, Sanskrit and some European languages that have been in use for thousands of years, are much easier to translate to each other.

    So gurmakhi, which has roots in different languages - will be much easier to translate to old world languages, than new world English. Even old English, as I have researched myself, is more true to form, and is used commonly for translations in many other religious texts.

    Another area to be concerned is that there is authors and translators who have translated the SGGS many times. Whether deliberately or not - they make mistakes in a translation from gurmakhi to whatever language. There is really nothing that can be done to ensure the integrity of the translations these days, what can be done is limit the amount of translations to a few recognized translators. Hopefully, this can keep quality and integrity to the highest possible.

    With this said, IMHO, what would have been the ideal situation for the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (and other texts) is that one of the 10 living human gurus could have made a translation in English or several translations in different languages. This would have ensured top quality and one hundred percent integrity, because it was the actually original authors who made the texts.

    Today, we have to work with what we’ve got, and that is to try and keep to the original as much as possible. Of course mistakes will be made, and not every word or saying from the SGGS can be emulated in other languages. But what Sikh translators will find when they are translating to other languages other than English, are that the older languages will be much better to translate into, and the end copy will flow together, and be truer to the original.

    The demand is not yet there, and the SGGS has only been translated into a handful of languages. It will be a while before translators and Sikhs alike will discover this phenomenon of older languages use.

    -Darcy Cardinal “Lionchild”
     
  6. simpy

    simpy
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    MIRI- Miri, symbolizing socio-political authority, SIPAHI
    PIRI- Piri, signifying spiritual authority. SANT

    the use of force, if needed was introduced by Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Hargobind Ji Maharaj.

    HE HIMSELF FOUGHT MANY WARS

    more later

    humbly asking for everybody's forgiveness
     
  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Miri-Adjective.
    Mir, Amir- Noun.

    Mir is a wordly person. Unlike the one who hides himself in the forests from the world in order to find salvation/heaven/God etc. etc. while ignoring the problems of everyday life including a family life when grown up.

    Piri- Adjective
    Pir- Noun

    Pir is a spritually oriented person.

    Sikhi is based in Miri- Piri, the concept created by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhi and demonstrated by all nine Nanaks through the way they lived and how they adopted this very concept as the situation demanded. Guru Nanak gave us the tools to find the perfect balance between Miri and Piri what Gurbani calls Sehaj.

    If we claim that the concept of Miri- Piri was only started by Guru Hargobind Sahib ji then we are saying Sikhi started by the 6th Nanak, not by the Ist one. Yes, Guru Hargobind showed us the concept of Miri-Piri by wearing 2 Kirpans and taught us through his actions- his Sikhi way of living- that it is ok to use Kirpan to fight injustice which he did quite gallantly. This was the first in Sikhi as none of our previous 4 Gurus were forced to use Kirpan. The situation had not presented itself as such then. So in other words, Guru Hargobind using Kirpan to fight injustice gave us Sikhs the courage and one more tool to lead our life in Miri- Piri so that we could create peace and harmony in the society in which we live and participate in.

    In closing, Sikhi is Miri- Piri and SGGS shows us how to live that way.

    Tejwant
     
  8. lovely_silky

    lovely_silky
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    The word mir only comes one time and is used by Guru Nanak Dev Ji as a raja maharaja invadind a place, the pirs started praying.
    kotI hU pIr vrij rhwey jw mIru suixAw DwieAw ]
    The word meera is used for master in gurbani. Tejwant's claims don't fit the reality. Gurbani is SarabSanjhi, not only SantSipahi's Guru. Gurbani mentions 84 lakh juni several times. Guru ji claims-
    lK caurwsIh mydnI sB syv krMdw ]
    lK caurwsIh mydnI sB AwvY jwsI ]
    inhclu scu Kudwie eyku Kudwie bMdw AibnwsI ]
    Even bhai gurdas ji says:
    KwxI bwxI cilq kr Awvwgaux cirq idKweI] cOrwsIh l`K jon aupweI ]
    A very critical claim that Tejwant ji made- people who dont understand and Practice miri piri-sikh way of life will always be astray.
    Guru Sahib give us Gurbani that includes:
    kbIr pRIiq iek isau kIey Awn duibDw jwie ]BwvY lWby kys kru BwvY Grir mufwie ]
    Tejwant ji yyour claim looses its value in front of shabad guru ji.
     
  9. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Lovely_Silky ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Pardon my ignorance but I have no idea what you are talking about. We are talking about the Sikhi Concept not the kinds of words used in SGGS.

    Can you please elaborate your thinking for us ?

    Thanks

    Tejwant

    PS:- btw Do you use anyother name besides Lovely_Silky in the forum?






     
  10. GuruPyaara

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    LEAVING EVERYTHING ELSE ASIDE, INTERPRETATION PART IN THE ABOVE POST IS VERY MISLEADING AT TIMES. SEEMS LIKE FELLOW IS USING GURBANI TO STIR UP HATRED FOR HINDUS ALONG WITH DISRESPECTING SIKH GURUS.

    NO DOUBT GURU JI SAYS: 'lK caurwsIh Brmdy BRim BRim hoie KuAwru '
     
  11. Borneo Sikha

    Borneo Sikha
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    Changes in Sikhi: Does it depend on the way we interpret Gurbani?

    Gurbani can be interpreted in many ways depending also on the language as discussed by virji lionchild. but the best way of interpreting gurbani is to think of gurbani as a poetry. u have to find all the possible interpretation and then pick the most suitable one which you think is suitable. you should put yourself in the shoes of the poet and imagine what the poet is thinking of while writing the poetry.
    i know this is confusing but try it and u might get what im trying to say.
    And on the topic of if changes in Sikhi depend on the way we interpret Gurbani, i believe it does. it really does. some ppl do interpret the gurbani differently and might take it the wrong way as do other religions. but the most important thing when interpreting gurbani is to remember our basics- the 3 basic tenets as quoted by VaheguruSeekr and Miri-Piri by Surinder Kaur Cheema.
     
  12. simpy

    simpy
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    Respected Saadh Sangat Ji,


    ONCE, THERE WAS A RED CAR PARKED ON A STREET. ONE PERSON COMES BY AND SAY -THE CAR IS RED, THE SECOND PERSON COMES BY AND SAY, CAR IS GREEN, THEN THE THIRD COMES BY AND SAYS, IT IS PURPLE. IN THE MEAN TIME ANOTHER COMES AND HEAR ALL THIS AND SAYS, ALL ARE TELLING THE TRUTH, ALL ARE CORRECT. ARE THEY????? EXCEPT THE FIRST ONE, ALL THE REST NEED TO GET THEIR EYES CHECKED.....

    GURBANI IS THE ETERNAL TRUTH, IT DOESN'T CHANGE.
    NO MATTER WHAT LANGUAGE WE USE, THE DEFINITION OF GOD IS THE SAME. AAD SACH JUGAAD SACH HAI BHI SACH NANAK HOSIE BHI SACH

    DHAN DHAN SIRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI TELLS US-


    scu qw pru jwxIAY jw irdY scw hoie ]


    AND THE HUKAM TO BECOME SACHYARA IS-

    ikv sicAwrw hoeIAY ikv kUVY qutY pwil ]
    hukim rjweI clxw nwnk iliKAw nwil ]

    humbly asking for everybody's forgiveness
     

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