by Prof Devinder Singh Chahal, PhD
Dr Kulbir Singh Thind, MD
Edited by Mr Jesse Schell
Jap is the most translated bani (words). There are some 150 translations of this bani in mostly Indian languages and English. Why then do we need yet another translation? Because despite being the most translated, Jap remains the least understood bani. Many reasons can be advanced for such a lament, but the primary cause is that the Sikh masses themselves have shrugged their spiritual duty to understand bani.
Sikhs have by and large mistranslated “Jap” to mean “chant.” They have thus reduced spirituality to meaningless chanting of bani while waiting for
miracles to happen, for Guru Nanak to appear in person or for liberation from the cycles of births and deaths - three out comes that are ironically alien to the divine wisdom of Gurbani.
Sikh academics, theologians and preachers share the rest of the blame. Their contributions notwithstanding, they have generally been unable to free themselves of the powerful hold and lure of Vedic thought in their translations and discourses. There can be no greater dis-service to our Gurus than to see Gurbani as being a stamp of approval for Vedic philosophy, concepts, beliefs and rituals.