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Guru Granth Sahib - The History, Arrangements And Text

Jun 1, 2004
Guru Granth Sahib - The History, Arrangements and Text

Dr. S.S. Kapoor, Director Principal
Khalsa College, London
Vice Chancellor, Sikh University, London,

The Authorship

The manuscript of the Sikh Gurus’ hymns contained in Guru Granth were handed down by Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Angad: by Guru Angad to Guru Amardas and by Guru Amardas to Guru Ramdas. Guru Amardas compiled the first Granth (book) of the hymns. Guru Arjan Dev Ji compiled the first edition of the Granth, as we know it today. He started the preparation of the Granth in August, 1601, and completed it in August, 1604. The scribe of the Granth was Bhai Gurdas, an uncle of Guru Arjan. The place of compilation of the Granth is Ramsar (Amritsar). Guru Gobind Singh compiled the second edition of the Granth in 1706 at Dam Dama Sahib. The scribe was Bhai Mani Singh, a classmate of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The Guruship
Guru Gobind Singh bestowed upon the Granth the Guruship at Nanded in 1708. Munshi Sant Singh, author of the Sikh history, composed the most popular verse in 1865 which a Sikh recites daily after his prayer. "All community should recognize Guru Granth as the Guru. All obey the commandments contained therein. Recognize the Granth as the visible body of the Guru. The Sikh who wishes to meet me should find me there."

The History

The first (original) book signed and sealed by Guru Arjan Dev Ji was installed in the Harmandir (now known as Golden Temple) on Diwali, 30th August, 1604. Bhai Buddha, a devout Sikh who lived during the life of Guru Nanak to Guru Hargobind, was appointed the first high priest of the temple. The copy of the Granth remained in the possession of the Sikhs until 1644 when it was stolen from the house of Guru Hargobind by his grandson Dhirmal. In about 1674 it was recovered by force from his possession by the Sikhs, but on the specific instructions of Guru Tegh Bahadur it was returned to him. No historical account of this volume is found for the next 175 years. In 1849, following the annexation of Punjab by the British the copy was found by the British in the custody of the Lahore court. A battle to get it back was fought between Sodhi Sadhu Singh, a descendent of Dhirmal and the Sikh Organizations.
In 1850 by the orders of the court the copy with its golden stand was restored to Sodhi Sadhu Singh, who later got a copy made of this Granth and presented it to Queen Victoria. This copy can be viewed at the India Office Library, London. The original manuscript is still in possession of Sodhis and is kept in a private house in Kartarpur. A copy of the (original) Granth was also made by Bhai Banno, a devout Sikh of Guru Arjan Dev’s times, in 1604. He got the Granth copied on the way to Lahore for binding purposes. A few Shabads (hymns) which Guru Arjan Dev had struck out from the original manuscript were left in this copy by Bhai Banno. Guru Arjan Dev declared this copy to be a KHARI-BIR (a forbidden copy). This copy at present is with the descendants of Bhai Banno in the village Mangat, district Gurjrat Pakistan. The second (original) Granth signed by Guru Gobind Singh was taken to Kabul by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1762. Four copies of this Granth were made by Baba Deep Singh.

Later many more handwritten copies were prepared. Some of these copies can be found in Harimandir Sahib, Akal Takhat Sahib, Patna Sahib, Hazur Sahib, Bangladesh Sikh temple at Decca and other Sikh temples. The Granth was subject matter of great concern to both Hindus and Muslims. Repeatedly, complaints were filed in the Mughal courts to ban its publication and use. In 1605, Emperor Akbar summoned a copy of the Granth for investigation while he was camping at Batala. He examined the Granth very thoroughly and rather read if for its divinity. He summoned and punished those who had maliciously complained to him and made an offering of 51 gold coins as a token of respect to the Granth. In the times of Emperor Aurangzeb another complaint against the publication of the Granth was filed by the enemies of the house of Guru Nanak.
This time Guru Har Rai sent his older son Ram Rai to defend the case. Ram Rai was taken over by the splendour and exuberance of the Mughal court and dared to change certain words recorded in the Granth. By this blasphemous act, he might have pleased the Mughal rulers but he had the anguish of his.father who ordered him not to return to Guru’s house and never to see him again. The other attacks on the sanctity of the Granth and its language were made by the Arya Samaj leader Swami Dayanand and later by the breakaway Nirankari leader Baba Gurbachan Singh and Eurocentric Sikh researchers such as Trump, McLeod and his "role dancing disciples".

Names of the languages used in the Granth Sahib
Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian, Punjabi, Hindi, Sindhi, Lehndi, Dakhni, Bengali and Marathi.

Examples of the languages used and the contributors:

Punjabi - the Sikh Gurus, Sheikh Farid and others
Sanskrit - Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan and others Sindhi - Guru Arjan
Western Punjabi/Lehndi - Guru Arjan
Influence of Arabic and Persian - Namdev
Gujrati and Marathi - Namdev, Trilochan
Eastern Hindi - Bards
Western Hindi - Kabir
Eastern Apabhramsa - Jaidev
Theme and the Subject-Matter

The main theme of Guru Granth Sahib is:
a. Search of God
b. Means to communicate with God
c. Methods to realize God
d. Religious commandments
e. Rules of morality
f. The Sikh theology

Guru Granth Sahib is a literary classic and a spiritual treasure. The Granth contains the eternal Truth, proclaims God and shows the way of His realization. It lays down moral and ethical rules for the development of the soul and religious commandments for the progress of morality and attainment of salvation.

The Metres and the types of compositions:
All hymns contained in Guru Granth Sahib are classified in different Ragas except the first hymn ‘JAP JI, and SWAYYAS AND SLOAKS’ at the end. The composition of the hymns in Guru Granth Sahib can be classified as:
a. Shabads (religious sayings of different number of verses and their count in Guru Granth
Sahib is as follows:
2 verses - (dupadas), 608
3 verses - (tripade), 73
4 verses - (chaupadas), 1,255
5 verses - (panchpadas), 80
6 verses - (chhepedas), 11 verses
8 verses - (Ashtpadian), 311
16 verses - (sohilas), 62

b. Pauris - Literally there is no difference between a shabad and a pauri.

The practical difference is that a pauri carries its idea further. In Punjabi language a pauri means a ladder. The word pauri is used in the Granth Sahib to define different parts of a ‘VAR’ - a heroic ballad e.g. Var Rankali of the third Guru or a long verse e.g. Jap Ji of Guru Nanak. The pauri is a long verse and may or may not have uniformity i.e. they may differ in metre and in number.

c. Vars (ballads)
Var means a long poem in which the praises of a hero are sung. The religious Vars included in Guru Granth Sahib contain a sloak, a small verse complete in itself which is mostly subjective, before each pauri in order to clarify the idea contain in the pauri. The Pauris of a Var are by the same writer but it is not necessary for the sloaks. If the name/number of the composer is not given before the sloaks then the composer is the same as that of the Var otherwise the name or number of the composer is given. There are 22 Vars in Guru Granth Sahib written as follows: Guru Nanak - 3 Guru Amardas - 4 Guru Ramdas - 8 Guru Arjan - 6 Satta and Balwand (Bards) - 1 (This Var has no sloaks in it)

d. Chhants - means verses of praise.
Majority of the Chhants in Guru Granth Sahib contain one or more stanzas. A stanza of a Chhant contains four to six verses. There are some Chhants which are preceded by sloaks like Pauris in Vars.

e. Swayas -
It is a particular stanza form. In Guru Granth Sahib are the Bards/Bhats who.composed Swayas to praise the Sikh Gurus and used many other metres under the heading Swayas. They also used different arrangements of long and short syllables at the end of the verses or within the serves. There are 122 Swayas composed by the Bhats in praise of the Gurus included in Guru Granth Sahib.

f. Patti, Bawan-Akhri, Dukhni Onkar.
Patti is a long verse in which each letter of an alphabet is represented by a stanza. Guru Nanak has used Punjabi alphabet while Guru Amardas has used some other alphabet of the period. Two more similar verses have been named as Ba{censored}hris, meaning fifty-two letters. Guru Nanak’s Bawan-Akhri has 52 letters whereas Kabir’s Bawan-Akhri has only 36 letters. Onkar also means the beginning of an alphabet and dakhni means ‘o f the south’. Thus a southern alphabet is used in this verse. It is composed by Guru Nanak and has 54 letters in it.

g. Pehre, Bara Mah, Thhitti and Rutti
These are the long verses in which stanzas are composed on the names of the four parts of the day, seven days of the week, twelve months of the year, fifteen lunar dates and six seasons.

h. Gatha and Phune.
These are special type of sloaks. In Gatha, like Sahaskriti sloaks couplets, do not rhyme. Phune means repetition. In phunhay word ‘Harihan’ is repeated in the fourth verse of each stanza.

i. Chaubole
Chaubole actually means a popular song. In Guru Granth Sahib it means an utterance of four persons, four Bhats - Somoan, Moos, Jan and Patting.

1.6.1. The hymns of the Sikh Gurus: All hymns written by the Sikh Gurus end with the name ‘Nanak’. Guru Arjan gave a heading consisting of a word ‘Mehla’ meaning the body and a number 1-5 spoken as first, second and so on representing the Gurus in the successive order i.e. 1 is Guru Nanak, 2 is Guru Angad, 3 is Guru Amardas, 4 is Guru Ramdas and 5 is Guru Arjan. Guru Gobind Singh when he added the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur gave the number as 9. Thus heading ‘Mehla 1’ means hymns are composed by Guru Nanak: ‘Mehla 2’ means hymns are composed by Guru Angad; ‘Mehla 3’ means hymns are composed by Guru Amardas and so on. Japji Sahib, the first hymn has no such heading, but it is widely believed that the Japji was composed by Guru Nanak. At the end of the Granth the Swayas of Guru Arjan has a heading ‘Swaya uttered in person Mehla 5’ which is different from other headings used (see pages ,385-87 of Guru Granth Sahib).

1.6.2 Hymns of the saints:
Most of the hymns composed by the saints have their name with the name of the raag and the tune (ghar) with it.

1.6.3. Hymns of the bards:
The heading of these hymns depict the name of the Guru in whose praise the hymns have been written. The name of the bhatts comes at the end of the hymn. For example, the headings are ‘Swaya about Mehla 1’, about ‘Mehla 2’, about ‘Mehla 3’, about ‘Mehla 4’ and about ‘Mehla 5’.

1.6.4. Raagmala
The last composition in the Granth is known as ‘Raagmala’. Like Japji Sahib in the beginning of the Granth this composition has no heading to show the name of the author.

1.7 The Arrangements of the Hymns
Given in Guru Granth Sahib.
The order of the poetry listed in Guru Granth
Sahib is as follows:

I - Japji Sahib (pp 1- 8)
It is a long poem consisting of:
a preamble - the Mool Mantar (the basic doctrine) - one verse.

2 Shloaks - one in the beginning just after the preamble - one verse.
one at the end - one stanza of six verses, and 38 Pauris.

Japji is one of the most important BANI (composition) listed in Guru Granth Sahib.Every Sikh recites this Bani early in the morning.

The main theme of this Bani is
a. How the distance between God and Man can be eliminated.
b. What is ‘Hukam’ (God’s Order)?
c. What are the ways to understand and execute God’s Orders.
d. What are the different divisions of life? How can a person enter the kingdom of God?

II. Reheras (pp. 8-12)
It consists of 9 Shabads, 4 composed by Guru.Nanak, 3 composed by Guru Ramdas and 2
composed by Guru Arjan. This Bani is recited by every Sikh in the evening.

III. Sohila (pp. 12-13)
This Bani consists of 5 shabads; 3 composed by Guru Nanak, 1 composed by Guru Ramdas and 1 composed by Guru Arjan. This is Sikh’s bedtime prayer.

This Bani is also recited at the time of the cremation of a Sikh.

IV. Bani recorded in 31 different Ragas
(musical metres) (pp 14-1352).
The breakdown of the raagas and the shabads is as follows:
a. Raag Sri Kaag pp 14-93, the total number of compositions in this raag is 200.
b. Raag Majh pp 94-150, the total number of compositions is 119, there is no composition of Bhagats (saints) in this raag.
c. Raag Gauri pp 151-346, the total number of compositions is 393.
d. Raag Asa pp 347-488, the total number of compositions is 365.
e. Raag Gujri pp 489-526, the total number of compositions is 67.
f. Raag Devgandhari pp 527-536, the total number of compositions in this raag is 47. There is no composition of Bhagats in this raag.
g. Raag Bihagra pp 537-556, the total number of compositions in this raag is 18 and there is no Bhagat Bani in this raag.
h. Raag Vadhans pp 557-595. There is no compositions of Bhagats in this raag.
i. Raag Sorath pp 595-600, the total number of compositions in this raag is 34.
j. Raag Dhanasri pp 600-695, the total number of compositions in this is 115.
k. Raag Jatsri pp 695-710, the total number of compositions is 32.
l. Raag Todi pp 711-719, there are 35 compositions in this raag in the Guru Granth Sahib.
m. Raag Gairari pp 719-720, there are 7 compositions in this raag and there is no Bhagat Bani in this raag.
n. Raag Tilang pp 721-727, there are 20 compositions in this raag.
o. Raag Suhi pp 728-795, there are 41compositions in this raag.
p. Raag Bilawal pp 795-858, there are 190 compositions in this raag.
q. Raag Gaund pp 859-876, there are 49 compositions in this raag.
r. Raag Ramkai pp 876-975, there are 135 compositions in this raag.
s. Raag Nat Narain pp 975-984, there are 25 compositions in this raag.
t. Raag Mali Gaura pp 984-988, there are 17compositions in this raag.
u. Raag Maru pp 989-1106, there are 160 compositions in this raag.
v. Raag Tukhari pp 1107-1117, there are 11 compositions in this raag. The Bhagats have no compositions in this raag.
w. Raag Kedara pp 1118-1124, there are 25 compositions in this raag.
x. Raag Bhairau pp 1125-1167, there are 132 compositions in this raag.
y. Raag Basant pp 1168-1196, there are 87 compositions in this raag.
z. Raag Sarang pp 1197-1254, there are 177 compositions in this raag.

aa. Raag Malaar pp 1254-1294, there are 76 compositions in this raag.
bb. Raag Kanra pp 1254-1318, there are 71 compositions in this raag.
cc. Raag Kalyan pp 1319-1327, there are 23 compositions in this raag and no Bhagat Bani.
dd. Raag Prabhati pp 1327-1351, there are 67 compositions in this raag.
ee. Raag Jaijaivanti pp 1352-1353, there are 4 compositions of Guru Tegh Bahadur in this raag.

V. Sloaks
The arrangement of sloaks is as follows:
Sloak Sahaskriti pp 1353-1360, 71 Sloak - 4 of
Guru Nanak and 67 of Guru Arjan; pp 1360-1361, 24 stanzas of Guru Arjan (Gatha).
Phuma pp 1361-1363, 23 stanzas of Guru Arjan.
Chaubolay pp 1363-1364, 11 stanzas of Guru Arjan;
Sloak of Bhagat Kabir pp 1364-1377, 243 sloaks
Sloak of Farid pp 1377-1384, 130 sloaks

VI. Swayas of Guru Arjan
Swayas of Guru Arjan pp 1385-1389, 20 Swayas.

VII. Swayas written by 17 Bhats as panegyrics on the first to fifth Guru in serial order pp 1389-1410.The composition of the Swayas is as follows:
Bhat Kal 49, Kalsahar 4, Tal 1, Japal 4, Jal 1, Kirat 8, Sal 3, Bhal 1, Nal 6, Bhikha 2, Jalan 1,.Das 14, Gavand 5, Sewak 7, Mathura 10, Bal 5 and Harbans 2.
There are 10 Swayas in the praise of Guru Nanak, 10 in praise of Guru Angad, 22 in praise of Guru Amardas, 60 in praise of Guru Ramdas and 21 in praise of Guru Arjan.

VIII. Sloaks in excess of Vars
The Sloaks written by the Gurus were included in the Vars by Guru Arjan. The Sloaks which were in excess of such inclusion are given on pp 1410-1429. The total of these sloaks is 152; 33 of Guru Nanak, 67 of Guru Amardas, 30 of Guru Ramdas and 22 of Guru Arjan.

IX. Sloaks of Guru Tegh Bahadur
The Sloaks of Guru Tegh Bahadur are on pp 1426-1429 and are 57 in number. These sloaks are always read aloud at the end of a Path reading of Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation is invited to read it along with the Pathi (priest).

X. Mundavni
Mundavni or the seal is on page 1429 and consists of two sloaks of Guru Arjan.

XI. Raagmala
The last composition in the Guru Granth is Raag mala. The Sikh scholars differ in their opinion about its inclusion in the Granth. The traditional school thinks it to be a part of the Granth and asserts that it is an index of the raags used in the Granth. This argument can be challenged on the grounds that a number of raags mentioned Raagmala are not in the Granth and a number of raags used in Granth Sahib are not in the Raagmala. Another argument of the traditional schools that it is a part of the original copy and is written in the same ink and with the same pen as was used for the other parts of the Granth. This plea also does not carry any weight as in those days all the scribes used almost the same ink and the same type of pen. As the writing of the Gurumukhi characters was also the same so it becomes rather difficult to identify the handwriting. It is said by the modern scholars that it was Bhai Banno who might have been instrumental in its inclusion in the Granth as he had the possession of the original copy of the Granth when he took it to Lahore for binding. The question why Guru Arjan did not strike it off after receiving the Granth back from Bhair Banno is unanswered. The only place where Raagmala is not read at the end of a Path is probably Akal Takhat Sahib at Amritsar. Raagmala comes after Mundavni - the SEAL. This also puts doubts on its inclusion as nothing should come after the SEAL, which means the end. In absence of any final decision by the Sikh scholars the
Raagmala is included in every copy of the Granth.

The Collection of Gurubani
1. There is enough evidence in the Sikh history that Bhagat Bani was collected by the Gurus during the period of their pontificate.
2. Many verses composed by the Gurus are either clarification of a similar verse of a Bhagat or are an answer to the questions raised by the Bhagats in their compositions.
a. see page 1383 of Guru Granth Sahib sloaks of Farid (104-111). The sloaks of Farid have sloaks of Guru Amardas and Guru Arjan mixed with them for clarification.
b. see page 1384, Sloak of Farid (112), 113 is composed by Guru Nanak (see page 83).
c. see pages 981, 1106 (Raag Maru) Shabad of Guru Nanak and a similar Shabad of Bhagat Jaidev.
d. (Raag Sorath) Shabad of Guru Nanak and a Shabad of Bhagat Namdev.
e. (Raag Asa) Shabad of Guru Nanak and Shabad of Kabir.
f. see also Sloaks and Shabads of Kabir and Guru Amardas.
g. there are many more examples so such similarities.
3. The Bani was recorded in books from the time of Guru Nanak and it passed on from one Guru to the other Guru.
4. During the times of Guru Amardas all the Bani collected so far was recorded in two Pothis (Books). These Pothis have the Bani of Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amardas, Kabir, Namdev, Jaidev, Ravidas, Trilochan and Sain.
5. The Bani of other Bhagats was collected by Guru Arjan.

1. The Authors and the Arrangement of their Bani
The authors of Guru Granth Sahib can be divided into following categories:
(i) Gurus
Guru Nanak - Composed Bani in 19 Raags viz Sri, Majh Gauri, Asa. Gurjri, Wadhans, Sorath, Dhanasri, Tilang, Suhi, Bilawal, Ramkali,.Tukhari, Bhairav, Basant, Sarang, Malaar and Prabhati. The total number of compositions are 974.
Guru Angad - Composed only 62 sloaks which have been incorporated in vars.
Guru Amardas - Composed Bani in 17 Raags,all the Raags used by Guru Nanak except Tilang and Tukhari. Total number of compositions are 907.
Guru Ramdas - Composed Bani in 29 Raags, all the Raags used in Guru Granth Sahib (except Raag Kedara and Jai Jai Vanti). Total number of compositions are 679.
Guru Arjan - composed Bani in 30 Raags, all the Raags used in Guru Granth Sahib except Raag jai Jai Vanti. Total compositions are 2218.
Guru Hargobind - It is said that he added tunes to 9 vars out of a total of 24 vars. These vars are: Majh Di Var, Gauri Di Var, Asa Di Var, Wadhans Di Var, Gujri Di Var, Ramkali Di Var, Sarang di Var; Malaar Di Var and Kanta Di Var.
Guru Tegh Bahadur - Composed Bani in 15 Raags which are: Gauri, Asa, Gujri, Bihagra,
Sorath, Jaitsri, Dhanasri, Todi, Tilang. Bilawal, Rankali Maru Basant, Sarang and Jai Jai Vanti. The Raag Jai Jai Vanti has been used only by Guru Tegh Bahadur. Total number of compositions are 115.
Guru Gobind Singh - It is said that there is one Sloak (page 1429 Sloak number 54) composed by Guru Gobind Singh.
(ii) The relatives of the Sikh Gurus
Baba Sundar - Sundar was the great grandson of Guru Amardas. There is one hymn of six verses in Raag Ramkali composed by Baba Sundar (page 923). It is said that this hymn was composed by Baba Sundar at the death of Guru Amardas.

(iii) The Musicians/Bards of the Sikh Gurus
Mardana - He was companion and musician of Guru Nanak. There are 3 sloaks of Mardana in Bihagra Di Var ( page 553). Sata & Balwand - They were bards in the court of Guru Angad. Once in their ego they thought that the glory of Guru’s house was due to their singing. They resigned and did not come to the Guru. After a few days they realized their folly and came back to the Guru for forgiveness. They were duly forgiven. There is a Var in praise of the Guru in Guru Granth Sahib, in Raag Ramkali (page 966).
(iv) The Bhagats

1. Sheikh Farid - composed hymns in Raags Asa and Suhi. Total compositions are 134.
2. Jai Dev - composed hymns in Raags Gujri and Maru. Total compositions are 2.
3. Kabir - composed Bani in 17 Raags Viz Sri, Gauri, Asa, Gujri, Sorath, Dhanasri, Tilang, Suhi, Bilawal, Gauri, Rankali, Maru, Kedara, Bharav, Basant, Sarang and Malar, Kanra, Prabhati. Total compositions are 541.
4. Namdav - Composed Bani in 17 Raags viz Gauri, Asa, Gujri, Sorath, Dhanasri, Todi, Tilang, Bilawal, Guara, Ramkali, Mali-Guara, Maru, Bhairav, Basant Sarang, Malar, Kanra, Prabhati. Total compositions are 60.
5. Ravidas - Composed Bani in 16 Raags viz Sri, Gauri, Asa, Gujri, Sorath, Dhanasri, Jaitsri, Suhi, Gaur, Bilawal, Ramkali, Maru, Kedara, Bharav, Basant and Malaar. Total compositions are 41.
6. Beni - Composed Bani in Raags Sri, Ramkali and Prabhati. Total compositions are 3.
7. Trilochan - Composed Bani in Raags Sri, Gujri and Shanasri. Total compositions are 4.
8. Ramanand - Composed one hymn in Raag Basant.
9. Dhanna - Composed four hymns in Raags Asa and Dhanasri.
10. Bhikhan - Composed two hymns in Raag Sorath.
11. Sadhna - Composed one hymn in Raag Bilawal.
12. Pipa - Composed one hymn in Raag Dhanansri.
13. Sain - Composed one hymn in Raag Dhanansri.
14. Parmanand - Composed one hymn in Raag Sarang.
15. Surdas - Composed one verse in Raag Sarang.
(v) The court (House of the Gurus) poets:
Their number differs from author to author. One school of historians counts them as 17 whereas the other school counts them as 11. They have composed Swayas in the praise of the first five Gurus. These Swayas have been recorded on pages 1389-1409 and are 123 in number.
1.12 The Beginning Verse/Hymns of the Raags/Chapters

All sections/chapters in Guru Granth Sahib start with a specific verse/hymn popularly known as ‘Mangal’. These verses/hymns are as follows:
1. Ik Onkar Satguru Prasad - used 419 times.
2. Ik Onkar Satnam Guruprasad - used 2 times.
3. Ik Onkar Satnam Kartapurkh Guruprasad - 9times.
.4. Ik Onkar Satnam Kartapurkh Nirbhau Nirvair,Akal Murat, Ajoonee, Saibhang Gurprasad -used 33 times.
1.13 The Arrangement of ‘Tunes’ in the Music of Guru Granth Sahib
The indication of the main Sur (tune) in the music arrangement in Guru Granth Sahib is named as ‘Ghar’ (House). There is a reference of 1 to 17 ‘Ghars’ in Guru Granth Sahib. If there is no reference of the word ‘Ghar’, then that hymn should be sung in its pure form.
1.14 The Use of Word ‘Rahao’ in Guru Granth Sahib
1. The word ‘Rahao’ is related to the Raag of the composition. The ‘Rahao’ refers to the ‘Sthaee’ in a Raag.
2. It also underlines the basic idea in a hymn.
3. Where there are two ‘Rahaos’ in a hymn, the first poses a question and the second gives an answer.
4. Where there are three ‘Rahaos’ in a hymn, the first would be an inspiration, the second would refer to constraints and the third would be an advice. (see pages 154-55).
5. Where there are six ‘Rahaos’ in a hymn, it refers to the individual ‘Sthaee’, in the Raag. (see pages 81-82).
6. In Ramkali Di Var Mehla 3 the word ‘Rahao’ has been used so that the line should be sung again and again.
7. The Bani which has not been written in Raags has no ‘Rahao’ in it.
1.15 The Arrangement of the Bani Recorded after the Raags:
The Bani recorded after the Raags which finish at page 1353 is as follows: Sloak Shahskriti Mehla 1 (page 1353), Sloak Shahskriti Mehla 5 (pages 1353-1360), Gatha Mehla 5 (1360-1361), Puhney Mehla 5 (pages 1361-1363), Chaubolay Mehla 5 (pages 1361-1364), Sloak Kabir (pages 1364-1377), Sloak Farid (pages 1377-1385), Swaya Mehla 5 (pages 1385-1389), Bhatt Swayas (pages 1389-1410), Sloak varan de vadeek (pages 1410-1426), Sloak Mehla 9 (pages 1426-1429), Mundavni (page 1429), Raag-Mala (pages 1429-1430).


Guru Granth Sahib - The Spiritual Guru of the Sikhs
1539 - Death of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The first Pothi of hymns handed by Guru Nanak to Guru Angad.
1552 - Death of Guru Angad. The Pothi of hymns (first Pothi plus the hymns of Guru Angad) handed by Guru Angad to Guru Amardas.
1574 - Death of Guru Amardas. The updated Pothi of hymns handed by Guru Amardas to Guru Ramdas.
1601 - Guru Arjan Dev started the compilation of Granth Sahib.
1604 - Completion of Granth Sahib and installation of the Granth at Harimandir. Guru Arjan called the Granth as Pothi Sahib. The scribe of the Granth was Bhai Gurdas, a maternal uncle to Guru Arjan.
1605 - Emperor Akbar paid homage to the Granth at Batala. He also offered 51 gold mohars as the offering.
1604-1635 - Granth Sahib remained at Amritsar.
1635 - Granth Sahib moved to Kiratpur Sahib byGuru Hargobind.
1661 - Emperor Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Rai to Delhi to defend some of the hymns of Granth Sahib.
1661 - Guru Har Rai sent his older son Ramrai
to Aurangzeb. Ramrai dared to change a hymn of the Granth. Guru Hair Rai disowned Ramrai. Death of Guru Har Rai.
1674 - Original Bir recovered by the Sikhs from
Dhirmal, but returned to him again by the orders of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
1706 - Second version of the Granth compiled by Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib. The scribe was Bhai Mani Singh. 1706 - Four copies of the Granth made by Baba Deep Singh.
1708 - Granth Sahib was declared as the spiritual Guru of the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh, at Nanded.
1762 - Original Bir (second version) taken by Ahmed Shah Abdali to Kabul.
1849 - Original Bir (first version) discovered by the British at the Lahore Court with its golden stand.
1849-1850 - Court case for the possession of the original Bir.
1850 - Court gave its custody to the descendants of Dhirmal. 1850 - A copy of the Granth presented to Queen Victoria by the Sodhis (Dhirmal clan)
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Apr 14, 2006
Re: Guru Granth SahibThe History, Arrangements and Text

I request you to clear one of my doubts. You have mentioned the following:

1708 - Granth Sahib was declared as the spiritual Guru of the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh, at Nanded.

My doubt. Are Sikhs required to attach the same importance to Dasham Granth or other writings of the wise and knowledgeable persons?

I am confident you will clear my doubt soon.


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Jul 30, 2004
Re: Guru Granth SahibThe History, Arrangements and Text


As per Nihungs they say that,they consider Dasham Granth and Sarbloh Granth both as Guru also.

but Dasham Granth was made long time after Guru went to Sachkhand and is infact a compilation of more then one book,they could be at least three which Bhai Mani Singh Ji compiled with Mata Sunder Kaur Ji's consultatoins.

So as that Granth did not exist at the time of Guru so it can NOT be Guru.

Then yet there was another Granth called Sarbloh Granth kept in Hajur Sahib and perhaps competed there only and reached Punjab later.

It could be from Guru but it clearly states that Guru has Tweleve Form is Ten Gurus,Guru Panth and Guru Granth.

So this Granth gives testomany to Guru Granth Sahib being Guru by Tenth Master himself.

But das can say one more thing that since the First Master Sabad Guru was held as Satiguru(Guru of First Master).

And in Sau Sakhi ,Charan Pahil or Pahul before Baptism of sabre was done by dipping cloath of the corner of Guru Granth Sahib Ji in water and thatb water was given to baptised.

So it is possbile that Guru Granth Sahib Ji are our Guru even before symbolic handing over the Guruship to them at Hajur Sahib.

Forgive das if mistake is done.


Apr 27, 2005
Birmingham, England, UK
Re: Guru Granth SahibThe History, Arrangements and Text


Absolutely brilliant, I again bow to WaheGuru, to the ways that learning opportunities are brought to each of us.

Bhaji, I posted a question earlier, I think it should have been here, can you help. And any other details regarding 'dipping cloth corner of the Guru Granth Sahib' into water baptism.


Some time earlier, a friend of mine asked, " where is it written that Guru Gobind Singh Ji's intentions were to bestow the Gur Gaddi to the Guru Granth Sahib, Guru maniyo Granth ? ".

I find that difficult to answer, and would appreciate detailed thoughts in response, hopefully with comments "


Jul 7, 2006
Re: Guru Granth SahibThe History, Arrangements and Text

very informative. following would be of help to me and perhaps others:
1. In the summary table stealing of Granth Sahab by Dhirmall in 1644 could be included.
2. Is it therefore that the Granth Sahab refferred to in the incident of 1661 was a copy and not the original.
3. In 1708 the Granth Sahab refferred to by the Guru was the first version or the second version. How do we know for sure? Is there anything in writing?


Sep 16, 2004
Re: Guru Granth SahibThe History, Arrangements and Text

Dear Friends .

Recently I also came across History of Guru Granth Sahib

The most unfortunate thing that I came across was that we dont have Original Copy of Bir Written By Bhai Gurdas Ji In presence of Guru Arjan Dev JI at Amritsar before installation in Harmandir Sahib in 1604.

And the original version of Bir which was compliled in 1708 in writing of Bhai Mani Singh Ji in presence of Guru Gobind Singh ji

Both are not with Sikh Panth at the moment

But anyway just for the information In 1708 when the Bir was Compiled in Handwriting of Bhai Mani Singh Ji in presence of Guru Gobind Singh Ji , at the time total four Copies were made .So actually we have authentic version of Bir of Guru Granth Sahib to which Gurgadi was bestowed along with Khalsa panth.

Jatinder Singh
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