Preamble Japji Sahib Translation Of Sant Maskeen Ji’s Katha : Mool Mantar


Dear Mods/All,

This is my first post on the forum and if this attempt at translation falls short or is seriously lacking in my understanding please feel free to delete this/associated thread(s).
If it does seem useful to anyone i shall feel glad for this share and i feel blessed for having had the Kripa to spend a little time listening to this wondrous Bani.



This foremost bani as written in the Sri Guru Grant Sahib Ji is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and named ‘Jap’. The eternal ‘Japji Sahib Ji’ is the bani of Dhan Guru Nanak Ji. It is the culmination to the core of the principles and beliefs of Sikhism. The Guru simply states that ‘Jap’ is the only way to way to salvation. The only way to realise the ultimate truth leads through ‘jap’. Japo tah eko namma, auwr nirafal kammaa...(Ang 728 SGGS Ji)..Chant the name of the lord, all other actions are fruitless..

.... ‘Jap’ is the start of the Shri Guru Grant Sahib Ji. The whole summary of revelations by Guru Nanak Dev Ji is centred on ‘Jap’. The ‘jap’ is the manglacharan of the Shri Guru Grant Sahib Ji and the Japji Sahib Ji.

Since times immemorial whenever saints in India would write a holy scripture they would have the manglacharan mandatorily at the beginning of the holy scripture. Starting off a holy scripture with the mangal (mangal means auspicious) became accepted and the mandatory norm ever since. As a practice initially, mangal was attribute towards the Goddess Sarawathi and Lord Ganesha. This was because it was believed that Lord Ganesh was the epitome of siddhi or enlightenment and Goddess Saraswathi of wisdom. These are the core needs of a human being – enlightenment and wisdom. Enlightenment satiates the hunger of the worldly illusions and wisdom satisfies the understanding of the universal truth. The body longs for worldly pleasures while the mind longs for the truth, the soul hungers for the eternal truth. Why is this thus? What is the origin? What is our fate or the end of each and everything? This yearning to know the answers is present in every human. This is spiritual hunger. As humans we not just want to possess everything but understand everything as well. When we seek something which is out of reach we get restless, akin to how we crave for food when hungry. We then get satisfied only when we understand it all, only when we find the answers to all our doubts and questions.

Thus, since times immemorial this notion was ingrained that Lord Ganesh was the epitome of siddhi or enlightenment and Goddess Saraswati of wisdom. When Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji stepped into the religious world he put forth the salutation and reverence of the mangal not to the creation but the creator. The reason for his departure from the norm was that the attainment of wisdom and enlightenment could only be attained through the almighty. If attaining wisdom and enlightenment was possible without the Creator then there is no reason to worship the Almighty. Because the core need of a human is just these two – wisdom and enlightenment. Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji starts off the Mangal with Ek, which is one. We attain wisdom and enlightenment from the One. There is only one Almighty who gives wisdom and enlightenment. All diversity in the universe is born out of the One Almighty. Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s first word after attaining enlightenment was Ek, One. Ek Onkar, he is One and he is the source of all. Everything is born out of and merges into him, the One.

Onkar is an addition of three words - akar, pukar and makar. The one who creates, sustains and destroys, is One. The One is truth, forever and eternal. The one who has a form is describable. We often say that so and so is a very good or successful person. So and so has soared and touched the skies, means that person has earned a very good reputation. That person has become powerful in society. If we could describe the Almighty we would do the same of him or her too - in which case the Almighty would not be the Creator, but the created. But the Almighty is not just a creator but he is a creator who is part of his creation too. A potter makes pots and his creation; his pots are being used by somebody far away. A painter is at home but his creation, his painting adores the walls of somebody else’s home far away. Similarly a blacksmith is home but his creation is in another’s home. The Almighty does not create thus, be it a grain of sand, a ray of sunlight, the beauty of flowers, the thunder of clouds, the waves in the oceans, an ant or be it an elephant. The Almighty is manifest and apparent in all of his creation. Puree puree basanta sa purakha... the one who is present in everything is the Creator. The question then arises – how is the Almighty thus manifest in his creation? The answer is Bhaiee toh raihath.. Nirbhau, Nirvair.... beyond fear, beyond hate.

Most of us have a fear or hate for somebody in our hearts. But, the person who is living in fear or hate is living in hell. Many a times, we hate enmity but we get obsessed with the enemy. If enmity is wrong then why hate the enemy?. If the enemy is wrong then enmity is wrong too. The Almighty is so much beyond such trivialities. That is easy to comprehend as the Almighty is all Powerful. Usually we fear someone more powerful than us and hate our equals. Tis ka shareek ko nahi, na ko kantak vairagee.. he has no rival, no attacker, no enemy (Ang 592, SGGS Ji) the Almighty has no equal so there is no question of someone more powerful, thus Guru Nanak Dev Ji states that the Almighty is beyond, fear, beyond hate.

Gur Nanak Dev Ji states that the Almighty is beyond Time too. Akaal, timeless. We cannot say that there was a God, that’s past tense. Nor can we state that there will be a God, which is future tense. All we can state with certainty is that God exists, God is. He transcends time – past, present and future. He is not a part of time but time is a part of him. That is why he is timeless, beyond the clutches of time. Time is born from the Almighty and thus the Almighty is in no way shackled by time. Besides, in the true world time is meaningless. When one is sad, time seems to pass by so very slowly. When happy, we feel, time has flown by. Time stretches when one is in pain or sadness – the cause of this sadness may be worldly or spiritual. Guru Arjan Dev Ji states thus – char pehar, chou jug aiee samanay... rahen bhai tab aanth na jaane.. and when night comes, i think that it shall never end..(Ang 375 SGGS Ji) hey lord, in your longing..the four parts of the day seem like four eons.. and the night is so long, I cannot even state or describe it. The Almighty is eternal bliss, beyond the reach of time. He is beyond the reach of day and night. Bhaghat Kabir Das Ji states thus – din so rahen nahee, ved nahi shashtar..taha basse nirankaara, kahath kabit na tisse diyawoho..bawaraya sansara...

Where there is no day or night, and Vedas and shasatra there, the formless Lord abides..Says Kabir, oh mad men of this world – meditate upon him..

We measure time in relation to the sun and the moon. The sun brings the day and the moon the night. But the Almighty’s domain, that is beyond time...Akaal. Thus, we can only refer to the Almighty in the present. Not in the past or the future. All we can state is that God is, God exists. That we do not assume that God is a illusion or imagination is cleared by Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s next word. Murath, Akaal Murath. He exists. But then we may assume that since he exists he is born or made. So Guru Nanak Dev Ji says Ajoinee.. God is not born, nor did anybody make the Creator. He is not a part of this life cycle. He is immortal. He does exist but is immortal. Then how does he exist? Guru Nanak Dev Ji states thus – Saibhang.. He is all susutaining. Api he.. aap sajayo, api ne, rachyo nao..doee kudrat sajiye, kar aasan ditho jao.. God has created himself. Jab ho karak karaa kartara, praja darth de aapara...jabha karth karo kabho, toh me milath de dar sabho.. God is self sustaining. He is the true lord, there are no others who can lay claim to being the true Guru. Aad anth, ek hai avtara... soi guru samjhayo humara.. apram par bar bhram, parmeshwar Nanak gur milaya... soie jee..

God has ingrained even the insects with the knowledge required to live their lives. Birds are born with the knowledge of how they are to care for their young ones. They don’t have to be taught these basics of how they are to live their lives. The animals are born with this knowledge ingrained in them. They don’t go to school, read books to learn and nor does anybody have to teach them how to live their lives, they are simply born with the ‘know how’ required to live life. This clearly makes it apparent that the true Lord has ingrained this knowledge into each of his creation. Some birds weave such exotic nests that even human cannot replicate. Guru Nanak Dev Ji states thus, Guru, Gurprasad. The Almighty is the epitome of mercy.

Ek Onkar
Kartha purkh
Nirvau, nirvair
Akal murath
Ajoone se bhang
Last edited:

Tejwant Singh

Pathfinder ji,

Guru Fateh.

I wanted to know if you have translated this into English. If you did, it is a commendable effort to say the least. If I am not mistaken Japji by Maskeen ji came in 42 cassettes, listened to all of them while driving from Vancouver to LA.

Although I found his Katha on Jap ji mesmerising during my looong drive, however during deeper studies, I found out that Maskeen ji had done disservice to Jap ji with many of his unrelated stories with no connection with Jap ji. The tapes are filled with his personal tales from somewhere. I also attended his Kathas many a times which also gave me the same impression.

Having said that, scholars like Maskeen ji and others have done a great service to Sikhi, but as Sikhi is the only religion that did not stop in time but it rather evolves with it because of its intrinsic values, it is on the individuals like you to carry on with the Sikhi flag. All these great people have paved the path for us with their stepping stones towards the Sikhi journey which is for the individual to discover.
Last edited:


Tejwant Singh ji,

What a strange coincidence. It was on a road trip to the himalayas that I went through the katha. A friend who is a Amritdhari too commented the same.(that he found the katha too personal at times and a lot of avoidable references).

Maybe the surreal atmosphere, listening and watching my friend doing his nitnem so religiously despite the bone chilling cold, his commitment and contentment intensified my experience.

You did help surface a bucket load of buried memories Veerji, thank you.


Edit: it is about 42 mp3 files. Presume the same one you were referring to. (Each is 30 to 45 minutes approx).
Last edited:


Very nice. Whilst I being a pedant.. May articulate some of your translation differently I think it is fantastic that you have shared so openly your thoughts. I also think it is very brave and important to be able to have a a space to explore and discuss exactly how as individuals interpret scripture without people telling a person they are wrong.. Mool mantar is such a amazing perfect articulation.. I find it wonderous.. If I'm honest in many ways I find it difficult to even read and study ggsj beyond mool mantar because of the sheer totality, breadth and simplicity it expresses in the most concise way possible.. I think one could study enjoy mool mantar for a eternity and would still find a new wonderous insight every day.

Thank you for sharing.. What do you think of instead of using 'one' instead of 'ek' a truer translation would be using '1'. As guru sahib did. 1 is expressed as a numeral. Indivisible. Would be interested your opinion.