The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the 11th Guru of the Sikhs and contains the hymns composed by the Sikh Gurus along with hymns from non-Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. The Granth thus shows that spiritual truth was welcomed from whatever source.
Granth is a Sanskrit word for a holy book. Sahib is added to it’s name in the Sikh tradition of expressing respect and veneration towards the Lord.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a collection of 1,430 pages, with 3,384 hymns consisting of 15,575 stanzas. The Granth is treasure house of spiritual and moral teaching, and contains the eternal Truth, proclaims God and shows the way of His realisation. Sections of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji are known as Japji, Rehras, Kirtan Sohila and Anand Sahib which form the basis of the Sikh daily prayers.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji starts with the Mool Mantar, which defines the basic beliefs of the Sikhs as set by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith.
The first edition of the Granth was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He started preparation in 1601 and completed compiling the Granth in August 1604. The scribe for this edition of the Granth was Bhai Gurdas, an uncle of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. It was compiled at Ramsar, which is today known as Amritsar. The Granth was installed in Harmandir Sahib (also known as The Golden Temple) on Diwali, 30th August 1604.
The second edition of the Granth was compiled by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1706 at Damdama Sahib. The scribe for this edition was Bhai Mani Singh, a classmate of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji contains gurbani by the following Gurus:
- Guru Nanak Dev Ji
- Guru Angad Dev Ji
- Guru Amar Das Ji
- Guru Ram Das Ji
- Guru Arjan Dev Ji
- Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is kept wrapped in a silken cloth, constantly fanned over by a chauri a fan of yak hair embedded in silver or wood and installed under an ornate canopy called a chanani when the Guru is present in the Diwan Hall.