The vision of Guru Nanak, the fifteenth-century founder of the Sikh faith, celebrated the oneness of the Divine that both dwells within and transcends the endless diversity of life. Guru Nanak's immaculate vision inspired the rich and inclusive philosophy of Sikhism, which is reflected in this exquisite and highly acclaimed translation of poems from the religion's most sacred texts: the Guru Granth Sahib, the principal sacred text of the Sikh religion, which consists of poems and hymns by Guru Nanak, his successors and Hindu and Islamic saints; and the Dasam Granth, a collection of devotional verses composed by the tenth Sikh Guru.Poetry from these highly revered texts is heard daily and at rites of passage and celebration in Sikh homes and gurudwaras, carrying forward the Sikh belief in the oneness and equality of all humanity.
Here are 6 things you learn about Sikh hymns from this book:
JAP, respectfully known as Japji, was composed by Guru Nanak. It is the first prayer in the Guru Granth, and encapsulates the fundamental philosophical and ethical beliefs of the Sikhs.
SHABAD HAZARE, literally ‘Thousand Words’, is recited in the morning, along with the Jap. It is a combination of poetic pieces from different Gurus in different rags or melodic frameworks, which are therefore found in different sections of the Guru Granth.
JAAP (with a long a) is a poetic offering to the Ultimate Reality. It is the obeisance to the Transcendent One by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, and is from the Dasam Granth (Book of the Tenth Guru).
SAVAYYE means quatrains. The ten Savayye that have been included in the Sikhs’ morning prayers are from Guru Gobind Singh’s Dasam Granth. They underscore devotion as the essence of religion.
RAHIRAS is part of the evening service. It consists of hymns by Guru Nanak (including, with a slight variation, stanza 27, Sodar, from the Jap), Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.
ARDAS (‘Petition’) is the basic prayer of the Sikhs which evolved as an anonymous composition within the community of the eighteenth century. It is recited while standing up.
About the Author
Nikkey-Guninder Kaur Singh (Translations)
"Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh is a Crawford Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College in the United States. Her interests are centered around poetics and feminist issues.
Born in India, she originally came to America to attend Stuart Hall, a Girls’ Preparatory school in Virginia, USA. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Temple University. She is the Vice-President ΦBK, Beta Chapter of Maine.
Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh has served on the editorial board of several journals including the History of Religions, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Sikh Formations.
She has lectured widely in North America, England, France, India, and Singapore, and her presentations have aired on television and radio in America, Canada, Bangladesh, Australia, Ireland and India."