Understanding Guru Granth Sahib: The Living Guru

Satjit Wadva

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Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, is considered the living guru. When the tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh declared that after him there will be no human guru, he instructed his followers to seek guidance from the eleventh and eternal guru, the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib is unique in more ways than one. First of all, the entire voluminous scripture of 1430 pages is composed in poetry and can be sung with full-throated ease. Almost all of it has been set to music based on 31 ragas. It contains verses composed not only by the Gurus but also by Hindu and Muslim bhagats.

Understanding Guru Granth Sahib by Satjit Wadva is a beginner's guide to approach and understand Guru Granth Sahib. It gives a glimpse of what it contains and outlines the context of how it came to be revered as the living guru. While it summarises the essence of the Guru Granth Sahib in simple and easy-to-understand language, it highlights the beauty of the poetic diction, the economy of words, the depth of thought and its rendition in the prescribed ragas— all this to awaken a thirst in the seekers' hearts so that they approach their guru directly without depending on interpreters or intermediaries.

For those who do not know the Gurmukhi script, this book gives a taste of Gurbani through the transliteration and translation of three major compositions: Japuji, with which the Guru Granth Sahib begins, Asa-di-Var, which is sung in the prescribed raga and tune in the early hours of dawn, and Salok Mahalla Naunva, with which the Guru Granth Sahib concludes.

It is a humble attempt to establish a link between the disciple and the master.

Satjit Wadva



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