The Significance of the Guru Granth Sahib
The Guru Granth Sahib is the holy book of Sikhism (Guru literally means teacher). It is also known as the Adi Granth or Gurbani. It contains scriptures and actual words spoken by the founding Gurus of the Sikh religion, as well as teachings and hymns of various saints from Hinduism and Islam. The entire Guru Granth Sahib is written in complete poetry that is compiled into 5894 hymns.
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, laid the foundations of the Sikh religion. Through his travels he discovered and explored elements of the various surrounding religions. As a learned man, he studied all aspects and determined for himself a path to moral living. This included the belief that there is only one god, equality among castes and gender, and being selfless in one’s actions. He embedded these within his teachings that created Sikhism and they are now the fundamental elements of the Granth Sahib.
His enlightened leadership was passed to nine successive Gurus, the tenth being Guru Gobind Singh. Each Guru embraced and passed on learnings from the previous Gurus and brought their own unique and complementary philosophies to the religion. Guru Gobind Singh set in place the final structural element of Sikhism by creating a compilation of poetry and teachings of all ten Gurus and Saints that we now know as the Guru Ganth Sahib. He deemed all Sikhs to treat the Granth Sahib as their next Guru. His words “Sab Sikhan ki hukam hai Guru manayo Granth” meaning “All Sikhs are commanded to acknowledge the Granth as their Guru.” Since then, the Guru Granth Sahib has been the sacred focal point of worship in Sikhism.