SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB : THE SIKH SCRIPTURE
Sikhism is considered one of the major world religions. The first Prophet of Sikhism who founded the religion was Guru Nanak (1469-1539 CE). The last and tenth Prophet of Sikh religion was Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708 CE).
The Scripture of Sikh religion is known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sri Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Prophet of Sikhism, collected and compiled the sacred compositions of the earlier Gurus and of fifteen Hindu Saints and Muslim Sufis, eleven Bhatts and four Gursikhs and with addition of his own holy compositions compiled Sri Adi Granth, the first Prakash (Installation) of which was done by the Guru in Sri Harmandar Sahib, Sri Amritsar, in the year 1604 CE.
Before merging his spirit with the timeless Divine spirit, at the end of his earthly journey, Guru Gobind Singh bestowed Guruship on Sri Adi Granth to which he added the holy compositions of Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Prophet of Sikhism. Thus, Sri Adi Granth became Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, while the Khalsa Panth, founded by Guru Gobind Singh in the year 1699, was institutionalized by the tenth Guru as Guru Panth. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is, as such, the determinate form of the spiritual aspect of the Divine sovereignty, while Guru Panth, Khalsa Panth, is the embodiment of the temporal aspect of the Divine sovereignty.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains holy hymns of 36 divine beings from the length and breadth of sub-continental India. The holy, sacred compositions in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are in 31 classical ragas (musical measures).
The Sikh Scripture is unique in many ways. It is the first religious Scripture, among the Scriptures of world religions, compiled by one of the Prophets of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev, and institutionalized as the eternal Guru by the tenth Prophet, Guru Gobind Singh. It is also unique in that it contains holy compositions of not only the Sikh Gurus but also of Hindu Saints and Muslim Sufis. Thus, it is , verily, the Scripture of Religion and a living example of religious pluralism; its message of interreligious dialogue and intercommunity understanding has tremendous significance for the present- day world, which needs interfaith dialogue to resolve religious conflicts in different parts of the globe.
Right in the beginning of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak lays stress on gyan (enlightenment, knowledge ) as one of the three absolute virtues and values (categorical imperatives), and towards the end of the holy Granth, Guru Arjan Dev reiterates the same, using the expression vichar. (contemplation, reflection , thought)
The emerging third millennium global civilization, it is believed, would have spirit as its foundational category in the same way in which the modern Western civilization arose on the foundation of deified reason reigning supreme in nature, history and society, Sikhism with its basic category of spirit can and should play its due role in the evolution of the new global civilization.