|Sikh Missionary Society:
In popular terminology, the Guru stands for one who is
preceptor, enlightener, dispeller of darkness, master, or a teacher of
spiritual wisdom. Guru is Jot. Guru is messenger of God, a Divinely prophet,
commissioned for a spiritual mission but Guru is not God in human form.
Guru is divinely inspired revealer who reveals the Word of God. Guru is
a vital link in man's spiritual progress. He is teacher who shows the way
of truth. Guru is a Being who has full knowledge of God. He is benevolent
like God and has no enmity with anyone. He imparts true knowledge and guides
people to remember Name of God. He is ocean of Truth and flood of knowledge.
Guru has great significance in Sikh religion, it denotes
the spiritual teacher and precepter with spiritual knowledge who shows
way towards God. Guru is used for God, Shabd or Word also
“Gurbani is the Divine Light in this world. Through
God’s Grace, it abides in mortal’s mind.”
In Sikhism, great emphasis is laid on the role of Guru who
is a perfect prophet or a messenger of God and in whom the Light of God
shines fully, visibly and perfectly (Japji: Meditation In Sikhism by Swami
Rama Page 14). The place of Guruhood is given to those who have realized
the Ultimate Reality. Guru is the holiest of all the titles and is applied
to the Ten Gurus, Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Roop Sangat.
gurbwxI iesu jg mih cwnxu krim
vsY min Awey ]
Literally, Guru means high, heavy, great teacher, master,
Enlightened, God’s Voice, or spiritual preceptor. Guru means one who leads
people from darkness to light. It may refer to human teacher or God.
Guru is combination of two words GU and RU. Gu means the
darkness or ignorance. Ru means remover or the light of knowledge:
So Guru is remover of darkness and revealer of Light. That knowledge
which dispels the darkness of ignorance is Guru. Guru is spiritual guide
and God cannot be obtained without the Guru. Guru is spiritual precepter
who himself has experience with the Light of God and who leads mankind
to the Path of that Light so that they can develop their spiritual faith.
The necessity of Guru has been felt in all the ages to
realize God. In every day life, we need assistance of a guide to show us
the right path. According to Guru Nanak Dev, the Guru deserves the highest
and supreme elevation in the Sikh hierarchy.
The word Guru is used in three senses.
In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru is generally referred
to both God and human Guru, but mostly to God. According to Max Arthur
Macauliffe ( The Sikh Religion Vol-1 Page 4 ) Guru means great. Here it
stands for God. In secondary sense, Guru is a messenger of God and not
God in human form. He is love, pure, sinless and Divine. Guru is
the messenger of God in whom His light shines visibly and completely. Guru
though in human form, is godly and divine in spirit. God speaks to humanity
through him. Guru is commissioned by God to reveal His Truth to the
human beings. Guru is divine teacher who imparts knowledge and guides the
devotees on the path to attain unity with God Almighty. According
to Sikhism, the union with God can be attained with guidance of the Guru.
God calls the Guru His son, His image and His own self.
When we talk of Guru as God then it means that Guru is not
a person. Guru is Wonder of wonders. He is Infinite. He is Eternal and
Formless One. Guru is God Himself and He dwells in the heart of every one.
Those who have realized God are one with Him.
Guru is the Word or Shabad. He is Divine Voice within.
There is no difference between Guru and God.
Guru Nanak Dev says,
“The Word is the Guru and the mind continually is the
Shabad Guru surat dhun chela.
sbdu gurU suriq Duin cylw ]
The Shabad embodied in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru
eternal of the Sikhs and every thing has to be tested on this touchstone
of Gurbani. Whatever is not approved by Gurbani is not accepted in Sikhism.
Guru stands for Shabad and not for personal Guru.
Guru Ram Das says,
“Gurbani is the embodiment of the Guru and Guru is the
embodiment of the Gurbani. In the word, is the essence of ambrosia.”
Bani Guru, Guru Hai Bani.
bwxI gurU gurU hY bwxI ivic
bwxI AMimRqu swry ]
guru bwxI khY syvku jnu mwnY
prqiK gurU insqwry ]
However, in Sikhism this honorific word has been used for
God and also for the ten Masters starting from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru
Gobind Singh and the Holy Scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sri Guru Granth
Sahib is the spiritual guide of the Sikhs. It is the direct revelation
of Word which came to Guru Nanak Dev and he communicated it to the succeeding
nine Gurus. In 1708, Guru Gobind Singh before his physical departure from
this world terminated human succession to the office of Guru and conferred
the Guruship on Adi Granth, now called Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh
congregation assembled for a religious solemn ceremony is also called Guru
Roop Sadh Sangat.
mYN Apnw suq qoih invwjw
(Guru Gobind Singh Dasam Granth P-57)
“God has installed His spirit in the Guru and
through him God reveals Himself.”
the Sikhs worship photos as Guru ?
siqgur ivic Awpu riKEnu kir
prgtu AwiK suxwieAw ]
The Sikhs worship God and nothing else. They worship Shabad
as enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.The Sikhs do not worship pictures
or photos. The photos are used for identity, information and as media of
education. The mode of Sikh worship consists in reciting or singing hymns
in praise of God from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The modes include Kirtan,
and Ardas. It does not mean blind rites and rituals.
As and when or where “Murat” shabad is used in
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, it does not mean physical body, picture or
photo of any human being but as “Akal Murat”, as Shabad or
as Shabad Guru.
Bhai Gurdas says,
“In fact the physical body of the Guru is "Word"
installation and eternal rest places of the Sikh Gurus
gur mUriq gur sbdu hY
(Bhai Gurdas Var 24.25)
||Place of eternal rest (Date)
||Guru Nanak Dev Ji
||Nankana Sahib (15-4-1469*)
||Guru Angad Dev Ji
||Mate Di Sarai (31-3-1504)
||Guru Amar Das Ji
||Guru Ram Das Ji
||Chuna Mandi Lahore (24-9-1534)
||Guru Arjan Dev Ji
||Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji
||Guru Ki Wadali (19-6-1595)
||Guru Har Rai Ji
||Guru Har Krishan Ji
||Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
||Guru Gobind Singh Ji
||Patna Sahib (22-12-1666)
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, was
installed by him at Sri Harmandar Sahib Amritsar, on August 16, 1604. Guru
Gobind Singh conferred eternal Guruship on Granth Sahib on October 6, 1708
at Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded.
(* The earlier Janam Sakhis such as Puratan and Meharban
give April 15, 1469 as the date of birth. So do the Janam Sakhis by Bhai
Mani Singh and Mehma Prakash. Bhai Santokh Singh's “Nanak Prakash” supports
Katik Punian and gives the age of the Guru at his death as seventy years,
five months and seven days which if worked backwards brings the date of
Guru’s birth approximately to mid April. Bhai Karam Singh in his book Katik
Ke Baisakh (November or April) published in 1912 cogently discussed
Even scholars like Bhai Vir Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh, Bhai
Kahan Singh Nabha corroborate with Bhai Karam Singh and almost all books
on Sri Guru Nanak Dev since then accept Baisakh or April as the date of
birth, but invariably, the tradition of observing the birth anniversary
in Kartik or October-November continues throughout the world.)
of the teachings and Divine attributes
Guru Nanak Dev preached the concept of love, humility,
compassion, selfless Sewa, social welfare, moral, social and spiritual
values. He preached the sermon of human liberty, equality and fraternity.
Guru Nanak Dev emphasised, “truth is higher but higher still is truthful
living”. His strong belief was in One God. He emphasised on universal brotherhood,
universal peace and prosperity and Sarbat Da Bhala.
Guru Angad Dev ji preached the sermon of obedience through
submission before the Will of God. He emphasised on the development of
human personality as a whole with healthy mind and strong body. He offered
the improved version of Gurmukhi alphabet and established centres for its
learning. He empasised on education.
Guru Amar Das preached the sermon of harmony, compassion
and human equality. He added vigour to human dignity and free community
kitchen on equality basis. He insisted on service to God and mankind.
Guru Ram Das emphasised the concept of selfless service
to the humanity without any consideration of caste, colour, creed, gender
and country. He put stress on high thinking and simple living. He
gave the gift of “Four Lawan” to attain unity with God. He
excavated the pool of Harmandar Sahib.
Guru Arjan Dev was embodiment of supreme sacrifice and
peace. He inaugurated Adi Granth by installing it at newly built Sri Harmandar
Sahib at Amritsar. He emphasised on Nam Simran.
Guru Hargobind Sahib was a great saint-soldier who taught
us to fight for justice. He gave the concept of Miri and Piri by wearing
two swords of spiritual and temporal sovereignty. He built Sri Akal Takht
Sahib at Amritsar Sahib.
Guru Har Rai complimented mercy, simplicity and maintained
the sanctity of Gurbani.
Guru Har Krishan valued human piety and purity. He provided
selfless service to humanity and cured people of physical and mental diseases.
Guru Tegh Bahadur symbolised calmness, tranquility and
detachment by sacrificing his life for religious freedom of all human beings.
Guru Gobind Singh inaugurated the Order of Khalsa founded
by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He preached the concept of liberty, equality, fraternity,
self defence and self-sacrifice for glory of righteousness. He examplified
the ideal of Saint-soldier by adding courage, strength and compassion.
He gave the gift of Shabad Guru to the Sikhs (Jagd-Jot) as enshrined
in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Gobind Singh writes in Zafarnama:
“When all efforts to restore peace prove useless
and no words avail,
It is said in Bachittar Natak that if at all you have to
go to war, go fearlessly and fight with courage for a good cause.
Lawful is the flash of steel then, and right is the sword
cu kwr Az hmh hIlqy dr guzSq
hlwl Asqu burdn b SmSyr dsq
(The Epistle of Victory, 1390, Dasam Granth)
“When the arrow struck me
Through a process for 239 years, the Sikh Gurus taught that
human life was not to be wasted in the worldly pleasures but it should
be utilised in a way which pleases God and unites the mortal with Eternal
The War Spirit in me was strengthened.”
jbY bwx lwgY ]
qbY ros jwigXo ]
(Bachittar Natak; Dasam Granth pt-1, p.62)