From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guru Granth Sahib: What makes it so unique

Guru Granth Sahib (Photo by J Singh)
When Pearl S. Buck received the First English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib, she didn’t quite know what to expect.  After reading it, she then spoke these words with
certainty:  I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes…  Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes.  They speak to a person of any religion or of none… 

This “sense of unity” may be at least partially derived from the Guru Granth Sahib’s unique authorship.  The Guru Granth Sahib (GGS) contains the writings of not only the Sikh gurus, but also of saints from other creeds and castes (including Kabir, Namdev, Shekh Farid, Pipa, Ravidas, and Trilochan).  It is perhaps the only truly interfaith mainstream Scripture (According to the Sikh-Forum, Sikhism is the “fifth largest religion in the world” and includes “more than 20 million people worldwide.”)

The relationship between the Guru Granth Sahib and its adherents is also highly unique.  What was once the Adi Granth (solely a religious text) became the Guru Granth Sahib (then an actual Guru) when the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named it as his eternal successor in October 1708.  Thus, the GGS was deemed to be a “juristic person” by the Supreme Court of India during a property-dispute case.  Wikipedia also reports that “any copies of the Guru Granth Sahib which are too badly damaged to be used, and any printer’s waste which has any of its text on, are cremated with a similar ceremony as cremating a deceased person.”

Wikipedia also quotes Max Arthur Macauliffe as saying that “the Sikh religion differs as regards the
authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems.”  That is because the Sikh gurus played a very direct part in the creation of the Guru Granth Sahib, whereas other great leaders such as Buddha and
Confucius left no direct documents of their own.


Copyright October 24, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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