Guru Granth Sahib, acknowledged as the most sacrosanct object, a sacred scripture enjoying
profound veneration, carries unrivalled canonical status in the history of religious texts.
From it, emanates the human identity the coherence. Its doctrinal formulations have stood
the rigorous tests of the fast advancing scientific and technological age. Its vision of man
and society, visualized by the first Guru Guru Nanak and fertilized by his experiences of
the world, has become universally acceptable currency of religious discourse. The vision was
crystallized further by his equally worthy successors. Under these Great Masters, the
traditional social order and culture, alongwith the religious structure underwent a
A rare combination of precept and practice, thought and action characterized the
writings of the Great Masters. It is, through the medium of Guru Granth Sahib that this
combination is displayed. The religious philosophy as such became intelligible and
acceptable to the world at large, most particularly to those sections of Indian society
which were debarred from taking to scholarly pursuits; it is because the humanely oriented
literary contributions in the Guru Granth Sahib were bestowed with intellectual strength and
vitality par excellent.
The Great Gurus, the Bhagats, the Saints courageously put themselves to a searching
critique of the social, political and religious system. Whatever was found superficial,
flimsy, imprecise and indefensible was vigorously condemned and discarded. The founder of
the Faith initiated the practice of holding constant and critical dialogue with other
traditions so as to ward off the parochial, complacent and cramped effects of the dead wood.
Objective was to add still more to the beauty of wonderful existence of man on earth.
Ailments like historical amnesia, political schzopherenia and religious inertia were
thoroughly diagnosed and accordingly treated. Insights into the range and variety of human
potentialities were astounding.
Human unity, human sociality and human dignity are the core components of the
religious philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib. The Great Masters were intensely sensitive to the
fact that the core was being vandalized. They were sensitive to all forms of oppressions and
exploitation. Hence, they were the divinely ordained champions and spokesmen of the poor,
the oppressed and victims of the established order everywhere. They saw through the hidden
mechanisms of oppression. Powerlessness of the powerless was a curse. So was their
ignorance. But the Great Masters tell that the curse was not divine, it was man made. The
rulers of the time had created unfounded illusions about it. The victims were deliberately
kept ignorant, the Great Masters told. Guru Granth Sahib is a reservoir of central and
abiding truths. It carries the agenda of regeneration of Indian society in particular and
the international community in general. The degenerate and the diseased authorities, both
political and religious, get a befitting rebuff.
The values of life as enunciated in the Guru Granth Sahib, are truthfulness,
honesty, mutual trust and loyalty, productive labour and communal sharing, gratitude and
integrity of conduct, authentic living, and, above all, spiritual transformations that raise
man to "spiritual marriage" wherein a God filled man returns to society for its service and
The Guru Granth teaches that it is not the intellectual formula or verbal assent to
it that liberates man, but the deed and his quality of living. "Truth is higher than
everything but higher still is truthful living.".
Central teaching of the Guru Granth is that the fully integrated person, the
liberated individual must revert to the world and society to participate in its activities
to guide and assist it in striving for achieving a situation in which human mind is free,
authentic living is facilitated and individuals may evolve into "deified men."
The Guru Granth furnishes the answers to the vexing questions: "Must the graceful
ones become lionized or remain meek and humble? What is the relation of exemplary violence
to exemplary martyrdom? How can falsehood disappear? How will the people's participation
become the guiding principle of governance? How will the distinction between high and low
evaporate? How is a balance to be struck between 'being' and 'doing', 'wisdom' and 'inner
The central injunction of the Gurus to a Sikh, as well as to the mankind is that (1)
the basic factor in human society is the individual, (2) valuable creative efforts are
possible only if this core is kept free, and (3) freedom consist in the extinction of
selfishness rather than the inflation of his ego.
The Guru Granth possesses the key to the happiness and peaceful co-existence of the
entire human race. It is a religion with a message of hope and optimism. Adherence to its
principles and teachings will prevent clash of civilization. Its adherents waged relentless
struggles in the cause of righteousness. They could survive even in the most inhospitable
environment, they demonstrated. Courage, bravery, discipline, self-respect were their
hallmarks. Charity, worship and hard work are the other ones. It is because of this
courageous trajectory that Sikh religion holds the promise of being the religion of the
world; so is the sacred scripture-The Guru Granth Sahib. The institutions of Sangat and
Pangat, the three props-naam japna, wand chhakna and kirt karni, the unending line of
martyrs first started by the composer of Guru Granth Sahib itself and continued by the ninth
master signify the fact that Guru Granth Sahib is a perennial source of faith and
equanimity. It propogates the religion of humanity. It stresses upon the family life and
community obligations and not a life of an ascetic and aimless wanderer.
Guru Nanak Dev University is organizing the fourth International Seminar on Guru
Sahib. The part of the proceedings of the first three seminars make the body of the present
volume. It carries excellent studies by renowned scholars. Very relevant aspects of the Holy
Scripture have been analytically discussed. Truth, ethical values, status of Bhagat Bani in
the Guru Granth Sahib, linguistic aspect, musicology, legal aspect as seen in the question
of juristic person, Scriptural studies, historical milieu, vast convas of the Holy
Scripture, canonization aspect, relevance of the scripture in the scientific age, all these
topics form the focus of study.
The volume is a humble edition to existing literature on Guru Granth Sahib.
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