Poetic Appreciation of

Guru Granth Sahib

By Jaswinder Singh Chadha

An embodiment of Guru's word
perpetual light to view
precious heritage of the Sikhs
last yet ever lasting Guru

Adi Granth is the Guru
proclaimed Guru Gobind
the Sikhs shall seek herein
guidance to their need

Guru Nanak in his travels
was known to carry a book
an anthology of his hymns
diary or pothi of his trips

it was passed to Guru Angad
as he became the Guru
the hymns in it were sung
by Sikh sangats as they grew

Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru
saw the need to collate
compositions of the Gurus
for the Sikhs of future date

messages were sent
to sangats everywhere
to deposit hymns of the Gurus
in Guru Arjan's care

Guru Amardas's son Mohan
inherited pothis from the sage
but he refused to part
with this precious heritage

Baba Budda, Bhai Gurdas
were specially sent
but had no luck with Mohan
he will just not relent

finally Guru Arjan himself
went to Goindwaal to try
he serenading his tambura
sang the hymns of the High

Baba Mohan melted away
such was the magic of hymns
he handed the pothis over
the Guru was pleased

the pothis were accorded
respect and veneration
and their return to Amritsar
was an important occasion

the bedecked pothis,
placed in a palanquin
were carried by the Sikhs,
followed by Guru Arjan

the cavalcade moved on
heading for holy Amritsar
paying homage at Khandoor
to the great Guru Angad

Outside Amritsar, the Sikhs
waited along with Hargobind
to welcome the Guru's party
rejoicing filled the wind

Bhai Gurdas and Baba Budda
were carrying the palanquin
the party entered Amritsar
everyone was singing hymns

the thanksgiving ceremony
was performed by Guru Arjan
with the material in his hands
the Guru was ready for action

besides the Gurus writings
there was a treasury of hymns
coming from Indian saints
of varied castes and religions

endowed with this material
Guru Arjan chose a spot of nature
in the thickness of the woods
to complete the lofty venture

in these peaceful surrounding
he had a tent erected
and with help from Bhai Gurdas
the format was perfected

Guru Arjan did the dictating
Bhai Gurdas wrote in hand
Gurmukhi script was used
for recording the holy Granth

hymns from each Guru
were uniquely assigned
so were the hymns of saints
allocated and defined

musical styles were stated
for each and every hymn
classified as Shabad, Var etc.
a musical treasury to sing

thus produced the Granth
was two thousand pages
half of these were scribed
with blanks for future usage

venue for the holy Granth
was chosen as Harmandar
Baba Budda was assigned
to look after the wonder

from Ramsar in the morning
they moved to Harmandar
the Baba carried the Granth
followed by Guru Arjan

musicians sang the hymns
on the way to Harmandar
Baba Budda laid it then
with respect and honour

he read, "God Himself accedes
to His followers need
He has Himself arrived
to accomplish the deed

the place is enchanting
and beautiful is the pool
the waters are ambrosial
the Amrit pool is full"

at day time, the Granth
was kept in Harmandar
it was laid to rest at night
after the prayers were said

a room was provided
for resting the holy Granth
it was wrapped up in silks
and laid on its planquin

the cherished Granth
became centre of Sikh life
the Guru and the Granth
were guides in every strife

this original holy Granth
served the Sikhs at Amtritsar
later the sixth Guru
moved it to Kartarpur

from Guru Hargobind
this copy went to Dhir Mal
the descendants of this man
possess it now as well

the Granth was updated
and brought to completion
Guru Gobind Singh himself
accomplished this mission

Bhai Mani Das recorded
Guru Gobind Singh's dictation
gradually the colossal task
was brought to completion

Guru Teg Bahadur's hymns
were added to the Granth
but Bani of Guru Gobind Singh
is conspicously absent

London, 1992-95.

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