Q: How many Takhts does the Sikh nation have and where are they located ?
A: According to the Panthic decision there are five takhts. These are as follows:-
1 Takht Sri Akal Takht Sahib at Amritsar, Punjab.
2 Takht Sri Keshghar Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.
3 Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib, at Patna, Bihar.
4 Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib at Nanded, Maharashtra.
5 Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Sabo ki Talwandi in Bathinda, Punjab.
Q: How many Sikhs, Saints and Guru's Bani is there in the Guru Granth?
A: In Guru Granth Sahib there is the Bani of 36 Sikhs, Saints and Guru Sahibaans.
There is Gurbani of six Guru Sahibs as follows:-
Nanak Dev Ji
There is Bani of 15 Bhagats/Pirs as follows:-
There is also the bani of 11 bhatts as follows:-
Finally, there is the Bani of four Sikhs in Guru Granth Sahib Ji:-
Q: Could you please names the children of Guru sahibaans ?
Nanak Dev ji had two boys
Angad Dev ji had two boys and two girl's.
Amar das ji also had two boys and two girls.
Ram Das had three boys.
Dev ji had one boy. His name was Guru Hargobind ji.
Additionally, Baba Gurditta ji had two boys. Their names were Baba Thirmal and Guru Har Rai ji
Har Rai ji had two boys and one adopted girl.
8) Guru Tegh Bahadur ji had one son. His name was Guru Gobind Singh ji
Gobind Singh ji had four boys. They were
Q: What is Naam?
doing Naam Simran with devotion, Waheguru ji becomes
It is important to remember that Naam is NOT just words or something physical. It is "Jot", in fact "Jagat Jot" and is inside all of us. To realise the "Jot" Guru Arjun Dev Ji says "Naam Humreh Antarjamee, Nam Humreh Aveh-Kamee" Naam is a generator of spiritual power. Naam comes to a person's rescue, like the help given to someone drowning or the filling of a lamp that has run out of oil. Guru Ji says "Bodath Ke Jaiseh Bayree Milth, Bojat Deepak Milth Thelth" Naam is a treasure, which we must earn. The best means of earning Naam, is to contemplate the Guru's Bani. Sometimes we say that a person has been dyed with the colour of Naam.This the power of Naam.
A: In Guru Granth Sahib there is lot of stress laid on doing Naam simran but there is NO mention of a technique for doing this. What this means is that Naam is within us all. We need to nurture it or practice it, i.e. never forget Waheguru . Naam simran means to remember beloved Waheguru all the time. To sing praise of beloved Waheguru ji is Naam simran. Guru Arjan Dev says " Mag bena jo khatee jahee" What Guru ji is saying is that a life being passed without Naam simram is a life being wasted.
To give an example of the purpose of Naam simran, one can consider a person visiting a town. When that person arrives, he forgets the purpose of his visit. In the same way a human being is born for a purpose but he does NOT realise this. Guru Ji says " Gobind milan ki eh teree bareea" This human birth is the time to meet or connect with Waheguru. To fall in love with Waheguru ji is Naam simran. In order to fall in love we need the help of gurbani. Shabd Guru shows us the way to fall in love. Guru Arjan Dev ji say " Har simran ke saglee bela, Har simran baho mal akala".
Q: Did Guru Nanak Dev ji recite all of Gurbani in one go or at different times? Further, did Guru Nanak Dev ji recite Gurbani at one place only?
A: According to Sikh history Guru ji recited gurbani from the age of 7 up to the age of 70 yrs and at different places. According to Janam Sakhis, stories relating to the life of Guru Nanak, Guru ji used to say to Bhai Mardana "Start playing the Rabab, Gurbani is coming". Guru Nanak Dev ji himself says "I am reciting gurbani as it comes to me". In Guru Granth Sahib ji, Guru Nanak Dev ji says (in Babar Vani on page 722)
avah khasam ki bani, Thas vah karee gaan vah lalo"
Q: What is the main or major topic of Gurbani?
A: The simple answer would be the truth ( Sach). To put it another way it is called the Satnam or Naam. Truth cannot be split into two. If it is NOT truth it must be false. Truth is now, Truth will always be there. Truth was always there. For this reason Guru Nanak Dev ji starts gurbani with ONE GOD or EK ONkar. Guru Nanak Dev ji defines truth in mulmantar i.e. he defines Waheguru ji and then states,
Sach, Nanak, Hosee be sach"
Gurbani recited after this was to further reveal the above basic statement.
Waheguru Ji is explained as the truth "SACH". Guru Nanak has stated the following:
is always one (ie one God)
After talking about the truth, Guru Ji says "how does one become truthful
(Sachiara) or wise". In Japji Sahib it says "Hukamah Andar Sab Ko, Bahar Hukam Na Koa". Basically, everything that happens, happens under the will and law of Waheguru. If we understand Waheguru ji's hukam or will/law, then with Guru ji's blessing the wish to be different or separate from God diminishes and one becomes wise ( Sachiarah). Guru Nanak Dev, through gurbani, has explained the hukam in three ways.
1) hukam as a rule in terms of nature.
The whole universe follows such a rule. This can be considered the "Law of nature". In Asa di Var, Guru Nanak dev says:-
"Kudrat dasha kudrat sonaha Kudrat baho sakh sar"
2) Another form of hukam in terms of Rule as law of action and reaction.
Guru Nanak dev says:-
"Agah karnee kerat vahchaha Bah lakha kar sumjahaa"
According to Guru ji every activity good or bad, is according to the hukam of Waheguru.
3) The other form of hukam is nadar or grace. Grace works in its own way. In
Asa di Var, Guru ji says;-
"ek no too maal lah ke aph thod khohaoa"
Those who are blessed, Guru ji says-
"Nanak nadre nadar nehaal"
Finally Guru ji says:-
" Hukam boojah ta dar soojah"
If one realises the door of Sach or Hukam, then Haumai (ego) vanishes.
Q: What happened on the 5th of February in 1762?
A: What is known in Sikh history as Vadda Ghalughara, the big holocaust, took place on this day. It is estimated that 25,000 Sikhs became martyrs on this day alone. Early in the morning of this day, Jan Khan came with his army and attacked the Sikhs, who were not prepared for battle at that time.
The Sikhs were on the move to a safer place, trying to avoid the oncoming army. The number on the move was about 30,000. This number was mostly children, women and older people. They were helpless against the army and killed in cold blood. Today, Sikhs take insparation from this day because less then 6 months after this event, the Sikhs attacked Lahore and set a pattern to stabilise the region and become rulers of Panjab.
Q: In Guru Granth Sahib ji on page 1136 there is shabd which states" Vart na Raho na ma Ramdana"
The last line of this shabd mentions Bhagat Kabir ji, but at the beginning it states Bhairo Mahala Panjva (Hymn of the fifth Guru in Raag Bhairo). To whom does this hymn belong to? Could there be a question in the authorship?
(a) The fact that it says Bhairo Mahala Panjva means this shabd is authored by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
(b) Since it says Bhagat Kabir ji in the last sentence, means that Guru Arjan Dev ji is expanding on a shabd of Bhagat Kabir ji. In fact, there is a shabd of Bhagat kabir in the same raag on page 1158. Bhagat Kabir ji says "
Oltee, jat kol dahoo besaree". In this shabd there is a line which goes as follows " Hamra Jagra raha na kahoo, Pandit mola shadahh dohoo". Bhagat Kabir ji is saying that we do not have anything to argue about, I have left both of them (The Mulla and Pandit). Bhagat Kabir rejects the ritualism of both the Mulla and Pandit (Muslim and Hindu priests).
Guru Arjan Dev in his shabd on page 1136 is expanding on Bhagat Kabir ji 's shabd of page 1158. Thus, Guru ji mentions Bhagat Kabir's name in his shabd.
Q. In Mulmantar guru nanak dev has written GurParsade. To which guru is guru nanak dev ji referring to ?.
A. The guru of Guru Nanak dev ji was AkalPurkh him self. The Sahabd is the jot of AkalPurkh. In all Guru Sahibaans this JOT was present and know it is present in Guru Granth sahib ji. Therefore Guru Nanak dev ji is referring Sahabd GURU in Guru Parsad.
Q: Name the five Sikhs who took Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1699, giving some detail on them.
A: These five GurSikhs are known as the Panj Pyare (five beloved ones). They were Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mokham Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh.
Bhai Daya Singh ji was from Lahore, which is in Pakistan . His father's name was Bhai Sodhu ji and his mother's name was Mata Dolahee ji. He was born in 1669. He was 30 years old when he offered his head to Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. He was the jathedar of the panj pyare. He passed away in in Abchal Nagar (Hazoor Sahib), near the river Godevaree.
Bhai Dharam Singh ji was from Delhi . His father's name was Bhai Sant Ram ji and his mother's name was Mata Sabho. He was born in 1666. He was 33 years old when he offered his head to Guru Gobind Singh ji at Anandpur Sahib. Bhai Dharam Singh passed away at Hazoor Sahib.
Bhai Himmat Singh was the third in line in coming to Guru Gobind Singh's call during Vaisakhi, 1699. He was born in Jagannath Puri, Orissa. His father's name was Bhai Gojral. His mother's name was Mata Dano ji. He was born in 1666. he was also 33 years old when he became a Guru-vala (the Guru's one). He became a martyr at Chamkaur Sahib in 1708.
Bhai Mokham Singh ji was born at Doarka in Gujrat. His father's name was Terath Chand ji . His mother's name was Mata Davin. He was born in 1662. he was 36 years old when he took Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh ji. He also became a martyr at Chamkaur Dahib ji in 1708.
Bhai Sahib Singh ji was born in Bedar in Andar. His father's name was Chamnah. His mother's name was Mata Suna Bhai ji. He was born in 1662. He was 37 in 1699. He also became a martyr in 1708 at Chamkaur Sahib.
It very important to remember that Guru Gobind Singh ji also took Amrit from these panj pyare after initiating them into the Khalsa in 1699. With their pledge of giving their life to the Guru, these five became the Guru Khalsa Panth and Guru Gobind Singh ji supplicated before them to take amrit from their hands. Just as Guru Nanak had tested his successors to reveal the next Guru, Guru Angad, so Guru Gobind Singh proposed the ultimate test to his Sikhs, and found five who then became the Guru Khalsa Panth.
Q: What is Dharam?
A: " Eko dharam daraha sach saee"
There is only one dharam which is "sach" truth, which does not change with time.
Guru Naank dev ji says
" ad sach, jugad sach, hai bi sach, Nanak hosee be sach" - God was true at the beginning, true when time started, true now and true in the future.
When Sadhs (Hindu saints) asked Guru Nanak Dev, 'have you come on earth to ask people to meditate on your name?' Guru ji replied 'No, I have come to ask people to do Naam Simran on Waheguru's name'. " nam japeh gat pasee" - attain salvation by doing naam simran (reflecting/editating on God's name).
Bhai Nand Lal ji also says Waheguru ji ordererd Guru Nanak Dev ji to come on earth to make people aware of him and to do naam simram in order to be one with Waheguru ji.
Dharam is to face Waheguru ji and to do naam simran and follow the path of truth so as to create dharamsala ( Place of truthfulness) within. Guru Nanak Dev ji wrote patee in Guru Granth Sahib ji in asa raag. Patee is the 35 letters of gurmukhi language.
Realise waheguru ji, Realise that Waheguru ji has created and permeates the universe. Thus, dharam is to do seva and simran, to do "dharam di kamaee - lead the path of a religious life".
Q: In Guru Granth Sahib ji we sometimes see the word ghar (house) after a rag of bani. For example "Dhanasri Mahala Panjva Ghar Duja - Raag Dhanasri of the fifth Mahala (Guru) in second Ghar (house)." Could you please explain the meaning of this word?
A: According to Bhai khan Singh Nabha, ghar relates to gurmat sangit (the singing/kirtan of Gurmat and its rules) and has two meanings:-
b) svar and morchan.
These are technical words or rules which ragis (kirtanis) understand and use for when they do kirtan. In Guru Granth Sahib there is one to seventeen ghars and ragis should follow these when doing kirtan.
Q: Is it wise to to do prayers to Waheguru ji to ask for success at something, when Patshah ji is saying in Asa di Var exactly what gift is it, which we should ask for?
A: Children do not know what arrangements their parents have made for them for their needs. Children just ask without any thought for whether their needs have been catered for. Likewise, we are all Waheguru ji's children.
Thus, we keep asking for things which Waheguru ji has already made arrangements for. As we become more Gursikh we understand Waheguru ji's Will and we stop asking for unnecessary things. Gursikhs become santokhi
(satisfied) and stop asking, because Waheguru ji will keep giving regardless of us asking.
Guru ji say:-
" Van bola sab kosh janda, kis ageh kechah ardas"
which means without speaking waheguru knows everything, to whom should be do ardas.
Q: Some Gursikhs prior to eating food, recite the following bani:-" kam karod or lob moh bens jah amhaav Nanak prab sarnagtee kar parsadh gurdaav"
Why is this?
A: Some Gursikhs do this paath of Sukhmani Sahib ji because they believe the word parsad in it means food. However, the meaning of parsad in this hymn is not food. Guru Arjan Dev ji is asking Waheguru ji to be merciful (Kirpa) on us, so that kaam, karood, lob and ahonkaar (the vices within us) are destroyed. The word parsad in this text means kirpa ( Mercy). In the next ashtpadi this is made very clear. Guru ji says:
parsad chastee amrit kaeh"
which means, if Waheguru ji is merciful then it is like 36 types of Amrit like foods. You should keep Waheguru ji in your mind (man maeh). If Waheguru ji is merciful then you will live in sukh mander (you will live in a peace-like temple, internally you will be in peace). Akal Purkh will be on your mind continually. It is very clear from the above statement that the word parsad means Mercy.
Q: When was Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's Bani added to Guru Granth Sahib ji?
A: The original Guru Granth Sahib, called the Kartarpur vali bir, was
compiled by Guru Arjan Dev with Bhai Gurdas as the scribe. The Guru Granth Sahib as it is known today, with the addition of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's Bani was compiled by Guru Gobind Singh ji. Guru Gobind Singh recited the Guru Granth Sahib ji at Dam Dama Sahib with Bhai Mani Singh ji as the scribe. It was at this time that Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's bani was added to the Guru Granth Sahib ji. In all the Gurdwaras today, it is this Guru Granth Sahib (Dam Dama wale bir) which is present.
Q: " humah derag rog eh, daro be es maeh" Could you please explain the
meaning of this shabd?
A: This is a quote from Asa di Var from the 7th pauri and it is written by Guru Angad Dev ji. Guru ji is saying that ego is rog (a disease) which lasts for a long time. It can be cured and in the next sentence Guru ji explains how.
kareh je apnee ta gur ka shabd komaeh
If Waheguru ji blesses you, you start studying, understanding and concentrating on Shabd Guru. Following Guru jis instructions you begin to do naam simran. This will bear fruit. Guru ji is saying 'Oh people listen, if you follow the Guru's way of life ( Guru jis teaching) and do naam simran, you will be able to destroy the rog (illness) of ego'. Guru Nanak Dev ji also says
"ja har prabh kirpa dahre"
"ta Humeh vecho maree"
When Waheguru ji is merciful, then ego disappears or dies from within.
Q: "partakh guru nastareh" means the body ( human being) form of the Guru can help you to pass from this world to the next. Could you please explain the meaning of this hymn.
A: This hymn is from Guru Ram Das ji and it appears on page 982 of Guru
Granth Sahib ji. In order to understand the meaning of this hymn we need to understand Gurmat grammar.
Lets look at the whole shabd:-
"BANI GURU" - the Guru of the Sikhs is the bani (word of the Guru, bani is a form 'jot' of the Guru)
"GURU HE BANI" - the Guru is present in the bani
"VICH BANI AMRIT SAREH" - within bani there is a life giviing power, ie
Naam. This is the power the GurSikh has within. Guru ji also says "Amrit bachen Satgur ke bani, jo boleh so mukh amrit paveh" which means 'The words of the Guru are like amrit, who ever says them, attain the amrit.'
"GURU, BANI KAEH" - whatever Gurbani says or instructs
"SEVK JAN MANEH" - the follower of the Guru accepts and follows
"PARTAKH GURU NASTAREH" - the Guru takes that follower across the world ocean (sansar samundar) ie ferries you across the problems of this world to the next. The Guru is your protector.
Guru Ram Das ji also says :-
"Satguru bachen, bacheneh Satguru padar mukhet janevehgo"
who ever follows the Guru's teaching and keeps it in their heart, that person gains all the comforts of life and is freed from the cycle of life and death. The Guru of the Sikhs is the Bani.
Q: What is manmat?.
A: In the Gurdwara, Guru Granth Sahib ji is on a higher plane and the Sangat sits on the floor and everyone is equal.
All Gursikhs are equal and Guru Sahibanns have destroyed the caste system in Sikhi. However, there are those who do not like this and have started their own Guruships. If we look back at history from the times of Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh ji all Sikhs were treated equal. When the Gru Granth Sahib was first compiled it was written and brought to Darbar Sahib from Ramsar. Baba budha ji carried it and Guru Arjan Dev ji walked behind it. At night time Guru Granth Sahib would be put to rest on a bed and Guru Arjan Dev ji used to sleep on the floor underneath it. It is very tragic that today there are those, sometimes so-called Sants, who prefer people bow to them. This is manmat.
Q: Could you please explain the meaning of "chatee amrit - 36 Amrits" mentioned in the following hymn:-
amrit jin bhanj daeh"
A: In Hindu tradtion there are described 6 types of different tastes which are produced by the mixing of 36 different types of foods. The meaning of the above hymn is ' Oh brother (Waheguru ji) has given you so many different types of tasty foods to eat and taste and given you your digestive system. Why do you not remember him. In other words, you should continually remember and keep in your heart that Waheguru who has given you so much.
Q: Please explain the closing ceremonies in a Gurdwara programmes? Exactly what happens prior to the Parshad being given out to the sangat?
A: Keeping in mind the panthic discipline it is the duty of every Sikh to do all functions as per the Sikh Rehat Maryada. The Sikh Rehat Maryada explains what the protocol is for carrying out the closing ceremonies in a Gurdwara Sahib. In the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and Satsang (congregation) The paath of the first 5 and last pauri of Anand Sahib are performed (this is a joyous hymn which is read to show the bliss obtained when someone meets the Guru). Thereafter, there is an Ardas (supplication to God). After this there is the reading of the Hukamnamah (a reading from Guru Granth Sahib which is to be listened to and put into practice - it is the hukam of God directly to you). Finally, the Sri Sahib must be presented to the parshad. Thereafter, the parshad may be distributed to the Sangat.
tau prem khelan ka chao"
Who is the author of the above Shabd and what is its meaning?
A: This solak is by Guru Nanak Dev ji. It is on page 1412 in Guru Granth Sahib ji. The meaning of this shabd is as follows:-
jauh tau prem khelan ka chao - Whoever wants to play the game of love,
sir tar thale gale mohare aho - then come to my path with your head in hand (in total humility).
et marg pahr tharejah - when you place your feet on this path,
sir dijeh kan na kijah - give me your head (be a sacrifice to me), paying no attention to others (do not falter from this path).
Gurmat is described as the path of love. To come onto this path you must approach the path with total humility and be prepared to sacrifice everything for the Guru. To go on this path of love means to follow the Guru. Additionally, the Guru is the Shabd. This Jot (light) of the Guru is present in all of the Gurus. Thus, we should not differentiate between Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. They are of the same Jot.
Q: Could you please explain the following shabd which is found on page 1159 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib?
"Gur seva tah bhagat komae"
"tab eh mans dahe pae"
A: This shabd is from Bhairo Rag and is authored by Bhagat Kabir ji. In order to understand this shabd, we need to understand the rehao vale tukh in which Bhagat Kabir ji says :-
"Bajo Gobind, bhul mat jao - meditate on Waheguru, do not forget this"
"mans janam ka ahe laho - the purpose of this human birth is to take this advantage (of this treasure called meditation) "
As for the hymn in question on page 1159, the next shabd after it reads:-
By combining the two hymns, it becomes clear what the meaning is. What Guru ji is saying is:-
Serving the Guru, meditation is practised, then you have obtained this human form. Even the Angels are striving to attain this human form.
Q: In Sri
Guru Granth sahib there is a shabd which reveals:-"Prameh mahkan pach dood
- First there is butter, and then the milk"
A: This shabd is by Guru Arjan Dev ji. It is present in Guru Granth Sahib on page 900. In this shabd Guru ji explains the wonderful works of Waheguru ji. The hymn describes those things that cannot, in our vision, happen. Let us look at the whole hymn,
RAAMKALEE, FIFTH MEHL:
The fire runs away from the fuel. The water runs away from the dust in all directions. The feet are above, and the sky is beneath. The ocean appears in the cup. ||1 ||
Such is our all-powerful dear Lord. His devotees do not forget Him, even for an instant. Twenty-four hours a day, O mind, meditate on Him. || 1 || Pause||
First comes the butter, and then the milk. The dirt cleans the soap. The fearless are afraid of fear. The living are killed by the dead. || 2 || The visible body is hidden, and the etheric body is seen. The Lord of the world does all these things. The one who is cheated, is not cheated by the cheat. With no merchandise, the trader trades again and again. || 3 || So join the Company of Saints, and chant the Lord's Name. So say the Simritees, Shaastras, Vedas and Puraanas. Rare are those who contemplate and meditate on God. O Nanak, they attain the supreme status. || 4 || 43 || 54 ||
Fire runs away from fuel? The fearless are fearful? This hymn describes those things which, in our mind, do not make sense. What Guru ji says is that God is all-powerful. God has the power to make anything happen. This world has many things in it which will not make sense to us. However, there is one permanent and real thing which we can do. This is Simran on God's qualities. We should remember Waheguru ji with every breath, as he has the power to make such wonderful things happen. The workings of this creation are in Waheguru's hands.