Siri Guru Granth Sahib (1708 to present)
As Guru Gobind Singh neared his death, he changed tradition by giving the Guruship to the collected writings of the Gurus and other saints, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. It is considered the living embodiment of the 10 Sikh Gurus and is treated with the same respect. In all Sikh temples or Gurdwaras, the Guru is covered in fine cloth, elevated onto a beautiful platform and afforded a place of respect. It is a way to remind us of the sacredness of the wisdom it contains.
It’s 1430 pages of poetry are the verbatim compositions of its writers including the first five Sikh Gurus and a few compositions from the ninth and tenth Gurus. It also contains
the writings of Hindu and Muslim saints. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib starts with "Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam", then the Mul Mantra, then the Japji Sahib. And the following Sacred Writings are all an explanation of "Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam", One Creator, One Creation.
The entire Siri Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi script, which was standardized by the second Guru, Guru Angad. This is significant because it was relatively easy to read, and therefore empowered the average person to read the scriptures himself, without the intervention of another person. It is easy to obtain a copy and to gracefully install it in one’s home.
At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the Guru is brought into the temple daily in the early morning hours. All day prayers are read from the Guru and sacred songs are sung. Each night, the Guru is removed and gracefully housed at the Akal Takht while the marble floors of the Golden Temple are carefully cleaned. Yogi Bhajan participated in this humble cleaning for years and credited it with his spiritual freedom.
There are many ways to integrate the wisdom of the Guru into one’s daily life. It is part of the daily practice of Sikhs to “take a hukam from the Guru”. At the end of morning sadhana, one can open a page at random and read a passage to provide guidance for the day from the perspective of someone in his highest consciousness. In Sikh services, anyone can read the hukam, man or woman, rich or poor, high or low status, as the congregation respectfully listens. One can also do a “Sehaj Path”, reading the entire Guru at whatever pace is comfortable. A community can organize to do an “Akhand Path” where the entire Guru is read continuously for 72 hours. While it is possible to read the Guru in English, it is beneficial to read it in the original Gurmukhi to get the benefit of the mantric sound current and the subtleties of the language.
It is customary to bow to the Guru. In doing so, we link our third eye to the Divine Wisdom and Frequency emanating from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. This allows us to identify with and experience something larger than our limited self.This experience allows us to connect with our own highest consciousness. It is also customary to cover one’s head out of respect. It is graceful to offer a small monetary donation (a dollar is fine) to acknowledge the gift of wisdom that one receives.
If you go to Winter or Summer Solstice, there is a Gurdwara where the Guru is kept and anyone can participate by reading in the Akand Path either in English or Gurmukhi. At the end of the three days, there is a lovely musical ceremony called the “Bhog” to celebrate the successful completion of the reading.
Now the entire Guru is online and available for free at:http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?Action=Page&Param=1
This site has the original Gurmukhi, a transliteration and an English translation. The link can also be found at sikhdharmacolorado.org