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6 Things you Learn about Sikh Hymns from ‘Hymns of the Sikh Gurus’

The vision of Guru Nanak, the fifteenth-century founder of the Sikh faith, celebrated the oneness of the Divine that both dwells within and transcends the endless diversity of life. Guru Nanak’s immaculate vision inspired the rich and inclusive philosophy of Sikhism, which is reflected in this exquisite and highly acclaimed translation of poems,Hymns of the Sikh Gurus, from the religion’s most sacred texts: the Guru Granth Sahib, the principal sacred text of the Sikh religion, which consists of poems and hymns by Guru Nanak, his successors and Hindu and Islamic saints; and the Dasam Granth, a collection of devotional verses composed by the tenth Sikh Guru.

Here are 6 things you learn about Sikh hymns from this book:


JAP, respectfully known as Japji, was composed by Guru Nanak. It is the first prayer in the Guru Granth, and encapsulates the fundamental philosophical and ethical beliefs of the Sikhs.


SHABAD HAZARE, literally ‘Thousand Words’, is recited in the morning, along with the Jap. It is a combination of poetic pieces from different Gurus in different rags or melodic frameworks, which are therefore found in different sections of the Guru Granth.


JAAP (with a long a) is a poetic offering to the Ultimate Reality. It is the obeisance to the Transcendent One by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, and is from the Dasam Granth (Book of the Tenth Guru).


SAVAYYE means quatrains. The ten Savayye that have been included in the Sikhs’ morning prayers are from Guru Gobind Singh’s Dasam Granth. They underscore devotion as the essence of religion.


RAHIRAS is part of the evening service. It consists of hymns by Guru Nanak (including, with a slight variation, stanza 27, Sodar, from the Jap), Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.


ARDAS (‘Petition’) is the basic prayer of the Sikhs which evolved as an anonymous composition within the community of the eighteenth century. It is recited while standing up.

Poetry from this highly revered texts is heard daily and at rites of passage and celebration in Sikh homes and gurudwaras, carrying forward the Sikh belief in the oneness and equality of all humanity.Read Hymns of the Sikh Gurus to know more about these.

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