Canadian Sikh Heritage | Sikh Scriptures
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Sikh Scriptures

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

When Guru Gobind Singh Ji suffered the wounds which would cause his martyrdom, all Sikhs awaited the naming of the eleventh Sikh Guru who would pass on the qualities of equality, spirituality, and generosity that all the Sikh Gurus had thus far embraced. Rather than naming a human, Guru Gobind Singh Ji declared that the eleventh and infinite Guru to be looked upon for guidance and support would not come in the shape of a human but within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This compilation had its beginnings with the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the 15th century. Though in the time of the earlier Gurus the Sri Granth Sahib Ji was called Adi Granth, the title of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji had symbolic meaning as the form of all the Gurus would be contained within one book.

Although in its completion the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji contains 1430 pages, each divided into thirty nine chapters, its earliest beginnings were started through the efforts of the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji as he compiled all the teachings and hymns of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Arjan Dev Ji began the process of making the hymns and scriptures more official, just as Sikhism was becoming more known and growing as a religion. If there is one aspect of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji which embraces and reflects on the most important tenet that all Sikhs must follow-it is the Sikh belief that all humans are equal under the eye of God, and that there should be no barriers between one another, whether they may be of caste, religion, sex or creed. Thus, one of the most noble and amazing aspects of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is that in addition to the works of all ten Sikh Guru’s it also incorporates the hymns, poems, writings, and teachings of Hindu saints, Muslim Sufis, Hindu peoples representing all castes, both high and low, court poets, as well as figures throughout India, writing in their own vernaculars of Punjabi, Sindhi, Sanskrit, Persian, Gujrati, Marathi and Hindi. As for the incorporation of other non-Sikh works, the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, also included the works of some fifteen saints from the Bhakti movement including: Kabir, Ravidas, Trilochan, Farid and Namdev. For Sikhs all around the world, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji not only represents their religious history based on the words and teachings of all ten Gurus and those whom the Gurus revered themselves, but the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is representative of the physical living presence of the Sikh Guru, to whom always provides guidance and peace.

Dasam Granth:

Literally translating to “scripture of the tenth Guru,” the Dasam Granth is just that, the second holy book of the Sikhs based on the compilations and collections of the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Dasam Granth was compiled by Bhai Mani Singh, a companion of the Guru and the head priest of the Harimandir Sahib. The compilation was created three years after the Guru’s death from his battle wounds. Thus, it was completed by 1711. Contained within its 1,428 pages in languages ranging from Braj, Hindi, Panjabi, and Persian, the Dasam Granth begins with Jap, a recitation for meditation. Following the meditation, the Dasam Granth contains an autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, praises for God, recitations for Hindu gods and goddesses such as Durga, Shiva, and Visnu, individual shabads, the Guru’s praises for his Khalsa as well as a detailed description on the weapons used by the Khalsa, writings on the nature of women, individual stories, as well as a letter addressed to the then Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.

Even in its religiosity, the Dasam Granth contains many historical elements as it also includes detailed descriptions on the contemporary lifestyles during Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s time, as well as descriptions of the battles and key players which the Guru and his Khalsa engaged with.


Comprised from the two words in Persian “hukm,” meaning order and “namah,” meaning letter, the Hukamnama’s are a set of letters sent by each of the Sikh Guru’s throughout their respective periods of influence, and sent throughout parts of India to all those a part of the Sikh sangat or congregation. In contemporary times, the Hukamnama’s have been utilized in dual parts: on the one hand, the letters have been incorporated to be spoken during the ardas, the concluding prayers spoken in any Sikh gurdwara; and on the other hand, the Hukamnamas have become a part of the edicts which are released on a regular basis by the five Sikh takhts (holy thrones of authority) of the Akal Takht at Amritsar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib in Anandpur, Takht Harimandhir Sahib in Patna, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib in Nanded and the Takht Damdama Sahib in Talvandi Sabo.

In addition to letters written by each of the Sikh Guru’s, other key Sikh figures are featured in the Hukamnamas, including Baba Gurditta, the elder son of Guru Hargobind Singh Ji, Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib Devi, the two widows of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and the warrior Banda Singh Bahadur. Once again, much like the Dasam Granth, the Hukamnamas also have great historical merit. For example, one such Hukamnama is a letter sent by Guru Hargobind Singh Ji to the Sikh sangats in Patna, Bihar, etc., of which he lists many Sikh historical figures in the areas. The Hukamnama’s also helped to place Sikh history within a chronological framework.