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Guru Granth Sahib: First Prakash Utsav


gur granth

Even today Sikhs wait for the Hukumnama from a nearby Gurdwara or the Golden Temple in Amritsar when Guru Granth Sahib Ji is opened in the early hours of the morning. This Hukumnama is considered to be the Guru’s decree for all the Sikhs wherever they are.

By Neeraj Mahajan

The First Prakash Utsav of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is an important landmark for the Sikh community all over the world. Guru Granth Sahib — also called Adi Granth or Adi Guru Darbar– is not any other holy book or scripture for the Sikhs; but a perpetual, ultimate and eternal Guru.

It is probably the only Holy Scripture in the world; written by the founders of a religion in their lifetime. All other holy scriptures were compiled after the founders left for their heavenly abode.

Sikhs all over the world regard Guru Granth Sahib comprising of 1430 pages and 5864 hymns or verses called Shabads as their living Guru. Its contents, considered to be the preaching of the Gurus are referred to as Guru’s bani (the Guru’s voice) or Gurbani.

The first Sikh leader, Guru Nanak Dev, started the trend of collecting his holy hymns for the Sikhs to recite in their morning and evening prayers. His successor Guru Angad Dev continued the tradition.

Guru Arjan Dev– the fifth Sikh Guru compiled the holy Granth incorporating the hymns composed by – Guru Nanak and thirty-six Hindu and Muslim saints like Kabir Das, Ravi Das, Naam Dev and Sheikh Farid. After having selected the best hymns Guru Arjan Dev dictated the final version of the Adi Granth to Bhai Gurdas who wrote the Granth Sahib.

At the time when it was being written, some people poisoned the mind of Mughal emperor Jahangir by spreading a rumour that Guru Granth Sahib and Gurbani preached hatred against the Muslims. An enraged Jahangir ordered Guru Arjan Dev to delete some of the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib manuscript and imposed a fine of 200,000 rupees. Guru Arjan Dev refused to expunge the offensive text or pay the fine. Guru Arjan Dev was dead against making alterations in the hymns as required by Jahangir and instead preferred a martyr’s death. This led to his execution.


Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan where Guru Arjan Dev is believed to have died.

Guru Gobind Singh — the tenth Sikh Guru, raised the Adi Granth to the status of a permanent Guru and conferred it the title of “Guru of the Sikhs” in 1708. Declaring the Guru Granth Sahib to be the next Guru after him, Guru Gobind Singh commanded the Sikhs to regard the Granth Sahib as their next and everlasting Guru.

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