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Modern Day Sikhism
Overview of Sikh ScriptureThe two primary sources of scripture for the Sikhs are as follows: the Gurū Granth Sāhib and the Dasam Granth. The Gurū Granth Sāhib may be referred to as the Ādi Granth—literally, The First Volume—and the two terms are often used synonymously. Here, however, the Ādi Granth refers to the version of the scripture created by Arjan Dev in 1604. The Gurū Granth Sāhib refers to the final version of the scripture created by Gobind Singh.
The original version of the Ādi Granth is known as the kartārpur bīṛ and is claimed to be held by the Sodhi family of Kartarpur. The original volume was burned by Ahmad Shah Durrani's army in 1757.
Guru Granth SahibThe final version of the Gurū Granth Sāhib was compiled by Gobind Singh in 1678. It consists of the original Ādi Granth with the addition of Teg Bahadur's hymns. It was decreed by Gobind Singh that the Granth was to be considered the eternal guru of all Sikhs; however, this tradition is not mentioned either in 'Guru Granth Sahib' or in 'Dasam Granth'.
The bulk of the scripture is classified into rāgs, with each rāg subdivided according to length and author. There are 31 main rāgs within the Gurū Granth Sāhib. In addition to the rāgs, there are clear references to the folk music of Punjab. The main language used in the scripture is known as Sant Bhāṣā, a language related to both Punjabi and Hindi and used extensively across medieval northern India by proponents of popular devotional religion. The text further comprises over 5000 śabads, or hymns, which are poetically constructed and set to classical form of music rendition, can be set to predetermined musical rhythmic beats.
The Granth begins with the Mūl Mantra, an iconic verse created by Nanak:
The Name Is Truth
Creative Being Personified
Image Of The Timeless One
By Guru's Grace.
JanamsakhisThe Janamsakhis, literally birth stories, are writings which profess to be biographies of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak. These compositions have been written at various stages after the death of the first guru.
All the Janamsakhis record miraculous acts and supernatural conversations. Many of them contradict each other on material points and some have obviously been touched up to advance the claims of one or the other branches of the Guru's family, or to exaggerate the roles of certain disciples. Macauliffe compares the manipulation of janamsakhs to the way gospels were also in early Christian Church:
Vast numbers of spurious writings bearing the names of apostles and their followers, and claiming more or less direct apostolic authority, were in circulation in the early Church - Gospels according to Peter, to Thomas, to James, to Judas, according to the Apostles, or according to the Twelve, to Barnabas, to Matthias, to Nicodemus, & co.; and ecclesiastical writers bear abundant testimony to the early and rapid growth of apocryphal literature.
The falsification of old or the composition of new Janamsakhis were the result of three great schisms of the Sikh religion: The Udasis, the Minas and the Handalis.
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