The holy book of the Sikhs is known as Guru Granth Sahib. This book contains all the prayers and hymns that were chanted by all the Sikh gurus. The book has a total of 1,430 pages and contains around 5,864 verses. Guru Granth Sahib is also called Adi Guru.
This holy book was assembled by the 5th guru. He was called Guru Arjan Dev. This mammoth task saw the guru including not just the chants and verses said by the Sikh gurus, but also by saints of other religion. Guru Arjan invited Hindu and Muslim religious leaders and included their hymns in the compilation. These hymns had a selection criterion though. They had to be similar to the views held by Sikhism. Once Guru Arjan selected the hymns and verses, he dictated them to Gurdas, who was responsible for penning down the Guru Granth Sahib.
After the Guru Granth Sahib was completed, it was placed in the Golden Temple located in Amritsar. The inaugural ceremony of this newly constructed temple was held on 30 August 1604 by Guru Arjan and in that ceremony the guru appointed Bhai Buddha as the caretaker of the holy book. The guru himself bowed in front of the holy book and used this as a way to tell his followers that the holy book was the higher authority than he was. Once the Guru Granth Sahib was installed in the temple, daily worship sessions were held. Verses from the book were sung and recited along with musical instruments being played in the background.
As time went by, the possession of the book passed to Guru Hargobind and finally to Dhir Mal, who was Guru Hargobind’s grandson. It was Guru Gobind Singh, who decided that the Guru Granth Sahib should be restored to the Sikhs. So, he sent his followers to the family of Dhir Mal to get back the original book. However, the family refused and asked Guru Gobind Singh to pen down his own holy book if he considered himself to be a genuine guru. As a result a secondGuru Granth Sahib was penned down in 1706 by Guru Gobind Singh.
This new holy book was dictated by the guru from his memory and it was written by Bhai Mani Singh. This new book contained all the verses that the original holy book had. However, the guru edited the verses to do away with any verse, chants or hymns that could not be authenticated. In addition, he included many verses and hymns that his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, used to utter.
Today, it is this second copy of the Guru Granth Sahib that is considered as the holy book of Sikhs, and it lies in the Golden Temple of Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab.
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