Selections from the sacred writings of the sikhs


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He beholdeth all things set under His Will.

Nanak, if before a man dies.
He can cast down his ego,
He shall not in the sight of the Lord go unregarded.
Var Sarang, page 1243

nau fakirai patsah marakh pandit nau

Every beggar today would be a King,
Every blockhead sets up as a Pundit;
The blind man would be a connoisseur of gems,
That is the modern way of talking of things;
The really bad man sets up as a spiritual leader;
The liar is judged the perfect type of man;
So it is in this iron age; But, Nanak, even now
The Guru can teach us how to choose among men.

Var Malar, page 1288


nanak dunya kia vadiayan agi seti jal

Nanak, bum in the fire
All the glories of the world;
These accursed things
Have made men forget
The Holy Name of the Lord;
Not one of them will accompany thee,
Beyond the gate of darkness.
Var Malar, page 1290



Amar Das’s conversion to Sikh faith is said to have occurred after his hearing a recitation of Nanak’s Japji. He remained with Guru Angad for the last six years of the latter’s life and succeeded him in 1552 when he was himself an old man of seventy-three.

Amar Das organized the scattered Sikh congregations into twenty-two dioceses and appointed spiritual mentors for each, some of whom were women. He was a great reformer. He made communal dining compulsory amongst Sikhs converted from different castes of Hindus and Muslims and forbade the practice of Sati amongst his followers.

Amar Das contributed 907 verses to the Adi Granth, all of which were written between the age of seventy-three when he became a Guru, and ninety-five when he died.



anand bhea meri mae

Rejoice with me, O mother,
That I have found the True Guru,
The True Guru have I found without penance,
And songs of rejoicings are in my heart.
The excellent Ragas and the race of the heavenly Muses
Have come to sing hymns to the Lord;
Those in whose hearts the Lord indwelleth,
Sing the Song of praise to Him.
Saith Nanak: My heart is full of joy
That I have found the True Guru.

eh man meria tu sada rauh hari nale

O my mind, abide thou ever with God,
Abide with God, O my soul,
Who will make thee to forget all thy sorrow,
Thou shalt be acceptable unto the Lord.
He will manage all thine affairs for thee;
The Lord is Perfect and in all things all-powerful;
Why shouldst thou ever forget the Lord?
Saith Nauak: O my mind,
Abide thou ever with God.

sace sahiba kia nahi ghar tere

O my True Lord, What is there
That is not to be found in Thy House?
In Thy House are all riches;
He to whom Thou givest receiveth;
He will sing Thy Glories for ever,
And house Thy Name in his heart.

Heavenly Music resoundeth, .

In the hearts where the Lord indwelleth;
Saith Nanak: O my true Lord,
What is there, that is not to be found in Thy House.

saca nam mera adharo

Thy Name, O Lord, is my sustenance,
Only on the True Name, which quieteth all my hungers do I

live; The true Name, abiding in my heart, Hath granted me peace and joy, And fulfilled all my desires. I am ever a sacrifice unto the Guru, Whose gifts these are. Saith Nanak: Listen, O Saints, love the Word. Thy Name, O Lord, is my sustenance.


vaje panc sabad tit ghar subhage

Celestial Music is heard in the blessed house,
The heart, where God indwelleth;

In that happy house,

In which God hath put forth His strength;
Heavenly Music is heard.
Therein the Lord has subdued the five evil passions,
And destroyed the fear of death.
Saith Nanak: They obtain happiness
And in their hearts the heavenly Music is heard.

saci livai bin deh nimani

Without true love there is no honour for this mortal body This mortal body is without honour if without love; Besides Thee, Lord, there is none other all-powerful; What can the wretched creature do? Have mercy on us

Lord. For mortal man there is no other refuge but Thy Name. By love of the Name the soul can be made beautiful; Saith Nanak: What can the wretched creature do, Without the love of the Lord.


anand anand sabh ko kahe

All men talk of bliss, but true bliss,
Can only be got by keeping the company of the Guru;
It is through the grace of the Guru,
That eternal bliss can be known.
In his mercy the Guru destroyeth all sins,
And he putteth on the eyes the salve of divine knowledge,
Those who in their inner hearts have achieved detachment

from the world The True One hath made holy with the Word. Saith Nanak: That is the true bliss, That can be got by keeping the company of the Guru.


bhagtan ki cal nirali

The path of the saint is a strange path;
The path of the saint is strange indeed,
He walketh by a hard road;
He renounces avarice, greed, self-will,
And attachment to the goods of the world;
And he maketh but little use of speech;
He walketh by a way sharper than a sword’s edge,
By a way narrower than a hair’s breadth.
By the grace of the Guru,
The desires of those who renounce self-will
Are set upon the Lord.
Saith Nanak: In every age, the path of the Saint

Is a strange path.


karami sahaj na upjai

Knowledge of the Transcendent is not to be obtained,

Through outward religious observances, without knowledge,
Doubt and delusion will not depart;
No amount of outward observances
Will remove doubt and delusion.
The mind is filthy with ignorance,
How can it be made clean?
Wash thy mind, O man, in the light of the Word,
And fix thy heart and thy soul upon the Lord.
Saith Nanak: It is by the grace of the Guru
That knowledge of the Transcendent is obtained.
In this way only will doubt and delusion depart.

jion maile bharon nirmal

Those who, impure within, seem pure outwardly,
Fair without and foul within, have gambled their lives away,
They have contracted the vile disease of desire;
They have forgotten they are mortal.
Though the Name of the Lord
Is the most precious thing in the scriptures,
To that they attend not,
And they wander wildly like demons.
Saith Nanak: That man who hath discarded truth
And attached himself to falsehood hath gambled his life away.

jion nirmal bahron nirmal

Those who, pure within, are also pure without,
Who are fair without and fair within, act virtuously,
Through the grace of the True Guru,
They have not heard even the name of falsehood;
All their hopes are set upon the Truth

Blessed are such traders in virtue,

Who have earned the jewel of life.
Saith Nanak: Those who are pure within
Abide ever with the True Guru.

eh sarira meriti is jag mai tie ke

O my body, what hast thou brought to pass,
In thy sojourn on this earth? What hast thou done, O body,
Since thy coming into the world?
To the Lord who shaped thee,

Thou hast given no place in thine heart.

It is through the Guru’s grace
That the Name in the heart indwelleth.
The Lord’s Name in the heart
Is the gift of past good deeds.
Saith Nanak: That mortal human body is acceptable
That hath set its heart upon the True Guru.


eh netro merio har tum mai jot dhari

O mine eyes, it was the Lord who gave ye Light,

Look on none but Him,
Look on none but the Lord;
By His grace will you see Him,
The world which appeareth so poisonous to you,
Is the manifestation of God.
When by the grace of the Guru I was granted understanding I saw that there is One God. And I saw that there is no other beside Him. Saith Nanak: These eyes of mine were blind, But when I met the True Guru, They were graced with divine Light.

anand suno vadhbhagio

Listen, O fortunate ones, to my joyful Song,
And all the desires of your hearts shall be fulfilled;
When we grasp the Lord in His uttermost supremacy,
All griefs must then go from us;
Through listening to the True Word
My griefs, my sicknesses, my torments have departed;
The saints and the holy are filled with joy
When they hear the word from the True Teacher;
He who heareth the Word is made pure;
He who speaketh the Word is made holy,
The True Guru filleth all their beings.
Nanak proclaimeth: For those who prostrate themselves
At the True Teacher’s feet, the heavenly Music soundeth.

Rag Ramkali,

pages 917-22: 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, IS, 19,20, 35, 36,40.


man tu jot sarup hai

Mind, thou art a Spark of Divine Light, so grasp the True Source of thy being. The Lord is ever with thee; through the Guru’s teachings

rejoice in His Presence. By grasping thine own true nature, thou graspest God’s, And the meaning of birth and death. When: through the Guru’s grace thou hast grasped the Supreme

One Thou shalt lose the illusion of otherness. Thou shalt abide in peace, honoured, and acceptable. Nanak salth: O my mind, thou art an Image of God, Grasp the True Source of thy being.

Rag Asa, 441


ram ram sabh ko kahai

All men cry ‘Lord, Lord’,
But by vain repetition man is not made one with the Lord
It is only when, by the grace of the Guru, God in the heart indwelleth, That human effort bears fruit. He who loveth the Lord from his heart’s core Shall never forget him, but from his heart and soul Shall ever repeat the Lord’s Name. They who are deceivers in their hearts but outwardly ape holiness Shall not lose their lusts, and shall grieve at the time of departure. However strenuously a man may wash himself At the many holy places, It is not thus that self-will is cleansed from him! The King of Death, Dharmraj, shall chastise him Who hath not cast down his self-will. Only by the Guru’s grace shall man meet God and understand Him Nanak saith: The man who destroyeth his own self-will Shall certainly meet God!

Rag Gujri, 491


nanak giani jag jita

Nanak, the man of divine knowledge hath conquered the world,
Which itself hath conquered all other men:
Through the Name, his affairs prosper.
And all his actions are as the Lord willeth.
Through the Guru’s teaching his mind is steadfast and none

can shake it. God Himself standeth by him, and all that he doth is beautiful. The perverse have been led astray from the Lord By greed, by avarice, by proud self-will. Day and night, they wrangle; they contemplate not the True


The Lord hath taken away from them their good under standing:

So all their conversation is sinful.
In their hearts are avarice and the pitch black of ignorance;
However much they are given, their desires are insatiable.
Nanak saith: It is wise to break with the perverse

Who are attached to the illusory goods of the world.

Rag Bihagra, Var, 548


man maile sabh kich maila

If the mind is unclean, all else is unclean;
And ceremonial washings cannot wash the mind.
This world is the realm of illusion:
There are few who grasp the Real.
0 my mind, remember the Holy Name!
That is the precious gift of the Guru to men.
Were a man to learn all the postures of the most austere Yogis,
And mortify all his senses,
Not so would he cleanse the mind, or discard self-will.
‘There is no cure for the mind’s sickness
But taking shelter at the Guru’s feet.
To meet the Guru is to experience
A change of outlook that cannot be described.
Saith Nanak: From the mind of him who dies to self
Through meeting the Guru, and is reborn through the Guru’s Word, All uncleanness is removed. Vadhans, page 558


haumain navain nal virodh hai

Self-will is opposed to the Holy Name. The two cannot dwell in one house. None can serve in a state of self-will, and the self-willed mind is worthless. O my mind, fix thyself upon God’s Name, and practise the Guru’s Word.

By obeying God’s Will, thou graspest Him, and sheddest thy

self-will. Self-will is the cause of all shapes and their coming into being: It is the source of illusion, and veils the Reality from us. The self-willed man cannot love God or understand His Will The soul is imprisoned in self-will and the Name cannot dwell

in the heart. But when a man meets the True Guru his self-will is destroyed And then the Truth alighteth in his heart to abide there’ So, practising truth, a man lives in Truth And, serving God who is Truth, is absorbed in Him.

Rag Vadhans, page 560


satgur no sabh ko vekhda

All men have access to the Guru

But a mere glimpse of the Guru does not save them;

Without understanding of the Guru’s Word
The self is not made clean nor the love of the Name implanted;
Some through God’s Grace give up all self-will and sinfulness
And are made one with God:
Others, saith Nanak, at the sight of the Guru
Die to self, through the Guru’s love,
And are at once made one with the Divine Spirit.

Rag Vadhans, page 594


janam janam ki is man ko mal lagi

Soiled by its former births the soul is as black as jet:
Like an oily rag that could not be clean, were it washed a

hundred times! But if through the Guru’s Grace a man dies to self And be born to new understanding, Then the soul is free from its soiling, and is not born again.

Rag Sorath, Var, page 651


satian eh na akhian

It is not they who bum themselves alive
With their husband’s dead bodies, who are Satis,
Nanak, they rather are Satis,
Whom the shock of separation from their husbands kill;
They also are known as Satis,
Who abide in modesty and contentment;
Who wait upon the Lord
And ever rising in the morning remember Him.

Rag Suhi, Var, page 787


dhan pir eh na akhian

They are not truly husband and wife,
Whose bodies merely come together;
Only they are truly wedded
When two bodies have one soul.

Var Suhi, page 788


jagat jalanda rakh lai apni kirpa dhar

Save this world consumed in fire,

O Lord, with Thy gracious Mercy!
Save it in any way it can be saved!
The Satguru hath shown the path of peace

In the contemplation of the True Word.

Nanak knoweth none besides God
Who is the only Saviour.

Var Bilawal, page 853


murakh hovai so sunai murakh ka kehna

Only a fool listens to an ignorant fool.

But what, may one ask, is the sign of a fool?
And how does he conduct himself?
A fool is a stupid creature
Whose soul is sick with self-love.
Leading such a life he suffers,
And his life is continual suffering.
If the poor thing is about to fall in a well
Who, really, can save him?
But the man who seeks truth takes life seriously,
He lives in detachment, Nanak,
He does what pleases God, the saint
Accepts whatever happens to him
As being God’s Will.

Var Ramkali, page 953


jat ka garb na kerio kot

Let no man be proud because of his caste.

For the man who graspeth
God in his heart He, no other, is the true Brahmin:
So, O fool, about thy caste be not vainglorious!
From vainglory emerge too many of the mind’s evils!
Though they say there are four castes
One God created all men:
All men were moulded out of the same clay,
The Great Potter hath merely varied the shapes of them.
All men are mixed of the same five elements,
No one can make any element less in one, more in another.
Man is born in chains:
Without meeting the True Guru,
He cannot attain liberation.

Rag Bhairon, page 1128


basant cadia phuli banrae

With the coming of spring,

There is blossom on every spray;
In the same fashion,
With the coming of inner devotion to God,
All sentient creatures have an inner blossoming,

And in this way the mind becometh fresh and green.

Day and night repeating the Name of the Lord,
Those who have seen God wash away all self-will!
The True Guru hath given to mankind
The Holy word and the hymns:
The whole world blossometh with love through the True Guru.
Life beareth flowers and fruits when the Lord willeth it:
It is by the devotion to the Lord, the source of life,
That the True Guru is attained.
The Lord Himself is the springtime
And the world is His Garden.
Only through His gracious gift to us
Can we attain the blessing of devotion to Him solely.

Rag Basant, page 1177


babiha na billae na tarsae

O babiha, wail not and cry not for water:

Let thy mind abide by His Will!
Only by abiding by His Will, saith Nanak,
Will all thirsts be slaked
And love and joy fourfold attained.

Rag Malar, Var, page 1282


satgur purkh nirvair hai

The True Guru, the divine one, is without enmity. He fixeth his heart ever on God.

If a man should hate the Guru who is without hatred,
Such a man setteth fire to his own house;
Wrath and self-will are within him,
Day by day he burneth in their flames,
Living ever in agony and grief.
The wicked bark like dogs, telling lies;
Pursuing worldly gains, they swallow poison;
Shamelessly they go begging from door to door,
Asking for what will make them ill;
They are like the sons of a whore
Who cannot name their father.
They remember not the Name of God.
God Himself has confounded them;
When He takes mercy upon those gone astray,
He will unite them to Himself through the Guru.
The humble Nanak is a sacrifice to any man
Who taketh refuge at the feet of the Guru.

Slok Vadhik, 23, page 1415


asi khate bahut kamanvde

Our transgressions are past counting,

There is no end to our sins,
Be merciful, Forgive us, O Lord:
We are great sinners and wrongdoers.
There is no hope of our redemption.
O Lord, dear Lord, our deeds weighed in the balance
Would get us no place in Thy Court!
Forgive us and make us one with Thyself
Through the grace of the Guru.
If the Lord God can be attained to,
Then all evil is destroyed.
Victory, O Nanak, be unto them
Who meditate on His Name!

Slok Vadhik, 29, page 1416


sabd marai soi jan sijhai

He who dies in the Word

Attains to success.
Without the Word
None can be saved.
Man lives like a hypocrite,
The victim of his own acts:
Man is destroyed
By worldly attachments.
O Nanak, without the Guru
The Name cannot be known,
The Word’s spirit cannot be known
However a man may crave for it.

Slok Vadhik, 32, page 1416


lobhi ka visah na kijai

Trust not the avaricious man.

He will deceive you, drive you into a corner
Where you are helpless.
A man only shames himself
By keeping company with the self-willed;
The avaricious are shamed,
They will depart from here
Having wasted their lives.
They have wrecked their lives.
Lord, give us the company
Of Thy holy saints
So that our hearts may become Receptive of Thy Name.
The dross of life and death
Can be washed away, saith Nanak,
By singing the Lord’s Praises!

Slok Vadhik, 40, page 1417


gurmukh budhe kade na hovai

The souls whom the Guru has enlightened Do not fall into decay. They are absorbed in the praises of God. And their understanding hath been shaped By the Divine Knowledge. With their minds fixed on the Transcendent one For they live ever in blissful comprehension For them joy and sorrow are one, Since they see the One everywhere Whose spirit pervades all things.

Slok Vadhik, 44, page 1418



Ram Das was the son-in-law of Guru Amar Das. He founded the city of Amritsar and dug the tank which later became the site of the Golden Temple.

He has contributed 679 hymns to the Adi Granth.

har andar bahar ik ta

Thou art the only one within us and without us,
Thou knowest each heart’s secrets; mortal man,
God is aware of every deed thou doest.
Recollect Him, ever, and hold Him in contemplation;
The sinner lives in fear, the good are happy.
Thou, Lord, art Truth and on Truth is built Thy Justice,
Why should the good man fear? O Nanak, those
Who have grasped the Truth will at last become one with Truth.
Var Sri Rag, page 84


mata prit kare put khae

A mother loves to watch her son eat,
A fish loves to be always in water,
The true Guru loves to see his Sikhs.
O Lord make us of the holy company
On meeting whom all our sorrows are vanquished:
As a cow shows love to her strayed calf on finding it;
As a wife shows love to her husband when he comes home,
So those who love the Lord are delighted
When they sing the praises of the Lord.
The Chatrik loves the rain drops;
The King loves his wealth and imperial power;
The worshipper of the Lord
Loves only to meditate on the Lord Infinite.
The worldly man desires to amass wealth:
The Guru’s disciple longs for his Master’s embrace:
Nanak, the slave, desires to kiss
The feet of the saints of God.

Rag Gauri, page 164


hamre man cit har as nit kio dekha har dars tumara

Deep in me there is a longing to see Thee, O my Beloved! The Lord who hath given me the grace of love for Him Knoweth how deep is my love. I would be a sacrifice to the

Guru. Who has made me at one with the Lover Who dwelt afar! Lord, I am a sinner seeking sanctuary at Thy Gates In the hope that even I, utterly without merit, May through Thy Grace be blessed with union with Thee. Our sins are unnumbered: no count to our errors: Thou, who art Justice, art also Mercy, O Lord. Cleanse me, O Lord, of my stains, as it may please Thee. I am a sinner saved by the Guru’s society: He has saved me by bearing witness to the Holy Name! O True Guru, how can I speak of thy virtues? When thou but speakest, I am transported with wonder. Who, but the True Guru, could save a sinner like me? Guru, thou art my father and my mother, Thou art my friend, and hast wrought my salvation, Thou art my most precious peace, and best know best my

soul! Here below I was a wanderer and helpless, None cared for me, but even I, wretch, have found honour Through the society of the True Guru. Glory, glory to the True Guru, saith Nanak, Since, in his company, Sorrow and pain have departed!

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