Selections from the sacred writings of the sikhs


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Rag Gauri, page 167
gur satgur ka jo sikh akhae
He who deems himself a Sikh of the true Guru
Should rise betimes and contemplate the Name.
In the early hours of the morning he should rise and bathe
And cleanse his soul in a tank of nectar,
As he repeats the Name the Guru taught him.
Thus he washes away the sins of his soul.

Then at dawn he should sing the hymns of the Guru. And throughout all the busyness of the day He should hold in his heart the Name. He who repeats the Name with every breath Such a Sikh is indeed dear to the Guru: The Sikh that wins the favour of the Lord Has received the gift of the Lord’s Name from the Guru Nanak seeks to kiss the dust under the feet of such a Sikh Who utters the Name and inspires others to do so!

Gauri, Var, page 305


jin ke cit kathor hain

The hard of heart
Delight not in the company of the True Guru.
Truth prevails in his presence, the charlatans
Are restless, and go out and seek bad company.
Where Truth prevails, there is no place for falsehood.
The lovers of evil should seek the company of Evil:
The lovers of Truth should seek for the True Guru.

Var Gauri, page 314

manmukh mulon bhulia

The self-centred man from the start took the wrong path:
He gave himself up to greed, to attachment and to pride:
He wasted his days in wrangling, and thought not on the Word.
The Lord seems to have deprived him of all.
His speech is sinful. The world’s wealth cannot satisfy him,
Desire still burns fiercely within him
And his ignorance is as the darkness of a cave.
Nanak saith: Comradeship with such self-centred people

Who care for nothing but the pleasures of this world

Is best brought to an end!

Var Gauri, page 3I6

kis hi dhada kia mitar sut nal bhai

Some make a pact with
Brothers, sons, and friends;
Others work in with
Their son-in-law and his parents.
Others join in factions,
With their landlords and the nobles
For selfish ends.
I have made a pact with God. I rely on Him only
Who pervades all things.
I am of God’s faction:
He is my mainstay.
I am of no other group besides God’s:
I sing only of His Infinite Virtues.
All these human powers men make their pacts with
Are subject to death and decay.
They are dishonest and without scruple,
They will not stick to anyone, so a man
Should always repent of joining such false factions.
I have made a pact with the Supreme Lord,
Unequalled in His Power.
All other pacts are for worldly power:
For worldly gains the fools dispute and struggle.
Subject to birth and death, they stake life.
I am of the Lord’s faction,
Who can look after me in this world and the next.
In the Kali age, five dominant passions cause factions:
Lust, anger, greed, attachment, self-will.
But he whom the Lord blesseth with His Grace
Meets Him through keeping the company of Truth.
I am in the Lord’s faction,
Who has destroyed all other factions.

False is all love besides that of God

That divides men into warring groups.
The many factions decry and malign each other
And vanity consumes them.
As a man sows, so must he reap.
Nanak hath signed a bond with Righteousness
That can conquer the whole world.

Rag Asa, page 366

har amrit bhine loina

My eyes are wet with the Lord’s nectar; my soul is

drenched in His Love. He tested my heart with His touchstone: He found it pure Through the Guru my soul and body are dyed

as with deep crimson. Nanak, the slave, has made himself fragrant with musk: My earthly life is blessed. The hymn of the Lord’s love is like a pointed arrow, That. hath pierced deep in my heart: who feels love’s pain

knows it And he that dies to this life even while living Has obtained his deliverance even in this life. Saith Nanak: By meeting the True Guru Life’s dangerous ocean is crossed. Ignorant and a fool though I am, I seek thy sanctuary May I attain to the love of my Beloved! I reached God through the perfect Guru: may I seek nothing

but His service. My mind and body are soothed, O Lord, by Thy Word: I repeat Thy Holy Name with thrilling delight. Through meeting the saints and seeking Truth in their company Nanak has attained to God. Hear my prayer, O Thou who hast pity on the wretched! I seek my shelter in the Name; I long for the Name to be my


O Lord, it is Thy Greatness to love Thy Saints and save their

honour. Humble Nanak has taken Thee as his stronghold: Thy Name has helped him to cross the dangerous ocean.

Rag Asa, page 448

mero sunder kaho milai kit gali

Tell me in what street I shall find my Beauteous Lord?

O Saints of God, show me the way I should follow.
The words of the Beloved fill my heart with sweetness,
And I long to follow this pain. Though I am short
And my hair is dishevelled, if the Lord desireth me
Even I become beautiful and I melt in His Embrace.
There is but one Beloved; all souls are as brides that seek His

Love; She who winneth the Lord’s love is beautiful. What can the slave Nanak do, But walk in the way That pleaseth the Lord?

Dev Gandhari, page 527

ab ham cali thakar pai har

Now, the Lord is my last refuge.
Lord! I have sought safety at thy feet:
Save me or slay me, as it please Thee, Lord!
The world’s deceitful honours I have cast in the fire,
What do I care if man blame or praise me?
Unto the Lord I have devoted my whole being.
He, Lord, who seeks refuge in Thee
Through Thine Infinite Mercy Thou art his salvation.
Nanak, Thy slave, seeketh refuge in Thee:
Hide my shame, O Lord!

Dev Gandhari, page 527

ham barak kachue na jane

Lord, I am Thy child, and know nothing of Thy Greatness
I am ignorant and a fool. Lord, have mercy,

Bless me with Thy High Wisdom: change a silly child to

a sage. My indolent mind had nodded and fallen to slumber. By the grace of God I met the Guru! By whom my spirit was illumined. O Guru, inspire me with everlasting love of God And make the Name of the Lord my life-breath. O Guru, without the Name of the Lord I would die: It is to me what wine is to the drunkard. Those to whom it has been granted to love God Heap the reward of good deeds in past lives; I bow and I kiss the feet of those Who made me love the Lord. My Lord was merciful, after long parting my soul again encountered Him. Hail, hail, to the True Guru; who has established me with his Word. Nanak is a sacrifice unto Him. Jaitsiri, page 697


koi an milavai mera pritam paira
I will be as the slave of him
Who bringeth the Beloved for my tryst,
I longed to glimpse the Beloved. By God’s Grace
I met the Guru and I attained to
Contemplation of the Name.
Lord, when I am happy, I shall worship Thee, only:
When I suffer, I shall not forget Thee.
Though Thou shouldst cause me to hunger
I should live like a man full-fed:

Through my suffering I should feel joy.

For Thee, I would tear this sentient frame to pieces
And let it be devoured by flames.
For Thee, I would live as the humblest of servants:
Fetching Thy Saints water, and fanning them in the heat,
Eating what scraps Thou wouldst grant me.
Thy slave Nanak is prone at Thy Outer Gates:
Vouchsafe to me only a glimpse of Thee in Thy Glory!
I would tear out my eyes and place them beneath
Thy feet, I would walk barefoot round the world could I but

encounter Thee. Beloved, shouldst Thou seat me near Thee Only for Thyself would I have adoration. Shouldst Thou expel me with violence from Thy Presence, Still Thee, and Thee alone, should I contemplate.

Lord, if the people praise me, it is Thy Praise,
Should they slander and curse me, Beloved, I would not leave

Thee! When I am protected by Thee, who can do aught against me? But should I ever forget Thee, then let me die! For the Guru I would let myself be sacrificed, again and again; I would lie prone at his feet to win his love. Lord, Thy slave Nanak is mad with love of Thee: Mad to catch a glimpse of Thee, O Lord!

Be there gale and storm and torrential rain,
Even then I would set forth to meet the Guru!
Be there the breadth and the depth of waters between them,
A Sikh would cross the ocean to meet his Guru.
As a man dies of thirst when deprived of water,

So a Sikh also dies when deprived of his Guru.

As the parched earth is fresh after a shower
So a Sikh is full of delight on meeting his Guru.
O Lord, I would be a servant of Thy Servants:
I would call on Thee from afar with a humble cry.
Nanak prayeth to the Lord he loveth:
May I attain the height of joy on encountering the Guru.
Lord, Thou art the Guru, Thou art his disciple:
Venerating the Guru, truly I worship Thee!

Those that worship Thee, Lord, become what Thou art:

Thou hast ever bestowed honour on the love of Thy Saints
Thy Treasury is a Treasure-House of Devotions:
Thou givest the gift of loving Thee to him whom Thou favourest.
None can love Thee except through the gift of Thy Grace:
Mere human wisdom to reach Thee is of no avail.
By contemplating the Guru everlastingly
The slumbering spirit is awakened.
Wretched Nanak, Lord, asks but one gift of Thee:
Let me humbly serve the Saints who serve Thee!
Should the Guru rebuke me, sweet would be his rebuking:
Should he then forgive me, that would be His glory, indeed!
What the man instructed by the Guru says has meaning:
What the self-willed man says is meaningless and vain.
In the coldest winter, frost-bound, the snow falling,
A Sikh will still set out to meet his Guru.
Day and night, might I delight in the vision of the Guru:
I would like to place his lotus feet on my eyelids!
All that a man can do I would for the Guru:
What pleaseth the Guru is accepted by God.
Day and night might I contemplate the feet of the Guru:
Send like a shower Thy Mercies on me, O Lord!
To Nanak, the Guru is as his soul and his substance:
On meeting the Guru, all his desires are fulfilled.
The Lord, Nanak’s Lord, pervadeth the whole universe:
Here and there and everywhere he seeth the Lord.

Rag Suhi, page 757


har pehladi lanv parvirt

By the first nuptial circling The Lord sheweth ye His Ordinance for the daily duties of

wedded life: The Scriptures are the Word of the Lord, Learn righteousness through them, And the Lord will free ye from sin.

Hold fast to righteousness,

Contemplate the Name of the Lord,
Fixing it in your memory as the scriptures have prescribed.
Devote yourselves to the Perfect and True Guru,
And all your sins shall depart.
Fortunate are those whose minds.
Me imbued with the Sweetness of His Name,
To them happiness comes without effort;
The slave Nanak proclaimeth
That in the first circling
The marriage rite hath begun.

By the second nuptial circling

Ye are to understand that the Lord
Hath caused ye to meet the True Guru,
The fear in your hearts has departed;
The filth of selfness in your minds is washed away,
By having the fear of God and by singing His Praises.
I stand before Him with reverence,
The Lord God is the soul of the universe:
There is naught that He doth not pervade.
Within us and without, there is One God only:
In the company of Saints
Then are heard the songs of rejoicing.
The slave Nanak proclaimeth
That in the second circling
Divine Music is heard.

In the third circling

There is a longing for the Lord
And detachment from the world.
In the company of the Saints,
By our great good fortune,
We encounter the Lord.
The Lord is found in His purity
Through His exaltation,
Through the singing of His hymns.
By great good fortune we have lighted,

On the company of the Saints

Wherein is told the story
Of the Ineffable Lord.
The Holy Name echoes in the heart,
Echoes and absorbs us:
We repeat the Name of the Lord,
Being blessed by a fortunate destiny
Written from of old on our foreheads.
The slave Nanak proclaimeth
That in the third circling
The love of God has been awakened in the heart.


In the fourth circling

The mind reaches to knowledge of the Divine
And God is innerly grasped:
Through the Grace of the Guru
We have attained with ease to the Lord;
The sweetness of the Beloved
Pervades us, body and soul.
Dear and pleasing is the Lord to us:
Night and day our minds are fixed on Him.
By exalting the Lord
We have attained the Lord:
The fruit our hearts desired;
The Beloved has finished His work.
The soul, the spouse, delighteth in the Beloved’s Name.
Felicitations fill our minds;
The Name rings in our hearts:
The Lord God is united with His Holy Bride.
The heart of the Bride flowers with His Name.
The slave Nanak proclaimeth
That in the fourth circling
We have found the Eternal Lord.

Rag Suhi, page 773

har darsan ko mera man bauh tapte

As a thirsting man yearneth for water
So longeth deeply my soul for the sight of the Lord,
Love of the Lord, like an arrow, hath pierced my heart.
Only my Beloved knoweth my pain and how I suffer within.
Any man who can tell me of my Beloved
Shall be my comrade and my brother.
Gather ye, comrades, and join with me in praising the Lord!
Since I have followed the wise counsel of the Guru,
Lord, grant Thy servant, Nanak, this one desire:
Let me behold Thee, and body and soul have peace!
Rag Gond, page 861
vah vah satgur purkh hai
Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, the Perfect,
Who hath grasped the Highest Truth!
On encountering the Guru, every thirst is slaked.
Body and mind are freshened.
Hail, all hail, to the Guru, to Truth Incarnate,
In whose just eyes all are alike.

Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, free from enmity,

Above the need of praise or the fear of calumny.
Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, the Wise,
Who hath God’s Light within him.
Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, the Eternal,
Whose goal is beyond our grasping.
Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, the True,
Who confirmeth men in the Truth.
Hail, all hail, to the True Guru, saith Nanak.
It is.he who imparteth the Word.

Slok Vadhik, page 1421



Arjan Dev was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das. He built the Golden Temple at Amritsar and compiled the Adi Guru Granth. Suspecting that he had helped his rebellious son Khusrau, Jahangir had him arrested and ordered him to be put to death. He was the first martyr of Sikh history.

There are 2218 verses by Guru Arjan in the Adi Granth.

I. THE ‘SUKHMANI’The Hymn of Peace


ad gure nameh jugad gure name

Hail to the Founder Guru, to the Primal One,l
Hail to the Guru Eternal,
Hail to the Satguru: Truth’s Embodiment
Hail to the Gurudev: holy and divine.

Astapadi, I; Slok, I


simron simar simar sukh pavon

Ever and ever, remembering, remember Thy Lord:
In whose remembrance thou shalt attain bliss;
And erase from thy heart all sin and sorrow!
Remember the praises of the One Who sustaineth all things
Whose names innumerable millions chant in praise!
The essence of the Vedas, Puranas and Simritis
Is to contemplate the One, the Holy Name.
He who but treasureth the Lord in his heart for a moment,
Who can recount his enrichment or his exaltation?
With those, O Lord, who aspire but to a single glimpse of Thee,
Save me, Nanak crieth, O Lord, with them save me!

In this Song of Peace is the Holy Name

Which, like ambrosia, bestoweth bliss when tasted:
It indwelleth in the hearts of the Lord’s saints.
Astapadi, 1; Pauri, I

1 These four lines refer successively to Guru Nanak, Guru Angad. Guru Amar Das, and Guru Ram Das.


prabh kai simran garbh na basai

He that remembereth the Lord goes not to the cave of rebirth,
When we remember the Lord, the pang of death departeth:
When we remember the Lord, the fear of death is gone;
When we remember the Lord, our enemies are baffled;
He who remembereth the Lord, no snares are set for him’
Through their remembrance of the Lord
His Saints keep vigil night and day;
Remembering the Lord, no man feeleth fear;
While the Lord is remembered, sorrow troubleth not,
In the company of the Lord’s Saints
Men attain to the gift of remembering Him:
Nanak, through the love of God
All life’s treasures are obtained.

Astapadi, 1; Pauri, 2


prabh kai simran ridh sidh nau nidh

By remembering the Lord we obtain wealth, mystical

powers, and the nine treasures: By remembering the Lord we obtain Divine knowledge, the gift of meditation, and true wisdom. To remember God is the real essence Of every kind of devotion, penance, and prostration. All delusive awareness of that which seems other than the

Lord Is, on remembering the Lord, dispelled. To remember the Lord is to bathe in the holy rivers; To remember the Lord is to be honoured in His Presence; Who remembers the Lord, his acts are always righteous; Who remembers the Lord feels His Will to be ever sweet. In remembering the Lord there is profit. They remember the Lord whom the Lord hath inspired to remember Him: Nanak prayeth to be worthy to touch their feet!

Astapadi, 1; Pauri 3


prabh ka simran sabh te uca

To remember the Lord is the highest religious duty:
By remembering the Lord many, very many have been saved;
The remembrance of God quencheth the body’s desires:
And in .the remembrance of the Lord man knoweth all

mysteries; There is no fear of death while one remembers God; In remembering Him, all wishes are satisfied, All uncleanness is washed away from the mind, And His ambrosial Name fills the whole heart. The Lord dwelleth on the tongue of His Chosen Ones; Of such servants of God may Nanak be the servant!

Astapadi, 1; Pauri, 4

din dard dukh bhanjna

O Thou who destroyest the pain and grief of the wretched,
O Thou who residest in every heart, helper of the forlorn;
I have taken refuge in Thee:
O Lord, be with Nanak !

Astapadi, 2, Slok

chutat nahi kat lakh bahi

Where thou couldst not be saved, though thou hadst a million

arms, Even there, the uttering of the Holy Name shall save Thee! When thy path is beset with snares and barriers The Name of the Lord will overcome them at once. Though a man is born and dies and is reborn many times His soul shall come to its peace through the Holy Name And its meditation. Much dirt clogs the soul, No human effort can ever wash it away; But the Name of God washeth clean from a myriad sins. Such a Name as this, in thy soul with adoration repeat it: Nanak, obtain it in the company of the Saints!

Astapa di, 2; Pauri, 3

bauh sastar bauh simrti pekhe sarb dhandol

Many Shastras, many Simritis have I seen, and searched them They are not equal, O Nanak, to the greatness Of contemplating the Lord’s Priceless Name!

Astapadi, 3; Slok

sagal purkh main purkh pardhan

Among all men that man is foremost

Who in the company of the saints destroys his self-attachment’

He who deemeth himself lowliest of the low
Shall be deemed the highest.
The mind whose humility is the dust under all men’s feet
Shall see the Holy Name in all men’s hearts.
He who expels malice from his own heart
Finds the whole creation his friend.
To the saint, Nanak, happiness and sorrow are as one;
Such a man is invulnerable to earthly good or evil.

Astapadi, 3; Pauri,6

sarb dharm meh srest dharm

Of all Religions this is the best Religion,
To utter the Holy Name with adoration, and to do good deeds:
Of all rites the holiest rite
Is to cleanse one’s soul in the company of the saints:
Of all strivings, the best striving
To meditate on the Name and praise it for ever;
Of all speeches, the ambrosial speech is
To utter aloud, having hearkened to it, God’s glory;
Of all shrines, the most sacred shrine,
Nanak, is the heart in which the Lord indwelleth!

Astapadi, 3; Paun,8

nirguniar iania so prabh sada samal

O worthless and ignorant mortal,
Fix thy heart for ever and ever on God;
Remember, O Nanak, the Lord who made thee:
Then, in the end, He will abide with thee!

Astapadi, 4; Slok, I

ratan tyag kaudi sang racai

Man flingeth away a ruby and hankereth for an empty shell;
He forsaketh truth and yearneth after falsehood.
That which he must part with he thinketh everlasting;
God he thinketh distant, who is eternal;
Man is busy and troubled about what he must abandon;
He forgetteth the Lord who will in the end preserve him,
He washeth away the sandal-paste of the virtues;

Like the donkey, he yearneth to roll in the dust.

The perverse have fallen into the gulf of ignorance:
Nanak prayeth, O Merciful Lord, help them out!

Astapadi, 4; Pauri, 4

tu thakar tum pai ardas

Thou art the Lord; to Thee we pray;
Thou hast given us this living breath and this bodily vessel.

Lord, Thou art Mother and Father, we are Thy children. By Thy Grace we attain endless happiness: Who is there that knowetll Thy bounds? O Lord, Thou art Higher than the highest. Thou art the Thread on which the whole creation is strung, And all Thy creation abideth by Thy Will. And it is Thou alone who knowest Thy Way and Thy Measure: Nanak, Thy Slave, is ever a sacrifice unto Thee!

Astapadi, 4; Pauri, 8

denhar prabh chod kai

They who abandon God, the Giver of all things, And who attach themselves to worldly pleasures, they Shall attain to nothing. Nanak, without the Name Their honour shall lie in the dust!

Astapadi, 5; Slok

rehat avar kich avar kamavat

There are those who profess one thing and practise another
Who talk like devotees, with no love in their hearts:
But the Lord in His Wisdom knoweth all things.
The mere outward garment cannot please Him.
He who preacheth to others what he doth not practise
Shall be born and die again in unending lives.
But he in whose heart the Formless One indwelleth
Shall save the world by his teaching.
Only those, Lord, who have won Thy Love
Have grasped Thee truly:

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