Throughout History , great teachers, saints and mystics have shared with us their vision of life and its purpose. Many never wrote down what they taught nor did they intend their teachings to become e dogma . when they taught , they spoke to all who were ready to listen irrespective of background and status . saints use language and stories to provoke their audience and create a yearning in them to experience a higher truth to which they themselves stand witness.
Scripture s guide us. Scriptures provide us starting points and road maps. Scriptures remind us of the presence of the divine within. They inspire us and provoke s to act on what we have understood. true spiritual knowledge and firm faith come from experience when we transform ourselves through inner contact with truth in accordance with the teaching s of the saints . The scriptures have come to us as word on paper , but they originated in words that were imbued with the spiritual experience of the speaker. They were addressed to living congregations, to awaken them from a deep slumber to the spiritual truth.
Words, at best, have different meanings for each listener due to their own perspective and understanding . As we ourselves grow in understanding, so too the depth and grandeur of the scriptures understanding lies not in reading but in our personal transformation through and increasing awareness.
The Adi Granth, One of the most profound scriptures in the world, is unique I its wide-ranging representation of spiritual understanding and experience . Complied by Guru Arjun dev, the Adi Granth is the embodiment of e teachings of six Gurus of Guru Nanak and thirty other mystics from different cultural and religious background . It is shows the Commonality of all truth-love and devotion to the one Lord and the one human family.
It is privilege to presents this first book on the jap ji to the English reader of what we envision to be a series on this great compilation of spiritual wisdom. We believe that its depth, its range and its guidance is as relevant and inspiring today as it was when first sung and spoken in medieval India . Our intent is to offer a perspective o this great work –a humble contribution towards making treasure more easily available.
Jap Ji - a Perspective is the first book in English of a series on the adi Sri guru sahib, also referred to as the Adi Granth or the primal scripture. It is hoped that these treasures of the adi Granth will bring inspiration to the English languages readers throughout the world, making the precious jewels contained in this unique and far -reaching scripture accessible to people who cannot read or understand its original gurumukh , the most common script for writing the Punjabi language.
The Adi Granth is a voluminious anthology of hymns complied and edited by Guru arjun dev (1563-1606), the fifth Guru in the line of Guru Nanak . In addition to the hymns and collections works of mystics and devotees from various p[arts of India , regardless of religious, social , cultural or vocational background.
He included in this inspiring , unique collections the hymns of thirty of these saints and devotes, a many of whom belonged to the other religions and castes . Guru Arjun dev , himself above pettiness of sectarian constraints , showed unprecedented leader –ship and moral courage in cutting across he rigid and inhuman caste barriers of medieval India , a time when members of the lowest castes had no freedom to read or listen to scripture s and no access to places of worship . He maintained that God dwells Within all human beings regardless of their social standing. The Following lines show the all - encompassing vision of the Gurus.
The noblest of all religions
And purest of all actions
Is meditations on god s Name…
The Holiest of all the holy places, O Nanak,
Is the heart in which God’ s Name abides.
The language and idioms of the Aid Granth reflect the diverse background of the contributors. Primarily based on archaic Punjabi and old western Hindi, the verbal expression is also enriched by a wide – range of vocabulary ,, adopted from perisian, Arabic, sindhi, Sanskrit, prakrit, Apabhramsha and other languages, modified to suit the Punjabi idiom, script and inflectional s system. This diversity makes the Adi Granth a lucid ,Osaic of esoteric poetry of saints who , having little else in common , shared that noblest of all ideals –love of God and redemption of humanity. ever since its inception , the Adi Granth has been adopted by its devotees as their most sacred scripture. The Eternal messages of the Adi Granth is the foundation on which the mystical philosophy of the Sikh religion is a based.
As a practice that has come down from the Arabic/Persian tradition, poets of Indian languages have generally incorporated their pen-names in the concluding lines of their compositions lines of heir compositions , which is some what like putting a signature on their works. In which keeping with this traditions , Guru Nanak dev uses his first name “Nanak” as his pens-name.
The Adi Granth Proclaims the by following the guru’s instructions with love and devotion, the disciple identities the Guru’s divine qualities and ultimately becomes one with the Guru . “abandoning one’s own self , O Nanak , one should merge in the Guru ,” says guru Amar Das. As a symbolic gesture of this merging of identities, Guru Nanak’s successors referred to themselves in their hymns , not by their own names, as I s customary, but as “ Nanak” which is well illustrated by the preceding quotations of guru amar Das. By eliminating any self – references in their writing s they represented themselves merely to seekers after truth . No discourse on Humility and self effacement could be more eloquent.
The understanding and interpretation of the Adi Granth is particularly difficult where the text is composed in the from of sutras . sutras are highly compact phrases of meaning –packed flashes of language which avoid an expansive use of words for elucidation. Verse in the sutra style do not have any specifically expressed verbs , cases or preposition, leaving a good deal to the imagination of the reader. The mool mantra of guru Nanak , which constitutes the opening thought of the Adi granth, is a fine example of this style. Literary translated it would read:
One God, true Name, Creator, without fea, without enmity, timeless form, Unborn, self existent, guru’s grace.
In the presents translation it has been rendered as follow:
There is but One God;
True is his name.
He is the creator,
Without fear, without enmity and of timeless form.
Unborn and self-existent,
He is realized through the Guru’s grace
Another translation issue is cultural and linguistic disparities between Punjabi and English which precludes words for word translation, thereby restricting the capacity of a mutual rendition.
Translation precision is further complicated by the frequent singular and plural forms of verbs and nouns in the original.
In order to arrive at an acceptable degree of a accuracy in the meanings and import of the original , the grammatical orientation of the reader has been taken into account and discrepancies I persons and tense have been streamlined and discrepancies in person and tense have been streamlined and reconciled for smoothness of expression and flow of languages.
Every Effort has been made to render the original text into English without unnecessary expansion, while keeping in mind the spirit of the text , the contextual and associational meanings of the words the verbal nuances , the vision and the overall thrust of the teaching enshrined in the Adi Granth . It is hoped that this humble effort on the part of the translator will give the English languages reader insight into the eternal messages of the Gurbani.
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