Guru Arjan Dev Ji prepared Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of
Sikhs) in A.D. 1563-1606. Its first copy was calligraphed
by Bhai Gurdas. Guru Granth Sahib contains Guru Bani (precious
words spoken by Guru). These verses or Guru Bani are highly
revered by the Sikhs. Even the Gurus revered Guru Bani and
treated it as the verse of God. To make the fountain of inspiration
flow unobstructed and throughout the ages hence forth, Guru
Arjan Dev Ji desired to pen down all the sacred principles
and beliefs associated with Sikhism. He called Bhai Gurdas
and told him to gather compositions of the Gurus as well as
of some of the saints and Sufis.
Bhai Gurdas went Goindwal to bring the pothis of hymns chanted
by Guru Amar Das. A collection of hymns resided with Baba
Mohan, son of Guru Amar Das. At his refusal to hand over the
manuscripts, Guru Arjan Dev Ji went himself and sat in the
street below Mohan's attic performing on his tambura. Baba
Mohan came downstairs and gifted the pothis to Guru Arjan
Dev Ji. In the Gurbilas it is mentioned that the pothis were
carried in a bejeweled palanquin and Guru Arjan Dev Ji walked
behind barefoot considering the pothis the soul of Gurus (his
four predecessors). At Khadur Sahib, Hargobind (son of Guru
Arjan) joined him and they continued their journey towards
Amritsar led by musicians, with flutes and drums.
The compilation of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib was very difficult
task. The material used in compilation was the compositions
of four Gurus preceding Guru Arjan Dev Ji, his own compositions,
songs and hymns by various Hindu and Muslim saints. The material
was then arranged in thirty different ragas (musical patterns).
The compositions were arranged in symmetry. First place was
given to sabads (in the order of the succession of the Gurus),
then chhands, vars, and other poetic forms in a set order.
All the compositions were written in Gurmukhi script.
The Granth with 7,000 hymns comprising compositions of the
first five Sikhs Gurus and fifteen Bhaktas (devotees) and
sufis from all over India, including Sheikh Farid, Kabir and
Ravidas came into existence. The place where the compilation
of Guru Granth Sahib took place is now known as Ramsar.
To get the book bound, Guru Arjan Dev Ji ordered Bhai Banno,
a devoted Sikh who lived in Mangat, to go to Lahore. Banno
thought to have another copy of Guru Granth Sahib for then
followers who visit the Gurudwara (sangat). So, while their
journey to Lahore, his companions started transcribing the
holy text. Till they reached Lahore, a second copy was ready.
He got both the copies bound and returned to Amritsar. Here
Guru Arjan Dev told the Sikhs to equal the Granth with the
"Agya Bahi Akal ki, Tabhe chalayo Panth,
Sab Sikhan ko Hukum Hai Guru Manyo Granth
Guru Granth ji manyo pragat Guran ki deh
Jo Prabh ko milbo chahe Khoj sabad mein Leh"
Finally, the holy book was installed in the centre of the
inner sanctuary on Bhadon Sudi 1, 1661 or August 16, 1604
with great ceremony. The original copy was then taken to Kartarpur
when Guru Arjan Dev's successor, Guru Hargobind, left Amritsar
in 1634. Since then it is with their family.
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