Gurbani : Vedas, Purans & Shastras

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Translations and interpretations by noted Sikh Scholar Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha at

According to your (Hindu) belief Vedas are eternal and Simritis, Puranas are the basis of your religion. We (Sikhs) accept Guru Granth Sahib Ji as our only scripture and accept only those Sakhis and religious books that are in accord with Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This is the instruction of the Guru.

Except the Word of the Guru, all other word is false. False is the Word that is not the true Guru’s. False are the speakers, false are the hearers, false are those who speak and recite. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 917)

Sing the Guru's Bani, the supreme Word of Words. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 917)

Understand that the Word of the Guru's Shabad is above all. Do not speak of anything else; it is all just ashes. ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 904)

The Word of the Guru's Bani prevails throughout the world; through this Bani, the Lord's Name is obtained. ||3|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1066)

Gurbani is the Light to illuminate this world; by His Grace, it comes to abide within the mind. ||1| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 67)

O GurSikhs, know that the Bani, the Word of the True Guru, is true, absolutely true. The Creator Lord Himself causes the Guru to chant it. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 308)

Accept as True, Perfectly True, the Word of the True Guru's Bani. In this way, you shall merge in the Lord, the Supreme Soul. ||14|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1028)

Gurbani is the jewel, the treasure of devotion. Singing, hearing and acting upon it, one is enraptured. ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 376)

The great ocean is full of the treasures of jewels upon jewels. Those who are committed to the Word of the Guru's Bani, see them come into their hands. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 442)

Sing the Word of the Guru's Bani, O Siblings of Destiny. That is always rewarding and peace-giving. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 628)

The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained. If His humble servant believes, and acts according to the Words of the Guru's Bani, then the Guru, in person, emancipates him. ||5|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 982)

Dear Hindu friend: Vedas, Shastars are your religious books but what Guru Ji has said about them we state here.

You may stand and recite the Shaastras and the Vedas, O Siblings of Destiny, but these are just worldly actions. Filth cannot be washed away by hypocrisy, O Siblings of Destiny; the filth of corruption and sin is within you. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 635)

O Pandit, O religious scholar, your filth shall not be erased, even if you read the Vedas for four ages. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 647)

He is beyond the world of the Vedas, the Koran and the Bible. The Supreme King of Nanak is immanent and manifest. ||4||3||105|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 397)

One may read all the books of the Vedas, the Bible, the Simritees and the Shaastras, but they will not bring liberation. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 747)

The mortal thinks about the Vedic teachings of the three gunas, the three dispositions. He deals in corruption, filth and vice. He dies, only to be reborn; he is ruined over and over again. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1262)

The Simritee is the daughter of the Vedas, O Siblings of Destiny. She has brought a chain and a rope. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 329)

The Vedas and the Scriptures are only make-believe, O Siblings of Destiny; they do not relieve the anxiety of the heart. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 727)

The Simritees and the Shaastras discriminate between good and evil, but they do not know the true essence of reality. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 920)

The great men have studied the Shaastras, the Simritees and the Vedas, and they have said this: "Without the Lord's meditation, there is no emancipation, and no one has ever found peace."||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 215)

The great volumes of the Simritees and the Shaastras only extend the extension of attachment to Maya. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1053)

I have read all the Vedas, and yet the sense of separation in my mind still has not been removed; the five thieves of my house are not quieted, even for an instant. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 687)

The world is involved with the words of the Vedas, thinking about the three gunas - the three dispositions. Without the Name, it suffers punishment by the Messenger of Death; it comes and goes in reincarnation, over and over again. Meeting with the True Guru, the world is liberated, and finds the Door of Salvation. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1276)

The Pandits, the religious scholars, and the silent sages, reading and studying the Vedas, have grown weary. They do not even think of the Lord's Name; they do not dwell in the home of their own inner being. The Messenger of Death hovers over their heads; they are ruined by the deceit within themselves. ||7|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1277)

Vedas, Shastras, Simritis all say many things but I do not accept anyone of those. (Raam Avtaar, Guru Gobind Singh Ji)

Hindu: The hymns that you quote belong to Gyan Kand (Panth of knowledge). In Vedas Karam (actions), Upasna (meditation), and Gyan (knowledge) are three separate Kands. Acharyas (learned religious leaders) counsel the disciples according to their state of development. Hence they are not for everyone.

Sikh: Dear Hindu, our Guru Ji has recorded these hymns for everyone not for anyone who is worthy of a particular status. Like your religion there are not separate paths in Sikh religion. For us Karam Kand is the service of Panth (Khalsa Panth), good acts, recitation of Naam, charity and earning livelihood through honest labor. Like you, taking water by spoons, touching the ears and clapping, burning butter for nothing etc. is not Karam Kand for us. Meditation in Sikh religion is to control the mind, recite Gurbani, and get absorbed in the love of the all pervading Waheguru. Unlike your religion; to install an idol, to ring bells and to make offerings to the idol is not meditation for the Sikhs. To realize the Akal Purakh (God) and to understand oneself is the Gyan (knowledge) in our religion. Like the Shushak Vedantis, to accept oneself as God and shout “Aham Brahm Asmi” (I am God) is not for us. The Bani that is preached at the time of the Amrit Sanchaar (administration of Baptism) and that the Sikhs are supposed to recite everyday, the three Kands are contained in that. According to Gurmat Sikhs have faith on that and practice it.

Hindu: In the Granth Sahib we are enjoined to hear Vedas.

ਸ੝ਣਿਝ ਸਾਸਤ ਸਿਮ੝ਰਿਤਿ ਵੇਦ ॥

Listen to Shaastras, the Simritees and the Vedas.

Sikh: Here the idea is not that a Sikh should listen to Vedas as their scriptures. Here talk is about the subject of significance and importance of listening. Guru Ji says:

They who hearken to the Word of the Lord know what Sidhas, Pirs and Others are………Nanak, a devotee is forever in joy and his pains and sins are destroyed. (JapJi Sahib)

Hindu: Guru says:

ਵੇਦ ਕਹਨਿ ਇਕ ਵਾਤ ॥

Vedas say one thing

Sikh: Dear Hindu, why don’t you read the next lines that say:

ਸਹਸ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਕਹਨਿ ਕਤੇਬਾ ਅਸ੝ਲੂ ਇਕ੝ ਧਾਤ੝ ॥

The scriptures say that there are 18 skies, but there is one reality.

Hindu: Guru says:

ਅਹਰਣਿ ਮਤਿ ਵੇਦ੝ ਹਥੀਆਰ੝ ॥

Let understanding be thy anvil and Veda be thy tool

Sikh: Here reference is not to those books where merits of fire, sun and gods like Indra are sung and where the rules are described for Homa, whereby, good things worth eating are burned. Here the word ‘Veda’ means real knowledge which is realization. For your satisfaction, we quote from your Shastras.

Really the books are not Vedas; Vedas means divine knowledge. He, who gains the knowledge and attains the sublime stage, can be called the knower of Vedas. (Brahat Parasar Sanheeta, Part 4)

About Atharva Veda it is written in ‘Mundak Upnishada’ there is one Supreme Knowledge and the other is ordinary knowledge. Four Vedas, Jotish (astrology), Simritis etc are ordinary knowledge and supreme knowledge is that by which a mortal gains realization of God. In JapJi Sahib “Ved Hathiar” refers to Supreme knowledge.

Hindu: This is written in JapJi Sahib.

ਗਾਵਨਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪੜਨਿ ਰਖੀਸਰ ਜ੝ਗ੝ ਜ੝ਗ੝ ਵੇਦਾ ਨਾਲੇ ॥

Sing the Pandits, Sing the Rishis, Sing the Vedas, Sing the Ages

Sikh: This in reality means that every source of life is singing the praises of the true Lord. Following that it is clearly written:

ਗਾਵਹਿ ਖਾਣੀ ਚਾਰੇ ॥

Sing the four sources of life. Vedas, Semitic texts all meditate on thee.

For the Guru all frogs, crickets, animals, birds meditate on Waheguru. Then how the above statement can be taken as supporting your religion?

Guru Ji says, “Deer, fish, birds, all who speak, do not meditate on anyone other than Waheguru.” (Ang 1265)

Guru Nanak Dev Ji even perceived the women doing ‘Siapa’ (ritual crying at death) as meditating on the name of the Lord.

They cry and weep and wail. They slap their faces and pull their hair out. But if they chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, they shall be absorbed into it. O Nanak, I am a sacrifice to them. ||6|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1410)

Guru Nanak Dev Ji perceives even the song of the Persian wheel as meditation on God.

Hindu: It is written in Guru Granth:

ਬੇਦ ਪਾਠ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਖਾਇ ॥

By reading of Vedas one loses bad intellect

Sikh: It really means, if one does recitation and proper contemplation then one’s sins disappear, as “When lamp is lighted darkness disappears.”

If someone does recitation without reflecting, one does not gain the real fruit. It is said, a Sikh was reciting Bani incorrectly and without considering the meaning. Guru Gobind Singh Ji punished him. If you really believe that recitation of Vedas and other texts removes sins, then let us recite Vedas to ignorant ‘Dura Charias’ (bad characters) and test if their bad intellect is converted into good one or not. To prove to you that in this hymn there is no praise of Vedas we quote these phrases.

Reading the Vedas is the world's occupation; the Pandits read them, study them and contemplate them. Without understanding, all are ruined. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 791)

Hindu: Guru says:

ਵੇਦਾ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਉਤਮ੝ ਸੋ ਸ੝ਣਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਜਿਉ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ॥

In the Vedas the Name is Supreme, but that you do not listen and you roam about without purpose and disoriented. (Anand Sahib)

Sikh: Dear Hindu brother: the real meanings are very different. What Guru Ji really means is this.

ਨਾਮ੝ ਉਤਮ੝ ਸੋ ਸ੝ਣਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ, ਵੇਦਾ ਮਹਿ ਬੇਤਾਲਿਆ ਜਿਉ ਫਿਰਹਿ

Now the meanings are very clear. Besides this point, it has been proven before that ‘Vedas’ actually mean divine knowledge which means the word ‘Vedas’ in the above line does not refer to Hindu books (Vedas) that contain rituals of Yajna and Homa. If you take the line as if it is referring to Hindu Vedas then the meaning would be this: If there is anything worthwhile in the Vedas that is the Name of the Lord, you do not listen to it and just roam about like a disoriented individual in the study of worthless rituals.

Guru Ji has not described Vedas as supreme; rather the Name of the Lord is described as Supreme.

Hindu: Guru Sahib says:

ਚਾਰਿ ਪ੝ਕਾਰਹਿ ਨਾ ਤੂ ਮਾਨਹਿ ॥ ਖਟ੝ ਭੀ ਝਕਾ ਬਾਤ ਵਖਾਨਹਿ ॥ ਦਸ ਅਸਟੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਝਕੋ ਕਹਿਆ ॥ ਤਾ ਭੀ ਜੋਗੀ ਭੇਦ੝ ਨ ਲਹਿਆ ॥1॥

The four Vedas proclaim it, but you don't believe them. The six Shaastras also say one thing. The eighteen Puraanas all speak of the One God. Even so, Yogi, you do not understand this mystery. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 886)

Sikh: A Yogi who believed in Vedas and Shastras, Guru Ji says to him, “O Yogi, having read your scriptures, you have not understood the mystery of the Lord. You are churning water for nothing.”

Likewise Guru Ji has reminded Moslems about Quran and Bible.

ਦੋਜਕਿ ਪਉਦਾ ਕਿਉ ਰਹੈ ਜਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ਰਸੂਲਿ ॥2॥ How can he escape from falling into hell, when he does not remember the Prophet? ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 319)

ਹੋਇ ਮ੝ਸਲਿਮ੝ ਦੀਨ ਮ੝ਹਾਣੈ ਮਰਣ ਜੀਵਣ ਕਾ ਭਰਮ੝ ਚ੝ਕਾਵੈ ॥ Becoming a true Muslim, a disciple of the faith of Mohammed, let him put aside the delusion of death and life. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 141)

ਮਿਹਰ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਸਿਦਕ੝ ਮ੝ਸਲਾ ਹਕ੝ ਹਲਾਲ੝ ਕ੝ਰਾਣ੝ ॥

Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 140)

ਸਚ੝ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ਕਾਜੀ ॥ ਜੋ ਦਿਲ੝ ਸੋਧੈ ਸੋਈ ਹਾਜੀ ॥ ਸੋ ਮ੝ਲਾ ਮਲਊਨ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ਸੋ ਦਰਵੇਸ੝ ਜਿਸ੝ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਧਰਾ ॥6॥

He alone is a Qazi, who practices the Truth. He alone is a Haji, a pilgrim to Mecca, who purifies his heart. He alone is a Mullah, who banishes evil; he alone is a saintly dervish, who takes the Support of the Lord's Praise. ||6|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1084)

Would you conclude from these instructions of the Guru to the Moslems that Guru Ji is asking His disciples to become followers of Prophet Mohammad? In fact, you are ignorant of the way of the Guru and His view point.

Hindu: In Guru Granth it is written

ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਕਹਹ੝ ਮਤ ਝੂਠੇ ਝੂਠਾ ਜੋ ਨ ਬਿਚਾਰੈ ॥

Do not say that the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false.

Sikh: Dear Hindu, you have failed to understand the true purpose behind this line. It explains the event that happened in Kanshi where Kabir Ji lived. Hindus and Moslems were talking ill of each other. They were condemning the religious books of each other. They came to Kabir Ji. To calm them Kabir Ji gave this sublime counsel "Thinking under the influence of anger, do not call Vedas and Quran false. Try to understand the reality in a peaceful way and then say what you want to."

As you have given the hymn of Kabir Ji (without understanding the context)2 in support of Vedas, it is appropriate that we give Kabir’s opinion about Quran and Vedas.

ਬੇਦ ਕਤੇਬ ਇਫਤਰਾ ਭਾਈ ਦਿਲ ਕਾ ਫਿਕਰ੝ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥

The Vedas and the Scriptures are only make-believe, O Siblings of Destiny; they do not relieve the anxiety of the heart. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 727)

Our Guru was dear to everyone. He never condemned or praised anybody. He would say what He observed. He did not consider Sanskrit as the language of gods and neither Arabic nor Persian as languages of the wicked and polluted3 as is evident from the Bani.

ਕਾਰਨ ਕਰਨ ਕਰੀਮ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਪ੝ਰਤਿਪਾਲ ਰਹੀਮ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਅਲਖ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਖ੝ਦਿ ਖ੝ਦਾਇ ਵਡ ਬੇਸ੝ਮਾਰ ॥1॥ ਓਂਨਮੋ ਭਗਵੰਤ ਗ੝ਸਾਈ ॥ ਖਾਲਕ੝ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਰਬ ਠਾਈ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਗੰਨਾਥ ਜਗਜੀਵਨ ਮਾਧੋ ॥ ਭਉ ਭੰਜਨ ਰਿਦ ਮਾਹਿ ਅਰਾਧੋ ॥ ਰਿਖੀਕੇਸ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਗ੝ੋਵਿੰਦ ॥ ਪੂਰਨ ਸਰਬਤ੝ਰ ਮ੝ਕੰਦ ॥2॥ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨ ਮਉਲਾ ਤੂਹੀ ਝਕ ॥ ਪੀਰ ਪੈਕਾਂਬਰ ਸੇਖ ॥ ਦਿਲਾ ਕਾ ਮਾਲਕ੝ ਕਰੇ ਹਾਕ੝ ॥ ਕ੝ਰਾਨ ਕਤੇਬ ਤੇ ਪਾਕ੝ ॥3॥ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਨਰਹਰ ਦਇਆਲ ॥ ਰਮਤ ਰਾਮ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਆਧਾਰ ॥ ਬਾਸ੝ਦੇਵ ਬਸਤ ਸਭ ਠਾਇ ॥ ਲੀਲਾ ਕਿਛ੝ ਲਖੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥4॥ ਮਿਹਰ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਨੈਹਾਰ ॥ ਭਗਤਿ ਬੰਦਗੀ ਦੇਹਿ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰ ॥ ਕਹ੝ ਨਾਨਕ ਗ੝ਰਿ ਖੋਝ ਭਰਮ ॥ ਝਕੋ ਅਲਹ੝ ਪਾਰਬ੝ਰਹਮ ॥5॥34॥45॥

He is the Doer, the Cause of causes, the bountiful Lord. The merciful Lord cherishes all. The Lord is unseen and infinite. God is great and endless. ||1|| I humbly pray to invoke the Universal Lord God, the Lord of the World. The Creator Lord is all-pervading, everywhere. ||1||Pause|| He is the Lord of the Universe, the Life of the World. Within your heart, worship and adore the Destroyer of fear. The Master Rishi of the senses, Lord of the World, Lord of the Universe. He is perfect, ever-present everywhere, the Liberator. ||2|| You are the One and only merciful Master, spiritual teacher, prophet, religious teacher. Master of hearts, Dispenser of justice, more sacred than the Koran and the Bible. ||3|| The Lord is powerful and merciful. The all-pervading Lord is the support of each and every heart. The luminous Lord dwells everywhere. His play cannot be known. ||4|| Be kind and compassionate to me, O Creator Lord. Bless me with devotion and meditation, O Lord Creator. Says Nanak, the Guru has rid me of doubt. The Muslim God Allah and the Hindu God Paarbrahm are one and the same. ||5||34||45|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 896)

Hindu: Leave all the rest and consider this: Ancestors of Guru Nanak Dev Ji were called Vedis because they studied Vedas, as is written in Bachittar Natak.

ਜਿਨੈ ਬੇਦ ਪਠਿਓ ਸ੝ ਬੇਦੀ ਕਹਾਝ ॥ ਤਿਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਨੀਕੇ ਚਲਾਝ ॥

Those who read Vedas were called Vedis. They did good acts under Dharma.

Now where can you run from this?

Sikh: Dear Brother, we have never and nowhere said that one who reads Vedas is a sinner, or it is bad to study Vedas. But Vedas are not the scriptures for Sikhs. Ancestors of Christ and Mohammad read Tohra, etc. and respected those books as Will of God. But now the sacred books of Christians and Moslems are Bible and Quran4 respectively. In the same way, though the ancestors of Guru Nanak Dev Ji studied Vedas and acted upon them, but for the Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Holy Scriptures not Vedas or any other books.


1. According to Gurmat Vedas are not eternal.

Shastras, Vedas, Simritis shall all perish. 
(Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 237)

2. The two sides were quarrelling about the nature of sacrifice.

3. Opinion of the Shastras about Malesh Bhasha (language of polluted)

1. Do not speak the Malesh Bhasha. (Brihat Prasar Sanhita Ch. 4)
2. Never learn the Malesh Bhasha. (Vashisht Sanhita Ch. 6)
3. Never talk to a Malesh. (Vishnu Simriti Ch. 64)

4. In Quran Torah, Bible etc. have been accepted as sacred books but for Moslems Quran is the only scripture worthy of faith and belief.