Initially called Adi Granth, the contents of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1,430 pages), the main Sikh holy scripture contains Bani (sacred words) of the Sikh Gurus (Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and one Sloka of Guru Gobind Singh Jee), and Hindu saints (Brahmans and Soodras) and Muslim Sufis. These 15 saints (Bhagats) were Kabeer, Nam Dev, Ravidas, Sheikh Farid, Trilochan, Dhanna, Beni, Bhikan, Sur Daas, Parmanand, Pipa, Ramanand, Sadhana and Sain.
The holy Granth also contains the hymns of eleven Bhattas and Bards; they were Mathuraa, Jalap, Harbans, Talya, Salya, Bhal, Kulh Sahar, Nal, Kirat, Sadrang and Gayand. In addition, it also consists of the hymns of Mardana (the minstrel of Baba Nanak), Ramkali Sad by Sunder, and Vaar of Sattaa and Balwand.
The word Mahala or Mehla, etc
The word "Mahala" or "Mahalla" or "Mehla" at the top of the Shabad (holy verse) identifies which Guru is the author of the verses that follow. For example, "Mahalaa 1" identifies the first Guru, Guru Nanak. "Mahalaa 2" identifies the second Guru, "Mahalaa 3" identifies the third Guru, "Mahalaa 4 " identifies the fourth Guru, "Mahalaa 5" identifies the fifth Guru, "Mahalaa 9" identifies the ninth Guru.
The appearance of the word "Nanak" near the end of the shabad does not necessarily indicate the the verses were written by Guru Nanak as all the first nine Sikh Gurus "signed off" with the word "Nanak". Guru Gobind Singh, whose bani appears in the Dasam Granth and other granths, used the words "Patshahi 10" (ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ੧੦) (literally, "Tenth king")
This notation appears with the Bani of the first five Gurus and the ninth Guru only. For example, for the following shabad by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev, the following is contained at the beginning of the shabad, the words "Mehla 5" confirming that the words were recited by the fifth Sikh master.
|ਸਰੀਰਾਗ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਧਿਆਈਝ ਜੀਅੜੇ ਸਿਰਿ ਸਾਹਾਂ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ ॥|
|Sarīrĝg mėhlĝ 5. So▫ī ḝẖi▫ĝ▫ī▫ai jī▫aṛe sir sĝhĝŉ pĝṯisĝhu.|
|Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl:|
Meditate on Him, O my soul; He is the Supreme Lord over kings and emperors.
|ੴ ਸਤਿਗਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀਉ ਕਾ ॥ ਝਕ ਸਆਨ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਗਾਵਣਾ|
|Ik▫oaŉkĝr saṯgur parsĝḝ. Sirīrĝg Kabīr jī▫o kĝ. Ėk su▫ĝn kai gẖar gĝvṇĝ|
|One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:|
Siree Raag, Kabeer Jee: To Be Sung To The Tune Of "Ayk Su-Aan".
|These are the Popular Banis of Sikhism|