Revelation in Sikhism

From SikhiWiki
Revision as of 13:26, 11 November 2015 by Voyager (talk | contribs) (Added source)
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Sikh religion originated about 500 years ago, based on the spiritual teachings of the Sikh Gurus. The writings of the Gurus form the verses of the holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, compiled by the Gurus themselves. Sikh philosophy regards the words in the holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, to have been revealed directly from the divine through the Gurus. Indeed, many of the verses written by the Gurus bear testimony to such divine revelation.

The idea of revelation in Sikhism is a unique one, states Gurnam Kaur. [1] It is in the form of the bani (the word). Kaur clarifies that the Guru does not claim himself to be an incarnation of God (the theory of incarnation has been rejected by the Sikh Gurus), but the knowledge contained in the bani (the word) is stated to be given by God, and is the expression of the direct experience of Truth by the Guru. She adds, "Whatever truth the Guru received from communion with God has been recorded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. According to the Gurus, the bani is the way of His manifestation. God Himself is the source of the bani, the Primal Word. The Gurus did not attach much importance to their corporeal form. They value most their statements about communion with God. So there is no difference between the Guru and the bani. Kaur states that revelation can be the appropriate word to be used for bani (Punjabi version of the word vani in Sanskrit language, which has been defined as “sound, voice, music, speech, language, words, diction” and “the goddess of speech.”), and that the notion that bani comes directly from God has clearly been conveyed by the Gurus.

According to Cole and Sambhi, Sikhism is a revealed religion (rather than a social protest movement or an attempt to reconcile Hinduism and Islam in the 15th century), which began with Guru Nanak's awareness of being taken to the divine court and commissioned to be God's messenger.[2]. A passage in the Guru Granth Sahib, written by Guru Nanak, is said to be a description of Guru Nanak's revelatory experience [3]

I was once a worthless minstrel then the Divine One gave me work; I received the primal injunction: Sing divine glory night and day! The sovereign called the minstrel to the True Mansion: I was given the robe of honouring and exalting; I tasted the food of the true ambrosial Name. Those who, through the Guru feast on the Divine food win eternal joy and peace. Your minstrel spreads your glory by singing your Word. Nanak says, by exalting the Truth we attain the Absolute One. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 150) [3]


Kapur Singh states that the Sikhs are bidden to accept the revelation of the true Guru as true for ever and for ever, citing the verse "For it is God Himself who maketh the Guru utter it (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 308)". [4]. He adds that "Nanak is the first born in India who claims that the religion he preaches is a revealed religion", and quotes the verses

I am completely dumb as I am and I speak as I am made to, by God; I utter and preach the Word just as it comes to me. (Guru Granth Sahib, p 763)" [5].


Other verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, written by the Sikh Gurus themselves, conveying that the "divine word in the scripture came to the Gurus directly from God" [6], include

Shabde upje amrit baani Gurmukh aakh Sunavnia : From God springs ambrosial Gurbani. The exalted Guru narrates and preaches the same to the world (Guru Granth Sahib, p 125) ; Ek akhar tin nakhia, Jin Jagat sabh upaaia: This Word come from Him, Who hath created the World (Guru Granth Sahib: p 306); Jeh bid sur updeshia so sunre bhaai: Whatever the Lord hath instructed me, Hear, O my brother (Guru Granth Sahib, p 727). [6]


  1. ^ Gurnam Kaur , Revelation and Reason in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Institute of Sikh Studies, , 1996
  2. ^ W. Owen Cole and Piara Singh Sambhi , A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism: Sikh Religion and Philosophy, Taylor & Francis, 1997, page=71, isbn=0203986091
  3. ^ a b William Owen Cole and Piara Singh Sambhi (1995), The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, Sussex Academic Press, page 11, ISBN 978-1898723134.
  4. ^ Kapur Singh, Parasaraprasna : The Baisakhi Of Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University Press, ISBN= 81-7770-014-6
  5. ^ Kapur Singh, Guru Nanak: The founder of a world religion, Sikh Review, Feb Mar 1975, 5-10; and 1981 5-11. Also in Journal of Sikh Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, 2(1), Feb 1975, 9—16
  6. ^ a b Bhagat Singh & G.P. Singh, Japji, Hemkunt Press, pages 9-12