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A Bibliography of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 

Anoop Singh 

Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 

A Bibliography of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 

Anoop Singh 
Published 27th February to 8"" May, 2005 on The Pathic Weekly 

This bibliography was subsequently censored by The Panthic Weekly and removed from its site. 


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Part 3: General and Historic Studies - B: Studies of Ancient Gurbani manuscripts (Puratan Biran bare) ........cccece 5 
Part 4: Interpretations and Commentaries: A — Studies of interpretive traditions .........cccsccsccsssecsssecsseeessseseeeesesenes 8 
Part 5: Interpretations and Commentaries: B - Commentaries and exegesis in PUNjabi ..............:eeseeseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeteees 10 
Part 6: Interpretations and Commentaries: C — Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ...........eeeceeseeseeeeeeeeeteeeeeteees 12 
Part 7: Conceptual Studies: A— Theological and Metaphysical Studies ...........c:eescescececeeeeeeceeeceeeeeeeeaeeeaeeeaeeeaeeneeeaees 13 
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Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 


Bibliography can be defined as “a list of books, articles, or other published writings on a particular subject or by a 
particular author.” This particular bibliography is related to the field of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies. It is one of 
the few (if any) such bibliographies written in the English language. In the coming weeks, this bibliography will 
be serialized in The Panthic Weekly, containing details of more than a hundred academic and scholarly writings. 

Bibliographies have a great value for both advanced scholars and upcoming students. However, this work is 
meant for young Sikhs who are interested in Gurbani and are eager to learn about their meanings. The list of 
books provided in this work will be helpful for them in their self-study. The Bibliography will guide the users 
through the study of various aspects of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, providing a set of varying perspectives from 
famous scholars in this field. 

The need for such a work is strongly felt, when we follow the thousands of young Sikhs debating daily on subjects 
related to Gurbani, on various internet sites and forums. We find a lack of proper sources and opinions are aired 
as certian knowledge. Such ways of communication can be identified as flat or horizontal discussion, where the 
participants are at a rather similar level of understanding. For those who want to dedicate some of their lives to 
the study of Gurbani and achieve a higher level of understanding, there is a need for textual sources, such as 
books and published articles, written by scholars of Sikhism and Gurbani. No doubt, subjective views can in some 
cases be correct, but any serious student of Gurbani should rely upon textual sources of knowledge. Therefore, 
this bibliography would be beneficial. 

The Bibliography is divided into eight sections, and will be serialized in about twenty parts. It contains 
bibliographic information about historical, conceptual, lingual, literary and musical (raag-sangeet) studies of 
Gurbani. Apart from this, details about various commentaries (teeka) and reference works (kosh) related to 
Gurbani will also be presented. This bibliography includes a survey of various Gurbani research tools and 

Every section has a short introduction, followed by a more detailed survey of the works written in that particual 
subject. This bibliography cannot be regarded as a fully annotated one, however the comments presented in each 
section give the reader a historic overview of the various studies that have been conducted so far. 

We have tried to expose our young readers to a very broad field of Gurbani studies, and therefore different views 
and traditions have been represented in the titles found in this bibliography. In most cases, we have produced all 
the necessary details of the cited works, as found in any other conventional bibliography. However, the work is by 
no means complete. As new studies of Gurbani provide light on hitherto undiscovered attributes of Sri Guru 
Sahib's Holy Words, this bibliography will need updating. 

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Word of Guru Sahiban, filled with megascopic wisdom and philosophy, which 
contains Naam. Any controversial books or articles listed herein should be seen as a natural component of our 
broad presentation of Gurbani studies. Our firm belief is that Gurbani is the revealed Word and nothing will 
change that. We hope that our readers find this series beneficial. Any questions related to contents in this work 
can be directed to the writer or the editors of The Panthic Weekly. 

Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 



The Words of Guru Sahiban, Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji have been the focus of numerous research works conducted 
by both Sikh and non-sikh scholars. Gurbani is what defines Sikhism. Any research that is related to the Sikh 
religion and people ought to be based upon this notion. However, in this section we will look at studies that have 
had Gurbani itself as their primary theme. These are studies that give us information about the contents, 
composition, history and authority of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

Lots of writings have been written with the purposes of missionary activity and spreading information about 
Gurbani among the masses. The information found in such works is basically the knowledge that has been fully 
accepted in the tradition, and lacks new perspectives. Secondly, basic information about Gurbani is found in the 
introductory parts of works related to different aspects of Gurbani. These introductions give insight into the 
contents of their work, and can be useful for readers who do not prefer to consult the whole book. Meanwhile, 
historical studies of Gurbani have become an important part of Sikh studies, as scholars questioning the authority 
of Gurbani try to re-write the history of Sri Adi Granth Sahib's composition. This has led to a wave of scholarly 
works trying to prove the authority and Guru-status of Gurbani. Such research is deeply connected to the studies 
of Gurbani manuscripts. 


Rattan Singh Jaggi (1991) and Giani Joginder Singh have written introductory works on Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 
which are useful for students of Gurbani. These works are based upon the Sikh tradition, with some insight into 
the new linguistic and historic discoveries. 

The beginning of historical studies of Gurbani can be traced to Prof. Sahib Singh, who had started his research on 
the subject already in 1946. Before him, Dr. Charan Singh, maternal grandfather of Bhai Vir Singh had written Bani 
Beora in 1902, but he had focused on the musicial components and raag system of Gurbani. Prof. Sahib Singh based 
his research upon the writings of Kavi Santokh Singh, Giani Gian Singh and Gurbilas Patshahi Chehvi. The classic 
works by these scholars contained some references about making of Gurbani. However, their focus was on the 
overall history of the Sikhs. Gurbilas Patshahi Chehvi tells about the ceremonies conducted at Sri Harimandir 
Sahib at the time of installation of Sri Adi Granth. Secondly, Prof. Sahib Singh relied upon traditional Sikh 
accounts, such as Janam-Sakhis to construct his historical model of Gurbani composition. Principal Harbhajan 
Singh (1981) developed the historial-lingual approach of Prof. Sahib Singh, mainly in the field of Gurbani 
pronunciation. He also highlighted the issue regarding the length of Mul-Mantar or Mangalacharan before Japji 

Giani Maha Singh, editor of Khalsa Samachar published his book about the making of Sri Adi Granth in 1954. The 
background of his book was the controversy regarding the installation date of Sri Adi Granth at Sri Harimandir 
Sahib. Kesar Singh Chibber's Bansawalianama Patshahian Dasa Ka records 1601 AD as the year of composition of 
Gurbani, however Giani Maha Singh argues that 1604 AD was the correct year. Later on, Ganda Singh (1972) and 
Giani Bhagat Singh 'Heera' (1992) have written works about the Guru-status of Gurbani in response to claims 
made by breakaway sects such as Nirankaris and Naamdharis who questioned the authority of Sri Guru Granth 
Sahib ji in favor of their human-gurus. 

As universities and research institutions were formed in Punjab in the 60s, new works came forward. Surinder 


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Singh Kohli wrote 'A Criticle Study of Adi Granth' in 1961, keeping in mind the modern ideals of research work. In 
1974 Dr. Mohinder Kaur Gill's book on the composition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was published. This work was 
based upon her PhD-thesis. Piara Singh Padam's 'Sri Guru Granth Parkash' from 1977 includes an introduction and 
an analytical part. This work is one of the famous philosophical studies of Gurbani conducted in this period. In the 
same period we find works by Hindi scholars such as Dr Jayaram Mishar (1960), Dharam Pal Maini (1962, 1966) and 
Manmohan Sehgal who have tried to study Gurbani in the context of Indian spirituality. 

In the past ten years, historical research upon Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been conducted at various universities in 
USA and Canada. Supported by foreign research institutions, Pashaura Singh and Gurinder Singh Mann published 
their works related to Gurbani. The contents of their works created a controversy in the Panthic circles. In 
response to their views, Chandigarh-based Sikh scholars at Institute of Sikh Studies launched a campaign to 
counter the 'anti-Sikh' school. Another prolific scholar of Gurbani history, Giani Gurdit Singh has published two 
volumes on the history of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, related to Bhagat-Bani and Mundaavani. It seems that Giani 
Gurdit Singh has gained appreciation in wider sections of the Sikh community, despite efforts by traditional 
forces to get his writings censored. 

Works Cited 
Bhagat Singh Heera, Giani. Guru Maneo Granth. New Delhi: National Book Shop, 1992. 

Charan Singh. Sri Guru Granth Bani Biaura. Amritsar: Khalsa Tract Society, 1902. 

A reprint of this book is found in Dr. Balbir Singh, Sri Charanhari Visthar, p. 298, Amritsar: Khalsa Samachar, 

Ganda Singh. Guru Gobind Singh's Death at Nanded: An examinantion of Succession theories. Faridkot: Guru Nanak 
Foundation, 1972. 

This research work includes references from nearly every relevant account of the event. Also see a research paper 
by the same author: Guru Gobind Singh's Designation Guru Granth Sahib to be the Guru, in Perspective on the 
Sikh Tradition p. 219, (ed.) Justice Gurdev Singh, Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2nd edn, 1996. 

Gurdit Singh, Giani. Itihaas Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Bhagat Bani Bhag. Vol. 1. Chandigarh: Sikh Sahitt Sansathan, 1990. 
Gurdit Singh, Giani. Itihaas Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Mundavani, Vol. 2. 2003. 

Harbans Singh, Principal. Gurbani Sampadan Nirnay. Chandigarh: Satnam Parkashan, 1981. 

Joginder Singh. Sri Guru Granth Darpan. New Delhi: Punjabi Prakashan, 1966. 

Joginder Singh Talwara, Giani. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Bodh: Bani Biaura. Vol. 1. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2000. 

Kohli, Surinder Singh. A Critical Study of the Adi Granth. New Delhi: Punjab Writers' Cooperative Industrial Society, 

By the same author, see also Sikhism and Guru Granth Sahib. Delhi: National Book Shop, 1990. 
Mahé Singh, Giani. Param Pavitar Adi Bir da Sankalan Kal. Amritsar: Khalsa Samachar, 1954. 

Giani Maha Singh wrote nine articles in Khalsa Samachar, and compiled this book on the basis of these writings. 

Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 

Maini, Dharam Pal. Sri Guru Granth Sahib - Ik Parichay. Ludhiana: Lahore Book Shop, 1962. 

Mishr, Jayaram. Sri Guru Granth Darshan. [in Hindi] Allahabad: Sahitya Bhavan, 1960. 

Mohinder Kaur Gill. Guru Granth Sahib di Sampadan Kala. Amritsar: New Age Book Centre, 1982. 

Piara Singh Padam. Sri Guru Granth Parkash. Patiala: Lahore Mall, 1977. 

Randhir Singh. "Adi Granth da Kal." Punjabi Duniya. Patiala: Punjabi Language Department, May 1952. 

Rattan Singh Jaggi. Sri Guru Granth Prichay. New Delhi: Gobind Sadan, Institute for Advanced Studies in 
Comparative Religion, 1991. 

Sahib Singh. Adi Bir bare . Patiala: Punjab Language Department, 1970. 

This is one of the first works of its kind. By the same author, see also Gurbani te Itihas bare. Amritsar: Singh 
Brothers, 1986 [1946]. 

Seva Singh, Bhai. Guru Pad Nirnay. Amritsar: Khalsa Samachar, 1934. 

This is a collection of articles published in Khalsa Samachar newspaper. 




The word 'puratan biran' is used for ancient manuscripts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. By ancient we mean not only 
the hand-written volumes (hath-likhat biran), but also the volumes that were published through stone lithography 
(patthar shappa), before the modern printing press was introduced. 

In the Sikh tradition, we find three major branches of Gurbani manuscripts. The most important is the Sri Adi Bir 
Sahib or Kartarpuri Bir, compiled in 1604 at the orders of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, and later given the Guru-status (gur- 
gaddi) by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1708 AD under the name of Damdami Bir. The standard printed versions of 
Gurbani are based upon this Bir. Second branch is the Bhai Banno vali Bir, that includes some extra writings. While 
the third is called Lahore vali Bir or Gianian vali Bir. Most Gurbani manuscripts can be related to these three 
branches. However, there are some other manuscripts that are not based on any of these three scriptural 

Studies of ancient Gurbani manuscripts can be divided into three kinds depending upon the scope of the studies. 
First of all, scholars study the text (paath) and try to distinguish the specific manuscripts from the standard 
printed volumes. Apart from this, some are interested in the method of editing (sampadan kala) and they try to 
construct a model for the so-called ‘evolution of Gurbani text,' as it was passed through the Guru Sahiban and 
enriched with spiritual knowledge at different stages of the Guru Sahiban's lives. These two kind of studies can be 
identified as philology or critical studies of Gurbani text. Other kinds of studies of Gurbani manuscripts are 
paleographic studies that focus on the development of Gurmukhi script (lipi) through the past centuries. In this 

Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 

section, we will look at general and text critical studies of Gurbani manuscripts. Another part of this bibliography 
is dedicated to studies of Gurmukhi script. 


This subject is a very delicate one. Research scholars, while denying the traditional accounts, add their own 
assumptions and end up creating controversies in the Panth. In recent times, several such scholars who have 
questioned the authenicity of some ancient manuscripts have recieved tankhah (religious punishment) from Sri 
Akaal Takht Sahib. In this bibliography, we will mention some of their works and try to indicate how they hurt 
Sikh sentiments. 

Basic information about Gurbani manuscripts kept in various library collections is found in catalogues published 
by the related institutions. In Punjabi, there are two such catalogues compiled by Shamsher Singh Ashok and 
Kirpal Singh. Christopher Shackle has published catalogues of Punjabi manuscripts in the India Office Library. 
Jeevan Deol is also working on a similar catalogue of all Punjabi manuscripts outside South Asia. Shamsher Singh 
Ashok's works are important as they include information about the 'destroyed or lost' manuscripts formerly kept 
at the Sikh Reference Library, Amritsar. 

An important issue that has occupied a lot of attention among Sikh scholars is the authenticity of the pre- 
Kartarpuri Bir manuscripts, namely the two Goindval pothis; Ahiapur vali pothi and Pinjore vali pothi. Traditionally, 
these Pothis are said to have been compiled at the times of Guru Amardas Ji and scribed by Sahansram, grandson 
of Guru Sahib and son of Baba Mohan, based at Goindval Sahib. The Ahiapur pothi is still present at Jalandhar, 
while the second pothi is found at Pinjore. 

Historic works such as Rahitnama of Chaupa Singh ji, Bansawalianama, Mahima Prakash, Bhagatmala, Gurpartap 
Suraj Granth and Giani Gian Singh's writings mention the existence of Gurbani manuscripts. However, the 
research studies of Gurbani manuscripts started with the works of G.B. Singh (1944). Before him, Prof. Sahib Singh 
and Prof. Teja Singh had been working on the subject. Both of them were of the view that the compilation of 
Gurbani began with Guru Nanak Sahib. Teja Singh accepted the traditional view that Guru Arjan Dev Ji borrowed 
the Goindval Pothis from Baba Mohan before compiling Sri Adi Granth. Meanwhile, Prof. Sahib Singh argued that 
Guru Arjan Dev Ji had recieved a manuscript from Guru Ramdas Ji that included the Bani of the first four Guru 
Sahiban. Thus, already in the early half of the twentieth century, there existed a scholarly debate about the pre- 
Kartarpuri Bir manuscripts. 

In his book Prachin Biran, G.B. Singh gives information about 38 historic Gurbani manuscripts. He supports Prof. 
Teja Singh's view that Guru Sahib borrowed the Goindval Pothis from Baba Mohan, but he also recommends that 
Guru Sahib collected Bani from the oral traditions of local communities. Meanwhile, he argued that Guru Tegh 
Bahadur Ji's Bani was added to Sri Adi Granth Sahib during their lifetime, before 1675. One of the reasons why his 
works were not accepted in Sikh circles was because of his views against the Kartarpuri Bir and other historic 
pothis. In repsonse to G.B. Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh wrote Prachin Biran bare in 1945, based upon articles published 
in Khalsa Samachar. The raagmaala controversy had already hit the Sikh Panth, and G.B. Singh's book presented 
some evidence against this composition. But Bhai Jodh Singh who had examined the contents of Kartarpuri Bir as 
part of a research committee, constituted by the SGPC that year, was of the opposite view. Using Giani Maha 
Singh's notes, Bhai Jodh Singh compiled another book Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, that was published some years 
later in 1968. Sardar Daljeet Singh's work on Kartarpuri Bir from 1987 is a continuation of Bhai Jodh Singh's views. 
The information found in Bhai Jodh Singh's works about the Goindval Pothis was based upon the writings of Bawa 
Prem Singh Hoti from the mid-1940s. In 1987, his writings, under the title Baba Mohan valian Pothian, were edited 


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and published by Dr Gursharan Kaur Jaggi. 

Some other interesting works from this period are Swami Harnaamdass Udasin's Puratani Biran te Vichar in two 
volumes, and the writings of Piara Singh Padam, SGPC-based research scholars Randhir Singh, Kundan Singh and 
Gian Singh Nihang (1977). Randhir Singh, et al., give a list of textual variations found in Gurbani manuscripts and 
the printed versions of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The work was based upon manuscripts found in the Sikh Reference 
Library. A similar work, published by the SGPC gave information about the standard printed edition of Gurbani. It 
was authored by Rawel Singh (1959), 

In the past decade or so, four major works related to Gurbani manuscripts have been published. However, most of 
the research has been a matter of discussion and controversy in Panthic circles. Pashaura Singh wrote his 
doctoral dissertation at the University of Toronto in 1991. The striking contents of his work brought him to Sri 
Akal Takht for tankhah in 1994, With a limited comparison of Gurbani manuscripts, he tried to formulate the 
‘editorical policy' of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He argued that Guru Sahib created several drafts of Gurbani before the 
Kartarpuri Bir, thus applying that they didn't compile Sri Adi Granth at one time, something that was taken as an 
attack on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Following this, the Chandigarh-based Centre of Sikh Studies published an 
alarming work about the biased research done at North-American universities on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

Meanwhile in Punjab, Piar Singh's Gatha Sri Adi Granth was published by Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) in 
1992. This work also became the matter of a serious controversy. Piar Singh gives a detailed description of forty- 
four Gurbani manuscripts. Like G.B. Singh, he made the claim that the present-day Kartarpuri Pothi was not the 
Bir prepared by Bhai Gurdas under Guru Arjan Dev Ji's supervision. Such conclusions pressured GNDU to 
withdraw the book from publication. Piar Singh was also given tankhah. Later on, Piar Singh went on to publish 
parts of his book in English under the title Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. However, Balwant Singh Dhillon 
(1999) has questioned the authority of GNDU-MS #1245, that formed the basis of both Piar Singh and Pashaura 
Singh's theories about early Sikh scriptural tradition. 

After this, two more works related to Goindval Pothis arrived. The first was written by Gurinder Singh Mann 
(1996) and the other by GNDU-based Pritam Singh (1998), While Mann accepts the traditional approach about 
Guru Arjan Dev Ji borrowing the Pothis from Baba Mohan, Pritam Singh argues otherwise. In many ways, the 
same debate that happened between Sahib Singh and Teja Singh about the ‘borrowing theory or succession 
theory' has been revitalized in these two works. Gurinder Singh Mann had examined both the Pothis and written 
a work based upon the tradition. He does not agree with G.B. Singh and Pashaura Singh's views that oral sources, 
along with Goindval Pothis, were also used while compiling Sri Adi Granth. However, Pritam Singh rejected the 
traditional stand and argued that the Pothis were compiled by Baba Mohan in order to challenge the authority of 
Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Only the first volume of Pritam Singh's work has yet been published, the second part will be the 
author's edition of Ahiapur vali Pothi. 

Works Cited 

Bachittar Singh, Giani, ed. Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Chandigarh: International Centre of Sikh 
Studies, 1994. 

Daljit Singh. Essays on the Authenticity of Katarpuri Bir and The Integrated Logic and Unity of Sikhism. Patiala: Punjabi 
University, 1987. 

Dhillon, Balwant Singh. Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, Myth and Reality. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1999. 
Gurbaksh (G.B.) Singh. Sri Guru Granth Sahib dian Prachin Biran. Lahore: Modern Publications, 1944. 

Jaggi, Gursharan Kaur, ed. Babe Mohan valian Pothian. Delhi: Arsi, 1987. 


Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 

Jodh Singh, Bhai. Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan. 3rd ed. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1990 [1968]. 

Jodh Singh, Bhai. Prachin Biran bare Bhullan di Sodhan. Ludhiana: Lahore Book Shop, 1947. 

Mann, Gurinder Singh. The Goindval Pothis: the Earliest Extant Source of the Sikh Canon. Cambridge: Harvard Oriental 
Series, 1996, 

Mann, Gurinder Singh. The Making of Sikh Scripture. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. 

This work is a published version of the PhD thesis compiled by the author in 1993 at Columbia University, USA. 
Pashaura Singh. Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2000. 

Piara Singh Padam. Sri Guru Granth dian Puratan Biran. 2nd ed. Patiala: Kalam Mandir Loyar Mall, 1990. 

Piar Singh. Gatha Sri Adi Granth. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 1992. 

Piar Singh. Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. Grand Ledge, Mich.: Anant Education and Rural Development 
Foundation, 1996. 

Pritam Singh, ed. Ahiapur wali Pothi. Vol. 1, Bhumika. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 1998. 

Randhir Singh, et al., eds. Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji dian Santhya-Sanchian ate Puratan Hathlikhit Pavan Biran de Praspar 
Path-Bhedan di Suchi. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committer, 1977. 

Rawel Singh. Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee valé Chhapi Gai Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji di Bir bare Zaroori 
Vakfiat. Amritsar: SGPC, 1959. 

Sahib Singh. Adi Bir Bare. Patiala: Punjab Language Department, 1970. 

Shackle, Christopher. Catalogue of the Punjabi and Sindhi Manuscripts in the India Office Library. London: India Office 
Library and Records, 1977. 

Shamsher Singh Ashok. Punjabi Hathlikhatan di Suchi. 2 vols. Patiala: Punjab Language Department, 1961-1963. 
Also see by the same author 'Saada Hath-Likhat Punjabi Sahit: A descriptive catalogue of manuscripts and rare 
books in Guru Ram Das Library and Central Sikh Museum’, Amritsar: Sikh History Research Board, 1968, 520 p. 
These catalogues contain information on the collection of manuscripts and books held at Sikh Reference Library 
before 1984, 

Udasin, Swami Harnaamdass. Adi Shri Guru Granth Sahib dian Puratani Biran te Vichaar. 2 vols. Kapurtala: Kantesh 
Pharmecy, 1969-1972. 




The interpretation of Gurbani, or vichaar is an important part of the Sikh tradition. The primary goal for this 
activity is to explain the Words of Guru Sahiban in such a way that they could be understood by a common 
person. However, this tradition is also a dynamic one, changing through the ages, with new interpretive 
traditions appearing on the scene, while others become less important. 

In Sikh and Indian literary circles four techniques of scriptural interpretation have been common: teeka, viakhia, 
bhashya, and paramarth. A teeka, or commentary provides the meaning of a particular hymn or composition in 
simple language and is widely used by Sikh scholars. While a teeka gives a simplified meaning, viakhya would 
include an extended commentary on a shabad and is the basic mode of Gurbani vichaar done at Gurdwaras or 
Deras. The paramarth, different from shabadarth that is a glossary or 'word-meanings', gives spiritual meanings 
of mystic and religious terms found in the scriptures. Another less used method of interpretation is the bhash or 
bhashya, where the writer explains some difficult terms found in the text. 

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Certain lexical studies can also be listed as interpretations of Gurbani, as the writers' of such works will 
thoroughly use interpretive methods in their works. That may include nirukat (etymology), pariyay/priya 
(glossary) and kosh (dictionary). 


Our knowledge of Gurbani interpretive traditions rests mainly upon the work of Dr Taran Singh (1980). He names 
the different traditions for pranalian, or technique of learning, and lists seven different schools of Gurbani 
interpretation. These are Sehaj Pranali (spontaneous interpretation, Bani of later Guru Sahiban explain Guru 
Nanak Sahib's Bani), Bhai Pranali (Bhai Gurdas' works), Paramarth Pranali (Meharban janamsakhi and writings of 
the Mina sect, see Jeevan Deol (1998)), Udasi Pranali, Nirmala Pranali, Giani Pranali and Singh Sabha Pranali. 

Another important work in this field is written by Dr Piar Singh (1985). He criticized Taran Singh's categorization 
as being based upon subjective judgement. The main reason for this was the enlisting of Sehaj Pranali as one of 
the traditions. In Sikh circles, the whole of Gurbani is recognized as being equally Divine, and no sections are 
"secondary". In this way, Piar Singh argued that the Bani of later Guru Sahiban was not less inspiring than Guru 
Nanak Sahib Ji's Words. Piar Singh's categorization is as such: sampardai pranali (traditional school), shastri pranali 
(brahminical school) and adhunic school (modern school), Even though this classification is very fixed, it reduces 
different studies to these three groups. Apart from writings by Hindu Brahmins, works by scholars of Nirmala, 
Udasin and Mina sects would all fall in the shastri pranali. Thus, the variations between the different 'brahminical 
schools' could be neglected. The debate between Kavi Santokh Singh Nirmala and Swami Anand Ghan Udasi on 
the interpretation of sections of Japji Sahib reflects this point. 

Another Sikh scholar, Dr Joginder Singh (1981) has given an intermediate approach in the introductory section of 
Japji de Teeke (a survey of commentaries on Japji Sahib). He lists five major schools: Meharban, Udasi, Nirmala, 
Giani and the modern school. Thus the debate around the authority of Sehaj Pranali has been avoided, while 
Singh Sabha scholars are classified as modern scholars. 

Randhir Singh (1977), the SGPC-based scholar, has also written a work on the interpretive traditions. In recent 
years, two doctoral dissertations related to this field have been completed at Punjabi University, Patiala. These 
include the works of Rajinder Kaur (1998) and Gurnek Singh, who has published a book. 

Detailed studies of lexical works have been conducted by Dr Harnam Singh Shan (1998). In his Guru Granth Sahib 
di Koshkari (lexicography), he enlists every available work from Guru Sahiban's ages till modern day. Many titles 
related to our subject are also found in this work. 

Works Cited 

Amarjit Singh, ed. Teekakari, Viakhiakari Te Pattarkari, Kujh Dristikaun. (Seminar paper) Patiala: Punjabi University, 

Gurnek Singh. Guru Granth Sahib: Interpretation, Meaning and Nature. Delhi: National Book Shop, 1998. 
The book is based upon author's doctoral dissertation. 
Jeevan Deol. "The Minas and Their Literature." Journal of the American Oriental Society 118 (1998): 172-184. 
Joginder Singh. Japji de Teeke: Samikhyatmak Adhyan. Patiala: Srimati Mohinder Kaur, 1981. 
Piar Singh. "Gurbani Teeka Parnalian." Nanak Parkash Patrika, 20(2). Patiala: Punjabi University, 1985. 


Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 

Rajinder Kaur. "Sikh Exegetical Writings: A study of the various traditions." Diss. Punjabi University, Patiala, 

Randhir Singh, ed. Guru-Parnalian. Amritsar: SGPC, 1977. 
Shan, Harnam Singh. Guru Granth Sahib di Koshkari. Patiala: Language Department, 1998. 

Taran Singh. Gurbani dian Viakhia Pranalian. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1980. 




Exegesis, or analysis of scripture, is an important part of any scriptural religious tradition. Sikhism, being a faith 
based upon the teachings of the Guru Sahiban, as given in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is not an exception. In the last 
part of this bibliography, we introduced several interpretive traditions, where scholars have given their views 
about the Sikh religion and Gurbani. In this section, we will have a look at the ten major commentaries on Sri 
Guru Granth Sahib given by scholars of different interpretive schools in Punjabi. 


The art of teekakari or hermeneutics was present in the Sikh religious circles from the times of the Guru Sahiban, 
however it was a German linguist, Ernest Trumpp who first tried to compile a complete translation of Sri Guru 
Granth Sahib. He was unable to translate the whole of Gurbani, but went on to publish The Adi Granth in 1877. His 
views about Sikhism given in the introductory part of the work created a controversy in the Panth. Later on, 
several Sikh scholars tried to make an authentic commentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

Raja Bikram Singh, ruler of Faridkot (1842-98) and patron of Amritsar Khalsa Diwan ordered a full scale 
commentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Giani Badan Singh, of Sekhvan prepared the first draft of what came to be 
known as Faridkot wala Teeka in 1883. A committee of scholars from different sampradas, such as Udasis, Nirmala 
Mahants, Giani and other scholars was formed to revise the commentary. By 1918 the four volumes of the Sri Guru 
Granth Sahib Sateek were published. The suffix 'sa-teek' meant that the volumes contained a teeka (annotation or 
commentary) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Faridkoti Teeka, being the first complete commentary on Gurbani was 
widely used by scholars in the beginning of the last century. However, as the Teeka contained a mixture of Braj 
Bhasha (a dialect of Hindi) and the religious terminology used at various seminaries (sampradas), it become 
difficult for a common reader to understand its language. 

The next phase of Gurbani commentaries came in the decade between 1930 and 1940. Giani Narain Singh 
Munjangawale (Lahore) was the first to compile a commentary in Punjabi. He started the work in 1928, and after 
several revisions the volumes were finally published between 1934 and 1940. His commentary has the influence of 
Nirmala pranali. The next scholar who tried to give a commentary was Sirdar Nihal Singh 'Suri' of Rawalpindi, 
who had started his own press in 1930. Several volumes came under the title Sri Gurumati Bhau Prakashni Teeka Sri 
Guru Granth Sahib Ji. For some reasons, the work stopped in 1936 and the commentary was incomplete. The third 
in line of these scholars was Giani Bishan Singh Lakhuwal, the Granthi at Khalsa College Amritsar. He started the 
work on the commentary in 1918, and completed it in eight volumes, published by 1945. These three scholars give 
simple meanings of Gurbani, and their works were often used by gianis, bhais and pracharaks of Gurmat. 


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The first academic commentary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib came with the efforts of mainly Prof. Teja Singh, Bawa 
Harkrishan Singh and Prof. Narain Singh. Between 1936 and 1941, the Gurseva Sabha published Shabadarth Sri Guru 
Granth Sahib Ji in four volumes. However, the Shabadarth did not contain a complete annotation or commentary 
on Gurbani. Only the meanings of difficult words were given. Prof. Teja Singh, being a linguist himself who 
authored several dictionaries, gave an academic approach to the meanings of Gurbani. 

Towards the end of this decade, Bhai Veer Singh started the work on his Santhya Sri Guru Granth Sahib. But due to 
his physical death in 1958, Bhai Sahib left the work incomplete. Within the next four years, Bhai Balbir Singh 
published the Santhya of Bhai Veer Singh in seven volumes, comprising of 3,661 pages. Bhai Sahib provides an 
excellent combination of the four techniques of interpretation, comprising of teeka, shabadarth, viakhya and 
nirukat. His typical approach was to explore the meaning of every line (tuk) in the context of the whole hymn 
(shabad). Bhai Sahib writes that the santhya or lesson was not meant to be a regular commentary on Gurbani. "The 
santhya is the lesson given to a student who takes the shelter of Gurbani," he writes. This commentary is unique, 
but it is hard for a regular reader to fully grasp Bhai Sahib's explanation. His language comes from the mouth of a 
poet, and in order to understand the Santhya the reader has to first get familiar with his spiritual poetry. 

Prof. Sahib Singh was the next scholar to attempt a commentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. He started his work in 
1957 and completed the ten volumes in 1961. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan was published between 1962 and 
1964. The uniqueness of this commentary is that Prof. Sahib Singh has used his Gurbani Vyakaran (grammar) and 
his linguistic knowledge to give us an understanding of Guru Sahiban's Words. Because of this, later Sikh scholars 
often use the work as an authentic commentary on Gurbani. Actually, Prof Sahib Singh had already published 
commentaries on various Banis as part of the syllabus at various Punjabi universities. In the Darpan, he has 
compiled many of these commentaries to form a complete exegesis of Gurbani. 

In the same period, Giani Kirpal Singh of Sewapanthic Tikana, Bazaar Sato wala, Amritsar presented his Sampradai 
Sateek Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji di in 1961. The ten volumes, with second editions of some volumes were published in 
the coming years. The Sateek includes janamsakhis and other stories related to Gurbani. Thus, it is said to be 
helpful for traditional katha-vachaks and other preachers, however it lacks the natural flow of a commentary with 
frequent passages containing mythological stories and in vogue meanings. 

Giani Mani Singh, former head Granthi of Sri Harimandir Sahib was the next to give a commentary, titled 
Sidhantik Sateek Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: Prashan-Uttar Vikas in eight volumes published between 1980 and 1994, 
Giani Mani Singh gives regular meanings of Gurbani, and the commentary is useful for preaching purposes. It 
contains question-answers on several concepts of Gurbani. 

In recent years another Sikh scholar, Giani Harbans Singh of Patiala has written a large commentary on Gurbani. 
The work titled Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darshan Nirnai Sateek: Tulnatmik Adhyan in fourteen volumes was published 
between 1982 and 1992. The work was meant as a comparative study of Gurbani and the writings of Bhagats. 
However, the interpretation is not quite what the title suggests. 


1. Giani Badan Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sateek ('Faridkoti Teeka' 4 vols. 1918) On 

2. Pandit Narain Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sateek (10 vols. 1934-1940) 

3. Nihal Singh Suri, Sri Gurumati Bhau Prakashni Teeka Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (1930-1936) In 

4, Giani Bishan Singh, Teeka Sri Guru Granth Sahib (8 vols. 1918-1945) 


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5. Prof. Teja Singh, Shabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (4 vols. 1936-1941) 

6. Bhai Veer Singh, Santhya Sri Guru Granth Sahib (7 vols. 1939-1958) In 

7. Prof. Sahib Singh, Sri Guru Granth Darpan (10 vols. 1962-1964) On 

8. Giani Kirpal Singh, Sampradai Sateek Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji di (10 vols. from 1961) 

9, Giani Mani Singh, Sidhantik Sateek Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: Prashan-Uttar Vikas (8 vols. 1980-1994) 

10. Giani Harbans Singh, Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darshan Nirnai Sateek: Tulnatmik Adhyan (14 vols. 1982-1992) 
In: Incomplete 

On: Available online 




With the new generations of Sikhs who did not fully understand Punjabi, came the need for English translations. 
Before 1900, only the German scholar Ernest Trumpp had made an effort to translate Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 
English. In the last century, however, several complete translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib prepared by Sikh 
scholars were published. Numerous successful attempts have been made to translate Sikh prayers and regularly 
recited portions of Gurbani. Apart from English, there are some translations in Hindi. French, Spanish, Sindhi, 
Urdu and recently Thai translations are also available. 


Dr Gopal Singh was the first to prepare a complete translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The translation in English 
verse was published in four volumes around 1960. Bhai Manmohan Singh ‘Advocate’ prepared another unique 
work at nearly the same time. He translated Sri Guru Granth Sahib in both English and Punjabi. Thus, the work 
became very useful for ordinary readers. For years to come, Bhai Manmohan Singh’s translations, printed by the 
SGPC, were used as the ‘Standard English’ of Gurbani, as it included the Gurmukhi text of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 
along with the two translations. In 1977, Dr Gurcharan Singh Talib was assigned the task of compiling a new 
translation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Punjabi University, Patiala. This academic work was published in four 
volumes from 1984 to 1990. 

In the past decade, some more translations of Gurbani have appeared. Pritam Singh Chahil published his 
translations of Gurbani. This work is a revision of Bhai Manmohan Singh’s English translation. Meanwhile, it was 
the first complete translation of Gurbani that included romanised transliteration, which helped the reader in 
pronouncing Gurbani. It was published in four volumes starting from 1993. 

Another important work from recent years is the English translation in prose done by Gurbachan Singh Makin. It 
is quite different from the other translations. Along with the translations, Makin gives an insight into the 
substance of each pauri. It looks as if he has attempted to compile an English commentary on Sri Guru Granth 


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Sahib. The language used is very simple and understandable for a common reader. The work was published in five 
volumes in 1998. 

The translations available online and in the Gurbani-CD are the work of Sant Singh Khalsa of USA. The translation 
has become quite popular, however at places it differs from Punjabi commentaries. Still, there is a need for fully 
authentic translations and commentaries on Gurbani. 

Apart from English, several translations are available in Hindi. Punjabi University scholars, Dr Manmohan Sehgal 
and Dr Jodh Singh have each published their translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi. Sindhi mystic scholar, 
Lakhman Chela Ram prepared a teeka or commentary in Hindi in 1987. The Shabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 
Punjabi was also revised and translated in Hindi by a group of Punjabi University scholars. Several attempts have 
been made to transliterate Gurbani’s original Gurmukhi text into Devanagri, or Hindi script. The recent work by 
Winand M. Callewaret is an important effort in this direction. 

In the past decade, translations of Gurbani in French by Dr Jarnail Singh, in Spanish by Gurdev Singh Khalsa, in 
the Thai language by Bibi Jaspal Kaur and in Sindhi by the family of Dada Chela Ram (and DSGMC) have been 
published. Apart from this, an Urdu transliteration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is also made available online, with 
the courtesy of Kirpal Singh Pannu. Translations in other languages are underway. 


Dr. Gopal Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (4 vols. 1960, 2. ed 1978) 

Bhai Manmohan Singh, Guru Granth Sahib (8 vols. 1962-1969) 

Dr Gurbachan Singh Talib, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (4 vols. 1984-1990) 

Pritam Singh Chahil, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (4 vols. 1993) 

Gurbachan Singh Makin, The Essence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (5 vols. 1998) 
Sant Singh Khalsa, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Gurbani-CD) 

Other languages 

Manmohan Sehgal, Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Hindi translation and Devanagri transliteration, 4 vols. 1978-1982 
Shri Lakshman Chela Ram, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Hindi teeka, 6 vols. 1987) 

Dr Gurcharan Singh Anand, Shabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Hindi, 4 vols 1989-) 

Dr Jodh Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Hindi, 4 vols. 2005) 

Winand M. Callewaret, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Devanagri transliteration, 1996) 

Dada Chela Ram/DSGMC, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sindhi translation and Urdu transliteration, 4 vols. 2000) 

Dr Jarnail Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (French, 4 vols. 1995-96) 

Gurdev Singh Khalsa, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Spanish, 2003) 

Bibi Jaspal Kaur, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Thai, 2004) 

Kirpal Singh Pannu, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Urdu ’Shahmukhi’ transliteration, 2004 on Gurbani-CD) 




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This is one of the few fields of Sri Guru Granth Sahib studies where large numbers of books have been written. In 
the beginning of the past century, certain individual attempts were made to use the philosophical tools to build a 
model of Sikh theology. Before this, the area of Gurbani’s conceptual studies had remained the stronghold of 
Nirmalas and Gianis. However, in the later half of the centuries, as modern universities were established at 
Chandigarh, Patiala and Amritsar, conceptual studies became a major part of the scholarly research. 

In this section, we will look at some of the major analytic studies of Gurbani. The section is divided in three parts: 
Theology and Metaphysical studies, Ethics and social philosophy, and Mystical writings. Sikhism, being a God- 
oriented religion has a theology of its own. The common approach adapted by modern scholars studying Gurbani 
is the one based upon logic and reason. Scholars, who study Sikhism from such a perspective, use philosophy as a 
tool while developing the models of Sikh theology. Meanwhile, like all religious writings, Gurbani is a field with 
mystical terms and frequent references to mythological figures and ideas. The traditional scholars who try to 
interpret Gurbani use the mystical framework as a tool. Thus, there is an important difference between the two 
types of scholars, not only in the contents, but also in the methodology. Another important part of philosophical 
studies is ethics and social philosophy that will be made available in the coming weeks. 

Philosophical studies of a religion, ideology or any ‘ism’ would try to distinguish a metaphysical, epistemological 
and an ethical understanding of the field. By metaphysics the scholars mean a study of the ultimate reality. 
Subjects related to life, creation, existence and the relation of man-body are discussed. Epistemology is the study 
concerned with the nature and origin of knowledge. For a religious system, its theology is its philosophy. Thus, 
the scriptural ideas about the creation, humankind, life and death become the religious metaphysics, while the 
religious theories about spiritual knowledge (gian) are seen as its epistemology. 


The modern studies of Sikh philosophy, translated as Gurmat Chintan, Gurmat Darshan, or Sikh vichaardhara, 
began with the work of Sirdar Khazan Singh, titled ‘History and Philosophy of Sikh Religion’ from 1914. Part two 
of the book is dedicated to the philosophical analysis. The writer lacking the proper knowledge of philosophy has 
given a very simplified version of Gurmat, useful for preaching purposes. Later on, Bhai Jodh Singh wrote ‘Gurmat 
Nirnay’, which became a standard work on Sikh philosophy. The author has frequently referred to Gurbani, 
without indulging in philosophical discussion. 

The next work on Sikh philosophy, titled ‘Sikh Studies’ was written by Sardar Sardool Singh Kavishar in 1937. A 
Punjabi edition, ‘Sikh Dharam Darshan’ was also prepared in the following years. In this book, Bhai Sardool Singh 
has written four essays on the concepts of Akaal-Purakh, Creation, Life-Soul and Salvation from the Gurmat 
perspective. Another important work, ‘Philosophy of Sikhism’ came in 1944. The writer, Dr Sher Singh, having 
lived in the West was influenced by the Christian and Islamic philosophies. The work was prepared as part of his 
doctoral thesis. He has focused on the metaphysical aspects of Sikh philosophy. 

Meanwhile, Sikh scholars based at Punjabi University, Patiala and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar have 
given the largest contribution to the field of Sikh philosophy in modern times. Some important works have been 
written by Avtar Singh (1998), Gurnam Kaur (1981), Pritam Singh (1975) and Guninder Kaur (1981) have been 
written. Daljeet Singh, a highly respected scholar of Sikhism wrote a work on comparative studies of Sikh 
theology and mysticism in 1979. Another important work on metaphysics by a Sikh scholar, Dr Santokh Singh was 
published in 1983, followed by Jaswinder Kaur Dhillon’s recent book on the topic. Other major projects are under 
way at the universities. 


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Recently, Dr Kharak Singh, SGPC-scholar and Director of Institute of Sikh studies wrote ‘Philosophy of Sikhism 
and History‘. The author of several works on Sikhism, Dr Nirbhai Singh published his ‘Sikh Dynamic Vision’ in 

2003. Earlier in 1990, the author had written ‘Philosophy of Sikhism’ which also became a popular reading. The 
latest book comprises of 436 pages, and gives a comprehensive interpretative of Sikh philosophy. 


Avtar Singh. Philosophical Perspectives of Sikhism. ed. Gurnam Kaur. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1998. 

Bhagat Singh Heera, Giani. Gurmat Vichardhara. New Delhi: National Book Shop, 1969. 

Daljeet Singh. Sikhism: A Comparative Study of its Theology and Mysticism. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1979. 
Dhillon, Jaswinder Kaur. Guru Nanak Keemat-Mimansa. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University. 

Guninder Kaur. The Guru Granth Sahib: Its Physics and Metaphysics. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1981. 
Gurnam Kaur. Sikh Value System and Social Change. Patiala: Punjabi University. 

Jodh Singh, Bhai. Gurmat Nirnai. 3rd ed. Patiala: Language Department, 1980. 

Kharak Singh. Philosophy of Sikhism and History. Chandigarh: Institute of Sikh Studies, 1999. 

Khazan Singh, Sardar. History and Philosophy of Sikhism. 1914. 

Nirbhai Singh. Sikh Dynamic Vision. New Delhi: Harnam Publications, 2003. 

Pritam Singh (ed.). Sikh Falsafe di Roop-Rekha. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 1975. Also see ‘Sikh 
Vichardhara’ from 1968. 

Santokh Singh. Philosophical Foundations of the Sikh Value System. New Delhi: Munshi Ram Manohar Lal 
Publishers, 1983. 

Sardool Singh Kavishar. Sikh Dharam Darshan. ed. Dr. Wazir Singh, Patiala: Punjabi University, 1969. Sher Singh. 
Philosophy of Sikhism. Ludhiana: Chardi Kala Publications, 1966 [1944]. 



In this part of the Bibliography, we will have a look at some of the works written on Sikh ethics and social 
philosophy. Ethics can be defined as a philosophical study of moral values and rules, where we try to evaluate 
human conduct as good or bad in light of moral principles. A Sikh term for such moral principles is suggested to 
be the large numbers of Rehats; either found in traditional Rehatnamas or in the Sikh Rehat Maryada. However, 
the term 'rehat' would be closer to norm or living rules. A more correct translation is perhaps sidhant, meaning 
moral principles or ideals. Thus, scholars who are engaged in the study of Sikh ethics would try to highlight moral 
principles as found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. However, the study of Sikh Rehat Maryada is also part of the ethical 
field--but a more specifically laid out plan. A comparison can be made: the universal moral principles and values 
found in Gurbani, and how these principles become a concrete Rehat, that is the accepted Sikh way of life. 

Meanwhile, other topics such as educational, political and socio-economic thoughts are also considered a part of 
the social philosophy. Thus, the modern scholars try to correlate the individual rehats with the social principles 
given by the Guru Sahiban. 


Besides the Rehatnama anthologies prepared by Piara Singh Padam, few other major studies of Sikh ethics have 
come forward, At Punjabi University (Patiala), Dr Avtar Singh, who remained the dean of the Department of 


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Philosophy for some time, wrote several articles on ethical thoughts found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. His book 
Ethics of the Sikhs still remains an important work in the field. Surinder Singh Kohli, a well-known Sikh scholar, 
also wrote a book on Sikh ethics. Meanwhile, another early work on ethics was written by Jagbeer Singh and 
published in 1970 by the Punjab Languages Department, Patiala. 

Nripinder Singh has also given a historical study of the Sikh Rehat. Published by South Asia Publications in 1990, 
Nripinder Singh's The Sikh Moral Tradition gives an account of how the Sikh Rehat was regarded within the Tat 
Khalsa circles and its subsequent importance for the Singh Sabha movement. He has given many references of 
Punjabi writings, such those of Babu Teja Singh, the leader of Panch Khalsa Diwan Bhasaur, who was 
excommunicated from the Sikh Panth. 

Amrit Kaur Raina (1987), D.N. Khosla (1988) and T.S. Sodhi (1996) have written works on the educational 
philosophy of the Sikh Gurus. Gurdeep Kaur and Kanwarjit Singh have written about the Sikh political philosophy. 
Kanwarjit Singh's book is also available online. Avtar Singh (1980), Harbans Singh Chawla (1983) and Harbans 
Singh (1990) have written books on the social thoughts and descriptions found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. J.S Dass 
(1988) has written an interesting work on the economic policy of the Sikh Gurus. 

Recent works include Madan Mohan Gopal's study of Bhagat-Bani from an ethical viewpoint, published 2001 by 
Punjab Languages Department, Patiala. 

Works Cited 

Avtar Singh. Adi Guru de Guru Kavi da Samajik Pakh. Chandigarh: Punjabi University, 1980. 

Avtar Singh. Ethics of the Sikhs. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1970. 

Chawla, Harbans Singh. Gurbani Vich Samkali Samajak Chittar. (Ph.D. Thesis) Delhi: Adhunik Bharti Bhashawan 
Vibhag, Delhi University, 1983. 

Gurdeep Kaur. Political Ethics of Guru Granth Sahib. 

Harbans Singh. Gurbani vich Samkali Samajik Chintan. New Delhi: Punjab Writers' Cooperative Society, 1990. 
Jagbeer Singh. Guru Nanak Bani vich Naitikta da Sankalp. Patiala: Language Department, 1970. 

J.D. Dass. Economic Thought of the Sikh Gurus. New Delhi: National Book Organisation, 1988. 

Kanwarjit Singh. Political Philosophy of the Sikh Gurus. New Delhi: Atlantic and Distributers. 

Khosla, D.N. The Sikh Gurus on Education. New Delhi: Adi-Jugad Prakashan, 1988. 

Madan Mohan Gopal. Adi Granth vich Sankalit Bhagat-Bani vich Naitikta da Sankalp Patiala: Language 
Department, 2001. 

Nripinder Singh. The Sikh Moral Tradition: Ethical Perceptions of the Sikhs in the Late Nineteenth/Early 
Twentieth Century. Columbia, Missouri: South Asia Publications, 1990. 

Raina, Amrit Kaur. The Educational Philosophy of the Sikh Gurus. Patiala: Language Department, 1987. 
Surinder Singh Kohli. Sikh Ethics. New Delhi: Munshi Ram Manohar Lal Publishers, 1973. 

T.S. Sodhi. Guru Nanak di Vidhya Falsafa. Patiala: Bawa Publications, 1996. This is a Punjabi translation of the 
author's doctoral dissertation 'Educational Philosophy of Guru Nanak’. 




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One might wonder why they is a need a section containing information about mystical and mythological works. 
Before we answer that let us look at what lies behind these terms. Mysticism, a very broad term, is related to 
spirituality. In religion, mysticism points to the attempt by an individual to achieve a personal union with God. A 
mystic would often search for God, or Ultimate Reality from within. One does not need to have a solid understand 
of the Sikh faith and religous thought to see that mysticism would be part of any devoted Sikh. Gurbani tells the 
Sikhs to search for God within, and the ultimate goal for any human is the unity with Waheguru. Thus, writings 
about this theme have found their place in this Bibliography. 

Meanwhile, mythology refers to the myths and stories found in the folklore. What could be the reason that Gurus 
included myths in the Bani? One explanation could be that myths were part of the daily life and thinking of the 
people. In order to teach their Sikhs about the Spiritual Path, Gurus used the examples from the folklore to 
emphasize morals and ideals. That does not mean that the myths and stories should be taken as 'facts'. What we 
can try to do is to learn the morals from such stories. It is evident that mythology was important for the Sikhs in 
past. Bhai Gurdas Ji who did the major work of explaining Gurbani to the masses, also refers to mythological 
figures. And in Sri Dasam Granth, we find hundreds of such stories, that do not state historic facts but rather 
fantasy. Throughout the centuries, Sikh mystics have been interpreting Gurbani along the mythological lines and 
concepts. Being modern students of Sikhism, we can't neglect this aspect of Sikh studies. It should be seen in its 
true context. 


We can start by having a look at some introductory writings about Sikh mysticism. Dr Mohan Singh Uberoi wrote 
a work on the relation between Sikhism and mysticism, titled 'Sikh Mysticism - the Seven fold Yoga of Sikhism' 
from 1964. 

Prof Ram Singh, a scholar of Sikh mysticism wrote the book 'Guru Nanak da Rahasvad' in 1974. His doctoral thesis 
was about the Panj Khands of Japu Ji Sahib. The thesis was published as 'Japuji de Panj Khand' (1989) and later a 
more indepth study was done in 'Japuji De Panj Khandan Da Bahupakhi Adhiyan' (1997). 

Another Sikh scholar who has tried to highlight some aspects of Sikh mysticism is Dr Dewan Singh. An 
introductory work 'What is Mysticism?' was published in 1988, where the author has tried to study mysticism 
according to the Sikh perspective. Also Dewan Singh took his PhD on this subject, and published the thesis as 
‘Mysticism of Guru Nanak' in 1995. Dr Balkar Singh, a major Sikh scholar at Punjabi University has also written a 
book on this topic titled 'Sikh Rahasvad', 

One of the recent publications is Prof Gulwant Singh's article 'Guru Nanak Dev ate Tasawuf' in Gurmat Sahib 
Chintan from 1997, where the authors gives a contemporary study of Sikh philosophy and the Sufi Islamic 
mystical tradition of Tasawuf. He was a noted scholar of Persian classic literature who compiled a Punjabi-Persian 
dictory and wrote several books on Sufism. He was also engaged in the translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 
Persian, before he died in 2001. 

Rajinderjit Kaur Dhindsa was written a work on Sri Arjan Dev Ji's writings, from a mystical perspective. 
Meanwhile, apart from such introductory works, there have been written numerous writings that have focused 

upon Sikh mysticism. Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh, a Sikh mystic par-excellence wrote more than twenty books 
on Sikh theology, philosophy and mysticism. Bhai Randhir Singh Ji explains Gurmat concepts in light of mystical 


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concepts and also mentions various types of spiritual powers, energies and mystical notions. Some of the books 
include ‘Jail Chittian (Auto-biography)', ‘Amrit ki Hai? (What is the meaning of Amrit?), 'Anhad Shabad Dasam 
Duar', 'Gurmat Vichar', 'Scahkhand Darshan! and 'An-Dithi Duniya’ (The Unseen World). Bhai Randhir Singh has 
in a very special way explained hidden concepts of mysticism. In the books such as 'Sachkhand Darshan! and The 
Unseen World, Bhai Sahib gives an account of the after-life. 'Gurmat Vichar' is one of his works on Sikh 
philosophy, that also from a mystical viewpoint. An important concept of Sikh mysticism being the 'Dasam Duar', 
or the Tenth gate that opens the channels of spiritual wisdom is also explained in his writings. 

Another Sikh mystical scholar is Sardar Raghbir Singh Bir (1896 - 1974). His Bandgi Nama or 'Communion with the 
Divine' is a famous work on various concepts of Sikh mysticism and spirituality. In the book he explains the 
relation between Gyan (Spiritual knowledge), Simran-Prayer and the ultimate state of 'Mystic Immortality’. 
Among his other works include Anubhav Parkash (‘Knowledge through Intuition') and Simran Mehma 
(‘Importance of Remembering God’). 

Sant Naranjan Singh (1921 - 1994), a Sikh mystic who held position as a 'Shiromani Kathakar' (Chief Exponent of 
Gurbani) compiled 'Divine Mystic Reflections on Gurmat' (two volumes) based upon his talks and dialogues. A free 
English translation has been made available by Dr Harcharanjit Singh. The work addresses several topics related 
to Sikh mysticism and philosophy. 


Balkar Singh. Sikh Rahasvad. Patiala:Punjabi University. 

Dewan Singh. What is Mysticism? (in Sikh perspective). Amritsar: Ravi Sahit Parkashan, 1988. 
Dewan Singh. Mysticism of Guru Nanak. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1995. 

Gulwant Singh. "Guru Nanak ate Tasawuf" in Gurmat Sahib Chintan. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1997. 
Mohan Singh Uberoi. Sikh Mysicism - the Seven fold Yoga of Sikhism. Pub: author, 1994. 

Raghbir Singh 'Bir'. Bandgi Nama - Communion with the Divine. 

(Bhai Sahib) Randhir Singh. Jail Chittian (Auto-biography). Also see 'Amrit ki Hai? (What is the meaning of 
Amrit?), 'Anhad Shabad Dasam Duar", 'Gurmat Vichar', 'Scahkhand Darshan! and 'An-Dithi Duniya' (The Unseen 
World) by the same author. 

Ram Singh. Japuji de Panj Khand. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1989. 
Ram Singh. Japuji De Panj Khandan Da Bahupakhi Adhiyan. 
Sant Naranjan Singh. Divine Mystic Reflections on Gurmat. 

Writings Available Online 


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From a linguistic perspective, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is an ocean of medieval Punjabi and Hindi dialect forms, 
and loanwords from Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit languages, as tadbhav (localized forms) and tatsam (original) 
terms. For a linguist who studies the history and origin of the Punjabi language, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the 
primary resource. Meanwhile, our intentions are somewhat different. Being students of Gurbani, our main 
purpose of understanding the language is to comprehend, or at least try to comprehend Guru's Words and 
Teachings in a proper way. 

In this part of the Bibliography, we will present works dealing with the language of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In the 
past century, a great number of writings on the 'sikh Sacred Language' have been prepared; however, as still is 
the situation, the Sikhs at large lack the understanding of this language. 


Before we take a look at the serious studies in the field, we may mention the two special works written by 
Western scholars. Dr Ernest Trumpp, a German linguist who studied Indian languages and literature, tried to 
translate Sri Guru Granth Sahib, publishing the incomplete translation in 1877. According to Dr Harnam Singh 
Shan, the author of 'Guru Granth Sahib di Koshkari', Trumpp had prepared a grammar of the Gurbani before he 
started on the translation. However, no such work has yet been published and if the book does exist then it is the 
first attempt by any writer to construct a grammar of the 'Sikh Sacred Language'. Dr Shan located a manuscript 
titled ‘Grammar to the Adi Granth’, Dr Ernest Trumpp, 1873 at the State Library Munich, stored under the reference 

The second Western scholar who has written a work on what he calls the 'Sacred Language of the Sikhs! is 
Christopher Shackle, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. His books is more like the modern 
language learning books and gives the reader tutorials and exercises in the Gurmukhi script, besides the grammar 
and includes selected readings. Along with 'A Guru Nanak glossary' (1981), Shackle's books are prescribed to 
western students of Sikhism, who have no initial knowledge of the Punjabi language and script. The book will also 
be helpful for some of our readers who do not understand the difficult Punjabi used in Punjabi Vyakarans, and in 
many ways this is the only alternative for understanding Gurbani language, without actually learning the 

special terminology of the Punjabi grammarians. 

Among the Sikh scholars, Principal Teja Singh (1922) and Prof. Sahib Singh (1932) pioneered the field of Gurbani 
linguistics. The core of Principal Teja Singh's 'Shabadatar Laga-Matra de Gujje Bhed' is that the importance of 
Gurmukhi vowels (sehari, behari, aunkar, etc) is as the tools for interpreting the Shabad-vaak. The work had 
immense popularity among Panthic scholars and had a great affect on the standardized printing of Sri Guru 
Granth Sahib by the SGPC, as the Shabadarth was normalized according to the rules found in this book. Thirty 
years after Teja Singh Ji, Bhai Randhir Singh Ji wrote a similar work that supported the view that vowels are in 
fact interpretive tools. However, there is a differentiation of thought between Bhai Randhir Singh and Principal 
Teja Singh. In the foreword of 'Gurbani dian Laga-Matra di Vilakhanta', the publisher, Giani Nahar Singh says: 
"The main purpose of this book is [to highlight] that Gurbani Shabads can have only one meaning. The functional 
placing of Laga-Matras makes this clear." 

Meanwhile, Prof. Sahib Singh went on to produce a full-fledged grammar of Gurbani, published in 1932. Initially, 
sections of the Panth did not accept the Gurbani Vyakaran as an authentic grammar; however as linguistics and 


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modern scholars saw the value of this work, Prof Sahib Singh started to be called the 'Panini of the Sikhs' (Panini 
being the first person to construct a Sanskrit grammar). It should be noted that the grammarians Sahib Singh and 
Teja Singh, and Bhai Randhir Singh agreed upon the 'one-meaning' interpretation of Gurbani. This 

front consisting of modern linguists and Panthic scholars stood against the traditional views that Gurbani was not 
written according to any grammatical rules, and that there were endless meanings that must remain oral and not 
be published as written commentaries. 

Another work from this era is 'Sri Guru Vyakaran Panchain' by Pandit Kartar Singh Dakha, published in 1945. The 
book is no longer published, and old copies are only available at specific Sikh Sahit libraries. 

The next period starts from after 1975, when new debates arise in the Panth, specially related to the correct 
pronunciation of Gurbani and the logical justification of the practise through the authentic grammar. The works 
produced in the debate would be presented in the next part of this Bibliography; however we must mention some 
authors who have given us new linguistic insights of Gurbani. 

Dr Harkeerat Singh, a famous Punjabi linguist and student of Prof. Sahib Singh prepared a work titled 'Gurbani di 
Bhasha te Vyakaran', published by Punjabi University, Patiala in 1997. The author says that this book is meant as a 
supplement to the grammar written by Prof. Sahib Singh. New linguistic discoveries had appeared in the past 
forty-fifty years, and some of the assumptions made by the first grammarians of Gurbani were no longer relevant. 
Thus, Dr Harkeerat Singh presents us a highly linguistic view on the evolution of the Gurbani language from its 
roots in the Prakrit, to the development of Apabhrasha. The main focus of the book is on the sound and 
pronunciation, and the discussion around the specimens of Punjabi dialects and tadbhav-tatsam forms. He has also 
given a linguistic understanding of the Gurmukhi vowels and moved away from the views of former grammarians 
that vowels only appear as interpretive tools. The evolutionary theory presented says that the existence of every 
vowel or sign in Gurbani is reasoned in the linguistic development in the Punjab. 

Other scholars, such as Giani Harbans Singh 'Nirnaykar' still hold on to the grammarian thoughts of Prof. Sahib 
Singh, Teja Singh and Principal Harbhajan Singh, Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar. In his book 'Navin Gurbani 
Vyakaran' (2000), Giani Harbans Singh criticizes Harkeerat Singh, especially on his views regarding Gurbani 

A short booklet titled 'Gurbani Vyakaran de Saral Nem', published by Sikh Missionary College (Ludhiana), 
presents an outline of various grammatical forms found in Gurbani. 

Meanwhile, the greatest effort in the field of Gurbani grammar in recent years has been made by Bhai Joginder 
Singh Ji 'Talwara'. His 'Gurbani da Saral Vyakaran-Bodh' (two parts), published posthumously in April 2004 as 
volume three of 'Shri Guru Granth Sahib Bodh' forms more than 800 pages. The extensive study done by Bhai 
Sahib is nothing less than an encyclopedia of Gurbani language. Every thinkable aspect of the 'Sikh Sacred 
Language' has been commented. Gurbani language, script, sounds, morphology (as word formation), and other 
aspects of the grammar have been dealt with. 

Bhai Joginder Singh Ji says that he is not a linguist, nor a grammarian, only a devoted student of Gurbani. 
However, this is also the strength of his work. Keeping in mind that his readers would be normal students of 
Gurbani who may not know grammatical and linguist terms, he gives clear definitions and formulations before 
the start of every new section of the book. Interestingly, the first part of the volume has three appendixes, where 
the first includes a list of 465 combined-terms found in Gurbani that scholars have not yet been able to separate. 
The author has given the Pad-Ched of such terms according to the grammar, with meanings of each related Shabad 
in one column. Another appendix has a glossary of Arabic and Persian terms found in Gurbani. All this makes Bhai 


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Joginder Singh Ji's work the nearly perfect reference grammar of Gurbani. Its easy, yet beautiful and equally 
systematic design and layout brings out the best in Gurmukhi and Punjabi printing. 

Works Cited 

Gurbani Vyakaran de Saral Nem. Ludhiana: Sikh Missionary College. 

Harbans Singh 'Nirnaykar', Giani. Navin Gurbani Vyakaran. Chandigarh: Gurmat Nirnay Bhavan, 2000. 
Harkeerat Singh, Dr. Gurbani di Bhasha te Vyakaran. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1997. 

Joginder Singh Talwara, Giani. Gurbani da Saral Vyakaran-Bodh. (2 vols). Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2004. 
Kartar Singh Dakha, Pandit. Sri Guru Vyakaran Panchain. Pub. author, 1945. 

Randhir Singh, Bhai Sahib. Gurbani dian Laga-Matra di Vilakhanta. 3rd ed. Ludhiana: Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Trust, 

Sahib Singh, Prof. Gurbani Vyakaran. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1932. 

Shackle, Christopher. An introduction to the sacred language of the Sikhs. London: School of Oriental and African 
Studies, 1983. 

Teja Singh, Principal. Shabaddatar Lagd-Matra de Gujje Bhed. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee, 

Trumpp, Dr Ernest. "Grammar to the Adi Granth" 1873. Manuscript located by Dr Harnam Singh Shan at State 
University Munich under reference number MSS.NO.Cod.Panj.3. 



In this section we will have a look at some of the works about the pronunciation of Gurbani. Why is it important 
to have a correct pronunciation of Gurbani? There are several views on this, but perhaps the most important 
reason is that incorrect singing or recitation of Gurbani could change the meanings of Gurbani. The Sangat 
listening Gurbani would be confused. Thus, there should be a Panthic consensus on this and the correct 
pronunciation of Gurbani should be read. Most Sikhs would agree on this view, however, it seems that there is not 
fully consensus on what the correct pronunication involves. 

Before we look at the studies on Gurbani Ucharan, we should know why there exists different pronunciations of 
Gurbani. It should be noted that most of the mistakes occur because of negligence of the reader who has not 
recieved proper teaching. This also occurs as some printing presses have not follow the standard Gurbani typeset, 
therefore the existence of various versions of Sri Guru Granth Sahib do also add up to this practise. Secondly, 
there are those who think that the language written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a form of Punjabi, and thus try to 
read Gurbani according to their own perception of how Gurbani must be pronounced. There are also those who 


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follow their own dialectic tones and pitch that they have grown up with in their social network. However, there 
do also exist more serious debates about the correct pronunciation, mainly about the importance of following the 
Gurmukhi text in Sri Guru Granth Sahib strictly or adding and omiting sounds and tones according to the reader’s 
understanding. In this bibliography, we will look at the studies that have come forward as a result of this serious 


The debate surrounding correct pronunciation of Gurbani started around 1975. However, before this there had 
been written works on Gurbani language, such as by Bhai Randhir Singh, Principal Teja Singh and Prof. Sahib 
Singh where the Gurbani pronunciation was commented. The issue of correct pronunciation of Gurbani was 
discussed at a Path-Bodh Samagam held in Amritsar. Giani Gurditt Singh, a famous Panthic scholar made the first 
lecture on this issue. This debate was also published in the Singh Sabha Patrika’, a monthly journal at that time 
edited by Giani ji. 

The major argument of Giani Gurditt Singh was that Gurbani pronunciation should follow the norm of 
contemporary Punjabi language. His view was that the Gurbani language was infact the language spoken in 
Punjab at that time, ie the Puratan Punjabi. This view was also supported by Principal Harbhajan Singh in his book 
Gurbani Sampadan Nirnay, written in 1981. These scholars followed the approach by Prof. Sahib Singh and his views 
about the compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

However, this view was criticized by Sirdar Inder Singh, a member of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Delhi. In 1985, Inder 
Singh and a famous Punjabi linguist, Dr Harkeerat Singh published a work on the pronunciation of Gurbani. The 
two scholars again published a book the issue in 1993, and Harkeerat Singh has also commented the issue in detail 
in his latest book, Gurbani di Bhasa te Vyakaran, from 1997, 

The linguistic approach to this problem is that langauge does not have a fixed share or form, it evolves with time. 
The Bani found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib was written between 1173 AD (Baba Farid) and 1675 AD (Guru Tegh 
Bahadur Sahib), and it is natural that there is a great linguistic variation between these five hundred years. 
Therefore, we find differences in not only grammar, but also the vocabulary and the pronunciation. This explains 
why we find several forms of spellings and sentence-formations in Gurbani. 

The three major arguments found in the writings of Harkeerat Singh have their background in this view. He says 
that the Puratan Punjabi had different tones as compared with the modern Punjabi. At that time, he says, only the 
vocabulary was taken by Arabic and Persian, not the pronunciation. Thus, the words found in Gurbani without the 
pairi bindi, that we today write with that sign, were pronounced without those sounds in the Guru-period. 
Secondly, he says that Gurbani langauge was influenced by the Lahndi dialect (or Multani), that was considered 
the standard Punjabi at the time. Later on, the standard became the central Punjabi dialect of Amritsar (Majhi or 
Taksali boli). While, the Lahndi had very little nasal sounds, the Amritsari dialect had developed the sounds 
represented by the tippi and the bindi. However, when Gurbani was written it was pronounced without these 
sounds, as was the case with the Lahndi dialect. Therefore, Gurbani does not have these signs at places where we 
today would write them to show the nasal sounds. 

The third major debate is about the value of sihari and aunkar. In this view, Prof. Sahib Singh, Teja Singh and Bhai 
Randhir Singh had said that these represent the grammatical structure of the Shabad-vak, and are interpretive 
tools, and may not be pronounced. However, Harkeerat Singh has also breaked away from the grammarians at 
this point saying that as Punjabi language developed from the Prakrit and Apabhrashas, these langauges had 


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sihari and aunkar both in writing and pronunciation. Thus, the siharis and aunkars found in Gurbani should be 
pronouned, according to this view. 

This makes Harkeerat Singh and Inder Singh’s arguments very clear, meaning that Gurbani should be 
pronounced exactly as it is written in Gurmukhi script. Every symbol found in Gurbani is there because it was 
pronounced in the original tongue of the Guru-period. 

However, Principal Harbhajan Singh of Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar did not agree with this argumentation. 
He replied Harkeerat Singh in his book Jawab-ul-Jawab. 

In the recent years much has been written on this subject. Many works have been written on the Gurbani 
pronunciation. Readers who are interested in knowing the different views should see the detailed list of books. 
However, the works of Principal Harbhajan Singh, Giani Gurditt Singh and Dr Harkeerat Singh are recommened, 
and they give enough insight to follow the debate surrounding the pronunciation of Gurbani. 


Bachan Singh Sohi, Giani. Guru te Gurbani: Gurbani Uchar-Bhed. Ludhiana: Lahore Book Shop, 1997. 
Dhanna Singh, Bhai. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji di Gurbani da Shudh Ucharan. Amritsar: Pingalwara , 1996. 
Gurbani da Shudh Ucharan. Ludhiana: Sikh Missionary College. 

Gurditt Singh, Giani.ed. Singh Sabha Patrika: Path-Bodh Ank. Parts 1-3 (August-September-October 1979). 
Harbhajan Singh, Principal. Gurbani Sampadan Nirnay. Chandigarh: Satnam Parkashan, 1981. 
Harbhajan Singh, Principal. Jawab-ul-Jawab. [Amritsar: Sikh Missionary College] 

Harkeerat Singh and Inder Singh. Gurbani da Shudh Ucharan. Amritsar: Chief Khalsa Diwan, 1985. 
Harkeerat Singh and Inder Singh. Gurbani Ucharan-Smikhya. Amritsar: Adhiatmak Vichar Kendar, 1993. 
Jeet Singh, Giani. Gurbani da Shudh Ucharan. Bombay. 

Joginder Singh Talwara, Giani. Gurbani da Shudh Ucharan. Amritsar: Singh Brothers. 

Smikhya Shudh Gurbani Ucharan di. ed. Dr. Anokh Singh. Bathinda: Pub. author, 2000. 


Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary 



In this section we will have a look at the works related to the history and development of Gurmukhi lipi, the script 
used to write Sri Guru Granth Sahib. A few studies have been undertaken on this subject, but still compared to the 
other writing systems of North-India fairly little is known about the early stages in the development of this script. 
Still, the script holds great value for the people of Punjab, particularly the Sikhs. Nearly the whole of Sikh 
literature is written in this script, apart from some Persian documents. And for the past hundred years, the 
Gurmukhi script has attained the status as the premier script of Punjab, granted as the official script in the East- 


The studies of Gurmukhi script can trace their origin to the field works conducted by G.B. Singh in the 1930s. 
Before that the stories about the Gurmukhi script had remained hidden in the Janamsakhi literature. It was 
believed that Guru Angad Sahib, the second Guru of the Sikhs created this script, which implied that it was a 
'religious' script of the Sikhs. In 1935, G.B. Singh published a book that radically changed this view. His research 
was mainly based upon the discovery of two sites; a brick found inside a well in Gurdaspur district from the 10th 
century AD and a wall-writing dated 1490 AD found at the tomb of Rai Feroze at Hathor in Patiala. From these two 
findings G.B. Singh went on to suggest that '[the origin of] Gurmukhi script is not related to the Sikh Gurus, other 
than its present name.' These views created a debate among the Sikhs and in the years to come several views 
were presented in newspapers and some as booklets. 

A revised edition of G.B. Singh's book appeared in 1950, titled Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikas, published by 
Punjab University, Chandigarh. He has suggested that the Gurmukhi script was present before the Sikh Gurus, and 
it had evovled from the ancient scripts of North-India, such as Brahmi, Sharda and Gupta script. 

Following G.B. Singh, Kartar Singh Dakha (1948) presented his book on the subject giving a comparative study of 
Gurmukhi and Hindi script, Devanagri. And Sohan Singh Galautra published his work on the Punjabi writing 

Meanwhile, another important work titled Gurmukhi Lipi da Itihas appeared in 1953, written by the famous 
Punjabi scholar, Piara Singh Padam. Compared with G.B. Singh, who had conducted an archeological survey of 
Gurbani manuscripts and Gurmukhi writings, Padam focused upon the historical context in which Punjabi writing 
systems had evolved. His views also pointed that Gurmukhi had developed from ancient scripts, such as 
Ardhanagari and Sidha Matrika. These scripts were popular in Punjab and Sindh around 1000 AD, according to the 
Muslim scholar Al-Beruni's great work on the history of 10th century Punjab and North-India. 

Prof. Pritam Singh, a famous present-day scholar at Punjabi University, Patiala traced the origin of Gurmukhi to 
Sidha Matrika, a script used by Sidhas to write their religious literature. The main problem with Ardhanagari was 
that there was no inscriptions or manuscripts available in that script, and the view that Gurmukhi had evolved 
from these scripts was mainly based upon the writing of Al-Beruni. Meanwhile, scholars had been able to trace 
the signs of Sidha Matrika from Tibetian Buddhist texts and Pritam Singh based his views upon these findings. 


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ncient Gurmukhi script: Kala Singh Bedi, in his book on the development of writings systems 

(s a of the world, titled Lipi da Vikas (1995), supports the views 
Aw CAS Sees eae 
presented by Prof. Pritam Singh, G.B. Singh and Piara Singh Padam. 
@ wm fe ®@ w## JF 
However, Tarlochan Singh Bedi, who worked on the subject for 
a ¥ a ws three years receiving a scholarship, has conducted the most recent 
aq ¥ uw 8 study on this subject. His Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikas from 1999 is 
a scientific study of the origin of Gurmukhi, based upon original 
vo Q a >, m3 sources such as inscriptions and manuscripts. Apart from the 
v S W z z ‘Gurdaspur-brick', he uses Ikadshi Mahatam, the earliest written 
work of the Punjabi language probably from the 13th-14th century, 
< 6s Z on) $ and another 14th century writing Prem Kissa of Padamavat. He also 
< 6 3 e uses the inscriptions found in Chamba, one of the 'Hill States' east of 
Punjab. Tarlochan Singh Bedi suggests that Gurmukhi developed 
= Qi U A from Sharda, the script used in Kashmir and North-India. 
3 Ff &€ GT 6 
From the 10th century, regional differences start to appear between 
“3S G@BHu the Sharda used in Punjab, the Hill States (partly Himachal Pardesh) 
u = ugsiy and Kashmir. The regional Sharda script evolves from this stage till 
the 14th century, when it starts to appear in the form of Gurmukhi. 
aw ~m a bh Indian epigraphists call this stage Devasesha, while Bedi prefers the 
aoa = = (m) name Pritham Gurmukhi or Ancient Gurmukhi. Based upon these 

sources, he has been able to draw the script and construct its varan- 
TS Bedi, Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikas, p 88-89 : P 

Pritham Gurmukhi ; 10-14th century’ mala. 

Dr Prem Parkash Singh, a famous Punjabi linguist has also supported the view that Gurmukhi evovled from the 
Later Sharda, as suggested TS Bedi. It seems that the discussion about the origin of Gurmukhi has come to an end, 
and it has been accepted that the script occured before 1469. 


Gurbaksh (G.B.) Singh. Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikas. Chandigarh: Punjab University, 1950. 

Ishar Singh Tagh, Dr. Gurmukhi Lipi da Vigyamulak Adhiyan. Patiala: Jodh Singh Karamjit Singh. 

Kala Singh Bedi, Dr. Lipi da Vikas. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1995. 

Kartar Singh Dakha. Gurmukhi te Hindi da Takra. 1948. 

Piara Singh Padam, Prof. Gurmukhi Lipi da Itihas. Patiala: Kalgidhar Kalam Foundation Kalam Mandir, 1953. 
Prem Parkash Singh, Dr. "Gurmukhi di Utpati." Khoj Patrika, Patiala: Punjabi University. 

Pritam Singh, Prof. "Gurmukhi Lipi." Khoj Patrika. p.110, vol.36, 1992. Patiala: Punjabi University. 

Sohan Singh Galautra. Punjab dian Lipia. 

Tarlochan Singh Bedi, Dr. Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikas. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1999. 


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Literary studies of Sri Guru Granth Sahib are considered a part of the larger Punjabi literary studies. The three 
main universities of the region, Guru Nanak Dev University (Amritsar), Punjabi University (Patiala) and Panjab 
University (Chandigarh) have departments where research on Punjabi literature is conducted. Large sections of 
Gurbani literature are considered one of the earliest forms of Punjabi writing and have found their way into the 
degree curriculums. Lots of books have been written on the literary importance of Gurbani, however only a few 
works are of real value. 

The reason for this could be the difficulties students face in understanding Gurbani. Gurbani is written in a 
mixture of languages, filled with loanwords. And the medium used for conveying the Guru-Shabad is poetry. At 
the same time, the researchers also face difficulties when they have to study Gurbani as an object of literary 
analysis and not as a religious or scriptural work. Gurbani is considered the Guru of the Sikhs, however the 
researchers involved in such studies have to see Gurbani as a literary text. In this bibliography we look at some of 
the important works related to literary studies of Gurbani. 


The first major attempt to write a literary analysis of Gurbani was made by Dr Gopal Singh, a famous Sikh scholar. 
In 1958, he presented the work 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib di Sahitak Visheshta,' dealing with some of the important 
literary aspects of Gurbani. The work is still considered important in Punjabi literary circles and for a long time it 
was seen as the standard work on the subject. Dr Gopal Singh was also the first to translate Sri Guru Granth Sahib 
(1960) and another work titled 'A History of The Sikh People’ from 1979 has attached appreciation to his name. 
The translation was in English verse, and showed his keen interest of literary aspects of Gurbani. 

Meanwhile, Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, a famous Sikh encyclopedist had already written a work dealing primarily 
with rhetoric and prosody employed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The book titled Gur Shabad Alankar appeared in 
1925, 'Alankar' means ornamentation or decoration, and the author gives us an outline of different types of 
metaphors used to "decorate" Gurbani. 

A major work appeared in 1963, titled 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib da Sahitak Itihas' by Dr Taran Singh. The author, a 
major scholar of Punjabi literature and Guru Granth Sahib studies, gives a detailed outline of the literary 
development of Gurbani. Dr Taran Singh also published a monumental work in 1980 on the interpretive schools of 
Gurbani. His knowledge of both Gurbani and research methods was of outmost quality. This work (1963) presents 
a major turn of the historical studies of Punjabi literature. Others who have followed this tradition are Prof Sant 
Singh Sekhon (1990) who wrote a two-volument history of Punjabi literature, where the first volume is about 
Gurbani literature and Bhai Gurdas Ji's writings. All reference works on the history of Punjabi literature (Surinder 
Singh Kohli, Rattan Singh Jaggi, Dharam Singh, BS Ghumman) have considerable amounts of information on 
Gurbani literature. 

Other important works include Amarjit Singh's PhD thesis (unpublished) on the form of Gurbani literature from 
1980, Dr Mohinder Kaur Gill's 'Bani: Roop Parband' from 1991, and Dr Harbans Singh's 'Guru Nanak Dev di Kav- 
Kala' from 1985. The famous Punjabi historian, J.S. Grewal, wrote his work ‘Imagery in the Adi Granth' in 1986 
related to this subject. Surindar Singh Kohli's 'Guru Nanak: Jiwan Darshan Ate Kav-Kala' is also considered 


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Important Works 

Amarjit Singh. Adi Granth Vichli Kavita de Kav-Roop: Ik Alochnatmik Adhiyan. Chandigarh: Panjab University, 
1980. (Unpublished PhD thesis) 

Gill, Mohinder Kaur. Bani: Roop Parband. Delhi: National Book Shop, 1991. 

Gopal Singh. Sri Guru Granth Sahib di Sahitak Visheshta. Delhi: Punjab Akademi, 1958. 

Grewal, J.S. Imagery in the Adi Granth. Chandigarh: Punjab Prakashan, 1986. 

Harbans Singh. Guru Nanak Dev di Kav-Kala. Patiala: (Dr Gurcharan Singh) Punjabi University, 1985. 

Kohli, Surindar Singh. Guru Nanak: Jiwan Darshan Ate Kav-Kala. 

Nabha, Bhai Kahan Singh. Gur Shabad Alankar. 1925. 

Sekhon, Sant Singh. A History of Punjabi Literature. Vol. 1. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1990. 

Taran Singh. Sri Guru Granth Sahib da Sahitak Itihas. Amritsar: Fakir Singh and Sons, 1963. 

Other Works 

Bikram Singh Ghumman. Gurmat Kav Bibek. 

Bramhjagdish Singh. Guru Nanak Bani: Sahitak Paripekh. 

Gulwant Singh. Gurmat Sahib Chintan. 

(Dr) Jagjit Singh. Gurmat Sahit Vivechan. 

Jeet Singh Sheetal. Gurmat Sahit. 

Kala Singh Bedi. Guru Nanak Kav Kala. 

Kartar Singh Dakha. Guru Kavya Darshan. 

Shameer Singh. Guru Tegh Bahadur Jiwan Kavya Va Chintan (Hindi) 
Tarlok Singh Kanwal. Guru Nanak Da Kav Shastar. 



Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains writings coming from two sources; the sayings of the Guru Sahiban and those of 
the Bhagats. Among Sikhs, the term Bhagat (lit. devotee) has a special meaning. It is used for the saints of 
medieval India whose compositions occur in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Secondly, these saints were not Sikh Gurus, 
and according to the traditional (mystical) view, they were devotees (Bhagats) of Sikh Gurus. Sufi Baba Sheikh 
Farid is also considered one of the Bhagats. The fifteen Bhagats who contributed to Sri Guru Granth Sahib are: 
Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Trilochan, Bhagat Beni, Bhagat Ravidas, Bhagat Namdev, Bhagat Dhanna, Bhagat Jaidev, 
Bhagat Bhikhan, Bhagat Sainu, Bhagat Pipa, Bhagat Sadhana, Bhagat Ramanand, Bhagat Parmanand, Bhagat Sur 
Das and Bhagat Sheikh Farid. However sometimes, the Bhatts Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand, the bards who kept the 
Gurus' company and who recited panegyrics in their honour and who sang kirtan or devotional songs in their 
presence, and Bhai Mardana, Guru Nanak's lifelong Muslim companion who kept him company during his 
extensive travels, are also considered Bhagats. 


In this part we have look at some of the major works written about the famous Bhagats and their writings, called 
Bhagatan ki Bani (see SGGS:323). One of the main topics that have interested scholars is the importance of Bhagat- 
Bani and its relation to Gurbani. Why did Guru Sahiban include the Bani of Bhagats? What status does their Bani 


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hold? Sikhs believe that the writings of the Gurus as well as those of the Bhagats constitute one single body. And 
both the parts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib have equal validity, esteem and reverence. Little has been written on the 
subject, however scholars have presented varying views. 

Pandit Tara Singh Narotam (1822-1891), a major Nirmala scholar of his time, writes in Sri Gurmat Nirnaya Sagar 
that Guru Arjan Dev Sahib composed the entire Bhagat Bani keeping in mind "the thoughts of each individual 
Bhagat." This was a way of saying that those writings were like the Gurus' very own. Meanwhile, Bhai Santokh 
Singh Kavi (Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth) was of the opinion that the Bhagats had their compositions recorded 
themselves alongside Gurbani. He says that their souls appeared in person and Bhai Gurdas Ji, the scribe, saw 
them with his own eyes. These views have become part of the traditional view on Bhagat-Bani. And for Sikhs, 
Bhagat-Bani is equal to Gurbani, either Guru Sahiban or Bhagats themselves wrote that Bani. 

One of the earliest books that gives us information about the Bhagats was Max Arther Macauliffe's The Sikh 
Religion (1909), volume VI, that includes short bibliographical notes on various Bhagats. It is apparent from the 
work that Macaliffe has used the stories told by traditional Sikh scholars, Gianis and Bhais, to construct the 

Piara Singh Padam has also given short biographical information about the Bhagats in his Adi Granth Darshan. 
Shamsher Singh Puri's Bhagat Saints of Guru Granth Sahib (2001) is another introductory work on this subject. 

Meanwhile, Giani Gurdit Singh's Itihas Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1990) has detailed information on all Bhagats. Two 
major points of the books are that the Bhagat- Bani was incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib from the pothis 
scribed under the supervision of Guru Amar Dass, and secondly, that nearly all the Bhagats were direct disciples 
of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and not fore-runners. Giani Ji has throughout his book tried to prove that the Bhagats didn't 
live between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries, but at time of Guru Nanak. He even says that the Bani said to 
be written by Sheikh Farid was in fact written by Sheikh Ibrahim, a contemporary of Guru Sahib. These views 
have been criticized by some other scholars. 

Apart from the many important works written on Bhagat Kabir, the works Bhagat Nam Dev: Jiwan Te Rachna 
Sansar (biographical) by Sameer Singh and Bhagat Ravidas: Sarot Pustak (bibliographical) by Jasbir Singh Sabar 
are considered useful. 

A recently published book titled The Bhagats of the Guru Granth Sahib (2003) presented very different views. 
Pashaura Singh writes that Bhagat Bani was included into Sri Guru Granth Sahib not because of its coherence with 
the Sikh teachings, but in order to provide a contrast with the core Sikh teachings. He argues that Bhagat Bani 
was included merely so that it could be rebutted by the Guru Sahibans own writings. The work has not caught so 
much attention in Sikh circles, and but it is certain that it represents quite a contrast from the largely accepted 
view that Bhagat-Bani is equal in status to Gurbani. It is uncertain if the view would be accepted by other scholars. 

Giani Gurdit Singh. Itihas Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Bhagat Bani Bhag, Vol. 1. 2000 [1990]. 
Jasbir Singh Sabar. Bhagat Ravidas: Sarot Pustak. 
Max Arther Macauliffe. The Sikh Religion, Volume VI (Bhagats). Oxford University Press, 1909. 
Pashaura Singh. The Bhagats of the Guru Granth Sahib : Sikh self-definition and the Bhagat Bani. Delhi: OUP, 2003. 
Piara Singh Padam. Adi Granth Darshan: Sankept Jankari Bhagatan Santan di. 


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Sameer Singh. Bhagat Nam Dev: Jiwan Te Rachna Sansar. 

Shamsher Singh Puri. Bhagat Saints of Guru Granth Sahib. Delhi, 2001. 



In this section we will look at some of the major works concerning Gurmat Sangeet, or Sikh Sacred Music. A major 
portion of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is composed to musical notes and meters. And consequently, for centuries the 
Sikhs have recited and sung Gurbani according to their respectived raags deliniated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 
Gurmat Sangeet can be categorized as a school within Classical Indian music system. However, it has integrated 
elements from Punjabi folk tunes, the Indo-Persian Rababi tradition and the South-Indian (Dakhani) or Karnatak 
classical school. 

The distinct usage of music as part of the Sikh religious practice makes musicological studies an important part of 
this bibliography. There is a wide range body of authored works dedicated to the musicological aspects of 
Gurbani. In this bibliography, the following division is presented: introductory works, studies of Gurbani raags, 
studies of Sikh Kirtan and lastly indepth studies of Gurmat Sangeet. However, the numerous guides pertaining 

to musical instruments and various Kirtan books, such as editions of the Amrit Kirtan Gutka, have been excluded 
from this list. 


In the modern periods, we can trace the origins of musicological studies of Gurbani to the works for Dr Charan 
Singh and his celebrated grandson, Bhai Vir Singh. Dr Charan Singh Ji's Gurbani Sangeet Nirnaya was one of the 
first works on this subject. In his Bani Beora, he has given interesting details about Gurbani Raags, however, in the 
Nirnaya, other aspects of Gurmat Sangeet have also been commented on. Bhai Vir Singh Ji concluded his Gurmat 
Sangeet 'Par Hun Tak Mili Khoj' in 1958. It is regarded as a seminal work in this field. Other important 
introductory studies include Gobind Singh Mansukhani's 'Indian Classical Music and Sikh Kirtan', which is also 
available online, and 'Sikh Sacred Music' published by the Sikh Sacred Music Society in 1967. Gyani Dayal Singh's 
'Gurmat Sangeet Sikhiya' and Sardar Harmandir Singh's 'Gurmat Sangeet' (Bhaag Pehla) are also works of a 
similar vein. 

The second category of musicological studies exclusively discuss the Raags used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 
Devinder Singh 'Vidhyarti's Gurbani de Raag' is a useful work. However, Dr Gurnam Singh's 'Sikh Musicology 
(2001)' covers 285 pages with detailed articles on the 31 main Raags of Gurbani, including the 31 related 

ones, adding up to a total of 62 chapters. The studies related to Gurbani Kirtan deal with the concept of 'kirtan', 
besides the traditional and varying styles of performing, and its socio-religious aspects. In this respect, Devinder 
Singh 'Vidyarthi's Kirtan’, 'Sandharabh ate Sarup' and Bhai Mehar Singh Raagi's 'Kirtan Parmaan' are important. 
Sarbjot Kaur's article 'Kirtan in Sikhism! discusses the practical and metaphysical aspects of Kirtan. 

In the past decades Gurmat Sangeet has been institutionalised as a subject, that can be studied at various 
universities and colleges in Punjab, where the candidates can also pursue degrees and diplomas. Following this 
development, some attempts had been made to proclaim what the traditional or authentic Gurmat Sangeet 
wasas based of Gurbani Raags, involved and how it differes from the other forms of Keertan. Indepth studies of 


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Gurmat Sangeet, such as the two-volumed work of Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Gurcharan Singh of Punjabi 
University of Patiala, are useful in this respect. Other important works are Gyani Dayal Singh's 'Gurmat Sangeet 
Saagar 'in four volumes, the two-volumed work of Bhai Giani Singh of Abbotabad with the same title. Also 
interesting is Sarwan Singh 'Gandharav's Sur Simran Sangeet 'in six volumes. 

In these works, the concepts related to Gurmat Sangeet such as raag, dharna, poetic forms, rahaao, gharu, tal, jati, 
dhuni, and the tradition of chaunkis and the usage of Gurbani Kirtan instruments have been commented upon. 


Avtar Singh, Bhai, and Bhai Gurcharan Singh. Gurbani Sangeet Praacheen Reet Ratanavali. 2 vols. Patiala: Punjabi 

Charan Singh, Dr. Gurbani Sangeet Nirnaya. Amritsar: Gurbani Press. 

Dayal Singh, Gyani. Gurmat Sangeet Saagar. 4 vols. New Delhi: Guru Nanak Vidya Bhandaar Trust. 
Dayal Singh, Gyani. Gurmat Sangeet Sikhiya. New Delhi: Guru Nanak Vidya Bhandaar Trust. 
Devinder Singh Vidyarthi. Gurbani de Raag. 

Devinder Singh Vidyarthi. Kirtan: Sandharabh ate Sarup. 

Gian Singh (Abbotabad), Bhai. Gurmat Sangeet Sagar. 2 vols. 

Gurnam Singh. Sikh Musicology: Sri Guru Granth Sahib And Hymns of the Human Spirit. New Delhi: Kanishka, 

Harmandir Singh, Gurmat Sangeet (Bhaag Pehla). Ludhiana: Gurdwara Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha. 
Mansukhani, Gobind Singh. Indian Classical Music and Sikh Kirtan. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH, 1982. 
Mehar Singh Raagi, Bhai. Kirtan Parmaan. Amritsar: Bhai Chattar Singh Jiwan Singh. 

Sarbjot Kaur, "Kirtan in Sikhism." Studies in Sikhism and Comparative Religion (New Delhi) 9, no.1 (Apr 1990): 

Sarwan Singh 'Gandhrav', Sant. Sur Simran Sangeet. 6 vols. 

Sikh Sacred Music. New Delhi: The Sikh Sacred Music Society, 1967. 

Vir Singh, Bhai. Gurmat Sangeet Par Hun Tak Mili Khoj. Amritsar: Chief Khalsa Diwan, 1958. 


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In this part of the bibliography, we will look at some of the major dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances and 
similar reference works related to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The art of lexicography (koshkari) has been part of the 
Sikh tradition from the earliest centuries of its origin. Early lexical writings are found in the form of Gurbani 
glossaries (paryaye) and dictionaries (kosh), In the modern era, Sikh scholars have followed the Western 
lexicographical norm, where the terms are arranged either alphabetically or systematically. Following the need to 
undertake proper Gurbani text analysis, the Sikh scholars have produced excellent indexes and concordances. A 
few encyclopedic works have also come forward. A complete survey of reference literature related to Gurbani is 
found in Guru Granth Sahib di Koshkari by Dr Harnam Singh Shan (1994). 


'Paryaye', meaning a synonym, is the earliest form known to Sikh lexicography. It was a popular title for 
glossaries explaining terms and difficult words used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Thus, these glossaries can be 
viewed as the prototexts used by scholars to scribe fullscale translations of Gurbani. This is the reason that the 
paryayes are also studied as part of the early exegetical tradition of Gurbani. The paryayes differ from standard 
dictionaries in that the inscribed terms are not arranged alphabetically, but in the order they appear in Sri Guru 
Granth Sahib. This way the readers can read Gurbani, and check the meanings of difficult words in the order they 
appear in Gurbani. Meanwhile, most of the paryayes remain unpublished, a few important titles should be 
mentioned. Published glossaries include Bhai Daya Singh's Paryaye Sri Guru Granth Sahibji-ke (1887), Sant Sute 
Parkash's Paryaye Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahibji-de (1898) and Bhai Sham Singh's Paryaye Shri Guru Granth Sahibji 

Another early lexicographical tradition, which existed before the Sikh scholars started following the modern 
norms of dictionary writing, is that of the kosh writings, which literally means treasure and is often used for 
dictionary. Such works include Pandit Tara Singh Naratom's Guru Girarath kosh (1885), Vishnu Das Udasi's Adi- 
Granth da kosh (1892), Sadhu Bishan Das Udasi' Kosh Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahibji (1898) and Gurmukh Singh 
Nirmala's Sri Guru Granth Kosh. Narotam's Guru Girarath kosh, consisting of 717 large-size pages, is regarded as 
the first-ever complete dictionary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which formed a valuable basis for subsequent efforts. 
As the need for lexicographical words increased, in the coming decades several important works were published. 
Some of these are still considered relavent today, such as Bhai Vir Singh and Giani Hazara Singh's Sri Guru Granth 
Sahib Kosh (1889, 1939), Giani Lal Singh Sangrur's Kosh Adi Granth Sahib (1949) and Sodhi Teja Singh's Sri Gurbani 
Parkash (1953). 

After the establishment of the Punjabi University at Patiala, several dictionaries and other lexical works have 

been produced. Piara Singh Padam's Guru Granth Vichaar Kosh (1969) and Dr Gurcharan Singh's Sri Guru Granth 
Kosh (2003). 

Apart from the regular dictionaries, several special dictionaries have come forward. These includes synonymous, 
proverbs, glossaries of philosophical terminology and other subject dictionaries. See details in the following 

A number of bilingual dictionaries have also been produced. C. Shackle's A Guru Nanak Glossary (1980) and 


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Surinder Singh Kohli's Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib (1996) should be mentioned here. Both works provide 
readers with English meanings of Gurbani terms, and are especially useful for non-Punjabi readers. 

Considering the large numbers of dictionaries and subject dictionaries, it should be mentioned that most readers 
only need a few of them. For Punjabi readers who are only looking for short meanings of Gurbani terms, 
Gurcharan Singh (2003) is absolutely commendable. For those who are looking for deeper meanings, perhaps with 
some notes on the origins of the words, Bhai Vir Singh and Bhai Hazara Singh's Sri Guru Granth Kosh is suitable. 
For English readers, Surinder Singh Kohli (1996) is recommended. 

For scholars involved in text analysis or common readers who want to locate Gurbani Shabads, Akali Kaur Singh's 
Sri Guru Shabad Ratan Parkash (1923) or Gurcharan Singh's Adi Granth Shabad Anukramnika (1999) are 
recommended. For Gurbani quotations, Pritpal Singh Bindra's Thus Sayeth Gurbani (1997), containing around 
10,000 quotations, is considered useful. However, with the development of digital technologies and Gurbani 
search softwares (see section 8), the usage of these works has decreased. 

Bhai Kahan Singh 'Nabha' Mahan Kosh (1930) is still considered the standard reference work on Sikh literature. 
However, the recently published Guru Granth Vishavkosh, the encyclopedia compiled by Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi, 
which contains nearly 1,700 entries covering more than 1000 pages, is another milestone in the field of Gurbani 
lexicography. Meanwhile, the two-volumed Nirukat Sri Guru Granth Sahib is also an important work. An 
ambitious project, designed as an etymological dictionary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Nirukat was left 
unfinished by Balbir Singh. Presently, the work is carried on by scholars such as Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi, based at 
the Bhai Balbir Singh Sahitya Kendra located at Dehra Dun. 


Bishan Das Udasi, Sadhu. Kosh Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahibji. Amritsar. 1898. 2 vols. 

Gurcharan Singh, Dr. Sri Guru Granth Kosh. Patiala: Punjabi University, 2003. 2 vols. Available online. 
Gurmukh Singh, Nirmala. Sri Guru Granth Kosh. Amritsar: Jawahar Singh Kirpal Singh. 120p. 

Hazara Singh, Giani [ed Bhai Vir Singh]. Sri Guru Granth kosh. Amritsar: Khalsa Tract Society, 1889. 2 vols. 
Bhai Vir Singh thoroughly revised and enlarged this Kosh. Published in 1939 as a single volume consisting of 1198 
by Khalsa Samachar, Amritsar. Presently the dictionary is being published by Bhai Vir Singh Sahit Sadan (New 

Lal Singh Sangur, Giani. Kosh Adi Granth Sahib. Patiala: Janak Pustak Bhandar, 1949. 

Piara Singh Padam, Prof. Gurbani Kosh. Patiala: Sardar Sahit Bhavan, 1960. 

Tara Singh Narotam, Pandit. Guru Girarath kosh. Patiala: Darbar Patiala, 1885. 717p. 

Teja Singh, Sodhi. Sri Gurbani Parkash. Amritsar: S.G.P.C, 1953. 

Vishnu Das, Udasi. Adi-Granth da kosh. Amritsar. 1892. 

Bilingual Dictionaries 

Chanda Singh, Giani Bhai. Sri Guru Granth Sahibji-ke madh se paryaye Farsi padan de jo ati kathan the. Amritsar. 

Shackle, Christopher. A Guru Nanak Glossary. London: SOAS, University of London, 1981. 

S.S. Kohli. Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1996. 354p. 

Also see, by the same author, 'Dictionary of Mythological References of Guru Granth Sahib' (Singh Brothers, 1999 
2nd ed.). 


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Special Dictionaries 

Daya Singh, Bhai. Paryaye Sri Guru Granth Sahibji-ke. Amritsar. 1887. 

Gurbaksh Singh Kesri. Sankhya Kosh. Ludhiana: Punjabi Sahit Akademi, 1961. 

Kala Singh Bedi, Dr. Guru Nanak Shabad Ratnakar. Patiala: Language Department. 

Kirpal Singh (Singh Sahib), Giani. Sam-Arth Kosh. Amritsar. 1969. 

Lal Singh Sangrur, Giani. Guru Granth Sidhant Sangreh. Amritsar: Gurmat Press (Bawa Budh Singh Press), 1953. 
Mehtab Singh, Bhai. Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji vic ditte nawan te thawan da kosh. Amritsar: Guru Khalsa Press, 
1928. 352p. 

Mohan Singh Vaid, Bhai. Gurmat Akhéta. Tarn Taran: n.p., 1927. 

Parminder Singh Kranti. Gurbani Kathan Kosh. 

Piara Singh Padam, Prof. Guru Granth Vichaar Kosh. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1969. 

Ram Singh 'Bundala'. Gurbani Aduti Kosh. Amritsar: Partap Singh Sundar Singh, 1922. 469p. 

Sewa Singh 'Sewak'. Gurbani Sankhya Kosh. Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 1971. 

Sham Singh, Bhai. Paryaye Shri Guru Granth Sahibji. Amritsar: Narain Singh, 1936. 785p. 

Sohan Singh Seetal, Giani. Gurbani vich Puranik Bhagat te Patar. Lahore Book Shop: Ludhiana, 1985. 

Sri Guru Granth Sahib vich Buddhi-mata te Akhan. Amritsar: Khalsa Tract Society, 1919. 

S.S. Kohli, and Wadhawa Singh (ed.) Gurbani Akhan ate Akhota. Patiala: Language Department, 1972. 

Sute Parkash, Sant. Paryaye Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahibji-de. Amritsar. 1898. 

Concordances, Quotations and Indexes 

Ameer Singh (ed.) Tuk Tatkara Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Patiala: Language Department, 1999. 

Gurcharan Singh, Dr (ed.) Adi Granth Shabad Anukramnika. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1999. 2 vols. 

Kaur Singh, Akali. Sri Guru Shabad Ratan Parkash. Peshawar: Coronation Press, 1923. 736p. 

Also known as Gurbani Tuk Tatkara or 'Index of Sri Guru Granth Sahib’. 

Piara Singh Padam, Prof. Guru Granth Sanket Kosh. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1977. 

Pritpal Singh Bindra. Thus Sayeth Gurbani (References and Quotations from Gurbani). Ludhiana: Guru Gobind 
Singh Study Circle, 1997. 

Encyclopedic and Other Lexical Works 

Balbir Singh, Bhai. Nirukat Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Patiala: Punjabi University, 1975. 

Incomplete etymological dictionary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in two volumes. 

Kahan Singh 'Nabha’, Bhai. [Gur Shabad Ratnakar] Mahan Kosh. Amritsar: Granth Sudarshan Press, 1930. 3338p. 
Also see by the same author Naam Mala Kosh. Amritsar: Sudarshan Press, 1939. 69p. 

Rattan Singh Jaggi, Dr. Guru Granth Vishavkosh. Patiala: Punjabi University, 2000. 2 vols. 492+510p. 

S.S. Kohli. Conceptual Encyclopaedia of Guru Granth Sahib. Delhi: Manohar, 1992. Out of print. 


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In this part of the bibliography, we will look at some online sites and softwares, which can be used for Gurbani 
searching purposes. In the past, scholars made great efforts to make concordances and indexes of canonical texts, 
such as the Bible, Vedas or Homer's Iliad. The purpose of such works was to help students and scholars in their 
research of the these texts. However, in the modern days, computer technology has taken over this domain. 
Advanced searching websites and proffesional softwares have been developed for this purpose. Scholars such as 
Winand M. Callewaert use text analyzing programs to study the writings of Bhagat Kabir. In the last decade, 
several such programs related to Sri Guru Granth Sahib have also been made. However, this has helped both 
advanced scholars and common readers, who want to locate Gurbani Shabads or find specific quotations. Ulike 
other programs, the softwares related to Gurbani are mainly the products of devotion by Sikh computer 
engineers, who have distributed them freely or at low prices. 

Gurbani Software 

Probably the first such program was the Ik Onkar Bani System, a package of four floppy disks from 1994 developed 
by Balwant Singh Uppal, an electrical engineer based in Australia. The system has the original Sri Guru Granth 
Sahib (Adi Granth) in Gurmukhi, with ability to check meanings of every word in Punjabi. 

A year later in 1995, a CD-ROM named Scriptures and the Heritage of the Sikhs appeared. Developed by Preet 
Mohan Singh Kapoor and Bhupinder Singh, who are computer engineers based in the Silicon Valley, California. 
The CD provides English translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Gurbachan Singh Talib, formerly literary studies 
scholar at Punjabi University, Patiala. 

Another software produced in the same year is the Gurbani Informant, which is a package of four floppy disks 
developed by CadCON, New Delhi. It contains Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Gurmukhi, along with Roman 

Meanwhile, the hitherto biggest contribution is the Gurbani CD that first appeared in 1995. Later versions with 
neccesary updates have been available at the website The man behind this project is Kulbir 
Singh Thind, a physician from California. The main contribution is the development of Gurmukhi fonts, that are 
perfectly suitable for Gurbani. The CD contains numerous files related to Sri Guru Granth Sahib; among them are 
the English translations of Sant Singh Khalsa, a pediatrician from Phoenix, Arizona, with original Gurmukhi, 
besides Devanagari and Roman transliterations. In the recent versions, the Shahmukhi/Farsi edition by the 
Toronto-based Kirpal Singh Pannu has also been added. The CD also contains a word-index (shabad 
anukramanika) and a line-index (tuk-tatkara). Gurbani Keertan and Nitnem Bani files are also avialable. 

The Gurbani CD has also some external files such as the online version of Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha's Gur Shabar 
Ratnakar Mahan Kosh or the Encyclopedia of Sikh literature, made available by Bhai Baljinder Singh of Rara Sahib, 
the online version of Prof. Sahib Singh's Guru Granth Darpan by S. Avtar Singh and Davinder Kaur Dhami, Dr 
Gurcharan Singh's Sri Guru Granth Kosh and the Maansarovar, a document containing 7000 quotations by Dr 
Kulwant Singh. 

The Gurbani Researcher CD-ROM, developed by Joginder Singh Alhuwalia, a petroleum research engineer and 
Gurjot Singh, a computer engineer appeared in 1998. The CD contains Sant Singh Khalsa's English translation. 


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However, the CD contains an advanced search engine with two options; a normal or correct spelling search and a 
‘fuzzy' word, that is words without laga-matra search. 

Another important work that has been accepted by the SGPC is the Encyclopedia of Sikhism. The CD-ROM 
developed by Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, a former civil servant in Vancouver, BC, appeared in 1998. It contains Sant 
Singh Khalsa's English translations, besides a lexicon related to Sikhism. 

Another interesting software is the SikhiToTheMax Gurbani Searcher, which is still under development. A beta 
version is available at WIN Downloads. The software provides an offline version of the SikhiToTheMax website, 
with an advanced search engine, with search abilities in both Gurmukhi and English. 

The latest software available online is the 2005 version of Isher Micro Media, developed by Bhai Baljinder Singh of 
Rara Sahib. The software can be downloaded from or can also be ordered as a CD-ROM. According 
to the website makers, all databases of the software are the collective effort of Kubir Singh Thind, Dr Gurcharan 
Singh and Bhai Baljinder Singh. 

The Isher Micro Media contains Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Bhai Gurdas Ji's writings consisting of Kabits and 
Vaaran, besides English-Punjabi translations by Manmohan Singh, Guru Granth Darpan by Prof. Sahib Singh. The 
software also contains the famous Faridkot Wala Teeka, the first complete commentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 
Apart from this, Bhai Santokh Singh's legendary writings Sri Nanak Parkash and Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth are 
also part of the project. The Gurbani search engine, similar to the Gurbani Researcher with normal and 'fuzzy' 
search is also available. Another speciality of the software is the ability to copy a word from Gurbani and locate its 
meanings in Mahan Kosh or Sri Guru Granth Kosh, which have also been made available. It is for sure that no 
other software has had so much to offer in just one package! And unlike the other softwares, the Isher Micro 
Media is perfectly suitable for Punjabi users. 

Another very interesting project is the Punjabi word processor, known as Akhar. The software has been under 
development mode, however it was released online at Among numerous Punjabi related functions 
such as bilingual Punjabi dictionaries and Punjabi spell checker, it contains a powerfull Text Analyser, which can 
be useful for scholars researching Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

Gurbani Websites : provides online version of Sant Singh Khalsa's English translations and an advanced search 
engine. : provides online version of Sant Singh Khalsa's English translations and an advanced 
search engine, apart from Sri Dasam Granth and Bhai Gurdas Ji's writings. The users can chose a number of 
Gurbani translations and commentaries. A search engine for the Mahan Kosh is also available. : provides online version of Sant Singh Khalsa's English translations with roman 
transliteration and an advanced search engine. Still under development mode. 

www, : provides online version of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib with English translation and Devanagari 
transliteration, besides a search engine. : work under process to digitalise the Bhai Manmohan Singh Punjabi and English 
translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 


Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji eLibrary : provides the online version of Gurbani CD. Numerous files have been made available for 
download, apart from a number of Gurmukhi fonts with complete instructions. : provides the online version of Prof Sahib Singh's Gurbani exegesis known as Sri 
Guru Granth Darpan, originally published in 10 volumes. : provides the online version of Isher Micro Media. The software can be downloaded from here. 
Among various important writings, Bhai Santokh Singh's Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth and Sri Nanak Parkash have 
been made available as PDFs., : provides beta version of SikhiToTheMax Gurbani Searcher software, apart from 
Gurmukhi Fonts pack that contains the major fonts used online. 


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