What's in it?
The content of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji includes the teachings and hymns of the first five Sikh Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Angad Dev Ji, the second Sikh Guru, wrote these down and the third Guru, Guru Amar Das Ji, added to these.
An important feature in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the Lavan, which plays a prominent role in Sikh wedding ceremonies and is commonly recited by the bridge and groom. There are four verses, each composed by the Guru Ram Das Ji.
The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, collected these songs and teachings into the Adi Granth, which was dubbed the Guru Granth Sahib after the death of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
What form does the Guru take?
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in Punjabi, the language native to the Punjab region of India. It is forbidden to use the Holy Book in any other language for the purpose of Sikh worship.
Similarly, any reproduction of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji must have 1430 pages exactly, and the book is treated with reverence in the Sikh community.
How is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji treated?
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is treated much the same as the human gurus were previously. In the evening, it is put to bed in its own room in the Gurdwara.
At the beginning of the day, the Granthi (the appointed reader of the scriptures) and other Sikhs make a procession to lead the Guru Granth Sahib Ji into the Diwan Hall of the Gurdwara, where they rest it on the Manji Sahib, which is a small platform reserved for the Guru. The Diwan Hall is where the ceremony takes place.
It is never allowed to touch the ground – which bears a similarity to the treatment of the American flag – and Sikhs do not physically turn their back on it. While it's being read, the Granthi waves a special animal hair fan called a chauri over the pages as a sign of respect.