Sikh Hymns Illuminate Creation and Creator

Sikh guru granth sahib maharaj wikicommons

Highly venerated, the Guru Granth Sahib is the central religious text of Sikhism. It is regarded by Sikhs to be the “living” embodiment of the light, or “jyot” of the ten Sikh gurus, and is considered as the final and perpetual guru. Composed between 1469 and 1708, the Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of hymns, or “shabad” describing God’s qualities, and teaches the importance of meditating on God’s “nām,” or holy name.

Originally composed of hymns from the first five Sikh gurus, or masters, it also included hymns from 15 other venerated saints, or bhagats. It was compiled by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjun (1563–1606), and was called the Adi Granth. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, added Guru Tegh Bahadur’s 115 hymns to the Adi Granth, and this second compilation became known as Guru Granth Sahib. Upon completion, Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, and upon his death many copies were published and distributed.

The Earth is a Gift From God

A master musical interpreter of the traditional Sikh hymns (shabad), Dya Singh is acknowledged as the most significant singer/musician in the world today of the Sikh mystical musical tradition. His words are instrumental in helping non Sikhs appreciate the environmental aspect of Sikhism:

“Though in essence the Earth is a gift from God, it is also a gift which could be taken away by Him whenever He wishes. Humankind is requested to make use of it but also not to abuse it because it does not belong to us, just as nothing belongs to us. Sikh thought also looks upon selfless service towards humankind, which also means selfless service in looking after the eco-system of this planet, as the rent we pay for being gifted this wonderful life.” [Dya Singh, Autumn 2010]

Creation and Creator in the Sikh Faith

Continuing in our Saturday series on Creation and Creator in the diverse faiths of humankind, the Sikh hymns are an inspirational resource. Combined with public domain images to provide illustration, these holy scriptures can provide a glimmer of understanding to those unfamiliar with this faith.

Familiarity is the first pillar of friendship, providing support for a strong relationship. From friendship, the steps to peace are shortened, and soon we find ourselves walking hand in hand, joined by a common appreciation for creation and Creator.

The teachings and hymns from the ten gurus make it clear that Sikhs regard the Earth as nurturer, teacher, and servant – to be utilized, venerated, and protected. All who are faithful to the Creator, no matter through which faith, can easily identify with the profound messages offered in the following beautiful verses of the Guru Granth Sahib:

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“The eco system, the environment, the atmosphere is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all.” [page 8, line 10, JapJi of Guru Nanak] (NASA via Flickr, edited)

 
 
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“The earth is Your servant, a slave at Your Feet.” [page 130, line 14, Raag Maajh: Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji] (ecosikh.org via Flickr)

 
 
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“To die and to live, He gave us the earth, but we have forgotten these blessings.” [page 877, line 11, Raag Raamkalee: Sir Guru Nanak Dev Ji] (pixabay)

 
 
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“The sky and the earth shall pass away; He alone is permanent.” [page 64, line 11, Raag Sriraag: Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji](photopics.net, edited)

 
(Sikh information and scripture source: Faith Ecology Network, also wikipedia, and top image source wikicommons)

For more beautiful verses and images, see the previous articles in this series:

Water’s Beauty in Nature and Islam

Creation & Stewardship in the Hebrew & Christian Bible With Images

Creation in the Christian New Testament Bible

more to come, God Willing…

Please feel free to download and share these images, and don’t forget to hit the social media share buttons, as well. Also, please leave a comment below with your favorite verses on Creation and be sure to include its source, so it can be considered in an upcoming article in this series. We are hoping to cover every faith possible, and your help is very welcome!
 
 
 
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About the Author

Aisha Abdelhamid (Birth-name Kathleen Vail) is a freelance lifestyle and environmental science writer currently living in Vancouver, BC. Her interests include environmental conservation, climate science, renewable energy, faith-based environmental activism, sustainable economics, corporate social responsibility, creative lifestyles, and healthy living.