Bibliography of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Bibliography of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Part 1: An Introduction

Part 2: General and Historic Studies - A: General Studies

Part 3: General and Historic Studies - B: Studies of Ancient Gurbani manuscripts (Puratan Biran bare

Part 4: Interpretations and Commentaries: A – Studies of interpretive traditions

Part 5: Interpretations and Commentaries: B - Commentaries and exegesis in Punjabi

Part 6: Interpretations and Commentaries: C – Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Part 7: Conceptual Studies:  A – Theological and Metaphysical Studies

Part 8: Conceptual Studies: B - Ethics and Social Philosophy

Part 9: Conceptual Studies: C - Mystical and Mythological Writing

Part 10: Linguistic Studies: A - Gurbani Grammars

Part 11: Linguistic Studies:  B – Studies of Gurbani pronunciation (ucharan)

Part 12: Linguistic Studies: C - Studies of Gurmukhi Script

Part 13: Literary Studies: B – General

Part 14: Literary Studies: Part B - Bhagats and Bhagat-Bani

Part 15: Musicological Studies

Part 16: Reference Literature

Part 17: Gurbani Search Tools


Part 1: An Introduction

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 software.

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.



Part 2: General and Historic Studies - A: General Studies


 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 Sahib.   

 Giani Mahã 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 Mahã 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 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, 1945.  

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, 1961. 

By the same author, see also Sikhism and Guru Granth Sahib. Delhi: National Book Shop, 1990. 

Mahã Singh, Giani. Param Pavitar Adi Bir da Sankalan Kal. Amritsar: Khalsa Samachar, 1954. 

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

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.  


Part 3: General and Historic Studies - B: Studies of Ancient Gurbani manuscripts (Puratan Biran bare)


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 traditions.

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 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 Mahã 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 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.
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 valõ 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.


Part 4: Interpretations and Commentaries: A – Studies of interpretive traditions


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.

 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 allfall 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, 1989. 

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. 

Rajinder Kaur. "Sikh Exegetical Writings: A study of the various traditions." Diss. Punjabi University, Patiala, 1998. 

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.

Part 5: Interpretations and Commentaries: B - Commentaries and exegesis in Punjabi


 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.

 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 traditionalkatha-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)

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) 


On:Available online


Part 6: Interpretations and Commentaries: C – Translations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib


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 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)


Part 7: Conceptual Studies:  A – Theological and Metaphysical Studies


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.

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].


Part 8: Conceptual Studies: B - Ethics and Social Philosophy


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 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'.


Part 9: Conceptual Studies: C - Mystical and Mythological Writing


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 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


Part 10: Linguistic Studies: A - Gurbani Grammars


 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 MSS.NO.Cod.Panj.3.

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 'Shabadãtar Lagã-Matrã 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 Lagã-Matrã 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 Lagã-Matrãs 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 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 Apabhrãsha. 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 pronunciation.

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 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 Lagã-Matrã di Vilakhanta. 3rd ed. Ludhiana: Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Trust, 2003.

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. Shabadãtar Lagã-Matrã de Gujje Bhed. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee, 1922.

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.


Part 11: Linguistic Studies:  B – Studies of Gurbani pronunciation (ucharan)



 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 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 debate.


 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 Apabhrãshas, these langauges had 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.


Part 12: Linguistic Studies: C - Studies of Gurmukhi Script


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-Punjab.


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 systems.

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.

Kala Singh Bedi, in his book on the development of writings systems of the world, titled Lipi da Vikas (1995), supports the views presented by Prof. Pritam Singh, G.B. Singh and Piara Singh Padam.

However, Tarlochan Singh Bedi, who worked on the subject for three years receiving a scholarship, has conducted the most recent study on this subject. His Gurmukhi Lipi da Janam te Vikasfrom 1999 is a scientific study of the origin of Gurmukhi, based upon original sources such as inscriptions and manuscripts. Apart from the 'Gurdaspur-brick', he uses Ikadshi Mahatam, the earliest written work of the Punjabi language probably from the 13th-14th century, and another 14th century writing Prem Kissa of Padamavat. He also uses the inscriptions found in Chamba, one of the 'Hill States' east of Punjab. Tarlochan Singh Bedi suggests that Gurmukhi developed from Sharda, the script used in Kashmir and North-India.

From the 10th century, regional differences start to appear between the Sharda used in Punjab, the Hill States (partly Himachal Pardesh) and Kashmir. The regional Sharda script evolves from this stage till the 14th century, when it starts to appear in the form of Gurmukhi. Indian epigraphists call this stage Devasesha, while Bedi prefers the name Pritham Gurmukhi or Ancient Gurmukhi. Based upon these sources, he has been able to draw the script and construct its varan-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 Tãgh, 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 Lipiã.

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

Part 13: Literary Studies: B – General


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 important.

 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.


Part 14: Literary Studies: Part B - Bhagats and Bhagat-Bani


 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 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 biography. 

 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.

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

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


Part 15: Musicological Studies


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 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 University.

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, 2001.

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): 105-112.

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.


Part 16: Reference literature


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 (1936).

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 passages.

A number of bilingual dictionaries have also been produced. C. Shackle's A Guru Nanak Glossary (1980) and 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 Delhi).
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. 1894.
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.).

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 Akhótã. 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 Akhãn. Amritsar: Khalsa Tract Society, 1919.
S.S. Kohli, and Wadhawa Singh (ed.) Gurbani Akhãn ate Akhótã. 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.


Part 17: Gurbani Search Tools


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 transliteration.

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. 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 W!N 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. : 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. : 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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