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Sikh community celebrates Guru Granth Sahib's 400th anniversary

In this year 2004, the Sikhs all over the world are celebrating the quadricentennial of the Guru Granth Sahib.

In this year 2004, the Sikhs all over the world are celebrating the quadricentennial of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Although the message of Guru Granth Sahib is eternal, the 400th year of its celebration at the Golden Temple in Amritsar is a special occasion and a golden opportunity to reorient oneself to the Guru's teaching. Guru Granth Sahib is a treasure trove not only for Sikhs, but for the whole of humanity, which tells us the precepts of noble living. The value of tolerance, harmony and peace that it enshrines are as relevant today as they were four centuries ago.

The Guru Granth Sahib, compiled by the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, contained the hymns of Gurus along with most of the saints and holy men of medieval India and the far east. He installed this scripture in the Sikhs' central shrine, the Golden Temple, on Sept. 1, 1604.

The majority of the language of Guru Granth Sahib is the Punjabi dialect prevalent at that time; some hymns are also found in Persian, Hindi, Marathi Sanskrit as well as Arabic. All these hymns are written in Punjabi script known as Gurmukhi, popularized by the second Guru, Guru Angad Dev.

The Guru Granth Sahib has 1,430 pages. Each page contains in bold print 18 or 19 lines. The hymns have been laid but in a very scientific and well-planned manner devised by Guru Arjun Dev. The hymns have been arranged according to the melody (Raga) in which they are meant to be sung and arranged on the meter of the poems themselves.

The Guru Granth Sahib is also translated into all major languages, including English. The Gurus were arguably among the great reformers that the world has seen and what they taught was of relevance to all human beings and all ages. Unfortunately, lesser mortals remember their words but not their message.

At a time when there are schisms even among those who are otherwise committed to the Holy Book, there is need for deep and close introspection. The Guru Granth Sahib's message is all-pervasive. Any attempt to give their teaching a narrow interpretation is not fair to their cherished memory.Let the celebrations of the quadricentennial anniversary be an occasion to strengthen the value of love of mankind and its essential message of universal brotherhood.

That will be the finest and greatest obeisance to the majesty and spirit of Guru Granth Sahib.

Squamish Celebration program

On Sunday (Sept. 12), the Squamish Sikh Society will celebrate the quadricentennial of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Lower Mainland gurdwaras (temples) will also join this anniversary especially Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, the Khalsa Diwan Society on Ross Street in Vancouver, the Abbotsford Sikh Temple, the Akali Singh Sikh Temple on Skeena Street in Vancouver and others.

The majestic journey will start at 10 a.m. with the Guru Granth Sahib placed in a golden flower bedecked on a beautifully-decorated float from the Squamish Sikh temple on Fifth Avenue through downtown back to the temple again. All Squamish citizens are invited to join. Complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served at the temple.

At the Pavilion on Cleveland Avenue Sikh scholars will give addresses on this very special anniversary. Dr. Manheep Singh and Dr. Darshan Singh from Pataila University are coming from India to join us.