This month the Sikhi Book Club members discussed a book which was released at the time when the book club was first formed. This book was produced by Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Academy and outlines Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Shabad Hazare. The members thought this was a great way to delve into this Gurbani, with some members previously being more familiar with it than others.
The book is laid out in an interesting way, with prominence given to the individual Raags and their background as well, although the sources for this information were unclear at times. The authors make reference during each shabad to the Gurbani of Guru Nanak Dev, as if to draw parallels between the message of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Possibly this is an attempt to refute the sceptics who feel that Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani is questionable.
The members did some research into how the shabads fit together and realised that Guru Gobind Singh Ji had written them as one Baani, rather than being separate shabads which were put together by the sangat. It would have been good if the book had included more about the history of each shabad, if this was known.
The themes of the Bani included the rejection of renunciation, the importance of contentment, pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake, the importance of practice rather than preaching, and the balance between ritualism, devotion and avoiding judging others.
We had an interesting discussion about the way Guru Sahib plays in Gurbani, for example rejecting the 24 avtars of Vishnu, whilst also naming a Bani the same and describing the attributes of Akaal Purakh. It is interesting that very few people associate Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Gurbani with deeper spirituality.
Overall this book is a great introduction to Dasam Baani, and can be a good guide to getting a glimpse of the divine message of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.