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Jaap Sahib - Phonetic Transcription and Translation - Book By Dr. Rabindar Powar

Summary of 'Jaap Sahib - Phonetic Transcription and Translation' By Dr. Rabinder Powar 

The tenth Guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Gobind Singh led a very eventful life. He was born in 1666 and merged into the eternal light in 1708. In such a short span of time, Guru performed numerous miraculous deeds. His ·extraordinary personality invokes awe and admiration from one and all. He transformed the meek and suppressed people. into brave warriors and changed the course of history. The entire life of tenth Guru is a saga of courage, sacrifice and compassion. At the tender age of nine years, Guru saw the martyrdom of his father, the ninth Master Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib. Thus began his life-long struggle.

It is almost unbelievable when we look at the eventful life of Guru, that he could write so voluminously under such adverse circumtances. The creative writings of the Guru are replete with spiritual experiences of the highest order. The poetic expression is matchless in the literature of the world. Amongst many celebrated writings of the Guru, Jaap Sahib is the most outstanding. This occupies a prime place in his compilations in Dasam Granth. Jaap Sahib is primarily written in Braj, the prevalent literary language of that period. But the use of Persian and Sanskrit along with Braj has enriched the poetic expression. The mastery over all these languages helped the Guru in creating a new, extraordinary linguistic blend, which is unique in itself. Each word, each line accentuates the meaning and intensity of the experience. The overall impact that the text creates, tends to transport the reader to a higher plane of spiritual experience. As Prof. Gill has observed, "One neither needs to know Sanskrit nor Persian, with which the rhythmic flow is surcharged, to be swayed by his poetry'". The rhythm, the momentum and the music of the text are so powerful that these create a magical world that engulfs the reader immediately.

Guru Gobind Singh stayed for many years at Paonta town, which is now a famous Sikh historical place. The serene atmosphere on the banks of Yamuna inspired the poet in the Guru.The literary meetings along with his famous 52 poets became a regular feature. These years in Guru's life are regarded as the most creative years. Here Guru composed the most important scriptures namely; Jaap Sahib, Sawaiye and Akaal Ustat. Numerous legends are popular among the devotees about the extraordinary literary events of this period.

A simple reading of Guru's writings shows the extraordinary command of Guru Sahib on Braj, Sanskrit and Persian languages. Jaap Sahib' is an extraordinary poem written in an invocatory manner in which, _Guru addresses the Almighty. The attributes, the different names, and the descriptions of God, which the Guru uses to describe the indescribable, take the reader to a plane of spiritual experience. It is the most wonderful literary gift, which Guru has bestowed upon mankind.

There is a tradition among Sikhs about the efficacy of the recitation of this text. It is believed that if one recites this text regularly in the morning for forty days with full devotion, his wish is fulfilled. It is said that for this purpose one does not need to be well versed in Punjabi Sanskrit, Braj or Persian. The text itself is so rhythmic and phonologically so well organized that it immerses the reader into recitation.

The proper pronunciation of the word is of utmost importance in oriental traditions. It is particularly true H. S. Gill, Jaap Sahib: The Cosmology of Guru Gobind Singh, Gobind Sadan, Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, Mehrauli Road, New Delhi, 1989. About Sanskritic and Vedic traditions whereby it is believed that the wrong pronunciation of the Mantra may produce negative effects. In Sikhism the word is considered the revelation I of God that is why word is often called as Guru in Sikh tradition. Gurbani is considered the word of God thus referred to as Shabad Guru.The central core of Sikh meditative practices is based upon the concentrated recitation of Naam or - Shabad. Thus recitation, particularly proper recitation of Gurbani is of utmost importance.

It has been observed that non-Punjabi speaking Sikhs have a difficulty in pronouncing some of the difficult terms of Gurbani. This problem is further complicated by the non-standardization of the pronunciation. Various Sikh institutions lay emphasis on the proper pronunciation of the Gurbani. In fact there are a number of problems due to various dialects and other linguistic differentiations in the Punjabi speech community. There is lack of standardization of Punjabi terminology also. In the case of Gurbani recitation, these problems are further complicated because of the changes in language usage. New converts to Sikhism, particularly the non-Punjabi Sikhs, face a number of problems in proper recitation of Sikh scriptures.

Keeping these aspects in mind the present project of the transcription of important Sikh scriptures was initiated during the tercentenary year of Khalsa Panth. The phonetic transcription and translation of Jaap Sahib is the first among these series. The text used for the purpose of transcription and translation is published by Gobind Sadan, Mehrauli Road, New Delhi.

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Jaap Sahib - Phonetic Transcription and Translation - Book By Dr. Rabindar Powar

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