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Japji - The Sikh Morning Prayer - Book By Bhagat Singh
Summary of 'Japji - The Sikh Morning Prayer' Book By Bhagat Singh
Japji, the morning prayer, is the most important prayer of the Sikhs and it gets the first place in the Sikh Holy Book - Guru Granth Sahib. It was compiled by Guru Nanak-the first Prophet of the Sikhs about seven years. before his death (b 1469-d 1539.) It has 38 verses. ]apji's language is a bit involved but as a matter of fact the entire Guru Granth Sahib is but an elucidation of Japji.
Japji follows the traditional pattern of compositions of the times beginning with an invocation for the blessings of God and ending with thanks giving on the successful completion of the work.
Japji starts with a description for the nature of God: His Uniqueness; Omnipotence, Immortality, etc., and reaffirms His being both Truth and Reality. It concludes with another statement to the effect that knowledge of God is obtained only through the grace of the Guru. This is the essence of the Sikh faith. These starting lines precede all Sikh prayers asking for God's blessings. The next few lines re-state and re-emphasize the qualities of God-Truth and Reality. Thereafter begins the 'Jap'.
The quest for truth is stated in the first verse. Since the aim of life is to know God and be united with Him and neither thinking, nor meditation, nor penance or fasting, nor any other device reveals any secret. How can we tear the veil of illusion that covers our eyes and get to know the truth?
The rest of the verses are an answer to these questions with various diversions from the theme of how to observe the Will of God. Four verses at the end (34- 37) indicate the steps by which man progresses to spiritual emancipation. Starting from the earth which is the realm of law, lie proceeds to acquire learning in the realm of knowledge. The third state is the realm of beauty, and the fourth is the realm of action. The journey ends in the realm of truth, and merger with God.
The last verse of Japji sums up all that is required to achieve perfection : Self-control, patience, knowledge, fear of God and love of God, and earnest prayer.
At the end, the last verse or the 'Salok' is probably a composition of the second Guru Angad. It appears with a slight variation in Guru Angad's hymns in Majha-Ki-Var. The Salok is recited at the end of most Sikh religious rituals.
This is perhaps the first attempt to literally translate Japji into a simple, English prose which can be easily understood by every body.
Translation upto verse 26 is by Bhagat Singh and from verse 27 onwards is by G .P. Singh.