Resources for the (English-speaking) Guru's Beloved
Multi-Translation Synopsises for Guru Nanak's Japji Sahib
Guru Nanak's Japji Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh's Jaap Sahib are two of the most beautiful and potent compositions of Divine revelation in history. As the opening chapters of two extensive treasures of Divine poetry, the Siri Guru Adi Granth and the Siri Dasam Granth, respectively, they hold two distinct energies but combine as a pair like brother and sister, mother and father, two legs to walk on, two wings to fly. They comprise the path of awakening of purity, simplicity and humility, to the royalty and uncompromising bravery of a warrior-saint, from Bhakti to Shakti. Many historic texts recommend their recitation together in the Amrit Vela, the hours before and around dawn.
Many essays and translations into many languages have been published about them. Reading different translations, a variety of possible understandings of content and implied teachings can be found - different minds reflecting different aspects of their essence some centuries after their conceptions. Comparing different translations opens the space of understanding. In these two synopsises presented here, eight (for Japji Sahib) and seven (for Jaap Sahib) different English translations are listed next to each other. The original Gurmukhi with transliteration is always given in the first column. Both documents include introductions touching on subjects like Naam, Naad, Simran and Jap (essence of sound, recitation and repetition, continuous meditation and understanding of sacred scriptures), the problem of limitations within translations into other languages, the problem of duality of the human mind in kali yug, the style and energy of the poetry, the life and legacy of Guru Nanak, and some miscellanea. The Jaap Sahib document serves implicitly as a word-by-word dictionary by usage of a colour code across the columns. At the end of each document you find bibliography of all translations and further recommended literature.
May the time spent with these documents and the study of the Guru's legacy be your greatest joy and inspiration. May they serve you, and may you serve the essence of sound within Gurbani, so you may disappear in it and be carried across.
Nanak Naam Cherdi Kalaa. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
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