Guru Granth Sahib: Pad Chhed Printing
(Bhai Manmohan Singh Jee LA)
It is a fact made explicitly clear by the Satguru himself that Gurbani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Word of God Himself. The Alighty Akal Purakh spoke through the Gurus in their state of oneness with Him:
Jiasee Mein Aawai Khasam Ki Bani Taisara Kari Gian Ve Lalo. (ang. 52)
As descends to me the Lord's Word, I express it, 0 Lalo!
Dhur Ki Bani Aaee. (ang. 628)
The Holy Word has dawned from the Primal Divine Source.
While compiling Sri Guru Granth Sahib, The whole Gurbani was written in Gumukhi script in a continuous chain system of writing, wherein all the words in a line are joined together. Having emanated from the Limitless Divine Source or the Eternal Spirit, its true and correct reading as well as understanding is obviously beyond the limited capacity of the mundane scholarship. Even today, in spite of the hard efforts of the top Sikh scholars to ascertain the correct reading of the Gurbani, there are about 500-700 words where they have not been able to reach a consensus. Then what is the guarantee that in other controversial cases also, where they claim to have reached an agreed break-up of words, their reading is absolutely in accordance with what the Satguru had meant it to be?
Moreover, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is not merely a Holy Book. Had it been so, it would have been alright to print or write it in any way one likes. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Satguru - the True Guru - under whose benevolent care and protection, the Khalsa Panth has been placed by the Satguru himself. If it is so and we really believe in the True Guruship of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, then it follows as an obvious corollary that the Satguru will himself remove our ignorance and will bless us with the true wisdom enabling us to read Gurbani correctly.
It is a universally accepted fact that, as already pointed out, the first volume of Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib, compiled by Sahib Sri Guru Aijan Dev Ji, was written in continuous form with all the words in a line joined to one another. Later, the Bir on which Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji formally invested the GURUSHIP for all times to come, was also of the same type. On this basis, until recently, Sri Guru Granth Sahib was written or printed on the same pattern. No doubt some effort is needed to enable the beginner in reading such volumes, but such difficulties are always faced by beginners in every new field of knowledge. Until only a few decades ago, when the so-called literacy level was also low, devout Sikhs living even in remote villages were able to read such volumes by following systematic and rational methodology, i.e., first practicing difficult Banis from Gutkas and Pothis under the guidance of certain learned and devout Gianis or Granthis. Only after they developed some amount of confidence in their reading of the Bani, they used to be introduced to the reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a formal ceremony - Gurcharni Lagna - after saying Ardas or prayers. Now, when the literacy percentage as well as the level of education is reported to have increased manifold, we are finding difficulties in reading from Sri Guru Granth Sahib printed in joined or continuous system. Our difficulty is the result of our own complacency because we do not want to take even elementary pains of going through preparatory stages as Gursikhs in the past used to do. We are prepared to do the hardest of labor for learning other fields of arts and sciences to which we attach much higher priority. The reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, to us, is of very low priority -to be done as and when time or our sweet will permits. Of course, we reap the results according to the priority and devotion we give to the reading and understanding of Gurbani.
Recently, the unity and purity of Sri Guru Granth Sahib have been attacked by some important people and organizations who have been instrumental in the printing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Pad-Chhed form, i.e., the printing of words separate from each other. It may be mentioned here that the two main Panthic Organizations, i.e. Chief Khalsa Diwan and S.G.P.C., had categorically prohibited the printing and installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Pad-Chhed form in their resolutions passed in 1945 and 1950, respectively, as follows:
Chief Khalsa Diwan Resolution No.2682 dated January 1, 1945.
"..... The installation of PAD CHHED BIR is not legitimate."
S.G.P.C. Resolution No.7 dated January 1, 1950 :PDHARMAK COMMITTEE
"Until any decision is arrived at on Panthic level Pad-Chhed bir should not be printed or installed."
Under what logic an act which was wrong until 1950 has now become right is beyond comprehension. The only explanation given for this metamorphosis is that there is no demand from the general public for the Birs in original form and, therefore, S.G.P.C. itself started the printing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Pad-Chhed form, contrary to its own resolution of 1950. Are the Panthic Organizations made to guide the masses or follow them? Now general public amongst the Sikhs is not prepared to take Khande-ki-Pahul or Amrit. Should this system be abolished?
The writing or printing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Pad-Chhed ('break-word") system, which was against the original continuous or chain method used by the Gurus, and even by the Panth until only recently, not only shows an utter lack of faith in Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the True Guru, but is also an attempt to introduce in Gurbani the false wisdom of the imperfect mind of the ever-fallible human. The assertion that Sri Guru Granth Sahib in its original form is difficult to read and often results in wrong reading, and its Pad-Chhed form makes its reading easier, it not so simple as it appears to be. The main point is whether we have the authority and competence to evolve a Perfect and True PadChhed form. At present, various Birs published by private publishers and even the various editions published by the S.G.P.C. itself, vary from one another at a number of places with regard to formation of certain words. All publishers claim their version to be correct, implying, naturally, that the others are incorrect. So now we have Birs which are 'not Perfect' according to some and 'Perfect' according to others. The truth is that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is ALWAYS PERFECT. Only we, the ordinary imperfect people have introduced imperfections in it by commingling our false wisdom with the True Wisdom.
No doubt reading the Gurbani wrongly is sacrilegious. But who can claim to read it absolutely correctly? All of us have to do our best to read it as correctly as we can with prayers in our minds to the Guru to bless us with the required wisdom. It seems to be a more definite sacrilege to introduce such 'incorrectness' or wrong reading permanently in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Moreover, every printer of Sri Guru Granth Sahib follows his own system of Pad -Chhed and creates more confusion in the minds of the general public. When the Gurbani, which is the treasure house of nothing but the Eternal Wisdom of the Eternal Lord, is diffused with the mundane intellect and false wisdom of the fallible man, the Guru Shakti of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is also impaired accordingly. All of us, the innocent Sikhs of the Guru will suffer; in fact, we are suffering already.
One other reason generally given by the supporters of Pad-Chhed Bir is that, during Guru Sahib's time, the writing in a chain or continuous method was the general practice and that is why this system was followed while compiling Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Do we assume the All-Knowing Guru Sahib did not know that in times to come, the Sikhs will find difficulty in reading Gurbani written in this way? Could he not visualize whether PadChhed would be the proper system for the future? It is only the so-called intellectuals of the modern age who have found this shortcoming in the Perfect Work of the Perfect Lord. What an irony! This shows how much faith we have in the true wisdom of the True Guru.
The fact is that:
Poorey Ka Kiya Sab Kich Poora Ghat Wadh Kichh Nahin. (ang. 1412)
All that the Perfect Lord does is Perfect.
There is no deficiency or excess in it.
Thus it is clear that we have no authority to change the original continuous (or chain) system of writing or printing of Guru Granth Sahib as a whole. Small booklets (Gutkas or small pothies) may, however, be written or printed in Pad-Chhed form for the benefit of the beginners or learners. And this practice has been in vogue for a long time.
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