The Ten Teachers
The word Guru comes from the Sanskrit roots “gu” and “ru” meaning one who transforms darkness (ignorance) into light (knowledge). The word Sikh means student, or seeker of Truth.
The teachings of the Ten Gurus are contained in the Sikh Scriptures – the Adi Granth, or Guru Granth Sahib. These teachings are written in hymns or verses to be read or sung in classical India ragas. The Guru Granth Sahib incorporates lessons from the Ancient Vedas as well as teachings from several Hindu and Sufi Muslim sages. The Tenth Teacher, Guru Gobind Singh, compiled his teachings in the Dasam Granth. These too are revered highly by Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh showed us the Way of Karam Yoga – the Yoga of Pure Action — in the service of humanity.
The exquisite beauty and wisdom contained in the Guru Granth Sahib is evident from the Jewels of Contentment. The Jewels of Contentment, or Sukhmani Sahib in the Punjabi language, can be translated as Jewels of Peace, or Jewels of Bliss. This prayer for meditation was written by Guru Arjan, fifth in the line of the Ten Sikh Gurus — the Ten Teachers.
The unique and exquisite Jewels of Contentment are a collection of hymns written to the notes of the classical Indian Raag, Gauri. There are twenty-four parts in this collection, each containing a preamble followed by eight verses. A simple translation of the preamble to the entire prayer, and summaries of the first three parts, is provided here. This brief preview of the sacred hymns of the Sukhmani Sahib, provides a glimpse of the priceless jewels contained in this prayer.
What is Sikh Kirtan?
Guru Nanak started the tradition of sharing teaching through singing of hymns, or Gurbani Kirtan. These were sung with congregations of followers. He also initiated the tradition of serving free food to anyone who attended. This tradition continues in all Sikh temples, or Gurdwaras (doorway to the Guru) across the world. The congregation is referred to Saad Sangat, or gathering of the pious. Guru Nanak asked Sikhs to Worship (meditate on Satnam), Act Righteously (purposefully), and Share (give).
For examples of Sikh Kirtan – click below to listen:
The Ten Teachers of the Sikh Faith:
The First Teacher — Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 – 1539)
The Second Teacher — Guru Angad Dev Ji (1504 – 1552)
The Third Teacher — Guru Amardas Ji (1479 – 1574)
The Fourth Teacher — Guru Ramdas Ji (1534 – 1581)
The Fifth Teacher — Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563 – 1606)
The Sixth Teacher — Guru Hargobind Ji (1595 – 1644)
The Seventh Teacher — Guru Har Rai Ji (1630 – 1661)
The Eighth Teacher — Guru Harkrishan Ji (1656 – 1664)
The Ninth Teacher — Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (1621 – 1675)
The Tenth Teacher — Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666 – 1708)
Prem Chopra is working on a modern translation of the Jewels of Contentment.