The Guru of the Sikhs is the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib is not a book. It is a container of the Shabd. The sound current of the songs in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib are known as the Shabad Guru.
The Shabad Guru is not just a collection of uplifting, inspiring words written by enlightened saints, but a vessel of the sound current—the living Guru. By listening and experiencing this sound current, we understand that those who wrote these words transcended individual identity and ego.
Their words came from their unlimited exalted state of consciousness. Whenever we read, sing, chant or listen to these songs, we connect with our own excellence and our own infinity. There is no need to deal with any external human personality in this process. People have good days and bad days. They may be up or they may be down. But with the Shabad Guru, there is only a direct relationship with the Infinite. The Shabad Guru is a powerful technology, which is universally available to uplift and transform anyone in any walk of life.
The root meaning of Sha-bd is “that which cuts the ego.” It is not just any sound. It is not even a wise sound or a song of truth. It is a sound that cuts away the ego that hides the truth from you.
The second word in the phrase “Shabd Guru” is “Guru.” If we break this word to its inner atoms of sound, it becomes Gu–Ru. “Gu” means darkness or ignorance. “Ru” is light and knowledge. “Gur” is a formula or instruction. A Guru then gives a Gur—a formula or technique—that transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge, and the gross into the refined.
A Guru then is an active knowledge. It is not the intellectual knowledge that simply classifies or analyzes. Guru changes you. Guru develops the capacity to see. It removes darkness and confusion.
The Shabad Guru transforms us by removing the barriers erected by the needs of the ego. The encounter with the Guru is through action. It gives you “Know How” not just “Know What.” It gives you procedural knowledge that is in your cells and subconscious, not just representational knowledge in your ideas.
To encounter the Shabad Guru is to learn by doing, by experience. The key practice of the Shabad Guru is the meditation and repetition of specific primal sounds and phrases.
Where Do the Patterns of the Shabad Guru Come From?
They exist from the beginning of creation. They are the tides and rhythms of the movement of the creative pulse of Infinite consciousness. They vibrate in all things continually.
The ability to hear and feel them comes to a mind that is fearless, neutral, open, and awakened. The ten living Gurus and the many saints and bhaktis of the universal Sikh path heard them perfectly. They put that rhythm and pattern of energy into the poetic compositions of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. That’s why it is called a Granth rather than a collection. Granth means “knot.” It is a knot that binds the pattern of awareness into the words of the songs.
Each Shabad is a template for an aspect of awareness and a potential of consciousness. Each Shabad is a kind of spiritual DNA that restructures the mind and stimulates the brain.
~MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa, “Shabad Guru: Sacred Sound Current,” Heroes, Saints and Yogis (2012) by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and Guruka Singh Khalsa.
Note: Additional information on the 10 Gurus, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh saints was shared in previous Sikh Dharma 101 lessons.