Gurū Granth Sāhib - Its Language and Grammar

Gurū Granth Sāhib - Its Language and Grammar


The Gurū Granth Sāhib plays a crucial role in the life of a Sikh. Every Sikh yearns to engage with it at some level and benefit from its overarching Divine wisdom. While there are any works available to engage the Pañjābī-speaking audience, there is a void in the English language for such a resource. This textbook is intended for use by an English-speaking audience, especially the diasporic communities, treating Gurbāṇī as a foreign language. The lessons are appropriate for beginners to intermediate-level learners, who wish to develop a better understanding of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. By the end, readers should find it helpful in interpreting Gurbāṇī independently to enhance their understanding of Gurmat (Gurū’s wisdom).

This textbook gives an overview of the languages of the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Gurmukhī script, its pronunciation and grammar. Since, grammar serves as an important tool for the production of meaningful interpretations of Gurbāṇī, this textbook, along with the Gurbāṇī language course offered by the Sikh Research Institute, seeks to introduce a basic approach for accessing the linguistics of the Gurū Granth Sāhib.


About the authors

Harinder Singh is an interdisciplinary researcher and global orator on Sikh and Panjab issues. He is co-founder and CEO of the Sikh Research Institute. He consults on curriculums, exhibitions, and films contextualizing heritage. He has over sixteen years of experience in teaching Gurbāṇī linguistics and theology to young adults. He has published numerous articles on Sikh theology, culture and history. He received a Master of Philosophy in the linguistics of the Gurū Granth Sāhib. He lives in New Jersey, USA.
Jaswant Singh is a scholar of Sikh studies. He works at the Sikh Centre, Singapore conducting various courses on Gurbāṇī, Sikh religion and history. He has facilitated various overseas seminars and camps. He has written two books, Sri Guru Granth Sahib – the Abode of God and The Divine Path, and has published many articles. He has over twenty years of experience in teaching Gurbāṇī and Sikh studies. He received a Doctorate in the linguistics and grammar of the Gurū Nānak Bāṇī. He commutes between Singapore and Faridabad, India, where he lives with his family.
Surender Pal Singh is a researcher in Sikh studies. He works at the Sikh Research Institute, where he instructs a Gurbāṇī language course, and conducts research for curriculum, presentations, and research papers on Sikh culture and history. He has over five years of experience in teaching Gurbāṇī linguistics and fourteen years of experience in teaching Sikh theology, history and culture. He received Master of Arts in English and Religious Studies. He lives in Panjab, India.


What our reviewers have to say about the book

Since its establishment as the centerpiece of Sikh life in 1604, the Guru Granth Sahib has contributed immensely to the self-definition of the Sikhs as a community. Even though the message enshrined in the scripture enjoys an unimpeachable authority over now a global community of practitioners, a serious textual study of its contents remains in a terrible state of neglect. A handful of scholars in the modern period began the work of illuminating the existence of a fascinating grammar, which can be helpful in taking the primary step toward understanding the Sikh discursive tradition. The present work is a much-needed attempt to articulate this grammar in English. It deserves to be on the bookshelf of every individual interested in the study of the Sikh scripture."

– Harpreet Singh, Harvard University


Understanding Gurbani grammar is an important step towards comprehending the intricacies of the Guru’s message in the Guru Granth Sahib. As a Gurbani teacher, I have always wanted a Gurbani grammar book in English that was comprehensive and easy to understand. I am glad that we finally have a very good resource in understanding the linguistics and grammar of the Guru Granth Sahib. So if anybody is interested in knowing the difference between ਨਾਨਕ, ਨਾਨਕਿ, and ਨਾਨਕ, or is intrigued by Guru Arjan Sahib’s use of the words   ਸਿਮਰਨ, ਸਿਮਰਨਿ, ਸਿਮਰਨੁ, ਸਿਮਰਉ, ਸਿਮਰਤ ਸਿਮਰਹਿ, or ਸਿਮਰਹੁ, then this book is a must read."

– Surinder Singh, Sikh School of Los Angeles