Q: How many scriptures do Sikhs have?
A: Sikhs have one scripture, which serves as the spiritual force for the religion. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the present Guru or spiritual leader of the Sikhs. This scripture is often referred to as the Adi Granth as well. Adi means original or premier and Granth means scripture. Other important scriptures include, Dasam Granth, Janam Sakhi, and Bhai Gurdaas’s Vaars.
The Guru Granth Sahib is a compilation of writings by the Sikh Gurus and the devotees of God who have attained salvation and have become one with God. The scripture, which is 1430 pages in length, is also composed almost wholly in musical scale and meter and is completely written in poetic verse. It contains the bani (compositions) of 6 Gurus and 21 devotees. Originally named the Adi Granth Sahib or the ‘first scripture’, the holy volume was renamed the Guru Granth Sahib Ji upon its placement as the spiritual guide of Sikhs by the tenth and last living Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Dasam means tenth and Granth means scriptures. The Dasam Granth contains all of the writings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth or dasam Guru. Guru Gobind Singh Ji instructed not to consider anything above Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Gobind Singh Ji compiled Dasam Granth just to share his writing. Dasam Granth Sahib and other scripture do not take precedence over Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The Janam Sakhi is a biography of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, written by Bhai Bala Ji. Bhai Bala Ji was a companion of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and accompanied him through his journeys. He wrote down a great deal about the life and relations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Bhai Gurdaas’ Vaars are a set of verses written by Bhai Gurdaas Ji, the ‘first Sikh historian.’ Having seen the lives of five Gurus, he wrote accounts of how Sikhs lived and the teachings of Sikh Gurus.