Book Title:  Paath-Bhed Gaatha Sri Guru Granth Sahib  

Author:  Giani Jagtar Singh Jachak, Former Granthi Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. 

Published by: Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vichar Manch, Toronto, Canada

Year of Publication: 2023; Price: Rs. 495. Can $20.

Language, Pages: Punjabi, Pages: 256   

Reviewer: Dr. Devinder Pal Singh, Director, Center for Understanding Sikhism, Mississauga, ON, Canada

"Paath-Bhed Gatha Sri Guru Granth Sahib" by Giani Jagtar Singh Jachak is an exceptional work that delves into the intricate and profound historical and textual aspects of the Sikh holy scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Authored by a distinguished figure with extensive credentials in the Sikh community, this book offers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the textual variations in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Giani Jagtar Singh Jachak brings a wealth of experience and reverence to his work. As a former Granthi at the Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, he has a deep-rooted understanding of the spiritual practices and liturgical traditions associated with the Sikh faith. His role as an Honorary International Sikh Missionary for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C), an Ambassador for Peace with the Universal Peace Federation in New York, and the Director of the Guru Granth Institute of Melbourne further enhanced his credibility and the depth of insight presented in this book.

The book "Paath-Bhed Gaatha Sri Guru Granth Sahib" by Giani Jagtar Singh Jachak, presented by the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vichar Manch, Toronto (Canada), is an in-depth exploration of the textual variations in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This scholarly work aims to address and elucidate the historical, textual, and practical aspects of these variations, offering a comprehensive resource for Sikhs and scholars alike. Here is a detailed review of the book, chapter by chapter.

“Bhumika” (Introduction) to the book by Dr. Parminder Singh Shaunki, Chairman, Nanak Shahi Trust, sets the stage for the book, providing context and emphasizing the importance of understanding the textual integrity of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It highlights the scholarly efforts to preserve and correct the text, ensuring its purity and accessibility. The acknowledgment section by Sardar Gagandeep Singh Toronto gives credit to the individuals and institutions that supported and contributed to the research and compilation of this book. It reflects the collaborative effort involved in this significant work.

Chapter 1, ‘The Unique Position of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Writing Tradition of Religious Scriptures, ' discusses Guru Granth Sahib Ji's unparalleled status among world religious texts. It emphasizes how the Guru Granth Sahib Ji stands apart due to its compilation without myths or irrationalities, focusing solely on spiritual and moral guidance. Chapter 2, “Writing and Printing of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” delves into the history of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji's writing and printing processes. It examines how the text was transcribed and printed over the centuries, highlighting the challenges and solutions faced during these processes.

Chapter 3, “Research on Handwritten Ancient Manuscripts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” focuses on the discovery and study of ancient handwritten manuscripts of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It provides insights into the methodologies used to verify their authenticity and accuracy. Chapter 4: “The Origin and Correction of Textual Variations in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji” addresses the origin of textual variations in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the efforts made to correct these discrepancies. It underscores the significance of maintaining textual consistency and the historical efforts to rectify variations.

Chapter 5, "Research Initiatives by the Shiromani Committee for Accurate Printing of the Sacred Text,” details the research initiatives undertaken by the Shiromani Committee to ensure the accurate printing of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and discusses the measures taken to preserve the text's sanctity and authenticity during printing. Chapter 6, “Textual Variations in Shabdarth of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” explores the glossaries and interpretations of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, addressing variations in text and meaning. It provides a scholarly analysis of different interpretations and their impact on scripture understanding.

Chapter 7, “Analysis of Gurbani Paath Darshan Book on Textual Variations,” critically examines the textual variations discussed in the Gurbani Path Darshan Book and offers a detailed analysis of how these variations are perceived and addressed in the educational and scholarly context. Appendix 1: Interim Report of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Group (1996) includes an interim report from the 1996 study group on the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, summarizing their findings and recommendations. It provides a snapshot of the ongoing efforts to study and preserve the text.

This book aims to address the misconceptions and provide clarity on the textual integrity of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The author, Gyani Jagtar Singh Ji, has dedicated decades to ensuring that a version of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is true to its original form and easily accessible to the public, is available. This effort aligns with the initial intent of the Gurus, who ensured that the language of the scriptures was understandable to the common people. Addressing these textual discrepancies is not just about maintaining accuracy but also about preserving the faith and understanding of the Sikh community.

"Paath-Bhed Gaatha Sri Guru Granth Sahib" by Giani Jagtar Singh Jachak is a meticulously researched work that addresses a crucial aspect of Sikh religious scholarship. By examining the textual variations in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the book not only highlights the challenges faced in preserving the text but also offers solutions and insights for future generations. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in studying Sikh scriptures and the efforts to maintain their textual integrity. The Sikh community is encouraged to embrace this book and the efforts to correct and preserve Guru Granth Sahib Ji's textual integrity. By doing so, we can ensure that Scripture remains a reliable and accurate source of spiritual guidance for future generations.

Dr. Devinder Pal Singh

Dr. Devinder Pal Singh

Dr Devinder Pal Singh, Center for Understanding Sikhism, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has published about 100 articles on various aspects of Sikhism in several newspapers and magazines of English, Punjabi and Hindi.

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