Labour of Love: PHIL ANDERSON
A New Translation of Guru Granth Sahib
Seventeen years may be a long time to work on a book, but Daljit Singh Jawa of Topeka (Kansas, USA) has no regrets over the time he spent writing “It is the Same Light,” a 600-plus page English translation of a section of the Sikh religion’s Scripture.
Released recently in hardcover, paperback and ebook form by xLibris, a self-publishing company based in Bloomington, Indiana, “It is the Same Light” covers the first 200 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib.
“The title comes from the main message of the Guru Granth Sahib,” Daljit Singh said, “which is, no matter what religion we belong to, no matter what race we belong to, no matter what color we are, it is the same light -- the same power -- that created us all.
“We need to love one another and remember that we are all one family.”
Daljit Singh’s book includes passages from the Guru Granth in its original Gurmukhi text, accompanied by a parallel transliteration with English pronunciation. He then includes an explanation that puts the passage into historical and cultural context, followed by his interpretation of the meaning, and the message it conveys.
The book, written in painstaking detail, covers each passage in the first 200 pages of the 1,430-page Guru Granth.
The goal of the book, Daljit Singh says, is to make the Sikh scriptures more accessible to those who speak primarily English, including those who may be unfamiliar with the cultural setting in which the Guru Granth was written.
There are about 30 million Sikhs in the world, including about a million in the United States. Daljit Singh sats to the best of his knowledge, only a couple of Sikh families live in Topeka.
Sikhism is the predominant religion in Punjab, where Daljit Singh was born.
Now 76, he has lived in the United States since 1975 and in Topeka since 1980. He retired in 2003 from his position with the state of Kansas Water Office.
He says he was motivated to write “It is the Same Light” -- the title of which comes from a hymn in the Guru Granth -- after his son encouraged him to do so.
Daljit Singh had written a book titled “Order of The Day,” which briefly interprets the “hukams” or daily selections from Guru Granth. He adds that his son thought an expansion of the book into other parts of Guru Granth would be a natural follow-up to that volume.
He explains that the Guru Granth, which includes hymns uttered by saints and mystics from other faith traditions, such as Islam and Hinduism, has applications for people of all faith traditions.
“It is not just the bible, or the scripture, for the Sikh Faith,” Jawa said. “It is really for all faiths.”
Guru Nanak, who lived from 1469 to 1539 and was the founder of the Sikh Religion, never tried to convert anyone to his religion, Daljit Singh explains.
“He never said anyone had to be a Sikh. He would say, ‘Are you a Muslim? Then be a good Muslim.’ Or, ‘Are you a Hindu? Then be a good Hindu.’ ”
Dalkit Singh says Guru Nanak encouraged people to perform their religious duties by “doing good deeds and loving others.”
While a number of other English translations of the Guru Granth have been produced, he says his is different because of the explanatory information he provides.
It took 17 years for him to complete volume one in his series. He is now working on volume two -- with a total of seven needing to be done.
Will he see the project through to completion? He laughs and says, “If God lets me live that long.”
He deflects praise over making inroads into such an arduous project in completing his first volume.
“Really, it is God-inspired,” he says. “It is nothing of my own.”
[Courtesy: Topeka Capital Journal. Edited for sikhchic.com]
October 1, 2013
Conversation about this article
1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), October 01, 2013, 7:56 AM.
The title of this publication, 'It Is The Same Light', is very powerful.