Engaging with the Guru
Sikh Beliefs and Practices of Guru Granth Sahib
Keywords:Sikhs, Sikhism, Guru Granth, Adi Granth, ritual, sacred texts
The Sikhs have perhaps taken the concept of a sacred scripture much further than any other religious community by treating the Guru Granth Sahib as a living guru. This essay analyzes various religious beliefs and practices by which contemporary Sikhs construct and maintain conceptions of their scripture as a guru with spiritual authority. A distinction is made between religious practices that serve to mediate and interpret the semantic content of the scripture, performative acts that are enacted to transform the social world, and rituals that aim to give the scripture a careful ministration and celebrate different stages of its worldly life. The various ritualized uses of Guru Granth Sahib can be approached as external strategies by which the Sikhs personify their scripture and make it socially alive as a living guru.
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