Guru Grant Sahib

The most sacred object in Sikhism is the Guru Granth Sahib (also called the Adi Granth), the Sikh holy book. Unlike the Bible or the Bhagavad-Gita, which are often carried around, dog-eared and placed on a shelf with other books, there are strict rules and procedures for handling the Adi Granth. For this reason, most Sikhs keep a smaller manual at home containing the main passages from the Adi Granth used in daily prayers.

The tenth and last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, designated as his successor the holy book of Sikhism as the enduring and living Guru. Accordingly, the Guru Granth Sahib is treated with the same respect one would show a human Guru.

The Guru Granth Sahib is kept under a canopy and on a throne, covered in decorative cloths (rumalas) at night, and a chauri (whisk) is waved over it while it is being read. When entering the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, one must be barefoot, have his or her head covered, and prostrate before the book. When moved, the book is wrapped in cloth and carried on someone's head as a sign of its honored status.

The Adi Granth is printed in Gurmukhi script, a form of Hindi dating to the Middle Ages. The pages often have ornate decorations, but it is a fundamental principle of the Sikh faith that Truth is much more important than ritual and only what is written in the book really matters.