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Bani Guru Guru Hai Bani

"Bani Guru Guru Hai Bani" does not mean that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru

This section was created so that everyone can learn the true meaing of the shabad, "Bani Guru Guru Hai Bani". This is particularly aimed at those who criticize Namdhari Sikhs because they feel that Namdhari Sikhs do not obey and believe in this quote because Namdhari Sikhs believe in a living Guru.

First off, this quote was written by the fourth Guru, Sri Guru Ram Das Ji in the Nutt Narayan Raag. The first compilation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was completed by Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji. When Sri Guru Ram Das Ji wrote this quote, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was not even completed yet. It is impossible for the fourth Guru to have said that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was the Guru because it was compiled and completed by the fifth Guru. Thus, it is impossible for the meaning of the quote "Bani Guru, Guru Hai Bani" to denote that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru.

If one chooses to believe that the quote "Bani Guru Guru Hai Bani" means that the Granth Sahib is the guru, then it is impossible for one to believe in all the Gurus after Sri Guru Ram Das Ji. Because the fourth Guru wrote this quote, and there were many living Gurus after that, the meaning of this quote cannot be that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the Guru.

The True Meaning of this Quote

What is the meaning of this quote? To answer this question, one cannot simply look at half the shabad and come up with a meaning, but rather try to understand the whole shabad. Here is a line by line meaning.

"Bani Guru"=the Guru's bani
"Guru Hai Bani"=out of all the banis, the Guru's bani is the highest (it is the Guru of all other banis)
"Vich bani amrit saray"=the bani itself is the purest thing (amrit) which contains the true life principles to live by.
"Gurbani Kahay"=when the living Guru verbally gives a holy teaching (updesh)
"Savak jun manae"=and the diciple listens and obeys
"Thud partak guru nustaray"=then the living Guru will bless his diciple and free him from all of his hardships

From this quote, there is no indication that there cannot be a living guru, but rather the exact opposite. Sri Guru Ram Das Ji wrote this shabad in the love and respect of their Guru, Sri Guru Amar Das Ji. This whole shabad is about the love and respect for a living Guru because it is only the living Guru who can relieve one of his hardships in life "Gurbani kahay savak jun manae thud partak guru nustaray".