ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Gurbani – the sacred language of the Sikhs and its role in the formation of the Sikh philosophical thought.


Igielski Zbigniew - freelance researcher, graduated from the University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland


31 – The Forms, Genres and Languages of Early Modern Indian Philosophy


The aim of the paper is to present the development of the sacred language of the Sikhs in the span of two centuries, a certain continuation of the Indian philosophy but put in a new context of the Nirguna Bhakti Movement in the Guru Nanak’s interpretation. The successors of the first Sikh guru developed a great amount of new vocabulary and interpretation of the traditional meanings of the philosopical expressions. The paper focuses on the creation of words: oankar, haumai, gurmat, manmukh, gurmukh, gurbani, sukhmani and changing the traditional meaning of certain words known in Bhakti: nam, hukam, bharam. The language is analysed both in the philological and cultural context.

The research tries to prove that in spite of the fact that the Gurbani Language is a kind of artificial composition of different medieval Punjabi and Hindi dialects but in fact, it became a sacred and liturgical language of Sikhism and played the main role in creation of the fundamental aspects of the philosophy of Sikhism.