Japji Sahib consists of the Mool Mantra as the beginning followed by 38 hymns and a final Salok at the end of this composition. The Japji appears at the very beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. It is regarded as the most important Bani or 'set of verses' by the Sikhs and is recited every morning by all practising this faith. The word ‘Jap’ means to ‘recite’ or ‘to ‘chant’. ‘Ji’ is a word that is used to show respect as is the word ‘Sahib’. 'Ji' can also be used to refer to one's own soul.
This Bani was composed by the founder of the faith, Sri Guru Nanak Dev, who was the first of ten Sikh Gurus. The Ten Gurus of Sikhism were responsible for the creation of this faith which took place over period 1469 to 1708 – a period of about 239 years. At the point when the last of these Gurus departed this Earth, the Guruship was passed to the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh treat the Guru Granth Sahib as a living Guru and the respect shown for the Shabad or ‘Message of the Gurus’ is unique in the faith.
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