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How do we personalize the message of Gurbani? The following short film argues it can be accomplished by learning our script, Gurmukhi, and engaging it with our history:

The message of the Gurus was conveyed in a language and vocabulary that the listener could understand and also develop an emotional bond with. The focus was on communicating the revealed message to spiritually and socially uplift the listener. The adoption of a local language as a symbol of group identity is well illustrated by the contributors of the Guru Granth Sahib. The use of a different language by the same contributor is a sign of a distinct religious and political group. It is a signal of unity in everyday circumstances.

The Guru Granth Sahib is a treasury of old dialects and languages spanning over 500 years. The oldest specimen of the language is from 12th century by Bhagat Jaidev whereas the latest is from the 17th century by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib. At minimum, the Guru Granth Sahib is one of the world’s greatest collections of languages and anthology of divine poetry and repository of classical music.

Gurmukhi holds great historical significance. It is the vehicle of a scripture that belongs to a distinct faith which speaks against inequality; the script emphasizes the accessibility of religious teachings to all. By understanding the context, meaning, and grammar of our written and spoken language and learning our history we may begin to personally and directly interact with the divine… which means I have a lot of work to do.