The Meaning OF Gurbani: A Focus on Hermeneutic Techniques

Pashaura Singh

in The Guru Granth Sahib

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195663341
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080694 | DOI:
The Meaning OF Gurbani: A Focus on Hermeneutic Techniques

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This chapter examines the different approaches adopted by various schools of interpretation within the Sikh tradition and how an interpretation of a text relates to the issues of its epoch. It considers Mircea Eliade's distinction between the internal meanings of textual and symbolic systems and how their use and interpretation are influenced by the ‘vicissitudes of social life’. In order to determine the religious and social significance of texts, hermeneutics must therefore be coupled with an inquiry that addresses how texts are interpreted and used by readers. This chapter describes seven major schools of interpretation of gurbani: Sahaj Pranali, Bhai Pranali, Paramarath Pranali, Nirmala Pranali, Giani Pranali, and Singh Sabha Pranali. It also analyses recent trends in scriptural interpretation within the Sikh tradition and argues that the Adi Granth text has an infinite hermeneutic potential.

Keywords: Sikh tradition; gurbani; hermeneutics; Mircea Eliade; scriptural interpretation; Adi Granth; Sahaj Pranali; Bhai Pranali; Paramarath Pranali; Nirmala Pranali

Chapter.  9284 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sikhism

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