Holy Writings and Worship
There is only one canonical work, the Adi Granth (First Book), also known as the Guru Granth Sahib, compiled by Guru Arjan in 1604. There were at least three versions of the book, but the one recognized as authentic was revised by Guru Gobind Singh in 1704. The Adi Granth has about 6,000 hymns composed by the first five Gurus. Other contributors to the book include Bhakta saints and Muslim Sufis.
The Adi Granth occupies a focal point in all Sikh temples. The gurdwara (doorway to the Guru) contains a cot under a canopy. A copy of the Adi Granth is placed on cushions within the gurdwara and covered by elaborate decorations. All who enter the gurdwara in the temple must cover their heads, take off their shoes, and wash their feet. Services may take place at any time; there is no special time of worship.
Worshipers will bow in front of the Guru Granth Sahib and during services prayers will be said, there will be a sermon, chanting of hymns, and finally a communal meal. In accordance with the principles of equality in Sikhism, men and women share the tasks of preparing and serving the langar that is made available after most services to anyone who wishes to indulge.
The chief gurdwara is the magnificent Harimandir (the Golden Temple) at Amritsar in Punjab state. However, in the average gurdwara there may be readings, Sikh music, study classes, and even physical activities.
The Dasam Granth (tenth book), a compilation of writings ascribed to Guru Gobind Singh, is not paid the same reverence as the Adi Granth. There is some disagreement about the authenticity of the contents.
In their homes, most Sikhs set aside a room for a gurdwara to hold a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib. Daily readings are part of the duties of the household. Many Sikhs will recite verses during their daily activities. Because not every person or family has the accommodations to set aside a separate room for the Guru Granth Sahib, they instead have a copy of excerpts, known as the Gutkha, from which to say morning and evening prayers.