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Reading Gurbani In English

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I wanted to know the sangats view on the reading of gurbani in English. Of course the ultimate thing to do is to read it in its truest form, gurmukhi.

But do you think it is still very effective to read it in english and how much less effective is it than reading it in gurmukhi?

I ask because I find it painstakingly difficult to learn punjabi and fear I never will so want to know if english translations are good enough.


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I would like to humbly given my experience and I'm sure some of my brothers and sisters on here will share this

When I got into Sikhi 3 years ago I could not read Gurmukhi/punjabi

I started on English Gutka but used to use it along side a recording

This improved my pronunciation but only slightly

Only when I started taking santhiya did I realise the major mistakes I was making, and from that point I didn't look back

I can now read Gurmukhi and am still taking santhiya to improve pronunciation

I feel this is a must if you want to get closer with your guru

That's my experience

It seems like a uphill struggle but you do make progress - start learning

(excuse the bad grammar, downside of using the iPad)

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You should definitely learn Gurmukhi and read gurbani in Gurmukhi. It is very difficult and confusing to have the right pronunciation in English. I wouldn't know which sound it is in Punjabi if I come across Dh, Th, etc. Its not very difficult to memorise the punjabi albhabet. It has a very scientific pattern if you look across the rows and columns. And you say what you read, unlike in English where you sometimes might not 'k'now how to pronounce a word!

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Even some basic translations are incorrect as they are not applied in the correct context. Commonest one I've come across is "Sochai soch na hovai..." where Soch is translated as "thought" and not "wash" ie Guru Ji cannot be realised by washing oneself over and over again. This is something some holy people (can't recall their name) used to do - wash their bodies every few hours because of impurities through sweating.

If simple mistakes can be made like this, then you cannot trust translations. It's one person's interpretation. Everybody can read Gurbani and take their own message. This would hold true even if Guru Ji had written it in English!

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