Be aware how gurbani is distorted? … Trying to redefine Jap ਜਪੁ


by Harnaak Singh (170227)

Gur Sikh Jio. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

Of late there have been some people who have tried to redefine what Jap is and this is not in line with Siri Guru Granth Sahib teachings.

Karminder Singh in one of his parchar (audio included below) says that Sikhs have misconceived or misunderstood or being led to misunderstand what Jup ਜਪੁ or Naam ਨਾਮੁ means.  

He crudely states 

Jup is not chanting. That has to be cleared out of our minds. We have reduced, relegated, downtrodden, trampled upon, stepped on….the process of naam jupnaa to chanting.  Guru Nanak came all the way, for 70 years, through 10 Gurus, to tell us to chant? I’m having trouble with that.

He claims that 

  • Jap or Jup ਜਪੁ is not chanting 
  • Naam ਨਾਮੁ is not Name (as translated).

There is no substance in these claims and they are misleading.  We shall show this in the ensuing analysis.  

Chant ਜਪੁ and NAAM ਨਾਮ

The question of Chant ਜਪੁ and NAAM ਨਾਮੁ are related to Mool Mantar ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ … ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਆਦਿ ਸਚ … ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥੧॥.    

The Mool-Mantar (the blue italics text is translation by Sant Singh Khalsa) is presented below.

ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ 

One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace  

॥ ਜਪੁ ॥ 

Chant And Meditate: 

ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥ ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥੧॥ 

True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages. 

The first point to note is that Gurbani, and for that matter spiritual writing of any faith, is meant for human beings.  Therein we are taught our place in the creation, our relationship and interaction with the creation and our relationship and interaction with the creator.  Though this is a topic by itself, it is suffice to state here that, Gurbani teaches us that our mission is to create a link with God and eventually merge with God i.e. attain unity with God.  This must be borne in mind in the ensuing analysis.

A more detailed meanings of the words in Mool Mantar following are shown below. 

ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ (whose name is truth ਉਸ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਸੱਚ ਹੈ); ਕਰਤਾ (the doer ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ); ਪੁਰਖੁ (one who pervades every entity ਜੋ ਹਰ ਸਰੀਰ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਹੈ) ਨਿਰਭਉ  (without fear); ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ (without enemy); ਅਕਾਲ (immortal); ਮੂਰਤਿ (entity ਹਸਤੀ); ਅਜੂਨੀ (beyond birth); ਸੈਭੰ (ਆਨਣੇ ਆਪ ਤੋਂ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਲਾ self-existent); ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ (with the grace of Guru there will be realisation of).

SATNAM ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ  and GURPARSAAD ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ 

We will focus on the words ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ and ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ which are directly related to the objective of this analysis.

ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ (whose name is truth ਉਸ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਸੱਚ ਹੈ)

The word ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ is the means with which we can form a link with the creator or Vaheguru or God .  When we say God , what do we mean?  We cannot perceive God so GuruJi has introduced NAAM as a manifestation of God that we can relate to and the only means to help us in our quest for unity with God .

NOTE: The writings in SGGS Ji are the manifestation of GOD.  We take SGGS Ji as our living Guru, our spiritual teacher.  These writings, sort of representative of GOD, when meditated on can create the link with GOD, GOD realisation.  This is best explained with an example.  Consider a mango on a plate.  If one says “the mango tastes great”, it is not possible for one who has not eaten a mango, to appreciate the taste.  Yet when one has eaten the mango, the “mango tastes great” is realised.  The difference between seeing and tasting the mango is subtle, yet it is “miles apart”.  By taking the appropriate action the writings become NAAM and hence the manifestation of GOD as NAAD (see below).

NAAM is the sound ਨਾਦ through which we can relate to and create a link with God .  NAAM is what we should recite and listen (NAAM Jap ਨਾਮ ਜਪ and ਨਾਮ ਸੁਣ not NAAM lekh ਨਾਮ ਲਿਖ).  The NAAM is the sound which we make with the vocal organs or it can be recited in our mind (ਮਨ) and the goal is that eventually our whole being will be reciting NAAM.  

Therefore it is clear without any doubt that any other form of activity e.g. rituals, garb, bathing in holy water, killing in the name of religion, giving donations, any other physical activity which does not involve NAAM is not going to directly help create the link.  It is pointed out that deeds do not directly help but are helpful in that they may lead to a state of mind that will help in creating the link.  These are spelt out in Gurbani but not taken up here.

NAAM is true because it is the manifestation of the creator and will be forever, hence SATNAM ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ.  False entities will be born and perish.  Take note that there is a link between the word ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ and the last word ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ.  

Though the entire Gurbani is NAAM, the word NAAM in mool-mantar is generally taken to be the Name for God in translations.  Also note that the word “naam” in Punjabi means “name”.

ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ (with the grace of Guru there will be realisation of)

The entity whose qualities are given in ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ … … ਸੈਭੰ can be realised by the kindness of the Guru which means we can realise God through the teachings of Gurbani (the words of God brought to us through our Gurus).  Remember what our Guru’s had to undergo so that we can have Gurbani in the form of SGGS Ji today.  It is through their grace that we have Gurbani on a “Golden platter” for us to use for our benefit.  When we recite, reflect, meditate, chant, listen, teach, and understand Gurbani, that process is termed NAAM.  Note also that ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ links to the quality ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ.  The whole of Gurbani when recited/ reflected/ meditated/ chanted/ listened/ taught/ understood is NAAM.  

This excludes any other agent, e.g. human, flora or fauna, a grave, a plant, a picture or any other type of man-made entity, through which we can gain realisation.

The next related point to consider is ॥ ਜਪੁ ॥

ਜਪੁ is Generally transliterated as “Chant” noting that this is disputed by Karminder who goes around professing this misleading information.  He is ill informed as the following analysis will show.  He claims that Chant means repeat ਰਟਨਾ implying that this it is un-NAAM to repeat.

Let us analyse ਜਪੁ, ਜਪ and ਜਪਣਾ.


First let us see what different sources have to say about chant.

Wikipaedia describes chanting, a rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, as a commonly used spiritual practice.  Chant may be a component of either personal or group practice. 

Diverse spiritual traditions, for instance African, Hawaiian, Native American, Australian Aboriginal cultures, Vedic chant, Qur’an reading, Islamic Dhikr, Baha’i chants, various Buddhist chants, Jewish cantillation, chanting of psalms and prayers especially in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican churches, consider chant a route to spiritual development.

There are various chant practices, e.g. throat singing with multiple pitches in Bhuddism, chanting mantras in Hindu and Dharmic traditions, kirtan in many traditions, Japanese chanted poetry (Shigin), mirrors Zen Buddhist principles and is sung from the lower abdomen in Zen Buddhism.

One point to note that the members of these denominations have been chanting their respective scriptures, to realise God, for “eons”.  

According to Karminder they have been all dong wrong; can you imagine how ridiculous this claim is. This is amounting more to a COLLOSAL JOKE.


Uni Patiala Eng-Punjabi dictionary states that chant is a noun meaning ਗੀਤ (song), ਭਜਨ (prayer), ਮੰਤਰ (holy hymn), ਮੰਤਰ ਉਚਾਰਨਾ (repeatedly utter holy hym, meditate) 

Three more references sources are tabulated below.

Word Mahan Kosh University Patiala Punjabi-English Dictionary
ਜਪੁ ਜਪੁ ਨਾਮਕ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ Gurbani with the title JAP;  ਮੰਤਰਪਾਠ (recitation or repetition of mantar); noun, masculine – a devotional composition recited by Sikhs usually as early morning prayer;
ਜਪ ਜਪਨਾ, ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਕਹਿਣਾ (repeat in the mind)  verb: imperative form of ਜਪਣਾ, meditate, repeat; noun, masculine recitation or silent repetition of God’s name, mystical formula or prayer
ਜਪਣਾ ਮਨ ਵਿਚ ਉਚਾਰਨਾ (repeat in the mind) to ਜਪ i.e. repeat mentally or orally in low tone

Most of all what is Gurbani’s position on Chanting?

Gurbani tells us through the following.

ਕਿਸੁ ਹਉ ਸੇਵੀ ਕਿਆ ਜਪੁ ਕਰੀ ਸਤਗੁਰ ਪੂਛਉ ਜਾਇ ॥  SGGS 34 SriRag M:3

Whom shall I serve? What shall I chant? I will go and ask the Guru.

In this Shabad one ask’s the question to GuruJi “whom shall I serve and what shall I chant ਜਪੁ?”.

The answer to these questions comes in the following verses. The verses related to chant ਜਪੁ is that which is underelined i.e. chant NAAM (we already know what NAAM is).

ਸਤਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਭਾਣਾ ਮੰਨਿ ਲਈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ SGGS 34 SriRag M:3

I will accept the Will of the True Guru, and eradicate selfishness from within.

What is the will of the true Guru?  It is in accepting, reciting, internalising and practicing the teachings in Gurbani.  Also we have to shed our ego.  This is how NAAM will be internalised and how we will benefit is shown the next two verses. 

ਏਹਾ ਸੇਵਾ ਚਾਕਰੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਿਨ ਆਇ ॥ SGGS 34 SriRag M:3

By this work and service, the Naam shall come to dwell within my mind.

ਨਾਮੈ ਹੀ ਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਿਦ ਸੁਹਾਇ ॥੧॥ SGGS 34 SriRag M:3

Through the Naam, peace is obtained; I am adorned and embellished by the True Word of the Shabad. ||1||

Gurbani even tells us how to chant ਜਪੁ

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਜਪੁ ਰਸਨਾ ॥ SGGS 252 Slok 10 M:5

Meditate on the Name of the Lord, Har, Har – chant it with your tongue.

We don’t think there is any further need to discuss the matter of Chant.  GuruJi has answered.  

The conclusion is that

  • Chanting of NAAM is one of the methods prescribed in Gurbani.
  • The word ਜਪੁ in Jap Ji Sahib is both the title of the Bani as well as an indication for us to ਜਪੁ or Chant NAAM. 
  • NAAM ਨਾਮ is the process of reciting/ reflecting/ meditating/ chanting/ listening/ teaching/ understanding Gurbani. 
  • The whole of Gurbani in the form of NAAM is the manifestation of God.

Karminder by saying that Chant is against Gurbani is misleading people.  If we listen to this preaching we will become SPIRITUALLY LAME.

Chanting is practiced in many belief systems and commonly involves repeating a word or words. 

For Sikhs chanting is NAAM in the form of generally repeating one or a small group of words from Gurbani.  The key in any application of NAAM is to perform it within our self with concentration.


We have seen that 

  • Chant or ਜਪ is one of the methods of reciting NAAM prescribed in Gurbani.
  • NAAM ਨਾਮ is generally translated as Name though this word has a wide implication.
  • NAAM is more so the process of reciting/ reflecting/ meditating/ chanting/ listening/ teaching/ understanding Gurbani.  

So actually it is Karminder who has reduced, relegated, downtrodden, trampled upon, stepped on….the process of naam jupnaa to be a MAJOR MISLEAD.  He wants us to be SPIRITUALLY LAME.


Thank You for reading/listening.  ਗਲਤੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਖਿਮਾ.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

Audio: Karminder Singh JAP IS NOT CHANTING: 

Please click link to download PDF of article: 170227-meaning-of-chant

There are many quotes on simran and jap in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.  Please read the following links to know more about it.