Gurmukhi Numbers in Gurbani Illustrated

01
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Gurmukhi Zero in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Zero - Bindi
Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Zero in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Zero - Bindi. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Numeric Significance of Gurmukhi Script in Sikh Scripture

Gurmukhi is the phonetic script in which the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's sacred scripture, is written. The words of hymns and poetic verses of the Guru Granth are known as Gurbani, meaning Guru's word. Guru Angad Dev, Sikhism's second guru, developed the Gurmukhi script so that it could be easily learned and read by the average person. Fifth Guru Arjun Dev compiled the Guru Granth using the Gurmukhi script to transpose the hymns of Gurbani. Gurmukhi numerals reference page numbers of the Guru Granth and the verses of Gurbani, as well as authors of various shabads, or hymns which make up the Guru Granth. Gurmukhi script and numerals appear in Sikh hymnals such as Amrit Kirtan and Gurbani prayer books such as Nitmen which contain selections from Dasam Granth, the collected works of Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. Verses of spiritual significance in Sikh scripture contain metaphoric passages in which numbers figure. Written spellings of numbers in scripture vary according to usage and meaning.

Bindi is the numeral zero of the Gurmukhi script.

Bindi is the most common Romanized phonetic spelling of numeral zero of the Gurmukhi script. Bindi pronounced bind-ee, the i and ee sound like the vowels in windy. Bindi refers to a dot which is used to signify cancellation of a debt known as a cipher which is very similar in sound to siphar, and is a word also used for zero, except that the latter has a short i sound such as the i in zipper.

Bhai Gurdas whose compositions are consider the key to deciphering Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, wrote about the significance of zero using the word sunn, which means empty, alone or void:

Nou ang sunn sumaar sang niraaliaa||
As numerals with zero to accompany them count out beyond the infinite,

Neel aneel veechaar piram piaaliaa||15||
The stained become stainless drinking from Beloved's cup of love, and upon reflection achieve mastery of the infinite. Vaar||3

02
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Gurmukhi Number One in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number One - Ik
Ik - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral One in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number One - Ik. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Ik is numeral one of the Gurmukhi script.

Ik is the most simple phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral one of the Gurmukhi script. Ik is pronounced just like it is spelled and has the same sound as the ick in wick. Variations of spelling for the number one in Gurbani the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include aek or ek which have a vowel sound like the a in lake.

Pehla, pronounced pay-la, is the word for first in Sikh scripture and refers to compositions of Guru Nanak, first guru of the Sikhs

The numeric Gurmukhi symbol for Ik is the first character to appear in Sikhism's sacred scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh symbol Ik Onkar represents the concept of creator and creation as one entity, and appears at the beginning of the first line of Sikh scripture, known as mool mantar, (mul mantra) a phrase describing the qualities of the divine One:

"Ik onkar Sat naam kartaa purakh nirbho nirvair akaal moorat ajoonee saibhan gur prasaad||
One manifest truth identifiable as the creator, without fear, without enmity, an undying individual, unborn, an entirely self contained guide offering grace." SGGS||1

03
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Gurmukhi Number Two in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Two - Do
Do - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Two in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Two - Do. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Do is numeral two of the Gurmukhi script.

Do is the most simple phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral two of the Gurmukhi script. Do is pronounced so that it has a vowel sound like the o in doe or bow. Variations of spelling for the number two in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include du-e which sounds like dewy.

Duja, pronounced dew-jaw, is the word for second in Sikh scripture and refers to compositions of Guru Angad Dev, second guru of the Sikhs.

Domalla is a word designating a double length turban of two pieces, the second worn over the first.

In Sikh scripture the number two represents duality, signifying the influence of ego which causes the soul to believe it is separate from the divine:

"Naanak tarvar ek fal due pankhae-roo aah-e ||
O Nanak, the tree has one fruit, but two birds are perched upon it." SGGS||550

04
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Gurmukhi Number Three in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Three - Tinn
Tin - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Three in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Three - Tinn. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Tin is numeral three of the Gurmukhi script.

Tin is the most simple phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral three of the Gurmukhi script. Tin is pronounced just the way it is written and sounds like tin, the metal. Variations of spelling for the number three in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include teen which sounds like teen in teenager and tre which sounds like tray.

Tija, pronounced tea-jaw, is the word for third in Sikh scripture and refers to compositions of Guru Amar Das, third guru of the Sikhs

Tin taal is the name of a type of metered beat used when the rhythm requires a count of three in a particular raag, or measure, in which the various hymns of Sikh scripture are composed.

Sikhism is founded on three principles:

  • Prayerful meditation
  • Honest earning
  • Sharing income
which are believed to counteract teen gun, or three qualities:
  • Self confidence
  • Self absorption
  • Self doubt
" Teen biaapeh jagat ko tureeaa paavai koe ||
The world is in the grip of three qualities, the rare few attain the fourth state of absorption in bliss." SGGS||297
05
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Gurmukhi Number Four in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Four - Char
Char - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Four in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Four - Char. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Char is numeral four of the Gurmukhi script.

Char is the most simple phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral four of the Gurmukhi script. Char is pronounced the way it is spelled and sounds like char in charcoal.

Chautha, pronounced chow-thaa, is the word for fourth in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, and refers to compositions of Guru Raam Das, fourth guru of the Sikhs.

In Sikh scripture references are made to:

  • Jug char the four ages and char paav their four feet or supports:
    • Satjug - Golden age with the four supports of truth, atonement, compassion and altruism.
    • Treta - Silver age with the three supports of atonement, compassion and altruism.
    • Duapur - Brass age with the two supports of compassion and altruism.
    • KalJug - Iron age with the one support of altruism.
  • Char avstha - four states of mind:
    • Awake
    • Asleep
    • Dreaming
    • Absorbed in the Divine
  • Char datan - four desires:
    • Dharam - faith
    • Arth - wealth
    • Kaam - success, or sensory pleasure
    • Mokh - liberation
  • Char khaniaa - four sources of existence:
    • Andaj - Egg born
    • Jeraj - Womb born
    • Setaj - Sweat born
    • Utbhuj - Earth born
    Other references include but are not limited to:
    • Char aasram - four stages of life (infancy, youth, prime, and old age).
    • Kunttaa char - four directions.
    • Char padaarath - four blessings.
    • Char charan - four footed (creatures).
    • Char pahar - four *watches (*three hour segments of day.)
    • Char baran(a) or varan - four castes (of Hinduism).
    • Char Ved - four scriptures (of Hinduism).
    • Kiriaachar - four rituals.
06
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Gurmukhi Number Five in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Five - Panj
Panj - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Five in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Five - Panj. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Panj is numeral five of the Gurmukhi script.

Panj is the most simple common phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral five of the Gurmukhi script. Panj sounds like sponge (without the s). Variations of spelling for the number five in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include panch pronounced punch.

Panjva, pronounced pun-j-waa, is the word for fifth in Sikh scripture and refers to compositions of Guru Arjan Dev, fifth guru of the Sikhs.

A Sikh is defined by five essentials beliefs. In Sikhism panj has special significance:

  • Panjab, where Sikhism originated, is named for five rivers.
  • Panj Pyare are five beloved administers of Amrit, the baptism of Sikh initiation.
  • Panj Bania are five daily prayers recited by a Sikh.
  • Panj Kakar or 5 K's are the five required articles of faith.
  • Many references occur in Sikh scripture where five has significance. Most are symbolic and refer to the five evils, or elements of egoism (*unless other wise indicated):
    • Pachou tat - five elements
    • Panch agan - five fires
    • Panch baann - *five arrows (of virtue)
    • Panch bail - five bullocks
    • Panch bajitra - *five virtues
    • Panch barangan - *five wives
    • Panch battvarae - five bandits
    • Panch bhagae - five misfortunes
    • Panch bhoo or bhooth - five elements
    • Panch bikhaadee - five poisons
    • Panch bikaar - five diseases
    • Panch chalae - five disciples
    • Panch chanddaal - five outcasts
    • Panch chor - five thieves
    • Panch daas - five servants
    • Panch dhaat - five bad habits
    • Panch dokh - five base instincts
    • Panch doost - five villains
    • Panch dooth - five enemies
    • Panch janaa - five adulterers demons
    • Panch juaan - five challengers
    • Panch kirsaann - five farm hands
    • Panch kos - *five units of measure like miles
    • Panch maar - five tyrants
    • Panch mirag - five illusions
    • Panch narad - five miscreants
    • Panch pachees - five adherents
    • Panch paleet - five pollutants.
    • Panch panihaaaree - five water carriers
    • Panch peharooaae - five senses
    • Panch poot - five sons
    • Panch pragat - five passions
    • Panch ragini - *five melodies
    • Panch raasee - five sensual pleasures
    • Panch sabad - *five hymns
    • Panch sang or sangeetaa - five companions
    • Panch sakhi - five friends
    • Panch sareek - five rivals
    • Panch sataaveh - five evils
    • Panch sikdara - five rulers
    • Panch singh - five tigers or lions
    • Panch soorbeer - five adversaries
    • Panch taksar - five criminals
    • Panch tat - five essences
    • Panch thag - five thugs
    • Panch vakhat - *five prayers (of Islam)
    • Panch vaseh - five vices
    • Panj kar - *reciting five prayers
    • Panj phir - *five peers
    • Panj pialae - *five cups (of truth)
    • Panj ralaae - five alloys
    • Panj vakat - *five prayers
07
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Gurmukhi Number Six in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Six - Chhe
Chhe - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Six in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Six - Chhe. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Chhe is numeral six of the Gurmukhi script.

Chhe is the most simple common phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral six of the Gurmukhi script. Chhe is pronounced so that it sounds like shay.Variations of spelling for the number six in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include khatt. Kh is a aspirated sound which means when k is spoken it is done so with a puff of air. The double tt represents a character which is spoken so that the tt is said by curling the tongue to touch just behind the ridge of the roof of the mouth, so that khatt sounds similar to k-hat.

Chhevan, pronounced shay-won, is the word for sixth. Guru Har Govind is the sixth guru of the Sikhs.

According to Manmohan Singh in the appendix of his eight volume Steek, or translation of Sikh scripture, the significance of number six may include but is not limited to:

  • Chhe ruttan - six seasons of the Nanakshahi calendar:
    • Basant - Springtime, Chet and Vaisakh
    • Garikhame - Summertime Heat, Jeth and Harh
    • Warkha - Monsoon or Rainy Season, Savan and Bhandon
    • Sarad - Cool Autumn, Asu and Katak
    • Sisar - Cold of Fall, Maghar and Poh
    • Him - Snowy Winter, Magh and Phagan
  • Chhe ras - six flavors:
    • Salty
    • Savory
    • Sour
    • Sweet
    • Acrid or Acidic
    • Bitter
  • Chhe Avtar - six incarnate aspects of the divine:
    • Possessing specific power.
    • All pervading.
    • Eternal and Infinite.
    • Having specific purpose.
    • Complete perfection.
    • Omnipotent or all powerful.
In the Sikh scripture, khatt is used in conjunction with the number six usually when referencing the futility of realizing the divine through the or chhe shastra, or six schools of Vedic philosophy and its six authors, chhe shastran:

" Nav chhe khatt kaa karae beechaar ||
Even though the Nine (grammers), six ( Shastras), and six (chapters of the Vedas) maybe be pondered and reflected on,

Nis din ouchrai bhaar athaar ||
While both Night and Day uttering the Maabharta of eighteen divisions,

Tis bhee ant na paiaa tohe ||
Still Thy limits cannot be discovered." SGGS||1237
08
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Gurmukhi Number Seven in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Seven - Sat
Sat - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Seven in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Seven - Sat. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Sat is numeral seven of the Gurmukhi script.

Sat the most simple common phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral six of the Gurmukhi script. In Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, sapat is also used in conjunction with the number seven. Sat and sapat are pronounced so that the sound of a is like the u in cut.

Satvan, pronounced Sut-won, is the word of seventh. Guru Har Rai is the seventh gur of the Sikhs.

According to Manmohan Singh in the appendix of his eight volume Steek, or translation of Sikh scripture, the significance of number seven includes but is not limited to:

  • Saat suraa - seven notes of a raag, or musical measure, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa
  • Sat sudhaan - seven considerations:
    • Endurance
    • Distinction
    • Influence
    • State of Being
    • Lifestyle
    • Deeds.
  • Sapat sagar - seven metaphoric oceans (Sapat sar or sarovar - metaphoric pools):
    • Milk
    • Whey
    • Ghee (clarified butter)
    • Cane juice
    • Honey
    • Sweet water
    • Salt Water
  • Sapat deep - seven islands or continents (Sat choudeh - seven regions):
    • Africa
    • Antarctica
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Europe
    • North America
    • South America
  • Sat samund (Sapat bharae jal) - seven seas:
    • North Atlantic
    • south Atlantic
    • North Pacific
    • South Pacific
    • Indian Ocean
    • Arctic Ocean
    • Antarctic Ocean
  • Sapat jer jimee (sapat paataal) - seven nether regions:
    • Atal
    • Vital
    • Sutal
    • Rasatal
    • Tatatal
    • Mahatal
    • Patal
  • Sat vaar - seven days of the week (Satee paher - seven of the eight watches, or three hour segments, of the day.)
Other miscellaneous references to seven in Sikh scripture include but are not limited to:
  • Sat see kaa - seven kinds of grain.
  • Sat chatee - seven handfuls of ashes.
09
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Gurmukhi Number Eight in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Eight - Atth
Atth - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Eight in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Eight - Atth. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Atth is the numeral eight of the Gurmukhi script.

Atth the most simple common phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral eight of the Gurmukhi script. Atth sounds like ought and is pronounced so that the a sounds like u in cut and when tth is spoken the tongue curls to touch just behind the ridge of the roof of the mouth.

Atthvan, pronounce Ought-won, is the word for eighth. Guru Har Krishan is the eight guru of the Sikhs.

In Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, the term pahar represents a watch, or unit of three hours, so atth pahar represents a twenty four hour period of time:

"Atthee peharee atth khandd naavaa khandd sareer ||
During the eight watches, destroy the eight (three qualities plus five evils) and the ninth, mortality (egoism) is conquered." SGGS||146

In the Sikh scripture asatt is also used in conjunction with the number eight and usually references sidhic, or yogic powers:

"Sagal padaarath asatt sidh naam mehaa ras maahe ||
All wealth and the eight miraculous powers are contained in the sublime essence of the supreme name." SGGS||203

According to Manmohan Singh in the appendix of his eight volume Steek, or translation of Sikh scripture, the asatt sidh, or eight supernatural powers are:

  • Shape shift into the appearance of another.
  • Increase or shrink body size.
  • Make the body microscopic.
  • Increase in heaviness.
  • Be all persuasive.
  • Read the minds of others.
  • Ability to fulfill desires.
  • Produce or obtain a desired object.
Other references to the significance of number eight include but are not limited to:
  • Asatt saaj saaj puraan - eight chapters of the Puranas (Vedic scripture).
  • Asatt dhaath - eight metals.
10
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Gurmukhi Number Nine in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Nine - Nau
Nau - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Nine in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Nine - Nau. Gurmukhi Number

Nau is the numeral nine of the Gurmukhi script.

Nau is the most common Romanized phonetic spelling of numeral nine of the Gurmukhi script. Nau is pronounced so that is sounds like now or noun. Other spellings of number nine in Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, include variations of nav which sounds similar to nov in novelty.

Nauvan, pronounced nova or now-won, is the word for ninth and in Sikh scripture refers to the compositions of Guru Teg Bahadar, ninth guru of the Sikhs.

According to Manmohan Singh in the appendix of his eight volume Steek, or translation of Sikh scripture, the significance of number nine may include but is not limited to:

  • Nav greh - nine Stars, (sun, moon and several planets).
  • Nau khand or chaar - nine regions of earth, (locations in Middle East).
  • Nav chhia - Vedic grammars.
  • Nau nath - nine spiritual masters, miracle workers or yogis.
  • Nau bhagtee-aan - nine devotionals forms of worship.
    • Hearing God's name.
    • Singing God's praise.
    • Meditating on God.
    • Maintaining good character.
    • Serving at God's feet (humility).
    • Acting as Gods slave or maintaining an attitude of selfless service by putting others first.
    • Performing obeisance to God.
    • Entering into friendship with God.
    • Application of spiritual instruction.
  • Nau nidh, or Nav nidh - Nine treasures
    • Precious metals
    • Precious gem stones.
    • Edible delicacies.
    • Martial training.
    • Sundry goods, clothing, grains.
    • Deal in gold.
    • Trade in jewels.
    • Achieve mastery of fine arts.
    • Wealth of every kind.
  • Nau dar or duar - Nine doors, apertures, or openings representing the body's sensory orifices subject to the influence of ego which are also referred to as but not limited to:
    • Nao beheeaan - poles (supports)
    • Navae chhidr - pores
    • Nou ddaaddee - tax assessors
    • Nou darvaje - gates
    • Nou ghar - compartments
    • Nou kul bhand - vessels
    • Nou sar - pools
    • Nava sot - hole
11
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Gurmukhi Number Ten in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Ten - Das
Das - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Ten in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Ten - Das. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Das is the numeral ten of the Gurmukhi script.

Das is the most common Romanized phonetic spelling of numeral ten of the Gurmukhi script. Das is pronounced so that the a sounds like the u in us and sounds like DOS.

Other variations of written spellings for the number ten in Sikh scripture include but are not limited to dasva pronounced dos-won, and dasam, which sounds like awesome (with the d of course) and mean tenth:

  • Das Vand (vand sounds like fund) - tenth share.
  • Dasam Guru - Tenth Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Dasam Bani - compositions of Tenth Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Dasam Granth - volume containing the collective compositions of Tenth Guru Gobind Singh.

According to Manmohan Singh in the appendix of his eight volume Steek, or translation of Gurbani, the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, the significance of number ten may include but is not limited to references about:

  • Das disan - ten directions E, W, N, S, NE, NW, SE, SW, heavens and underworld.
  • Das purab - ten auspicious times of year observed superstitiously.
  • Das avtar - ten incarnate aspects of the divine in Hindu mythology
  • Das bhaekh - ten sects of Hinduism
  • Das pran - ten yogic ways of breathing
  • Das indr - senses and sensory organs:
    • Ears - hearing
    • Eyes - sight
    • Nose - scent
    • Mouth - taste
    • Skin - touch
  • Das Pap - Ten sins:
    • Kill
    • Steal
    • Adultery
    • Covet
    • Lie
    • Insult
    • Slander
    • Break ones word
    • Evil thoughts
    • Evil deeds
  • Das duar - ten metaphoric doors or gates, the apertures or openings of the sensory orifices and dasam duar, the hidden aperture or portal to the spiritual realm or truth:
Anhad sabad dasam duaar vajio teh anmrit naam chuaa-i-aa thaa ||2||
The unstruck hymn resounds in the tenth gate where trickles the immortal nectar. ||2|| SGGS 1002
12
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Gurmukhi Number Eleven in Gurbani Illustrated

Gurmukhi Number Eleven - Giara
Giara - Significance of Gurmukhi Numeral Eleven in Sikh Scripture Gurmukhi Number Eleven - Giara. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Giara is numeral eleven of the Gurmukhi script.

Giara is the most simple phonetic Romanized spelling of numeral eleven of the Gurmukhi script. Giara is pronounced gi-awe-run with a hard g and short i sound as in git or get.

Sikhism's holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib is eleventh in the succession of Sikh Guru's. However there is now, and has always ever been, only one guru whose light passed from Guru Nanak to each of his successors, and now presides with the scripture as the ever present eternal guru of the Sikhs.

In Gurbani, the guru's manifest word, a numerical notation designating eleven or eleventh is pronounced giaravan, and sounds like gi-awe-ra-won.

A variation of the word eleven is written in Gurbani as as giareh, pronounced gi-awe-ray, or gi-are-hey:

Giaareh maas paas kai raakhae eekai maahe nidhaanaa ||3||
Eleven months the Muslims set aside deeming only one has treasure. SGGS||1349

The word eleven or eleventh is also written in Gurbani as ekaa-dasee, a combination of one and ten:

Ekaadasee nikatt paekhahu har raam ||
The eleventh day of the lunar cycle: Behold the pervading Lord near at hand. SGGS||299

Eleven Sikhism Dos and Don'ts