Waheguru - Wondrous Enlightener

Waheguru etched on marble from the Golden Temple
Waheguru etched on marble from the Golden Temple. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Definition: What is the meaning of Waheguru?

Waheguru is the name used by Sikhs when referring to God. It is a compound of several words:

  • Wahe - wonderful, awe-inspiring.
  • Gu - dark gooey attachment.
  • Roo - a (liberating) ray of light.
The word guru refers to a religious guide or teacher guide. Waheguru means wondrous enlightener.

The Sikh scripture Guru Granth teaches that with grace, salvation may be attained by meditating on Naam, or the identity of the divine enlightener.

Sikhs are encouraged to remember God always, by a method known as simran. Instruction is given during initiation at the time of baptism to recite Gurmanter, a term which means mantra of Waheguru. Gurmanter is to be recited as a meditation in the Amritvela early morning hours, and also throughout the day.

Pronunciation: Vaahi gu roo - The Gurmukhi letter for W is close to the sound of V and is pronounced with the teeth touching the lower lip.

Alternate Spellings: Waheguroo, Vaheguru, Vaahiguroo

Don't Miss: Gurmukhi Spelling and Pronounciation of Waheguru

Examples:

The scriptures of Gurbani emphasizes the importance of contemplating and praising Waheguru:

  • The word Waheguru appears 13 times in the Scripture of Guru Granth Sahib in a series of divine hymns composed by the Bhatt minstrel Gyand which praise the excellences of the Wondrous Enlightener. This verse is one example:

    "Vaahehguroo Vaaheguroo Vaaheguroo Vaahe jeeo ||
    Waahe Guru, Waahe Guru, Waahe Guru, Waahe Jee-o.

    Kaval nain madhur bain kott sain sang sobh kehat maa jasod jiseh dehee bhaat khaahe jeeo ||
    Lotus-eyed, sweet of speech, exalted and embellished with millions of companions, Mother Yashoda invited Thee [as Krishna] to partake sweet rice and curd.

    Daekh roop at anoop moh mehaa mag bhee kinkanee sabad jhanatakaar khael paahe jeeo ||
    Seeing Thy supremely beautiful form, and hearing the musical tinkling of Thy silver bells when Thee played, intoxicated the mother with loving delight.

    Kaal kalam hukam haath kehhu koun maett sakai ees banmya gyaan dhyaan dharat heeai chaahe jeeo ||
    Death's pen is commanded by Thy hands, who can erase Thy writ? Shiva and Brahma meditate yearning to enshrine Thy spiritual wisdom in their hearts.

    Sat saach sree nivaas aad purakh sadhaa tuhee vaaheguroo vaaheguroo vaaheguroo vaahe jeeo ||1||6||
    Thou are forever just and true, the abode of Excellence, the Primal Supreme Being. Waahe Guru, Waahe Guru, Waahe Guru, Waahe Jee-o. "||1||6|| SGGS 1402

  • Sikhs are ultimately meant to contemplate Waheguru with every thought, deed, and breath.
    Fifth Guru Arjan Dev wrote:

    "Baitat ootat sovat jaagat visar naahee toon saas giraasaa ||1|| rehaao||
    Sitting down, standing up, while sleeping or awake with each morsel of food, and every breath I never forget You." ||1||Pause|| SGGS||378

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