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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 129-133

Yoga concept in Sri Guru Granth Sahib teachings: A conceptual frame development

Department of Yoga Science, University of Patanjali, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission03-Sep-2021
Date of Decision16-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance06-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication22-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Gurneet Kaur
University of Patanjali, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ym.ym_96_21

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Introduction: Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) or Adi Granth is the main Sikh scripture. The SGGS promote principles of liberty and impartiality to pursue the way to the Guru following the path of peace and prosperity. The Sikh code of conduct is known as Sikh Rehat Maryada. The code is an outline of the mandates of daily routine followed by every Sikh. It stipulates philosophy and mandates, according to the teachings of Sikhism's 10 gurus. The studies show the relationship between SGGS and Yoga. In SGGS the first phrase, the Mool mantra, starts with the idiom, Ek Onkar (AUM). The primary goal of SGGS is to achieve union with God by constantly remembering God's name. Practice is oriented around three “golden rules.” Guru Nanak also hinted in his hymns about these chakras. Guru had talked about the Naval Lotus. In the heart (with the blooming of lotus), he has seen the Lord whose knowledge is spoken of as unfathomable. The way of the blooming of this lotus is described by Guru Nanak by saying that when with the help of “Guru-Sabad,” the heart lotus blooms and fills with nectar which makes one contented. The need of the conceptual frame arises due to lack of scientific understanding of SGGS.
Methodology: Scale development is a systematic process that is carried out at different stages of analysis. Following recommendations of DeVellis RF and Pasqual L scale development for the present study was accomplished in three stages namely item generation, theoretical analysis, and psychometric analysis the 30 items developed after content validity testing and cognitive interviews with select respondents.
Results and Conclusion: Conceptual framework is developed through the Yogic teachings from SGGS versus Patanjali Yoga Sutra.

Keywords: Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak, scale development, yoga, Yogsutra

How to cite this article:
Kaur G, Gowda P. Yoga concept in Sri Guru Granth Sahib teachings: A conceptual frame development. Yoga Mimamsa 2021;53:129-33

How to cite this URL:
Kaur G, Gowda P. Yoga concept in Sri Guru Granth Sahib teachings: A conceptual frame development. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Jun 6];53:129-33. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Sikhism was originated in the year of 1500 CE, state of Punjab in North - India. It is the world's fifth-largest organized philosophical text. It is a grand treatise of value systems with dos and don'ts for both individual and society. Grand Yoga concepts are also mentioned in various text books of Sikhism by various Gurus (Singh, Parkash, & Gupta, 2020; Bhattacharya, 2020; Kaur, 2016; Mehta, 2016; Stoeber, 2012; Myrvold et al., 2008; Nesbitt, 1989). In SGGS, Sri Guru Nanak dev ji gives the yogic teachings in Punjabi, it is mentioned as Vend Shako or in English it is share and consume Kirat Karo (work honestly) and Naam Japo (reciting name). Sikh Rehat Maryada as the name suggests are protocol guidelines for worship which may roughly be equivalent to Yama and Niyama principles in Patanjali Yogsutra (2/29). Singh et al. (2020) in their paper focus much on the human rights and the sufferings met out by the Mughals during 1675 toward the society. They pointed out that unevenness; injustice, trickiness, confusion, and abuse were prevalent. To preserve the values and human righteousness, he spoke about the Niyamas and to counter them Yama principles or tenets were given to society on a whole. Sri Guru Nanak dev ji gives the concept of yoga in the form of three precious virtues, i.e., truthfulness (Satya 2/36), contentment (Santosh 2/42), and divine wisdom (Ishwar-Pranidhan 2/45). The author also emphasizes the concept of oneness of God for all humanity based on Gurunanak's teachings. Based on this concept, we formulated 2 questions like “I wake up before dawn” and the second question may be “I meditate in silent location.”

Patanjali Yoga sutras (1/46-51) by Bhattacharya (2020), interpretation leads to such shabdas (sound) of Sri Guru Nanak dev ji's “Nirgun” concept which means without material properties and then get transformed into guna form, i.e., in the seed form. Based on the teachings of second Guru Angad Kaur, (2016), who focuses on early morning wake up before dawn and meditate in a silent location. Based on this concept, we formulated 2 questions like “I wake up before dawn” and the second question “I meditate in silent location.” Mehta (2016) reveals that yoga, meditation, and other practices make a positive impact in our lives and can enhance a person's general wellbeing. The sacred syllable Aum has become the mystical name of the lord (YS-1/27). Everyone chants this Sanskrit syllable for numerous benefits. In Sikhism, the prayer, known as the Mool mantra, starts with the idiom, Ek Onkar (AUM) which is the first phrase in the Guru Granth Sahib. The study of Stoeber (2012), Deslippe (2012) explains Kundalini Yoga in Sikh dharma which includes a multiple meditation (YS-1/39), breathing techniques (YS-2/49-51), body postures (2/46) and chanting techniques (1/27) Bhatia (1996). Shri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the only religious scripture which has the potency of removing entire worry, anxiety, and make man egoless and pure. In Patanjali Yogsutras, Yama's and Niyamas are taught to make mind pure (YS-2/29-45). Further author says that SGGS is a true teacher, has complete capability of providing enlightenment and guidance for the seeker. It is an ocean of praises of God and teachings for mankind to have truthful and noble living. In the same way, the Patanjali's Yama and Niyama stand for values - for truthful and noble living. Kaur (2016) focuses on the spiritual, ethical, and moral aspects of education presented by Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who is always relevant and necessary for the overall development of the individual and society. He believes in a simple life and shares his wealth with others and shares his misery. The concept of not coveting is explained in Yogsutra under Yama, when noncovetousness is established, there is knowledge of all about states of existence (YS-2/30, 39).

Kalra, Bhui, & Bhugra (2013) discuss the context of depression in Shri Guru Granth factors such as pride (ahankar), lust (kaam), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), and being too attached to the world (moh) are the causes of depression. In Yogsutra, five afflictions (panch-klesa) are - ignorance (avidya), egotism (asmita), desire (raag), aversion (dwesha) and tenacity (abhinivesh) (YS-2/3). The process of pratyahara is explained in Yoga sutra as well as in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji-When the afflictions modify the mind by pressing themselves upon the attention have to be subdued by meditation (YS-2/11). The third guru, Sri Guru Amar das ji emphasized on both spiritual pursuits as well on ethical daily life. He encouraged his followers to wake up before dawn and then meditate in silent area (Dhyaan 2/11). He also gives the yogic concepts of pratyahar, Asteya, etc., which are also mentioned in Yogsutra (2/54, 2/37). Based on this concept, we formulated 5 questions like “I wake up before dawn” “I meditate in silent location/shelter” “I keep my mind in control” “I eat only when I feel hungry” “I never insult others.” The fourth Guru, Sri Guru Ram das ji also gives the concept of meditation (Dhyaan 2/11), and according to him union of the two is the union of the individual with the Infinite (Samadhi defined 3/3). Based on this concept, we formulated 3 questions like “The name of God fills my heart with joy” “Pride is a poison to one self” “Union of the two is the union of the individual with the Infinite.” Sri Guru Arjan dev ji emphasized on the unity of God (The preeminence of the lord, 1/26) and brotherhood of man (Superhuman faculties 3/24). Based on this concept, we formulated 3 questions like “I believe in the unity of demi Gods” “I believe in the concept of brotherhood.” The sixth domain consists the yogic teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, Bhatt's, Pirs, Gursikhs and Bhaktis'. Guru Tegh Bahadur ji gives the concept of pranayama - The breath is drawn in through the left nostril; it is held in the central channel of the Sushmana, and exhaled through the right nostril, repeating the Lord's Name sixteen times. The concept of pranayama is the fourth limb of astanga yoga (YS-2/49, 50, 51). We can also find the yogic concepts of pratyahar (YS-2/37), satya (satya 2/36), swadhyay (YS-2/44), and ahimsa (YS-2/30, 35) in their teachings. In this way, Sikh guru also gives the concept of yoga in SGGS. Based on this concept, we formulated 12 questions like “Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur praises the Lord in many ways” “God is infinite, vast and endless” “False people have one thing in their heart, and something else in their mouth” “I repeat the Lord's name sixteen times in one cycle of breath” “Irregular breathe gives rise to lust and anger” “Restraining desires leads to true God” “Lord and Master live in abode so one cannot break their hearts” “I am not attached to Maya” “I do not waste my life in laziness” “Naam japa leads to Lord and Encounter the death with calmness.” The Guru Granth Sahib is the scripture that embodies their living Guru. Guru Granth Sahib in the gurdwaras, mentioned its role in life cycle rites, and some wrote about the content of Sikh scripture.

The concept of mental health is also explained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.It is explained in the form of meditation. Before master it, one has to achieve self-satifaction. This is best summarized by SGGS “Go deeply inside, touch your soul and vibrate at the frequency of the Divine.There you will find your victory and satisfaction-your self-mastery”. The same concept is explained in Yoga sutra of Patanjali in the term of Santosh (Satisfaction) the second niyama of astanga yoga.

  Methodology Top

Scale development is a systematic process that is carried out at different stages of analysis. Following recommendations of DeVellis RF and Pasqual L scale development for the present study was accomplished in three stages namely item generation, theoretical analysis, and psychometric analysis. In the study of Singh 2018, data was gathered from religious transmission among 18-30 year old Sikhs in Britain, which was used a variety of research methods including interviews, participant observation, focus groups and an online survey. In the same way in the present study, data was collected through online mode due to Covid-19.

Item generation

The content domain was specified through review of literature related to yoga in SGGS. Among the teachings of ten Sikh guru's teachings in SGGS, six gurus are considered that relates with Yoga to specify the content domain. The scale comprises of six concepts namely Teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, Teachings of Sri Guru Angad Dev ji, Teachings of Sri Guru Amar Das ji, Teachings of Sri Guru Ram Das ji, Teachings of Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji and Teachings of others. The researcher considered all six concepts as the constructs for scale development. Item pool generation provides a conceptual endorsement for the initial item pool. The present research employed a combination of deductive and inductive methods of initial item pool generation as recommended by Kapuscinski AN and Masters KS. The researchers also interacted with experts in the fields of yoga science and obtained qualitative information regarding the content domains and objective of the research. The information was analyzed and related with the concept of yoga in SGGS to generate initial items. As a result, 57 items were developed under the selected content domains. Items worded negatively for the construct were reverse coded and scored. Following the recommendations by parameters such simplicity, clarity, specificity, capability to ensure variability of response and freeness from bias of the items were carefully considered while drafting the items.

Theoretical analysis

Content validity

Content validity of the initial items was assessed to make sure that the items are representative of the identified construct, i.e., Yoga in SGGS. The researchers, in order to assess content validity of the initial items clearly defined the conceptual framework of yoga in SGGS by undertaking a thorough literature review and seeking expert opinion. The expert panel comprised of 4 experts; one Vedic philosophy expert from Texas, USA, another expert from alternative and complementary medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, statistical expert, and a psychology professor Sastra University, and yoga expert from University of Patanjali, Haridwar, India. The experts assessed the relevance of items in relation to the content domain applying a tool namely content validity index (CVI) developed by Waltz. The experts rated each item against a 4-point scale (1 = not relevant, 2 = somewhat relevant, 3 = quite relevant and 4 = highly relevant). A score of 3 or 4 indicates that the content represented by each item was considered valid and in harmony with the theory that is being measured and they are retained. The items which received score 1 or 2 were rejected from the scale indicates that the theoretically or practically irrelevant questions or any ambiguous items that apparently repeated the essential content of other items.

Face validity

The visual appearance of the tool such as consistency of the style, formatting, readability, and feasibility as prescribed by Devon HA were tested by administering the initial level scale with 25 individuals. The respondents were asked to judge the user-friendliness of the tool. Feedback from the respondents was incorporated to improve the tool. This process was helpful to assess ambiguity and skewness, i.e., respondents providing very similar answer to all the items.

Psychometric analysis

The psychometric analysis involves a number of quantitative techniques to test construct validity and reliability of the scale. Construct validity according to Posakoff PM is the quantity to which interpretation can be meaningfully constructed from the observed scores to the hypothetical constructs about which the observations are meant to hold information. In addition to construct validity, convergent validity, criterion validity, and discriminate validity of the scale were tested quantitatively. DeVellis RF strongly recommends the combined use of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to achieve consistent results of the psychometric indices. Hence, these validity tests were done using EFA and CFA. Reliability, a quantification method producing the consistent results on recurring examinations was measured in terms of indicators namely Cronbach Alpha, Spearman–Brown coefficient, composite reliability, and average variance extraction. Concurrent validity was assessed by calculating the correlation between the scores of the present scale and an established scale namely SGGS Yoga Scale.

Data collection and analysis

In this study, the scale was with five options ranging from “strongly disagree” (score 1) to “strongly agree” (score 5). Each of the items in the scale is an agreement statement on the 5-point Likert scale, which is a quantitative technique meant for measuring psychological variables such as attitude, perception, anxiety, stress, and beliefs. All the items in the scale were positively stated about SGGS Yoga Scale. The summated score of all the items was treated as the quantifiable measure of the construct and it was considered for all quantitative analytical purposes. All items included in the Likert scale were considered continuous variables. The scale was prepared in English and Hindi to facilitate respondents' comprehension over the statements. The questionnaire was filled by the respondents. Factors are extracted and a factor structure including the correlation between the factors is proposed by EFA. The proposed factor structure is hypothesized and tested in CFA. If the statistical results fit with the hypothesized model, the researcher can conclude that the factor structure is valid. Hence, the study evaluated the scale using both EFA and CFA. IBM Corp. Released 2017. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 25.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. was used to calculate descriptive statistics, correlation matrix, and EFA and Cronbach Alpha value. IBM SPSS Amos 25 software version was used to perform CFA. Convergent validity was verified using the average variance extracted, a statistic calculated from values of factor loads. Construct validity was assessed by computing model fitness indices namely p value of Chi-square, RMSEA, GFI, AGFI, CFI, TLI, NFI, and Chi-square/df which were the outputs of CFA. Discriminate validity was examined by measuring the level of redundancy of items through modification indices.

Theoretical analysis

The initial item pool consisting of 35 items was vetted by four experts to assess the degree to which the items taken together constitute an adequate operational definition of a construct, i.e., content validity. The experts reviewed the initial item pool using a CVI rating tool. CVI was calculated following the recommendation of Waltz C. The experts gave their rating individually. Then, for each item, the index was calculated as the number of experts giving a rating 3 or 4 and this was divided by total number of experts. The items for which the index was less than 0.75 were considered to be irrelevant and were eliminated from the original list. From the initial pool, 5 items on the draft SGGS were deemed to be invalid because they yielded CVIs of 1/4 = 0.25 to 2/4 = 0.50 and were removed with CVI lower than 0.75. All the remaining items were valid with CVIs ranging from 0.75 (3/4) to 1 (4/4) and were retained which resulted in a 30-item questionnaire. After modifying the scale based on rating by the experts, the scale was individually administered on 40 persons. Each statement was read out to the respondent and in reply, the respondent stated what he/she understood from the item. If the content what the respondent comprehended and what had been conceived by the researchers matched, the item would be considered to be qualified. If mismatch was identified, the researcher was asked, “What did you mean by the statement like this?” The response would uncover issues present in the items such as vagueness, ambiguity, leading words/sentence, unfamiliar words, complicated sentence, closed-ended statement, and sensitive statement. Based on this information, statements were rephrased. The modified statements were once again read out to the respondent and feedback was received and accordingly modified. The 30 items were developed after content validity testing and cognitive interviews with select respondents.

  Results and Discussion Top

All the above studies show the relationship between the SGGS and PYS. A qualitative analysis denotes that there is a need for a relative reference frame. Hence, we proposed a relative reference for the studies; [Figure 1] shows 30 statements under 6 subdomains namely: Teachings of Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, and others. It will help in identifying the concept of Yoga in SGGS. [Figure 2] (SGGS tenets 6 subdomains vs. PYS questions) show the relationship between SGGS and yoga. In this figure, 6 subdomains (X) are placed in descending order - Teachings of others (11), teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji (6), teachings of Sri Guru Amardas ji (5), teachings of Sri Guru Angad Dev ji (3), teachings of Sri Guru Ramdas ji (3), teachings of Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji (2). Y - Indicates the sutras from Patanjali Yogsutra.
Figure 1: SGGS's 6 sub domains that has relationship with yoga. 30 statements under 6 sub domains namely: teachings of Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and others. It will help in identifying the concept of Yoga in SGGS. SGGS: Sri Guru Granth Sahib

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Figure 2: Sri Guru Granth Sahib tenets 6 sub domains versus PYS questions. In this figure 6 sub domains (X) are placed in descending order - Teachings of others (11), Teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji (6), Teachings of Sri Guru Amardas ji (5), Teachings of Sri Guru Angad Dev ji (3), Teachings of Sri Guru Ramdas ji (3), Teachings of Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji (2). Y – Indicates the sutras from Patanjali Yogsutra

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  Conclusion Top

A Sri Guru Granth Sahib Yoga scale is described to the concept of Yoga in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We employed both qualitative and quantitative methods to develop and validate this scale using SPSS version 25's exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses for 500 general populations from four states of India. The standardized estimated regression value is found to be 0.67 which is greater than the required level of ≥ 0.5 and thus showing a good relation between six sub domains. This SGGSYC can facilitate and provide a social health care and wellbeing.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.[19]

  References Top

Bhatia, H. S. (1996). Sikhism and Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Journal of Dharma, 21(4), 378-394.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bhattacharya, A. B. (2020). Scientific perspective of Guru Nanak's teachings. Journal of Critical Reviews, 7(9), 591-595.  Back to cited text no. 2
Deslippe, P. (2012). From Maharaj to Mahan tantric: The construction of Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini yoga. Sikh Formations, 8(3), 369-387.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fenech, L. E. (2001). Martyrdom and the execution of Guru Arjan in early Sikh sources. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 121, 20-31.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kalra, G., Bhui, K. D., & Bhugra, D. (2013). Does Guru Granth Sahib describe depression? Journal of Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 5 (Suppl 2), S195-S200.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kaur, H. (2016). Educational Philosophy of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. International Journal of Physical Education, Health and Social Science, 5, pp. 337.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kaur, H. (2016). Perspectives from Guru Nanak to Guru Arjan in the context of William Irvine's the later Mughals. Amritsar-143005 (India), 40, 81.  Back to cited text no. 7
Kaur, Ms. Rajinder and Manhas, Promila, Teachings of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Ethos in Management. International Journal of Management Sciences and Business Research, June-2015 ISSN (2226-8235) Vol-4, Issue 6 , Available at SSRN: [Last accessed on 2015 Jun 10].  Back to cited text no. 8
Kaur, R. (2016). Sikhism under the religious leadership of Guru Angad Dev. Amritsar-143005 (INDIA), 40, 93.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mehta, S. (2016). AUM: The Healing Power. In 2nd International Conference on Public Health: Issues, challenges, opportunities, prevention, awareness (Public Health: 2016).  Back to cited text no. 10
Myrvold, K. (2008). Inside the Guru's Gate. Lund Studies in African and Asian Religions. Available online: https://punjab. global. ucsb. edu/sites/secure. lsit. ucsb. edu. gisp. d7_sp/files/sitefiles/research/dissertations/myrvold_dissertation. pdf (accessed on 16 February 2020).  Back to cited text no. 11
Nesbitt, E. (1989). The body: The Guru's' teaching and contemporary Sikh practice. Religion, 19(3), 255-261.  Back to cited text no. 12
Nesbitt, E. (2020). Guru Granth Sahib in the writings of western women. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 11(1), 35-54.  Back to cited text no. 13
Sidhu, G. S. (2016). Idea of peace in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. amritsar-143005 (india), 40, 1.  Back to cited text no. 14
Singh, D., Parkash, P., & Gupta, D. (2020). Guru Nanak: The guardian of humanism. European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine, 7(7), 2949-2954.  Back to cited text no. 15
Singh, J. (2018). Lost in translation? The emergence of the digital Guru Granth Sahib. Sikh Formations, 14(3-4), 339-351.  Back to cited text no. 16
Stoeber, M. (2012). 3HO Kundalini yoga and Sikh dharma. Sikh Formations, 8(3), 351-368.  Back to cited text no. 17
Valetta, V. (2020) Mental health in the Guru Granth Sahib: Disparities between theology and society. Sikh Research Journal, 51, ???.  Back to cited text no. 18
Virk, H. S. Paper Title: Concept of Sunya (SÜNN) in Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS).  Back to cited text no. 19


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