Baba Virsa Singh gave great emphasis to the daily reading of Jaap Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh’s great hymn of God’s praises, so Gobind Sadan is making continual efforts to provide good translations of Jaap Sahib in many languages. On 27 July 2012, a new Spanish translation was released in a function at the India International Centre sponsored by Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust.
The translation was released by Sri Moti Lal Vora, MP, Trustee of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, Treasurer of All India Congress Committee, former Governor of Uttar Pradesh, and two-time Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. He described Jaap Sahib as “a powerful scripture about which Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj has said, ‘The message should move not only within India but the world over.’ He said that Jaap Sahib is not the prayer of a particular religion or faith. It is a universal prayer which hails God in all. In this prayer of God the Guru saw no boundaries. Baba Virsa Singh has further said , ‘God has ordered us to send Jaap Sahib throughout the world. Let the people now that God has no separate religion, that God is above all this.’ The release of the Spanish translation by Ilene Rachel Gillispie will be very useful, and I praise the wisdom of the translator. It is our duty to spread the theme of social harmony with the understanding that God is one, beyond any sectarian division.”
Ms. Ilene Rachel Gillispie of the USA, who is embarking on a Master of Divinity from Boston University, had undertaken the seva of translating the Jaap Sahib into Spanish. She sincerely expressed her reasons for doing so: “Each time I come back to Gboind Sadan I feel like I am coming home. My goal as a student of religion is to make spiritual teachings relevant and accessible to people from many walks of life. Gurbani has had such a profound influence on my life and it is my joy to share that with others, hoping that they may also be changed. In this era we need scripture, holy music, and spiritual community more than anything else. Thanks to Jaap Sahib, which reminds us of our true nature—that we are all one family, not divided by arbitrary lines based on religion, gender, caste, class or nationality. It is my hope that the more people who read Jaap Sahib and texts like it, the more we will come back into harmony with each other.”
After speaking these words in English, to the delight of the audience Ms. Gillispie carefully read out a statement she had prepared in Punjabi: “The meaning of Jaap Sahib is very important. Guru Gboind Singh Ji has said that we are all one family. God is one, and all saints, gurus, pirs, and their devotees all gie us only one message. I am very happy that this message of mine has reached all the people across the world. Thanks very much for giving me this opportunity.”
Ambassador Ranjit Singh Kalha, former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs, member of National Human Rights Commission, and long-time follower of Baba Virsa Singh, gave more details about the universalism of Jaap Sahib. “If you read the Jaap Sahib there are many attributes of God Almighty which are described, such as self-created, unborn, immortal, infinite, unrivalled, and unfathomable. The fact that this is a universal prayer is also very heavily impressed in the prayer itself. For example in stanza number 10 the prayer says that God Almighty has no country. In stanza 17 it says that God Almighty has no caste, He has no lineage, He has no relatives, He has no mother, He has no father, He has no children, He is not associated with anybody, and most important of all, He is beyond religion. The fact that He is universal is also exemplified by the fact that the prayer says that God Almighty has no fixed abode. Yet when you read the Jaap Sahib, you are also struck by the fact that Guru Gobind Singh Ji not only respected all religions creations, but also some of them were incorporated in the prayer. For example, in stanza 38, He says ‘Allah,’ another attribute given to God Almighty. Then he says that even the Vedas and Puranas proclaim that God Almighty is infinite. What Guru Gobind Singh has done is that he has incorporated the religious traditions of our country into the prayer to make it universal in its appeal. I want personally to make an appeal to everyone who is present and your friends and to others that please read the Jaap Sahib. It belongs to everybody because God Almighty is above all. There are no boundaries which He has created, and the light of the God Almighty shines through the soul of each and every one of us.”
Gurdev Singh, a Trustee of the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust who has devoted his entire life to serving Baba Virsa Singh, addressed devotees of Gobind Sadan in the audience: “You must definitely be feeling the changes that happen in a person after reciting Jaap Sahib. Why did Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj stress upon Jaap Sahib? He always said that in Jaap Sahib all the qualities of God had been mentioned, and if we recite it, these qualities will gradually appear in us. As Kabir said, “Tu, Tu karta, Tu hua” (When Ii was calling You, then I myself became You.”) I myself had felt this in Maharaj’s company. I don’t know how many of these qualities appeared in us, but I had seen them myself in him, and you must have felt them as well—such as ‘Sahib dimag hain’ [You are Master of the mind],’ ‘Anand saroop hai [You are the form of eternal happiness],’ ‘Husnal chirag hain [You are the beautiful source of light]’, ‘Jurat jamaal hain’ [Your courage is extraordinary]’, ‘Ameek hain [You are unfathomable]’, ‘Achall raaje [Eternal is Your kingdom],’ ‘Nrisaakang sareek hain [You have no relatives or rivals]’, ‘Afvul gunah hain [You are Forgiver of sins],’ ‘At dut prachand [Your Light is incomparable],’ etc. Gurdev Singh shared his original poem on this subject in Punjabi, and then he and Ilene Rachel Gillispie read out passages from the Jaap Sahib in Punjabi and Spanish.
Mary Pat Fisher, author of college textbooks about the world’s religions, explained Gobind Sadan’s efforts to get the Jaap Sahib translated into many languages so that it can reach an ever larger proportion of the world’s population. Gobind Sadan has now offered translations in English, Russian, German, French, and Spanish, with Swedish and Urdu translations under preparation.