Thou alone art my friend;
Thou, O Lord, art all-pervading.
True meditation revealeth Thee
in all Thy perfection;
And the snares of illusion
are rendered ineffective.
Vast and vicious is this mesh of illusion,
Whose intricate tentacles suck one dry.
Sing with all thy heart, the Name of the Lord;
It costs thee nothing, O Nama,
to repeat His Name.
'Songs of Saints from Adi Granth'
By Nirmal Dass (Translator, Introduction)
This complete and accessible translation of the songs of the saints from the Sikh holy book, the Adi Granth, provides access to the hymns written by Hindu and Muslim devotional writers of north India, who flourished from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries.
The songs of the saints hold a unique position in Sikhism in that they provide the faith with a prehistory that reaches back to the dawn of north Indian Bhakti and Sant traditions. These works provided a ground upon which Sikh gurus laid the foundations of their faith.
The songs also mark the earliest beginnings of Hindi literature. Although the literary output of these saints comes down to us in various stages of corruption, the works which appeared in the Adi Granth are unchanged since their inclusion in that work in the early 1600s.
'This book is important for many fields: It is not only vital for understanding Sikhism, but also crucial for the study of the saints (sants). It is thus significant for understanding the early development of Hindi literature, which began with the sants, and the study of north Indian religion, in which the sants figure prominently.'
(Daniel Gold, Cornell University)