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The Real Guru
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The transliteration of ‘Guru’ is;

‘Gu’ = Darkness/Ignorance
‘Ru’ = Light/ Enlightenment

Therefore, 'Guru' refers to that which brings one from darkness into light (removes ignorance). As with near all Indian spiritual traditions such as Sanatan Sikhism, it is held that one requires a Guru to achieve salvation. Without a true Guru there is no salvation.

Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj
A fresco from the walls of Pothimala Gurdwara, Guruharsahai (Firozpur District, Punjab) depicting the first Sikh Guru in the company of other holy men

At present within mainstream Sikhism, ‘Shabad’ (Sikh scripture), in particular the scripture Adi Guru Durbar Sahib, is alone considered Guru. Amongst Akali Nihangs, from whom most Khalsa Sikhs have descended, also accept the fact that at present, Adi Guru Durbar is the foremost Sikh Guru. Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya Gurdev Akali Nihang Baba Mohinder Singh, commented on Sikh Gurus from a Nihang perspective:

Adi Guru of all is Parmeshvar (highest God). To Nanak he revealed himself. In time as Nanak revealed the light of Nirankar to others he came to be known as Guru. Because he revealed the universal divine truth to the world indiscriminately thus he came to be known as Jagat [World] Guru. Now because the truth he revealed was the eternal truth he also came to be known as Satgur. Satgur Nanak then passed his Jot [Divine light of Gods knowledge/power] that made him Guru to Baba Lehna.Thus in succession this Jot each Guru passed onto their successor until it finally found its final eternal resting place in Adi Guru Durbar.In which are found the writings not only of Sikh Gurus but also of many other great holy men of all faiths of India. This is what makes Guru Granth Sanja [shared] Guru of all.’
Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya Gurdev Akali Nihang Baba Mohinder Singh

Akali Guru Angad Dev Ji Maharaj
Illustration of the second Sikh Guru, from the 'Military Manual of Maharaja Ranjit Singh', attributed to the workshop of Imam Baksh Lahori (1822-1830)

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