The majority of the language of the Guru Granth Sahib is the Punjabi dialect prevalent at that time, some hymns are also found in Persian, medieval Prakrit Hindi and Marathi, Sanskrit as well as Arabic. All of these hymns are written in the standard Punjabi script known as Gurmukhi, popularized by the Second Master; Guru Angad. The Guru Granth Sahib is exactly 1430 pages in length. Each page contains in bold print 18 or 19 lines dependent on the page size.
The hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib have been laid out in a very scientific and well planned manner devised by Guru Arjun Dev. The hymns have been arranged according to the melody (Raga) in which they are meant to be sung. Secondly they are arranged on the nature or the metre of the poems themselves. Next they are arranged by author and finally on the clef or key deemed appropriate to them.
Divided into 33 sections. The first section contains the epic Japji poem by Guru Nanak, which is not meant to be sung. The final section is a collection of assorted verses including the Slokas and the Swayyas of Bhatts (a group of musicians). The remaining 31 sections are the Ragas: (1) Sri Rag, (2) Majh, (3) Gauri, (4) Asa, (5) Gujari, (6) Devgandhari, (7) Bihagra, (8) Wadhans, (9) Sorath, (10) Dhanasari, (11) Jaitsari, (12) Todi, (13) Bairari, (14) Tilang, (15) Suhi, (16) Bilawal, (17) Gaund, (18) Ramkali, (19) Nat, (20) Maligaura, (21) Maru, (22) Tukhari, (23) Kedara, (24) Bhairo, (25) Basant, (26) Sarang, (27) Malar, (28) Kanara, (29) Kalian, (30) Prabhati and (31) Jaijawanti.
The Ragas are further divided into the nature of the metre: (1) Chaupadas: an average of four verses each, (2) Ashtpadis: an average of eight verses each, (3) Special long peoms, (4) Chhants: six line verses, (5) Special short peoms, (6) Vars: consisting of two or more paragraphs (Sloks) followed by a concluding stanza (Pauri) and (7) Poems of Bhagatas (various saints).
The Order of the Guru Granth Sahib:
- Japji (Morning); Page 1 to 8
Sodar (Evening); Page 8 to 10
So Purkh (Evening); Page 10 to 12
Sohila (Bed Time); Page 12 to 13
- Main Body:
- Musical hymns; Page 14 to 1,353
Slokas Sahskriti; Page 1,353 to 1,360
Gatha; Page 1,360 to 1,361
Phanhas; Page 1,361 to 1,363
Chaubolas; Page 1,363 to 1,364
- Concluding Portion:
- Shlokas of Kabir; Page 1,364 to 1,377
Shlokas of Sheikh Farid; Page 1,377 to 1,384
Swayyas; Page 1,385 to 1,409
Shlokas of the Gurus; Page 1,410 to 1,426
Shlokas of Guru Tegh Bahadur; Page 1,426 to 1,429
Mundavani; Page 1,429
Rag Mala; Page 1,429 to 1,430