Bichitra Natak (or Bachittar/Vichitra) (Gurmukhi ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਨਾਟਕ (meaning Resplendent Drama)) is the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru. It is a part of the Dasam Granth and is the name given to the third Bani in the second holy scriptures of the Sikhs. This text spans from page 94 to page 175 of the 2326 pages of this holy book of the Sikhs at www.srigranth.org. (Original text is over 1428 pages)
This Bani is an autobiographical narrated by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh for the first 32 years of his life. Although the word "Natak" means "drama" in Punjabi, this is no drama. The Guru has outlined the circumstance and history of the time and how great courage and strength was required to overcome the many hurdles that were upon the community.
It starts with a praise of Akal Purakh. It then gives a genealogy of Bedis and Sodhis starting from Lord Rama and his two sons. It gives the author's own biography and includes the battle of Nadaun, Husaini battle and the arrival of prince Muazzam in the Punjab. It continues upto AD 1696.
The summary of this Bani is narrated by Gobin Sadan at:
| "The third creation to be compiled in the Dasam Granth is the Bachittar Natak. As evident from the editorial notes at the end of the Chandi Charitra, Chaubees Avatars and Upavatar, they are all a part of Bachittar Natak. Obviously then the Bachittar Natak is not only an autobiographical narrative of the protagonist but it also includes the biographies of the great protagonists who emerged on the world scene over the past many ages. However, the literary piece entitled the Bachittar Natak that features in the Dasam Granth is purely an autobiographical piece which highlights incidents related to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Only 32 years of his life are accounted for here in. Some references to his previous birth also exist.
As per the requirements of the times and the society, God is portrayed not only as benevolent, loving and beautiful but also awe-inspiring; fearsome and powerful. In order to inspire a fearful and cowardly society to deeds of glory and might it was necessary that the source of inspiration for them, the power they upheld as the ideal should be all powerful. Only then could the people who cowered with fear against tyrannical forces could rise and face the foe undaunted.
Although the writing is entitled Bachittar Natak it is not by any stretch of imagination a drama since it does not use any of the literary devices usually employed in drama writing. However, it does employ the use of dialogues and verse form. In fact the aim of writing this piece was to delineate the courage, the strength and the might of Guru Gobind Singh Ji against the backdrop of a world stage."
The life story of Guru Gobind Singh is further told by the court-poet Sainapat, who finished his Sri Gur Sobha in AD 1711, three years after the death of the Guru. Other early sources are Koer Singh's Gurbilas Patshahi, written in 1751 and the Bansawalinamah by Kesar Singh Chhibbar (1767).
Outline of Bichitra Natak
The chapters are numbered at the beginning, but the title of each chapter is given at the conclusion, following the traditional Indian convention.
- Chapter 1: Eulogy of Akal Purakh, the ultimate being.
- Chapter 2: My Story. Opening statements and mention of Lava and Kusha, the two sons of Rama.
- Chapter 3: Descendants of Lava and Kusha and emergence of the Bedi and Sodhi clans (in which 8 of the 10 Sikh Gurus were born).
- Chapter 4: The Recitation of the Vedas and the Offering of Kingdom. The interaction of the two clans.
- Chapter 5: Description of the Spiritual Rulers, i.e. of the nine Sikh Gurus preceding Gobind Singh himself, from Nanak to Teg Bahadur (father of Gobind Singh).
- Chapter 6: The Command of Supreme Lord to Me be born into the World. Includes an account of Gobind Singh performing "tapa" at Hemkunt in the Himalayan mountains, in a previous birth.
- Chapter 7: Description of the Poet. Starts with his birth in Patna, and arrival in the Madra desh (i.e. Punjab region).
- Chapter 8: The Battle of Bhangani. Includes his settlement of the Ananadpur, which was to be the center of his spiritual and literary activities.
- Chapter 9: Description of the battle of Nadaun.
- Chapter 10: Description of the Expedition of Khanzada and his flight.
- Chapter 11: Description of the fight with Hussaini and loss of his associates Kirpal, Himmat and Sangatia.
- Chapter 12: Description of the battle of Jujhar Singh.
- Chapter 13:Arrival of the Mughal Prince and his officers.
- Chapter 14: The Supplication to the Lord, Destroyer of All.
The autobiography terminates here abruptly. Apparently the Guru became engaged in other affairs. The next book in the Dasam Granth is Chandi Charitra. This composition is thought to have occurred just prior to the founding of the Khalsa order by the Guru.
Founding of Lahore and Kasur:
ਮੱਦ੍ਰ ਦੇਸ ਏਸ੍ਵਰਜਾ ਬਰੀ ਜਬ ॥ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਕੇ ਜੱਗ ਕੀਏ ਤਬ ॥੨੩॥
मद्र देस एस्वरजा बरी जब ॥ भांति भांति के जग कीए तब ॥२३॥
They married the Madra (Punjabi) princesses and performed various types of yajnas.23.
The descendants of Lava and Kusha become Bedis and Sodhis
ਜਿਨੈ ਬੇਦ ਪਠਿਓ ਸੁ ਬੇਦੀ ਕਹਾਏ ॥ ਤਿਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਨੀਕੇ ਚਲਾਏ ॥
जिनै बेद पठिओ सु बेदी कहाए ॥ तिनै धरम के करम नीके चलाए ॥
Those who studied the Vedas, called Vedis (Bedis), they absorbed themselves in good acts of righteousness.
ਪਠੇ ਕਾਗਦੰ ਮੱਦ੍ਰ ਰਾਜਾ ਸੁਧਾਰੰ ॥ ਅਪੋ ਆਪ ਮੋ ਬੈਰ ਭਾਵੰ ਬਿਸਾਰੰ ॥੧॥
पठे कागदं मद्र राजा सुधारं ॥ अपो आप मो बैर भावं बिसारं ॥१॥
The Sodhi king of Madra Desha (Punjab) sent letters to them, entreating them to forget the past enmities.1.
ਨ੍ਰਿਪੰ ਮੁਕਲਿਅੰ ਦੂਤ ਸੋ ਕਾਸਿ ਆਯੰ ॥ ਸਬੈ ਬੇਦਿਯੰ ਭੇਦ ਭਾਖੇ ਸੁਨਾਯੰ ॥
न्रिपं मुकलिअं दूत सो कासि आयं ॥ सबै बेदियं भेद भाखे सुनायं ॥
The messengers sent by the king came to Kashi and gave the message to all the Bedis.
ਸਬੈ ਬੇਦ ਪਾਠੀ ਚਲੇ ਮੱਦ੍ਰ ਦੇਸੰ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਾਮੰ ਕੀਯੋ ਆਨ ਕੈ ਕੈ ਨਰੇਸੰ ॥੨ ॥
सबै बेद पाठी चले मद्र देसं ॥ प्रणामं कीयो आन कै कै नरेसं ॥२॥
All the reciters of the Vedas came to Madra Desha and made obeisance to the king.2.
Sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur
ਹਰਿਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਲੋਕ ਸਿਧਾਰੇ ॥ ਹਰੀਰਾਇ ਤਿਹ ਠਾਂ ਬੈਠਾਰੇ ॥
हरिगोबिंद प्रभ लोक सिधारे ॥ हरीराइ तिह ठां बैठारे ॥
When Hargobind left for the abode of the Lord, Har rai was seated in his place.
ਹਰੀਕ੍ਰਿਸਨ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਸੁਤ ਵਏ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਤੇ ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਭਏ ॥੧੨॥
हरीक्रिसन तिन के सुत वए ॥ तिन ते तेग बहादर भए ॥१२॥
Har Krishan (the next Guru) was his son; after him, Tegh Bahadur became the Guru.12.
ਤਿਲਕ ਜੰਵੂ ਰਾਖਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਾ ਕਾ ॥ ਕੀਨੋ ਬਡੋ ਕਲੂ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਕਾ ॥
तिलक जंवू राखा प्रभ ता का ॥ कीनो बडो कलू महि साका ॥
He protected the forehead mark and sacred thread (of the Hindus) which marked a great event in the kali age.
ਸਾਧਨ ਹੇਤਿ ਇਤੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰੀ ॥ ਸੀਸੁ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸੀ ਨ ਉਚਰੀ ॥੧੩॥
साधन हेति इती जिनि करी ॥ सीसु दीआ पर सी न उचरी ॥१३॥
For the sake of saints, he laid down his head without even a sigh.13.
ਧਰਮ ਹੇਤਿ ਸਾਕਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਕੀਆ ॥ ਸੀਸੁ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸਿਰਰੁ ਨ ਦੀਆ ॥
धरम हेति साका जिनि कीआ ॥ सीसु दीआ पर सिररु न दीआ ॥
For the sake of Dharma, he sacrificed himself. He laid down his head but not his creed.
Translation based on the text by Kulbir Thind.
- ॥ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹੀ10॥.Org: The most intensive and influential website on Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
- www.sridasamgranth.com Learn more about the Sri Dasam Granth
- Sri Dasam Granth
- The Wondrous Play, Dr. Jodh Singh.
- The Life and Ideals of Guru Gobind Singh by Surindar Singh Kohli, 1986, Munshiram Manoharlal
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