The Dasam Granth (Punjabi: ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ), historically known as Dasven Padshah Ka Granth (Punjabi: ਦਸਵੇਂ ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹ ਕਾ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ) (Book of the Tenth Emperor), is a scripture of Sikhism, containing texts composed by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The compositions of the Granth set out the ideas, thoughts and guidelines for the future of the Nanak panth as enshrined in the Khalsa. The Jaap Sahib, Tvye Prasad Sawaiye (Amrit Savaiye) and Benti Chaupai, all compositions from the Dasam Granth, are part of the daily prayers Nitnem of the Sikhs, which serve, as well, as a part of the Sikh initiation Khande di Pahul. The beginning portion of the daily Ardas for Sikhs is also a composition within the Dasam Granth.
The Dasam Granth contains 1428 pages and is the collection of the writings of the 10th Patshah, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It contains his Jaap Sahib, the Akal Ustat or praise of the Creator, the Vachitar Natak or Wonderful Drama, in which the Guru gives an account of his parentage, his divine mission, and the battles in which he had been engaged.
Then come three abridged translations of the Devi Mahatamya, an episode in the Markandeya Puran, in praise of Durga the Goddess of war (Chandi Chritras: Chandi Chritra I, Chandi Chritra II, Chandi Ki Var).
Then follows the Gyan Parbodh, or awakening of knowledge; Chobis Avatar - accounts of twenty-four incarnations of the Vishnu, according to the Hindus, and Brahrnavatar and Rudravtdr, selected because of their warlike character; the Shabad Hazare; quatrains called Sawaiyas, which are religious hymns in praise of God and reprobation of idolatry and hypocrisy; the Khalsa Mahima, or words in praise of the Khalsa; the Shastar Nam Mala, a list of offensive and defensive weapons used in the Guru's time, with special reference to the attributes of the Creator; the Tria Charitar, or tales illustrating the qualities, but principally the deceit of women; the Kabiovach Bainti Chaupai will "absolve the suffering, pain or fear of the person, who will even once recite this Bani"; the Zafarnama, containing the tenth Guru's epistle to the Emperor Aurangzeb; and Hikayats, several metrical tales in the Persian language.
The Dasam Granth is said to have been compiled by Bhai Mani Singh Ji, a companion and disciple of the Guru, after the tenth Guru's death. It is understood that Bhai Mani Singh spent nine years at this task, by getting copies from other disciples and filling in some of the gaps by memory.
There are many compilations in existence and many are still being discovered. There are three 'main' editions which are well known:
- One edition said to have been written by Bhai Mani Singh in his own hand (in the possesion of Gulab Singh Sethi of New Delhi)
- A volume at the Gurdwara at Patna
- A volume at the Gurdwara at Sangrur.
The current version in wide circulation closely follows the edition ascribed to Bhai Mani Singh.
Brief Outline of Contents
The Contents of the Dasam Granth are:
- Jaap (meditation)
- Akal Ustat (praises of God)
- Bachitar Natak ( autobiography of the Guru)
- Chandi Charitar I & II (the character of goddess Chandi)
- Chandi di Var (a ballad to describe goddess Durga)
- Gian Prabodh (the awakening of knowledge)
- Chaubis Avtar (24 incarnations of Vishnu)
- Brahm Avtar (incarnation of Brahma)
- Rudar Avtar (incarnation of Shiv)
- Shabad Hazare (ten shabads)
- Swayyae (33 stanzas)
- Khalsa Mehma (the praises of the Khalsa)
- Shastar Nam Mala ( a list of weapons)
- Triya Charitar (the character of women)
- Zafarnama (epistle of victory, a letter written to Emperor Aurangzeb)
- Hikayats. (stories)
Language and Literary Quality
The Dasam Granth is all rhymed poetry. It was designed to be heard, so there is considerable repition, and a variety of meteres to hold the attention. The language of most of the Dasam Granth is largely Braj veering towards Sanskrit at one extreme and simple colloquial Hindi at the other. The Braj dialect is a variety of medieval Hindi with a mixture of Sanskrit, Persiona, and Arabic words. The Zafarnama and the Hikayats are in Persian using Gurmukhi characters and several passages in other works are in Punjabi. The 'author/s' not only used this melange of languages but also coined words half Arabic half Sanskrit (and sometimes words without any meaning just to create a musical effect). Some of this kind of writing has great power and beauty.
Most of the poetry of the Dasam Granth is hardly intelligible to the modern Punjabi reader without the aid of a commentary. Experts tell us that the Guru's poetry is of the highest order:
From A Short History of the Sikhs, Ganda Singh & Teja Singh, speaking of Guru Gobind Singh:
"In Hindi he developed a style, which for martial cadence, variety of form and richness of imagination...has remained unsurpassed since his times. In lines ranging from monosyllabic verse to long and multiplied swayyas and kabits, we seem to hear the torrential flow of hill streams or the galloping sweep of cavalry on the march. His intellect quivers in emotion and breaks out against superstition and hypocrisy into humour, irony or banter. His emotion...is raised to the highest pitch of ecstasy when he communes with God."
From Sikhan de Raj di Vithya (History of the Sikh Raj):
"This Granth is very difficult, and is composed in the hindi dialect in several kinds of verses. In it there is the teaching of several of the Shastars, the rules of warfare, the wiles and tricks of women, and some information on worship and religious knowledge. From that it is evident that Gobind Singh was very clever in writing poetry."
The descriptions of scenes of battle are couched in extremely vigorous staccato rhyme often reduced to lines of one word each. The battles waged by Chandi and the Guru's encounters with the hill chiefs at Bhangani and Nadaun are among the most stirring that exist.
The scenes of nature and love, particularly in the Krishna Avatar, are haunting in their loveliness:
| "Beside the sparkling waters of the river,
On the bank in silver moonlight bathed
Were strewn jasmine pearls as if to make a bed
And blossoms twined overhead to make a bower.
Krishna took Radha by the hand,
tilted up her face
And gazed upon her beauty. Then clasped
The damsel fair in his dark arms
As a black shade eclipses the moon.
Spoke Krishna: "Maiden fair, I sent not for thee.
I am as a deer wounded by the hunter's dart.
Thy love-lorn eyes have pierced my heart.
Beloved mine! Thy wrath's burning fire
Hath singed my limbs but I wished not to depart.
I came not at thy command, but to soothe
My burns before the warmth of thy love."
Purpose of the Dasam Granth
A Punjabi historian of the last century explains the Guru's purpose as follows (from Sikhan da Raj di Vithya)
"The Guru discovered that from reading the Adi Granth the Sikhs became feeble-hearted. Therefore (said the Guru), I myself will prepare such a Granth that the Sikhs from reading it will learn the art of ruling, the use of weapons, and other skills so that they will become fit for warfare; so from that very day he began the compositions of a huge volume, and when it was completed on Sunday, on the eighth day of the new moon in the month of Bhadon 1753 Bikrami (1696) he named it "The Granth of the Tenth Sovereign."
At the end of the Krishan Avtar, the following stanza of the Guru is written (verse 2491):
I have rendered in the vernacular the tenth chapter of the Bhagavat with no other purpose than to arouse desire for a holy war (a righteous war of the Lord).
Macauliffe gives three reasons for the translations from Hindu mythology and the hindu epics:
- To dispel cowardice and incite to bravery by filling the minds of his followers with heroic examples.
- To show what a brave woman (the goddess Chandi) could achieve in battle so as to spur brave men on to surpass her achievments.
- To have his Sikhs see the inferiority of the Hindu sacred writings and so appreciate those of their own Gurus more.
But make no mistake Guru Gobind Singh was a not a vengeful militarist, his poetry was simply meant to inspire his Sikhs to defend themselves, for his wars were wars of defense only. His poetry is and his conduct was filled with a longing for peace and harmonious fellowship, which sometimes even extended even to those who had attacked him and his devotees in the past.
Some portions of the Dasam Granth have not been fully accepted by some Sikhs. However, most Sikh groups, including all of the older organisations, accept it in its entirety.
At one stage it was debated whether to divide the book. This question arose because the original writings of the Tenth Guru had not been joined into one granth, but were separate. They had been collected into a single Granth by Bhai Mani Singh. Bhai Mehtab Singh of Mirankot (who was charged by the Panth to capture or assassinate Massa Ranghar who had established himself in the holy Golden Temple at Amritsar and was desecrating its sanctity) suggested to the leaders of his community that if he came back victorious in his mission, the book should be preserved in one volume, otherwise it may divided into two. Mehtab Singh was successful in putting Massa Ranghar to an ignoble death and hence the volume was preserved as it now is. This, however, as the Sikh savant, Bhai Kahan Singh points out, is a most arbitrary way of settling a point of such literary and theological significance. Moreover, a single man's point of view should not have prevailed - especially of a military hero, or even a Jathedar in search of martyrdom, in preference to the viewpoint of the theologians and scholars who were still discussing the point.
From 1892 to 1897, eminent scholars assembled at the Akal Takht, Amritsar, to study the various printed Dasam Granths and prepare an authoritative version. They consulted as many as 32 editions before preparing the version that is currently in circulation. Among these scholars were Bhai Manna Singh Hakim, Bhai Narain Singh, Bhai Thakur Singh, Bhai Sant Singh (son of Giani Gian Singh), Bhai Bishan Singh, Sant Gopal Das Udasi and Mahant Amir Singh. In this process, they determined that the Dasam Granth was entirely the work of Guru Gobind Singh.
Further re-examinations and reviews took place in 1931, under the aegis of The Darbar Sahib Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. It vindicated the earlier conclusions and published its findings in a book.
However, the controversy continues, as there is reluctance among some modern day preachers to fully accept the entire text of the Dasam Granth. Therefore, scholars appealed to Baba Virsa Singh, a highly revered spiritual teacher of Sikh background, to gather scholars to clarify the doubts about the Dasam Granth. A seminar was held on January 3rd and 4th, 1999, at the Gobind Sadan Institute in New Delhi, India.
On February 20th, 2000, at Gobind Sadan, Baba Virsa Singh confirmed the Dasam Granth in its entirety as the Guru's work and released the first complete Punjabi translation of the writings of Guru Gobind Singh, plus other scholarly works about the life and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh.
Bhai Mani Singh's letter to Mata Sundari Ji
May the Almighty help us.
Mani Singh makes his humble prostration at the holy feet of his venerable mother. Further news is that the climate of this place has aggravated my rheumatism and my health deteriorates fast. I will have to listen to the healing parable of the tertian fever. But my illness has caused no slackness in the performance of the holy service of the Harmandar (Golden Temple). The Khalsa no more hods away over the country and its power has waned. The Sikhs have migrated to the mountain retreats. The Malechhas reign supreme in the country. There is no security for the (Sikh) children and women in any habitation. They are hunted out and killed. The opposing states have also joined hands with them. The Hindalis spy on the Sikhs. All (the Sikhs) have deserted the Chak (The earliest name of Amritsar). The Mutsaddis (priests) have also fled. So far the Immortal Lord protects me. Tomorrow is uncertain. What is ordained by the Lord shall prevail. The adopted son of Binod Singh has passed away. Among the books I sent per Jhanda Singh, there is one entitled "303 Chritra Upakhyans" by the Lord (Guru Gobind Singh). Give that to Sihan Singh in the Mahal (Matia Mahal in the interior of Delhi City). So far there is no trace of the book "Nam Mala". I found the first part of "Krishna Avtar" but not the second. I shall send it when available. There is a rumour in the country that Banda (Bahadur) has made his good escape from the Emperor's jail. May the Guru protect him. The Guru's family (the descendants of the Guru) at Khandur have sent five tolas of gold as a gift for your son's bride(an adopted son of Mata Ji, as all of her four sons were martyred already). Recover seventeen rupees from Jhanda Singh ; I gave him five rupees to meet the expenses of the journey…(?) These expenses will be incurred by him. The Mutsaddis have not yet settled accounts, otherwise I would have sent a draft from the city (presumably Lahore) . If my health improves I shall come in the month of Kartik.
Signed - Mani Singh, Guruchak, Bunga
P.S. Reply in bamboo stick. (as being confidential)
Contents of the Dasam Granth
The collection of Guru Gobind Singh Ji's writings are known as the Dasam Granth.
They consist of eighteen works written in four languages : Braj (frequently highly Sanskritised), Hindi, Persian and Punjabi. The Dasam Granth can be conveniently divided into three sections:
The largest portion is mythological and is devoted to retelling well known tales of Hindu mythology and adding in a reworking from a Gurmat perspective. The Chandi Charitra I and II and Var Bhaguti Ji Ki (Chandi di var) recount the battles of the deity Durga and the Chaubis Avtar are tales of the incarnations of Vishnu.
It is a common misconception by some uninformed people that Guru Gobind Singh ji workshipped the Hindu deities he wrote about. They are misled by the compositions on Sri Ram Chandra Ji, Baghwan Krishan Ji, Vishnu in the Chaubis Avtar and the vars of Chandi. They assume that since Guru ji praised them in verse, he must have admired and worshipped them also. These often 'learned' persons fail to recognise the fact that nowhere in his writings does Guru Ji accept them as anything other than the creations of the Formless Akal.
In reality Guru Sahib Ji wrote about them in the language of the people drawing from the mythological lore current at that time. He wrote about their exploits in colouful martial language to raise courage in the hearts of all who read them. It is meaningless to make one's own deductions while ignoring the words of the Guru which are very clear.
Guru Ji writes in the Akal Ustat (Eulogy to God):
- The Lord Akal creates millions of Krishna, annihilates them and recreates them.
- Some hang stones as gods around their necks, while others erroneously call Mahesh 'God'
- I have discarded all these false religions and am of the firm view that He who is the creator of the Universe, is the only Lord.
- Everyone is caught in the noose of Death, no Rama or prophet can escape from it. All of them who made grand claims of being Avtars of God died repentant. Why doest not thou, O, hapless being seek the shelter of the One Lord. (15th swayya)
In clear concise language Guru Sahib Ji states :
- I do not seek the blessings of Ganesh,
- I do not worship Krishna or Vishnu.
- I do not recognise them.
- I am engrossed in the loving devotion of my Lord alone.
- The Lord of Death, Akal, is my refuge and He saves me is all tribulations.
- (Krishan Avtar, 434)
At the start of every composition in the Dasam Granth, Guru Ji first praises the One formless God and asks for his blessing before he continues - in the case of Chandi Di Var's, Var Bhaguti Ji Ki and Chaubis Avtar - to tell the exploits of various deities and Avtars. Why then do some learned people think that in these compositions Guru Gobind Singh Ji (who sought the protection of Akal Purkh only) was worshipping the deity ?
Take the composition Var Bhaguti Ji Ki, this tells how the godess Durga Devi was called upon by Inder Devta to help him in destroying the demons Sumb and Maha Kahsur and their legions. First and foremost Guru Ji bows and pays homage to Sri Bhaguti (God) and then recounts the names of the nine Gurus. He then says that you (God) created the world and that it was from you that Durga, Sri RamJi and Baghwan Krishan Ji got the strength to destroy their enemies.
- (Var Sri Bhaguti Ji)
First and formost I remember Bhaguti Ji and then set my mind on Guru Nanak. Then I seek the help of Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das. Arjan, Hargobind and (Guru) Har Rai be remembered. Sri Harkrishan be meditated upon whose mere glimpse removes all sorrows. (Guru) Tegh Bahadur be remembered as it causes home to flourish. They all help me at all times.
The Lord first created Khanda, the double edged sword and then his manifest world. Having created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, He created the entire play of Kudrat (manifest world). He created the oceans, mountains, earth and sky which stands above, unsupported by any pillars. He created both gods(deities) and demons and then created polemic. It was You who created Durga so as to destroy the demons. Rama also took strength from you to kill Ravan with his arrow. Krishan also got strength from You and thus threw down Kansa by his hair. Many great deities and ascetics underwent hard austerities, but none could fathom thy greatness.
As can be seen from this opening passage that Guru Gobind Singh Ji draws all his strength and inspiration from the one formless God, Akal Purkh. He says that Durga was created by You, O Lord. How then can Guru Ji be worshipping Durga ?
Short Overview of Contents
Jaap Sahib, given place of prominence in the Dasam Granth is the invocation made by the khalsa-a hymn in praise of the omnipotent God. The attributes and qualities of God delineated herein are based on the transcendental nature of God, He who is without attributes as in the ideology of Nirgunwad. While on one hand the form and shape of the Almighty God as portrayed in Gurbani have been further honed and highlighted, on the other hand there is an elaboration and embellishment of it. There is specific purpose behind this literary creation and it has been written in a unique style.
In fact, of all the transcendental literature written in the middle age the Jaap Sahib stands out unique for delineating the humanitarian attributes of God who is without attributes by presenting them in a worldly and universal form. It has proved itself as a cardinal literary piece in all northern Indian literature for its brilliance, sublimity and majesty. The Jaap Sahib has no equal.
The Jaap Sahib has evolved as the product of extensive reflection, cogitation and deliberation through moments of awe and reverence experienced by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. In this creation the various attributes of God almighty have been depicted ö He is without caste, without creed, without community, without religion and he is Îfearlessâ. He is the destroyer of enemies too. This aspect of "the destroyer of evil" proved a great force as it enthused the terror ö stricken multitudes into such an awesome force of might and courage that it could not be suppressed any more.
From the point of view of diction and style too it is a matchless piece of writing. The vocabulary used and the connotations suggested by these words have lent it a universalism that makes it significant and meaningful for people of all religions. This is why people of varied religious backgrounds have accepted it and even today read it with great devotion. Indeed, the quintessential message of gurbani is not limited to followers of any one religion but hold true for people of all religions. This is why it is said to have a universal appeal. Infact, this universalism is not limited to the message only. It also holds true for the language or diction. Because for gurbani every language is pure, every word is sacred.
Another outstanding feature of the Jaap Sahib is the beautiful and amazing manner in which worship and might merge together. Might or power by itself is blind. When it gets bound to worship instead of becoming the destroyer of mankind it becomes the destroyer of evil. These writings encourage the saint-soldier to participate in war as the metre and rhyme scheme, full of alliteration and rhythm is set to martial moves. At the same time care has been taken that all moral values and norms of society are upheld while fighting evil.
The second piece of writing included in the Dasam Granth is called the Akaal Ustat. Herein a major myth has been removed and proved wrong by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The false belief that some people by virtue of belonging to a particular religion, region, history, culture, colour or creed are superior to others is strongly refuted. Instead, he has very clearly and firmly stated that all human beings are one.
In this literary work the various forms of God as perceived by man are described and the spiritual, the philosophical and the social beliefs have been clearly elucidated.
In the Akaal Ustat, the Almighty God has been described in all his glory by making use of metaphysical references and the masterful use of imagery. The extended similes and comparisons are so lucid and clear that the reader gets riveted to what he is reading.
At various points, in this composition Guru ji has spoken out against the caste system. Perhaps no other writer has so boldly and fearlessly negated caste distinctions, the name of Guru Gobind Singh Ji will always stand out in history for this courageous and bold attack on the caste system.
On the whole, the picture of God that emerges through the Akaal Ustat is complete-He is the Perfect, Ommipotent, Omniscient Lord who treats kings and papers, elephants and ants alike. He is All Pervading. He is the Creator, The Preserver and the Destroyer. Instead of getting caught up in petty trivialities of life, one should reach out to this All-benevolent God in pure love so as to gain spiritual insight into the reality of God.
Short Excerpt from the Bani: Realized through the grace of the True Protector;
Copy of the original in the hand of the Tenth Guru.
Blessed am I with the protection of Akal; Available to me is the defense of Sarbloh (AllSteel) Blessed am I with the shield of Sarbkal; Available ever is the protection of Sarbloh.
Salutations to the Primal Ek Onkar, He permeates over the earth and sea. He is Primal Being, unmanifest and indestructible. His spirit pervades all the fourteen regions.
The opening passage of the Akal Ustat (eulogy to God) makes no mistake as to whose protection Guru Ji seeks.
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 screen 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 doesnât 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.
- Bachitra Natak
- Victory be to the wondrous Lord.
- Now commences the writing of the Bachitra Natak Granth.
- From my heart and soul I salute the double-edged sword (God).
- I invoke you to help me complete this granth
The opening passage of Guru Ji's autobiographical composition the Bachitra Natak calls upon God in the form of the double edged sword (Khanda) to help him successfully complete the granth.
Every composition starts this way, then why is it that some people say that Guru ji worshipped this devi or that , if it was not for mischief making?
Guru Ji's writings have a universal appeal, they touch the tender strings of the human heart with the strains of the brotherhood of Man. They arouse one with martial spirit with graphic descriptions of battle scenes, bringing the battle field alive before ones eyes. The neighing of the horses, the groaning and wounded warriors, the clash of weapons and the clamour of war. The descriptions of the battle scenes are steeped in extremely vigorous staccato rhythm often reduced to lines of one word. The battles waged by Chandi and Guru Ji's encounters with the hill rajas at Bhangani and Naduan are amongst the most stirring. All the mythological compositions have been written in such a way as to put a Sikh slant on them so that they fall in line with Sikh philosophy and thought. At no point does Guru Ji 'worship' these deities, these compositions were written to rouse the spirit of a people who had forgotten the taste of freedom, who held their heads low as slaves.
The Chandi Charitra follows and in fact is a part of the Bachittar Natak. The aim of writing this piece was to inspire the common man to rise up against the tyrannical rulers of the time and to fight and sacrifice all they had for their freedom. He invokes the blessings of the Almighty God thus.
Deh Shive bar mohe ihe. Shubh karman tey kabhoo na taron.
This composition is in the form sawaiye-an Indian metre of one and a quarter line. The mood is essentially forceful and fierce. The descriptions of the battles have been brought out beautifully through the use of similes and metaphors. The battle scenes are a true portrayal of the strategies and maneuvers of warfare as practiced in the times. The style is lucid and clear leading to a vivid and true presentation of the theatre of war. Although based on the Durga Saptashati of the Markandey Puran, the writings have an independent form and style giving them an identity of their own.
The third piece of writing associated with the portrayal of Chandi is called Chandi di Vaar. Written in fifty-five stanzas, this is the only composition this is in Punjabi. The first stanza of Chandi di Vaar forms the introductory part of the ardaas, the Sikh prayer.
Pritham bhagouti simar key Guru Nanak layin dhyay....
Following the invocation, this composition highlights the major events and incidents about Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. The remaining portion is a description of war. Since it is written in such a clear style and deals with matters related to war it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.
The main reason for writing about Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. Thus Chandi the embodiment of might in the female form was described in all her majesty and glory, her strength and might. And as expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he agrandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any.
This composition has two main divisions. The first part is devoted to the praise of the Almighty God, He who is all prevading, Omniscient and Omnipotent. His various attributes, His might, magnanimity and his greatness are the subject of this part of Gyan Prabodh. The entire description follows the tradition of gurbani and elucidates the main ideas that are presented within it.
The second part is in the form of a dialogue in which the soul questions God about that super power whose radiance and glory is unending. The answers are all within. He is without differences of caste, creed, religion. For Him friend and foe are alike.
Then the soul asks about the four dharmas in answer the four dharmas are elaborated upon. These are Raj dharma, Daan dharma, Bhog dharma and Mokh dharma. Giving examples from the lives of great personalities as mentioned in the various scriptures about Daan Dharam have been explained to the soul. The writing also is a source of knowledge and wisdom since in it we find elucidated the various kinds of Yagnas that were performed and how they were performed. This information is very significant since no other source of information regarding these exists. This is an incomplete piece of writing because the three other dharmas mentioned have not been elaborated upon.
This is a very important literary piece. In this the stories of twenty-three Avatars of lord Vishnu have been included. These are Machch, Kachch, Nar, Narain, Mohini, Varaha, Narsingha, Baman, Parasram, Brahma, Rudra, Jallandhar, Bisan, Sheshmai, Arihant, Dev, Manu Raja, Dhanantar, Sooraj, Chandra, Ram Krishan, Nar (Arjan), Budh and Nehkalanki. Of these, Krishnavatar is the longest followed by Ramavatar and then Nehkalanki avatar. While some of the facts included are as per the scriptures, the writer has also used his own imagination to further elaborate on the facts.
At the beginning, Guru Gobind Singh Ji has clearly stated his aim for writing this literary piece. In this God has been referred to as the source and fountain head from which all avatars have come forth. Whenever the earth gets weighed down by evil and sin, God sends down lord Vishnu as an avatar. But even the avatars fall prey to their inflated ego hence face the displeasure of God who then sends another avatar. Each of these avatars is an expert at martial arts and strategies. It is this aspect of their personalities that is of utmost significance to the Guru.
This composition follows Chaubees Avatar. It begins by narrating the incidents and experiences of Brahma. But in this too there is the Îfallâ because of an inflated ego and excessive pride. At Godâs behest Brahma wrote the Vedas, but fell a victim to vanity. For this he was sent down on earth and it took him ages to rise again in the estimation of God. Finally, when he was successful in pleasing God, he was told that he would have to go down to earth and take the form of seven avatars. These were Balmik, Kashyap, Shukra, Brahaspati, Vyas, Sastrodharak and Kalidasa.
There are no such references in any of the existing scriptures. This composition is the outcome of Guru Gobind Singh Jiâs imagination.
The references to Brahma are followed by two avatars of Rudra-Dattatreya and Parasnath. Rudra too fell prey to conceit and suffered for it like Brahma. Similarly he had to take on the form of two avatars to redeem his mistake.
On reading these episodes on finds that the various avatars can be categorized under three heads. Shastradhari or those who took up arms and fought for right, Shaastradhari or those who on the strength of their knowledge fought for right and Kalyankari-these who transformed the world through their good deeds. Thus, whichever form they took, the fight was against the evil forces. The most important point that emerges on reading these compositions is that Guru Ji has not given undue and excessive importance to any avatar. He clearly states and believes that though an avatar has a divine spark in him, he is not God. Actually Guru Ji wanted to dispel the false belief that there can be different Gods. He wanted the people to understand that there is only One God. PHUTKAL RACHNAWAN (OTHER COMPOSITIONS)
There are three compositions that feature herein-Shabad Hazaarey, Sawaiye and Khalsa Mahima.
1) SHABAD HAZAAREY
These are composed in nine different ragas and are in the style of the Bishanpadas. In these Guru Ji has given expression to his philosophical and spiritual beliefs. He has negated the ritualism associated with yoga, belief in the Avatars and sensuality and inspired people to move on the path of truth and goodness. Alongwith these is included a Khayal Patshahi 10 which is believed to be written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji while he was in the jungles of Machhiwara.
These are thirty-three in all. Apart from describing the form of the Khalsa, these describe God in a style very similar to that employed in the Akaal Ustat. God as described here is above the limiting descriptions of the Vedas and the puranas. He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, the Sublime, The Transcendent, the Supreme Being. He is the Creator, Without hate, Without fear, Beyond time, Not incarnated, Self-existent, the Enlightener. He always takes care of his followers. In these compositions, the false hoods of people who masquerade as saints have been exposed.
3) KHALSA MAHIMA
This has four verses. It delineates the glory that is associated with the Khalsa. Guru Ji explains the role of the Khalsa to the priests who had come to perform a yagna. He says that it is only through the Khalsa that all achievements have been possible for him. SHASTRA NAAM MALA
More in the form of a dictionary in verse, this composition includes the description of the various weapons used in warfare. There is no similar writing in existence and it stands out unique for its presentation and theme. While on the one hand the various well-known ancient personalities who used these weapons have been referred to, on the other the way in which these weapons are used in the contemporary period is also highlighted. CHARITROPAKHIYAN
This composition highlights the various faces of woman. While the positive roles played by woman as a wife, as a mother, as a soldier are outlined, the negative aspect of some women who stoop to lowly activities has also been brought out.
It begins by elucidating the extreme bravery and courage of Devi Bhagwati and highlights her various deeds of glory. This is followed by the various positive ways in which women contribute to the welfare of their families in particular and society in general. The examples are drawn from the Mahabharata, Puranas, Brihat Katha, Katha Sahitya Saagar, Alif Laila, Ayaarey Dayish and other comtemporary literature. On reading about the various characters included in this composition one also gets an insight into the culture, tradition and values of the society and region of which they are a part.
Thus, through the given examples, Guru Ji has formulated a very strong value system for the reader, laying down rules to be upheld and followed by both men and women so that a society free from all mortal sins may be formed.
It has been said by some people who regard themselves as interlectuals that passages like the Charito Pukhyan cannot be the compositions of Guru Gobind Singh Ji as they are tales of the wiles of women and full of erotic imagery.
All around you one sees the ruchna or creation of Akal Purkh. He has created the good things and the bad things. Akal Purkh has created the plants, and trees, the natural beauty of the forests and the wilderness. He has also created good people, Sants, Mahapursh, Rishis, Munies, people with goodness in their hearts. He has also created the bad people, the oppressors, tyrants, murderers and thieves, the swindlers and the crooks and those people who are stuck in the clutches of Kaam. All is his khale or play – the good, the bad and the ugly.
So, if everything is as He wills it then why is it so difficult to accept that the Gurus wrote about it also. If the Gurus have written about the good things in a mans heart and the good things he can achieve then it follows that they can and must write about the seedier side of life and existence also. This is exactly what Guru Gobind Singh has done with the Charitro Pukhyan. Guru Ji has written about the wiles of not just women but about the bad deeds of men also, so that we as Sikhs, members of the Khalsa are aware of the traps and pitfalls, so that we can avoid them.
- Guru Sahib Ji has written in the Sarb Loh Granth
- Khalsa mero roop hai khaas.
- Khalsay may hau karo nivaas
- Khalsa is my form and shape
- In the Khalsa I reside in spirit
This is how close Guru Sahib Ji regards himself to the Khalsa so it follows that Guru Ji wants to protect and make us aware of what goes on in the area of Kaam so that we are fully prepared for any eventuality. Also, these erotic passages are what happens in the world around us, this is part of the khale or ruchna that is around us, Guru Ji is simply writing as things stand. It is only the way that our clouded mind interprets it that is wrong. Guru Sahib Ji is writing nothing wrong, Guru Sahib Ji is writing as things are, for the Gurus mind is pure and he writes as he sees, it is our minds that takes the false root, for kaam or lust takes over our minds when we read these passages and we start to judge Guru Sahib Ji with our own inadequate standards, it is us who are wrong, not the Guru.
One has also to understand that if this composition was not of Guru Sahib Ji's hand, then why would Guru Sahib Ji select one of the passages from it (Bainty Chaupai) to be part of the five banis (prayers) that all Khalsa members must recite on a daily basi
This is a historic document sent by guru Gobind Singh Ji to Aurangzeb. It was written in the year 1706 while Guru Ji was at village Kangad in Malwa and sent to the emperor through Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Mani Singh. Beginning with the customary invocation to God, the Guru addresses the emperor. Herein he has voiced his protest and displeasure about the manner in which the Emperor's generals had broken their pact and attacked the Guru's army when they were leaving Anandpur Sahib. The surprise attack caused the Guru's army great damage. He very daringly addresses the emperor about the breach of faith, and blamed the emperor for this failure and refers to his extreme fanaticism as being wrong.
The extreme courage that has been displayed by the Guru in addressing the emperor and rebuking him for the wrongs done by him are a proof of his valour and bravery. It was only a great karamyogi like Guru Gobind Singh who could address this issue with such daring. The letter had such a great affect on Aurangzeb that he realized his mistake and felt such a great remorse that his death followed soon after.
There are eleven hidayatan or pieces of advice included in the Dasam Granth. These are written in Persian and in the style of the Charitropakhyan and Upakhyan. Beginning with an invocation each composition ends on a note of request asking for Gods blessings.
Thus it is clear that the compositions in the Dasam Granth were created with the sole aim of promoting truth. It is through these writings that Guru Gobind Singh Ji performed the miraculous transformation of people who had lost all courage and become timid and fearful into lion-hearted warriors who would stand undaunted in the face of any challenge.
Large portions of this section are directly from http://www.dasamgranth.org/dasamgranth/glory.shtml.
Proponents of the Dasam Granth's Legitimacy
In 1902 A.D., Bhai Bishan Singh of Sangrur, son of Bhai Gurdiyal Singh Anandpuri, wrote the book Dasam Granth Sahib Kisne Banaiya? ("Who Created the Tenth Granth?"). According to the method and style of the writings and much other evidence, he proved that the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1935, Bhai Sher Singh of Kashmir wrote a book, Dasmesh Darpan ("Mirror of the Tenth Guru") in which he gave many proofs that the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1937, Dr. Jaswant Singh of Lucknow published a series of articles in Amrit magazine. This was scholarly research in which after great effort, giving many proofs from the scripture itself and the style of writing, he concluded that the whole book was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1955, Dr. Tarlochan Singh published his scholarly writing in 4 consecutive issues of Sikh Review, giving the history of the compilation of the Dasam Granth. He provided solid proofs that all the writings in Dasam Granth are those of Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1955, Bhai Randhir Singh, eminent member of Sikh History Society Amritsar, wrote a book entitled Dasme Patshah Ji ka Granth da Itihas ("History of the Tenth Guru's Granth"). After 20 years of labour collecting proofs, he firmly established that the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh. This book was published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee. The first printing was sold out within a few days of its publication, and there was great demand from the public. Ultimately, three printings were made of this publication.
In April 1959, Sardar Kapoor Singh, I.C.S., published an article in the Gurmat Prakash magazine and proved that the whole of the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
Dr. Taran Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, published a book in 1967 entitled Dasam Granth Roop te Ras ("Dasam Granth's Form and Taste"). He proved that the whole of the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh. This book was published by the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Chandigarh.In 1980, Giani Harbans Singh, Chandigarh, wrote the book Dasam Granth Darpan ("Mirror of the Dasam Granth"), and proved that the entire Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
Professor Piara Singh Padam wrote a book entitled Dasam Granth Darshan, printed in 1968, again proving that the whole scripture was written by Guru Ji.
Pandit Tara Singh Narodam, in his writing, has concurred that the whole of Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh.
Bhagwant Singh Hari, son of Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, wrote Dasam Granth Tuk Tatkara ("Line Index of Dasam Granth"), published in 1969. The preface of this book is written by Dr. Balbir Singh, who was younger brother of the, famous scholar Bhai Vir Singh. In that preface, he has written that the entire Dasam Granth is the writing of Guru Gobind Singh.
After 1955, people began research of Dasam Granth to obtain PhD degrees. In 1955 Dr. Dharam Pal Ashta and in 1959 Dr. Harbajan Singh proved in their research papers that the entire Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh. In 1961, Dr. Parsini Sehgal offered her research paper along the lines of the former two scholars. Dr. Lal Manohar Upadihiya of Benares University, Dr. Om Prakash Bhardwaj of Agra University, Dr. Sushila Devi of Punjab University, Dr. Shamir Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr. Mohan Jit Singh of Usmaniya University, Dr. Bhushan Sach Dev of Punjabi University, Dr. Nirmal Gupta of Punjabi University, etc.-about two dozen scholars wrote their PhD and DLit research papers on the subject. They have all agreed that the Dasam Granth was written by Guru Sahib. After all this research, it is clearly evident that this scripture is great not only due to its religious aspects but also due to its literary merit. The scholars who have studied the Dasam Granth have written great praises of the high standard of its poetry.
Today the Dasam Granth is being kept open with reverence at Takht Patna Sahib, Takht Sach Khand Hazur Sahib Nander, and all gurdwaras maintained by Nihang Singh. In these places, its meanings are being explained and hukamnama (holy commandment for the congregation) is also being taken from the scripture.
Other Proponents of Sri Dasam Granth's Legitimacy
Sri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Baba Mitt Singh (Buddha Dal)
Professor Piara Singh Padam
(To name a few)
Keertanis That Recite Kirtan from Sri Dasam Granth
Chardi Kala Jatha (Espanola, New Mexico)
Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shaant
Bhai Balbir Singh (Jawaddi Taksal)
(To name a few)
- Macauliffe, M.A (1909). The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus Sacred Writings and Authors. Low Price Publications. ISBN 8175361328.
- Singh, Khushwant (1963). A History of the Sikhs: 1469-1839 Vol.1 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195673085.
- Singh, Dalip (1999). Sikhism in the Words of the Guru. Lok Sahit Prakashan. ISBN B0000CPD3S.
- Singh, Dr.Gopal (1998). A History of the Sikh People. Allied Publishers. ISBN 8170231396.
- Singh, Daljeet (August 1994). "Dasam Granth - A Historical Study". The Sikh Review ': .
- Singh, Jagjit (August 1994). "Fictional Identity of 'Dasam Granth'". The Sikh Review ': .
- Loehlin, C.H (1971). The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and The Khalsa Brotherhood. Lucknow Publishing House. ISBN.
- Audio of Full Dasam Granth by Bhai Onkar Singh (Una sahib wala)
- Jasbir Singh (Paonta Sahib Waley) - Shabad Gurbani from Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji 1
- Jasbir Singh (Paonta Sahib Waley) - Shabad Gurbani from Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji 2
- ॥ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹੀ10॥.Org: The most intensive and influential website on Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
- Explanation and Translation of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib in Punjabi
- The definitive website on the Sri Dasam Granth
- S. Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba clears misunderstandings regarding the Dasam bani
- Video Lectures: Sikh scholars and academicians talk about the banees of Dasam Granth
- Video: Dr. Jodh Singh, Editor-in-Chief Encyclopedia of Sikhism who has translated Dasam Granth into English and Hindi talks about Charitropakhyaan
- The Dassam Granth and Sikh Consciousness
- Gobind Sadan Institute
- Glimpses of Guru Gobind Singh Ji: The Dasam Granth Sahib
Read the Dasam Granth
Jaap | Akal Ustat | Bachitar Natak | Chandi Charitar | Chandi di Var | Gian Prabodh | Chobis Avatar | Brahm Avtar | Rudar Avtar | Shabad Hazare | Swayyae | Khalsa Mahima | Shastar Nam Mala | Charitropakhyan | Zafarnama | Hikayats