Jodh Singh Professor of Sikhism, Punjabi University, Patiala(INDIA)
The Book of the Tenth Guru
To quote Encyclopaedia of Sikhism �Dasam Granth� (lit. the Tenth Book generally signifying the Book of the Tenth Guru) is how the collection of compositions attributed to the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, is named to distinguish it from the earlier work, the Adi Granth (now known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib) the First or Primary Book (Volume), compiled by Guru Arjan, the fifth in the spiritual line from Guru Nanak and to which Guru Gobind Singh added the hymns of the Ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, forbearing from adding any of his own�. The works in the Dasam Granth are varied in contents and their tenor. Some works such as 14 Cantos of the Bachitra Natakand the Zafarnamah are almost autobiographical whereas the Chaubis Autar, and Chandi Chritras may be treated as biographical. Japu Sahib and Akal Ustati pertain to pure spirituality whereas Sastra Nammala delineates the use of the weapons and elevates them to the status of God. Covering the vast bulk of the Dasam Granth is Chritropakhyanin which the narratives concerning the lust and cunningness of women and some men are included. These stories are picked up ranging from folklore, mythology to history and the contemporary situation of the poet. In nutshell works in theDasam Granth are as follows: 1. Japu(Sahib) - contains 199 verses in 10 different metres such as Chaupai, Bhujang - prayat, Chachri, Rual, Bhagvati, Haribolmana, Charpat, Madhubhar Rasaval and Ek Achhari. Japu is strand of the diverse names of God which further explain the nature of the supreme reality. Love for Humanity and the creator Lord is the matrix of Sikh thought and God is conceived in Japu as the abode and cause of all love.
The Theme of God Realization
2. Akal Ustati is the next step to the Japu. Whereas Japu may be termed as the strnad of the different names of God, Akal Ustatitakes up the theme of God realization. It touches upon the hypocritical sectarian outlook besides holding the love and its activities be they spiritual or secular as the true values of life. 271 and half verses of Akal Ustatiare
available in which the real ecumenical thought of Sikh religion as enunciated in the Guru Granth Sahib about oneness of humanity, brotherhood of mankind and fatherhood of One God, has been stressed upon. 3. Bachitra Natak, consisting of fourteen chapters spread over 471 verses, deals with autobiographical notes of Guru Gobind Singh�s earlier battles of Nadaun and Bhangani while he was camping at Paonta, a small town in the present day Himachal Pradesh. In the very beginning of the first canto, the Guru has obliterated the long cherished practice of invoking Ganesh and Sarasvati and instead set up a new Khalsa tradition of invoking the Sword whom he describes as the protector of the saints and destroyer of the evil-doers. The Sikh principle of one spirit and the same methodology of all the Gurus has been reiterated in this work. One more interesting fact is revealed by the poet when he discovers his family lineage linking himself to Lava and Kush, the worthy sons of Ramchandra, the acknowledged universal monarch of India and tells how their kingdom was shattered because of the infightings of the family. Only twenty villages could remain with the family by the time of Guru Nanak (5.3.4.) who first raised a spiritual empire on whose foundations later on i.e. up to the times of Ranjit Singh a vast and mighty temporal Khalsa empire was built. In fact the purpose of the Guru is not of tracing of his lineage here but is of telling the people that quarells and infightings always prove to be self defeating. The Guru perhaps anticipating the present day infightings among the masses as well as their spiritual and political leaders, has already hinted about the self destroying effects of the schismatic posture of the people who claim to be just brothers of one and all and still hate agreeing to any common action for the common cause.
Stories of Indian mythology and folklore
4.5.6Chadi Chritra Ukti Bilas (233 Verses), Chandi Chritra (262 verses) and Chandi Di Var (55 verses); First two works are in Braj Bhashaand the last one is composed in Punjabi language. In the whole of the corpus of the Dasam Granth, the Guru has dealt with innumerable anecdots and stories of Indian mythology and folklore but nowhere the same story has been repeated thrice as is in the case of the story of Durga. Indra, the god, cries and weeps over his lost kingdom forcibly snatched away by Mahishasur, the demon and comes to Durga, the supreme power of the Shivalik hills, to seek help. Durga consoles Indra, fights with the forces of Mahishasur and killing all his commanders restores back the kingdom to Indra the sole king of the Aryans. Durga also known as the Indian mother goddess is powerful
example of the matrilineal society prevalent in India before the coming of the Aryans to this land. The Aryans did have the patrilineal social set-up and had no deep regards for female counterparts as is evident from the literary epics and other religious works of the race. Guru Gobind Singh seems to have considered Durga as the mighty queen who could fight for the cause of righteousness and could even help them who had destroyed her cultural fabric and were in the process of destroying the civilization such as of Mohenjo Dero and Harappa etc. Guru Gobind Singh found Durga as the epitome of womanhood and consistent to the framework of Sikh thought in which the position of woman is not only full of respect but also she is equal partner in all the spiritual as well as secular regimen of the Sikh society. He found the story of Durga fascinating and worthy undertaking its theme for uplifting the honour of woman. In view of this the poet seems to be untiring in eulogising Durga, though in the Chaubis Autarand at some other places he categorically says that he does not accept these deities as gods or goddesses. In Guru Granth Sahib also this is held that these personalities are mighty kings and queens of different period whom people out of their reverance for their actions of common weal started considering supernatural powers. 7. Gian Prabodh (336 verses) hinges upon the framework of Indian religious thought and when one finds in it the Guru dealing with the supreme ideals of life viz. dharma, artha, kama and moksha and their corollaries such as dan, charity and santokh, the contentmet, one feels explicitly how Guru is deeply rooted in the Indian ethos. The Guru knew about the erstwhile educational system because Gian Prabodhabounds in hinting about the names of Sasskrit Grammer works such as Kaumudi,Chandrika and Kashika etc. 8. Chaubis Autar - is considerably larger part of the Dasam Granth where all the mythological twenty-four incarnations of Vishnu have been dealt with. The Guru true to the spirit of Japuji makes people uderstand here that Akal Purakh, the Supreme reality is above all the gods and goddesses. In this work Vishnu is asked by the Akal Purakh to go to earth in order to protect the saints and destroy the devils. The stories of Rama (864 verses) and Lord Krishna (2492 verses) have occupied sufficiently larger space in this work because these were the mighty kings who have been reigning supreme in the hearts and minds of Indian people since times immemorial. The Tenth Guru has used these very popular stories as raw material for chisellig out and founding the solid Sikh thought that later on appeared in the form of Khalsa order. In the last verse of the Krishnavatar he portrays the vertically and horizontally developed personality of an ideal human being, and in the main body of this work while describing Krishna�s battle with Jarasandh, the Guru creates uncommon characters in both the armies. For example, he creates Shakti Singh, Amit Singh and mighty Kharag Singh. Kharag Singh here is prototype of Khalsa to be created after ten years and he is not only not getting killed by Krishna and his associate gods and goddesses who come to help Krishna, they
rather have been depicted as fleeing the battlefield thus delineating the Sikh spirit that Sikhs are not to be afraid of the devis and devatas. On the other hand Dilawar Khan and the commanders of his ilk have been shown as being destroyed at the hands of Singhs. The Guru for his own purpose of rousing the spirits of medieval Indian people against the oppressors has transformed the olden battlefield into his contemporary world. Only such works of the Guru could realise his dream of awakening the slavery ridden people from their dogmatic slumber to create a strong Khalsa brotherhood in the year 1699 at Anandpur. While writing these incarnation stories, the Guru is quite conscious of his own ideology and at places gives his comments and notes that he is not believing in the incarnations of these gods and only Mahakal, the Supreme Reality beyond time and space is his protector. Immediately after this work in the Dasam Granth thirty-three Svaiyas have been appended which further affirm the ideological stand of Guru Gobind Singh who is the devotee of Akal, the ever burning flame of righteousness and piety and who cannot be confused with the people working in the space and time, however mighty they might have been.
The scholars and soldiers 9. Sastra Namamala or �Inventory of Weapons� is such an abstruse work that could be a good treat for the scholars and soldiers alike. The weapons such as double edged sword, musket, and arrow etc. have been elevated to the status of the Divine. In most cryptic and coded terminology numerous names of five weapons i.e., sword, sheel (chakra), arrow, noose and musket have been defined. At few places the names of spear and dagger have also been hinted at which shows that perhaps this work is incomplete one. According to Patna recension of the Dasam Granth, Sastra Namamala had 1455 verses whereas now only 1318 verses are available.
How a spiritual person can save himself in disastrous circumstances?
10. Chritra Pakhyan, Pakhyan Charitra or more commonly known as TriyaCharitra - contains 7559 verses and thus happens to the largest work compiled in the Dasam Granth. It consists of 404 episodes rooted in Puranas, Mahabharata, Kathasarit Sagar, Panchtantra, Baital Pachisi and Alif Laila etc. This is an interesting collection of Indian and non Indian contemporary stories pertaining to the wiles of different varieties of women and at few places of men. Many of the themes of the stories have been picked up from the folklore and a very
thoughtful psychological analysis of different characters whether they are feudal lords, ascetics or warriors, has been undertaken. This work in the DasamGranth owes much to considering the authorship of the Granth as controversial because some scholars feel that the stories touching the prostitution and other allied activities could not be the work of the Guru. However it is worth noting that this portion of the Dasam Granthis found in all the extant manuscripts of the work, apart from also being independently available. Hanuvant Singh is a young prince whose mother is no more. His father King Chitra Singh remarries and the new queen wants to involve the young prince in incest with her to which the prince refuses. The queen intimates and incites the King who becoming furious arrests the prince. The wise minister understanding the whole affair tells the king, the stories of different fraudulent women, deeply engrossed in cajolery and quite. The aim behind these stories seems to caution the men of their possible involvement in extra marital relationship and not to denigrate the women folk but to denounce the trapping women. However, benati chaupai is available in all the manuscripts of this work. The basic stress of most of the stories in this work is on maintaining a pure and lust free character as is evident from episodes, sixteen, twenty-one, eighty-one, one hundred eighty-three etc. 11.Zafarnamahcomprising 111 verses is one of the three Persian works of Guru Gobind Singh, the other two being Fatahnamah and Hakayats. Fatahamahresembles Zafarnamah whereas Hakayats have the same theme as of the Pakhyan Chritra. Zafarnamah is that letter which was written by the Guru at Dina, a town in Malva region of the Punjab when he happened to be there after the battle of Chamkaur. Bhai Daya Singh was entrusted the work of delivery of this letter to Aurangzeb who was camping at that time at Ahmad Nagar in the Southern India. This letter seems to be the reply of a personal message or letter by the Emperor to Guru Gobind Singh. Zafarnamahshows explicitly how a spiritual person can be in high spirits even in most disastrous circumstances. The Guru very badly has reprimanded Aurangzeb for his misdeeds, and in one verse the Guru says, "O Aurangzeb, of course you are king emperor but you are totally devoid of honesty and religious mindedness. So long your service to Islam is cocerned, this also is your hypocrisy. In fact you have no faith either on Hazarat Mohammad or God the great. Then, the oft quoted verse that �when all the efforts fail then it is incumbent upon a person to take to the sword and set the things right' is there in the Zafarnamahto infuse the spirit of righteousness and fight against the tyranny. The entailing verses of the Dasam Granth as said above are Hikayatswhich are tales almost similar to Charitropakhyan with the difference that the latter work is in Brajbhasha and the Hikayats are in Persian.