Dasam Granth: The Question of Authenticity
By Professor Harinder Singh Mehboob
extracted by The Poet Warrior
When the earthly sojourn of the 10th Master was nearing its end at Nanded, he gathered the small bunch of his devout followers around him, and declared in an emphatic but revelational tone, “I am soon leaving my visible abode of divine law, but I will not leave you in utter loneliness. I entrust to the ambrosial reservoir of immortal Word “the finality of which is preserved by my super insight in the Damdami Bir. I bestow the divine gift of Gurgaddi upon Guru Granth Sahib —-“an everlasting spirit of the Ten Guru-Prophets.” These echoes of divine Faith made a powerful tradition which had appeared in all channels of history of the Khalsa, facing no obstruction in its continuity. The Sikhs have been making solutions to their great Scripture, and thus paying their obeisance to no other Scripture as their Guru, since the physical departure of the 10th Master. No student of history witnesses any gap, any contradiction and any obstruction in the endless flow of this divine practice. Thus the prophetic faith of Guru Gobind Singh, transcending all illusory forms of knowledge and rejecting all false masks of poesy, but embracing none but the Supreme Word revealed his final commitment to Guru Granth Sahib as the only eternal Guru of the Khalsa.
Guru Gobind Singh never mentioned existential validity as well as the historic whereabouts of Dasam Granth anywhere. The tenth Guru didn’t give any clue of a single volume of Dasam Granth as revealed or compiled by him. Sainapat (author of “Sri Gur Sobha”) and Koer Singh (author of “GurBilas Patshahi Das”) were, undoubtedly, influenced by some unauthentic but contemporary poetic compositions such as “Bachitar Natak” (the fabulous autobiography of the 10th Guru) and ‘Chandi Charitars’ (I & II) which were incorporated in one of the so called Dasam Granths (actually voluminous collections of different “Bachitar Nataks”) near the first half of the 18th century, but these two famous poets didn’t give any trace of the existence of a single volume of Dasam Granth in their epics. So I conclude, in all humility, that the title of Dasam Granth is a misnomer.
Guru Gobind Singh was not the author of the bulky part of Dasam Granth. I ascribe only a slim part of it to his genuine authorship. Even this slim part, which includes Jaap, Akal Ustat, Shabad Hazare, Swayyas and Zafarnama, does not become a single whole, displaying and contemplating its structural beauty. The arrangement of compiling of these highly socio-metaphysical compositions of the master is arbitrary. Therefore, we see that these true Dasam Guru-Banis are scattered in a haphazard manner in Dasam Granth. There is an exception also. We witness an absurd intrusion of Brahamanical reflexes in Akal Ustat. The devotee finds 20 Kiratas (numbers 210 to 230) eulogizing Chandi (other names Durga, Bhagwati and Siva). Thus even here the purity of genuine text is impaired by the false compilers. I divide this paper in the following sections to justify my analytical conclusions, long cherished poetic experiences and meditations on the metaphysical Sikh literature.
1. DASAM GRANTH VERSUS GURU GRANTH SAHIB
The blessed status of an eternal spiritual preceptor granted to Guru Granth Sahib in his final meeting with the Khalsa shows that Guru Gobind Singh’s contemplative understanding of Gurgaddi to his scripture was perfect. It proves that he was in an absolute command of plunging deeply into the far reaching mysteries of Guru Granth Sahib. It means the tenth master would never betray his distinct religious cause as envisioned in Guru Granth Sahib like Minerva – insights awakening the age-long human ordeals of truthful struggles. How could he contradict the unique transmutation of rare Guru-inspiration of his Guru Scripture by incorporating in Dasam Granth the stale, stereotyped and static descriptions of mythological characters of feeble symbolical significance and artificial combinations of explosive sounds?
(a) GOD, GODDESSES & AVATARS IN DASAM GRANTH
The authors of Dasam Granth in ‘Chandi Charitars’ (Parts I, II) shower praises on the Chandi and her other manifestations in profusion, bring forth twenty four incarnation of Vishnu in “Chaubis Avtar, give seven mythological descriptions of Brahma in ‘Brahma Avatar’ and describe two forms of Rudra (Siva) in ‘Rudra Avatar’ in such a manner that these Brahamanical Gods, Goddesses and Avatars inevitably tend to become the center of worship for the devotees of other religions.
Thus these heroes of Hindu Mythology create a hotchpotch situation in the pure conceptual centers of Sikhism also. Dasam Granth concludes in some scattered lines that the purpose of these poetical narrations of mythological gods/goddesses is to intensify the religious felicity in the hearts of devotees (i.e. the Khalsa) to escalate lawful battles against the opponents of God. In my humble opinion this statement would prove to be a wrong hypothesis as the bulky size of the descriptions of Brahamanical Gods doesn’t justify their declared purposes of holy war.
The reader is caught in the meshes of ritualistic worship of these Hindu Gods, and as a result of the dense mythological atmosphere will never allow the devotees to realize the sanctity, faith and fervor of the religious mission as propounded in the concluding sections of these gods and goddesses. The declared pious mission becomes meaningless and stands isolated. It is in reality a misguiding hallucination. The poetical presentation of the fables of gods, goddesses and Avatars are a shrewd device to prepare the Khalsa – consciousness to surrender itself to the mythological heroes and heroines of the Brahamanical Cult. Thus the declared missionary slogans in the poetical compositions of Dasam Granth are false temptations. The dominating Brahamanical atmosphere in these fables becomes an arbitrary movement which ensnares ultimately the natural freedom of Khalsa-Mind. The pious manifests of religious battles as mentioned in Bachitar Natak and other poetical compositions of Dasam Granth becomes null and void when it is followed by the paraphernalia of inert tales. The brief but sacred claims made in these Panasonic Kathas find themselves enveloped in the superstitions contents, false assumptions and disconnected visions.
The gods, goddesses and Avatars of Indian Mythology along with ancient Hindu Scriptures are not used in Guru Granth Sahib as full fledged, exuberant and self-dependent personalities of super-status transmitting themselves into independent worship centers. They are merely used in Adi Granth as literary illustrations of some higher truth, symbols, metaphors, similes or sole references. Their role doesn’t move beyond the main/dominating contents of Guru Granth Sahib. They never aspire to establish the limited sovereignty of their divinity over the vast devotional system of Guru Granth Sahib. Their existence serves the solitary purpose of enhancing their literary genres. Vishnu, Shiva, Ram, Krishan and devis and so many other manifestations in their line never transcend the spiritual fabric of Guru Granth Sahib, posing themselves as free spiritual preceptors.
As far as vision of God is concerned, Dasam Granth, with the exception of five Banis, presents a perspective which is contrary to the vision and total sensibility of Guru Granth Sahib. Leaving aside the question of Supreme Reality without any substitute, it gives priority to the worship of countless godly existences. In human thought and imagination they move freely in their supernatural realms, but practically they descend on earth in their solid, stagnant and shrunk forms as idols for worship. The flat and single layered consciousness of mythological forms doesn’t make proper harmony with abstract realms of divinity of Guru Granth Sahib. The result is that anthropomorphic existences in their super frenzy dominate the bulky sections of Dasam Granth. The dense and nebulous pageants of the haphazard dramas (nwtk ) of Indian Mythology-cum-history do not allow a free entry into the spheres of divine realization of one God of Guru Granth Sahib. With the exception of five Banis of Dasam Granth doesn’t present a harmonious vision that leads the prayers of Man to the Region of eternal Truth ( sc KMf-jpujI ) when only the bliss of One God burgeons forth. In Dasam Granth, the isolated poetic sensibilities of heterogeneous contents, structural deformity and hotchpotch compilations dominate. The unbalanced literary genres of Dasam Granth do no prove the credibility of their declared purposes and unified vision.
The bulky size of its dominating material convinces the reader definitely of its original impulse relating toAvtar-worship. It shows a world of difference between Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth.
(b) RELIGIOUS BATTLES; EXPLOSIVE SOUNDS; WORSHIP OF WEAPONS
According to numerous religious commentators of Sikhism, the battles, described in the different poetical compositions of Dasam Granth are not flat descriptions of fabulous turmoils that are supposed to be enacted in the supernatural world of gods and goddesses. So many Sikh commentators believe that those battles being fought between Good and Evil on the different planes of universal Existence are symbolical, justifying the radiant struggles of divine forces and their final victory against the intriguing arrogance of super devilish agencies.
Now I take liberty to disagree with the learned scholars on this point. The holy battles envisioned in the contents of Bachitar Natak, Chaubis Avatar and other stories of Avatars do not transcend hegemony of Brahamanical reflexes, pretensions of human pride, pettiness of mundane interests of man, exaggerative heroism, and above all the boastful attitude of godly /religious crusaders. Therefore, holy battles being sung in poetic compositions of Dasam Granth seldom qualify to plunge deeply into blissful experience of oceanic depths of one God, enjoying eternally his absolute freedom in Guru Granth Sahib. The holy battles belong to the limited but repeated exercises of Brahamanical instincts which enjoy the dominance of their priest-savagery, freely enacted and highlighted in these dramatic battles of Dasam Granth. If the reader tries to enhance other meanings of the said battles, the results will be forced interpretation of the text. For example, Dr. Gurbhagat Singh, without giving any satisfactory perspective of “religio-martial texts” explains in his “Sikhism And Postmodern Thought”. The purpose of using “the
explosive language” full of “binary tensions” in the following words:
1) The sharpened binary sounds arranged in their fierceness to clank like swords, to twang like arrows or to pierce like bullets were intended to shatter the decadent environment and at the same time create a new person of a different bio-consciousness. (Page 134).
2) The meta-intention behind this was to affect the biology of the reader, to give a new nervous system.
3) By creating his martial infra-structure of language, the Guru was certainly trying to reverse the bio-functioning of his reader, who was obviously either the decadent Muslim or the exhausted Hindu of his times……. (Page 135). do not believe with the learned scholar’s viewpoint on the following logical grounds:
a) The texts upon which the learned Doctor draws his formulations are unable to produce sufficiently the thematic integrity of their literary visions, the harmonious wholeness of their cosmiclogic, the creative continuity of their intrinsic virtues and the invisible profundity of a balanced universal Truth.
b) The learned doctor totally insolates his main ideas, speculations and philosophic flights from the intrinsic experience of those texts upon which he seems to concentrate his theory. A thinker cannot create “a new person of a different bio-consciousness” in the absence of proper context of life-material and without the multifarious support of the complete and flawless cosmic vision. The visionary attempts to create the “binary tensions”, “explosive sound-combinations” and “a new nervous system” would lead the human consciousness to a blind alley without the timely help of proper material and without the participations of a same guiding spirit.
c) There is no possibility in the ‘mortal structure of language’ of Dasam Granth to infuse an inspired collection of courage or an enlightened spiritual bliss into the minds of oppressed classes (both Muslims and Hindus). In the absence of an idea text fulfilling the cosmic needs of a multi-layered lyrical genius of Guru Granth Sahib. Otherwise the attempt to create the Collective fervor of social victory would prove to be an artificial assumption or the short-lived mirage of intellect. Sensing the futility of his impracticable ideology and unconsciously building up its defense Dr. Gurbhagat Singh says:
“If these explosive sound-combinations are flaming red without the context, they are blind; but within the context they are directed”.
In my opinion, the context is very much there, but its poor structure is without the breath of creativity. Its lethargic body (form) never throbs with vibrant intensity. So this theory that shows “how the martial sound becomes haloed and telic” is baseless and doesn’t give any definite clue or creative proof of the authenticity of Dasam Granth to the seekers.
d) It is an irony of uncreative/mechanical knowledge that the “martial infra-structure of long age” (Page 135), eulogized profusely by the author of “Sikhism And Postmodern Thought” ultimately degenerates into the ritualistic worship of lifeless arms in Shastra Nam Mala. These arms producing the artificial music of chanting swords, flaming flashes of dazzling speed and the boisterous joy of fighters are related to the celebrated characters of Hindu Mythology such as Ravana, Karan, Krishan, MeghNad, Bali, and Arjana in the rhymed composition of Shastra Nam Mala. The divine arms in Dasam Granth, producing light and speed and looking haloed and sanctified, become dead objects of mechanical worship in their ending point. They deteriorate themselves into the absurd petrifactions of human consciousness. We cannot claim these static arms to be the symbols of some higher life. The manifestation of great truths needs also a vast perspective of universal dimensions. “The martial red poem” (Page 140) envisioned by Dr. Gurbhagat Singh in Dasam Granth, is without proper context and no multi-dimensional artistic harmony supports its intrinsic hypothesis. The arms of Dasam Granth take the devotees to a stagnant point of idol-worship. This process negates mercurial human consciousness and meditative joy of Guru Granth Sahib.
2. THE QUESTION OF SCRIPTUAL AUTHENTICITY OF WOMAN IMAGE IN DASAM GRANTH
The texts of Charitrapakhyan and Hakayats incorporated in Dasam Granth remain at a far-off distance from the sublimest point of scriptural experience of Guru Granth Sahib. The vast vision of Damdami Bir which encompasses the metaphysical dimensions of timeless bliss, apical grandeur of multifarious truth, mystical nuances of divine thrill, handsome proportions of universal life and a serene union of visible-invisible spiritual perspectives is absent from the enormous text of Charitrapakhyan.
The experience of Charitrapakhyan and Hakayats is shallow, disproportionate and extravagant. It doesn’t add any aesthetic serenity to the mystical/spiritual existence of woman-image of Guru Granth Sahib. The descriptions of Charitropakhyan bring out the lewdness of a corrupt society. These compositions are unable to explore any deep psychology. Charitropakhyan versifies particularly in an immoral vein the fantastic manners of unchaste woman.
When the reader applies literary canons to valuate Chartiropakhyan, its text remains below the mediocre genres of fine literature. The reader finds no visionary quest of Guru Granth Sahib in the pages of Charitropakhyan which present an obscene drama of monstrous libidinous containing more than four hundred pageants of degenerate humanity. There are, undoubtedly, the lyrical illustrations of the role of unchaste woman in Guru Granth Sahib, but these literary genres never break the sanctity of its supreme woman-image. The uncontrollable and intriguing sexual impulses of women in Charitropakhyan shatter the scriptural balance /harmony and natural poise of sublime aspects of woman-image of Guru Granth Sahib which give her a permanent place or existential naturalness in the spiritual fabrics of society. So I conclude that the contents of Charitropakhyan are anti-Guru Granth Sahib. The tenth Guru would never disown his final commitment by creating such a mundane and inartistic voice against the metaphysical canons of Guru Granth Sahib —— the everlasting spiritual light of the Khalsa.
3. AUTHORSHIP OF BACHITAR NANAK ASCRIBED WRONGFULLY TO GURU GOBIND SINGH
After probing into the multiplicity of historical facts of Guru-Times and studying the profound socio-spiritual values of Guru Granth Sahib I formulated this firm opinion in Sehje Rachio Khalsa that a man of true Sikh psyche cannot ascribe the authorship of Bachitar Natak to the 10th Guru. I cite some cardinal points of my logical conviction regarding the authorship of Bachitar Natak below:
a) Ignorance of the most conspicuous fact of Guru Arjan’s martyrdom
Guru Arjan’s martyrdom was not known to the unknown author of Bachitar-Natak. While composing his poetic narrative the poet got an appropriate opportunity to grasp the most significant moment of history, but the ignorance of 5th Guru’s martyrdom failed him. His mind was too blank to mention it. I admit that the poets often take liberty with their subject matter or contents in the form of so many poetic licenses and artistic devices in the process of their creations. While creating poetic signs, symbols, metaphors, similes and above all multi-layered socio-cultural Semitic, the art of poetry enjoys enough freedom transmitting its raw material into fresh myriad forms. I admit that in the process of poetic creation the given objective reality offers a vast scope of change and there remains every possibility that the given contents may blossom forth into new metamorphic spectrums of life. If the essential material of poetic compositions contains the distinct features of history, geography and the presence of heroic person in the center of historic happenings, the art of poesy in spite of its generous acceptance and flexibility cannot avoid the basic and most representative feature of a particular historic fact.
In canto V of Bachitar Natak the poet mentions the pious row of first nine Gurus. There is only a brief space of four lines between the names of Guru Arjan Sahib and Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib. The poet devotes twelve lines to the nostalgic description of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom. He highlights, though purely in his Brahamanical way, this marvelous sacrifice in a nostalgic vein and lavishes praises in profusion on the exemplary perseverance of the 9th Guru. It seems unnatural that Bachitar Natak does not bring even a far-fetched hint to recollect the martyrdom of the fifth Guru. When there exists a short span of four lines between the two names of said Gurus, such a lapse on the part of the poet shows that there shimmers no glorious sign of intense past in his memory. The poet of Bachitar-Natak treats the physical disappearance of the fifth Master like the general demise of human beings. Had Guru Gobind Singh been the author of Bachitar-Natak, he would have, in the present context, given at least a reverential hint of his great grandfather’s splendid sacrifice.
b) Absence of Pir Budhu Shah’s role in the Battle of Bhangani
All the historical details and collective oral traditions are of the opinion that Pir Budhu Shah was the most prominent character of Bhangani Battle. Even the naive poetic logic of Bachitar Natak cannot ignore the blessed presence of the Sufi Saint-Soldier who stands inevitably in the very center of the famous historic battle of Bhangani. Defending the noble cause of the 10th Master, he sacrificed his two sons and many pious followers in the bloody battle which was fought against the mountainous chiefs by the 10th Master. Pir Budhu Shah received abundant blessings, deep affection and personal relics from Guru Gobind Singh. Thus he became a forerunner, signaling beforehand the heroic martyrdom of Guru’s four sons and great sacrifices of innumerable Sikhs. Only an immature author would forget to mention the conspicuous role played by a man of destiny like Budhu Shah in a very crucial battle of Guru’s life.
The obscure author of Bachitar Natak had not the least inkling of the solitary existence of Pir Budhu Shah; otherwise, he would have mentioned his role in the poetic annals of Bhangani battle. Guru Gobind Singh would never envision the battle of Bhangani without referring to the immortal role of Pir Ji. So, Bachitar Natak is not authorized by him.
c) Dull Approach towards the Family History of Gurus
The author of Bachitar Natak exhibits gross ignorance regarding the family histories of second Guru and third Guru respectively. He was nourishing this mistaken idea that first three Gurus belong to the Bedi Sub-Caste, because his ignorance supported his stupid hypothesis declaring that Bedis would hand over Guruship to Sodhis in their next birth. The author didn’t know that the sub-castes of Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das were Trehan and Bhalla, respectively. (The words ‘Bhalla’ and ‘Sodhi’ are used in Guru Granth Sahib to hint at worldly identity of the Gurus. These words signifying the sub-castes of Gurus also serve the purpose of establishing the distinctive features of their family histories by having no spiritual context). The word ‘Bhalla’ is used in connection with the sub-caste of Guru Amar Das in Bhatt Swayas. The final version of Guru Granth Sahib was prepared under the supervision of Guru Gobind Singh who bestowed eternal Guruship upon it at his eleventh hour. So, I bring this fact to the kind notice of my readers, if the author of Bachitar Natak is Guru Gobind Singh he must have known at least the exact sub-caste of the third Guru, because the word Bhalla, with its elaborative context, exists in the Sikh Scripture. (The knowledge of the word Trehan, the sub-caste of the 2nd Guru before Gurgaddi, would also not betray the memory of the Master).
d) Wrong Chronological Order of Relating to the Spiritual Preceptors
In the 6th canto of Bachitar Natak the poet presents a rhymed list of religious seekers along with some vague comments, but he disobeys the right historic sequence concerning the advent of two religious personalities. According to the chronological or of Bachitar Natak Prophet Muhammad (Mahan Din) appears on the canvas of history after Ramanand. There arises no inevitable need of literary form, no creative demand of symbolism, no powerful momentum of life experience, no irresistible call of the mysterious circles of Time and no exuberant movement of visionary semiotics, which might dictate the essential poetic logic to change the normal course of objective history. In spite of that all the authors of BhachitarNatak create wrong chronological order placing Mohammad after Ramanand out of his blind ignorance. Guru Gobind Singh who was well versant scholar of Islamic History. There was not the least possibility on his part to commit such a gross error.
e) An Estranged Image of Anandpur without the Full-Fledged Historic Presence of the 10th Master
The 7th canto of Bachitar Natak mentions that the 10th Master was brought to the Punjab from Patna in his childhood, but in this context the author didn’t allude to the existence of Aandpur. After the martyrdom of his father he spent many meditative years there. The prophetic experience of the 10th Master passed through many phases of divine enlightenment at Anandpur, but the poet didn’t reveal the name of the town even and remained silent about its existence in the 7th canto of Bachitar Natak.
In canto VIII the author informs the reader that the 10th Prophet proceeded to Patna, won the battle of Bhangani after some years, visited Kahloor and established a town called Anandpur. This brief statement is a self-evident proof that the author has misplaced all significant historical situations associated with Guru Gobind Singh. Even a common reader of history knows that Guru Tegh Bahadur laid the foundation stone of Anandpur and Guru Gobind Singh received the divine status of Gurgaddi there. By releasing such a distorted image of Anandpur that annihilates the right perspective of Gurus presence related to it, the author of Bachitar-Natak cannot claim himself to be Guru Gobind Singh.
f) The Immature Vision of Religious Crises and Unjustifiable Criticism of Islam
The author of Bachitar Natak is too immature to judge the historical processes of religious crises. He is unable to understand the subtle wholeness of a particular religion which distinguishes it from its small sects. When the decline of Hinduism appears on its historical surface, he passes harshly the sweeping judgments on its disruptive segments. The author is ignorant of the fact that in spite of the ritualistic tendencies leaving behind the perfection of its moral values, those Hindu Sects have positively many divine elemenTs also. An adamant egoistical tone of Bachitar Natak is not justified to brush aside the importance of those Sects by making their followers look like atheistic nincompoops. Again, such a harshness rooted in illogical prejudices builds up no justification of the advent of the 10th Master.
India had been creating the subtlest patterns of religious thoughts of infinite variety since the birth of the Vedas. The vast vision of history and a true realization of abstract channels of life make this natural demand from a serious poet of prophetic consciousness to present wonderful realistic pageants of the rise and fall of the universal religions manifesting the logical culmination of the Khalsa. In Canto VI the poet of Bachitar Natak gives some common place illustrations of religiously misguided characters of mythology basing his analysis on false assumptions. He creates a mazy narration of Mahander, Bisham, Brahma and general category of idolaters who alienated themselves from the true path of God in remote past. His declarations regarding the betrayal of the Gods are based on common hearsay without any authentic scholarly information. As the author doesn’t understand the difference of mythology and the history of concrete facts, he fails to draw a convincing line of the different evolutions of the subtlest branches of religious ideologies.
The author makes a poor choice of the Theological characters to delineate his point of view. For example, Datta-Tray and Gorakh look like insignificant dim dots of meditative reflections of spiritual journey amidst the vast panorama of varied religious paths of ancient times. The religious experience of the author of Bachitar Natak is too shallow to deserve its comparison with the poetical/philosophic analysis of varied religious branches, revealed specially in the first Var of Bhai Gardas. We find no justification to place the fresh manifestation of the Khalsa at the end of that line of immature presentations of spiritual preceptors as visualized by the author of Bachitar Natak.
The obscure author of Bachitar Natak gives a shocking treatment to the Prophet of Islam when he reaches the ending point of his tizada of condemnation against the certain religious paths and their crises. He underestimates the Prophet Muhammad in a disrespectful manner by declaring him simply the King of Arabia. Then he denies him indirectly the elevated status of Prophet and openly condemns him in an obscene language for circumcising all the kings.
Mahadin tab prabhu upraja ||
Arab des ko kino raja ||26||
Tin bhi ek panth upraja ||
Ling bina kiney sabh raja ||
Sabh te apna naam japao ||
Satnam kahoon na dhirao ||27||
(How ridiculous! What an absurdity! What an insulting manner to denounce a fellow religion! Is circumcision meant for Kings only? Did the common folks of Islam not adopt this symbolic ritual? Does circumcision mean for the Muslim Kings to be without copulative organs?)
The author of Bachitar Natak is bereft of the knowledge that the ritual of circumcision was in vogue in the Jewish world before the advent of Islam. Again he is too naive to understand the spiritual meaning of circumcision suggested by Guru Nanak in his Majh Ki Var. The version of zafarnama, the historic epistle addressed to Aurangzeb and his highly metaphysical composition entitled Japu, proves that Guru Gobind Singh respected the Holy Quran, understood the value of faith and accepted the prophetic magnanimity of Muhammad. Had the 10th Guru been the author of Bachitar Natak, he would not have contradicted his own message, conveyed so beautifully in his Japu Sahib, the most musical poem of metaphysical dimensions.
The collective genius of Sikhism in her powerful faith, encompassing the living memories of Time and her undisputed historical traditions bows to this general agreement that Guru Gobind Singh established Guru Granth Sahib on the eternal throne of socio-spiritual values belonging to the ten Gurus.
Again, it is a fact that Guru Granth Sahib accords the reverential serenity to the Holy Quran and Islamic prayer in its contents, but the tone of Bachitar Natak is totally different in this context. So its authorship will remain alien to Guru Gobind Singh.
The commentators who claim that Guru Gobind Singh is the author of entire Dasam Granth base their belief on two false assumptions which are as follows:
(A) The believe that it was the prophetic mission of Dasam Guru to create in the Khalsa consciousness an invincible euphoria of religious battles against the contemporary Hindu feudal systems and mainly against the despotic Mughal Empire. Dr. Gurbhagat Singh develops a modern philosophic viewpoint of transcendental fervor of Guru’s battles as manifested in his “religio-martial texts”. The radiant enthusiasm “was meant as a cultural weapon to transform and restore the needed vitality”.
I object to the above mentioned “notion of battle” which according to the zealous supporters of Dasam Granth functions as a pivotal force in its Chandi Charitars (including Chandi Di Var) and Chaubis-Avatar. The said battles of gods, goddesses and demons are not symbolical in a profound creative sense, because they do not lead us to a new plane of reality higher than the visible surface of this life. Those battles simply place the reader (or the devotee) amidst the crude turmoil of the gods and demons. The flat and single layered descriptions of battles follow the slavish imitation of the bombastic style of Pirthvi Raj Raso in Bachitar Natak. It is sufficient to prove that the said battles contain no “semiotic” as envisioned by Dr. Gurbhagat Singh. The idealism regarding the fights between good and evil is relegated to a stale moral precept of secondary place, but the supreme purpose of Dasam Granth remains to highlight the Brahamanical Guru-Status of gods and goddesses. The concluding two lines of Chandi Di Var invite the attention of the devotees to worship Durga:
Durga path banaya sabhey paurian ||
Fer na juuni aya jin eh gaya ||õõ||
(The goddess Durga has composed the recitation of all the stanzas (of Chandi Di Var).
|Every worshipper who recites it will attain freedom from the cycles of birth and death). ||õõ||)
I conclude that all the battles of gods and goddesses leave us with no other choice except tilting to the message of worshipping them. So it is impossible to associate the authorship of the complete text of Dasam Granth with the 10th Master.
(B) The commentators who believe Guru Gobind Singh to be the sole creator of entire Dasam Granth delineate its second purpose saying that the 10th Prophet wanted to acquaint his Sikhs with the colorful religio-cultural heritage of India through his manifold poetic compositions compiled in Dasam Granth. I think the above mentioned viewpoint is not valid enough in deciding the authenticity of authorship of Dasam Granth. I reject this clumsy idea of the impassioned votaries of Dasam Granth by advancing the following five arguments:
1) It has never been the role of any prophet before Guru Gobind Singh to educate his followers in such a mechanical sense like an educational plan of prosaic times. The blessed movement of a prophetic genius is more awe-inspiring, creative and winning than offering the sluggish genre of degenerating literary forms, such as Charitropakhyan and Hakayats.
2) Suppose it was the thoughtful scheme of the 10th Guru to instruct his followers by producing various poetic compositions of Dasam Granth, but in no case he would make a wrong choice of literary specimens. The bulky size of literature contained in Dasam Granth is not even a dim shadow of those Sublime, pure and aesthetic dimensions of literature which belong to the real and first rate heritage of India. Here we see that Chandi Charitars are brimming with bombastic verbosity, mechanical devices of revibrating word, pictures and conventional expressions of heroic feats. Chaubis Avatar and other stories of gods/avatars present the grotesque pictures of mythological heroes with a mixture of heretics of shallow nature without origins.
………The contents of Charitropakhyan are pregnant with obscene details of neurotic minds reflecting the one-sided, anti-aesthetic, degenerate activities and vices of sexually perverted women of Vam Marag. Will the 10th Prophet impose on the consciousness of the Khalsa this superfluous and thoroughly anti-Gurmat material of disintegrated spirit to undo those healthy traditions of Gurmat balanced poise of Sehaj and majestic victories of spirit which were brought about and then established by the previous nine Gurus and finally by the undisputed Scripture of the Khalsa?
3) With the exception of Japu, Akal Ustat (excluding 20 Kabits) and Swayyas the reader (devotee) observes that Dasam Granth changes its stand again and again in relation to the worship of One God. In the ending Swaya of Ramavatar the author declares in somewhat rude tone that being a votary of One God he would not assign any divine status to Ram along with the religious ideas contained in the Shastras and Simarats. In Krishanavatar, Dasam Granth asserts rather in an unsophisticated idiom of language that the stories of Ganesh, Krishan and Bishan are known to the poet in a mechanical sense only,but in reality those characters stand alien to his unshakable faith in one God (stanza-434).
Again in the first canto of Bachitar-Natak the author asserting as the champion worshipper of the Timeless Being, denies Ram, Krishan, Brahma, Shiv and Muhammad as the saviours of mankind. In spite of these denials and emphatic declarations the fundamental faith of the author expressed in the said poetic texts of Dasam Granth tilts towards the worship of Avatars, goddesses (specially Durga, Parvati, (Siva) and Chandi) and gods. Even part of Gyan Prdodh after revealing a dim reflection of the spiritual image of One Eternal Being of Guru Granth Sahib shifts his visionary ground in part II by adding to it a stereotyped Maha Bharat-based history of religions to confuse the spotless wholeness and originality of the Khalsa. Here in Dasam Granth the devotee witnesses a faithless drama of the divided loyalties of the fickle-minded author (or authors) who fluctuates from the worshipping point of Timeless God to the obeisance of the secondary functioning agents of this mysterious universe.
I say that amidst this chaos created by the chameleon-like nature of the worshippers, Guru Gobind Singh cannot be imagined to be the solitary author of entire Dasan Granth.
4) The author of Bachitar-Natak in canto XIV declares in an artificial humility like a telepathist that he had seen all the wonderful feats of Avatars and Chandi (Kalka) performed by them in the previous ages. Again he claims (boasts?) that being a divine witness he has revealed all their miraculous deeds in his Granths. In other words he states that he is the author of Chandi Charitars (Part I & Part II) and Chaubis Avtar along with the pageants of other incarnations of the gods. Now, here arises a significant point, as already argued by me, Guru Gobind Singh is not the author of Bachitar Natak so the statement of the author in canto XIV emerges as an ample proof in favor of our transparent view assessing that Chandi Charitars and Chaubi Avatar are also not authored by Guru Gobind Singh.
5) Dasam Granth in one volume was an outcome of post-Guru period. It didn’t exist in the period of 10th Guru. The Master under his benign supervision prepared the authentic version of Guru Granth Sahib and at the last h our of his physical departure he conferred on it the honor of Guru-Scripture of the Khalsa, but in his apical span of life he never thought for a moment to get his Bani compiled in a single volume. Even Bhai Mani Singh, the last scribe of the authentic Damdami Bir did not make any suggestion to the Guru to compile his Bani in one volume. It is equally important that he didn’t receive even any direction in this matter from the Master. This fact of creative history is known to the common Sikhs of today that members of the Khalsa-brotherhood of Guru-period generally committed to their memory the Banis of Dasam Guru entitled Japu Sahib, Akal Ustat and Sawayyas. It was easy to preserve them in their written form on loose sheets or in their bound copies, and therefore, the Sikhs faced no indispensability to incorporate them in a bulky volume such as Dasam Granth. Then why did this assionate desire to create Dasam Granth out of the mass of anti-Gurmat literature enter Bhai Mani Singh’s brain at Amritsar after 1725 A.D.?
I do not recognize the authenticity of the Bir associated with the name of the Bhai Mani Singh because of the obscure history of its coming to light 83 years after the martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh in 1818 A.D., its unmarked travels from Amritsar to Multan, its usurpation in mysterious circumstances from the concealed center of its origin, its respectful preservation in the house of an unknown Pathan at Multan, the secret of it name and mystery of its first location at Amritsar or near Amritsar. Again, Dasam Granth associated with the name of Bhai Mani Singh, includes in it the voluminous contents of Adi Granth in addition to the supposed Bani of Dasam Guru. Now, Bhai Mani Singh could never commit such an act of betrayal by desecrating the original form of the undisputed Scripture of Khalsa Panth after it was installed as their ageless Guru. How could Bhai Mani Singh play such a faithless role against the intense friendly dictates of his beloved Master after being constantly submerged into the enlightened experience of Guru Granth Sahib in his presence for nine months? So the said – Bir is spurious, and it looks more spurious after emergence of the forged letter of Bhai Mani Singh.
The disclosure of fake Khas Dastkhati Patre in Gyan Singh’s Panth Parkash and the logical conclusion of spurious Hukamnamas in my book Sehje Rachio Khalsa put a question mark against the genuineness of Dasam Granth. The unsymmetrical body of Dasam Granth enveloped in unbalanced superstitious beliefs, repulsive camouflages, hearsays and boastful utterances during numerous encounters is not acceptable to me as the real world of Guru Gobind Singh’s luminous Gurmat vision.
1. Sri Dasam Guru Granth Sahib (Part I & Part II; Pages 716+712=1428; Gurmukhi Script).
Bhai Jawahar Singh, Bhai Kirpal Singh and Sons. Mai Sewan Bazar, Amritsar – 1967 A.D.
2. Gurbhagat Singh, Dr. “Sikhism and Postmodern Thought”, Ajanta Publications