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Dr. Pashaura Singh is well known for his blasphemous attack on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This is his story, a story of an attack on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib which is venerated by Sikhs as a living Emperor on Earth and the directly revealed word of God (Dhur Ki Bani). He was a disciple of Hugh McLeod, who started his career as a missionary hell-bent on converting Sikhs to Christianity. The secret mandate of Hugh McLeod as a missionary was to engage in a deep study of Sikhism in order to determine it’s weak points and then use these weaknesses to attack the foundation of the religion. Needless to say it was a cunning, deceitful and dastardly ploy. The same verbs can be used aptly to describe Hugh McLeod, the man. Hugh McLeod carried out his mission with considerable zeal and went so far as to learn the Punjabi language. Why Hugh McLeod did not feel it fit to criticize Christianity, a religion full of scientific falsehoods and fantastical stories as well as being brimful with hate (see: The Book Of Leviticus, Bible) is a secret that he took to the grave.
Max Arthur Macauliffe writes about the authenticity of the scriptures:
- The Sikh religion differs as regards the authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems. Many of the great teachers the world has known, have not left a line of their own composition and we only know what they taught through tradition or second-hand information. If Pythagoras wrote of his tenets, his writings have not descended to us. We know the teachings of Socrates only through the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Buddha has left no written memorial of his teaching. Kungfu-tze, known to Europeans as Confucius, left no documents in which he detailed the principles of his moral and social system. The founder of Christianity did not reduce his doctrines to writing and for them we are obliged to trust to the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Arabian Prophet did not himself reduce to writing the chapters of the Quran. They were written or compiled by his adherents and followers. But the compositions of Sikh Gurus are preserved and we know at first hand what they taught.
Pearl Buck, a Nobel laureate, gives the following comment on receiving the First English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib:
I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes. They are compact in spite of their length, and are a revelation of the vast reach of the human heart, varying from the most noble concept of God, to the recognition and indeed the insistence upon the practical needs of the human body. There is something strangely modern about these scriptures and this puzzles me until I learned that they are in fact comparatively modern, compiled as late as the 16th century, when explorers were beginning to discover that the globe upon which we all live is a single entity divided only by arbitrary lines of our own making. Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to a person of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind.
- In 1975 Dr. Mcleod in his book, “Evolution of Sikh Community” started a debate on the text of Sikh Scripture and floated the idea that the Kartarpur bir must be a first draft, subsequently amended by the Guru himself (p.77). It was done fully knowing the facts brought out in the book Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan, by Professor / Bhai Jodh Singh (Former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala), published in 1968. Professor Jodh Singh reviewed the book “Evolution of the Sikh Community “ and answered the textual questions raised by McLeod (See his Review published in the Appendix A pages 81-83) of the book by Sardar Daljeet Singh, “Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir”. Published by Punjabi University in 1987.
- In spite of the above documented evidence, Dr. Mcleod and Pashaura Singh initiated the research on the text and history of the Sikh Scripture in the Department of Religious Studies at Toronto in 1987. They introduced MS 1245 (Manu Script 1245) from Guru Nanak Dev University and relied heavily on it without establishing its authenticity. The thesis, The Text and the Meaning of the Adi Granth, that Pashaura Singh completed in 1991 under the supervision of Dr. Mcleod and Dr. Joseph T. O’Connell did not answer the following questions: (a) How they came to know about the MS 1245 at GNDU? (b) Who wrote two articles under the authorship of Dr. Lohelin while he was totally disabled and that too after his death? For details see Chapter 6, “Manipulation and Deception” in Discovering Mcleod and His Works by Dr. Baldev Singh.
- Pashaura Singh faithfully picked up the idea of first draft floated by his mentor and went on to prove that MS 1245 is an early draft of the Adi Granth on which Guru Arjan Dev has worked to finally produce the text of the Adi Granth (Thesis, p.24). On the basis of questionable documents, he questioned the history, originality and authenticity of the text of Sri Granth Sahib. About 30 Sikh Scholars in the book “Planned attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy” (Biodata on pages 323-326, also click on Authors of Global Sikh Studies) presented their critique on the research done by Dr. Pashaura Singh on Guru Granth Sahib.
For details of this planned attack, read the introduction pages 1-39 .
- Opinion of Dr. Bishan Singh Samundri (Former Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, Amritsar): “It is indeed very unfortuante that Pashaura Singh’s attack on the authenticity of Guru Granth Sahib is sought to be based on a manuscript called a draft by Guru Arjun Dev, when its text bears in its contents the date of demise of the Fifth Master.” See Foreword in the book, “Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahb: Academics or Blasphemy”.
- Opinion of Justice Ram Singh Bindra (Retd., High Court of Assam and Nagaland): (The Book Planned Attack) “is a very welcome contribution exposing the ugly and sinister designs of the group ending in the thesis of Pashaura Singh aimed at eroding the originality and authenticity of Guru Granth Sahib as is evidenced by the Kartarpuri Bir”. See the back cover page of “Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy”, for his full statement.
- Professor Pritam Singh (65 years experience of teaching and analyzing Sikh Manuscripts) proved that Guru Arjan never used Goindwal Pothi (Ahyapur Pothi) for the preparation or a source for Aad Guru Granth in 1604 as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh in his book Guru Granth Sahib Cannon Meaning and Authority (p.41) that the text of the extant Goindval Pothis belongs to the original Goindwal Pothis. (See Ahyapur Pothi (Goindwal Pothi).
- Analysis of Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon, Head Dept. of Guru Nanak Studies at GNDU (25 years experience of teaching and analyzing old Sikh manuscripts) proved in his book, “Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition” , on pages 89-182 that Goindwal Pothi as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh, was never used by Guru Arjan in the preparation or as a source of Aad Guru Granth in 1604. Various forms of Mul Mantar in Goindwal Pothi (see page 135), Arrangement of hymns (see page 149-168), Missing Compositions (see pages 169-172), Kachi Bani or Apocryphal Writings (see pages 173-182)
- In 1991 while writing his thesis, Pashaura Singh presented MS 1245 as an early draft of the Adi Granth. Struck by the criticism by the Sikh scholars, now he calls it an incomplete draft on which Guru Arjan worked to produce the final version (p.46). Analysis of Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon, Head Dept. of Guru Nanak Studies at GNDU proved in “Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition” pages 182-258 that MS 1245 as suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh was never used by Guru Arjan in the preparation or as a source of Aad Guru Granth in 1604. Absent Hymns in MS 1245 (see pages 244-245), Hymns recorded twice in MS 1245 (see page 246), Kachi Bani or Apochryphal Writings in MS 1245 (see pages 247-258)
- For authenticity of any document following FOUR academic parameters must be established before its use:
- Date of Document (When it was Written): To establish his finding of early draft in the form of MS 1245 and to prove its early origin, in 1991 Pashaura Singh went on to mislead the scholars that the last date (Samat 1663 Jeth Sudi 4 i.e. June 1606). In the table of death dates has been inserted later on (Thesis, p.28). Now he calls that the whole table of death dates has been inserted later on (Book, p.51). He has come to the conclusion that MS 1245 was completed in 1599 and it is the same document which Guru Arjan had shown to emperor Akbar in 1598 (Book, pp.45-46). All these are wild conjectures. There is no external or internal evidence to prove them. The internal evidence of the manuscript on folio 1255 clearly shows the death dates of the first five Sikh gurus are recorded by the primary scribe with the same pen and in the same shade of ink. It proves that this document was written after 1606, the year when the fifth guru had expired. Please see Plate XIII on page 235 of the book, “Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition”.
- History of the Document: Pashaura Singh did not go into the history of the document. The dealer who sold this manuscript to GNDU made a statement at Sri Akal Takht on May 5, 1993 that he bought this manuscript from a waste paper dealer going on a cycle in the state of Rajasthan, India in 1979-1980. He also confessed that the note given on the front of the manuscript in relation to the Hymn of Baba Buddha was not based on any research. For details see “Statement of the Chawlas at Sri Akal Takht Sahib” on page 243. Therefore, it is clear that there is no known history of the document prior to 1979-1980. Dr. Pashaura Singh completely ignored to find the history of the document. He failed to note that the alleged hand of Baba Buddha recorded on a separate paper has been pasted on the initial folio of MS 1245 (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, p.208). Ignoring all these facts, Pashaura Singh still puts MS 1245 in the custody of Baba Buddha and his descendents (Book, pp.42-43).
- Who is the Scribe : Pashaura Singh simply conjectured but was unable to identify who was the real scribe of MS1245. In 1991, Pashaura Singh assumed that the scribe of MS 1245 was a close associate of Guru Amar Das possibly Bhai Gurdas (Thesis, p.28). At that time he suggested that Bhai Gurdas may have further improved his hand-writing by the time he wrote the final draft of the Adi Granth (Thesis, p.26). Now in his book he states that the entire writing work of MS 1245 has been done by one hand only (Book, p.43). All these are very immature statements which have been made to convince the scholars to drive on the highway of textual criticism of Sikh Scripture without any honesty and responsibility. Even a novice in the field of manuscriptology can judge that more than two scribes have been employed to prepare MS 1245 (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, plates X, XI, XII on pp. 231, 232, 233).
- Internal Inconsistency : The internal evidence of MS 1245 clearly shows the inclusion of a large number of Apocryphal Writings or Kachi Bani attributed to the Sikh Gurus, (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition pp. 247-258). What is the source of these writings? Who were the authors of these writings? Why have such a large number of them found their way into MS 1245? Why would Guru Arjan compose Kachi-Bani to exclude it later on? Why would Guru Arjan compile a document full of Kachi-Bani and would show it to emperor Akbar? Why would Bhai Gurdas write a manuscript full of Kachi-Bani? All these are very important issues which Pashaura Singh has very conveniently skipped over to say that it will be discussed in a separate study (Book p. 46). He has constructed a genealogy of manuscripts to establish a direct relationship between the text of Goindwal pothis, MS 1245 and Kartarpuri Bir. In doing so he blatantly ignores the textual variants which prove that all these manuscripts have not descended one after another (see Pritam Singh, Ahiyapur wali Pothi and Balwant Singh Dhillon Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, pp. 209-227).
- Pashaura Singh failed to establish, based upon the above academic criteria, the authenticity of MS 1245 before its use in his research work . Not only this, he flouts the norms of historical criticism to establish the early origin of MS 1245. For example (a) He says there are certain instances of recording of only the opening lines of Guru Arjan’s hymns followed by blank spaces and says these hymns were not available to the scribe in their final form (Book p. 45). Would it be possible for anyone to believe that Guru Arjan who prepared this manuscript has no access to his own writings? (b) MS 1245 does not contain Bhagat-Bani. Pashaura Singh claims that Guru Arjan’s primary concern was to fix the hymns of the Sikh Gurus first and then to deal with issue of the Bhagats. He makes a wild claim that Guru Arjan was collecting the hymns of the Bhagats in another volume to include them later in a final recension (Book pp. 50,51). Where is this volume? He has no answer. Perhaps he will present it at some later stage. (c) MS 1245 contains only the sawwayas of Kalh Bhat. Pashaura Singh remarks that by the time this manuscript was written some of the bards had not yet appeared in the Guru’s court (Book p. 51). In doing so he betrays lack of knowledge that the Bhats led by Bhikha had already appeared in the court of Guru Amardas and their sawwayas in praise of Gurus are well preserved in Guru Granth Sahib. (d) Regarding the movement of MS 1245 he ignores the notes put on different folios by Piar Singh (See Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition, plate VII, p. 186). (e) Pashaura Singh acknowledges the fact that the text of Japji in Guru Granth Sahib has come from the copy of Guru Ram Das (Book p. 283). But he contradicts himself when on the basis of MS 1245 he alleges Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan for making modification and revising the text of Japji and its Moolmantra (Book pp. 85-96). (f) In order to confuse the history of the text Pashaura Singh states that during the 18 th and early 19 th century no one version of the Adi Granth was accepted by all the Sikhs (Book pp. 224, 225). To create history of the text he visualizes Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s role to prepare an authorized version of the Sikh Scripture (Book p. 227). All these are sweeping statements which are without any valid and authoritative evidence. (g) He also concludes that the Dasam Granth enjoyed an equal status with the Adi Granth in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. He says, both the Granths were installed side by side on the same platform (Book p.279). This is again a statement without any evidence. It dilutes the authority of Guru Granth Sahib as a sole canon and scripture of the Sikhs. (h) Pashuara Singh pleads that Dr. McLeod has revised his view on the issue of so called hymn in Ramkali mode which is found in the Banno recension (Book p.122). This is again a claim without any truth as Dr. McLeod’s omnibus volume (1999) carries the same statement that he had made in 1975.
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the only authentic source of Sikh Studies. Prof. Sahib Singh has proved through the internal evidence of SGGS, “Guru Nanak had in possession all compositions of Bhagats and all compositions of the first four gurus were in possession with Guru Arjan Dev when he compiled Guru Granth Sahib in 1604”) Printable version of this book is available at the Sikh Research and Education Center’s site.
- Dr. Gurmel Singh Sidhu, a known researcher and eminent Punjabi writer has also proved through internal evidence of SGGS that Guru Arjan never used the sources suggested by Dr. Pashaura Singh for the compilation of Aad Guru Granth in 1604. See CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE COMPILATION OF AAD GURU GRANTH: A DISCUSSION IN FUTILE – Dr. Gurmel Singh Sidhu [please use PunjabiFonts.zip to install and view this powerpoint correctly] His comprehensive analysis showed that “Pashaura Singh’s Ph.D. thesis is full of factual mistakes on the basis of which he drew conclusions regarding the authenticity of the Aad Guru Granth Sahib. His data does not yield results, rather the results are superimposed on the data. It seems that his conclusions were preconceived and the data was concocted to comply with the desired results. See pages 63-84 in “Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib : Academics or Blasphemy.”
- On June 25, 1994, Pashaura Singh appeared before Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and accepted the Tankah for his wrong conclusions and promised to revise his thesis. Later on he wrote “… I appeared before the Akal Takhat as a “devout Sikh”, not as a scholar. I had made it quite clear to the Jathedar Manjit Singh at that time and he agreed with me. Anyone who has read my book The Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority* (Oxford University Press, 2000) will know that I did not compromise my academic freedom.” (Letter of Dr. Pashaura Singh dated 21-3-2003 to S. Jagpal Singh Tiwana on internet)
- Sikh Scholars and the Coalition of Sikh Gurudwaras of California are of the consensus of opinion that Pashaura Singh’s research clearly implies that the compilation of Aad Guru Granth in 1604 by Guru Arjan was based on unauthentic sources, suggesting that first four gurus received a revelation of Kachi Bani / Apocryphal Hymns which were edited by Guru Arjan in 1604. His research work based upon unauthentic documents challenges the revelatory nature and therefore the authenticity and originality of the Dhur Ki bani. This implies that the tenants of the Sikhism are derived from Kachi Bani which is highly uncalled for. ( Pashaura Singh Turns His Back To Akal Takht – Sikhs Appeal To Akal Takht Jathedar published in India Journal, June 24, 2005, and India Post, July 1, 2005, Indian Newspapers in California)
- The SGPC Forms Academic Committee in July 2005, Jathedar Akal Takhat asks Pashaura Singh nine academic questions, but receives no response. On 01/17/06 Sri Akal Takhat, issues Gurmata to Sikh Sangat worldwide.