From the Jacket:
The Dasam Granth connotes "The Book of the Tenth Guru" of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, a great reformer, litterateur, spiritual leader and unparalleled warrior, who traced his lineage to Lord Rama. After the compilation of the Dasam Granth by the Tenth Guru, it was called Chhotta Granth (the Younger Book) as compared to the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib) which was called Wadda Granth (The Elder Book). Dasam Granth consists of religious compositions in the first part and the other part mostly comprises of mythological compositions. The work has an original, forceful and fearless expression and a social and political consciousness as the Guru wants to instill such noble qualities in man, which can make him individually great and also a very healthy constituent of the society.
About the Author:
Dr. Surindar Singh Kohli (1920-2003) was the very first Professor of Punjabi literature in the world. He became Professor and Head of the Department of Punjabi at Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1962 and retired in 1979. During this period the created forty-nine successful Ph.D. research scholars under his guidance. He has not only made a significant contribution to the field of Punjabi literature, research and guidance, but has done an outstanding service in the realm of comparative religion in general and Sikh religion in particular. He was an authority on Sikh scriptures and has made their analytical and thorough study in a dispassionate and scholarly manner. His works are marked by clarity, brevity and profound scholarship.
For several years I had been thinking of translating into English the Dasam Granth, the Second Sikh
Scripture. The First Scripture i.e., the Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib had been translated earlier.
The Professor and Head of the Department of Punjabi Literary Studies of Punjabi University, Patiala,
had assured me that he would get my translation published by the university itself. But to my great
surprise.I received a letter from the Secretary of the Sikh National Heritage Trust, Birmingham (U.K.)
in the second half of 1993, that their Trust wanted to get the Dasam Granth translated into English
and since they considered me the appropriate person for this work, they requested me to spell out my
conditions for this work. Since I had retired from the Punjab University, Chandigarh as Professor and
Head of the Department of Punjabi several years earlier, I was in need of some financial support for
this work of great magnitude. I had already translated a few smaller portions of the work of Guru
Gobind Singh and published the same in my book The Life and Ideals of Guru Gobind Singh in 1986.
At that time I was staying with my younger son at Vancouver (Canada), when the letter of the Trust
was received at home in Chandigarh. An agreement was executed with the Trust, by which they had
to pay me a fixed amount every month for three years, when the work was to be completed. The Trust
wanted to publish this work in several volumes like the English translation of Guru Granth Sahib.
Since my elder son lived at home in Chandigarh and my daughter in England, the Trust had to make
payment of the monthly amount to me in India, Canada or England, wherever I lived as a roving
ambassador of Sikhism.
I began the work of translation in Canada, where I was staymg at that time. From Canada, I came
to meet my daughter for a month in Coventry (U.K.) in the beginning of 1994, from where I went to
my home in Chandigarh in March 1994. But the providence had destined me for a long stay in
England, because of some serious problems of my daughter. I reached England again by the end of
July 1994, where I am still staying. According to the agreement, the work of translation had begun by
the end of 1993 and had to be delivered completely by the end of 1996 after three years. The work
was done in full swing and by May 1995, more than half the work was done. Since the Trust wanted
to begin publishing side by side, the Secretary received from me on May 27, 1995 the translated work
from the beginning upto the nineteenth Rudra incarnation. They had arranged the publication with
Messrs Singh Brothers, Bazar Mai Sewan, Amritsar (India), but because of some reasons, this could
not be accomplished. The work was of such magnitude that it could not be finished in three years. It
took me at least three and a half years to complete it. The Secretary received the remaining portion of
the translation on May 7, 1997, beginning from the twentieth incarnation of Rama upto the end of the
Dasam Granth. I had to do the complete translation, although I had told verbally the Trust that they
cannot publish Charitropakhyan Hikayats (minus Zafarnama) and Asphotak Kabit without the
permission by SGPC, the central Sikh organisation, to which they agreed.
It is from May 1995 upto this day, i.e., for more than seven years, the Trust has not been able to
publish the translation. The manuscript is with them and whenever they like, they can publish it in
several volumes alongwith the original. In the meantime the present expressed their desire to publish
only the translation itself. There has been various queries why the work is not being published.
Therefore, I have decided that only the translation be published, so that the world may be able to
know the contents of this Second Sikh Scripture and also know that it contains only a few works of the
Guru alongwith the compositions of the court-poets and some works of poetic exercise by the Guru.
It was Guru Gobind Singh himself who bestowed the position of Guruship on the Adi Granth, ending
the line of personal Guruship for all times.
Before the publication of the translation, as an Introduction I have given the brief life of the Guru
alongwith my Introductory Note on the Dasam Granth.
I am confident that the long-standing need of this publication will be welcomed by the Sikhs as
well as the scholars of other religions.
In his autobiography named Bachittar Natak, Guru Gobind Singh has traced his lineage to Lord
Rama. In his previous birth, as "Dusht Daman," he was absorbed in deep meditation in the vicinity of
seven-pinnae led Hemkunt. This sacred mount had been hallowed by the footprints of Guru Nanak,
the founder of Sikhism. The sage of Hemkunt was destined to be the tenth and last successor of the
Great Guru and give final touches to his mission in the world. The Lord appeared to him and said, "I
have appointed thee as my son and have created thee to propagate the panth (the path), spread dharma
(righteousness), and forbid the people from unwise acts." The sage bowed his head, standing with
folded hands and replied, "The panth (the path) will spread in the world only with Thine assistance."
The Guru proceeds to record in his autobiography: "For this reason, the Lord sent me and I was born
in the world. Whatever the Lord has spoken to me, I am saying the same to you. I have no enmity with
anyone. Whosoever will speak of me as the supreme lshvara, fie upon all of them. Consider me as
His slave, there is not an iota of doubt about it. I am the slave of the supreme Purusha and have come
to see the play of the world. Whatever the Lord of the World hath said, I, repeat the same. I shall not
keep aloof from the jivas of this world."
Guru Gobind Singh was born at Patna in the State of Bihar on December 22, 1666, when his father
Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru was touring through Kamarup, the region of sorcery, touching
the areas already visited by Guru Nanak and preaching his mission. The ninth Guru had left his
family at Patna and had gone deeper into Assam in view of his mission and also at the request of his
disciple Raja Ram Singh who had been sent by Aurangzeb at the head of Imperial forces in order to
invade the kingdom of Ahoms. The news of the birth of sGovind Rai were conveyed to the Guru, when
through his intervention, a settlement had been reached between the king of Assam and the envoy of
Aurangzeb. The Guru knew that a great soul had descended on the earth in order to give final shape
to the Panth and end the rule of tyranny and aggression.
The achievements of Guru Gobind Singh during his short life-span of forty-two years are
unparalleled in the history of the world. He accomplished marvels as a spiritual teacher, as a leader of
men, as a General of armed forces and as a literary artist. His life was a life of struggle and strife. "As
a religious teacher," says Cunningham, "he drew contributions and procured followers from all parts
of India, particularly from the Central Punjab, known as "Manjha," as the splendid physique of the
Jats of those parts appealed to him as excellent material which could be effectively exploited to be
pitched against the Muslim armies of the Mughals, but as a leader he perceived the necessity of a
military pivot, and as a rebel he was not insensitive to the value of a secure retreat."
The life of the Guru may be divided into the following main divisions:
1. At Patna (1661-70)
2. At Anandpur (1670-82)
3. At Paonta (1682-86)
4. At Anandpur again (1686-1704)
5. At Damdama (1704-05)
6. At Nander (1707-8)
The dates of the above-mentioned periods are approximate dates. A short detail of these periods
is given in the following pages. Each period is marked by some significant developments in the life of
the great Guru.
At Patna (1661-70)
It is recorded that of the first six or seven years of his life, the young Govind remained at Patna,
while his father returned from the east and journeyed homewards in early 1668. It was probably
considered necessary to keep the child at a safe distance from the jealous Sodhis, who felt very sore
about the denial of Guruship to them at the instance of Guru Tegh Bahadur. The early schooling of
young Govind was, therefore, done at Patna. The language of the area had a great impact on him. His
poetic compositions are mainly written in the literary language of the area. He studied not only the
Bihari language, but also Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic.
At the age of four and five, Govind Rai, led a group of young children and used to play on the
bank of the Ganges. Sometimes, as a sport, two parties were formed and battles were fought. The
courage, bravery and material trend of the child manifested itself in his various movements. Before
he left Patna, he was noted as a great marksman, whose arrows never missed the targets. Many elderly
and saintly people saw in him a great spiritual force and a would-be leader of humanity.
At Anandpur (1670-82)
At the call of his father, the young Govind left Patna for Anandpur in 1670 with the members of his
family. The ninth Guru was highly pleased to meet his son. He had made arrangements not only for
his further schooling in Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic, but also in archery and swordsmanship. Though
he himself had passed several years of his life in seclusion and had led a saintly life, he wanted his son
to wield the dual authority like his grandfather Guru Hargovind (the sixth Guru), the temporal grandeur
(miri) and the spiritual power (piri). This was the requirement of the times.
It is recorded in Sikh chronicles that Kashmiri Brahmins, fearing a forceful on-slaught on their
religion, approached the ninth Sikh Guru for his assistance and advice. The Guru became very pensive
and wanted to save dharma at all costs. On seeing his father immersed in deep thoughts, the young
son enquired from him about the reason. The Guru replied that the country was subjected to a rule of
tyranny, which demanded the sacrifice of a great soul. The young Gobind, who was only nine,
immediately said, "I do not see a worthier soul than yours for the purpose." The father was highly
satisfied because such words could only come from the mouth of a worthy successor. Thereafter the
Guru is said to have started on a tour in order to exhort the people to become fearless and to face the
tyranny. He openly declared: "Frighten not and Fear not." His words and his following were considered
a danger to the state. He was arrested and finally beheaded under orders from the emperor on November
11,1675. He was succeeded by his son as the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs at the tender age of
After the martyrdom of his father; Guru Gobind Singh began to consolidate his position as the
spiritual head of the community. The Sikhs came from all directions to meet their new spiritual guide
and brought splendid gifts for him. The Guru asked the Sikhs to bring in future war-materials for him.
Within a couple of years, the Guru raised a contingent of brave and selfless Sikhs. There was no
shortage of arms and ammunition, horses and swords. Such activities in the house of Guru Nanak,
raised great fears in the minds of the hill-chiefs, who became antagonistic to the Guru. This resulted
in several skirmishes here and there.
At Paonta (1682-86)
At the invitation of the Raja of Nahan, the Guru built a fortress at Paonta on the bank of Yamuna.
He is said to have stayed here for about four years. Whereas martial exercises were continued and a
few battles were fought including the famous battle of Bhangani, the Guru also engaged himself in
literary pursuits. Several Sanskrit and Persian classics were translated by various poets, who had
gathered at Paonta and enjoyed the munificence of the great Guru. Sometimes poetical symposiums
were held and the Guru distributed the awards. Most of the compositions of the Guru were written at
Baba Ajit Singh, the eldest son of the Guru was born to Mata Sundari, at Paonta.
The number of court-poets of Guru Gobind Singh has been fixed at fifty-two. Most of them were
present at Paonta and helped in rendering the classical literature into Brajbhasha, especially from
Sanskrit. The poets whose renderings from Sanskrit are available, are Alam, Amrit Rai, Sainapat,
Hans Ram, Kuvresh, Tehkan, Mangal, and Lakhan.
At Anandpur Again (1686-1704)
Anandpur was strategically most important base for the Guru, where he returned in 1686. The hill-
chiefs becoming more jealous with the increasing popularity of the Guru and finding in his religious
reforms a grave danger for their traditional religion, misinterpreted the activities of the Guru to the
Mughal Emperor and sought his help. They depicted him as a very dangerous revolutionary for the
State and Society. The bigot Muslim Emperor willingly agreed. Therefore, Anandpur was besieged
on one side by the hill-chiefs and on the other side by the Imperial forces. The Guru was pressed to
Before the siege, on the Baisakhi day of 1699, the Khalsa was born. The "Five Beloved Ones"
presented themselves for sacrifice. They were administered "the nectar of double-edged sword" (khande
ki pahul) and were named as the Khalsa or the Pure. The Guru vested himself in the Khalsa. In the
words of Indubhushan Banerjee, "the introduction of pahu/ and the simultaneous abolition of the
pontifical Guruship formed the cornerstone of the edifice built by Guru Gobind Singh. Militarism
was now adopted finally as an article of creed and the leadership of the community was left to the
community itself, thus bringing into existence a military commonwealth with the fullest of democratic
freedom."! In the words of Gokul Chand Narang, "Abolition of caste-prejudices, equality of privileges
with one another and with the Guru, common worship, common place of pilgrimage, common baptism
for all classes, and lastly, common external appearance-these were the means besides conunon
leadership and the community of aspirations, which Govind employed to bring about unity among his
followers, and by which he bound them together into a compact mass before they were hurled against
the legions of the great Mughals.
During this period three sons where born to Mata Jito, Jujhar Singh in 1690, Zorawar Singh in
1696 and Fateh Singh in 1699.
When Anandpur was besieged the Guru and the Khalsa fought against the enemy with full fury.
One fiery Khalsa could stand against a lakh and a quarter of the enemy-such was the spirit infused
into the Khalsa by the Guru. The enemy wanted the Guru to leave the strategic town of Anandpur.
"The sight of the suffering Khalsa and the solemn promises of the enemy for a safe exit moved him to
leave the town, which he did in the winter of 1704."3 When the Guru came out with his followers, he
was attacked by the enemy on the banks of the Sarsa. In the ensuing confusion, the Guru was separated
from his family members except his two elder sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh. His two younger sons
alongwith his mother took shelter with an old servant who betrayed them and handed them over to the
officials of the Governor of Sarhind. The children were bricked alive and their grandmother could not
survive the shock. The Guru himself proceeded to Chamkaur with only forty brave Sikhs, when he
was besieged in the dilapidated fortress.
The warriors went out of the fortress in small groups and gave a tough flight to the enemy. Both the
elder sons of the Guru and three "Beloved Ones" fell in the battlefield. When only five Sikhs were left
to defend the fortress, they requested the Guru to leave in order to fulfil his mission. The Guru obeyed
"The Five" and left the fortress in the darkness.
At Damdama (1704-5)
Passing through the thorny wilds of Machhiwara without any food and shelter for days, the Guru
met Nabbi Khan and Ghani Khan who carried him in a litter declaring him as "Uchch ka Pir," evading
the pursuing army. With the help of the friendly Muslims, the Guru reached Ferozepore district,
where he collected his men again and the last, battle was fought at Muktsar, where the revolting, forty
Sikhs also laid down their lives for his mission. They are still remembered as the "Forty Saved Ones"
with great reverence. The Guru ultimately reached Talwandi Sabo, which is now known as Damdama
Sahib. Here the Guru stayed for nine and a half months. The recension of the Adi Granth, known as
the "Damdama Wali Bir" was prepared here. The Guru is said to have dictated the whole of the Adi
Granth from memory. He added the hymns of his father, giving the scripture a final form, The Guru
made Damdama Sahib a great seat of learning therefore, it is often called "Guru ki Kashi".
At Nander (1707-8)
Aurangzeb died in March 1707. A war of succession ensued between his sons Bahadur Shah and
Tara Azam. In this war Bahadur Shah was victorious. He had earlier approached the Guru for help
through Bhai Nand Lal and the Guru acceded to his request. After his victory, the new Emperor
presented the Guru a robe of honour. For sometime the Guru accompanied the emperor to Deccan at
the royal request, but later on broke off and encamped at Nander, where Madho Das Bairagi was
converted to Sikhism and given the name of Banda Singh. This new convert was sent by the Guru to
Punjab and the Sikhs were instructed to cooperate with him in his objective of ending the unjust and
tyrannical rule. The Guru stayed at Nander till his death.
While at Nander, the Guru was stabbed by a Pathan, who had come to wreck vengeance due to old
animosity. The Guru was attacked while he was asleep. But the assailant was immediately despatched
by the Guru's sabre. The wound was sewn up and within a few days, it healed. But one day when the
Guru tried to bend a stiff bow, the wound opened up again and there was good deal of bleeding. The
Guru knew that he was going to cast off his earthly body, therefore, on October 7, 1708, he called all
his Sikhs, who could be gathered on the occasion. In the words of Macauliffe, "He opened the Granth
Sahib and placing five paise and a cocoanut before it, solemnly bowed to It as his successor. Then
uttering 'Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh,' he circumambulated the sacred volume and
said, "0 Beloved Khalsa! Let him who desire to behold me, behold the Guru Granth, Obey the
Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Guru. And let him who desireth to meet me diligently,
search its hymn." I The Guru then breathed his last.
The Guru had led the Sikhs from generation to generation in the practice and qualities which make
a great nation; and now that the task was over, the last of them merged his personality in the ranks of
his disciples. All Sikhs history had been moving towards this divine event. There was to be no personal
Guru in future. The whole Sikh community, in its organised form called the "Panth," was to guide
itself by the teachings of the Guru as incorporated in the Holy Granth, and also by the collective sense
of the Community?
A short sketch of the life of the Guru has been presented above. There are, however, two different
significant facets of his life. Like his grandfather Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru, besides being a
spiritual preceptor, he led a princely life. Guru Hargobind was called a True King (Sachcha Patshah)
by his Sikhs, likewise the tenth Guru was called Kalgian Wala (crest-worn), Chitian Bajan Wala
(white falcon carrier) and Neele Ghore Wala (blue-horse-rider).
The Kingly Life of Guru Gobind Singh: The Guru used to hold a court, sit on a throne and wear
crest on his head like a king. He used to carry falcon on his hand, ride a swift-footed horse and used
to go hunting like a king. Every word from his mouth was like an order for his Sikhs. His kingly
demeanour has been described by Bhai Sukha Singh in his Guru Bilas Patshahi Daswin in the following
words: "The Guru wore costly dress and valuable ornaments on his body. The sword hung from his
left side There was a shining girdle round his waist. ... The studded crest was worn on the
head In his one hand he had a bow and in the other an arrow. In this way, the Gracious Lord came
on the throne. Like kings, he had poets in his court."
TheGuru was a great general and commander of his forces. He fixed a special uniform for his
army, on account of which even a single Sikh could be recognised among lakhs of people. The spirit
that the ambrosia (amrit) filled in the Khalsa, could enable one to withstand a quarter and a lakh of
hordes. In Prachin Panth Prakash, Bhangoo Rattan Singh has given the following description: "The
True Guru gave arms to the Khalsa alongwith various types of dresses. The Guru would sit in the
centre on a cot and around him the Singhs would stand completely armed. Among his Singhs, the
Guru appeared like Krishna among his gopis. He would order the Singhs to march, run or stand. On
his orders the Singhs would sit, get up or run. On his orders some Singhs would march in turns
catching hold of mighty clubs. The True Guru would stand in the ploughed field, the Singhs would
fight with the clods."
The major part of the life of the Guru passed in fighting battles. He has depicted these battles in
Bachittar Natak. On one side there were Mughal forces and on the other the army of the hill-chiefs.
On this account, he had to erect several forts like Anandgarh, Kesgarh, Lohgarh and Holgarh. He
instructed his Sikhs to wear long hair and to arm themselves. This fact is mentioned in Parchi Patshahi
Daswin by Bhai Sewa Das in the following manner. "Once the Guru was encamped in Lakhi forest. A
Sikh approached him and said that a batch of Sikhs coming to meet the Guru had been plundered on
the way by a Subedar. The Guru remained calm and gave no reply. The very next day another Sikh
came and said that another batch of Sikhs had been looted by some other Subedar. The Guru said why
it is not voiced that the Sangat had plundered the Subedar. ... And now I shall cause the Sangat to
catch hold of bhagauti (the sword) and cause the sparrows to tear away the falcons. The Guru said
further, whosoever will be my Sikhs, they will not remain without long hair (keshas) and arms, The
human being is incomplete without them. He becomes a complete person when he adopts both of
them. Then following the instructions of the Guru, the Sikhs wore long hair and armed themselves.
Then the Guru said that the Sangat would be trained then in warfare .... "
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