The main object in writing this book has been to present a picture of Guru Gobind Singh, consistent with his views and teachings. An attempt has been made to examine critically and eradicate the prejudices that, through malice or ignorance, have come to be associated with the name of the Guru. It has been found that the histories written by the Guru's overzealous and unscrupulous admirers are marred by lavish attempts to prove him an equal of the Hindu Avtars. In consequence, they have attributed to the Guru's acts and habits, which he condemned in others. On the other hand, the accounts written by the contemporary and later Muhammadan scribes and historians are mostly disfigured by a marked display of bigotry and prejudice. The European writers who relied on these latter, have been let into the same pitfall, and have given currency to wrong facts and views about the Guru. Hence, no single book written by an author belonging to any of these groups can, in itself, be regarded as reliable history. In order to find out the truth, we must compare these books with one another and with the writings of the Guru and his close associates. This is what I have attempted to do in these pages. How far I have succeeded in this difficult undertaking is for the readers to judge.
Guru Gobind Singh's personality is a wonderfully harmonious combination of so many good and manly qualities, as have seldom been found blended together in one person. Consequently, many writer who have attempted to measure him with their narrow scales, have been baffled and dazzled. Not finding his parallel anywhere, they have come to self-consoling conclusion that the stories told of the Guru's many-sided talents and accomplishments are but myths. They have, therefore, presented a very incomplete and highly distorted picture of the Guru.
To the great men of subsequent times he has been a great challenge. Unable to hold him within the narrower compass of their hearts, they grow nervous, and lose even the capacity to understand him. The result is that whenever they have taken up pen to write about the Guru, this nervous irritation has swayed their minds and they have taken shelter behind hard epithets. Hence it is, that Guru Gobind Singh has been always misunderstood. Indeed, he may be called the "Great Misunderstood."
It is with the hope of removing at least a part of this ignorance and misunderstanding, and under the conviction that Guru Gobind Singh, rightly understood, can be a great elevating force in the private, social, and political life of today, that I sent forth this little book into the great world. If it succeeds in its mission, the glory will be the Guru's; if it fails, the faults will lie with my powers of expression and exposition.
My thanks are due to Prof. Niranjan Singh, M.Sc. without whose constant encouragement this work would not have been undertaken; to Prof. Teja Singh, M.A., S.Partap Singh Kairon, M.A. (U.S.A), and S. Darbara Singh Sodhi, M.A. (U.S.A), who very kindly went through the manuscript and gave very valuable suggestion; to S.B. Bishan Singh, Principal, for his kindly giving me facilities to use books on Sikh History, collected at the College; to all authors whose works I have consulted; and to all friends who helped me in the preparation of the book in various ways.
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