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Dasam Granth-There is no debate.

The magazine approach to Guru Gobind Singhs writings dissected.

Gurinder Singh Mann, Leicester, UK

There has been considerable debate lately regarding the writings and poetry of Guru Gobind Singh.
There has never been such a debate since the compilation of writings now termed the Sri Dasam
Granth. We need to ask ourselves if something has changed for people to doubt Sri Dasam Granth.
Has there been a revelation in which scholars now find that Guru Gobind Singh did not write the
material found in the Granth. This is theme of this article.

Scholars have a duty to look at different sides of an argument and to present this information
clearly to the reader. There have been many articles appearing in various Sikh books and
magazine/journals taking a journalistic approach to the Sri Dasam Granth.

Sikhs seem to fear Hindu concepts and ideas. Indeed there has been a change in the minds of the
Sikhs since partition and most notably since 1984. Terms are banded about like the Brahmical
Octopus and people who appear to have anti-Sikh sentiments are labelled as agents of RSS
(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The RSS has been pivotal in dividing Sikh scholars in terms of
authenticity of the Sri Dasam Granth. However this problem has become so widespread that some
people have written about and denounced the Banis of Guru Gobind Singh used in the Baptismal
process. My question is what next?

The Akal Takht has used its supreme powers to summon anybody who is in contempt of the Sikh
Rehat Maryada. Lately there has been a case where one writer of Sikhism (Gurbaksh Singh Kala
Afghana) has refused to come to the Akal Takht, when summoned he has cited grounds of ill
health. To send a replacement is even more futile (Gurtej Singh). This is what is happening, as not
are only some scholars in contempt of the Sikh Rehat Maryada but then a farce is made of over
how the proceeding should take place. I am not leveling blame on the Akal Takht but certain issues
need to be resolved quickly as otherwise they fester and take a life of their own. Debates on the Sri
Dasam Granth are unfounded as the Granth is ingrained into the psyche of Sikhism. The problem
lies in the fact that many Sikhs are not aware of the role the Sri Dasam Granth plays in Khalsa. The
Guru most majestically did not include his Bani into the Guru Granth Sahib although he could
have done so. However a Granth compiled several years after the Gurus merging with the almighty
was the culmination of the spirit of the Guru. Only Guru Gobind Singh could speak about his role
on this earth (Bachitra Natak), an autobiographical description of his battles and his place amongst
the other Gurus. Only Guru Gobind Singh could talk about the different names and attributes of
God (Jaap Sahib and Akal Ustat). The Sri Dasam Granth is a far more superior text than people
give credit for and its place in Indian history cannot be allowed to be marginalised. The early
Gurus could include the words from the Bhagats who were from different creeds and castes. Why
cannot reinterpreted Hindu myths be included into the Sri Dasam Granth? People fail to take into
account the context of Guru Gobinds Singhs wrtings. Imagine the Gurus durbar where there are
many people present but to bring home the message of having a valiant and fighting spirit the Guru
recites the battles of the Goddess Chandi. The Guru has a two-fold argument not only he is
bringing this tale into context but he is securing the Sikhs mind by stating that there is not only a
physical battle in life but a mental one as well. There are all sorts of demons in the cosmos and
they can appear in all sorts of forms. The writings of the Guru need to be understood fully and a
literal translation does not do any justice to the Guru. Metaphors, similes are the order of the day
with Guru Gobind Singh. Even Professors of Sikhism have made mistakes by trying to dissect the
writings and prove them to be of a Brahminical nature.

So are these scholars of Sikhism wrong?

It seems very peculiar that since the late 1700s the Sri Dasam Granth has been seen as the equal of
the Guru Granth Sahib but now overnight the Granth is the work of Brahmins and not of the Guru.
Endless accounts can be found from 1700 onwards that the Sri Dasam Granth is the work of Guru
Gobind Singh. The name of the Granth may have changed but the contents have largely remained
the same. Every battle description of Guru Gobind Singh has been taken from Bachitra Natak. In
the period of the Misls Gurmattas were taken with both Granths lying side by side. This process
has not changed with certain Gurudwaras including two of the Sikh Takhts housing the Guru
Granth Sahib and Sri Dasam Granth. Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib view the Sri Dasam Granth as
a Holy Scripture and Hukumnamas are taken from the Granth. According to certain writers and
scholars these practices and accounts of the Guru must be incorrect.

Another approach by Scholars has been to dissect the Granth by quoting only from the
Charitropakhyan and hence proving that the Sri Dasam Granth is a pornographic manual. Once
again context has been neglected and these cautionary tales would have been recited in the Gurus
durbar to show the effects of bad human behaviour. The Chaupai part of the Nitnem Banis is taken
from the last Charitra. This on its own does not prove that it is work of the Guru. However early
manuscript copies of the Sri Dasam Granth contain this work as well as it being available
independently in Gutka and Pothi form. The only debate that has occurred in the past was whether
the Charitropakhyan should be bound with the rest of the Granth. This authenticity question has
only sprung up recently.

What is the debate?

There is no debate moreover the role of the Sri Dasam Granth has been marginalised over the
years. The more people are unaware of the Granth the more uncertainty seems to grip peoples
imagination. However the problem is that people are not aware of the Gurus Bani. People read
Guru Gobind Singhs Bani day in day out whilst reciting prayers from the Nitnem. The Sikh Rehat
Maryada gives approval of reciting Guru Gobind Singh shabads in Gurudwaras, (Together with
Bhai Gurdas Vars). Kirtan from the Sri Dasam Granth can be heard on a regular basis at
Harimandir Sahib. Endless amounts of CDs are produced in the market promoting the Gurus
Bani. The Katha of the Dasam Granth is widely available. Baba Deep Singh authored one of the
original Birs of the Dasam Granth. The Damdami Taksal who takes their lineage from this mighty
warrior venerates the Dasam Granth as a Guru. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale also from
Damdami Taksal was fully versed in the Sri Dasam Granth. To this day his Katha of the Sri Dasam
Granth is sought after. The Akali Nihangs do not have a debate on the Granth as they not only see
the Sri Dasam Granth as scripture but the Sarbloh Granth as well. The Nihangs have many
practices and rituals which come from the Sri Dasam Granth and also the fighting spirit as
enshrined in Shastarvidyia is based on Jaap Sahib, Krishna Avatar, Shastar Nam Mala and other
Sri Dasam Granth compositions.
The Akal Takht has now declared Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afghana as Tankhaiya maybe his
followers (Gurtej Singh) should now also accept the verdict of the Takht. The objectors of the Sri
Dasam Granth are now on the run and their shortcomings will be exposed one by one. The way the
Sri Dasam Granth has shaped and changed Sikhism is too numerous to mention. Next time
somebody raises a question on the Sri Dasam Granth tell them there is no debate.

Gurinder Singh Mann,

Bsc M.A

Written in December 2003 and published in Sant Sipahi.

Bio: Gurinder Singh Mann comes from an academic background with a deep knowledge of world
religions. In 2001 he completed his MA in South Asian Religions at De-Montfort University,
Leicester with a thesis on the Sri Dasam Granth. It is one the first western publication on the Sikh
scripture. He continues with his research on the Sri Dasam Granth with several forthcoming
publications on the martial scripture. His "300 Year History of the Sri Dasam Granth" at the Sri
Dasam Granth Seminar at Sacramento, California in 2008 was well received. He regularly writes
for Sikh Panthic magazine Sant Siphai with articles related to Sikh history, heritage and

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