| Opinion | 12 June 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Bhai Manjeet Singh, a Kuala Lumpur based lawyer who runs a number of Sikhi discussion groups, shares some thoughts on the Dasam Granth. The discussion was captured in a video entitled ‘Poora Guru SGGS and Dasam Granth: History and a comparison’ recorded by Gurbani Naad.
Excerpts from the video:
Sikhs out of their own cleverness, are looking for an extra Guru. You already have a puraa (complete) Guru in Guru Granth Sahib ji.
The only bani (composition) I personally would read are the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji maharaaj and the three banis of Sri Gobind Singh ji which are accepted as Amrit sanchaar banis
The word ‘granth’ is very misleading. It simply means a collection of works. There is no religious significance to it, it simply means a collection, compendium.
(Here, Manjit takes the examples of works of poet Shakespeare. When you put together his work, you can call it Shakespeare’s Granth, with the word ‘granth’ itself not holding any religious meaning. When Punjab University conferred an award to Bhai Vir Singh in 1956, the collection of his work was known as Abinandan Granth, with a subtitle A Homage to Bhai Vir Singh from India and Abroad in Celebration of His 80th Birthday).
Granth has got no special meaning. So when you say Dasam Granth, there is no special meaning, no religous meaning. It simply means a collection. And dasam, you go back to Sikh history, the first time it is mentioned is during the time of Bhai Mani Singh. He had collected some of his works and put it together and named it Dasam Granth.
In 1896, the Singh Sabha movement collected all the different versions of Dasam Granth available. There were 36 different versions avaialble. The vidhaans (learned) sat down from June 1896 to February 1897, collected banis considered common to all [the versions] and put together into the Dasam Granth you have now. The Dasam Granth you have today is a man-made granth, it is not made by Guru Gobind Singh ji. It was collected by the vidhaans of that time. The Singh Sabha head then was Bhai Menaa Singh. For some reasons, he had burnt all the 36 versions of the Dasam Granth. So, there is no evidence at all as to what was common, and what was not.
So, the Dasam Granth is a man-made granth. It contains a lot of other banis. For example, Akaal Ustat. Actually, the first word of the….I don’t want to say bani, but composition… of Akaal….The title is a combination of the first word and the last word of a line….a common tradition….
Akaal Ustat is 271 1/2 paragraphs. Its an incomplete bani, the last one word is incomplete. But the swayes we read everyday appear there…In the Akaal Ustat you find, from 210 to 220, there are 20 paragraphs which are ustat, in praise, of chandi. So, when you read Akaal Ustat, it comes in a package. You are reading sevaiye, and reading chandi di ustat (praises of chandi). Before that, from 201 to 209, [various] questions are posed …all questions are put, but no answers given. Gurbani does not work like that. You go to Guru Granth Sahib maharaaj, every question has an answer.
It’s a bit dicey to read anything other than Guru Granth Sahib ji and the three amrit sanchaar banis.
You may read the Guru Granth Sahib a thousand times and yet you will not be able to comprehend it. We can’t understand this bani, and [yet we are] trying to understand other banis, its pushing the cart a little bit too hard.
Some argue that it is okay to read the bani even though its not from the Guru Granth Sahib. On this, Manjit says:
Many Sikhs say that its the bani of Dasam Pathshah (10th Guru). Some may argue what’s wrong in reading the bani. Actually, there is harjeh (effect). You are loading kachee banee. This is not Gurbani, which is sat banee.
Dasam Pathshah was a poraa Guru, but he never ever said that these are the bani you should be reading. This is people trying… their own cleverness. Some argue that you’re less of a Sikh because you do not read these banis. Be clear what is to be read. The whole life will pass by and you will not fully comprehend Guru Granth Sahib.
To read anything other than Guru Granth Sahib ji and the three banis which has been pervaaned (approved) by the Panth and Guru Gobind Singh ji, in my view, is totally wrong. You are burdening yourself. It is not necessary.
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