Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib ji – Part II
A Review by Gajindar Singh
Author: Mahakavi Santokh Singh
Editor: Dr Kirpal Singh
Publisher: Dharm Prachar Commmittee,(SGPC) Sri Amritsar
Pages: 886; Price Rs 210/-
This is the twelfth volume in the series of translation of the epic, ‘Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth’ written by Mahakavi Santokh Singh in the Ninteenth Century based on the lives of the Sikh Gurus, in Braj bhasha, the literary language of the time, into Punjabi for the convenience of the readers which also seeks to check the mere flight of poetic excesses by the famous poet who admitted to creating imaginative tale not strictly borne by facts and it is influenced by the orthodox Hindu observances which may be contrary to the Sikh ethos and practices. Dr Kirpal Singh and his team of translators have painstakingly gone through minutely to point out such instances in the narrative by inserting footnotes, besides the synopsis of each chapter of the original works to make it possible for the lay reader to keep track of the episodes.
The present volume contains in part the life story of Guru Har Gobind ji from his visit to the famous site of Nanakmata which was under threat of occupation by the yogis of Gorakhnath. On appeal of the Sikh missionary who was under duress from yogis to vacate it, Guruji’s visit along with his body guard Sikhs finally led to the retreat of the yogis as a permanent solution and the sacred site of Guru Nanak Devji’s visit was preserved.
The famous Painde Khan was introduced to Guru Hargobind Sahib, who played a significant role in the battles of the Sikhs against Imperial forces. There is considerable text of the Guruji’s preaching and theorizing on the Sikh philosophy to the sangat and the Sikhs. The author has thereafter written about the travels of Guruji to Kashmir and the historic meeting with Bibi Bhag Bhari. There is the event of the third marriage of Guru Hargobind ji and the birth of his children described in detail by the poet.
The excavation of the tank Kaulsar to perpetuate the memory of Bibi Kaulan, marriage of Baba Gurditta, wedding preparations of Bibi Viro, the daughter of Guru Hargobindji are events on which the poet has written imaginatively. One event of the passing away of Mata Gangaji has the suggestion of incessant reading of the Adi Granth Sahib as directed by Guru Hargobind Sahib. It would need further exploration, whether this is the first instance of the ‘akhand’ path among the Sikhs.
The last part of the book under review is about the battles fought by Guruji with the Mughal authorities over the capture of a Royal falcon by the Sikhs which was not returned due to the earlier instance of the royal seizure of a horse being taken to the Guru Sahib by the devotees.
There is a detailed description of the battle of Lohgarh which Guru Sahib decisively won against the formidable Royal forces with a handful of the Sikhs. The book concludes with the wedding of Bibi Viro, Guruji’s daughter, which the poet has mentioned being done by the Sikh Anand Karj ceremony since it had come into practice by that time among the Sikhs.
The hard labour in translating the text of Mahakavi Santokh Singh into simple Punjabi has been well done for which Dr Kirpal Singh is to be felicitated and his team of scholars who have done a praiseworthy job.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2013, All