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Sri Sarb Loh Granth Sahib Ji

A Review by Gurbakhsh Singh USA*

Editor: Prof Satwant Singh Dhillon
Published by : Singh Sahib Baba Santa Singh ji, Jathedar Chhianwain Krori, Akali Budda Dal (Chakarvati) Hindustan, (Punjab)
Pages: Two volumes, 388+1065; Price: Not mentioned

Its importance lies mainly in the hymns which are selected from it to be recited/quoted regarding the greatness and uniqueness of the Guru Khalsa Panth. The granth was not easily available till its copies were searched, reviewed, edited and then printed under the guidance and efforts of Jathedar Baba Santa Singh of the Budha Dal.

According to the editor, the granth remained in the south and it reached north India as late as 1803. He came to know of 24 Birs (recensions) of this granth. From the study of these, which he could actually locate and obtain, he prepared the current copy of the publication with meanings of important and key words / phrases given as footnotes. These notes and meanings, which cover an appreciable part of each page help the readers to understand the epic. In the absence of these explanations, it is not possible even to understand the story of the epic.

The name of the granth is Mangla Charan Puran, its hero is Sarb Loh, hence it got its popular name, under which it has been printed. It is a great epic describing the wars between gods and demons. The style, words and phrases are very much similar to those of the wars between Chandi Devi and demons described in the Dasam Granth.

The granth starts with a very long invocation, mangal, to Bhawani Devi and Maya Lachhmi Devi as given below:

1> ;qh tkfjr[o{ ih eh csj
;qh GtkBh ih ;jkfJ, ;qh bSwh ih ;jkfJ .
T[;sfs ;qh wk:k bSwh ih eh ..

The mangal of goddess Lakshmi tells that the author had a faith in God Vishnu and his spouse Lakshmi. In the epic, Vishnu is described as the saviour of Shiva and Brahma, the head gods.

The epic begins with the attack by the demon Bhim Nad on gods (Inder and his associates). Bhim refused to listen to the reconciliation advice, starts the war, is defeated and killed. At the death of his brother, the head of the demons Beerj Nad gets very angry and sends his dreadful army to take revenge from the gods. Description of the army on both sides and their preparation for the war is given in great and interesting details.

To avoid war, god Vishnu sends his messenger, Nard, for peaceful talks and settlement. The ego-filled mad demon does not listen to him. Devastating war takes place, all the brave warriors of the demon get killed, and the gods win the battle and become haughty, egoist after their victory.

This demoralizing defeat of his generals upsets Beerj Nad still more and he himself launches a big attack on Inder Puri with a huge army. Inder also calls all gods including Brahma and Shiva; they come with their full strength. Under the supervision of Vishnu, the gods show their great fighting skill. However, many gods including Shiva and Brahma become unconscious or are killed in the battle. Vishnu gives them new life by giving amrit to them. After a long sea-saw battle, the demons defeat gods and take over Inder Puri. Vishnu guides gods to appeal to Mahakal living in the sea (of milk), who consoles them and assures them that he would take birth as Sarb Loh and destroy the demons.

Sarb Loh appears in Inder Puri, gods welcome him with great devotion, and a big feast is held in his honor: Sarb Loh deputes Ganesh as his messenger of peace to advise Beerj Nad to vacate Inder Puri and let gods and demons rule their own territories. Under the strong influence of ego, the demon refuses to relent and return Inder Puri to gods.

A bloody war starts and the loss of blood creates a sea. Such a war was never fought earlier. Half way while describing the killings in the war, the author changes the topic to write an independent composition not connected with the epic, hymns eulogising Khalsa (they are mentioned with minor editings in keertan pothis), then the author continues again with the war scenes.

Beerj Nad is convinced of his defeat and of his sure death casting shadows before him. Rather, he philosophises it, and he feels lucky. It is good fortune that he will be face-to-face with Sarb Loh, while people pray and perform penances to see him. After being killed by him, his soul will be entitled to live in heaven. After the death of Beeraj Nad, Sarb Loh hands over the rule of Inder Puri to Inder and himself becomes a part of cosmos, becomes invisible.
Regarding the moral lesson of the epic the author states that the war actually is between Truth (Sarb Loh) and falsehood (Beerj Nad). In the beginning the egoist demon does not listen, he is defeated and killed. The gods become haughty and ego filled after killing the brave generals of the demon. They get punished by Beerj Nad who takes over their kingdom. Suffering from egomania, the demon does not reconcile to return the kingdom to Inder. As a result he loses everything including his life.

This war between virtues and vices proves that to begin with falsehood (vices) appears to have the upper hand but finally truth (virtues) becomes victorious. People should practise humility for peace.



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