Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji: Jiwan, Mahima ate Charan Chhoh Asthan
A Review by Dr Jaspal Kaur Kaang*
Author: Dr. Paramvir Singh
Pages: 272+; Price:
Publisher : Nirmal Ashram, Rishikesh
Dr. Paramvir Singh has written this book, published by Nirmal Ashram Rishikesh, dedicated to the 400th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji with great seriousness and dedication. The book is divided into five chapters which open up new aspects on the life, ideology, philosophy of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib as well as from the historical point of view. The main motif of the book is to present the spiritual experience of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib in different shapes such as Guru-mahima, Guru-ideals and Guru-itihas. The first 24 pages consist of the words of Sant Baba Jodh Singh, Prof. (Dr.) Balwant Singh Dhillon which highlight the academic excellence of the author under the title ‘Pesh Lafaz’ and the introduction. While this book is full of references from early Sikh sources, the author has also gathered the information about all the places visited by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, which makes this book one of the reliable academic works on Guru Tegh Bahadur. In this book, where as the misconceptions created by some historians about Guru Sahib have been dispelled, at the same time, an exclusive effort has been made to shed light on some unknown and less discussed aspects of Guru Sahib’s personality which have been hitherto ignored by some of the historians.
Most of the scholars have focused on one theme of Guru Sahib’s Bani on the human need of renunciation of the worldly attractions. However, the author of this book has written about Guru Sahib’s personality through references to the various edicts issued by him to the Sikh Sangat. The spiritually enlightened personality of Guru Sahib has been portrayed to reflect the deep essence of Sikh religious culture.
Mainly, those aspects of Guru Sahib’s life have been highlighted which inculcate among the Sikhs the service to humanity as well as love and devotion of the Sikhs to the Guru. A detailed description of Guru Sahib’s persona and service to humanity as a religious leader is recorded in this book. In the first chapter of the book, a brief description of Guru Sahib’s life and ideology is given through the events of Guru Sahib’s childhood, and references from Guru Sahib’s Bani. In the second chapter, the author eulogises Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh ji, along with references from many poets like Bhai Nand Lal ji, Kavi Kankan, Lakhan Rai, Kuir Singh, Sarup Das Bhalla, Tola Singh Bhalla Bhai Sukha Singh, Bhai Vir Singh. Ball, Ratan Singh Bhangu, Bhai Santokh Singh, Kavi Sewa Singh, Baba Sumer Singh, Shekhar, Giani Gian Singh etc. This chapter reflects the sound knowledge and research of the author, which has been made after examining every source related to Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib. In the third chapter, the edicts issued by Guru Sahib in the name of the Sikh Sangat are analyzed with facts and the names of the prominent Sikhs mentioned in the edicts are also given. Apart from this, the Masands of Guruji’s time have also been specially mentioned. In the fourth chapter, a list of close and sympathetic devotees of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji have been given and the author has tried to give brief information about those devotees with references. This makes it a unique and prominent historical academic work in itself.
In the fifth and final chapter, the author has done an exceptionally sound academic work by tracing places of the Guru Sahib’s preaching throughout North-East India and the Charan Chhoh Gurdhams established in different states. The important aspect of this work is the hard work done by the author by visiting himself all the places at his own expense, collecting the information and compiling it in this book. The book comprises the latest position and information about the Gurdwaras which were damaged in 1984. An appeal has been made to the Sikh Panth to serve and preserve these Gurdwaras where Sikh Sangat is very small and need of the time is to manage these shrines according to Gurmat Maryada. The special feature of this book is that the author has recorded references in the book from the basic sources of the history of Sikhism, ancient texts, details to gazetteers and his field research which has added new dimensions in the field of Sikh historiography. The colourful pictures given in the book, the historical portrait of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji and the cover of the book enhance its value.
In this book, an attempt has been made to present the complete biography, Bani and journeys of Guru Teg Bahadur ji at one place. There is a sincere effort of the author to understand the multifaceted aspects of Guru Sahib’s life, message, travels, which the readers are likely to welcome. It is a significant addition to Sikh studies.