Sri Guru Granth Sahib
A Review by Gajindar Singh
Author: Dr. Kirpal Singh
Publisher: Punjabi University, Patiala
Pages : 124; Price: Rs. 240/-
The concise size book of 124 pages with the Foreword by the Vice Chancellor Jaspal Singh and a Note by Dr. Sarbjinder Singh, Head of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Department of Punjabi University, Patiala is a gem of a book on the theme of relevance of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in its scope of Historical-Socio-Economic study of the sacred scripture, hitherto not adequately explored as a rich source of history. Dr Kirpal Singh, the celebrated historian has exhaustively studied the subject from various angles and created a much desired plethora of evidence from the sacred text about a historical perspective.
Perhaps all references in the text of Sri Guru Granth Sahib have been thoroughly examined and classified according to their historical, socio-economic significance in English translation along with the original text with page number. The learned author has divided the book into eight sections imbibing as a source of history, political institutions and events, religious traditions, as critique of Religion, the source as the social scenario, Economic conditions, and Religious persecution by the State. A unique feature is the Historical study of the Ragas used in gurbani, their classification according to preferred time, mood and season and harmonizing the Sabd to the temper of a suitable raga. It shows the breadth of knowledge of our Gurus about poetic ecstasy combined to a raga for its total effect on the sangat.
The bibliography at the end of the book is impressive with the number of documents gone through to create this masterpiece of deep study by Dr Kirpal Singh. Besides the political events, the study carries critique of rituals and superstitions of the prevalent faiths and social institutions, the sports and amusements, hunting as well as the predominant role of agrarian society and economic disparity. The section on Social Scenario covers all subjects except the diet inhibitions to clarify the Gurus stance on vegetarianism, Purdah and woman's emancipation.
The translations into English language from original text (given alongside) are clear and accurate, except on page 87, on Chaugan (Polo), I beg to differ. The learned author interprets: "Can they mount horses and handle guns if all they know is the game of polo?" ਚੜਿ ਕੈ ਘੋੜੜੈ ਕੁੰਦੇ ਪਕੜਹਿ ਖੂੰਡੀ ਦੀ ਖੇਡਾਰੀ ॥ I would rather translate it as:, "Mounting horses to play polo but holding desperately to the pommels of the saddle!" As the next line clarifies it, ਹੰਸਾ ਸੇਤੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਉਲਾਸਹਿ ਕੁਕੜ ਦੀ ਓਡਾਰੀ ॥ "Seeking company of the swans but limited flight of a rooster."
The book is a must for the scholars as well as of great interest to the lay readers and is highly recommended.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2013, All