Sikhism is a revelatory religion. Its bedrock is the revelation that came to Guru Nanak and his nine successors, who conveyed it in simple and melodious verses to the suffering humanity. The Word of the Gurus became the bond between the Gurus and their Sikhs (Shish) or disciples. Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, who himself wrote a lot of Bani, realising the importance of the Guru's Bani or 'Sabad' (Word) and of preserving its authenticity, took the sagacious step of collecting the teachings of the Gurus and compiling the Adi-Granth, including in it the hymns of some of the Bhagats that were in accord with the Guru's concept of God, life and religion. The Bani of the predecessor Gurus was collected and scrutinised with care to ensure its authenticity. Bhai Gurdas, the foremost scholar of Sikhism and a trusted and devout Sikh, was associated with the project. He also scribed the Granth besides assisting in the work of collection, selection and scrutiny of the Bani, On its completion the Adi.Granth was installed in Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar, on Samat 1661 Bhadon Sudi Ekam (1604 A.D) Since then it has been the sole authentic source of the Gurus’ Word, and the object of supreme vene- ration. A century later, in 1708 A.D., on ending the line of personal succession of Gurus, the tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, apotheosized the Granth as the future and eternal Guru of the Sikhs, incorporating in it also the Bani of his martyred father, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Thus, Guru Granth took the place of personal Gurus and continues to guide and inspire the Sikhs all over. Its position, status, and importance as a religious guide is supreme, excelling that of the scripture of any other religion. In fact, from the very start the status of the Bani (Sabad) was supreme.
Many hand-written copies of the Granth Sahib are in existence and at present its printed volumes are found in all Gurudwaras (Sikh Temples) and numerous Sikh homes. Translations in English, Urdu, and Hindi are also available. Considering the unique position The Guru Granth occupies in the Sikh religious system, the question of its authenticity assumes a fundamental importance. This raises the question of identifying unquestionably the original manuscript scribed by Bhai Gurdas under the direction and personal supervision of Guru Arjan Dev. Apart from many hand-written copies possessed by various persons and found in some Gurudwaras and institutions, the most important is the Bir recension at Kartarpur, near Jullundher, in the custody of Sodhi AmarJit Singh, a descendent of Dhirmal. This is taken to be the Bir prepared by the fifth Guru and has throughout history been the Bir or reference. An alleged copy of the original Adi-Granth is claimed to be the Bir of Bhaj Banno. It is, at present, jn Gurdwara Bhai Banno at Kanpur. The Damdami Bir, the version that was apotheosized, was prepared under the direction and supervision of Guru Gobind Singh, incorporating the Bani of his revered father, Guru Tegh Bhadur, in the text of the original that was scribed by Bhai Gurdas. The present printed Bir is a faithful copy of it.
The historical tradition is consistant that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original Bir compiled by the fifth Guru. For the Banno Bir the claim is that, except for some extra material introduced in it, it is the first copy of the original Bir compiled by the fifth Guru. Our object in this essay is to consider all the pros and cons of these issues and arrive at a clear finding. An attempt will be made briefly to state, discuss, and analyse all the available materials, facts, and views on the subject, and, after making a careful examination of these, express our assessment and record our conclusions.
2. The decision to compile the scripture of the Sikhs
The basic reason for the fifth Guru to compile the Adi- Granth was to give an authentic scripture, embodying the doctrines of the Sikh religion and the words of the Guru for the guidance of the Sikhs and the followers of the Gurus. In the Sikh religion the entire Bani conveys spiritual truths of a divine status. For, according to the Gurus, Bani is mystically revealed: (1) "0, Lalo, I express what the Lord conveys me to speak".1 (2) “Nanak, says the words of Truth, he expresses only the Truth, it is time to convey the truth”.2 (3) "I have expressed only that you made me say".3 (4) "I have no voice of my own, all what 1 have said is His command"4 (5) Guru's words are divine nectar (Amrit), these quench all spiritual thirst."5 (6) "Consider the Bani of the Sat Guru the words of Truth. O, Sikh, it is the Lord who makes me convey them." 6
As such, the Bani commands the highest sanctity, it being from the very fount of Truth and the guide and Guru of the Sikhs: (i) "The Word (Sabad) is the Guru, my consciousness is the follower of the immanent mystic force"7 (ii) "The True Guru is the Word (Sabad), and the Word is the True Guru; it leads to the path of God-realisation".8 (iii) "The Bani (word) is the Guru and the Guru is the Bani, all spiritual truths are enshrined in it."9 (iv) "The embodyment of the Guru are his words, their meaning is revealed in the company of saints."10 Hence the fundamental necessity of identifying and separating the revealed Bani from the unauthentic and the unrevealed.
There was an additional reason for expediting the preparation of an authentic scripture. Other schismatic sects like the Minas (headed by Meharvan S/o Prithi Chand, elder brother of Guru Arjan) had prepared a Granth, and in it they had included some real and some spurious Bani attributed to the first four Gurus.11 Besides these, other persons had also given currency to fake Bani. Hymns not written by the Gurus were passed or sung as the Bani of Gurus, thereby misguiding the Sikhs and the public. Meharvan S/o P.rithi Chand had created many hymns with the word \ Nanak in the last couplet of the Sabads, suggesting thereby that those were the Bani of the Gurus. Shamsher Singh Ashok has collected many such verses in his book "Sodhi Meharvan", e.g. (i) "Nanak is thy slave. Protect me my Lord." (2) Without you there is none to protect me. I seek Thy shelter. Make Nanak, Thy slave, to remember Your name".12 The rababis had also started singing the fake Bani, exploiting thereby the name of Guru Nanak and supporting the claims of the Minas for the Guruship. News about this practice was conveyed to Guru Arjan. He spoke to Bhai Gurdas. saying that the Minas were thus confusing and exploiting the public by mixing there own verses with the Bani of the Gurus; and therefore, true Bani of the Gurus should be collected and authenticated.13 Even today we are aware that in the Janamasakhis many verses which are not of Guru Nanak and find no place in the Guru Granth, stand attributed to him. Therefore, this task of creating an authentic scripture was, though urgent and essential, made doubly complicated. For apart from the gigantic task of collecting the Bani from scattered sources, the work of sifting and scrutiny was equally delicate and difficult. In the entire Sikh history no person was more eminently suitable to assist the Guru in this work than Bhai Gurdas who, both because of his knowledge, experience and close association with the earlier Gurus, could know what and where was the Bani of the Gurus. Therefore, the preliminary work of collection and scrutiny was entrusted to Bhai Gurdas. The Guru himself approved its final inclusion. Saroop Das Bhalla records in Mehma Parkash (1801 A.D.) the reply of Bhai Gurdas to a query in this regard: "Just as a devoted wife can recognise the speech of her lord, I too have the intuitive capacity to spot and identify the Bani of the Gurus."14 The difficulty of the task can be gauged from the fact that even a person like Bhai Gurdas sometimes made slips in his preliminary selection and recording which is evident from the corrections got made by the Guru in all these cases. Obviously, the final approval, "Sudh", was invariably given by the Guru himself and what was an error was directed to be rectified by its omission, obliteration, rewriting or otherwise ('Sudh Keeche'). The task of collection from the multifarious sources was equally difficult. It is wrong to assume that the Bani of the different Gurus stood recorded at one place, or what stood collected at one place seemingly as the Bani of the Gurus, and of the Bhagats was authentic. In each case the Bani of the Gurus, collected from whatever source was, before its final inclusion, scrutinized by Bhai Gurdas and the Guru.
In order to remove any misunderstanding, it is necessary to mention that the Bani in the Mohan Pothis was only a part of the Bani of the Gurus and Bbagats. The Mohan Pothis, according to Teja Singh and Prem Singh Hoti Mardan, had only 524 pages. Each page had 13 lines and each line contained 13 letters in a very bold hand.15 Dr. Jodh Singh has by way of a sample given a photocopy of a page of a Mohan Pothi in his book "Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan".16 The first Pothi contained Bani in 10 Rags only and the second had it in 4 Rags only. Second, the Pothis contained the Bani of Gurus Nanak. Angad and Amar Das and Bhagats Kabir, Namdev, Tarlochan, Sain, Ravidas and Jaidev. Third, that not all the Bani of the Gurus and Bhagats mentioned above is in these Pothis. Fourth, the words in these Pothis scarcely have the use of 'lags' and 'matras' and their deciphering could not be an easy task. Fifth, not all the Bani in these Pothis was included in the Guru Granth. All we wish to say is that the capacity of Sahs Ram Ji to collect and record and sift the Bani of the Gurus and the Bhagats could not be better than that of Bhai Gurdas Ji and Guru Arjan Dev ji.
There is another matter which needs to be stated regarding the Bani of the Gurus and the Bhagats. It is clear from the earlier quotations that in the Sikh theology the Bani of the Gurus had the highest place, status and sanctity. Therefore, it is quite unthinkable that the Gurus only created and sung the Bani, but never cared to reduce it to writing or to preserve it, or pass it on to the successors. The acts and the circumstance indicate that the position was otherwise. The first Var of Bhai Gurdas clearly states that Guru Nanak during his tour in West Asia carried a book with him. Evidently, the book with him could be neither the Veda, nor the Gita, nor the Koran, it could be nothing else than a collection of his own hymns. And it is unimaginable that while appointing his successor he would not pass it on to him this most valuable part of the heritage, or that his successor would be less conscious or discreet in the matter and not repeat the process of recording the hymns and ensuring their preservation. The Puratin Janamsakhi records that at the time of appointing his successor Guru Nanak also gave Guru Angad the manuscript of his Bani.17 Dr. Sahib Singh and Harbhajan Singh have collected a mass of circumstantial evidence which clearly shows that the Gurus were not only knower of the Bani of the earlier Gurus, but they were also quite aware of Bani of some Bhagats.,18,19,2021
This shows that while the Gurus were fully aware of the Bani of the other Gurus and were conscious of its sanctity and the need of its preservation, the same had not till then been authenticated in the form of a single scripture of the Sikhs and their religion. This lack of consolidation and authentication was being exploited by others, especially pretenders to Guruship. It was, therefore, Guru Arjan who once for all eliminated all ambiguity and compiled an authentic scripture of the Sikhs containing the entire Bani of the Gurus. What we need to emphasize is that no part of the Bani of the Gurus was left out of the Guru Granth. In addition, synchronizing with the Sikh thesis selected Bani of Bhagats was also included in it. Hence, the basic objective of this compilation is a virtual edict by the fifth Guru that what is in the Guru Granth is the only authentic Bani of the Gurus and that any thing dissimilar to the Bani in the Adi Granth is either not of the Gurus or is not authentic. Accordingly, all doubts on this score were dispelled for all time to come. Both tradition and all historical writings of S. D. Bhalla, Sohan's Gurbillas Chhevin Patshahi and others indicate that the fifth Guru, Shri Guru Arjan Dev, compiled the Adi-Granth in the year, 1604 A.D. and that Bhai Gurdas was the scribe working under the day to day instructions and supervision of the Guru. Since the completion of the Granth Sahib (at that time called the Pathi, the book), embodying the spiritual message of .the Sikh Gurus, it has been given the highest veneration. It was installed as the sacred scripture of the Sikhs at the Harmandir Sahib Amritsar, on Bhadon Sudhi 1st Samat 1661.22 The next question is which is the orginal Adi-Granth that was compiled by the fifth Guru.
3. The Custody
The tradition and historical writings are unanimous that from Amritsar the Adi-Granth was shifted to Kartarpur because the family of the sixth Guru moved to that place. Though the seventh and subsequent Gurus later shifted to Kiratpur, Patna Sahib and Anandpur Sahib, it is accepted that the original Adi-Granth remained with the family of Dhirmal, the great grandson of the Guru, and his descendents at Kartarpur. It is believed that as Dhirmal and his descendents ceased to be in the line of the Gurus, the Adi- Granth was at one time coercively taken away by the Sikhs from the family. But, at the instance of the ninth Guru, who came to know of it, it was restored to that family. In the narration of the event of the return of the Bir to Dhirmafias, the story teller has introduced an element of a miracle by saying that the Sikhs placed the Bir in the bed of the river from where the Dhirma!ias lifted it unharmed by moisture. The position will be explained later while dealing with criticism on the point. Again, tradition and historical writings are clear that during the time of the ninth and the tenth Gurus, the Adi-Granth was with the successors of Dhirmal. For, many copies of the Adi-Granth in which the Bani (hymns) of the ninth Guru has been recorded in the time of the ninth and the tenth Gurus show that those had been corrected with the Granth of the fifth Guru. For example, in the Granth at Dehradun, it has been recorded that certain hymns were not there in the Granth of the 5th Guru.23 Further, the very fact that the 10th Guru, when he wanted to prepare at Anandpur the Damdami Bir, first approached the family of Dhirmal for lending the Granth, shows that the original Adi-Granth, wherever it might have been earlier, was, at that time, decidedly with that family.24 Again, it has been stated that Baba Deep Singh spent many days at Kartarpur in order to authenticate a copy or copies of the Adi-Granth by comparison with the original Adi-Granth with that family.25 It is, thus, not in doubt that all through that and the subsequent period, this Adi-Granth at Kartarpur remained the Granth of reference for confirming the authenticity of the Bani of the Gurus and the Bbagats. And, it remained in the custody of the Sodhis at Kartarpur.
After 1708 A.D., the demise of the 10th Guru at Nanded, the Sikhs passed through extremely difficult and unsettled times. In that period, the question of the change of the custody of the Adi-Granth could not arise. Considering the power and influence of Ranjit Singh and the respect that this original scripture commanded among the Sikhs, it was natural that he should have procured this Granth for himself and kept it with him as a national treasure of the Sikhs. At the time of the British conquest of the Punjab, this Bir passed into the hands of the Indian Government. Thereafter, this Bir became the subject of a Civil Suit and for obvious reasons it was restored to the Sodhis of Kartarpur, descendants of Dhirmal. Therefore, its custody first with the Sodhis of Kartarpur, then with Ranjit Singh, and again with the Kartarpur family, is an important and basic piece of evidence. Because, the presence and recovery of a manuscript, document, or book from its natural and proper custody and environment is a relevant and weighty factor in showing its authenticity.
1. Claim of Originality undisputed
We are not aware of any other copy of the Adi-Granth on behalf of which any claim of originality has ever been made. Accordingly, the only Bir about which a claim of its being original has been made is the Kartarpuri Bir, and, this claim is undisputed. In India where there is an unfortunate tradition of making false claims about the location of sacred places, scriptures, documents, manuscripts, etc., the singular absence of any claim of originality for any other Bir is a very remarkable fact to show that the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir has never been in doubt.
2. Internal Evidence
We now proceed to state and consider the internal evidence exhibited by the Kartarpuri Bir about its originality. Here we might indicate the available material on the subject as also the method of writing the Kartarpuri Bir adopted by the scribe, evidently under the instructions of the author or the compiler. Not many persons have made a detailed examination of the Bir and fewer still have made a detailed record of that examination. The only detailed records indicating its special features are the two books by Dr. Jodh Singh. The first, “Pracheen Biran Bare”, was written in response to the criticism of G.B. Singh about the Kartarpuri Bir. The second book, "Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan" is a very detailed and meticulous page by page description of the Kartarpuri Bir, with a brief commentary on its significant and important features. In fact, except for the second book, there is no authentic, much-less detailed, record of the particular features of the Kartarpuri Bir. Our examination is based on the evidence collected in this book (which has also been referred to by us) and a personal study and verification of all the special and salient features of the Bir bv an examination of the original Bir at Kartarpur.
3 Method of Writing
The examination of the Bir reveals that the scribe followed a particular method while writing the Granth. The knowledge of this method is essential to understanding why in the original Adi-Granth certain unusual features and incongruities that stand rectified have occurred and why those could never occur in a Granth which had been copied from the original or another Granth. We are all aware that the Bani of the Adi-Granth has been classified Rag wise, and in each Rag the Bani has been recorded Guruwise, Bhagat Bani being at the end. A particular sequence in regard to Sabads, Saloks, Ashtpadis, Chhants, Vars has been observed. In Bhagat Bani, the Bani of Kabirji comes first, then of Namdev Ji, and thereafter of Bhagat Ravi Dass and others. In order to eliminate any chance of interpolation, the couplets, or verses (padas) have been numbered. In addition, the Sabads, Saloks, etc., of a particular Guru or Rag have also been numbered serially. Further, reference of these numbers of Sabads is given in the table of contents, along with the quotation of the first words of each Sabad. Hence, there cannot be any chance of later interpolation without its becoming clearly apparent. This being the system laid down by the compiler, the scribe had to devise a method by which the task could be accomplished easily and speedily. It is also important to understand that while the Bani was being recorded in the Granth, the work of the collection of Bani of the first four Gurus and the Bhagats was also, for evident reasons of speed, going on simultaneously. Therefore, the scribe had to take care of two things, first, that an adequate number of pages or leaves was allotted to a particular Rag, and within a Rag to each Guru or Bhagat, so as to enable the scribe to write within the allotted space the Bani anticipated to be available. Secondly, the Bani under each Rag was being written simultaneously, and, while the Bani of one Guru, Bhagat, or author was being collected, it was also being sorted out and recorded separately at appropriate places under each Rag in accordance with the set system that had been devised. There being a single scribe for this gigantic task, some times this anticipation went wrong and many of the incongruities, as we shall see, are due to this faulty anticipation, or the late collection of the Bani, or the multi- fariousness of the assigned task.
Another fact is that the numbering of the leaves of the book had been done in advance. The paging of the Kartarpuri Bir shows two things. If the book is opened, the number of page stands given to the page on the left hand side, and the page facing us on the right hand side carries no number, i.e. if the number of the page on the left is 15, the page on the right is deemed to be a part of it. We might call, as Dr. Jodh Singh does, the page on the left to be 15/1 and on the right to be 15/2. Page number 16 is given on the back of page 15/2 and when leaf 15/2 is turned, page 16 or 16/1 would face us from the left side of the Granth. However, in the Kartarpuri Bir, the number given to the page on the left is 15 and not 15/1. Secondly, after making a rough guess about the Bani likely to be available for each section or Rag, one or more clusters or bunches of eight leaves each, numbered in advance, were allotted for each Rag or section of the Bani. And, as and when the Bani, or part of it, of a particular Rag, section, Guru, or Bhagat was available, it was sorted out and copied out at the appropriate places in the concerned packets or sections, in a particular, or proper sequence. Though, as we have seen, the numbering of the pages had been given inside of a leaf, for the convenience of identifying the concerned packets (which had, evidently to be kept loose or unbound), without the need of opening them, the outside of the first leaf of the cluster or packet had been marked by the page number borne by its inside, i.e. a packed starting with page 33 on the inside of its first leaf would also bear number 33 on the outside of it, though in the bound book it would be the right-half page of page 32 or 32/2. All the same, the adoption of this method of marking was essential in readily picking up and identifying packets for the purpose of recording any Sabad, Shalok or Var in the assigned packet or packets at the appropriate place, or section. We shall see later that while the adoption of this method was convenient and necessary for the day to day working, it led to some mistakes. As indicated already, totals of Padas, Sabads, or Shaloks of each Guru or author, or the totals of the Sabads of each Rag are also serially given.
We shall hereafter record internal pieces of evidence into two parts: (i) those that are individually conclusive in their evidentiary value, and, (ii) those that are, coupled with other evidence, conclusive in showing the authenticity of the Bir.
4. Individually conclusive facts
1. G. B. Singh who suspected the originality of the Kartarpuri Bir, though he had not seen it carefully, laid down three criteria for identifying the original Bir. Dr. Jodh Singh records that the Katarpuri Bir shows all these criteria and, in fact, is the only hand-written Bir, which exhibits all three of them and fulfils the prescribed essential tests. The first criterion is that the original Bir should record the copying of Japu from the writing of the fourth Guru who had collected it. Second, in this Bir the dates of the demise of the first five Gurus only should be in the hand of the original scribe. Because, Bhai Gurdas, who wrote the original Bir, passed away during the time of the sixth Guru and, as such, his writing could not appear beyond the time of the sixth Guru. Three, on the Granth the words 'Sudh' or 'Sudh Keeche' ("It is correct", or "correct it") should be recorded in the hand of the fifth Guru who supervised and compiled the Bir.
The Japu of Guru Nanak was recorded by the fourth Guru. In all the handwritten Birs the practice was to record either the words "Japu Nisan", or "Copy of the Copy of the Japu recorded by Guru Ram Das". If the Bir was a third copy of the original Bir of the fifth Guru it would say 'Copy of the copy of the copy of the copy of the Japu recorded by Guru Ram Das." This has been invariable and in a way is a complete guide in identifying the original, As the fourth Guru was the person who collected and wrote the Japu and the fifth Guru was the first person to compile the Adi-Granth and copy the Japu therein, in the Kartarpuri Bir alone it is written "Copy of the Japu recorded in the hand of Guru Ram Dass". No other Bir records these words, for Bhai Gurdas was the first person to copy the Japu from the collection and writing of the fourth Guru. Secondly, in this Bir at page 45 dates of demise of the first four Gurus alone are with the same pen and ink and in the hand of the original scribe of the Bir. The date of demise of the fifth Guru is in the hand of the original scribe but with a visibly different pen and shade of ink. No other Bir fulfils this test.. Thirdly, the words "Sud" or "Sud Keeche" appear at so many places in the Bir. These are supposed to be in the hand of the fifth Guru since these are in a different hand and not in the hand of the scribe of the Bir. These words appear in other hand- written Birs as well. But, for obvious reasons, those are in the same hand as of the scribe of the concerned Bir, showing that the Bir is a copy and not the original. For, it was only in the case of the original that the compiler and the scribe were two different persons, the fifth Guru and Bhai Gurdas respectively.
It is also significant to note that while writing the dates of the demise of the first four Gurus, the day of the week is not mentioned. But in the case of the 5th Guru apart from the date, the day of the week too is mentioned though the scribe is the same. This shows clearly that the date of the demise of the 5th Guru was written by Bhai Gurdas on a later day, otherwise had all the five dates been written at one time, either the day would have been mentioned in all the cases or been absent from all the five entries. We noticed two additional particulars of this entry about the fifth Guru. The shade of ink, especially of the date of demise, is clearly different from that of the earlier four entries. Second, in the first four entries there is a line drawn between the end of each entry and the end of the page. No such line has been drawn in the case of the fifth entry, showing thereby that the time of its writing was different otherwise the practice of drawing the line would have been observed in this case as well.
2. Both the historical writings of Santokh Singh, Bhai Gurdas, Gur Bilas Chhevin Patshahi, etc.26 and the tradition assert that the fifth Guru completed the Adi-Granth in Bhadon-Samat-1661. As it is, the Kartarpuri Bir is the only Bir which records that it was written in Bhadon 1661; "Samat 1661 Miti Bhadon Vadi ekam pothi likh pouhnche".27 There is no handwritten Bir the internal record of which claims the same to have been completed in Bhadon Samat 1661, or on an earlier date. In fact, this dated volume being the earliest, it is a good piece of evidence not only to show the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir but also to fix the date of the preparation of the Bir by the fifth Guru.
3. We have explained the method of allotment of clusters or bunches of papers for a Rag or a proposed section of the Granth. For the expeditious completion of the work the adoption of this method was natural and necessary, especially when the work of copying and collection of Bani from different sources was going on side by side. For obvious reasons, the prior allotment of pages for a section had to be very liberal, so as to ensure that the available Bani should not exceed the allotted space, nor thereby upset the entire system and sequence of Rags and sections. But, evidently, this liberal allotment of pages or leaves, based on anticipation of the Bani likely to be available or to occupy the allotted space, was, in practice, bound to lead to a large number of pages remaining blank, between different sections of the Adi-Granth. And, this is what has exactly happened in the case of the Kartarpuri Bir. Dr. Jodh Singh records, that the total marked leaves of the Kartarpuri Granth are 974, comprising 1948 pages. Of these pages 453 are entirely blank, hundreds of other pages are partly blank, and considering that a fully utilised page accommodates 24 lines, the total space available on these partly blank pages comes to another 133 full pages. Thus, of the total 1948 pages of this volume, the space of 586 of them remains unused.28 It is evident that this state of affairs could arise only in the originally written Adi-Granth; it could never happen in an Adi-Granth which had been copied from the original. It is a fact that none of the writers like Jodh Singh, Harbhajan Singh and others who have seen numerous handwritten Birs, state that any of the old handwritten Bir contains many blank pages or spaces. Obviously, in a copy the very question of hundreds of pages being left blank does not arise, especially when it is copied by a single scribe. Because, in such a case the copyist has the entire material ready and in proper sequence, before him for being copied out. The Banno Bir which is supposed to be a copy of it, has only 467 folios.29 It is therefore, ridiculous to suggest that the Kartarpuri Bir. with 974 folios is a copy of a Granth which had material that could be accomodated in about 467 folios. Generally, all the old handwritten Birs, including the Kartarpuri Bir, are in one hand. Therefore, this internal evidence in the Kartarpuri Bir is both incontrovertible and singly conclusive to show its originalty.
4. There are many Sabads or pieces of Bani which have been originally written twice, but later this duplication has either been erased by ‘Hartal’ (a chemical used in those days to obliterate the writing), or scored out with the observation in the margin that the Sabad was a duplication. Here too the question of Sabad or the same Bani being written at two places in a copied Bir could never arise. Such a thing could happen only in the original in which case either the scribe himself i.e. Bhai Gurdas, or the compiler i.e. the fifth Guru, has on revision found the error and got the same removed by scoring out the duplicate Sabad or Salok. This duplication has happened at pages 96/2, 186/2.483/1, 511/1, 550/2, 836/1, 943/2, etc.30 One thing is even more conclusive about this volume being the original. At page 943/2 the Sabad has been scored out with the observation that the same stands copied at a subsequent page. In this case the error involved is not only a mistake of duplication but probably also of sequence. Therefore, the supervisor retained the Sabad where it had been copied later and fitted better in the scheme of the Adi-Granth and got it, cored out from the earlier place. Thus, these duplications too have a conclusive evidentiary value.
5. There is another set of corrected incongruities in the Kartarpuri Bir. At page 778/1 there is a marginal note that Salok No. 22 of Maihla 1 is correct and should be read on that page after Salok No. 21 (Nanak Amrit Ras Paid 1 "1"4"21). It is also indicated at this page 778/1 that Sholak "Maru Maihla 3 "Agam Agochar Ve-Parwaha" which is there on the page, should be read at page 788 and the Salok of Maihla-1 which at page 799/2 should be read there (at P. 778). Further, at page 788 there is a corresponding note that the 23rd Solak of Maihla 3 "Agam Agochar Ve-Parwaha" which is at page 778 should be read there (at page 788). Further still, at page 799/2 Maru Maihla 1, the Salok of which the correct place is at page 778 after Salok No. 21 of Maihla I, stands hastily recorded therein the hand of the original scribe. Now, these inadvertent incongruities are such as could not be rectified except by cross-references, especially as Salok of Maihla 3 is long and could not be accommodated in the margin at page 788, nor could Maru Maihla 1 at page 799/2 be accomodated at page 778 and scored out at page 799/2. It is also important to note that in the Tatkara (contents of Saloks and Sabads) too the incongruity is perforce reflected but rectified. Because, at page 16/1 of the Tatkara (table of contents), the first lines of all the Saloks of Maihla I are written with their serial numbers 1 to 21. But against Salok No. 21 of Maihla-1, the first line of Salok 'Qudrat Karnehar Apara' of Maihla-1 is vertically recorded in the margin. Its number is noted as No. 22 and page as 799.
Further, at this page 16/1 of the Tatkara, since in the text Salok of Maihla-3 "Agam Agochar Veparwaha" actually, but incongruously, starts at page 778 immediately after Salok No. 21 of Maihla-l, its reference number and the first line of the Sabad are recorded in the beginning of similar references of all the other Saloks of Maihla-3. But its number is correctly given as Salok No. 23 of Maihla-3. And at this very page 16/1 of the table of contents after the number and the first line of Salok No. 22 of Maihla-3, the number and line is of Salok 24 of Maihla-3. This is so because in the actual text, Salok No. 23 of Maihla-3 comes between Salok 21 of Maihla-l and Salok No. 1 of Maihla 3 at page 778 and not between Salok Nos. 22 and 24 of Maihla-3 at page 788.
Another important feature of this page 16/1 of the Tatkara is that the original Salok numberings of the first 23 Saloks of Maihla-3 on this page have been rubbed with Hartal, and, thereafter, these very 23 Saloks have been renumbered, the first one as 23 and the remaining 22 as numbers 1 to 22. This clearly shows that originally the incongruity in the recording or placement of Saloks 23 of Maihla 3 and Salok No. 22 of Maihla 1 that occurred in the text was actually reflected in the Talkara by the scribe. But, when the out-of-sequence placements of these Saloks were later detected at the time of supervision or otherwise, the incongruities in the text were rectified by giving cross-reference in the margins of the text at the appropriate pages, and, the errors in the Talkara were corrected by rubbing with Hartal the numbers of the first 23 Saloks of Maihla 3 and renumbering them as numbers 23 and 1 to 22 of Maihla 3, and, in the case of, Salok No. 22 of Maihla 1, by writing its page and number correctly in the margin of page 16/1 of the Tatkara.
We have detailed these connected sets of corrections in the text and the Talkara (table of contents) because these incongruities could happen only at the time of the original writing and never in the case of copying from the original completed and corrected text compiled by the fifth Guru. It is also important to mention that on examination no other Bir has revealed this set of incongruities at pages 778, 788 and 799 of the text and in the corresponding portions of the Tatkara. By itself this set of corrections is also singularly conclusive in proving the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir.
6. Here we shall record a number of other corrected mistakes which in their character, implication,. and importance are similar to the ones described under item (5) above.
(a) At page 804/2 it is recorded in the margin that instead of 21st Pauri, 22nd has been written. Correspondingly, on page 805/1 there is a note in the margin that the Pauri there should be sung and written as 21 st Pauri. This error of sequence could never occur in a copy. And in the original this incongruity of sequence in the writting of the scribe could be rectified by the compiler only in the manner it has actually been done.
(b) There are numerous instances where Sabads, Sa/oks and a part of the Rani have been written in the margin, evidently, because in each case the Bani appears to have been found or collected later on and in the matter of sequence its place was where it now appears in the margin. In some cases the Bani has been given the proper serial number and the numbers of the subsequent Rani renumbered. But, in some cases numbers following them have remained uncorrected and the Rani in the margin has been given the same number as to the Salok or Sabad after, which it has to be read. These incongruities are so large in number and the Bani has been written in the margin at so many places that all this could happen only in the original, because either of the late collection of the Bani or the scribe, Bhai Gurdas, having omitted to record it in its right sequence or place. For example, at pages 154/2, 252/1, 364/1, 374/2, 694/1, 945/1-2, 946/l, etc. additional Bani has been written in the margins. At pages 940/1, 940/2 etc., the Bani recorded in the margins has been given the same number as borne by one of the Sabads on the page. Again, on pages 251/1,252/1,265/2,266/2, 399/2, 499/2, 689/2, 690/1, 842/1, etc., portions of the Bani have been written in the margin and a mark given at the relevant place on the page to show where the marginal portion should be read.
(c) Students of the Guru Granth are aware that after the end of each Sabad or Salok the totals of padas, the totals of Sabads of each Guru, totals of Sabads of each Rag, etc., have been recorded. The number of Mathia is also invariably given in addition. But, in the Kartarpuri Bir. in scores of cases the Maihla number, totals etc. were missed originally but were written later in small letters either in between or above the lines or in the margin for example, this has happened at pages 154/2, 164/2, 174/1, 248/2, 257/1, 267/1, 269/1, 270/1, 270/2 399/1. 455/2, 802/2, etc. Apart from that, in quite a large number of cases, these totals have not been given or given incompletely. This incongruity and its rectification as mentioned above are very common. There is a very clear reason for this feature of the Kartarpuri Bir. As the job of the collection of Bani and its recording were being done simultaneosly, the scribe was never sure whether more Sabads of the Bani of a Guru, requiring precedence of sequence over the Sabads or Bani already written, would or would not be available. As such, he had, as a necessary precaution and in order to avoid repeated scoring out and alterations of the totals to leave the work of totalling to a later date when the Granth would virtually be complete. Therefore, this task of recording the totals had to be done as one of the last jobs to be completed. Perforce, the totals had to be squeezed in between or above the lines in small sized figures or in the margins. But such a position too could never arise in a copied Granth where the numbering would be complete and form a part of the line itself. The scribe could never fail to copy or record them in appropriate lines, even if in the original the numberings had been missing or recorded in between or been above the lines. In the other hand-written Birs these incongruities do not occur. Even in the Banno Bir totals are given in the lines themselves. Hence this feature of the Kartarpuri Bir, especially the large number in which these incongruities of ommissions appear, prove its authenticity and originality.
(d) There is another kind of discrepencies in serial-wise numbering. On a number of pages, the Bani or the Sabad has been scored out or cancelled by the use of Hartal. But, the old serial numbering has remained uncorrected, e.g. this has happened at pages 186/2, 970/1. In some cases, the incongruity even stands reflected in the Tatakara, because as the numbering bas remained uncorrected in the Granth, it could evidently not be corrected in the Tatkara, which records only the state of numbering or sequence in the Granth. For example, mention of Salok number 94/2 in the Tatakara at page 7 bas been scored out, and the numbering of subsequent references stands uncorrected. A large number of cancellations and uncorrected numberings in this Bir prove its originality since such a state of affairs could never happen in a copy of the original.
(e) As noted already, within the Bani of a Rag or section, the sequence of Sabads or Saloks is Guruwise. After it, normally comes the Bani of Kabir ji, Namdev ji, Ravidas ji and then of other Bhagats. But, the sources of the Bani of Bhagat Kabir and other Bhagats being quite large and scattered, its collection and selection for incorporation in the Granth must have taken quite long, since the same involved in the case of each part a scrutiny and decision by the Guru himself. The result was that in many instances the Bani of Bhagat Kabir, appears in between, and that also not at one place, or after the recorded Bani of Bhagat Namdev. It might be argued that such an abnormal sequence being in the original, it would also be there in a copy of. it; therefore, the Kartarpuri Bir cannot claim any originality on this account. But, it is significant that the Bani of Bhagat Kabir, which is not in proper sequence has, evidently, been written on different occasions. This is clear from the fact that though the writing of these hymns is by the same scribe, in each case the writing differs in the size and shape of letters and the shade of ink. Had the Kartarpuri Bir been a copy, these differences in the shades of ink and the size of the pens and letters that are there, could not have occurred, even though the break in sequence would have been there, because of the corresponding break being present in the original. For example, at pages 842/2, 863/2, 871/1 though the scribe is the same, the shades of ink and size of writing are different even in the case of the Bani of the same Bhagat or Guru. Therefore, while variations in sequence can be explained, variations in pens, shades of ink, and the size of letters of the Bani of the same Bhagat cannot be explained in a continuous writing, except on the assumption that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original and these variations occured because of the variant timings of collection, selection and recording of the Bani of a particular Bhagat. Besides, because of this non-continuous writing of Bhagat Bani the totals of the Sabads of a Bhagat have not been given as has been done at other places. In all other copied Birs, though the sequence of the Sabads of the Bhagats is the same as in the Kartarpuri Bir, the pen and the ink used for them are the same and not different. The fact is that in the Kartarpuri Bir, the Bani of Bhagat Kabir, and even some other Bani, when found and selected later on have not at many places been recorded in the normal serial sequence of the Bir. But, these hymns have been written wherever space was available and even in the margin or between the Bani of other Bhagats, e.g. at pages 885/2, 945/1.
(f) Another feature of the Kartarpuri Bir is the scores of pages where the original writing has been obliterated by Hartal and later at those very places Bani has been written. Sometimes the space accommodating a whole Sabad or hymn has been cleaned with Hartal and new Bani rewritten at the place, e.g. at pages 840/1, 870/2, 966/1, 966/2.
There is a marked peculiarity regarding page 966/2. In the case of Salok Varon Maihla I verses no. 14 to 20 have been rewritten after obliterating the earlier writing by the use of Hartal. But, actually the last about four lines of these verses have been written in very bold letters so as to ensure that the last words end where verse no. 21 begins and no gap is left between the ending of verse no. 21 and the beginning of verse no. 21. This need for writing these verses in a bolder hand could not arise in a Granth that had been compiled from another completed Granth.
It is important to understand that had the Kartarpuri Bir been a copy of the original, such a large number of places having required the need of scoring out or rubbing or cleaning with Hartal could never have arisen.
(g) Another significant feature of the Kartarpuri Bir is that at numerous places the headings and words like' Ek Onkar' or the 'Maihla', or name of the Rag are written, but below these headings there is no Bani or Sabad and the place is blank. This is there at pages 279/2, 297/2, 348/1, 418/2, 469/2, 528/1, 530/2, 607/2, 610/2, 617/1, 621/2. This writing of the headings like Maihla, Rag, etc. by the scribe clearly indicates that it was anticipated that the Bani of that Guru or Bhagat would be available for being written there, but actually it was either not available or not approved by the fifth Guru. In a mere copy of Adi-Granth, such a thing could never happen, because where the original has no Bani, the question of recording the heading of a Sabad or Bani could never arise. Such recording of headings only, without being followed by related Bani, is not present in any other handwritten Bir. It is also significant to mention that practically all these headings relate to the fifth Guru who was alive at that time, e.g. pages 248/1, 297/2, 348/1, 418/2, 469/2, 528/1, 530/2, 607/2, 610/2, 617/1 and 621/2. Presumably, Bhai Gurdas's anticipation was that more Sabads of the Guru were likely to be available under these Rags. This is also an important feature to suggest the orignality of the Kartarpuri Bir. Because, in a copy that coincidence of all these extra or lone headings, involving wrong anticipation, relating only to the fifth or the living Guru, could not arise.
(h) A very significant point is that at page 963/1 of the Kartarpuri Bir the words "Pran Sangli Maihla I" appear in Persian script. This Urdu writing has an important implication. In the original manuscript this Bani is supposed to be in the Persian script. But, it is a part of the traditional knowledge that the fifth Guru did not include (as is a fact) the “Pran Sangli” in the Adi-Granth because it was not considered by him to be the words of Guru Nanak, the connected story also being false. The writing of the heading of this Bani in Persian script would show only one thing, namely, that the scribe, Bhai Gurdas, wrote the heading of the Bani in Urdu, but before copying it out sought the approval of the Guru which was evidently not given and the matter rested at that. This is supported by the fact that in no copied Adi-Granth the words "Pran Sangli Maihla I" appear in the Persian script. This fact strongly supports the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir. Since the writing being in Persian script, the scribe, unless asked otherwise, would naturally start copying it out in the same script. He did start with that assumption but as the composition was not approved, nothing was done further.
5. Other conclusive factors.
(a) We know that in the Kartarpuri Bir leaves, and not pages, are numbered and leaf number is given on the inside of the leaf when it is facing one from the left. Thus, the page on the right side, as we open the Bir, has the same number as the page on the left. In order to identify a loose packet or cluster, on the first outer page of it, the leaf number inside of it was given. This expedient has led to a number of errors even in the Tatkara. Because the Bani which is on the outside page of a packet has been given the leaf number on its inside, though in actual numbering and counting, as explained already, this page is considered to be the right hand part of the page on the left of it. For example, in the Tatkara pages 332/2, 340/2, 348/2, 420/2, 461/2, 810/2,937/2, have been wrongly numbered as 333, 341, 349, 421, 462, 811 and 938 respectively. These errors contrary to the numbering system adopted in the Bir, which have occured in the Tatkara on that account could arise only in the original copy, because of the method adopted in copying the Bani into separate packets simultaneously. Otherwise in a copy of the completed Adi-Granth this could simply not happen.
(b) The originality of the Kartarpuri Bir is also established by the Nishan or mark of the fifth Guru. This mark in those days meant. according to the accepted practice and tradition, the writing of the Mool Mantra of the Japuji in the hand of the Guru, the fifth Guru in this case. This Nishan appears at page 29/1 of the Bir. As a mark of adoration the. page has been profusely decorated. The presence of the Nishan of the fifth Guru is also noted in the Tatkara. This is further corroborated by the fact that at page 551/1 the Sabad, "Darshan Ko Loche Sab Koi" is in a handwriting different from that of the scribe. Dr. Jodh Singh who has observed the writing of this Sabad closely and made the comparison, feels that this Sabad had been written by the fifth Guru himself because the handwriting i.e. the shape of the letters and of the "Lag matras", is identical with the handwriting in which the Nishan of the fifth Guru at page 29/1 stands written.
(c) At many pages, like 499/1, 933/2 the Bani has been written in the middle of the page and the space both above and below the written pages is blank. This position could arise only in the original because in these cases very probably the scribe anticipated that more Bani would be available which would, in order to maintain proper sequence, need to be written at the blank spaces. But in actual fact that anticipation, for one reason or the other, did not materialise and the spaces remained blank. Evidently, this position too could not arise in the case of a copied Granth.
(d) Among all the handwritten Birs, this is the only Bir that has a third Tatkara called 'Tatkara Tatkare', (index of the table of contents). Other handwritten Birs have only two kinds of Tatkaras (tables of contents), one of the Rags, and the other of the Sabads, Saloks, Astapadis, etc., giving the first line of each Bani. This second table of contents which has the sequence observed in the text also gives the serial number of the Saloks or the Bani of each Guru as also the number of the page where the Bani of a particular Guru starts. But this third table of contents, which gives in eight lines only the list of 30 Rags called the 'Tatkara Tatkare', is found only in the Kartarpuri Bir and forms its unique feature, suggesting its original character.
(e) At page 415/1 in the margin are written the words “The Sabad is right”. This Sabad does not find mention in the Tatkara. But, this observation in the margin shows that for this Bir, there was a supervisor or editor, other than the scribe, who alone could record such an observation of approval regarding Sabad on the page. This observation shows the original character of the Kartarpuri Bir. Otherwise, if the Bir had been copied from another Bir, the question of such an observation by the scribe or some other person would not arise.
(f) In the Tatkara of Sabads only the references of Sabads 1 to 58 of Ramkali Mahla 5 are given. But, on page 681/2 of the Bir, which starts with Sabad 59 of Ramkali Mahla 5 and ends with Sabad 60 of Ramkali Mahla 5, these two additional Sabads are written. Both these Sabads are in a different hand from that of the scribe and their reference in the Tatkara of Sabads is missing. This means that these two Sabads were added or got added either by the editor or the compiler. Here again, the absence of the reference of these two Sabads in the Tatkara and their text being in a different hand than that of the original scribe suggest that this feature could probably be only in the original and not in a copy. Because in the copy all the 1 to 60 Sabads would normally be in the same hand. The possibility of only two Sabads, the mention of which is not in the Tatkara, being in a difierent hand is far greater in the original than in a copy. Similarly, Ramkali Mahla 5 Chhand No. 21 has no reference in the Tatkara, but the Chhand is present at its proper place, though it is in a different hand. This too supports the earlier inference drawn in the case of Sabads 59 and 60. In both the cases, the Bani being of the fifth Guru, it is very likely that he created it after 1604 A. D. and got it added at the appropriate places in the Adi Granth later on. The position is similar in the case of Basant Ki Var composed by the fifth Guru. This Var is recorded on page 854/2 by the scribe in the middle of this page. Apart from the space above this page, the previous page is more than half vacant. But, there is no reference of this Var in the Tatkara, showing that the fifth Guru composed it and got it included after 1604 A. D. Hence, it could not find mention in the Tatkara that stood already completed. It is significant that in all other hand written Birs, including the Banno Bir, reference of it is present in the Tatkara. From this fact Mahan Singh also concludes that Banno Bir was not prepared at the time of the Bir of the fifth Guru, otherwise in the Banno Bir, there would have been no mention of Basant ki Var in the Tatkara.
(g) At page 541 of the Bir the Nishan of the sixth Guru is present. Its presence is also mentioned in the Tatkara. In the circumstances of the case, this is a very significant and natural thing to do. During the time of the fifth Guru it had become abundantly clear that Guru Hargobind would succeed him. In fact, from the very start the sixth Guru was associated with the task of the collection of the Bani and preparation of the scripture.31 Some writers have even suggested that some of the Dhunnies were got recorded by the 6th Guru. They derive this inference from the fact that it is in the Kartarpuri Bir alone that we find that the Dhunnies of some Vars are recorded in a different hand or in small letters in between or above the normal written lines. In other copies of the Granth, including the Banno Bir, these have been written in the lines and in the same manner as the Bani itself. It evidently suggests that in the Kartarpuri Bir the Dhunnies have been written on some later date, and presumably at the instance of the Sixth Guru. This is so at pages 399/1 and 897/2 where Dhunnies have been noted in small sized letters, in a different pen and ink or in between the lines. Thirdly, it appears to be a known fact that in the Kartarpuri Bir the Nishans of both the Gurus were present. That is why in order to give it a semblance of genuineness and to show that the same was prepared in the time of the 5th Guru that the Nishans of both the Gurus were pasted in the Banno Bir. Thus, the presence of the Nishans of both the Fifth and Sixth Gurus and the reference of the Nishans in the .Tatkara is a unique feature of the Kartarpuri Bir which shows its originality. No other Bir has the Nishans of two Gurus mentioned in the Tatkara.
All this would lead to one clear conclusion, namely, that while the main corpus of the Bani and the Tatkara were prepared simultaneously and correctly, on revision, or because of late collection and selection, some Sabads, or parts of the Bam, were recorded later on and sometimes in a different hand. As far as possible, an attempt was made, if space was available, to record them at the places of their proper sequence and even in the margins of the appropriate pages. But mostly, for obvious reasons, these later writings failed to find mention in the Tatkra of the Sabads. Only if a Sabad was scored out on account of repetition or non-approval, the corresponding entry in the Tatkara was deleted or the Sabads were renumbered. Many a time, these Saloks written in the margin were given the same number as given to the ones on the relevent page.
It is important to understand that the errors in numbering, marginal writing of left-out Sa!oks or Sabads, differences in shades of ink and pens in adjacent Sabads Or hymns, the presence of double numbering and lack of the reference in the Tatkara of Sabads have mostly taken place in the Bani of Bhagats. Probably, this is also the reason that there is no Sabadwise reference to the Bhagat Bani in the Tatkara. Evidently, this is due to the comparative difficulty of collection and selection of the Bhagat Bani or other Bani from its variant and distant sources. The collective and connected appearance of scores of corrected incongruities or errors in the Kartarpuri Bir is quite explained by these being the problems of the original compilation of this monumental work. The task of merely copying out a completed work could neither involve such multifarious problems, scoring out, and rubbings with Harta!, nor create so numerous related and consequent omissions, or incongruities as have actually occured in the case of the Kartarpuri Bir.
It has been vaguely suggested that because there are many incongruities in the Kartarpuri Bir it is just a rough draft and not the original Bir. For evident reasons the suggestion is senseless because neither in tradition nor in history there is any basis for such a guess. Nor is there any ground to suggest that the modern practice of making draft is traceable to the times of the fifth Guru. Had the Kartarpuri Bir been a draft, there was no point for the scribe to finally record the date of its completion, prepare the Three detailed tatkaras and have recorded therein the Nishans of the Gurus so as to authenticate it. Besides its preservation by the Dhirmalias and then by Maharaja Ranjit Singh precludes the possibility of its being just a draft. Nor does the presence or a few incongruities in the Bir lend support to the idea of its being a draft. For the last hundred of years the Birs have been compiled, compared, written and printed with meticulous care. And yet when the Shromni Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee sent its team to compare the latest corrected copy with the Kartarpuri Bir, T 33 errors or variations were discovered in the printed Bir. It is thus amazing that Kartarpuri Bir has so far corrected incongruities. Therefore, the suggestion of Kartarpuri Bir being a draft is not only groundless but also fanciful.
We have detailed above the various pieces and types of internal evidence, most of which are individually and incontrovertibly conclusive, in proving that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original Adi-Granth compiled by the fifth Guru in 1604 A. D. The other pieces of evidence, we have recorded are cumulatively, or coupled with the other evidence, equally conclusive in proving the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir as the original production of the Fifth Guru. No one who makes a serious and close page to page study. detailed scrutiny and examination of the materials available on the subject can fail to come to a clear conclusion about the undoubted authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir.
Let us now proceed to examine the views of three persons, namely. Messers G. B. Singh, Mcleod and Pritam Singh who have expressed doubts about the authenticity of the Kartatarpuri Bir. In 1944, G. B. Singh brought out his book "Pracheen Biran" wherein he criticised the authenticity of the Adi.Granth and the Kartarpuri Bir. The first part of his attack was very sinister; for he obliquely suggested that in the Adi-Granth certain writings which were not of the Gurus had been included and on the other hand certain Bani which was really of the Gurus had been omitted from it. This surmise of G. B. Singh was based chiefly on the Mohan Pothies which he had not even seen. The second part of his contention was that the Kartarpuri Bir was not the original Granth compiled by the fifth Guru because it lacked a number of the features which the original Adi-Granth should have. Thirdly, he asserted that the Kartarpuri Bir was either a copy of the Banno Bir or a copy of its copy. Unfortunately, the contention of G. B. Singh, besides being entirely unfounded, were also couched in offensive language.32 The result was that in 1964, Dr. Jodh Singh, after a careful study of the Karlarpuri Bir published his book ,. Pracheen Biran Bare", which not only refuted completely the assertions of G. B. Singh but also thoroughly exposed the hollow, self- contradictory and false character of his statements and inferences.
We have already indicated and discussed the various features of the Kartarpuri Bir to show its authenticity; it would, therefore, be wasteful for us to repeat all the mis-statements of G. B. Singh and to detail the arguments and facts that show how baseless those are. However, we shall very broadly give the criticism of G. B. Singh and the reply of Jodh Singh on the three points mentioned above and consider some of the facts and views expressed by both of them in that regard. Dr. Jodh Singh brought out that while G. B. Singh had attacked the authenticity both of the Adi-Granth and the Kartarpuri Bir, he had neither examined the Kartarpuri Bir nor seen the Mohan Pothies.33 As to the Banno Bir, G. B. Singh conceded that he had very little time to have a close look at it. He had tried to build his arguments on the basis of the written replies of the custodian of the Banno Bir conveyed to him at Lahore.34 One can well imagine how unsound a person’s arguments and inferences about the three Granths can be when regarding two of them, which he had never seen, much less examined, he depends purely on hearsay, and regarding the third Granth, the Banno Bir, he relies upon the obviously biased claims of the custodian of the Bano Bir concerning the very facts which an unprejudiced scholar is supposed to examine carefully.
On the first issue raised by G. B. Singh that some Bani of the Gurus is not in the Adi-Granth and some hymns included in the Adi-Granth are Lot of the Gurus, the reply of Jodh Singh is three fold. It is well known that in those days of the sixteenth century some spurious claims about the Bani were being made and the very object of the fifth Guru in compiling the Adi-Granth was to exclude writings that had been wrongly attributed to the Gurus, and to collect in one volume all the Bani of the Gurus. We have already indicated the spiritual status of the Bani and the highest esteem in which it is held. Hence the extreme importance of its purity and authenticity. Because according to the Sikh theology and doctrines, 'Sabad' the revealed word, is the Guru, and in order to eliminate all mis-conceptions and mis-understandings about the Bani it was essential to compile an authentic version of it. Dr. Jodh Singh adds that for atleast three reasons the fifth Guru, who undertook the task, was evidently and eminently the best person to complete the scripture. First, he himself being a Guru, he could very well understand the spirit and the stand of the Bani and judge correctly what was or was not the word of the Gurus, or what was in the case of Bhagat Bani, otherwise fit to be included in the Adi-Granth. We all know that the Guru did not include the hymns of Shah Hussain, Bhagats Kanha, Pilo and others. Secondly, being so near in time, he was in a far better position, to tap the right sources and find out the authenticity of the available material than any person or scholar who is about four hundred years distant from the times of the first four Gurus. Thirdly, the fifth Guru had not only the availability of all sources and a superior capacity of discernment but he had also the benefit of the assistance and experiences of Sikhs who had been contemporaries, near contemporaries or associates of the earlier Gurus. As such, it would, indeed, be a pre-posterous
(page no 33 not done)the Kartarpuri Bir must have been prepared some time after Samat 1732, the year of the martyrdom of the 9th Guru. Here too both the statements and the conclusion of G.B. Singh are baseless, since we know that the Bani of the 9th Guru was never copied in the Kartarpuri Bir.36
Few would say that Jodh Singh, an erudite scholar, known for his cool and level-headedness, was given to exaggeration. And yet in his book at dozens of places he calls the facts and statements of G.B. Singh to be untruthful, baseless and senseless. One has only to go through his book to realise how correct and appropriate is Jodh Singh's criticism of G.B.Singh. One wonders whether an honest scholar could make such deliberate misstatements. And, what is even more disgusting is that he would say one thing at one time and contradict himself at another place, because a contrary argument would suit his purpose better.
As a sample we shall state a few of the assertions and statements made by G.B. Singh and the observations of Jodh Singh regarding them. It is "a strange case that the author of the Book (Pracheen Biran), which is full of wrong statements and mistakes, should claim to have regard for truth and reason and consider himself to be too perfect to commit any mistake. Even though G. B. Singh had never seen the Mohan Pothies, he asserts that Saloks: Jit dar Lakh Mohamda and Bai Atash Aab Ratan Mala, were copied in the Adi-Granth from Mohan Pothies, being the Bani of Guru Nanak. He adds that the first Salok of Guru Nanak was not included in the Adi-Granth by Guru Arjun because of his fear of offending Muslims. The fact is that these Saloks are neither in Mohan Pothies nor in the Kartarpuri Bir prepared by the fifth Guru. On the one hand, G.B. Singh accuses the fifth Guru of excluding the Salok : Jit Dar Lakh Mohamda out of fear of offending Muslims and, on the other hand, he says that this extra Bani was included in some copies of the Adi-Granth after Samat 1732. Since this Salok is not in the Mohan Pothies, it is on the face of it absurd to accuse the fifth Guru of fear, especially when there is nothing to suggest that the Salok was ever placed before Guru Arjun for inclusion in the Adi-Granfh and that he refused to do so."37
In one chapter of his book, Jodh Singh describes the 'farbrications' indulged in by the author, G.B. Singh, regarding the Adi-Granth, and, in the second, he describes the 'untruthful statements' made by the author regarding the Adi-Granth.38 Citing a number of wrong statements by the author, Jodh Singh writes: "Had G.B. Singh seen the Kartarpuri Bir, he would out of sheer shame have never made such baseless statements."39 G.B. Singh's Sense of interpreting things is equally ridiculous. The words "Pothi Likh Pauhnche", indicating that the Granth was completed on that date', he says, mean that Bhai Banno had reached Lahore on that date after copying the Adi-Granth on the way.40 On the one hand G.B. Singh writes that the Kartarpuri Bir could not have been copied before Samat 1733, and, on the other hand, he states it was copied in Samat 1697.41 Many statements of G.B. Singh are so self-contradictory that Jodh Singh describes them to be "ridiculously absurd". Further, G.B. Singh asserts that in the Kartarpuri Bir all dates of demise are in the same hand and that those were written in Samat 1717-18 by the 8th Guru. Hence the Granth was written not earlier than 1718, he concludes. We have already seen that this is a wrong statement and could be made only by a person like G,B. Singh who had never seen the Kartarpuri Bir. Yet, at many places in his book he never shirked from making numerous wrong assertions about its contents. It is in this context Dr. Jodh Singh cites the Persian proverb: "The liar has no memory" and the Punjabi proverb: "The Lies have no legs to stand firm."42 In the Kartarpuri Bir the word Pothi is used to describe the Adi-Granth and not Guru Baba, but G.B. Singh argues that as the Guru Granth became the Guru after the demise of the tenth Guru it shows that the Kartarpuri Bir was written after 1708 A. D. Regarding this Jodh Singh comments, "to make conjectures on the basis of misstatements is a sample of the kind of research done by the author (G.B Singh)."43 G.B. Singh writes that in the Kartarpuri Bir the will of one Niranjan Rai, the great grandson of Dhirmal, stands recorded, and, considering the likely year of the death of Niranjan Rai, the Kartarpuri Bir, he suggests, was written not earlier than Samat 1780. Now, the fact is that on a blank page of the Kartarpuri Bir another greenish coloured paper stands pasted. Evidently, the will of Niranjan Rai had been written on a paper, in an ink, and in a handwriting different from the ones of the Kartarpuri Bir. It has nothing to do with the Kartarpuri Bir except that some one has later pasted the greenish paper containing the will on a blank page of the Granth. In this regard Jodh Singh observes that this is another ridiculous instance of the senseless fabrications made by G.B. Singh. Citing more such instances, Jodh Singh concludes that G.B. Singh on the basis of some wrong statements of Kahan Singh mentioned in a letter, coupled with some false facts introduced by him, has, without verifying them by a look at the Kartarpuri Bir, made assertions which he describes as his research. "In fact every literate person should be ashamed of the manner in which G.B. Singh has abused the word research."44
As to the Banno Bir, the reply of the custodian shows that 12 scribes worked in preparing the same. He also writes that some one had informed him that from Rag Kanara onwards the entire Banno Bir was in one hand. G.B Singh tries to brush aside this contradiction by saying that, may be, the leaves of Banno Bir got old and someone got them replaced and rewritten (actually the finding of the scholars, Harbhajan Singh. Harnam Dass, is that the entire Banno Bir is in one hand). On page 271 of his book, G.B. Singh writes that the Kartarpuri Bir is a copy of some copy of the Banno Bir, that in the Kartarpuri Bir the entire Sabad of Bhagat Surd as had been copied but later had been rubbed off by Hartal, but by oversight one line of the Sabad which had been written in continuation of the Sabad of Bhagat Parma Nand Ji was left from being removed. This is entirely baseless since no Hartal has been used and only one line of Bhagat Surdas stands written, and this line is written quite separately. the same being not in continuation of any Sabad of Bhagat Parma Nand Ji. Since the Kartarpuri Bir, as we know, has none of the additional compositions that are there in the Banno Bir, the question of its being a copy of the Banno Bir does not really arise.45
No one who reads the books of G.B. Singh and Jodh Singh can escape the conclusion that G. B. Singh has not written the book with any sense of integrity. and discrimination since he makes numerous baseless and senseless assertions without the least regard for truth. Jodh Singh, as mentioned above, has completely exploded the claim of research or scholarship made by G.B. Singh. Today, one can safely say that few persons with even nominal pretensions to scholarship are capable of making such wild and wrong statements as had been done by G.B. Singh.
Since the criticism of G.B. Singh was too unfounded to need any notice now, and since the same had been replied to by Jodh Singh in 1946, ordinarily we need not have mentioned it. But, Dr. Mcleod in 1975 and 1980 and Prof. Pritam Singh in 1981 have tried to exume the burried ghost of G.B. Singh. In a way they have kept him as a model in repeating some of his exploded theories and assertions which, on examination have been found to be baseless and untruthful. One thing both the scholars share in common with G.B. Singh is that none of them had examined the Kartarpuri Bir and Mcleod had not even a look at the Banno Bir.
Before we examine the merit of the criticism of Mcleod and Pritam Singh, we shall first consider the two questions about the differences between the Banno Bir and the Kartarpuri Bir and the story of how the Banno Bir came into existence as a copy of the original Adi-Granth, that was scribed by Bhai Gurdas.
1 Guru Granth Sahib, p. 722
10 Bhai Gurdas, var 24, Pauri 25
11 Kesar Singh Chhiber: Bansavalinama, pp. 50-51
12 Shamsher Singh Ashok : Sodhi Meharvan
13 Bansavalinama, op. cit., p. 51
14 Sarup Das Bhal1a : Mehma Parkash, p. 362
15 Jodh Singh: Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan, p. 123
17 Gurdev Singh, ed., Perspectives on Sikh Tradition, p. 211
18 Harbhajan Singh: GurbaniSampadan Nirnai, p. 28
22 Sahib Singh: Adi Bir Bare, pp. 120-21
23 ibid, pp. 168, 197; Harbhajan Singh, op. cit., pp. 137, 140
24 Harbhajan Singh, op. cit., pp. 135, 137-138
25 ibid, pp. 130-31, 137-140
26 Sahib Singh, op. cit, pp. 119-122
27 Jodh Singh, op. cit, p. 4
29 Pritam Singh's Paper, Journal of Sikh Studies (G.N.D. University Amritsar), August 1984, p. 111
30 Jodh Singh, op. cit., (Pages referred to in this essay are the notes in this volume regarding the pages of the Kartarpuri Bir)
31 Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi, pp.54-55, Jodh Singh: Prachin Biran Bare, pp. 59-60
32 Jodh Singh: Prachin Biran Bare, p. 3. and Chapter 1 to 3
34 Sahib Singh, op. cit., pp. 186-191
35 Jodh Singh: Prachin Biran Bare, pp. 4 to 7