Q103. What do you know of the Dasam Granth?
Guru Gobind Singh was not only an exceptional warrior but also a creative genius. His scholarship in Persian, Hindi and Punjabi enabled him to write verses in different poetic forms. He patronized fifty-two poets at his court. The most important of them were Bahi Nandlal Goya and Sainapat.
The Dasam Granth,
compiled by Bhai Mani Singh after Guru Gobind Singh's death, contains more than 1400 pages in Brij Bhasha, Persian and Punjabi. The contents are mythological, philosophical and autobiographical. The two main themes of the Guru's work - authentically ascribed to him - are in praise of the Almighty and to the power of the sword. The verses were meant to stir the people in his times with patriotic and martial fervour. The following compositions are definitely written by the tenth Guru.
The Jaap Sahib:
This is a unique composition in a variety of metres, praising the characteristics and power of God.
A wonderful drama, an intimate autobiography recounting the mission of the Guru.
Akal Ustat, Shabad Hazare, Tatees, Swayya:
These hymns enshrine the praises of the Timeless One in telling phrases and striking similes. Here is an example:
"As waves beating on the shingle,
Go back and in the ocean mingle,
So, from God come all things under the sun,
And to God return, when their race is run."
This poetic epistle in Persian was addressed to the Emperor Aurangzeb and throws light on the Guru's opposition to tyranny and fanaticism.
What impresses one in the Dasam Granth is the excellence of the poetic technique and the other choice of words and epithets. Guru Gobing Singh - even when the situation appeared desperate, after his leaving Anandpur - never at all doubted victory or his unflinching faith in God.
"With Thee I will in adversity dwell but
Without Thee, a life of ease is a life in hell."
The versatility of this saint-soldier in composing devotional verses shows the richness of his mind, his spiritual attainment and heroic grandeur.