Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


Panj Sau Sakhi

Panj Sau Sakhi, a collection of five hundred anecdotes (panj=five; sau=hundred;sakhi = anecdote), attributed to Bhai Ram Kuir (1672-1761), a descendant of Bhai Buddha, renamed Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh as he received the rites of the Khalsa at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708). It is said that during his long association with the Guru, Ram Kuir had heard from his lips many anecdotes concerning the lives of the Gurus which he used to narrate to Sikhs after his return to his village, Ramdas, in Amritsar district, after Anandpur had been evacuated in 1705. Bhai Sahib Singh is said to have reduced these sakhls to writing. Later, they were split into five parts, each comprising one hundred stories whence the title "Sau Sakhi" or A Hundred Stories gained currency. These five sections were distributed among Bhai Sahib Singh, the scribe, Kabull Mall, Multani Sura, Ratia, and Surat Singh of Agra. Giani Gian Singh, author of the Panth Prakash, is said to have seen two manuscripts of this work—one with a mahant (priest) of Name da Kot and another with Shiv Ram Khatri of Agra. Bhai Kahn Singh of Nabha also seems to have had access to a manuscript copy. None of these manuscripts, much less an authentic printed version, is however available today. The authors of the Gurbilas and Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth seem to have drawn upon these anecdotes which are more legendary than historical in character.


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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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