Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism


THE DASAM GRANTH: A view from another angle
M A Macauliffe

In the year A.D. 1734 while in Amritsar Bhai Mani Singh compiled the compositions and translations of Guru Gobind Singh and of the bards who were associated with him. The compilation was subsequently known as the Granth of the Tenth Guru, though Mani Singh did not give it that title.
After Mani Singh's execution the Sikhs took the volume for examination and approval to a village in the Patiala State called Talwandi Sabo, now known among the Sikhs as Damdama. Damdama was selected as several learned Sikhs resided there, and that distant village was also deemed a place of safety.
Several intelligent Sikhs were of opinion, that the tales and translations in the volume, as at present found, ought not to have been included in it, for many of them are of Hindu origin, others not fit for perusal, and none comparable with the hymns contained in the Adi Granth. The Sikhs therefore maintained that the Hikayat or Persian tales, and the whole of the Tria Charitar, or stories illustrating the deceit of women, should be omitted, and included in a separate volume, which might be read, not for a religious purpose, but for the entertainment and delectation of the public.
While this discussion was in progress, one Mahtab Singh of Mirankot arrived from Bikkaner, at Damdama. He had vowed to kill one Massa Ranghar, a Muhammadan official, who had obtained possession of the Golden Temple, and who used the place as a theatre for dancing women; and he was on his way to Amritsar to carry out his design. Mahtab Singh vowed that if he succeeded and returned to Damdama, Mani Singh's Granth should remain in one volume as he had arranged it. If, on the contrary, Massa killed him, the Granth might be arranged according to the wishes of the objectors. Mahtab Singh slew Massa Ranghar, returned in triumph to Damdama, and Mani Singh's Granth was allowed to remain according to his design. There are many obvious defects in the arrangement of the Tenth Guru's Granth as it stands. For instance, there are several questions put in dohras 201 to 210 of the Akal Ustat to which no answer is given. Chhands 211 to 230 are obviously out of place, and belong to the second Chandi Charitar; and the last Chhand of the Akal Ustat is not complete. The Gyan Parbodh too has been left incomplete. There are besides many defects of arrangement.

M A Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion,
Vol 5, pg 260.
First published around 1900.

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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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