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Baba Mohan Valian Pothian


Baba Mohan Valian Pothian

POTHIAN BABA MOHAN VALIAN, manuscript copies {pothidn, lit. books), in Gurmukhi script, containing some of the compositions of the first three Gurus and eight medieval saints, which, according to Sikh tradition. Guru Arjan (15631606) obtained from Baba Mohan, the elder son of the Third Guru Amar Das, and which he utilized in the compilation of the Adi Granth. They are also known as Goindval vdHdnpothlan for the reason that they were transcribed in Goindval, the seat of the Third Guru, and remained there until the earlier half of the 20th century, except for a brief priod of time when they were in the custody of Guru Arjan in Amritsar. Still another tie is Sahansar Ram vaUda Pothlan, recalling the name of the writer, Sahansar Ram, son of Mohan and grandson of Guru Amar Das. Two of the pothis are still extant, both in the possession of the descendants of Guru Amar Das. One of them is preserved at Patiala and is the property of Bava Bhagat Singh Bhalla (since shifted to Pinjaur, near Chandigarh), who first took it from Goindval to Mardan in 1940 and brought it to Patiala to which town he migrated after the partition of the Punjab (1947). This pothi is on view for darshan in his house on the morning of the fullmoon day each month. People gather to offer obeisance and after hymnsinging, hukam, i.e. a sabda, is read out from the pothiby one of the family members as the Guru’s command (hukam) or lesson for the day. Use of the pothi for scrutiny or scholarly study is not permissible. Of the other Goindval pothi, now at the village ofDarapur near Urmur in Hoshiarpur district of the Punjab, a photocopy was obtained by the Punjabi University and is preserved in its Library.

This pothi in the order of writing in fact precedes the Patiala manuscript. Preceding both in point of time is the pothi mentioned in the Purdtan Janam Sdkhi as having been bequeathed by Guru Nanak to his successor. Guru Angad, which is sometimes, though with insufficient authority, identified as Guru Harsahai vali Pothi, now believed to be lost for good. The Baba Mohan pothis were in preparation for two years. The work, commenced in September 1570, was completed on 10 Bhadori 1629 Bk/9 August 1572, but additions perhaps continued to be made even later. The size of both the pothis is the same, i.e. 13" x 9.5". This is inclusive of the 2inch margin which runs all around the page and is marked by five lines, two very thin on either side and one somewhat thicker in the middle. Each page, with but rare exceptions, has 13 lines. The first page of the first pothi and the first two pages of the second have illuminations in highly decorative designs. The two manuscripts make up 300 + 224 folios, or 1,048 pages. At various places in both, pages are left blank, presumably to provide room for any hymn or hymns that might subsequently be located. The script used is Gurmukhi of an initial stage. The formation of some of its letters show their kinship with Sarda and Takari. For instance, letters /h/, /!/, /a/, /th/, /n/ have close resemblance with their counterparts in those scripts. Folios 167 and 227 of the first pothi are written in a different hand in an unfamiliar landd script which has no vowel signs nor any diacritical sign for the nasal sound /ri/. A note recorded in the margin of folio 216 of the second pothi alludes to the origin of Gurmukhi characters in these words: Guru Angad gurmukhi akhar bandi babe de age sabad bhet kltd (Guru Angad coined Gurmukhi letters and presented to the Baba). The text facing this note is Guru Nanak’s hymn beginning with puran paramjotiparamesarpritam prdn hamdre, in Rag Sarang.

The sabdas included in these manuscripts fall within fourteen different rdgas. Compositions in the first pothi (Darapurvali also called Ahiyapurvali, correctly spelt Yahyapurvali) occur under rdgas Suhi, Prabhati, Dhanasari, Basant, Tilarig, Gujari, Bhairo, Maru, Kedara, Vadharis, Bilaval, Malar and Asa, and those in the second under Ramkali, Sorathi, Sarang and Malar. The order of rdgas and of the sabdas and padds, however, does not correspond with that adopted in the Adi Granth. There are variations in the text also; sometimes whole lines and padas differ. Guru Nanak’s hymn, kaun tardji kavanu tuld, which occurs in measure Suhi in the Guru Granth Sahib appears in the Darapur pothi in Parbhati Lalat. In the text, kaun is written as kavan, tuld as told and mere Idljio tera ant najana as terd baba antu na jana. At places, in the pothis, two different versions of the same hymn appear side by side. Certain hymns are jointly credited to Kabir and Namdev. For exmple, basant bdni Kabir Name Hand bhairau Kabir Namdev bhagat. Two hymns show both Kabir and Namdev to be the disciples of Guru Nanak. Their headings run: bhairau Kabir Ndmd bhagat bdbejike, and Keddrd Kabir Nama babe patsah de bhagat (folios 263 and 292, respectively, of vol.1) The pothis begin with the invocaton: Ik oankdr satiguru parsad sachu nam kartaru nirbhau nirinkaru akdl murti ajum sanbho. This is different from the form in which Guru Arjan recorded the prelude to theJapu in the Guru Granth Sahib: Ikonkar satinamu karata purakhu nirbhau nirvairu akal murati ajuni saibhan gurparsddi.

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