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The Dasam Granth or Dasven Patshah Da Granth is a religious text of Sikhism containing many of the texts attributed to the tenth of the Sikh gurus, Guru Gobind Singh. It is primarily in Braj Bhasha written with the Gurmukhī alphabet.
The Dasam Granth is a separate religious text from the Guru Granth Sahib. Scholars are not in agreement as to the work’s total authenticity; it may represent a bringing together of Guru Gobind Singh’s own writings with those from other sources, such as his court poets. W H McLeod has noted that while the Guru Granth Sahib has a religious focus on "liberation through meditation", the focus of the Dasam Granth has "little to do with religious belief".
There are three major views on the authorship of the Dasam Granth:
- The historical and traditional view is that the entire work was composed by Guru Gobind Singh himself.
- The entire collection was composed by the poets in the Guru's entourage.
- Only a part of the work was composed by the Guru, while the rest was composed by the other poets.
In his religious court at Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh had employed 52 poets, who translated several classical texts into Braj Bhasha. Most of the writing compiled at Anandpur Sahib was lost while the Guru's camp was crossing the Sirsa river before the Battle of Chamkaur. There were copiers available at Guru's place who made several copies of writings. Later, Bhai Mani Singh compiled all the available works under the title Dasam Granth. The traditional scholars claim that all the works in Dasam Granth were composed by the Guru himself, on the basis of Bhai Mani Singh's letter. However, some others dispute this claim, saying that the some of the compositions included in Dasam Granth (such as Charitropakhyan) are out of tune with other Sikh scriptures, and must have been composed by other poets.
Following is in brief about Historical books after Demise of Guru Gobind Singh which mention that Compositions in present Dasam Granth was written by Guru Gobind Singh:
- Rehitnama Bhai Nand Lal mentioned Jaap Sahib is an important Bani for a Sikh.
- RehitNama Chaupa Singh Chibber quotes various lines from Bachitar Natak, 33 Swiayey, Chopai Sahib, Jaap Sahib.
- In 1711, Sri Gur Sobha was written by Poet Senapat mentioned Conversation of Guru Gobind Singh and Akal Purakh, and written three of its Adhyay on base of Bachitar Natak.
- In 1741, Parchian Srvadas Kian quoted lines from Rama Avtar, 33 Swaiyey and mentioned Zafarnama with Hikayats.
- in 1751, Gurbilas Patshahi 10 - Koyar Singh Kalal, mentioned Guru Gobind Singh composed Bachitar Natak, Krisna Avtar, Bisan Avtar, Akal Ustat, Jaap Sahib, Zafarnama, Hikayats etc. This is first Granth mentioned Guruship of Guru Granth Shahib.
- In 1766, Kesar Singh Chibber mentioned history of Compilation of Dasam Granth by Bhai Mani Singh Khalsa on directions of Mata Sundri, as he was first who wrote history after death of Guru Gobind Singh.
- In 1766, Sri Guru Mahima Parkash - Sarup Chand Bhalla, mentioned about various Banis of Guru Gobind Singh and Compilation of Dasam Granth
- In 1790, Guru Kian Sakhian - Svarup Singh Kashish, mentione Guru Gobind Singh Composed, bachitar Natak, Krishna Avtar, Shastarnaam Mala, 33 Swaiyey etc.
- In 1797, Gurbilas Patshahi 10 - Sukkha Singh, mentioned compositions of Guru Gobind Singh.
- In 1812, JB Malcolm, in Sektch of Sikhs mentioned about Dasam Granth as Bani of Guru Gobind Singh.
The Dasam Granth has 1428 pages and contains Jaap Sahib, the Akal Ustat or praise of the Creator and the Bachittar Natak, which gives an account of the Guru's parentage, his divine mission and the battles in which he had been engaged.
Next come three abridged compositions of the wars of Durga, called Chandi, with demons (Chandi Chritras: Chandi Chritra I, Chandi Chritra II, Chandi di Var). The first stanza of the Sikh ardās, an invocation to God and the nine Gurus preceding Gobind Singh, is from Chandi di Var.
Following this is the Gyan Parbodh, or awakening of knowledge; the Shabad Hazare; quatrains called sawayyas, which are hymns in praise of God and reprobation of idolatry and hypocrisy; the Shastar Nam Mala, a list of offensive and defensive weapons used in the Guru's time with special reference to the attributes of the Creator; the Kabiovach Bainti Chaupai, which will "absolve the suffering, pain or fear of the person, who will even once recite this Bani"; the Zafarnamah, containing the Tenth Guru's epistle to the emperor Aurangzeb; and hikayats, Persian language metrical tales.
The Contents of the Dasam Granth are:
- Jaap Sahib - a meditational work
- Akal Ustat - 271 devotional verses on the divine
- Bachittar Natak - autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh, including his lineage
- Chandi Charitar Ukati Bilas - a discussion of the supreme goddess, Chandi, based on the Sanskrit scripture Markandeya Purana
- Chandi Charitar II - a discussion of Chandi
- Chandi di Var, a composition based on the Markandeya Purana describing the conflict between gods and asuras; the supreme goddess, Chandi, is transformed into a liberating divine power in the form of sword that crushes perpetuators of falsehood
- Gyan Prabodh (The Awakening of Knowledge)
- Chaubis Avtar - a narrative of 24 incarnations of Vishnu that comprises one-third of the Dasam Granth
- Brahma Avtar - Narrative on the seven incarnations of Brahma
- Rudra Avtar - an epic poem discussing Shiva
- Sabad patshahi 10 - ten religious hymns criticising ritualistic practices by renunciates such as sannyasins, yogis and vairāgīs as well as idolatry
- 33 Sawayya or "stanzas"
- Khalsa Mahima - two poetic compositions praising the Khalsa
- Śastara nāma mālā or "Garland of the Names of Weapons"
- Sri Charitropakhyan (various character of men and women [details both negative and positive]): Includes Chaupai (Sikhism) (hymn of supplication)
- Zafarnamah (epistle of victory, a letter written to Emperor Aurangzeb, includes Hikaaitaan)
Language and literary quality
The Dasam Granth is written in rhymed poetry. It was designed to be heard, so there is considerable repetition, and a variety of meters to hold the attention. The language of most of the Dasam Granth is largely Braj Bhasha veering towards Sanskrit at one extreme and simple colloquial Hindi at the other, although conventional Hindi is used marginally. The Braj dialect is a variety of medieval Hindi with a mixture of Sanskrit and Arabic words. The Zafarnamah and the Hikayats are in Persian using Gurmukhi characters and several passages in other works are in Punjabi. The 'author(s)' not only used this melange of languages but also coined words half Arabic half Sanskrit. Some of this kind of writing has great power and beauty.
From A Short History of the Sikhs, Ganda Singh & Teja Singh:
"In Hindi he developed a style, which for martial cadence, variety of form and richness of imagination...has remained unsurpassed since his times. In lines ranging from monosyllabic verse to long and multiplied swayyas and kabits, we seem to hear the torrential flow of hill streams or the galloping sweep of cavalry on the march. His intellect quivers in emotion and breaks out against superstition and hypocrisy into humour, irony or banter. His emotion...is raised to the highest pitch of ecstasy when he communes with God."
From Sikhan de Raj di Vithya (History of the Sikh Rule):
"This Granth is very difficult, and is composed in the Gurmukhi dialect in several kinds of verses. In it there is the description of several weapons of warfare, the rules of warfare, the shortcomings in the character of men and women, and some information on worship and religious knowledge. The descriptions of scenes of battle are couched in extremely vigorous staccato rhyme often reduced to lines of one word each. The battles waged by Chandi encounters with the hill chiefs at Bhangani and Nadaun are among the most stirring that exist.
Giani Gian Singh claims that the full copy of the Dasam Granth was in possession of the Budha Dal, an 18th century Sikh army, at the Battle of Kup and was lost during the Second Sikh Holocaust (1762)
The earliest surviving full manuscript of the Dasam Granth dates to 1713, although it appears not to have been publicly available. In 1721, Mata Sundri commissioned Bhai Mani Singh with compiling a volume of the Dasam Granth. He completed his manuscript after collecting and sifting through material collected from a number of Sikhs. "Minor textual variation" exist between the early manuscripts. During the 1890s the text was standardized into its current two-volume 1,428 page print version.
- McLeod, W. H. (1990-10-15). Textual sources for the study of Sikhism. University of Chicago Press. pp. 6â7. ISBN 978-0-226-56085-4. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- McLeod, W. H. (2005-07-28). Historical dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8108-5088-0. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
- Amaresh Datta, ed. (2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume One (A To Devo), Volume 1. Sahitya Akademi. p. 888. ISBN 978-81-260-1803-1.
- Rehitnama Bhai Nand Lal
- Rehitnama Chaupa Singh Chibber
- Sri Gur Sbha Granth, Poet Senapat, Piara Singh Padam
- Parchi Sevadas Ki, Poet Sevada, Piara Singh Padam
- Britannica, Inc Encyclopaedia (2009). Encyclopedia of World Religions. Encyclopaedia Britannica. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-59339-491-2. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Giani Kirpal Singh (samp.), Sri Gur Panth Parkash, Vol. 3 (Amritsar: Manmohan Singh Brar, 1973), pp. 1678–80, verses 61-62
- Mansukhani, Gobind Singh (1993). Hymns from the Dasam Granth. Hemkunt Press. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-81-7010-180-2. Retrieved 15 July 2010.