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The Dasam Granth is a religious text containing many of the texts which is traditionally attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. It is primarily in Braj Bhasha with Awadhi, Hindustani, Punjabi and Persian compositions written almost entirely in the Gurmukhī alphabet except for the Fatehnama, Zafar Nama and Hikayat, which are in the Persian alphabet.
Although the compositions of the Dasam Granth are widely accepted to be penned by Guru Gobind Singh there are some that still question the authenticity of the Dasam Granth. 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 (1704). 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.But the veracity of the letter has been examined by scholars and found to be unreliable. Any one even moderately acquainted with Hindi can tell from the internal evidence of style that Chandi Charitar and Bhagauti ki War are translations by different hands. Some others dispute the claim of the authorship, saying that 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. The names of poets Raam, Shyam and Kaal appear repeatedly in the granth. References to Kavi Shyam can be seen in Mahan Kosh of Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, under the entry 'Bawanja Kavi' and also in Kavi Santokh Singh's magnum opus Suraj Prakash Granth.
The following are historical books after the demise of Guru Gobind Singh which mention that the compositions in the 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 the poet Senapat and mentioned a 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, mentioned 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, J. B. Malcolm, in SKetch of Sikhs mentioned about Dasam Granth as Bani of Guru Gobind Singh.
It contains the 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.
Following this is the Gyan Parbodh, or awakening of knowledge; the Shabad Hazare; quatrains called savaiye (singular savaiya), 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.
Following are compositions included in Dasam Granth:
|No.||Bani Title||Common Name||Description|
|1||Jaap Sahib||Jaap Sahib||a meditational work.|
|2||Akal Ustat||271 devotional verses on the divine.|
|3||Bachittar Natak||Bachitar Natak||autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh, including his spiritual lineage.|
|4||Chandi Charitar Ukti Bilas||Chandi Charitar 1||a discussion of the mythological goddess, Chandi. As per internal references, it is based on the Sanskrit scripture Markandeya Purana.|
|5||Chandi Charitar II||Chandi Charitar 2||a discussion of Chandi|
|6||Chandi di Var||Chandi Di Vaar||a discussion of Chandi in Punjabi. Not based on any Purana, but an independent narrative.|
|7||Gyan Prabodh||Gyan Prabodh, Parbodh Chandra Natak||(The Awakening of Knowledge)|
|8||Chaubis Avtar||Vishnu Avtar, Chaubis Avtar||a narrative of 24 incarnations of Vishnu that comprises one-third of the Dasam Granth|
|9||Brahma Avtar||Brahma Avtar||Narrative on the seven incarnations of Brahma|
|10||Rudra Avtar||Rudra Avtar||an epic poem discussing Rudra.|
|11||Sabad Patshahi 10||Shabad Hazare||ten religious hymns criticising ritualistic practices by renunciates such as sannyasins, yogis and vairāgīs as well as idolatry|
|12||33 Savaiye||33 stanzas|
|13||Khalsa Mahima||Khalsa Mahima||two poetic compositions praising the Khalsa|
|14||Ath Sri Shastar Naam Mala Purana Likhyate||Shastarnam Mala||"Garland of the Names of Weapons"|
|15||Sri Charitropakhyan||Charitropakhyan, Triya Charitar||(various character of men and women [details both negative and positive]). Includes Chaupai (Sikhism) (hymn of supplication)|
|16||Zafarnamah||(epistle of victory, a letter written to Emperor Aurangzeb, includes Hikaaitaan)|
Some birs also include following compositions:
- Malkauns Ki Vaar
- Asfotak Kabits
Role in Sikh liturgy
The compositions within Dasam Granth play a huge role in Sikh liturgy, which is prescribed by Sikh Rehat Maryada:
- Jaap Sahib is part of Nitnem, which Sikh recites daily in morning.
- Tav-Prasad Savaiye, again a bani of Nitnem, is part of Akal Ustat composition, which is recited daily in morning along with above.
- Benti Chaupai, is part of Sri Charitropakhyan, which is recited in morning as well as evening prayers.
- Jaap, Tav Prasad Savaiye and Chaupai are read while preparing Khande Batey Ki Pahul.
- The first stanza of the Sikh ardās, an invocation to God and the nine Gurus preceding Gobind Singh, is from Chandi di Var.
- As per Sikh Rehat Maryada, a stanza of Chaubis Avtar, "pae gahe jab te tumre", should be comprised in So Dar Rehras.
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 Sundari 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.
- Singha, H. S. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Sikhism (over 1000 Entries). Hemkunt Press. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1., p. 54
- McLeod, W. H. (1990). Textual Sources for the Study of Sikhism. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-56085-4., page 67
- 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
- Gurbilas, Patshahi 10, Koer Singh, Bhasha Vibagh, Punjabi University
- Page 52, The A to Z of Sikhism (Google eBook), W. H. McLeod, Scarecrow Press, 2009
- Page 6, Dasam Granth, Dr. S. S. Kapoor, Hemkunt Press
- Britannica, Inc Encyclopaedia (2009). Encyclopedia of World Religions. Encyclopaedia Britannica. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-59339-491-2. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Page 133, Sikhs in the Diaspora, Surinder Singh bakhshi, Dr Surinder Bakhshi, 2009
- The Japu, the Jaapu and the Ten Sawayyas (Quartets) – beginning "Sarwag sudh"-- in the morning.: Chapter III, Article IV, Sikh Rehat Maryada
- iii) the Sawayya beginning with the words "pae gahe jab te tumre": Article IV, Chapter III, Sikh Rehat Maryada
- 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.
- Panjab Digital Library – Digitally preserving manuscripts of Dasam Granth
- Bachitter Natak – A Strange Drama
- Dasam Granth History – Daljeet Singh
- Compilation of Dasam Granth -A scientific Analysis
- Exegesis of compositions of Dasam granth – Sachkhoj Academy