Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dasam Granth Questions and Answers book review: by Dr Harpal Singh Pannu


Sri Dasam Granth Sahib: Questions and Answers
Gurinder Singh Mann & Kamalroop Singh

After going through this book I felt it is first attempt in English to solve many riddles created by some critics/mischiefmongers against Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. English readers will find it easy to delve deep now into the spirit of this mysterious granth.

Message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is simple, straight and clear: remember God, recite name, do good deeds to achieve salvation. This message is common to all religions, all traditions. A Sikh can never disrespect Islam/Hinduism, for baani if Baba Farid and Bhagats is present in SGGS. There are two major traditions, Indian and Semitic. Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana following Guru Nanak Dev is the same symbol, two traditions following Guru Nanak. We find most innocent world in SGGS.

But characters, incidents and consequences of Dasam Granth are highly complex, charged, multidimensional, dangerous, unexpected and wonderful, therefore some scholars analyze it as poetry of politics. In history followers of Krishan (Hill rajas) are supporting Moghals against Khalsa Panth, in Dasam Granth Moghals are supporting Krishan against Kharag Singh. The message of Dasam Patshah is that Hindus have forgotton sacrifice made by Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib to protect their tilak and janju. Men and women of frail, dubious characters are exhibited to show how dangerous life becomes when one leaves the true path of dharma.

Only those questions are answered which often baffle the common Sikh folk. In my youth I couldn’t understand what was the need of scribing his past life by Guru Gobind Singh as Apni Katha in Bachittar Natak, i.e. meditating at Hemkunt ? Problem got solved when I read Milinda Prasna(Questions of King Milinda, 1st century AD Bodh classical text). At the beginning of the grantha, Nagsen, the hero monk writes his Pub Katha(pub means previous, katha, story i.e. story of his previous birth). In his Pub Katha he explains purpose of writing this grantha. This was the tradition of the time to indicate purpose of writing the text. Similarly Guru Gobind Singh expains purpose of his coming in this mundane world-
Ham  ih  kaaj   jagat mo  aey.
Dharam hetu gurdev pathaey. etc… etc…

There are 17 illustrations, 4 hukamnamas of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and a table of compositions of Dasam Granth. 127 end notes and references make the book most authentic document. I strongly recommend readers to go through it to get information about Dasam Granth updated. 

(Harpal Singh Pannu Dr.)
Professor & Head, Religious Studies,
Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, India.

The book is available from www.archimedespress.co.uk for western customers and the eastern market: B. Jawahar Singh Kirpal Singh & Co. Visit: http://www.jsks.co.in/

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