Saturday, 2 November 2013

Maharajah Ranjit Singh and the Sikh Scriptures part 1










Ranjit Singh the Maharajah of Panjab had full faith in both Scriptures: Guru Granth Sahib and Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. He undertook Vak from Guru Granth Sahib before undertaking his military expeditions. He also commissioned manuscript copies of the Sikh Granths by artisans in his court and beyond. He also ensured that the Granth Sahibs were carried on his expeditions. The following quote by Mufti ‘Ali’ ud-Din shows the respect that was paid to the Granth Sahibs in the Sikh empire:


The maharaja maintained an elaborate establishment of Bhais (Sikh priests), one or two of whom held the charge of every Sikh shrine in the Punjab. There was a separate estate attached to every shrine, the produce of which was enjoyed by the incumbent. He was always attended on his tours by a priest with a volume of each of the two chief scriptures [Adi Granth and Dasam Granth]. They were wrapped up in rich pieces of silk, placed in a cot under a big canopy, and thus borne from one place to another. A special military escort was provided, each member of which carried a Sikh banner. The procession was often followed by a number of priests on elephants. Besides this, every regiment had its own volumes of the Granths and religious insignia. Even the ministers of state carried separate copies of the Granths on their journeys.

Ibratnama, by Mufti 'Ali ud-Din, folio 356, Quoted from The Punjab as a Sovereign State (1799-1839), Gulshan Lall Chopra, (1928), Lahore, p 204

Picture: SIKHS BEFORE LAHORE, INDIA, 19TH CENTURY 
Watercolour on paper, a colourfully dressed group of Sikhs, some riding elephants and others horses, camels or in palanquins, approach the walled city of Lahore

Further reading see my paper: Descriptions of the Dasam Granth from the “Sketch of the Sikhs” in view of Sikh History,

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