«AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION O thou that buttest the high mountain, seeking to dislodge it with thy horns, take pity, not on the mountain but on thy head ...»
on 20th November. There is a high level clique that has been working as a willing tool of “McLeod Sahib” as they call the learned Guide of Pashaura Singh. The highest authority in University provided a microfilm to McLeod Sahib, but Sikh and Indian scholars were virtually denied access to the GNDU MSj1245. With considerable difficulty, I was able to get a Zerox copy of some portions and permission to go through a Zerox copy kept in the rare section room. The original was kept by the librarian in his office and presented only for darshan of the specially decorated pages having an alleged verse of Bhai Buddha and the autographs of Sikh Gurus.
344 Pashaura Singh’s thesis has seven chapters out of which only three are connected with his subject, the Textual study of GNDU MS/1245. It opens with a long quotation from his learned Guide and ends with a longer quotation claiming to have proved what his learned Guide has said in his books.
Pashaura Singh gives over sixty references from Dr Hew McLeod’s books and does not give a single line from the scholarly opinions of learned commentators on Adi Granth of nineteenth and twentieth century. But he goes on quoting, rationalizing and repeating Dr Hew McLeod’s pet hostile phrases, pungent terminology, coruectural comments and derogatory remarks ending each irrelevant theme crudely discussed by him with inconsequential questions which are always based on false premises, prejudiced observations and blasphemous assumptions. Like his Guide, Pashaura Singh never considers it necessary to give any credible evidence for any of his disturbing statements and proclamations in the style of Dr Hew McLeod’s assertions quoted in thirteen chapters of this book.
This induced and contrived thesis of Pashaura Singh is verily a Pandora Box of clumsy distortions, highly absurd prompted contortions and inspired malformations.It is said about the Pandora Box of Greek mythology that when all the evils that flesh is heir to flew forth out of it and have ever since continued to afflict the world, the last that flew out of it was ‘Hope’. But in the Pandora Box constructed through Pashaura Singh’s thesis by Dr Hew McLeod, the Christian Missionary Critic of Adi Granth has left no place for ‘Hope’. Throughout the thesis there is a lot of quibbling and cavilling, but one does not find any internal or external credible evidence on any page of the thesis.
PASHAURA SINGH’S THESIS IS NOT
A TEXTUAL STUDY IN ANY SENSE OF THE WORDI have already stated in my book that hermeneutical studies and textual analysis of Dasm Granth and Adi Granth 345 (based only on historically accepted authentic recensions) has been a continuous process in the past two centuries.I have mentioned the names of scholars who have devoted their lifetime to hermeneutical studies of Sikh scriptures. I have personally known a number of eminent scholars who have been working, each in his own way and expressing their views freely and frankly, but always remaining open to other points of view.
It is unbelievable that Pashaura Singh did not find time to look at the shelves of University-libraries which are rich in material.
He does not even mention their names probably for fear of offending the sensibilities of his Guide, whose backseat driving in his research work has landed him in the pit of such multiple blunders out of which he finds it difficult to extricate himself.
There are many textual analytical studies of Sanskrit works. Even though many manuscripts of Kabir’s works are available and scholars of great eminence have worked on him, but no one has as yet prepared a Textual analysis of his works.
But a gifted Belgian scholar Dr Winand Callawaert, Professor of Indian Studies at Katholieka Universtiet, Leuven, Belgian, has given a remarkable Textual and Critical analysis of all existing recensions of Hindi Padavali of Namdev.2 On the Rajasthani collection he is assisted by Dr Mukand Lath. If there are five different versions of the text, he has given all the five. He has also given a very simple and beautiful translation, of his collection leaving a few untranslated. The translation matches the sublimity and inner mystical charms of Namdev’s hymns. Dr Win and Callawaert’s Hindi Padavali of Namdev is a shining example of an excellent and scholarly Textual Analysis of Hymns of a medieval saint of eminence. If he prepares a similar work of Namdev’s Marathi Abhangas he will certainly emerge as the most outstanding scholar of Namdev’s works. Compared to Professor Callawaert’s work Pashaura Singh’s work is not a Textual Analysis in any sense of the word.
Pashaura Singh has even failed to correctly present and 346 interpret the Mulmantar and Japji from authentic re-censions.
He simply picks up less than a dozen hymns out of a bulky text of 1267 folios (2534 pages) and gives errat-ic and bizarre interpretations without comparing with any of the hundreds of dated authentic old recensions.
USE OF IRRELEVANT AND INAPPROPRIATE TERMSPashaura Singh followed his Guide mindlessly in the use of quite inappropriate words for well known oriental religious cencepts. A knowledgeable reader clearly notices a clever derange men t of concepts through the use of these irrelevant words.
FORMULA FOR MANTRA
The eminent German scholar Agehananda Bharati says, “Finally mantm is not a senseless mumbojumbo of words, a view expressed by European scholars in the last century and held by Arya Samajists and other Indian scholars to this day.
There is a two-fold danger today of perpetuating this erroneous notion. The first stems from philosophy which would relegate mantm to hocus pocus dustbins. Mantm is verifiable not by what it describes but by what it effects, if it creates that somewhat complex feeling in the practising person.”3 Heinrich Zimmer says, “Mantm is Power, not a mere word or speech which the mind can contradict or evade. What the mantra expresses by its sound exists, comes to 347 pass. Here if anywhere, words are deeds, acting immediately.
It is the peculiarity of the true poet that his word creates actuality, calls forth and unveils something real. His word does not talk, it acts. The mantm is the Word which is vehicle of mystical forces. Mantms are inward and spiritualized words. It is blasphemous to call them secular words.”4 About the meditation on mantras in Buddhism, the German Buddhist monk Anagarika Govinda says, “Buddha’s spiritual power is present in the mantm but the impulse which amalgamates the qualities of heart and mind and the creative forces which respond to the idea and fill it with life, this is what the devotee has to contribute. If his faith is not pure, he will not achieve inner unity; if his mind is untrained; he will not be able to assimilate the idea if he is psychically dull; his energies will not respond to the call; and if he lacks in concentration, he will not be able to co-ordinate form, heart and mind.”5 Mulmantar and gurmantar have a profoundly exalted
place in Sikh religious and mystical discipline and practices:
The hymns of Guru Ganth have given elaborate interpretation of Mulmantar and Gurmantar in Sikh Scriptures. We give only a few quotations.
A.G, Guru Arjun, p 10028b Count Keyserling has rightly said, “Man is exactly as immortal as his ideal and exactly as real as the energy with which he serves it.” Scholars completely lacking higher moral and spiritual perceptions have dehumanized and sterilized some of the most exalted and refined aesthetical and mystical doctrines of Sikh religion. “A merely historicalor philological interpretation of a rnantra is indeed the most superficial and senseless way of looking at it, since it takes the shell for the kernel and the shadow for the substance; because words are not dead things, which we toss at each other like coins and which we can put away, lock up in a safe or bury underground, and which we can take out.”9
POTHIS : ANTHOLOGIES OF GVRBANIWhen Guru Nanak set up and institutionalized the Sikh Church at Kartarpur he fixed three daily prayers (Nitnern) for all initiated Sikhs nearly twenty years before he left this world.
The prayers were Jajpi, Rahiras (Guru Nanak’s verses) and Arti Sohila (Guru Nanak’s verses).10 When some disciples who came from far off places asked, “Sire, when can we have a glimpse of your divine presence again” Guru Nanak replied, “My physical and temporal body is transient; but the Shabad, the Bani is my real Personality and Being. Contemplate it and you can achieve nearness to me.”11 So it became an article of faith with Sikhs to have a collection of Hymns of Guru Nanak in the form of Polhis. The Sikh Sangats of far off places had such collections. The hymns of Kabir and other Nirgun Bhagtas were also collected.
Guru Nanak passed on a definitive collection of his own hymns and those of some Bhagtas to Guru Angad. Those authentic collections were given by Guru Angad to 349 Guru Amar Das, whose own collections were considerable, Goindwal became the ancestral home of our fourth and fifth Gurus. When Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjun came to Amritsar the original Pothis were still at Goindwal, but copies and the original works of Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjun were preserved in Kotha Sahib built just opposite the Harimandir (Golden Temple). Adjacent to Kotha Sahib, Guru Hargobind built Akal Takht.
A Manuscript copy of Bhai Mani Singh’s Sikhan di Bhagatmala copied within three years of his martyrdom and other printed versions report the following historical facts which are supported by other historical documents of considerable importance.
Bhai Gopi Mehta and his fair companions came to the Presence of Guru Arjun. They humbly said, “O true King of kings, on hearing the Bani (Hymns) of the Satguru the mind is inspired by reverence and devotion. But Prithimal, Mahadev and other Sodhis (refering to Meharban) have written Bani with the signature line of ‘Nanak’. On hearing the compositions of these Sodhis the mind of the listener is filled with vanity and crafty thoughts.” “On hearing this well-founded and convincing com-plaint Guru Arjun said to Bhai Gurdas, “Now we have Sikhs who can discriminate between the Bani of the true Guru (true Prophets) and false Guru (false prophets). The spiritually enlightened Sikhs today perceive the difference between authentic Bani (Sachi Bani) and fake Bani (Kachi Bani) of imitators and pretenders, but in future it may be difficult. So collect all the Bani Pothis for the compilation of Granthji.
Also, simplify the Gurmukhi alphabet (Gurmukhi akhar sugam kichai) so that everyone may read them easily (Sabh kisai de viichan vich sugam hovan). So all the collections of Bani were collected and kept in a room (at Amritsar) (kothai vich banian ikathian kitian). Guru Arjun then asked Bhai Gurdas to bring all the Bani Pothis that were with Baba Mohan (at Goindwal). Bhai Gurdas said, “Gurudeva, Mohan has not given 350 the Pothis to me. Please go yourself and acquire them.”12 Guru Arjun went to Goindwal and with his moving and touching songs on the hidden magnanimity of Mohan his maternal uncle and the eternal glory of Mohan the Eternal Lord, cast such a spell on Mohan that he opened the doors of his chaubara and humbly offered all the Pothis to Guru Arjun which were brought on Palanquin which is still preserved in Goindwal.
PASHAURA SINGH’S PROSAIC AND DISCURSIVE OBSERVATIONS ON
SOME RECENSIONS OF ADI GRANTHIn the second and third chapters of his thesis Pashaura Singh makes superficial observations on Goindwal Pothis, Kartarpur Bir and other recensions which he has neither seen nor studied the text of anyone of these volumes. He has seen some old copies in Punjabi University and other places, but says nothing even about the Japji and other important texts of these recensions. He only repeats the remarks of his Guide, Dr Hew McLeod here and there.
Without giving an iota of internal or external evi-dence, and without quoting a single sentence from his-torical documents, and without refuting contemporary or near contemporary evidence about the canonization of Adi Granth (known earlier as Pothi Sahib or Granth Sahib) as Guru and successor of Guru Gobind Singh, he makes a blasphemous statement saying, “The foregoing examina-tion of the early manuscripts reveals that GNDU MS/1245 was one o’f the many Drafts on which Guru Arjun seems to have worked to produce the final text of the Adi Granth in 1604 A.D.” (Thesis Chapt. 2, P. 60). According to Pashaura Singh, both the Sikh Panth and even Guru Gobind Singh failed to produce a final standard edition, a task which according to him and his Guide was fulfilled by the illiterate ruler Ranjit Singh with the help of a council of scholars whose names are not mentioned by him.