«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 ...»
Although the Text of MS/1245 has no Bhagat -Bani, Pashaura Singh turns to Kartarpur to record twice in his thesis (pages 26 and 174 of Thesis) to heedlessly support Hew McLeod’s theory that the purpose of includ-ing the Bhagat-Bani of lowcaste medieval saints was none other than attracting disciples from low-caste Hindus, The number of these hymns of low caste Bhagats also was gradually increased in proportion to their support to Sikhism. On pages 26 and 174 of his thesis Pashaura Singh refers to Kartarpur Bir saying that Bhagat Dhanna’s hymn “Gopal tera arta” in Dhanasri Rag and Ravidas’s hymn Begampura sahar ko nau were interpolated in the seven-teenth and eighteenth centuries reflecting a situation in which Jats and cobblers were attracted into the Sikh fold in large numbers. These hymns are found in all recensions prepared before 1700 A.D. and were among the first important hymns of Ravidas and Dhanna. No one had 369 ever changed a word not dared to interpolate in Guru Gobind Singh’s authorized version prepared at Anandpur called Adi Singhasan Damdama. I have two dated recensions prepared during the life-time of Guru Gobind Singh, before the Adi Granth was installed Guru. These hymns are in their proper places even in much earlier recensions. The suggestion that they were interpolated in seventeenth or eighteenth century is highly mischievous and blasphemous.
This theory of Hew Mc Le od also suggests that because the largest number of hymns included in Adi Granth are those of Kabir (weaver: Julaha) and Skeikh Farid ( a Muslim), the largest number of followers of the Sikh Gurus obviously were weavers (Julahas) and Muslims. Next in importance and numbers as followers were tailors inspired by Namdev’s Bani and cobblers because of Ravidas. Jats should have been minimum as in Adi Granth hymns of a Jat saint are only a few.
By making such unsubstantiated suggestions I do not know whether Hew McLeod and Pashaura Singh are making a fool of their readers or the Canadian academic world or themselves.
No one who has even a rudimentary knowledge of Sikh history believes in such harum scarum bluff theories of Hew McLeod, projected through Pashaura Sirigh.
BLASPHEMOUS SUGGESTION OF RANJIT SINGH AS FINAL COMPILER
OF STANDARD EDITION OF ADI GRANTHThere are more than half a dozen contemporary historical evidence of the installation of Guru Granth as Guru by Kavi Sainapati: Guru-Sobha Granth, Bard Nath Mall, Bhai Nand Lall and other contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh who had spent nearly their whole life in the Guru’s durbar. The most important document is Hukamnama of Mata Sundari, wife of Guru Gobind Singh, now in the possession of Bhai Chet Singh of Bhai Rupa village which strongly condemns those cults whose leaders tried to become eleventh Guru of the Sikhs. In it some cults are named. Besides God and the Shabad (Word of the Guru) 370
Quoting Hew McLeod as his sole authority Pashaura Singh writes, “A careful survey of the early manuscripts reveals that there was no one version of the Adi Granth that was accepted by all the Sikhs in the eighteenth century. Maharaja Ranjit Singh abolished the gunnatta (collective decision of the community). He also made efforts to bring forward the doctrine of Guru Granth, a doctrine which affirms the authority of a Scriptural Guru.” (Thesis p. 82-83). “It is quite possible that Maharaja Ranjit Singh appointed a council of prominent Sikh Scholars to prepare the authorized version of the Adi Granth”. (Thesis P. 84).
History cannot be out of fantasy theories and wild imaginative suggestions. Neither Hew McLeod nor Pashaura Singh explain how over a hundred dated copies of the authentic version of Adi Granth still exist all over India and even in Kabul and Dacca which were written and completed long before Ranjit Singh was born. Ranjit Singh never summoned a council either of saints or of scholars on any religious issue.
But during the last 25 years of his life the atmosphere of his durbar was so full of voluptuary activities backed by Dogra Chiefs of Jammu and Kashmir that we have given documentary evidence to show that even the High Priest of Golden Temple considered his sons’ frequent visits and involvements in Court 371 affairs an insult to his prestige and position.
HEW MCLEOD’S AND PASHAURA SINGH’S DEFINITION OF
FUNDAMENTALIST SIKH SCHOLARSHew McLeod and Pashaura Singh give fantastic defi-nition of fundamentalist scholars. Sikh scholars who try to fix only one meaning to a text are called fundamentalists while those who according to their knowledge and spiritual perceptions give more than one interpretation are liberal. There is no such division amongst Sikh theologia. According to this division Bhai Vir Singh is liberal while his brother Dr Balbir Singh is a fundamen-talist.
When the Gurus or Bhagtas wrote the hymn they had in their mind one meaning and only one experience and vision.
Different scholars try to reach this real meaning in different ways. No scholar throughout Sikh history has ever claimed that his meaning and interpretation is the final and the only correct one. Bhai Vir Singh told me that he tried to record all the written traditions so that the scholars in future may not have to search them and reflect on them separately.
Interpretation of Adi Granth requires the following equipment for its study. (1) Good knowledge of Prakrit, Apabhramsa, Punjabi and Persian.
(2) a good knowledge of semetic as well as HinduBuddhist doctrines. (3) Most important of all an intuitive perception and experiences of the moral and spiritual expe-riences of the hymns is essential. (4) A good knowledge of the Grammar of Adi Granth. If any of these is lacking the interpretation will reveal the shortcoming. There is no such thing as Singh Sabha tradition, Udasi tradition, etc. Faridkot Tikka was prepared during Singh Sabha Movement. Pashaura Singh gives it a fanciful name of Intuitional. Bhai Vir Singh started work on his exegesis when he left the Singh Sabha Movement far behind him and even Akali movement was on the decline.
SHABAD-SHLOKA DEFINITIONPashaura Singh tries to give a novel interpretation of 372 Shabad-Shloka relation.The word Shabad is used in a num-ber of senses in Sikh Scripture. It is used for Gurbani, Un struck Music, Name of God. The Shlokas are generally connected with Pauri in Vars. The word Pauri is the exact Punjabi translation of the word Sura. Both these words mean step of a ladder by which a person mounts. When a shloka is attached to a padavali and not a Pauri, the padavali is called Shabad which means a hymn. We have given our comments on the odd and irrelevant comments of Pashaura Singh in his thesis. He has neither examined the Kartarpur recension, nor the Goindwal Pothis. His comments on other recensions are extremely superficial and he says nothing positive or substantial about the texts of these recensions. His attempt to upgrade this Mina-Cult GNDU MS/1245 of eighteenth century and place it historically above Kartarpur recension with the magical trick of Latin formulas and McLeod-Style utterly incorrect and misleading of the type he uses for janam-Sakhis has ultimately boomeranged on him. As his guide, Dr Hew McLeod does not consider it necessary to give any historically reliable evidence for all his recklessly hostile assumptions, conjectural statements.
Pashaura Singh also fails to quote a single trustworthy historically correct statement. On the other hand all well established published and un-published documents and studies on Adi Granth contravene and controvert all his capricious and fantastic statements picked up exclusively from Hew McLeod’s books, or superimposed on Pashaura Singh’s thesis by his Guide.
graphic style of the Pothis is distinctly different from that found in GNDU MS/1245. Pashaura Singh also is wrong when he says that the whole GNDU MS/1245 is in one hand. It is written at least by four or five scribes. He attributes the writing to Bhai Gurdas and suggests that an entirely different hand in the end means that Bhai Gurdas improved his handwriting.
What Pashaura Singh calls a unique feature, it actually exposes the Manuscript to be fake from one end to another.
Each Rag has a separate index, but both Pashaura Singh and his guide fail to note that these indexes do not tally with the contents. No page or folio number is given.
It is quite obvious that these Indexes are picked up from some other collections without checking whether they would fit in here or not. The order of the Ragas, the order in which different chhandas are placed are all irregular and not found either in any Pothi or recensions of Adi Granth.
Following his Guide Dr Hew McLeod, Pashaura Singh time and again tries to prove that there was no authentic version which was installed by Guru Gobind Singh as the Guru. As Hew McLeod has a sustained tendency of rejecting or ignoring all historically correct documents and never quoting any historical document in support of his own fantasy theories, both he and his headless students like Pashaura Singh reject what all European and Indian schol-ars have accepted. Even Dr
Ernest Trumpp confirms this historical fact, when he says.:
“The Guru felt that his dissolution was near at hand, and ordered his Sikhs to keep ready wood (for cremation) and shroud. Having done so they all joined their hands and asked, “O true Guru, whom will you seat, for the sake of our welfare, on the throne of the Guruship?” He answered: “As the nine Kings before me were at the time of their death seating another Guru on their throne, so shall I now not do, I have entrusted the whole society (of the disciples) to the bosom of the Timeless Divine Male (Akal Purkh). After me you shall everywhere mind 374 the book of the Granth-Sahib as your Guru; whatever you shall ask, it will show to you. Whoever be my disciple, he shall consider the Granth as the Form of the Guru.” Hav-ing uttered these verses he closed his eyes and expired A.D. 1708 (pp xcvi).
Dr Hew McLeod and his students like Pashaura Singh have gone far beyond even Dr Trumpp in constructing utterly false history and unfounded mendacious doctrines which no Sikh worth the name ever accepts.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. Pashaura Singh’s Ph.D. thesis “The Text and Meaning of Adi Granth” submitted to University of Toronto in 1991 came to the notice of Sikh Institutions and Intelligentsia when it was widely circulated. Dr. Hew McLeod was Pashaura Singh’s Guide in this research work.
Almost all views expressed in this thesis have been challenged by Sikh writers in U.S.A. and Canada. Neither Pashaura Singh nor Dr Hew McLeod have been able to defend their views. In Punjab the issue was virtually ignored at first. I received a copy of Dr Pashaura Singh’s thesis on 20th November 1992. In December 1992 a protest agitation and criticism of Dr Piar Singh’s book in Punjabi “Gatha Sri Adi Granth” flared up. I have refrained form expressing my opinion in Newspapers and magazines. I was able to acquire a zerox copy of major portions of GNDU MS/1245 and Dr Piar Singh’s book on 9th January 1993. I have expressed my views after a thorough study of Pashaura Singh’s thesis and Dr Piar Singh’s book.
2. Winand M. Callewaert et al: The Hindu Padavali of Namdev : A Critical Edition of Namdev’s Hindi Songs with Translation and annotations: Moti Lal Banarasi Das, Delhi 1989.
3. Agehananda Bharati: The Tantric Tradition p. 102
4. Heinrich Zimmer, “Ewiges Indian”. p. 81 f.
5. Lama Anagarika Govinda: Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism.
6. mul maritar hari nam rasayan kahu nanak pura paya.
(A.G. Guru Nanak Maru, p. 1040)
7. Gurmaritara chitar nanak dukh na thivai (AG. Guru Arjun. V. Cujari p. 521) 8. (a) gurmantar shabad sach dina ram sach shabad dhyaya 375 marigal gaya chuka manahu andesa (A.G. Guru Arjun. Vadhans p. 576) (b) Gurmaritar avakhad nam dina (A.G. Guru Arjun Maru p. 1002)
9. Lama Anagarika Govinda : Foundation of Tibetan Mysticism p.
10. Then Baba Nanak came and settled at Kartarpur. He put away the Udasi robes of a holyman He put on worldly dress, and established his own Pontific throne (manji) and preached like a prophet The Ganges flowed backward when he reversed the tradition and selected Angad a disciple as his successor His sons refused to live in complete obedience;
Their minds were not pure and receptive, Guru Nanak gave expression to inspired Gurbani Which shed Light and dispelled all darkness There always were discourses and discussions on divine knowledge and experience Unstruck Music awakened many a sleeping minds and consciousness.
Early in the morning the disciples meditated on and ricited Jap in the evening Sodar and Arti were sung.
(Bhai Gurdas: Var 1, pauri 38) Thus Jap, Sodar and Arti had already become canonized prayers during the life time of Guru Nanak, when he settled at Kartarpur.
11. Addressing Mula Khera Guru Nanak said: “No matter where you live, if you mould your life according to the principles of Sikh doctrines, you shall be serving me, living in my Presence and under my divine protection. My physical personality is only on apparitional form of my Inner Self and Personality. But the Word of God which shines in my heart and soul in my spiritual body. It is the Attributeless Form (Nirgun svarup). If you meet only my physical Person you have to part with it sooner or later. But if you meet my Inner Mystical Personality which is identical with the Word of God Shabad you will never be separated from it. You will be with me in mind and spirit all the time.” (Bhai Mani Singh:Sikhan di Bhagat Mala Sakhi 3. Ms f. 44.)
12. Bhai Mani Singh’: Sikhan di Bhagat Mala Sakhi No. 88.