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«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 ...»

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He stresses on the belief in one God but is unable to grasp the relation that is made clear between the Eternal Absolute Creator and the All-pervading Spirit: What ap-pears to him pantheism is what is now called Panantheism. He is also quite unaware of the fact that the approach of Guru Nanak to God, Man, Nature and the Universe is not of a speculative philosopher but of a mystical apostle who knows God through the inner experience of His immanence and a direct vision of His Transcendence. God is not speculated upon. He is visibly seen within the Self, within Nature and the Universe. Trumpp finds in the Adi Granth a grosser Pantheism and a finer one.21 The grosser identifies all things with the Absolute and the finer distinguishes 58 the finite beings with Absolute. He is right when he says that in Sikhism “It is the aim and object of the individual soul as a divine spark to be reunited with the fountain of Light, from which it has emanated, and to be re-absorbed in it. As long as it has not reached its goal it is unhappy, being separated from its source, the Supreme.”22 He dwells on the relations of God and Guru in Sikh Scriptures but he is not able to bring out any aspect clearly.


Religious Path in many religions is summed up in brief Triple or Four Fold or Five Fold Duties. Trumpp dwells on the two quite important and popular duties which are mentioned in Adi Granth :Nam Dan Ishnan i.e. remembering the Name, giving alms and practising ablutions” is one. He does not give the details (see Chapter 12 for detailed comments).

The other triple doctrine is Tirath, Tap, Dan: “Austerities (tap), renunciation of the world and its pleasure (Udasl), bathing at holy watering places (tirath) giving of alms (dan) are not denied to be meritorious acts, but they are by no means sufficient in giving complete emancipa-tions as they are not powerful enough to clear away egotism.”23 (on Tirath pilgrimage) see Chapter 12).

REHITNAMAS Trumpp’s approach to Code of Conduct of the Khalsa Holy Order is almost correct. He quotes from Attar Singh’s crude and literal translations of some Rehitnamas. Trumpp writes: Guru Gobind Singh did not and could not essentially change the teachings of his predecessors. He describes the Supreme Being nearly in the same terms in his Jap, as Adi Granth does. The changes and additions he made in Sikhism concerned chiefly the ceremonial and social duties of its adherents; as he received men of all castes and creeds into the Khalsa and endeavoured to weld them into one religion and political body, he set up a number of new ordinances binding on all. These injunctions 59 are laid down in a number of so called Rehitnamas or books of conduct which all pretend to be dictated but none of them appear to be genuine.” (See further discus-sion on Rehitnamas in Chapter 7).

Trumpp also notices some denominations of Sikh panth, some of which were reformatory Ingroups but oth-ers were innovative Outgroups. The Ingroups he has mentioned are Akalis (Nihangs), Udasis, Suthre, Diwane Sadh, Nirmalas and Gulab-dasls (who were like our present day Communist Sikhs). About them Trumpp says: “Gulab- dasis are” an atheistic materialistic sect who deny every creation and the existence of any Supreme Being.”



The presence of the hymns of Bhaktas who in their early life were either Vaislmavas or Hindus belonging to some other sect has tempted many scholars to bracket Sikh ism with Vaishnavism. At first Trumpp also tries to identify it with Vaishnavism and Shaivism, whose doctrines are criticized and rejected in hundreds of verses in the Adi Granth. A Vaishnava is worshipper of Vishnu and a Shaiva is worshipper of Shiva.

Sikhs do not worship any of these gods in any form. They believe in their cosmic existence and role in the creation but they do not accept them as deities worth worshipping.

Trumpp was attracted by the doctrines of Sunya and Nirvana in Adi Granth and this tempted him to say that “Buddhism is in reality, like Sikhism. Although he has seen only the pessimistic aspect of Buddhism he was sur-prised to see the emergence in Adi Granth of Buddhist ideals.

Puran Singh who had studied Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism to the deepest roots of these religions sums up the relation correctly in his book written in 1924. ‘’The attitude of the learned Hindus, both of the past and present, towards Buddhism, and towards the Gurus, have caused me, both as a Sikh and as a Hindu born, a deep 60 wound, as I believed that they and their ancestors before them, in their in tellectual pride and merely speculative spirit of clinging to some mental unrealities as truths, have not permitted Buddhism in the past - the great Buddhism that went and leavened the masses of Japan and Burma and even Chinaand the Religion of the Gurus now, to wipe out the prevalent inertia and not impart the leaven of life which would make for progress.” “The famous intellectual Hindus of our age are, merely excited in their intellectual centres, and they excite others also in the same centres. They talk and declaim. Excitement begets excitement, and they all end in dense fog. They are meta-physicians trying to conquer realms of truth by their won-derful logic.”24 With his ingrained Christian missionary bias, the mental confusion and fog created by his Brah-min advisers, made him purblind to the truth of Sikhs and Sikhism, which all foreigners and travellers could see.


Although Trumpp criticized.Adi Granth from all aspects, he calls it a treasure of linguistic information. He made himself utterly blind to its linguistic wealth by calling even the Prakrit and Apabhramsa of Jayadev a mixture of Sanskrit and vulgar tongue. But when he applied his knowledge of Sanskrit Prosody, and analysed the verses which he grasped correctly, the results are unique and remarkable. Sikh Scholars of the eighteenth century wrote on history and theology in verse and for them the science of versification was common knowledge. But no Sikh Scholar upto the time of Trumpp, had analysed so accurately the Prosody of verses of Adi Granth as this German scholar has done.

On the question of language he merely concludes that the “idiom of the Granth is well worth a closer inves-tigation as we shall thereby get a clearer insight into the formation of the modern North Indian vernaculars.”25 In his analysis he has very accurately marked the syllables, fixed the feet. He shows remarkable knowledge of the 61 metrical laws of classical Chhandas. He says “The Sikhs themselves seem now to have lost all knowledge of metricallaws of the Granth, for I never met a person who could give me the least clue to them, and the learned Brahmins disdain to read the Granth.”26 Trumpp explains the method of analysing the verses correctly and has explained the following verses commonly found in the Adi Granth: Doha (Dohra), Soratha, Dupada, Tipada, Chaupada, Panjpada, AshtjJadi Shloka, Dakhana,Chhant, Pauri, Svaiya and the Gatha. We give below his remarkably correct analysis and statement on Guru Arjun Dev’s Gatha.

–  –  –

khandanaha 11 15+12=27K rS/D B/D Gko/D BkBe fpBk ;kX{ B f;X{s/..

gachena. naina. bharena.. nanaka. bina. sadhii na.

sidhyate. 12+17= 29 K 56 K27 There was a bitter reaction against Trumpp’s translation and offensive Introduction in the Sikh world. Almost all societies protested and some protests were sent to the governor of Punjab and the Governor-General also. Macauliffe who decided to devote his life and resources to the study of Sikh ism delivered two lectures in London one of which was presided by Sir C.M. Rivas and the other by Lord Kitchner. In his first lecture he referred to Cunningham’s labours and Dr Trumpp’s translation of Adi Granth. About Dr Trumpp he said, “When he visited A,mritsar, the headquarters of Sikh religion, he, through the agency of the civil officers, had the Sikh priests of that city summoned before him. In the course of their conference he told them that he was versed in Sanskrit literature and they were not, ergo he understood the Granth Sahib better than they. The conference ended by his pull-ing out his cigar case and perfl1ming the Granth Sahib, which lay before him on the table, with tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco not being in the Sikh religion, the Gyanis fled in horror at what they deemed the profana-tion of their sacred volume. For these and other reasons, partly due to the conservation of the Sikhs at that period, Dr Trumpp was unable to obtain the assistance of compe-tent gyanls or interpretors of the Sikh Scriptures, and af-ter some time he took the Adi Granth to Munich with him, and there aided by German genius of industry produced what he considered a translation of it. Anyone gifted with the powers of divination may be able to understand portions of it; and the manner in which he allowed his odium theologicum to assert itself may be found described in Sikh memorials to the Viceroy. I much regret to have to make these remarks on the departed scholar, who was plodding and earnest 63 in his own way. I only do so because men, who ought to know better, have so often met me with the objective that his work, which the Sikhs regard as a standing insult, is a sufficient exposition of their religion.”28 Louis Henry Jordan in his book Comparative Religion says, “Dr Trumpp beyond all question was but megerly equipped for his task. His knowledge of English was very imperfect, perhaps almost as imperfect as his knowledge of the various dialects which he set.” British officials like Robert Needham Cust, who had blind faith in the presumed learning and scholarship of Ernest Trumpp, wrote in a review in Athenaeum, London 1878, “The real meaning of Adi Granth, is in many in-stances, totally unknown to the Sikhs themselves, who possess no learned class. The Brahmins who from generation to generation have taken pains by commentaries and grammatical treatises to keep alive the meaning or at least some scholastic interpretation of the meaning of their sacred Sanskrit books, would not so much as look at the vernacular effusions of an heritical teacher (like Guru Nanak), any more than Cardinal Manning would look at Bishop Ryles tracts.” There were very few English knowing Sikh loyalists like Sir Attar Singh, whose books in English were used by Ernest Trumpp, but they did not dare to utter a word against a translation patronized and produced by Queen Victoria’s government, but he wrote vehemently against revolutionary Baba Ram Singh Namdhari. This is still the policy of loyalist Sikhs who pretend to be spokesmen of the Sikhs. It is only when Mr. Macauliffe started his work on Sikh history and Scripture, Khalsa Diwan, Lahore and other organizations started lodging protests with the Vice-roy Lord Curzon, ten years after Trumpp’s work was published.

These letters, preserved in I.O.L. and British Museum state: “The translation made by Dr Trumpp is bristling with sentences altogether wide the mark of the meaning, so much so that one regrets the useless labour, the large 64 amount of money spent in vain.” “Dr Trumpp’s translation did not appeal in many cases even to Englishmen.” Even though the Sikhs woke up from the sleep of ignorance and fear of offending the Rulers after a decade, within five years eminent scholars like Pincott and Edmund Candler made an indepth study of Sikh history, culture and scriptures and wrote illuminating articles and books paying tributes to Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh and giving scholarly study of Sikh doctrines and scriptures. We will bring to light the truth about their unmatched contributions in Part II and III of this book.


1. Politi. Cost. 8 April 1859, No. 141-42.

2. ibid : Letter of D.F. McLeod, Financial Commissioner to R.H.

Davus, Secretary to Govt. Punjab dated 13 Nov. 1957. I have seen this copy. It is beautifully bound and preserved.

3. Foreign Dept. Genl A, Dec. 1870, No. 1-2. (Dr Emest Trumpp’s letter dated 5th October 1870 written from Ruttingen, Westemberg to India Office, London).

4. Foreign Dept., Genl. A, July 1869, No. 68-69.

5. ibid.

6. Baba Sham Singh who was considered a Brahm-Giani was placed under the tutorship of Sant Bhai Ram Singh near about 1800 A.D.

Bhai Ram Singh’s father Gurdial Singh and grandfather Gurbax Singh were bodyguards of Guru Gobind Singh upto his last days.

Through his teachers Bhai Ram Singh and Bhai Sahai Singh, both outstanding mystics he knew many contemporaries and near con-temporaries of Guru Gobind Singh. He was given eye witness accounts of the rebuilding of the Golden Temple. He gave charge of his dera to a Sindhi devotee Baba Sahai Singh, who was ousted by Sant-Babas by organized trickstery, incidently met Baba Sahai Singh who is over 90 in 1983. He has the original copy and pre-cious relics of Baba Sham Singh.

7. Emest Trumpp, The Adi Granth, Preface, VI.

8. I acquired copies of these manuscripts from the British Museum in 1976. There are some more Manuscripts available now.

9. Emest Trumpp, The Adi Granth, Preface VI.

10. ibid.,

11. Lee Siegel, Gitagovinda of Jayadeva, p. 233.

12. E. Trumpp, Adi Granth, Preface VII.

13. E. Trumpp, Adi Granth, Introduction, CXXI.


14. ibid., CXXII.

15. ibid., CXXIII.

16. ibid., LXXIX.;

17. ibid., LXXX.

18. ibid., LXXXI.

19. ibid., LXXXI.

20. J. D. Cunningham, History of the Sikhs, First Edition 1849, p.96.

21. Trumpp; Adi Granth; Introduction, C, and CII.

22. ibid., p. CVII.

23. ibid., CXIII.

24. Puran Singh, The Spirit of the Sikh, Vol. I, p. 47, 48.

25. Trumpp, Adi Granth, Introdudion CXXVIII.


27. ibid.

28. M.A. Macauliffe, Two lectures delivered in London presided over by Sir C.M. Rivas and Lord Kitchener.

66 67 PART II



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