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A Celebration Of Gurmukhi.

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ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ॥


(From Fareedkot Teeka)

Blessed is the paper, blessed is the pen, blessed is the ink.

Blessed is the writer, O Nanak, who writes the True Name. ||1||

(Guru Nanak Sahib. Raag Malaar Ang 1291)

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ

ਵਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਿਹ॥

This year sees the celebration of the 300 year Gurgaddi Divas of Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaaj, to mark the occasion I have put together an extended photo-essay.

This photo-essay is a celebration of Gurmukhi calligraphy and typography, it is my hope to show just a little of the rich and beautiful varieties of Gurmukhi calligraphy and typography.

The collection of images is fairly wide ranging and personal, I have tried to post the pictures in some semblance of a chronological order , but as I have said it is a very personal collection of images and examples that have moved me in someway.

The pictures are culled from a number of sources, some of these sources are highly contentious. The aim of the post is to celebrate Gurmukhi - I have avoided any critique, commentary or evaluation of the material. The traditions surrounding the particular 'Pothis' or 'Saroops' has not been challenged and a non judgemental approach is taken with regard to any issues about 'Authenticity'.

This post is a celebration - it is my hope that readers will take this on board and make any responses in that vein.

The post includes images from controversial groups and literature - as well as 'saroops' which include 'raagmala' and 'saroops' which do not, as well as 'saroops' which have 'non traditional' material.

It is not my aim to upset or cause controversy - I am in no way endorsing any particular viewpoint - infact all viewpoints will find much to bolster their own particular views - I have chosen not to comment and keep this post a 'Celebration' of the wealth, diversity and beauty of Gurmukhi in all it's forms, from the 'Nisans' and 'hukumnamey' of the Guru Sahiban to 'Saroops' of Guru Sahib, to everyday examples of 'Gurmukhi'.

I hope you all enjoy this extended photo-essay - I am very aware it is a huge collection, I have tried to prune it and edit it , even so it is still huge. I hope you will persevere to the end, your patience will be rewarded with a veritable feast of wonderful images.


Traditionally two manuscripts lay claim to being the earliest Sikh manuscripts, these are in the possession of the family of Prithi Chand (eldest brother of Guru Arjan Dev ji) and the family of Baba Mohan, the son of Guru Amar Dass ji.

The Guru Harsahai Pothi

The Guru Harsahai Pothi was in the custody of the Sodhi Family, descendents of Prithi Chand, the eldest brother of Guru Arjan Dev ji, until it was lost in 1970.

The Sodhis claim it is the Pothi of Guru Nanak Sahib - scribed during their lifetime and given to Guru Angad Sahib as a signifier of the 'Gurgaddi'.

From a purely textual viewpoint Mann (2001) has argued that the script is of a very early type, the 'kanna' vowel sign is not present, and many 'Gurmukhi akhar' have not attained their standard form.

The 'Mangalcharan' of the Guru Harsahai Pothi - ' (Ek) Oankar Sachnam Kartaar' 'Baba Nanak' - the lack of the 'kanna' and the form of the letters suggest it is a very early manuscript.


The Guru Harsahai pothi


The Goindval Pothis

The Goindval Pothis are in the custody of the Bhalla Family , descendents of Baba Mohan, son of Guru Amar Dass ji, hence they are also called the Mohan Pothis. Tradition says that these pothis were scribed during the Guruship of Guru Amar Dass by Sahansram, son of Baba Mohan. One pothi is in the custody of the Bhallas at Jalandhar and the other is with the Bhallas of Pinjore.

The Gurmukhi characters in these pothis, like those of the Guru Harsahai pothi are of an early type as are the vowel sound signs. If we look at the opening pages we see 'minakari' , decoration and illumination , also note how the pothis are bound 'portrait' book style, not in the classically Indian Pothi 'landscape' style.

In this image we can see the Gurmukhi characters as recorded in the Goindval pothis.


The following images are from the Pothi at Jalandhar ;

The '//' (blessing) and date



Raag Suhi



Sample of the handwriting of the second scribe of the Jalandhar pothi



Images from the Pothi at Pinjore

Raag Raamkali


Raag Sorath



Raag Sarang


The Kartarpuri Birh

The Kartarpur Birh Manuscript is traditionally agreed to be the 'Pothi Sahib' scribed by Bhai Gurdas as Guru Arjan Dev ji dictated. The birh is in the custody of the Sodhis of Kartarpur , descendants of Dhirmal, the great grandson of Guru Arjan Dev ji.The descendents of Dhirmal and those of Prithi Chand are part of the 'Panj Mel' known as 'Minas' ('scoundrels') groups ostracized by Sikh Sangat, as enshrined in 18th century Rehatnamey, because of their contention that they constituted a separate 'Guru' lineage. It is for all these reasons (and many other reasons) that much intense debate, arguement and disagreement has surrounded this birh.

As I have said we are celebrating Gurmukhi - so will look at this aspect. The Kartarpuri Birh shows how Gurmukhi was standardized by Guru Sahib - the elements, early character forms and vowel sounds such as the lack of the use of a 'kanna' or the use of a 'bindi' in it's place, that can be found in the Goindval and Har Sahai pothis, have become more familiar and standardised in this birh.





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Nishans and Hukumnamey

Here we have examples of the handwriting of the Guru Sahiban (many of these were lost in the army attack on Amritsar in 1984)

The nishan of Guru Arjan Dev ji from the Kartapuri Birh


Penti Akhari - Gurmukhi alphabet in the hand of Guru Arjan Dev ji


The Nishan of Guru Hargobind Sahib in a pothi in the Central Sikh Museum



The Nishan of Guru Har Rai Sahib - from a saroop of Guru Sahib at the Ram Rai Darbar , Dehra Dun


A hukumnama sent by Guru Har Krishan ji to the Sangat of Pattann (Fareed ke)


text of hukumnama


The Nishan of Guru Tegh Bahader Sahib from a Saroop in the Patiala Archives


The Nishan of Guru Tegh Bahader Sahib from a Saroop of Guru Sahib in the Reference Library Amritsar


a 'Hukum Khaas Furman' from Guru Tegh Bahader Sahib to the Sangat of Patna - thanking them for their assistance at the birth of Guru Gobind Singh ji.




Hukumnama from Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib to the Sangat of Mirzapur




Here is a very interesting Hukumnama sent by Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib - to the Sangat of Pattann - it is interesting for two reasons first is the line "Sarbat Sangat Divali no darshan aavana" - confirming the tradition of seeking Darshan at Divali and the second extremely interesting reason is Guru Sahib's use of the term "Khalsa" in the line "Pattann di Sangat Sri Guru Ji da Khalsa he"




Hukumnama from Guru Gobind Singh ji to the Sangat of Banaras




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Hukumnama from Guru Gobind Singh ji to Bhai Triloka and Bhai Rama from the fanily of Phul - also known as the Patiala Hukumnama - includes the line 'Tera ghar mera assey' - later used as the 'Motto' on the crest of the Patiala Maharajas







Nishan of Guru Gobind Singh Ji - from an illuminated folio of Sri Aad Granth Sahib, Patna


Nishan of Guru Gobind Singh - from a gutka in the possession of the Bagrian Family


Hukumnamey of Mata Sahib Devan







Hukumnama from Banda Bahadar to Bhai Dharam Singh & Param Singh of Village Bhai Rupa - includes the line "Panj Hathiyaar badh aavana" and his 'Stamp' or 'mohur' - 'Degho Tegho Futteh u Nusrat be dirang Yaafat az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh' in Persian - Also noteworthy , though it is not very clear, is that the Hukum begins with 'Ek Onkar Fateh Darshan' - The Bandai Greeting.



In this hukumnama from Banda Bahada the 'mohur' is clearer, as is the 'Fateh Darshan' greeting - Also note the interesting injunctions in the 'Rehat'




Hukumnama from Mata Sundari to Bhai Rame village Bhai Rupa


Continued in Celebration 3 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37204

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Puratan saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

The British Library Saroop of Aad Granth Sahib - a very early manuscript illuminated in a characteristic Persian style. This manuscript dates in part from the middle of the 17th century (c.1660-75), and is therefore one of the twenty oldest known copies in existence. It was purchased by the British Museum in 1884 from the Reverend A Fischer, who had been the principal of a missionary school in Amritsar, Panjab.



This saroop of Sri Aad Granth Sahib is in a private North American collection - it is dated 1673 CE , though this has not been corroborated. The Birh contains the Nishan of Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib - the calligraphy is beautifully crisp, clear and easy to read.





The Baba Ala Singh Burj 'Khas Birh' - it includes the nishan of Dasmesh Pita - the pictures shows the closing 'ang'.


This Birh of Sri Dasm Granth is said to have been scribed by Bhai Daya Singh Ji ( the first Panj Piara) - it is housed at the Aurangabad Gurdwara in Maharashtra



This Saroop of the Damdami Birh was scribed by Baba Deep Singh Ji - it is housed at Gurdwara Chhevin Padshahi, Dist. Jalandhar.


Hazoor Sahib birhs -

This birh has illustrations of the Guru Sahiban





'Barhe Baba ji'


It is said this bir was scribed by Bhai Mani Singh



Continued in celebration 4 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37205

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Dasm Granth Birh



A Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib dated CE 1795 from the Collection of the Guru Nanak Museum Leicester


The Patiala 'Sunehri Birh' , the closing angs of this birh .



A 'birh' scribed in Kartarpur in 1799 (CE 1742)


Patna Sahib Birh - the calligraphy is exceptional - the picture shows a note by the scribe saying the birh has been copied and checked against the Aad Granth birh scribed by Bhai Gurdas ji.


The Wonderful calligraphy of a Patna Sahib birh - the flowing vowel signs and perfectly formed gurmukhi 'akhar' are hypnotic.


The 'tatkare' - 'contents page' of a birh in the possesion of the family of the Late Dr Chanan Singh Chan of Coventry UK. The birh is dated 1749 (CE 1692) - If you look at the top line you will see, after the mangalcharan, the line 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib' - this is extremely rare as such a description is not found in most 'hath likht' saroops


Puratan Saroops from the collection of Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi in Una.





Spectacular calligraphy of a Puratan Saroop housed at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Hounslow. UK


Illuminated saroops decorated in Kashmiri Style

From the collection of the Punjabi University Patiala - dated circa 1820



From the collection of Sikh Dharma Espanola USA


From the collection of the British Library dated circa 1859


From the Sikh Reference Library Amritsar



Continued in celebration 5 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37206

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Decorated Dasm Granth From the collection of the British Library


The decorated Saroops are from the Collection of the National Museum , New Delhi.






When examining puratan saroops it is difficult to ascertain dates and build up any information about the scribes, the lack of provenance means their study is a very difficult task. One Saroop which has received much attention is housed in the collection of the National Museum , New Delhi. Not only is the patron of the Saroop known the scribes and dates are also known as they are part of the manuscript. This Saroop is a profusely decorated copy of the Damdami Birh - lavishly illuminated in Kashmiri style. The saroop was commissioned by Sodhi Bhan Singh of Haranpur (district Jhelum) between 1839 and 1843, it was produced by Kashmiri artist Miha Singh and the scribe Misar Prakas. Bhan Singh was a Sodhi decendent of Prithi Chand (boycotted as 'Minas') some have argued the production of this birh was an attempt to show the real or imagined postion of Bhan Singh - he is shown at the centre of many illustrations, in one he is worshipping Mahakaal and in another performing a 'Havan' . The Sodhis regained some standing and prestige during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - it is thought this birh was intended to be presented to Ranjit Singh - the birh is of a very large format - intended to be on 'display'.

The birh also has a number of very interesting elements - Indic deities such as the incarnations of Vishnu are shown in 'dvadashakamalas' - twelve petalled lotuses, perhaps the most striking element is the 'Onkaars' that head the 'raag' sections and the 'tatkara' - they are composite illustrations showing Devi, Brahma, Vishnu and Lakhsmi - sometimes the 'Oankaars' are flanked by Ganesh and Hanuman. The 'Formless' made from Indic deities.

One image stands out for me above all others, that is the illustration on the 'Tatkara' - the contents page. Here we see the tradition of Bhai Banno, it is said that when Guru Arjan Sahib finished dictating the Aad Granth to Bhai Gurdas the scribe , he sent Bhai Banno to Lahore to have the Pothi bound. Bhai Banno made a copy of the pothi which he also had bound. He presented both the volumes to Guru Sahib. In the illustration from this birh we can see Bhai Banno and Bhai Gurdas standing by their respective 'birhs' and Guru Arjan Dev Ji is pointing to the birh scribed by Bhai Gurdas as the accepted birh.

There is another tradition which claims that Guru Sahib accepted both 'birhs' - terming Bhai Banno's birh the 'Khari Birh' - this tradition claims that Guru Sahib had wanted there to be only one birh - which Sangat would seek out and gain 'Mukti' - but as Bhai Banno had created a copy - this would start a tradition where copies would be available to all and all who sought their darshan would gain 'mukhti'.

I will leave it to the reader to make their own minds with regard to the reasons the illustrations of deities and other subjects are present in this 'birh' - here are some illustrations;

Contents page and Bhai Banno Illustration and the 'First Oankaar'







The images of the Guru Sahiban and Indic Deities and Heroes - surrounding Bhan Singh worshipping Mahakaal






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Japji Sahib







Raag Raagnis





The B-40 Janamsakhi - dated 1733

Baba Nanak speaks to Shah Rukn-ud-Din of God - in thirty verses of 'Koranic pattern' expounding Sikhi


Baba Nanak , Guru Angad and Mardana


episodes from the life of Guru Nanak





Janam sakhi from 1777



Bhai Bala Janamsakhi early 19th century - Punjab State archives


A lavishly illustrated Janamsakhi in the archives of Sikh Dharma Espanola USA


The Janam Sakhies of Bhagat Kabeer Ji and other Bhagats - from the Guru Nanak Museum Leicester UK.


Continued in Celebration 7 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37208

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Janam sakhies from the National Museum New Delhi






Janam sakhi from the Sikh Reference Library Amritsar.


Hath Likht Granths

18th century Sri Sarbloh Granth Sahib


Prem Sumarg Granth


Hanuman Natak



Yog Vashishat (Nirban Prakaran)


Asv Medth Granth (Vedic Philosphies)


Waphae Dil Jawahar Panjabi Translation of a Persian Granth on Medicine by Hakime Misari Maharaja Sansar Chand


Hakim Balwinder Singh - a village doctor who uses ancient prescriptions of Unami and Ayurvedic medicines


Continued in Celebration 8 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37209

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The decorated 'Kavach' or Char Aina armour of Guru Gobind Singh Ji - in the possession of the Royal House of Patiala







A decorated Chakar


Sikh Raaj

Gutka of Rani Jindan

The exquisite Gutka of Rani Jindan - in the collection of the British Library - Sri Sukhmani Sahib in gorgeous calligraphy, white letters on a black background with gold decoration


The Seal Ring of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - carved emerald set in gold - reads " Akaal Sahai Ranjit Singh 1869 "(CE 1812) - in reverse as it would be used as seal.




I recently had the incredible good fortune to acquire some hand written Gutkas - the gutkas include a large amount of Gurbani all arranged by Raag and include Bhagat Bani - The calligraphy is so beautiful.








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A document dated 1934 (CE 1877) bearing the Mohur of Sri Takht Sahib Akaal Bunga - giving the authorized method of preparing "Amrit" and giving rehat.






The Large Birh - Sri Amritsar - scribed by Bhai Pratap Singh (completed in CE 1908)




Tiny manuscripts

A small Chaupai Sahib gutka


A tiny Gurmukhi manuscript in the Field Museum Chicago USA



Continued in celebration 10 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37211

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Frescoes, Inscriptions, & Darvaaze.

Mural from the walls of the Ram Rai Darbar, Dehra Dun (Murals date from the 17th to the 19th century) - depicting Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana - note the Gurmukhi Script and the depiction of the instruments


Mural from the 'Akhara' of Bala Nand, Amritsar


The Murals from Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib - the 'later' style of Gurmukhi calligraphy was a factor in helping to date these murals


Inscriptions on the Gold panels of Sri Darbar Sahib. Amritsar ;

Above the main western door ;


The northern door


The southern door


The original panel in storage


The opening slok from Sri Sukhmani Sahib - Darshani Deori


Darshani Deori - ਸਿਰ ਮਸ੍ਤਕ ਰਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਹਸ੍ਤ ਕਾਯਾ ਰਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾ ਪਰਮੇਸ੍ਵਰਹ ॥ Guru Arjan Sahib ang 1358



The 'Dhup Ghari' - Sundial, next to the fifth lamp post of the northern side of the causeway that leads to Darbar Sahib - built by Sardar Lehna Singh Majithie in CE 1852


Window on the first floor of Sri Darbar Sahib


Walls of the First floor




naqqsh work - "ਬਹੁ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬਹੁ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤੀ ਪੇਖੇ ਸਰਬ ਢਢੋਲਿ ॥ ਪੂਜਸਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਅਮੋਲ ॥" Mahalla 5 ang 265


Panel from the Gold Doors of Sri Darbar Sahib - Showing Guru Ram Das Sahib - excavating the Sarovaar - and the 'Dithey Sabhe Thaav' Shabad



The Memorial erected by The 35th Sikhs battalion in 1894

"Eh chakar paltan number 35 Sikh ne tareek 16 (?) April 1894 mutaabak 5 Vasaakh san 1952 Nu Siri Darbar Sahib Amritsar da darshan karan di ar Ishnaan karan di yaadgar vich Ardass karaiya "


Saragarhi Memorial


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Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib - Aj da Furman - Mukh Vaak



memorials on the marble



Inscription at Mukhtsar Sahib


Inscription on the Palki /Canopy above Guru Sahib in Darbar Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak - shabad from raag Bilaval M1 ang 795 " ਭਗਤਿ ਹੀਣੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਜੇ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਤਾ ਖਸਮੈ ਨਾਉ ਨ ਜਾਈ"


Inlay work from Sri Hazoor Sahib


Mukh Vaak Sri Hazoor Sahib - Guru Granth Sahib and Sri Dasm Granth Sahib


The Darwaza - door to the room that houses the shastar of Guru Gobind Singh at Takht Kesgarh Sahib


Door at Harian Velan Gurdwara (Hoshiaarpur)


Main Darwaza Panja Sahib (Pakistan)


Foundation stone Panja Sahib


Panja Sahib


Multi Lingual Road Sign showing way to Kartarpur Sahib Pakistan


Door panel from Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib - Sacha Sauda - 'Nanak Ke Ghar Keval Naam'


continued in celebration 12

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These next images are distressing pictures of Gurdwaras in Pakistan , abandoned since partition.

This wonderful early 19th century Gurdwara was built by Baba Nath Singh - in Sialkot, to commemorate the Stay of Guru Nanak . Note how the Marble Slabs have been covered in Koranic verses .




A particularly upsetting picture of a Gurdwara in Abottabad - the abandoned 'sukhasan asthan' full of debris particularly so.



Gurdwara Shahid Ganj - Lahore in around 1949


Singh Sabha, ManSehra - now a library but still bears it's Gurmukhi name plate


The arrival of the British in India saw the development of the Punjabi printing press - as early as 1808 Prof. William Carey had developed Gurmukhi printing characters and published a Punjabi Grammar in 1812. With the spread of Christian missionaries in Punjab,after the Fall of the Sikh Empire, the New Testament was translated and printed in Gurmukhi letters and dictionaries were produced.

Gurmukhi Printing akhar produced by Carey


The 'father' of Gurmukhi printing is seen as Dhani Ram Chatrik - a famous Punjabi poet - he was the first to print saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at his Sudarshan Printing Press.

Initially Saroops of Guru Sahib were lithographed - 'stone printed' or 'pathar chhaap' and gradually were printed using characters made from metal.

Lithographed Saroops and other literature

Lithographed saroop from the collection of the British Library - published by Matbai Aftaab Press in 1868 at Lahore



from the collection of the Guru Nanak Museum, Leicester. UK


A lithographed copy of Giani Gian Singh's 'Twareek Guru Khalsa'


Vichar Sagar


A printed Gur Partap Suraj Granth


Printed saroops

A Miniature saroop




Sri Dasm Granth Sahib


continued in celebration 13 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37214

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Modern Hath Likht Saroops

Gurmeet Singh



Beautiful pictures of Keertani Master Niranjan Singh performing the sewa of writing a saroop of Guru Sahib.



Hath Likht Saroop



Chaupa Singh Rahit Nama

The first page of a handwritten copy of the 18th century manuscript of the Bhai Chaupa Singh Rahit Nama - that was, up until the 1984 attack, in the Sikh Reference Library Amritsar.

The exceptionally clear handwriting is that of W H Mcleod.


Laridaar Gutka - printed by the Satnam Trust, Canada




Some unusual Gurmukhi typefaces





Continued in Celebration 14 http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?showtopic=37215

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  • Topics

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    • As per usual,  our openness and tolerance is seen as weakness for others, and they take full advantage. 
    • This is nothing new. I tried setting up an initiative to defeat this trend; happened a good few years back on this forum, but some of us decided to establish a body of sorts which would publish and distribute literature regarding the falsity spread by other faiths vis-a-vis Sikhi. Because we were based in different countries we used to stay in contact via email to exchange ideas and finalize publications in our own respective countries. I wrote and dispatched a particular article on the falsity that Bhagat Fareed was a hardcore Muslim and by incorporating his Bani into the Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh Gurus proved their respect for Islam and hence all Sikhs should become Muslims. Here are some examples of what I wrote: "For Bhagat Farid, and Sufis in general, life is but nihilistic. Such a perception, logically, leads to renunciation and asceticism. Farid asserts:

      'Farid, had my throat been slit on the same day as my umbilical cord, I would not have been prey to trouble nor weathered such hardship. Farid, I alone thought I was in pain, but the whole world is in pain. I ascended my roof and witnessed each and every house in flame.' 
      -Saloks 76 and 81, ASGGS, Ang. 1381-82.

      When Guru Nanak Dev Ji had entered Multan, the local Sufis had tried to eject him on the pretext of his criticism of the Sufi order. The Guru had rejected their renunciation and described their acts of obeisance as charades. With this particular incident in mind, Guru Arjan Dev Ji elected to reply to Farid with the following:

      'The world is akin to a garden, Farid, in which poisonous plants take root. They for whom the Master cares suffer not at all.' 


      'How sweet be this life oh Farid! With health the body blooms, but they who love their dear beloved Lord are rarely found.' 
      -Mohalla 5, Saloks 82-83, ASGGS, Ang. 1382.

      The writings of Farid were incorporated into the Sikh canon to refute the notion that life, in general, is painful. For the Gurus life is what one makes out of it. Ignorance, naturally, leads to pain whilst knowledge leads to joy. By positing their views below Farids', the Sikh Gurus refuted the Sufi notion of life being suffering in toto.'   "The Sufi path of asceticism is best summed up in the following conversation between Sayid Muhammad Gesu Daraz and a suppliant. Daraz was the acolyte of Shaikh Farid Nasir-u'd-Din-Chiarg-i-Delhi, the disciple of Nizam-u'd-din Auliya who was the successor to Baba Farid. This conversation is recorded in the 'Jawama-u'l-Kilam' and focuses on the physical suffering weathered by Baba Farid in his search for the Divine. Pledging his mind to the Lord's path, the latter Farid hung upside down in a well for forty days and nights. 

      'Then one day when Sayid Muhammad Gesu Daraz was recounting the pledge of (Baba Farid), a man queried: "how is it that blood does not run out of the eyes and mouth of the person who undertakes it and how is it that foodstuff and other bodily elements do not come out of him?" The Saint explained that in a body as emaciated as that of Farid, the question of food and blood no longer lingers as austerities have reduced such a body to mere skeleton.' 

      Bhagat Farid writes:

      'Farid, if one were to hack my body, not a drop of blood would ooze from it. Those who are imbued with the Lord's love have no blood left in their beings.' 
      -Salok 51, ASGGS, Ang. 1380.

      Guru Amardass Ji comments on this Shabad in the following way:

      'The body is all blood, without blood it cannot exist. Those who are imbued with the Lord's love have not a single drop of selfish blood in their bodies. When the fear of Divine enters one's being, it becomes emaciated, and the blood of greed departs. As flames purify metal, so too does the fear of the Divine cast out impure inclinations. They alone are beautiful, Nanak, who are dyed with the love of the Lord.'
      -Mohalla 3, ASGGS, Salok 52, Ang. 1380. 

      Farid's ascetic undertones are sidelined, by the Guru, to provide a more rational interpretation of his words. Farid's "blood" becomes "selfish blood" and the external is transformed into the internal. It is not the physical frame which matters but the internal, the spiritual. Only through spiritual austerities can inimical inclinations depart; physical austerities only invite weakness and prolonged suffering."   "Now, we will look at the Bani of Bhagat Farid along with the relevant commentary by the Sikh Gurus. 

      'Farid, she who did not enjoy her spouse when black-haired, will she enjoy him when grey-haired? Love the Lord with such love that your hair's color will never change!'
      -Salok 12, ASGGS, Ang. 1378.

      Bhagat Farid holds that youth is conducive to following the spiritual path, in old age it is a lost cause. Guru Amardass Ji, who became the third Nanak at the age of 72, provides a commentary on this shabad:

      'Farid, whether one's hair be black or grey, the Lord is ever present if one remembers him. True love does not come from one's own desire, that cup of the Master's love he himself gives to whomever he desires.'
      -Mohalla 3, Salok 13, ASGGS, Ang. 1378.

      Bhagat Farid believes effort to be necessary vis-a-vis the spiritual path; the Sikh Gurus concur but to an extent. All transpires due to the Divine Will and man's efforts have a limit. Divine Will is more pontificate than man's efforts; man should elect to reside in this will and recognize where effort ends. From a Nanakian perspective effort is necessary in the temporal paradigm, but in the spiritual paradigm success depends on the Divine initiative. Guru Nanak Dev Ji states:

      'Does it matter if one is a swan or heron on whom the Lord casts his glance? Sayeth Nanak that if he so desires, crowns turn into swans.'
      -Mohalla 1, Salok 124, ASGGS, Ang. 1384. 

      The Lord is supreme in all that he does.

      Bhagat Farid then utilizes martial scenery:

      'One who is not welcome by her in-laws, and who has not place at her parents' house; and whose spouse does not care an iota for her, is she truly a happily married wife?'
      -Salok 31, ASGGS, Ang. 1379. 

      The 'parents' house' symbolizes societal life, the 'in-laws' spiritual life and the 'spouse' the Lord. Bhagat Farid is commenting on those spiritualists, those devotees, who desire the best of both spiritualism and societal living. He feels that by pursuing both concepts, one ultimately fails in all that he/she commits to. Guru Nanak Dev Ji comments:

      'At her in-laws and at her parents' house, she belongs to her spouse, the Divine beloved who is inaccessible and unfathomable. Oh Nanak! That one is indeed a happily married bride, who pleases the indifferent one.'
      -Mohalla 1, Salok 32, ASGGS, Ang. 1379.

      In contrast to Farid, the Guru elaborates that via Divine Grace both the temporal and spiritual paradigms become successful for the devotees. The true spiritualist is one who pursues both fields rather than renouncing one over the other. Nonetheless, hypocrisy in both fields should be avoided."   "In Suhi Lalit, Bhagat Farid forewarns:

      'You could not construct a raft when required. Now that the ocean is full and overflowing, it is hard to traverse. Do not touch the saffron flower for it's color will depart, my beloved. Rahau.
      The bride is weak and her husband's command is too hard to bear. As the milk does not return to her breast, nor will the soul return to the body. Sayeth Farid, friends, when the spouse calls this soul departeth crestfallen and the body is reduced to ashes.'
      -Suhi Lalit 1, ASGGS, Ang. 794.

      Guru Nanak Dev Ji, prior to Farid's verse, expounds:

      'Make meditation and restraint the raft via which to traverse the flowing stream. Your pass will be comfortable as if there is no ocean or overflowing stream. Your name alone is the unfading matter with which this cloak is dyed; my Beloved Lord, this color is perennial. My dear companions have departed, how will they meet the Lord? If they are united in virtue, the Lord will unite them with himself. Once united the mortal does not separate if the union be true. The cycle of birth and death is nullified by the True, Eternal Lord. She who removes her own self-centrism sews herself a garment to please her spouse. By the Guru's words, she obtained the fruit of the nectar of the Lord's word. Sayeth Nanak, my companions, my spouse be dear to me. We be the Lord's handmaidens; he our husband.'
      -Mohalla 1, Suhi 4, Ang. 729.

      Bhagat Farid provides a picture of doom and gloom by lamenting lost opportunities. He focuses on old age, where mental and physical faculties are too frail to be attuned to Divine contemplation. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, instead, expounds that it is never too late to focus on the Lord (one should remember Guru Amardass Ji here) for the Beloved is not harsh nor his commands. Via the saffron flower, Bhagat Farid warns of the fleeting pleasures of the world -here today, gone tomorrow- Guru Nanak Dev Ji instead elaborates that all pleasures belong to the Lord and via merging with him, all pleasures become permanent for he is the highest pleasure of all. 

      For Farid, death is the final test; even the faithful, in his view, should fear it for the soul never returns to the body. Guru Nanak Dev Ji however believes death to be a joy and a privilege of the valorous, for it is via death that one perfects his/her union with the Divine.

      From a Nanakian perspective, Farids's words apply to the manmukh and not the Gurmukh. But even a manmukh is worthy of Divine Grace, provided he recants at the ultimate moment."   "Bhagat Farid, a Sufi, informs us:

      'My physical frame is oven-hot; my bones are the firewood. If my feet fail, I shall walk upon my head to meet my Beloved.'
      -Salok 119, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid utilizes the metaphor of a kiln to depict his love for the Lord. A Sufi, his ascetic concepts however were not in line with Gurmat. Guru Nanak Dev Ji refutes his call for such asceticism by commenting:

      'Do not heat your physical frame oven-hot; burn not your bones like firewood. What harm have they committed that you torture them such? Rather behold the Beloved within your soul, Farid.'
      -Salok 120, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid is of the mind that the human body is but a prison and the soul it's captive. The Sikh Gurus believe that the human body is a temple, a locus where the Lord resides and awaits his devotee. By utilizing this Shabad of Farid, the Gurus desired that their Sikhs imbue the same zeal as the Sufi did whilst also discarding his asceticism; hence the refutation. Throughout Bhagat Bani we find a similar concept at play. The Sikh Gurus initiate a written dialogue with the radicals of their time and provide an unalloyed picture of the Divine Truth. For Farid, creation is a falsity; for the Gurus it is a truth. Farid's asceticism renders the body as simply an object; the Gurus however perceive it to be divine and encourage their Sikhs to employ it in the service of the Divine by societal living." I printed all this out in pamphlet form and took it to a local Nagar Kirtan when I was in Australia and man, some of the Muslims burned. A few confrontations occurred, "how can you say Guru Nanak was a non-Muslim?!" "Gobind Singh made you anti-Muslim." "Your history is a lie, all Gurus were Muslims and they even married Muslims!" Basically they were clutching at straws. The pamphlets were enough to make the Sikhs ignore these idiots and they grew worried and left the scene. Later a famous attendant Gyani, from Taksal (and who I will not name), got hold of one of the pamphlets. After having it explained to him he called me over and asked me what jatha I belonged to. I told him none. Then he asked me where I got this information from. I told him my sources. Basically his problem was that I was not crediting any jatha on my pamphlet. He asked me to mention Taksal in them but I refused. Few days later all the pamphlets were thrown in the trash and I was told to abstain from publishing such (and here's how they described them) lies. The youth wanted more, but the Gurughar committee would have none of it. The main problem, here, is the liberal fuddu attitude our qaum has that respect all faiths at the expense of your own.  After this some of us decided to stick to the social media. There was veer Bijla Singh Ji with his Search Sikhism page which, back in the heyday of grooming, forced several Muslim preachers to quit their anti-Sikh proselytizing. There were a few more who set up Tisarpanth. Then there was The Truth of Sikhi and Shamshir Publications. Bijla Singh Ji advised us but out of the three initiatives set up, only one is going strong and the others were forced to close down. Why? Because they had to hit the streets and they faced the same problem which I did- our own elders were and still are shooting us down. If we had claimed affiliation with some jatha, then we would have been lionized.   
    • In that way you're right. It is a big deal. My heart would pain to see anyone lost to Islam especially on a large scale. And your cautionary message is well founded.  But in the fake news, shame Sikhi, propaganda way I feel it was being used. Pfft. In that context I feel more a response of "And? Big deal. Who gives a ****"
    • That's her father in law Tarsem Singh of Hushiarpur, he is the village Granthi.   Her father's name is Monohar Lal of Delhi and her name is Kiran Bala. Sikhs don't have names like Lal and Bala. These are typical Hindu names.
    • I'm surprised to learn there are differences in Bani. If Ram rai can be excommunicated for changing the meaning of a verse (to please the emporer), then it should be impossible for a Sikh to change the words or spellings of Bani. Apart from layout differences (which would occur due to variations in handwriting style and page size), the Bani should be identical in all versions. To allow variations can lead to questioning the authenticity and hence validity of Bani.    Yes it can lead to attacks from without by muslims and others looking to destroy Sikhs faith in Bani, but it can also lead to disruption from within.