Guru Gobind Singh Jee By DR L D Mohan

Guru Gobind Singh Jee

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The fame of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, as a religious and military leader is so great that his achievement as a poet, has remained hidden from public view. He has not only inspired the North Indian public with a strong impulse to defend their religion and national interests from the merciless onslaughts of alien races, countries and cultures, but also gave a new direction to hindi poetry, which had become effeminate and lifeless under the influence of the degenerate riti kavya. His volumeteric compositions are alive with the heroic sentiment (Veera Ras)

With his inspiring tunes he infused life into a dying nation and roused it to revolt against the tyrannical Moghal rule.
In his own words
जिन को जात धर्म कुल नहीं सरदारी नहीं भई कडहिं !
इन्ही को सरदार बनाऊं तभी गोविन्द सिंह कहलाऊं !!

Guru Gobind Singhs teachings are compiled in Dasham Grantha. This voluminous tone is the collection of numerous works of poetry that the Guru composed at different occasions. Included in the volume are Japu, Akala Astututa, Tentis Saval. Sabda Hazare, Chaubis Avtara, Chandi Charitra (ukti Vilasa), , Chandi Charitra II and the autobiographical Vichitra Nataka.
The poems of Guru Gobind Singh can be classified in three groups:-
1. Purely Devotional Songs
2. Ballards of Chilvalry
3. Love Songs or Biographical Ballads
4. Devotional poetry includes Japu, Akal Astuta, the tentis saval, the Sabda Hazare and Janana Prabodha .

It represents the Nirguna content of hindi poetry. The  Prabodha propounds the tenets of Sikhism in 125 verses in keeping with teachings of earlier Gurus.

The songs of chivalry are also mixed with devotional element in as much as the heroes of most of these well known epic avtaras Gods and Goddesses. As such all these works belong to Saguna content of hindi poetry.
The Prabodha propounds the tenets of Sikhism in 125 verses in keeping with the teachings of earlier gurus
The songs of chivalry are also mixed with devotional element in as much as the heroes of most of these well known epic Avataras , Gods and Goddesses. As such all these works belong to Saguna content of Hindi Poetry. Chivalrous deeds of 24 well known hindu Avatars are narrated  as many lengthy inspiring poems. Considering the volume and content the Rama Avatara and Krishana Avtara, are to be classified as Mahaq Kavyas ( Great Poems) Heroic content is pervading both the chandi charitras. The autobiographical Vichitra Natakka as also the sastra – nama – mala purana are also veer kavyas. All these works of poetry were composed with the purpose of inspiring courage, self confidence and bravery in the hearts of demoralized hindu society.
Guru Gobind singh wrote as many as four hundred biographical ballads, dealing mainly with misdeeds of bad people. In addition to this he wrote Zafarnama and eleven Persian Hikayats. We can begin a survey of his individual works with Japu. It contains 199 verses in praise of formless God. The language is Hindi influenced by Sanskrit. But there is an occasional admixture of Persian as well as Arabic works.

कि राजप्रभा हैं ! कि धरम पूजा हैं !
कि आलोक वरनैं ! कि सरता अभरनैं !
कि जगतं कृति हैं ! कि छत्रं छत्री हैं !
कि ब्रह्म सरूपे हैं ! कि अनबऊ अनूपे !
कि आदि अदेव हैं ! कि आरिज अभेव हैं !
कि चित्र चित्रम चित्रहीन ! कि एकम अधीने !
कि रोजी रजाके रहीमे रिहाके ! कि पाक विआद है !
कि गैबुल वैद है ! कि अफ़आल गुनाह है !
कि कि शाहन शाह हैं !
कि कारण कुनिंद है ! कि रोजी दीहंद है !

In the tradition of later Sanskrit Stotras salutations are addressed to God through his diverse manifestations.

नमो सूरज सूरजे , नमो चन्दर चन्द्रे
नमो राज राजे नमो इंद्र इन्द्रे
नमो अन्धकारे नमो तेज तेजे
नमो वृन्द वृन्दे नमो बीज बीजे

Numerous metres are used They are Chhappaya, rual, Bhujanga, Prayata, Charapata, madhumara, Chachari, Bhagavati, rasavala, Hari, bomana and achhari etc
Akala Astuti
This poem contains 270 verses. The last half verse indicates the work is incomplete. The subject again is formless God alluding to the transitoriness of the world contrasting it to His omnipresence, immanence,
Agelessness immortality and other qualities, prayers are addressed to God.

अद्वै अलख पुरख अविगामी ! सब घट घट के अन्तर्यामी
And

निरजर निरूप हो कि सुन्दर सरूप हो कि भूपन के भूप
कि दाता महादान हो !
On firm love for the formless God

कहा भयो लोचन मूँद क़े बैठि रह्यो बक ध्यान लगायो
न्हात फिरयो लिए सात समुद्रन लोक गयो परलोक गँवायो
वास कियो विस्वन से बैठ क़े ऐसे ही एस सुवैस बितायो
साच कहौं सुन लेहुँ सबै जिन प्रेम कियो तीन ही प्रभु पायो

The poem at places enters philosophic depths of vedanta. Non dualism is taught throough simple illustarations:-
जैसे एक आग ते कनका कोट आग उठे
न्योरे न्यारे हुई के फेरी आग में मिल रहिंगे
जैसे एक धूर ते अनेक धूर पूरत है
न्योरे न्यारे हुई के फेरी आग में मिल रहिंगे
जैसे एक धूर ते अनेक धूर पूरत है
धूर के कनका फेरी धूरि ही समाईहिंगे
जैसे एक नव ते तरंग कोट उपजत है
पानी के तरंग सबै पानि ही कहाहिंगे
तैसे विस्व रूप ते अभूत भूत प्रकट हुई
ताहि ते उपज सबै ताहि में समाहिंगे
The meters used in this work are Chaupai, Kavitta, tomara, laghu niraja, bhujangapravata, padhari, totaka, naraja, ruamal doha, tribhangi, savaje etc
Tentis Savale
In this work idol worship is denounced and worship of true God is taught:

काहे को पूजत पाहन कउ कछु पाहन में परमेशवर नाही
ताहि पूजि प्रभू करिकै जिह पूजत ही अघ औघ मिटैहों
आधि व्याधि के बंधक जेतक नाम के लेट स्त्रे छूट जाहिं
ताहि को ध्यान प्रमाण सदा इन फ़ोकट धरम केरे फल नाही
The poem closes with a note of pessimism and emphasizes the hollowness of this world on conformity with the hindu belief:-
पुत्र कलत्र न मित्र स्वै उहाँ सिख सखा कोउ साथ ना देहीं
चेत रे अचेत महापसु अंत चार अकेलोइ जैहे
तो तन त्यागत ही सुन रहे जड़ प्रेत बखान त्रिया भजि जहें
पुत्र कलत्र पुमित्र सखा इहं विघि निकारहु अईसु दे हैं
भउन भंडारा चरा गर्ड जेतक छाड़ंत प्राण बिगान कहैं हैं
चेत रे अचेत महापसु अंत चार अकेलोइ जैहे
Sabhda Hazare
Sabhda Hazare contains ten sabdes sung in various tunes (reges n amely raga sorathaa raga kalyana raga bilavala tilanga kafi and raga devgandhari. The subject matter is praise of one attributeless God, good conduct and denuciation of hypocricy. Spiritual uplift culminating in final merger with param purusha can be made by inculcating the yamas and niyamasof the Yoga sastra:-
रे मन ऐसो कृ सन्यास
अल्प जहार सूलप सी निद्रा दया छिमा तन प्रीती
सील संतोष सदा निरवाहीवो है को निर्गुम अतीति
काम क्रोध हंकार लोभ हठ मोह न मन सो ल्यावे
तब ही आत्म तत को दरये परम पुरख क़ह पावे
Janana Prabodha
In 125 verses it describes the attributes of God, such as omnipresence, formlessness, agelessness, immortality etc. and offers prayers to Him. In the chopai entitled “Benati” the poet entreats God to destroy the wicked and emancipate the virtuous. Some verses are in the form of dialogue between the soul (Atma) and God (Pramatma) The soul enquires from God the verdict of past eons on kingship (Raja)
Charity (Dana) Enjoyment (Bhoga) and salvation (Moksha) But the reply is confined only to charity (Dhana Dharma) Possibly the poem is incomplete.
As else where there is multiplicity of meters eg Haraja Tribhangi Kalasa, Chhappaya, Kavitta, Chaupali, Doha, tomara, etc.
Chobis Avatara
Chobis Avatara of the book forms part of the Vichitra Nataka. It treatsw of numerous incarnations, 24 of Vishnu, 11 of Brahma and 2 of rudra. Of Vishnu the following are taken up for poetic treatment : Machha, Kachha, Manmohini, Nara-narayana, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana Parasarma, Brahma, Rudra, Jalandhra, Arahanta, Manu, Dhanvantri, Suraja, Chandra, Rama, Krishna, Nara, Bodha, Nihkalanki, and Mir Mehdi. Of brahma the following incarnations are eulogized: Valmiki, Kasyapa, Sukra, Brihaspati, Six saviours, the sastras and Kalidas Dattatreya, and Parasanatha are praised in separate poems as the incarnations of Rudra It will be seen that there is some departure from the Puranic concept and list of Avataras Brahma and Rudra are treated as Avataras of Vishnu. At the same time they also are provided with their own incarnations. A number of famous leaders of huindu thought and letters are exalted to the status of incarnations. Such are Arahanta, Manu Dhanvantri, Buddha, and all those treated as Avataras of Brahma and rudra. Mir Mehdi falls in a class apart. Rama and Krishana the two most important incarnations of the Hindu pantheon, rightly receive lengthy treatment. Thus the Rama avatara and Krishan Avatara are full fledged epics.
RAMA Avtara
राम परम रघुवंश को अवतार ! दुष्ट दैतन के संहारक संत प्राणाधार !
The Ramaavtar contains 864 verses divided into twenty six cantoes (Adhayas) It was composed in 1698 AD. It deals with the stroty of Rama in details. The colophon indicates that the post had mainly drawn upon the Ramayana of valmiki, thoough he is much briefer. He has excluded the irrelevent sub stories (akhyanas) However some of the incidents and narrations included in the Ramavtara are not found in the Ramayana of Valmiki. These seem to have been taken from the lateer works, such as Uttara Rama Charitra of Bhavabhuti. Tpo this latter class belong the incidents subsequent to the return of Rama Sita and Lakshmna to Ayodhia. The lava Kusha battle is not alluded to in the Valmiki Ramayana. But the Rama Avtara narrates the same in fine verse. It must be stated that the treatment of the plot or plots borrowed from olders ources ids highly origional.
The poem begins with a brief introduction to the dynasity of Raghu. Then follow the wedding of Dasaratha, his granting boons to kaikeyi, death of sravavna kumara etc. The poem closes after dealing with the exit of Sita, battle with Lava Kusa and rise to heaven of rama, Sita, Lakshmna and all the citizens of Ayodhya. In the prastvana the poet introoduces the story of Rama by stating the reason for his incarnation.
अब मैं कह्यो राम अवतारा ! जैस जगत में करे पसारा !
बहुत काल बीतत भयो जबै असुरन बंस प्रकट भयो तबै !
असुर लगे भू करै वरवाघा —————
Guru Gobind Singh has made some departuree from the accepted norms of Sahitya Shastra. He doesnot divide his poem into sargas nor does the legth of his adhyas conform to injunction that the3y should be neithreer too long nor too short. The ninth adhyaya contains 109 verses while the eleventh only three. At places he is inordinately brief. He devotes only a few lines to kakayis boon, a topic on which Tulsidass waxed so eloquent as to have filled up many pages. Narrative moves swiftly:….
न लजिये न भाजिये ! रघु एस को बनेस को !
विदा करो धरा हरो ! न भाजिये वराजिये !
वसिष्ठ को दिजिष्ट को ! बुलाइये पठाइये !
नरेस जी उसेस जी घुमे घिरे धरा गिरै !
Simmilarly Lakshmna Surpnakha incident is got rid off in one verse. Because of this tendency to abridgement the continuity of the plot has suffered considerably. Connecting link some times is so thin that incidents appear to be unconnected independent. The story of kishikindha and sundra kandas has rather been much too abridged. However the poem contains enough merit to deserve attention though it may not conform to all the definitions of Mahakavya. In fact these definitions themselves need revision. That is why some modern critics like Ram Chandera Shukla Shambhu Nath Singh Nagendra etc consider only the development of a plot dialogue and depiction of a sentiment as the essential features of a Maha kavya all works of poetry bearing the mark of originality and genius depicting life in its variety and totality and infused with a sentiment (rasa) The invaluable treasures of world literature such as Ram Charit Manas Sura Sagara Kamyani Illoid Odessy etc, can be classified as great poems 9maha Kavyas) only, If we accept such definitions. The Ramaavtara has to be judged on these criteria. Some of its descriptions are highly movoing e.g. when rama comes to bid farewell (PP 355 Ramavtara) to Kausalya the mother’s heart bursts out in words.

हा रघुवीर सिरोमणि राम चले बन को मोहि कउ त्यागी !
नीर बिना जिम मीन दसा तिस भूख प्यास सब भागी !
In addition to the well known mstrika and varnika Hindi meters like chopai, doha, soratha, kavitta, savaia, chhappaya etc, the new Punjabi meters, baint and viraqj and Persian ones rekhta and makara have been used. The total number of metres used is fifty. The language is braja bhasha dialect of hindi. There is occasional use of Persian words like haram, harim, tamasa, bajigari. At places Punjabi idiom also finds a place.
जुटे बीर जुझारं घगाम वज्जिअम
The hero of Rama Avatara is dhirodatta Alankaras like simile (upama) metaphor (rupaka) alliteration (anuprasa) and vamaka are made use of:-
Rupaka
किधों देव कन्या किधों वासवी है !
किधों जच्छनी किन रनि नागनी है !
Allitration
1. कउन कुजात कुकं कियो जिन राघव को इह भांति बखानियो
2. सुने कूक के कोक्ला कोप कोनो मुखं देख के चन्द दारे रखाई
3. झूम झराक झरी झट बल बिसाल दवा उनकी उर लागी

When Rama Sita and Laxman enter the forest the poet gets an opportunity to display his art of portraying natural scenery :
ऊँचे द्रुम साल जहां लब्धि बट ताल तहाँ !
ऐसी ठउर तप कउ पधारे ऐसे कउन हैं !
Tulasi was a reformer. So was Guru Gobind Singh. Tulsi wrote for the moraql upliftment of society. So did the Guru. He presents the example of Rama for emulation to the warrying claimants of Guru Gaddi: –

पित आगिया ते बन चले तज गृह राम कुमार !
संग सिय मृगलोचिनी जाकी प्रभा अपार !
Krishna Avtar
The author admits the Bhagvata Puran Dasam Skandha as the source of Krishana Avtara It is even more voluminous than the Ramaavtara . The main events are described in sufficient details. It is devided into four parts namely Bala Lila, Rasa Mandala, Gopi Viraha and Yudha Prabanda. Each of these is devided into smaller sections.
In the Krishana Avtara the Guru has followed the Maha KAvya model. The poem begins with the usual benediction (mangla acharna) The hero is dhirodatta. The main sentiment ( angi rasa) is heroic (vira) Vatsalya and sringara are introduced as ancillary sentiments (angas) Krishana the hero is portrayed as brave and war like person. However occasionally sringara becomes so dominant that one is likely to mistake it for the main sentiment. In fact the parts entitled Rasa mandala and Gopi Viraha appear to be in the tradition of Ritit Kavya. They describe erotic scenes like Gopi rushing to meet krishana on the bank of river Yamuna attracted by the sweet tunes of his flute and then indulging with him in dance music water games or secret nocturnal meetings between them of jealousy of pangs of separation etc.
प्रीत निबहिये तो करिये ! पर यो नाहीं काहू सो प्रीत करैए !
आप गए मथुरा में जदुराई न जानत पीर पराई !
Tunes of Krishna flute as also his attractive figure exercise an irresistible charm not only ladies of Braja but also birds and beasts
रीझ रही ब्रज की सब भामन जउ मुरली नन्द लाल बजाई !
रीझा रहे वन के खग और मृग रीझ रहे धुन जा सुन पाई !
चित्र की हो गई प्रतिमा सब स्याम की और रही लिव लाई !
It must be noted that even in these context the Guru avoids obscenity and depicts only healthy aspects of love The does not excite the base instincts as does the Riti Kavya. He never seems to loose sight of his main objective of guiding society toewards the good and away from the evil in the tradition of Valmiki and Tulsi. Thus even when describing the charm of Rama and Krishana for the fair sex he never allows his readers to loose sight of their character as the destroyers of the wicked. His tunes in fact are mainly war like. Through them he gave a new direction to Punjabs Hindi poetry which till then was effeminate and degenerate. Pertrait of nature so rare in the 17th century poetry is occasionally met with in the Krishna Avtara.

जहां चाँद की चांदनी छाजत है ! जहां पैट चमेली के सजेउ ही है !
सेट गुल राजत हैं जिह जमुना डिंग आई वही है !
Upama, Rupaka and Utprekha are found here and there.
For upama see:
खारन के घन बीच विरजीति मानहु विज्ज छटा है !
The poem is mainly in savaia metere. Kavita Chopai and doha etc are also used. But the greatest variety of metres found in the Ramavtara is missing here.

CHANDI CHARITRAS
Guru Govind Sigh has given this title to two poems. For distinction one is called the Chandi Charitra (Ukti Vilasa) and the other the Chandi Charitra (Dvitiya) The source of first is indicated in the colophone as the Markandya Purana. It is based on its Durga Saptasati, which is regarded as the first work in the Saptasati tradition. After the latter many satsais were produced on erotic devotional and didactic subjects. Guru Govind singh introduced a heroic subject in this poem. This was the demand of his times, when fanatic muslim rulers tyrranising their hindu subjects and suppressing freedom of worship. The author has not explicitly mentioned the source of his second Chandi Charitra. So the opinion differ but the narrative is closer to the Durga Saptasati of the Markandeva Purana then to the Devi Prasanga of the Bhagvata Purana. Both these poems of heroism (Vir Rasa) are written in Vraja Bhasha. Both narrates battles that the Devi fought against the demons. There is no particular plot. Guru,s objective was to rouse his fellow country men against the fanatic and oppressive muslim rulers by drawing their attention to the ultimate victory of good over evil as recorded in the sacred books. It becomes clear from the boon he solicits from the Devi.
देह सिवा वर मोहे इहै सुब करमन ते सभहूं न टरों !
न डर अरि सों जब जाये लरों निस्चै कर अपनी जीत करूँ
अरु सिख हों अपने ही मन को इह लालच हों गुण उचरों !
जब आब की ओध निदान बने अत ही रन मैं तब जूझ मरूं !!

That the Guru was fighting the forces of evil is stated here. The demons invaded heaven and surrounded the king of Gods.
सकल दैत्य इकठे भए करवो जुद्ध को साज !
अमरपुरी मन्हि जय के घेर लिए सुर राज !
The illusion is to the occasion when the Moghal Armies besieged the Guru in his Anandpur fort. Lo and behold, the enemy was stunned to see their weapons and missiles turning into flower wreaths as soon as they touched the Devi’s body.
शस्त्र अस्त्र लगी जिते सभ फूल माल हुए गए !
कोप उप बिलोकि अति भूत दानव विस्सै भए !
Kali Devi kills them all singlr handed :
केते मारे डारे ओ कोतक चबाए डारे
केतक बगाय डारे काली कोप तब ही
बाज गज भारे तेतों नखन सों फार डारे
ऐसो रन भयंकर न भयो आगे कभहि !!
Bachitra Nataka
This poem is autobiographical. The Guru gives details of not only of his present life but also of the previous one. He states that in his previous life he performed penances-and meditations at Hemkund in the snow capped Himalyan peaks, and that eventually he succeeded in achieving identity with the Akal Purukh ie the time less God, who blessed him as his son and assigned him the task of reestablishing Dharma.
धर्म संस्थापना
अकाल पुरुख उवाच !
अमिन अपना सुत टोनही निवाजा !
पंथ प्रचुर करबे को साजा !
जांहि तहाँ ते धर्म चलाई !
कुबुद्धि करन ते लोक हटाई !

In this present life he traced his descent from the haloed Surya Vamsa, calling himself a descendant of Rama. From the latter his genealogy to Nanak and himself.
In chapter VII, he briefly stated that he was born at Patna when his father was in pilgrimage to the East (Eastern Tirtha) Later he was brought to the Punjab, where he grew up and received education. Then he gives a moving account of the battles of Bhangani and Nadaun. He was twenty two years old when he fought first of these two.
It is interesting to note that Guru Govind Singh never claimed to be a devine incarnation. He reprimanded those who proclaimed his godhead. He rather expressed happiness in remaining the God’s humble servant.

जो हमको परमेसर उचरी है !
ते सब नरक कुण्ड महि परिहेँ !
मो को दस तवन कर जानो !
या मैं भेद न रनच पछाणो !
मैं हों परम पुरुख को दस !
देखें आयो जगत तमासा !

CHARITRA UPAKHYANA
The Dasama Grantha contains roughly 404 tales called the Charitropakhyanas. Chief chracters of these tales being women, they are also known as the deeds (or misdeeds) of women (Triya Charitra) The sources are Puranas, the Punjabi ballads ( Kissasa), the folk tales and Indian History . The date of composition is 1696 AD. The plot is complex. Many sub stories have been woven into the main story. But the sub stories, too are complete in themselves. Raja Charitraratha orders his son to be killed on the bidding of his newly wedded queen. However his far sighted minister tells him numerous didactic tales in order to dissuade him from this foul deed. The author does not describe the effect these tales had on the Raja’s mind.
Dr Harbhajan Singh has divided these tales into four categories: The tales of Love, Of Heroism, Tales for Entertainment and Erotic Tales
Some folk tales of love have been given a puranic color. Thus hir and Ranjha are described as incarnations of Menaka and Indra.
राँझा भयो सुरेश तहाँ भई मेनका हीर !
Note worthy are the high character and constancy in love of the heroins of these tales. They themselves take the initiative in achieving their goals. Padmini herself assumes command of her Armies and leads them to the battle. Rukmani and Sahiba themselves device plan to keep out of unwanted marriages. Kakeyo and Dropadi plunge into battle fields to save their husbands lives. Eight of tales have been included primarily for entertainment. Their source is folk literature. Some are traceable to Sanskrit works like The Panchtantra e.g. Foolish Weavor and the four thugs. The erotic tales or tales of deception are in the tradition of Riti Kavya. These contain sketches of evil women. Cunning deception and fraud are their chief traits. These women appear to be actuated by spirit of revenge agAINST MEN WHO HAD SLIGHTED THEM. Un equal marriage, too, it is suggested, leads women in bad ways. It may be noted that for all their faults and foibles these women have one virtue that of constancy in love.
Both the aspects of love find a place in Upakhyanas: but love in separation (Vipralambha Springara) dominates:- –

आज सखी मैं यौ सुन्यो पह फाटत प्रिय गोन
यह हिवरे झगरा परयो पहिले फटीहै कौन !
टैंक तौल टन न रह्यो मस रह्यो न मास
विरहिन को तीनो भले हाड चाम अरु स्वास
साच कहत है बिरहनी रही प्रेम सो पागी
दरत बिरह की अग्नि सों जरत काठ की आमि !

Description of physical beauty and its effect on lovers is not totally missing

बैठ हटी साजि की श्रृंगार सब सखियन मैं
यही वीच कान्ह जू दिखाई आन दे गए
तब हे तो लीनो है चुराए चिट मेरो भाई
चेटक चलाई मानो चेरी मोहि कै गए
खा करों किट जाओं मरों किधों विष खाओं
बील विसवे मेरे जान बिच्छू सो डसे गए
चिखन चीतोंन सो चुराए चिट मेरो लियो
लटफ़टी पर सों लपेटी मन लै गए !
All these upkhyanas are in their totality didactic. Whatever aspect of human nature the Guru touched was designed to create an ennobling effect This is equally true of the tales of love of chivalry of entertainment or even of eroticism. The last service to warn the unwary hindu youth against falling into the trap of bad women and loosing dharma. Such is the story of Viram dev who excites the love of the daughter of Ala-ud-din khilji, but spurns her advances and prefer death in battle then accepting islam.

To be continued

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