Sikh Research and Education Center
Sikh Research and Education Center
655 Old River woods Lane,
MO 63017
Sikh Research and Education Center
About Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Sikh Research and Education Center: Publications: Adi Birh Barai:

Examination of the historical evidence

Examination of the historical evidence

For examination of the historical evidence as given in the preceding Chapter, we shall apply the following three principles -
  1. Reasoning
  2. Events in the life of Guru Nanak Dev
  3. From the cultural pint of view, comparative study of Gurus’ Compositions.


First of all let us examine the three historians’ pleas by applying logic.

(1) First two poet historians’ story appears to be totally hollow. Their whole stress has been securing two books in possession of Baba Mohan, but those books contain a very small amount of Gurus’ Compositions. The third historian has also written an idea to this effect. It was, therefore, not possible to compile Guru Granth Sahib as a very big volume on the basis of those two books. It was necessary to collect more of the Gurus’ Compositions, apart from these two books. Presumably to complete the deficiency of the first two historians, Giani Gian Singh wrote that Guru Arjan issued edicts to Sikhs in all parts of the country and collected the Compositions of first Four Gurus.

(2) Gian Singh’s plea that the Guru collected the Compositions of the Gurus by sending an edict to Sikhs, also does not appear to stand to reason. Who-so-ever reformer emerges on the world scene, he does not work merely as time server to meet a particular situation. Those who adopt time serving measures to meet a situation, the effect of their reforms quickly disappears as soon as they depart from this earth. The posterity can avail of the good work done by that Blessed man, only when his ideas had been reduced to writing as a permanent record. Every ordinary person understands this axiom. The centuries old evils present in the social life of the people, could not be removed merely by verbal reforms of five to ten years. It is for this reason, it was Divine Ordained that Guru Nanak Dev should continue to appear in nine more generations. Guru Amar Das. the Third Nanak in a Slok in Sorath ki Var, page 647, Guru Granth Sahib, has said: “parthai sakhi maha purkh boldai sanji sagal jehanai - In certain context a God’s Man may give sermon to a person, but the sermon has the universal applicability.”

However, the sermons of God’s Men can be made applicable to the whole world only if arrangements were made to preserve them properly. So, it was not the case, that Guru Nanak had given sermon to a person, and had considered the end all of the story and had not preserved it for universal applicability. During the time of Guru Nanak Dev, there was no scarcity of paper, pen and ink. The only way to preserve his Compositions, was to reduce them to writing and keep the record with him. This was the only way his sermons to a particular person, could have the universal applicability.

(3) No one else has as much sense of understanding and responsibility of one’s work, as he himself has. If a God’s Man himself does not preserve in writing the ideas he preaches to remove the evils in a society, he would fail to make these ideas known to the world at large and also to the posterity, for none else can do this job for him.

(4) People go to poetic symposiums to hear poems of learned poets. There are the poems, which when read, are greatly applauded by the listeners, who insist on those being repeatedly read, some are read twice or even three times. We have not seen or heard of any of the listeners, who would be so much influenced by the poems read, that they would listen and at the same time write them down on pieces of papers they would carry with them to preserve them as a gift.. During the time of Guru Nanak, there would have been queer types of people, who allegedly had such inclinations!

(5) On the occasion of Diwali, large number of sadhus assemble at Amritsar every year. They stay outside the city limits, toward Ram Bagh. There is great festivity there, which lasts 5 - 7 days. Many devoted women folk of the city take to these sadhus all sort of delicious foods to eat and serve them with great zeal and utter praises of the sadhus - “hail to sant ji, hail to sant ji”. A big fair is held throughout day time. Sadhus are not only visited by women folk, but men also go there in large number. Among those sadhus, there are some learned ones also. They preach religion to the people. People are fully aware that every year sadhus come there and stay there for few days. People go there to listen to those sadhus. But we have not observed that any person having gone there who would take pieces of paper and writing material with him with the intention to note down the preachings of the sadhus. During the time of Guru Nanak Dev, people had the same nature, which the people of the present age have.

(6) Let us keep apart the nature of men. Guru Nanak Dev had undertaken three long missionary journeys in order to eradicate the evils , which had affected the people in their religious, social, economic and political life. The Guru visited the peaks of Himalayan Mountain Ranges, also visited countries outside India, like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. The Guru had no previous acquintance with any one in the countries he visited. There was no devotee of the Guru in those countries, who would inform people of the Guru’s advent to a place or arrange for his meeting with the people, and reduce to writing the sermons the Guru preached at all places.

(7) We should not take the things as they appear on the surface only. It is quite a different thing for one to speak out a hymn or sing it, and a different proposition for another to hear it being sung and simultaneously write it down correctly. It may be reiterated that it is not an easy thing for any one to write down compositions on hearing them. To expect from the scribers to write every thing uttered correctly and with correct spellings on hearing the Compositions, is only a far fetched idea, not based on reality. Merely to write down a Composition on hearing it for one’s remembrance, and writing it correctly in its minutest detail, are two different things. How many are the Sikhs even today, who even can copy correctly the Compositions from the Holy Book? (It should also be borne in mind that the Guru’s Compositions were in different language, than the languages spoken in different parts of India and also in other countries. The Guru in those parts of the country must have been explaining to the audience in their own language - views of the translator. ).

(8) To form an idea that wherever Guru Nanak went, there was a devotee of the Guru, who would write down the Guru’s Composition, and he and his descendants for 2 - 4 generations, would preserve it with all reverence, is the funniest conjecture. Who preserves a single piece of paper, however sacred it may be, in his house for three or four generations! Have we ever heard of this practice from any one?

(9) There is still another point to be examined. How could the devotees of Guru Nanak Dev and the three succeeding Gurus write their Compositions? There were Compositions consisting of stanzas from 2 - 6 parts, Astpadis, comprising 8 - more than 20 parts, Chhants, Vars , Sidh Gosht, Oankar, Jap, Anand, Baramaha, Sohile, Pati, and many more, lengthy Compositions, running into pages. Were all these Compositions written by the devotees and preserved by them? Were the Gurus dictating the devotees to write or the devotees on their own writing them? Who was ensuring the correctness of their writings? What an odd conception; the Guru dictating to the devotees their Compositions, but themselves not maintaining any record of them! These historians have reduced this historical event as the laughing stock for the people to read! By reading such mythical stories, we have been made to believe that wherever Guru Nanak Dev or the three successor Gurus, spoke out their respective Compositions, there and then some one was turned into their devotee, who had become so much attracted to the Guru that he not only wrote down the Composition, but preserved it for a long time to come.

(10) Giani Gian Singh has also mentioned about Bhai Bhakhta Arora. The effort made by Bhakhta is most surprising and confusing. It is stated that Bhakhta used to live with all the Gurus and write down whatever Composition the Gurus uttered. He used to obtain the signature of the respective Gurus, who would endorse his writings. Why? Was he getting the signature of the Guru, for the correctness of his writing or to ensure the Composition written was of that particular Guru. How the book of Bhai Bhakhta became much larger than even Sri Guru Granth Sahib? Bhakhta’s book was said to contain only the Compositions of first Four Gurus only. It did not contain Swaiyas of Bhatts, Bhagats’ Compositions and Guru Arjan Dev’s Compositions. In spite of all this, how Bhakhta’s book became so big? Why did Guru Arjan Dev take only selective portions? If the rejected Compositions were also the Gurus’ Compositions, then why they were rejected? If it was not Gurus’ Compositions, then from where did Bhakhta get it? Then why did the Gurus put their signature on false compositions?

Let us examine how old Bhakhta was? When did possibly Bhkhta come to visit Guru Nanak Dev? The Guru’s long travels were completed in 1521 (1578 Bikrami). Let us assume he went to see the Guru after the travels at Kartarpur. He must have been at that time a matured person, when he would have developed love for the Guru’s Compositions. and that too, to write them. Let us again assume that he at that time was 25 years old.. Another big problem arises here. At that time Guru Nanak Dev was 52 years of age. By that time, the Guru had composed most of his Compositions. From where did Bhakhta write that earlier part of the Guru’s Compositions? Did the Guru fully remember all his earlier Compositions? Doubtful! We were talking about Bhakhta’s age. Guru Arjan Dev compiled Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 1606 A.D (1661 Bikrami). Bhakhta would have then visited Guru Arjan Dev with his book. His age at that time works out to be 108 years. For 83 years this man lived with all the Gurus, and wrote the Compositions of the Gurus for all these years. How is it that none of the historians have mentioned the name of this man? Bhai Gurdas, who wrote the list of important Sikhs of the Gurus, did not include his name. (This historian, Giani Gian Singh, who wrote such a history, died in 1921 only. None of the other earlier historians wrote such things).

We have thus far observed that the arguments given by the historians for collection of Gurus’ Compositions, hold no water. Whatever arguments these historians made for collection of first four Gurus’ Compositions, are too weak, to say the least, not relevant at all.
Previous Chapter - Preparations for compilation

Return to the top of the page.

Copyright (©)2004 by Dalip Singh and Amarpreet Singh Munde.
All Rights Reserved.