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Inter-relationship of Gurus’ Compositions

Inter-relationship of Gurus’ Compositions

On the basis of Reasoning and Life Stories of Guru Nanak Dev, we are forced to conclude that Guru Nanak Dev had himself written his own Compositions and preserved them. Here we ask, where has that stock of the Guru’s Collections gone?

Search for the Guru’s Compositions

In this connection Sardar G B Singh, author of book “Pracheen Birhan”, writes as under in his book -
“Guru Nanak, when he was a young man of twenty five years, liked to call himself a Poet. He began to compose “Bani” - Holy Word, and continued to do so till his end. The “Bani” he composed, during the course of about forty years, is to be found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is, however, not possible, that the “Bani” thus composed, was not written by the Guru somewhere. Also, the Guru must have first written his Compositions on blank sheets of papers, later would have revised them and written in a book form. The inner construction of “Bani” and many of his life stories, if read intently, lead us to the conclusion that his works in the shape of a book were available with him. The language used is highly scholarly and is sweet, perfect in poetic expression, coherent and consistent in thought and ideology. It depicts glimpses of hard work done with diligence.. The Guru , when alone, used to read and sing his own Compositions. The question arises, where has the book or the writings of the Guru eloped? It is strange, we have preserved the Guru’s shoes, turban and other relics, but the real valuable thing of importance to his memory (Bani), should be wanting! It is still more surprising that we do not even hear of existence of a copy made of the original book After the Guru, his near ones made every thing of his, a source of their sustenance only. What could have been a better source of income, if they had preserved the book of the Guru? Should we take it that after the Guru’s demise, his older son, Baba Sri Chand inherited that book or books? And after the period of 85 years, they were swept away along with Baba Sri Chand by the waters of river Ravi? The Guru, many months before his final departure from Earth, had sent Baba Lehna, after anointing him the successor Guru, to his native village Khadoor, to escape from the opposition he was to encounter. Baba Lehna did not receive the Book of Guru Nanak’s Bani. In case, he had received it, then it would have been eventually passed on to Guru Arjan Dev. But this did not happen.”
Sardar Gurbaksh Singh in his article “Search for the Gurus’ Compositions”, began the narration on the correct lines, but soon he lost his way and landed himself in wilderness.

According to G. B. Singh -

  1. In order to escape from the opposition, Guru Nanak directed Baba Lehna to leave Kartarpur.
  2. The books of Guru Nanak Dev were not received by Baba Lehna. If Baba Lehna had received those books, then they would have reached Guru Arjan Dev in due course of time. But this did not happen.
  3. These books were received by Baba Sri Chand. When he died, these books were also thrown in the waters of river Ravi along with the dead body of Baba Sri Chand.
G B Singh has been misled at every stage.

The plea of escape from fear of opposition, is most frivolous and undesirable. The Guru had openly criticized Muslim officials, Khatri government servants and their sympathizers, Brahmins many times, and asked them to stop exercising tyranny on the poor people. The Guru pointed out their tyrannical acts as under -

“The man eaters say their prayers (Muslim Nimaz). They who wield the knife wear the sacred thread. In their homes the Brahmins blow the conch for prayers, but they too relish the same tastes............... The sense of shame and honor from them is far removed. Nanak says: it is falsehood that fills them all.”
(Guru Nanak Dev, Slok, Asa di Var, page 471, Guru Granth Sahib)
The poor down trodden people, who were in state of slumber, were being awakened by the Guru, who was working to create more of opposition and not for compromising his essentials. His successor was also to impart the same Teachings to the people, and he did that. The successor Gurus established new centers of their activities to impart such Teachings to the people, and not to escape from the fear of opposition.

But what was the opposition for handing over the books by Guru Nanak to Baba Lehna (Guru Angad Dev)? If we accept that Baba Sri Chand received those books, why should he have directed his followers to throw this invaluable treasure of knowledge in the waters of river Ravi along with his body? Baba Sri Chand, in his old age, with great difficulty, came to Amritsar from Barath, district Gurdaspur, to see Guru Ram Das; also, Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Hargobind went especially to Barath to meet with Baba Ji, even then he would make a will to throw that Invaluable Wealth of Knowledge to be thrown in the waters of river Ravi!! This is impossible to believe. THE SIKH HISTORIANS WRITE, THAT WITH A VIEW TO COMPILING GURU GRANTH SAHIB, GURU ARJAN DEV, IN ORDER TO COLLECT ALL THE COMPOSITIONS ISSUED EDICTS TO SIKHS IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, WENT HIMSELF TO THE HOUSE OF BABA MOHAN TO GET THE TWO BOOKS. IF GURU NANAK DEV’S BOOKS WERE IN POSSESSION OF BABA SRI CHAND, THEN HOW COME GURU ARJAN DEV REMAINED IGNORANT OF THIS FACT?

It is, therefore, that the Books of Guru Nanak Dev, were never in possession of Baba Sri Chand, and were not thrown in the waters of river Ravi, along with his dead body.

Guru Nanak Dev Handed Over His Compositions to Guru Angad Dev

The oldest book on the life of Guru Nanak Dev is “Puratan Janamsakhi”. This book was written during the time of Guru Arjan Dev or sometime thereafter. Taking the nature of the language used in the book into consideration, it is considered by some experts that it was written during Guru Hargobind’s time. Attention is drawn to Story No 56 and also 57 -
56. Bestowal of Guruship to Guru Angad Dev
Then the Guru came to the banks of the river. Then the Guru offered Five Paise to Guru Angad and bowed at his feet. The members of the family came to know of it and through them the people at large. They realized that the Guru would shortly depart for his Heavenly Abode. People in large number then came to see the Guru - both Hindus and Musalmans - all came ..........
57. Final Departure from Earth
Then the Guru sat under a tree. The tree was completely dry, but turned green. The leaves also appeared. Then Guru Angad fell on his feet. Then Mata Ji (his wife) expressed her utter grief. ......... Then the devotees began singing Shabads - “Alaunia” Then the Guru went into the state of meditation and said prayers by uttering “Baramaha (Twelve Months) in Tukhari Rag. The night turned into the Amrosial Dawn. Finally came the time for the Final Departure.

When Guru Nanak Dev handed over the Book of his Compositions to Guru Angad Dev, then (because this was the Unique Property of Guru Nanak Dev, which he was giving to his Successor) the author of “Puratan Janamsakhi” , stated as under -

Then the Guru’s Two Sons asked him “What will become of us”? Then the Guru said to them, “O My Sons! There will be no dearth of anything even to the dogs of the Guru. There will be plenty of material things available to you. If you will meditate on the All Wise Guru, you will attain life’s aim.”
From the above mentioned two episodes in Guru Nanak Dev’s life, we have observed two things -
  1. At the time of Guru Nanak Dev’s Final Departure from Earth, Guru Angad Dev was there with him.
  2. Guru Nanak Dev handed over the Book of his Compositions to Guru Angad Dev.
Now we will apply the third principle in examining how Guru Arjan Dev collected the Gurus’ Compositions for compiling Guru Granth. This principle is the inter-relationship of each Guru’s Compositions with his predecessor Gurus. If we can find substantial amount of similarity amongst the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das , and Guru Ram Das, the natural conclusion to be drawn is that the Guru Nanak’s Compositions were systematically passed on to the succeeding Gurus along with their own Compositions and the whole stock of Compositions finally reached Guru Arjan Dev.

Compositions of Guru Angad Dev and Guru Nanak Dev

Guru Angad Dev’s Compositions are not many, there are 63 stanzas only. Therefore, we shall be able to give only few instances of the similarity between Guru Nanak Dev’s and Guru Angad Dev’s Compositions. But these instances clearly prove that Guru Angad Dev had in his possession all the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev. In this context the following factors need be considered -
  1. Just as Guru Nanak recognized Shabad (Word) as the Guru, and man’s Stream of Consciousness as the Sikh or the *Disciple, similarly Guru Angad Dev gives all the importance to the WORD. *Word is the Guru, Stream of Consciousness is Disciple.” - Sidh Gosht.
    1. The only remedy for effacement of Egoism of Man is, God’s Word or Gur-Shabad (Word emanating from God’s Light in Man - The Guru). -
    2. “Ego is a chronic malady, but within it, also is its remedy. If the Lord be in Grace, one practices the Word of the Guru.”
      (Asa di Var, p 467, Guru Granth Sahib)
    3. Guru Angad teaches that one should rise early in the morning, associate with the Assembly of Holy People, meditate on God’s Name -
    4. “In the fourth watch of the early morning, in the mind wells up joy. One associates in the holy assemblage, and utter True Name of God from his mouth”
      (Majh ki Var, page 146, Guru Granch Sahib)
    5. For meeting with God, concentration of mind on His Word, is the only way taught by the Guru-
    6. “One may try as much as he likes, God cannot be won over, merely by one’s efforts. One wins Him over only if, with an honest mind, one reflects on the Guru’s Word.”
      (Suhi ki Var, page 787, Guru Granth Sahib)
    7. The Guru calls Gurus’ Composition, as ‘Bag of Pearls’ -
    8. “The Knowing Jeweller opened the Purse of Pearls. Both the seeker and the Master, were lost in its wonder.”
      (Ramkali ki Var M3, p 954, Guru Granth)
    9. Guru Angad Dev considers that the Vedic concept of life is the root cause of discrimination between man and man. The Guru considers that the Guru’s Word is peace giving, full of Ambrosial Name of God -
    10. “The Vedas have given currency to the myths that men reflect on sorting out good and evil. Vedas also teach that one takes as much as he gives. Through this “give and take” is man cast into heaven or hell. ,,,,,,”
      (Sarang ki Var)
    It cannot be accepted that Guru Angad Dev would continue to admire the Guru’s Compositions, without reading those Compositions. The author of Bhai Bala’s Janamsakhi, writes that Guru Angad called for Bhai Bala from Talwandi to listen to the life story of Guru Nanak Dev. The Guru took great pains to get the history of Guru Nanak written through Bhai Paira. But it is strange. that Guru Angad should have made no effort to collect the Compositions of Guru Nanak, if they were not available with him.
  1. It is mentioned in history books, that Guru Nanak established a Dharamsal at Kartarpur on the banks of river Ravi. The Guru spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur. To-day we see religious gatherings held in gurdwaras, both in the morning and evening. The foundation for holding of such gatherings was laid down by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Founder of the Faith. At Kartarpur, the Guru used to arrange for holding of such religious gatherings. On what basis the religious preachings were made for 18 long years, if not on the Guru’s Compositions? For what purpose the people visiting Kartarpur from far and near gathering there daily? Were those meetings merely the social gatherings, if not the discourses on the Guru’s Word? Baba Lehna Ji actively associated himself in such gatherings for about seven years at Kartarpur. Guru Angad Dev, who was so much devoted to Guru Nanak Dev, should necessarily have read Guru Nanak’s Compositions repeatedly, on the basis of which he moulded his life and rose to such a spiritual height to have become Guru Nanak himself. There was no difference between Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Angad Dev. The Guru Light moved from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Angad Dev, as the 2nd Nanak. The Light and the Way were the same, only body changed. The readers are required to have the deeper thinking to realize how the change in Baba Lehna Ji was brought about. It was the Divine Word of Guru Nanak, through which the change took place. Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji repeatedly in his Compositions lay emphasis on necessity of living with the Divine Word.
  2. Guru Angad Dev ascended the Throne of Guruship in 1539 (Bikrami 1596) and remained Guru for thirteen years, till 1552 (Bikrami 1609). His Compositions consist of 63 stanzas. Religious gatherings continued to be held, both in morning and in evening. The question here again arises; what religious preachings were made in these gatherings, when Guru Angad Dev composed 63 stanzas of Divine Word during 13 years of his ministry. Obviously, the preachings were based on the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev, which dealt with all aspects of human life. The problems of Sikhs were solved by Guru Angad Dev in the light of Guru Nanak Dev’s Compositions. It is imperative that Guru Angad possessed all the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev with him, on the basis of which he was preaching Sikhism to the people.
It is also a well known fact that if one repeatedly reads a particular composition, he begins to use the same words in his own compositions or day to day dealings. The material he reads repeatedly becomes the part of his life, and he begins to apply the same thoughts in his dealings. If we examine the stanzas of Guru Angad Dev carefully, we will clearly observe that the Guru very often used the same thoughts and words in his Compositions, which Guru Nanak used in his Compositions. We give few examples in this respect -

(1) Guru Nanak Dev

bhukia bhukh na utri jeh bana purian bhar
By possessing wealth of the world, one’s hunger is not removed. Jap ji.
Guru Angad Dev
bhukhia bhukh na utrai, gali bhukh na jahai. nanak bhukha ta rajai, jeh gun keh guni smai.
The hunger of man is not satiated merely by talking. Nanak says: the hunger of man can be satiated only if he praises the Lord and merges in Him.” Majh ki Var.
(2) Guru Nanak Dev
amrit vela sach nao,vadaei vichar. karmi aavai kapra, nadri mokh doar. nanak eivai janeai, sabh aapai sachiar.
Meditate in the Praise of the Glorification of Greatness of the True Name of the Lord in the ambrosial morn. This boon is attained through His Grace, and the deliverance is also through His Benediction. Jap Ji
Guru Angad Dev
doha sirian aapai khasam, vaikhai kar viopai. nanak eivain janiai, sabh kich tisai rajai. 1.22 Majh ki Var
He, the Lord Himself is the Judge at both ends, and He Himself decides. Nanak says: know this that all is in His Will.”
(3) Guru Nanak Dev
chakar lagai chakri, chalai khasmai bhai. humat tis nu agli o vajo bhe doona khai. 22. Asa di Var.
If a servant dedicates himself to the service of the lord, and walks in his will, he gets immense honor and more than his due..
Guru Angad Dev
chakar lagai chakri, nalai garab vad. galan karai ghanerian, khasam na paei sad. 1.22 Asa di Var.
If a servant serves the master, but is vain and disputatious. he talks much, and does not get approval of the lord.
The above quoted instances are given from Guru Nanak’s Compositions, Jap Ji and Asa di Var. As these Compositions are well known from the time of their inception, and the readers may like to have more of such Compositions. We give following other instances -

(4) Guru Nanak Dev

sbaei salah, jini dhiaya eik mun. saei poorai sah, vakhtai oopar larh mohai .... sabhai vaila vakhat sabh, jo athi bhao hoai. 1.17 Majh ki Var
They who praise the Lord in the early morn, with the single minded devotion, they alone are the kings. They at the right time have grappled (with themselves). ...... If one fears (in love) the Lord, day and night, then all times are sacred for His Worship.
Guru Angad Dev
soei poorai sah, jini poora paiya. athi vaiparva, rahin eiktai rung. 2,17. chothai pahar sabha kai, sutian oopjai chao. 1.18 Majh ki Var.
They alone are the true kings , who have attained to the Perfect Lord. Day and night, they are in ecstasy, imbued with the love of the One alone. 2.17 In the fourth watch of the early morn, they are awakened and in their mind wells up joy.
(5) Guru Nanak Dev
pehal basatai aagman, pehla molio sohe. jit moliyai sabh moliai, tisai na molio koai. 1.19 Suhi ki Var.
The Spring brought bloom first, but God was in Bloom earlier still. He, through Whom everyone blossoms, needs no one else for Him to flower.
Guru Angad Dev
pehal basantai aagman, tis ka karo bichar. nanak so salahiai, jeh sabsai dai adhar. 2.19 Suhi ki Var.
He, Who first brought the Spring, reflect your mind on Him. Nanak says: Praise Him, Who brings sustenance to all.
NOTE: Presently, the above mentioned two Sloks are to be found attached to Pauri No 19 of Suhi ki Var of Guru Amar Das, in Guru Granth Sahib. In Guru Angad Dev’s time, Suhi ki Var did not exist. The Slok of Guru Nanak Dev was to be found in the Book of Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev, who handed it over to Guru Angad Dev.

(6) Guru Nanak Dev

jin kiya tin daikhya, kia kehiye rai bhai. aapai janai karai aap, jin vari hai laei.
He, Who created, He sustains. O Brother, what one can say about it. He knows everything and alone is the Doer, Who created all this Expanse.
Guru Angad Dev
aapai janai aap, aapai aanai ras. 1.20. Maru ki Var M3.
The Lord alone knows and does, and does it right.
Previous Chapter - Events from the life history of Guru Nanak Dev
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