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About Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib

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

Translator’s Preface

Preface (of the author)

Translator’s Preface

This book was written by late Professor Sahib Singh of Khalsa College, Amritsar (Punjab - India) during 1949 - 50 and revised by him in April 1951. The book remained unpublished till 1970, when Messrs Singh Brothers, Amritsar were persuaded by the author to publish it. The publishers for a long time were not prepared to take any risk against the prevalent strong traditional beliefs based on the fanciful and fascinating stories given by the Sikh historians on compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by the 5th Nanak, Sri Guru Arjan Dev. The Holy Book was compiled and installed in the Golden Temple, Amritsar on August 16, 1604. More copies of the Holy Book were also made for installation at various religious places. Every thing went on well for about 70 years, when all of a sudden, under a planned scheme of Narinjanias, followers of Baba Hindal introduced spurious matter into most of the hand written copies of the Holy Book. Since Sikhs were the custodians of the Holy Book, this mischief could not have been manoeuvred without the co-operation of the corrupt Sikhs. Most of the copies of the Holy Book made before 1675 A.D. were thus corrupted, and the copies of the Holy Book prepared from the corrupted copies began to be made as a matter of course for more than a century.

The Sikhs woke up only during the last century, to print copies from the Original Copy of the Holy Book. There had been so many variations in the textual contents of various hand written Holy Books made from 1675 A.D. onward till the authenticated printed copies of the Holy Book began to be made from the Original Copy of the Holy Book. Questions have been raised by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike as to what was actually the Original Holy Book as compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, to which the Compositions of 9th Nanak, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur were included later. The fanciful imaginary stories given in the history books, written centuries after the actual compilation of the Holy Book, made the position worse confounded.

Professor Sahib Singh had done the genuine research work in this matter. During 1953 -54 some important parts of his book were published in the monthly journal “Punjabi Duniya”, giving the cogent answers to all possible questions, that could be raised. Hardly any one took interest in the matter. Even on publication of his book “Adi Birh Bare”, there was no reaction to this Most Important Discovery of the Historical Facts. Professor Noel Q. King, of California University, Santa Cruz (USA), a renowned world scholar, who has been so kind to write an Introduction to this translation of the book of paramount historical and religious importance, states, “It is amazing how little use has been made of Professor Sahib Singh’s talent during recent years, when the discussion of the Sikh Scripture and Tradition has been taking place on a world wide scale. It would have certainly saved us a lot of trouble and side-tracks had we followed Professor Sahib Singh’s guidance and methodology even if we differed from details of his work. Alas, it may never be possible for there to be a full scale English translation of his magnificent Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan (ten volumes, Jullundur, 1962 - 64).”

This translation was at the initiative of Professor King alone. This translator firmly believes that God spoke through Professor King - a Great Saint, most loving, charitable, pleasant and sweet personality - A Great Seeker of Truth. The Sikh Community will join this writer in expressing our great sense of gratitude to him, who always upholds and loves Truth. Professor Sahib Singh’s book was lying in obscurity and uncared for. The credit goes as much to Professor King as to Professor Sahib Singh Ji, for revealing the Truth. The coming generations of Sikhs, nay all seekers of Truth, shall remember both of these academicians with love and gratitude. We can now answer all possible questions on Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, any one may possibly raise. In this translation all the ideas have been taken from the author of the book. However, with a view to easy understanding of the issues involved and the answers thereto, we had to re-arrange the matter. Chapter 8 of the book is now Chapter 12. Chapters 11 and 12 have also been re-arranged. Chapter 10 now deals with inclusion of all types of spurious matter in the copies of the Holy Book, and chapter 11 deals with, who were responsible for making intrusion of extraneous matter in the copies of the holy Book. In the original book, inclusion of a part of the spurious matter has been dealt in chapter 11 and another part in chapter 12, which over-lapped, and was not easy to understand. We have added three more sections in this translation work -

  1. Appendix I - On the glimpses from the life of Professor Sahib Singh Ji, from the book of his auto-biography.
  2. Appendix II- Giving a summary of the book in coherent and lucid form, for an easy understanding of the whole thing.
  3. Appendix III - A brief note on Sikhism.
The translator is highly obliged to Dr. Darshan Singh Bhatia, Sc. D. of Atlanta (USA) for whetting the translation work and other material added. The decision to make changes in the set up of the book referred to in the preceding paragraph was taken in consultation with Prof Noel Q. King and Dr. Darshan Singh Bhatia, Sc.D., who after thorough study of the book agreed to effect the changes in the interest of clarifications to the important issues involved and to help the reader for a quick grasp of the essentials. The observations made by Dr Darshan Singh on the important issues not so clear, greatly helped for the revised set up. The translator again extends his gratitude to Dr. Darshan Singh for the help extended by him.


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Preface (of the author)

PREFACE (Of the Author)


I was a Professor of Punjabi Language and Religious Studies in Khalsa College, Amritsar (India). One day we, the members of faculty, were sitting in a verandah opposite to the staff room, a Professor told me that he had read first three chapters of my book on “Gurbani tai ithas barai - Gurus’ Compositions and the related History”, and the maximum one could say was that Guru Amar Das had with him some of the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev. It could not, however, be established that Guru Amar Das had with him all the Compositions.

Any other person after reading those three chapters could form the same opinion. People could still have the misconception that it was Guru Arjan Dev, the 5th Guru, who collected the Compositions of all the preceding Gurus. In order to solve this intricate problem I undertook to compare all the Compositions of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Amar Das and wrote the book “Adi Birh Barai - About Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib” during 1949 A.D.

Inclusion of Some Other Aspects Also in This Book

The writers of old chronicles apart from giving the idea that it was Guru Arjan Dev, who collected all the Composition of Guru Granth Sahib, have also been stating that the first copy made from the Holy Book, after its compilation, was arranged by Bhai Banno, who engaged twelve scribers to do the work, when he took the Holy Book from Amritsar to Lahore for getting it bound there, and after obtaining the permission of Guru Arjan Dev, took the Book to his native village. The old chroniclers have also written that the additional compositions added in Banno’s recension of the Holy Book, were materialized during that time.

But my researches do not substantiate the above mentioned ideas, but they reveal something else. We will make a detailed study of this aspect as well. This has made me to investigate fully how the spurious compositions could find entry in Banno’s recension of the Holy Book. In this context, we will fully examine the “Janamsakhi of Bhai Bala” and “Puratan Janamsakhi” giving the life of Guru Nanak Dev.

I offer my apologies to the readers that in this way the volume of the book has greatly increased. But not to mention the full story, how the spurious compositions crept into Banno’s recension of the Holy Book, I felt guilty for not doing this. It is necessary to fully satisfy those persons who would like to go into the depth of the matter.

Prolonged Delay in Publication of the Book

This book was written during 1949 -50 and was revised in April 1951. During 1953 - 54, some parts of the book were published in the monthly journal “Punjabi Duniya”. Still from time to time I experienced difficulties to get the book published.

Why Mention of “Puratan Janam Sakhi” in this Book?

It was during 1950 that M.A classes for Punjabi Language were introduced in Khalsa College, Amritsar. I was then teaching Punjabi and “Gurbani” to other classes. I was given the responsibility of teaching “Gurbani Grammar” and “Puratan Janam Sakhi” to M.A. classes. I found the spurious compositions, included in Banno’s recension of the Holy Book, in “Puratan Janamsakhi” as well. This necessitated more research work. My articles on this aspect appeared in the journal “Punjabi Duniya” during 1951.

My Unsettled Life.

I retired from service from Khalsa College, Amritsar on October 2, 1952, and till May 15, 1962 I served as Principal, Shaid Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar. I used to live with my youngest son, Dr Daljeet Singh. He was transferred from Amritsar to Sidhwa Bait, district Ludhiana. I, therefore, left the service and accompanied my son to Sidhwa Bait. On May 15, 1964 my son was posted back to Amritsar, and remained there till April 1968. We lived near Raj Walai Khoo for first three years, and the remaining one year at 9 Hukam Singh Road. In April 1968, my son was transferred to Patiala and we moved there. First we lived at Quarter No E, 93, but from May 1969, we moved to 494, Ajit Nagar, when my son became Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology in Patella Medical College. This is our present address.

My Thanks

Now Messrs Singh Brothers, Mai Sewan Bazar, Amritsar have taken the initiative to publish this book. My thanks are due to them, as in this way the hard work put in by me long time ago to produce this matter, is in the hands of the readers now.

Your Humble Servant
494, Ajit Nagar
New Patiala,
Care Dr. Daljeet Singh M.S. Asstt. Professor
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Copyright (©)2004 by Dalip Singh and Amarpreet Singh Munde.
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