W H McLeod was able to trace only four copies of the rahitnama. He believes that because of the long-standing doubts attached to the text's credentials, not many manuscripts from the 18th century now survive. 1. Sikh Reference Library (SRL) Text Until 1984 the Sikh Reference Library in Amritsar had a manuscript (Catalogue No. 6124). The Library was, however, destroyed during the Blue Star attack on the Golden Temple Complex, and thus the manuscript was lost. This was the only surviving copy of the 18th century manuscript. However, Dr McLeod had made a copy of it and lodged it with the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. 2. The Khalsa College Text Held in the Sikh Reference Department of the Khalsa College Amritsar, it is a modern transcription of the combined Chaupa Singh / Nand Lal text (Manuscript no. SHR 277). It was copied from a manuscript held by Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo. In text it follows the Sikh Reference Library manuscript so closely that it could be its direct copy. The minor inconsistencies that exist could be expected from an inexperienced copyist. 3. The Guru Nanak Dev University Text (MS 1018) Scribed by one Harnam Singh Khatri in 1856-57, it comprises two separate collections brought together in a single binding, "The first part is obviously taken from an earlier manuscript which was evidently dismantled and divided." The second segment continues the Chaupa Singh Rahitnama and carries it to its conclusion. It also includes the Nand Lal Rahitnama at the end after recording a material account of the inauguration of the Khalsa. "In terms of script and general presentation Guru Nanak Dev University text is even neater and clearer than the Sikh Reference Library text." 4. The Piara Singh Padam (PSP) Text Piara Singh Padam seems to have transcribed and published the copy made by Randhir Singh as far as Chaupa Singh Rahitnama part is concerned. It is certainly not a copy of the Sikh Reference Library text. "There are numerous variants distinguishing the Piara Singh Padam text from the other versions. Four of the variants which deserve notice are : a) "The PSP text commences with an introductory prologue which the other manuscripts lack. This prologue offers an account of the rahit-nama's origin which conflicts with that of the manuscripts's colophon. It has obviously been appended to earlier version of the text. b) "The PSP text lacks the erratic passage comprising sections 113-116 which occurs in the other three manuscripts. c) "Like the SRL and Khalsa College versions the PSP text omits the portions which includes the account of Guru Gobind Singh's alleged hom ceremony (194-247). It also omits the lengthy series of anecdotes illustrating the condign punishment awaiting those who oppose or defame the Guru (248-280). In this latter respect it differs from all three of the other versions. d) "Whereas the PSP version concludes with the colophon, the other manuscripts append a supplement. This supplement adds further comment concerning the coming anarchy and records a blessing which the Guru allegedly bestowed on the descendants of a certain Bhai Mittu. The PSP text is slightly shorter than the other three, for in addition to the material noted above under (b)-(d) the text represented by the other three manuscripts is more prone to minor supplements. The word-count, however, is not important. What matters is that a comparison of the two texts plainly suggests a certain relationship and a clear priority. The overwhelming dominance of their common material indicates a common source, one in which the four major Chaupa Singh components had already been brought together. Indeed, as we have noted above, it is probably safe to assume that the manuscript utilised by Piara Singh Padam also included Nand Lal prose rahit-nama and that one can accordingly recognise a common source comprising five major components. The differences are nevertheless important. They signal a divergence, one which will require closer analysis in the later section. At this point it is sufficient to note that the language and glosses of the PSP version mark it as a late recension than the main text recorded in the other three manuscripts." 5. "Another version appears in a cyclostyled document edited by Shamsher Singh Ashok issued privately in October 1979 under the title Guru Khalsa de Rahitnamé." There is, however, no satisfactory evidence as to its authenticity. The Structure The text is divided into five parts in all rescensions : - Rahitnama I - Narrative I - Rahitnama II - Narrative II - Rahitnama Nand Lal The Piara Singh Padam recension has an introduction or a prologue in addition. The narrative part includes an anecdotal series and a linkage passage besides a brief resume of rahitnama. The Guru Nanak Dev University recension also includes description of the hom ceremony allegedly performed by Guru Gobind Singh to seek blessings of the Devi, which is missing in all other rescensions. In spite of this and minor variations all the four rescensions appear to share a common source or origin.