Gurus The Adi Guru Granth As Source Of History And Sikh History


This paper was presented in International Sikh Conferences 2004

The Adi Guru Granth as Source Of History And Sikh History
By Kirpal Singh, Chandigar *

The Adi Guru Granth, as a source of history and Sikh history, is a new and very significant topic on which no work has been done so far. It is significant as it provides fresh information which is not available any where else. For instance details of the invasions of Babar, the founder of Mughal Empire in India are available in several sources including Tazik-i-Babar. What happened to the people as a result of the invasions has only been given by Guru Nanak in hymns in the Adi Guru Granth. Similarly, it is not generally known that the milch cattle of the Hindus were taxed. This information is only available in Asa Di Var wherein it has been stated that the cow was taxed. Besides direct information one can collect historical information from various similes and metaphors used in the Adi Guru Granth. While explaining the spiritual intricacies, similes and metaphors depicting various aspects of life have been given, for instance Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism writes:

Make thy mind ploughman, thy action cultivation vocation

Modesty the water and thy body the field

In the field sow name of God, make content the leveling plank

And maintain humility as fence of the field.1

At places prayers have been made to God to save mankind from political affliction like Babar's invasions or tyranny of corrupt officials, etc. All such similes and metaphors and references to political or administrative incidents collectively make an important source of history convening five hundred years from Sheikh Farid (d. 1265 AD) to Guru Tegh Bahadur (d. 1675 AD) life span of all the contributors of the Adi Guru Granth. It throw a flood of light on socio-politico-religion life of the people. An attempt was made on similar lines in my book The Adi Guru Granth As Source of History published in 1998 (book out of print). This paper is, however, confined to the aspects only political history and Sikh History

The Adi Guru Granth has thirty six contributors including the Sikh Gurus. Its contributors belonged to the different strata of society – so called high caste, and low caste cobber, washerman etc. They belong to different religious traditions and different parts of India. For instance Kabir and Ravidas belongs to Uttar Pardesh, Nam Dev and Tarlochan to Maharashtra, Jaidev to Bengal, Dhanna to Rajasthan, Baba Farid, a Muslim saint to Punjab etc, Long before the dawn of modern civilization based on science and technology, the Sikh scripture taught the lessons of coexistence and toleration which are so essential not only in religious sphere but also in the strife torn national and international spheres.

The Adi Guru Granth is a priceless source of history as it provides information which is not available anywhere else. The histories in general and Taziki-i-Babari in particular have been given the details of Babar's invasions. But it was reserved for Guru Nanak, 'the people's prophet' as T L Visavni, calls him to record the brutalities of Babar's soldiers on the people. The people's sufferings on account of Babar's invasion have been described in four hymns of Guru Nanak named 'Babar Vani in the Adi Guru Granth.

In the 'Babar Vani', Guru Nanak has referred to almost all the invasions of Babar but in different way. He was eye-witness of the third invasion which has been described in detail. Guru Nanak's account of Babar's invasions is as follows: Guru Nanak writes:

God brought Khurasan under His protection

and brought terror to Hindustan.2

Zahiruddin Mohammad Babar was born on 24th February 1483 AD. Though young in years Baber formed the resolve of conquering Samarkand which he occupied. Forced by circumstances he left the city, which was captured by Uzbegs. A gain he was able to occupy Samarkand and was defeated in the battle of Archian in June 1503 AD and the city was lost and he had to wander in exile for sometime. Soon he retired toward Kabul and established himself there. Here he took the title of 'Padshah' which had not yet been adopted by any Timurd. With the help of Ismail, the founder of Safvi line of the kings of Persia he captured Bokhara occupied Samarkand in October 1500 AD. Again he was defeated by the Uzbegs in 1512 AD and the Persian force sent in his aid was also routed.3Kabul. He was now convinced of impossibility of gaining success in the west and therefore made up his mind to try his luck in east. Guru Nanak has rightly started: Baber was reduced to great straits in despair he returned to

God has protected Khurasan and brought terror to Hindustan.

According to Encyclopaedia of Britannica 'Khurrasan' means ' land of rising sun'. In the sixteenth century Khurasan was the name of territory north of which was Khiva (previously in Russia), a plains of Iran and Sistan in the south, Guz and Gurgaon in the West and Hindustan in the East. At present it is the name of the province of eastern Iran.

In his memoirs Babar writes about Khurasan, the people of Hindus call every country beyond their own Khurasan in the same manneras Arabs term all except Arabia Ajem. On the road between Hindustan and Khurasan there are two great marts – the one Kabul and the other Kandhar. This country lies between Hindustan and Khursaan.4 Babar informs us that Kandhar was formerly regarded as the boundary between Hindustan and Khurasan.5


Guru Nanak writes :

But creator Lord takes not the blame upon Himself and so he has made the Mughals Angels of Death.

If the powerful duel with the powerful I grieve not but if a ravenous lion fails upon a flock of sheep then the master must answer.

The jewel of my motherland has been laid waste by, But none shall cherish their memory 'when they are gone'.6

The first invasion of Babar like his third or fourth invasion caused a considerable misery for the inhabitants of India. The people were mercilessly killed and tortured by the Mughal soldiers as has been testified by Guru Nanak. Babar himself has admitted in his memoirs that his soldiers committed excesses over the people. He writes : "I sent for the headmen and choudiaries of Bahreh, and agreed with them for the sum of four hundred thousand Shahrukhis (according to Prof Lucas King it was about 20, 000 sterling) as the ransom of their property, and collectors were appointed to receive the amount … (next day). Having learned that the troops had exercised some severities towards the inhabitants of Bahreh, and were using them all, I sent out a party, who having seized a few of the soldiers that have been quietly of excesses, I put some of them to death and slit the noses of some others, and made them be led towards the camp in that condition.7 Entered in dates of Feb 21 and 22, 1519. Mohammad Latif writes :

'Having subdued the countries as the Chenab, he advanced at the head of his army to chastise the Ghakkars. The fort of Birhala was invested and Ghakkars were defeated in a sally by Dost Beg, the Mughal general. Babar at the same time cutting off their retreat in person, they were compelled to fly to the mountains and a considerable number of them were killed in flight.8


In his third invasion 1521 AD Babar did not inflict any punishment on the inhabitants of Sialkot because they submitted but the inhabitants of Syedpur modern Eminabad (distt. Gujranwala Pakistan) made themselves liable to punishment by not submitting to Babar's forces. This has been described in his memoirs in the following lines :

'(Babar) advanced to Sialkot the inhabitants of which submitted and saved their possessions but the inhabitants of Syedpur who resisted were put to sword, their wives and children carried into captivity and all their property plundered'.9

Guru Nanak being the eye witness of the scene was greatly touched and he has vividly described the excesses of Babar's soldiers on the natives in the following lines. This is the only account available of cruelties committed by the Babar's soldiers :

They who wore beautiful tresses and partings of whose hair were dyed with vermillion have their locks now shorn with scissors and dust is throne upon their heads.

They dwelt in their private chambers, now they cannot find seat in public.

They had hundreds of thousands waiting on their sitting and hundreds of thousands waiting on them standing.

Eating conconuts and dates they sported on their couches, but chains are on their necks and broken are their strings of pearls.

The wealth and beauty which afforded them pleasure have now become their enemies. The order was given to the soldiers to take and dishonour them.

They had lost all thought of God in joys, in spectacles and in pleasures, when Babar's rule was proclaimed no Pathan prince ate his food. Some lost their fine times of prayers, other their hours of worship.10

Babar's invasion greatly upset the existing condition. In another verse Guru Nanak says :

Where are those sports, those stables and those horses? Where those bugles and clarions? Where are those who buckled on their swords and were mighty in battles. Where those scarlet uniforms.11

Guru Nanak being the eyewitness of the scene at Syedpur, modern Eminabad, district Gujranwala (Pakistan) was greatly touched and he has vividly described the excesses of Babar's soldiers on the natives. Guru Nanak writes:

Babar with the wedding party of sin from Kabul rushed down

And forcibly demanded surrender of Indian womanhood

Then went modesty and righteousness into hiding

And falsehood was strutting about in glory

Set aside were Qazis and Brahmins, and Satan went about solemining marriage

Muslims women reciting the Quran, in their affliction called on Khuda

Other women of low caste and of the Hindus in this suffering may also be put in the same account

Said Nanank to sing are paeans of blood

And springled in blood for saffron

Nanak sings the glories of Lord in the land of corpses and mentions this thought.12

At another place, Guru Nanak writes:

Dishonoured were women of the Hindus, Muslims Bhattis and Thakurs

Of some were the gowns torn from head to foot

Some in cremation yards found resting places
Those whose gallant menfolk returned not home

In what agony were their nights passed.13


Guru Nanak writes:

For three hours forty-five minutes, wrath and tyranny ravaged the city of Lahore.14

It has been recorded in the Baber's memoirs :

He (Babar) marched by the country of Gakhars whom he reduced to obedience. Behar Khan Lodhi, Mubarak Khan Lodhi and some other Afghan Amirs who were still in the interest of Ibrahim or who disliked the arrival of a foreign enemy collected a large body of Afghans and gave him a battle as he approached Lahore. The Afghans were defeated and the conquerors were elated with their success and enraged at the obstinacy of Lahore.15

Mohammad Latif writes:

Babar made his triumphant entry into the city of Lahore and after fashion common to his tribe set fire to houses. After remaining here for four days he marched against Depalpur.16


Guru Nanak says:

There regard a battle between the Mughals and Pathans, and the sword was wielded in the battlefield. They the Mughals arrived and fired their guns and they the Pathans attacked with their elephants.17

Zahiruddin Babar writes in his memoirs:

'It was settled that as Panipat was a considerable city, it would cover one of our flanks by its buildings and houses, while we might fortify our front by turas or covered defences and cannon and that the matchlockmen and infantry should be placed in rear of guns and turas.17 With this resolution we moved and in two marches on Thursday, 30th of the last jamada reached Panipat. Babar writes: 'The army of the enemy opposed to us was estimated at one hundred thousands men, the elephants of the Emperor and his officers were said to amount to nearly a thousands.19

After the battle of Panipat, elephants were offered to Babar. he has described elephant 'One the two sides of his trunk, in his upper jaw he has two tusks, it is by applying these teeth, and exerting all his force that he overturns walls and tears up trees, and when he fights or performs any operation, that requires great exertion he makes use of these tusks.'20


Guru Nanak writes :

'In seventy eight they (the Mughals) came and in ninety seven depart,

Another hero shall day arise

Nanak utters the word of the truth, the truth times call for.'21

The different annotators of the Adi Guru Granth agree that these lines signify and state that the Mughals came in India in the Bikrmi year of one thousand five hundred and seventy eight viz 1521 AD and departed in the year Bikrami year one thousand five hundred and ninety seven which is equal to 1540 AD. Since the date has been recorded in verse one thousand five hundred has not been mentioned in both the cases. It is taken to be understood. It implies that Guru Nanak made prophecy about the rise of Sher Shah Suri before his death in 1539 AD. This is not improbable, it appears that Guru Nanak was the keen observer of the political developments of his time. He was the contemporary of Himayun and Sher Shah Suri and witnessed the weak rule of the former and the strong will of the latter for nine years after the death of Babar (1530). Guru Nanak's calculation about Mughals and his prophecy about Sher Shah came to be true. It has been stated in The Crescent in India by S R Sharma that Sher Shah Suri was "most capable unscrupulous ambitions man in the whole of Afghan party"22

The animals of Hindus like cow, goats, buffaloes were taxed by government, the fact has also been mentioned in the Medieval Indian History by Lanepool. But Guru Nanak has confirmed it in Asa Di Var.23 He says, "You tax cow". Similarly Jaziya on Brahmin had been reimposed. Guru Nanak mentioned both, he says, "You tax cow and Brahmin".


"You impose tax on cow and tax (jazia) on Brahmins, the cow dung will not save you"24

The Turkish or Afghan rulers were 'unable to establish their power in the rural areas. Here Hindu chief known as Rais, Rana or Rewat who had their armies ruled.25 Guru Nanak refers to the Hindus officials26 who had to collect taxes on behalf of the government. Lanepool writes that the Hindus had to pay duties on buffaloes, goats and other milch cattle. The tax was levied equally on the rich and poor.27

Before Sultan Feroz Tughlaq (1352-1384 AD) Brahmins were exempted from payment of jazia. But Feroz Tughlak imposed this tax on the ground that they were the leaders of the Hindus and they could not be exempted from such a tax. He acted as a tool in the hands of bigoted ulemas and did not care to listen the public entreaties. There was a storm of protest against this decision. The Brahmins surrounded his palace and loudly protested. They threaten to burn themselves alive. But Sultan did not care to listen the public entreaties. There were storm of protest against this decision. The Brahmins surrounded his palace and loudly protested. They threatened to burn themselves alive. But Sultan did not care and did not yield.27 Jaziya was ultimately abolished by Akbar, the Mughal emperor.


The corruption was rampant in the revenue administration of the Sultans. This has been mentioned almost everywhere but to what extent that corruption was that has been stated by Guru Nanak in Asa Di Var. Guru Nanak says :

Sin is the king, greed the minister, falsehood the officials (shiqdars) to carry out command.

And lust the deputy to take counsel with all three-hold conclave to chalk out plans

The blind subjects out of ignorance pay homage like dead men.29

Guru Nanak (1469–1539AD) had very closely watched the revenue administration of his times as he worked in the Modikhana (storehouse) of Daulat Khan Lodhi at Sultanpur (Distt. Kapurthala) during the reign of Sikandar Lodhi (1488-1517 AD).30 In those days a revenue was collected in kind as there was acute shortage of currency and grain was very cheap.31 In the Modikhana 'Landlords, chaudharis, Qanungos (a revenue official) and people in general32 The officials were given land grants instead of salaries and petty employee grain instead of wages. In this way Guru Nanak came in contact with the various types of people and different rings of society and has described the corruption rampant there. used to …… deposit the grain which was distributed to employees, soldiers and different types of people.


Like all prophets, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism was greatly misunderstood as he himself writes:

Some brand me as ghost

Some call me man, Nanak is simple humble man.33

In several hymns preserved in the Guru Granth Guru Nanak has dialogues with leaders of various denominations like Sidhas, Pandits, Pirs, Mullan, Qazis There dialogues have been also mentioned by Bhai Gurdas Bhalla who was the first and perhaps the fittest to record the traditions of Guru Nanak. He was nephew of Guru Amardas, the third Sikh and the contemporary of Baba Budha who had seen and served Guru Nanak and had played a leading role in the early Sikh history. The dialogues of Guru Nanak are first rate source of information for constructing the life of the Guru. Any account based on these dialogues cannot be rejected wholly as 'unreliable'. Rather such accounts constitute an important sources of information for constructing the life of Guru Nanak. For more details on this subject I would refer to my recently published book entitled 'Janamsakhi Tradition: An Analytical Study' (available from M/s Singh Brothers, Bazar Mai Sewan, Amritsar). etc.

Guru Nanak in the last phase of his life tested his sons and nominated his successor Bhai Lehna. This has been recorded by Satta Balwanda Var in the Adi Guru Granth:

The Master's sons obeyed not his decree

And from the Preceptor turned their faces away

With hearts dishonest, in disobedience they went along

Carrying on head trussed loads of pride

As Guru Nanak decreed, did Guru Angad act;

By thus, acting was he on the throne installed

Who lost, who won ?34

After his nomination as successor of Guru Nanak Guru Angad shifted to Khadur Sahib (Distt. Amritsar) as it has been stated there in the same Var.

The holy preceptor Phero's son then in Khadur took abode.35

Khivi, wife of Guru Angad has been described a noble lady who used to manage the common kitchen meant for Sikhs. The condition of the food served there has been testified to be excellent. Satta Balwand in their Var in the Ramkali raga record:

Saith Balwand the bard: Khivi, noble soul

Was like tree with shade of thick leaves

In her kitchen was distributed rich fare

Khir enriched with ghee, tasting like amrita elixir

The faces of the Masters disciples became radiant

The egoists, shrunk like straw

Guru Angad, acting heroically with the Master, found approval

Mother Khivi's wedded lord was he who carried earth's burden.36


In the Adi Guru Granth, Jethaji who subsequently became the fourth Guru viz Guru Ram Das has recorded the account of Guru Armar Das's visit to Kurukshetra and Hardwar as he accompanied the guru there.

In the hymn such words have been used that help to decipher the date of guru's visit to Kurukshetra and Hardwar.

A sight of the true Guru was our bathing during the Abhijit……

The filth of evil inclinations was cleansed and the darkness of ignorance was dispelled

The ignorance of those who saw the guru was dispelled and light beamed on their hearts

The pain of transmigrantion vanished in a moment;

and men obtained God, the imperishable Lord.

God the creator himself made this auspicious

time, when the true Guru went to the fair at Kurukshetra

A sight of the true Guru was our bathing during Abhijit.37

After Kurukshetra the visit to River Jamuna has been described:

The Guru then proceeded to the Jamuna

Where he caused the people to repeat Guru's name

The tax collected met the Guru with offering and allowed his followers to cross over

All those in the Guru's train who meditated on God were exempted from toll

Death, the tax gatherer, approached not those who walk in the true way to the Guru's instruction

Everybody took Guru's name and by doing it all the pilgrims were excused tax:

The Guru then proceeded to the Jamuna where he caused people to repeat God's name.38

After attending the solar eclipse festival of bathing and addressing a number of different types of pilgrims Guru Amar Dass proceeded to Hardwar (Mayapur). There was no place of pilgrimage on the river Jamuna on his way from Kurukshetra to Hardwar. Nor there is any mention of the place of pilgrimage there. So the Guru had not to pay pilgrimage tax while crossing the Jamuna river. The mention of tax in the sacred hymns refers to the river toll which was those days as it has been mentioned in Ain-i-Akbari.39

Impressed by the Guru's august personality, the tax collector under the circumstances exempted the Guru and his Sikhs from payment of river toll. Guru Ram Das has, therefore, rightly stated, 'the tax gatherer met the Guru with offerings and allowed his followers to cross over.40 Since the river toll was paid in Dams, Guru Ram Das has used the word Dam twice in the hymn.41

After that he (Guru Amar Das) went to the Ganges and there was marvelous scene.

All were entranced on seeing the saintly Guru, there too no one took half a dam from him.

No one paid half a dam or put any money into the toll box, the toll collector's mouth were sealed. They said 'brethern what shall we do? Of whom shall we ask? Everyone is escaping under the cover of the Guru.

The tax collectors by their skill and cleverness saw it was best to close their boxes and go away.

After that the Guru went to the Ganges and there was a marvelous scene.42

In the hymn cited there is a mention of tax gatherer or toll collector. Dr Gopal Singh43 and Prof Gurbachan Singh Talib in their respective translations have stated that it was a pilgrimage tax which was abolished by Akbar and Mughal Emperor in 1562 AD.44 Prof Teja Singh also refers to the pilgrimage tax.45 Dr Balbir Singh while discussing the various dates of Guru Amar Das's visit to Kurukshetra calls this toll as pilgrimage tax.46 But this does not appear to be the pilgrimage tax. Had it been the pilgrimage tax it would have been levied at Kurukshetra where Abhijit Solar eclipse fair was held. It was a very rare occasion and must have attracted thousands of pilgrims. The pilgrims at solar eclipse fairs were taxed during Aurangzeb's time. Bernier mentions that pilgrimage tax was reimposed by Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor, and lakhs of rupees were collected by the state on the occasion of eclipse of sun.45 There is no mention of any tax at Kurukshetra solar eclipse fair. This is one of the most important factors to be considered. There is mention of toll tax at the river Jamuna. No place of pilgrimage has been mentioned there. Evidently on the river Jamuna there could not be levied pilgrimage tax for crossing the river. Therefore it is river toll. It is significant to note that rivers toll tax has been mentioned in Ain-i-Akbari as quoted above. Similarly there were river toll collectors at river Ganges. In the hymn itself only two rivers are mentioned. Jamuna and Ganges. At both the places tax collectors were so suppressed by the holy personality of the Guru that they greeted the Guru with offerings. Guru Ram Das reports 'All were entranced on seeing the saintly Guru and no one took even half dam'.


A sight of the true Guru was our bathing during Abhijit.

The system of quoting dates of nakshatras is very old and had prevailed in India There are twenty seven nakshatras or lunar mansions through which the moon passes in her monthly journey through the stars. Moon is supposed to spend an equal amount of time in each of 27 nakshatras and as the total period of moon's journey through the stars occupies 27.33166 days, it follows that the means duration of each nakshatras is 1 day and nearly 18 minutes.47 in order to make up this deficiency occasionally that is, seven times in 19 years, a lunar month is repeated twice in course of the same year. M A Macauliffe explains the word Abhijit in a footnote in the following words: "The lunar month, though generally considered twenty eight days is really only twenty seven days, odd hours, minutes and seconds. Abhijit was intercalated between the 21st and 22nd asterisms to adjust the difference.48 since the Vedic times.

According to Tika Faridkot of the Adi Guru Granth the interpretation and meanings of the above quoted lines are :

"At Kurukshetar it was the occasion of Amavas with Abhijit Nachhatar which is called Abhich and bathing festival of solar eclipse when at that time the congregation of three worlds had the holy sight of Guru Amar Das, the worthy of worship.49

In this way the scriptural text provides following astronomical data for determining the date of the Guru's visit to Kurukshetra :

1. It was a solar eclipse which is always on Amavas.

2. It was Abhijit Nakshatra

Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru became Guru on 29th March 1552 and died on 1st September 1574 AD.42 During this period of about twenty two years there were solar eclipse on the following days:

1. January 14, 1553 2. June 18, 1555

3. November 14, 1555 4. May 9, 1556

5. November 2, 1556 6. October 22, 1557

7. April 18, 1558 8. February 26, 1560

9. August 21, 1560 10. Feb. 14, 1561

11. August 10, 1561 12. Dec. 15, 1563

13. June 8, 1564 14. April 9, 1567

15. Sept. 21, 1568 16. Feb 5, 1570

17. July 21, 1571 18. January 15, 1572

19. July 9, 1572. 50

According to Dr Balbir Singh, "the conjunction of the Abhijit Nakshatras in respect of these 19 eclipses occurred twice only. First it was on January 14, 1553 AD and secondly on January 15, 1572AD.51 How Dr Balbir Singh was able to find out these two dates and on what basis is not clear. However, it is learnt that Dr Balbir Singh took lot of pains to consult the experts at various places like Hardwar etc. Dr Balbir Singh has concluded that Jan 14, 1553 is the date of Guru's visit to Kurukshetra on account of following reasons :

Dr Balbir Singh writes, "In the same hymn of Guru Granth Sahib there is mention of the collectors who were posted to collect dues from the pilgrims. This was the imposition under the central ruling authority on the Hindu sacred places… As is well known the pilgrim tax was remitted by Akbar in AD 1563. This imperial declaration which is dated incident by virtue of which pilgrim tax was abolished helps to resolve the dilemma of the choice between the two alternatives. The date of the visit of Guru Amar Das to Kurukshetra is thus pin pointed to Jan 14, 1553.

On careful reading of the hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib it becomes clear that the tax collectors were not at Kurukshetra, a place of pilgrimage of Hindus where solar eclipse fair was held. The tax-collectors were on the banks of the river Jamuna and the Ganga. Hence they were not collecting the pilgrim's tax as stated by Dr Balbir Singh they were collecting river toll tax which has been clearly mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari vide Blockmann's translation of page 292 quoted already. It will, therefore, be wrong to pin point the date of Guru's visit to the time of pilgrim's tax. Hence the second date viz. Jan. 15, 1572 appears to be more probable for following reasons:

1. In the first year of his ascending gaddi Guru Amar Dass retired to Basarke (District Amritsar) and secluded himself there. This was done to avoid the dispute with Dattu the son of Guru Angad who wanted to be the Guru in succession to his father. With great difficulty he was persuaded to come back to Goindwal by Baba Budha. Under the circumstances Guru Amar Dass could not leave Goindwal for going on pilgrimage during the very first year of his Guruship.

2. In the hymn it has been stated that Guru Amar Das had very impressive gathering with him while he was visiting Kurukshetra and Hardwar. His august and mature personality greatly impressed the tall collectors even. He explained the principles of Sikhism to different Hindu denominations viz. Jogis, Saniasis, Jangams, Bodhis, Sarewarhs, and Bairagis. The was more probable in the later age.

3. The historical circumstances and the recorded Sikh traditions about Guru's life point to the fact that Guru undertook his pilgrimage in the later life. Hence Jan. 15, 1572 AD appears to be probable date.


How Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru was made the Guru has been described by Sundar, the great grand son of Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru in a verse in Adi Guru Granth, Sunder was grandson of Mohri, (son of Anand).

As had the holy Guru guided, his disciples to his will bowed

Came forward his son Mohri, and touched Ram Das's feet;

All touched the Guru's feet, on whom had the holy master his own light conferred

Any that out of envy refrained from bowing

In the end by the Master's commandments their obeisance offered

By the Divine will was this greatness conferred

As writ since Primal Times by the Lord predestined

Saith Sundar, listen all you devoted to the Master

The whole word at Ram Das's feet made obeisance.52
Guru Granth Sahib, p. 923-24)

It is significant to note that Baba Mohan, the eldest son of Guru Amar Das was conspicuous by absence on the occasion of succession ceremony of Guru Ram Das.

Guru Ram DAs, the fourth Sikh Guru had three sons – Prithichand, Mahadev and Arjan. The youngest son who became Guru Arjun was considered fittest to succeed. On this issue the eldest son Pirthichand fell out with his father who admonished him not to run after wealth and remember the name of God. He writes in a hymn in the Adi Guru Granth:

My son why with your father make contention?

He who brought you to birth and maturity

Sin it is with him to contend. (I-Pause)

Wealth that you are so proud of, with none lasts.

In an instant poisonous Maya - pleasures desert and then come regrets

Contemplate you the Lord who is your Master

Nanak, servant of God thus instructs you

Should you listen to it, will your agony be ended.53

Prithichand paid no heed to his father's advice and continued enmity with his younger brother Guru Arjun. It is presumed that Pirthichand persuaded Sulhi Khan, a Mughal official, to lead an attack on Guru Arjun but his plan was foiled as his horse a alongwith its rider fell in the burning brick kiln and both were killed.54 This was very serious crisis for Guru Arjan who referred this incident at a few places in his verse in the Adi Guru Granth.

At first I was counseled to sent a letter, secondly I was advised to send two men to mediate.55

At another places, Guru Arjun writes:

God preserved me from Sulhi, (Sulhi Khan's attack) Sulhi by no means succeeded Sulhi died unclean

God drew forth His axe and smote off his head and in a moment he became ashed

He was consumed over meditating evil. he who created him thrust him into the fire.

Son, friend, wife, nothing remains with him now, his brethren and relations have all abandoned him.

Said Nanak, I am sacrifice to that God who fulfilled the words of His servant.56

In similar strain is the hymn of Guru Arjun on page 1138 'His slave, the Lord hugs to his bossom. The slanderer. he throws in the fire.57


Guru Arjun writes:

The memoranda58 against me has proved false.

And the slanderers have come to grievous loss.

He whose support is Govind, the supporter of earth, Him the Yama touches not.

He who utters falsehood in true court, he, the blind one, strikes his head and writhes his hands (in remorse).

Then all ailments afflict, they who sin. For Lord Himself is the Judge of them.

We are bound by our own actions and our riches forsake us when life departs.

Nanak sought the refuge of the Lord's True Court. And so his Honour who saved by Lord, the Lord.59

In the hymn quoted above, Guru Arjun the fifth Guru (1581-1606) refers to the complaint made against him to the Emperor Akbar, some Pandits and Qazis had enmity towards the Guru on account of his compilation of the Adi Guru Granth. They complained to the Emperor that the Guru had compiled a book in which Mohammedan, prophets and the Hindu incarnations and gods were spoken of with contempt. It was the year 1598 when the Emperor was in the Punjab. Upon this the Emperor ordered that the Guru and the Adi Guru Granth should be produced before him. The Guru sent Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas with the copy of the Adi Guru Granth60 which was being compiled in 1598 (compilation completed in 1604 AD).

The first hymn which caught the Emperor's eye was Guru Arjun's own composition in Persian language:61

From earth and light God made the world

They sky, earth, trees and water are God's creation

O man whatever the eye can behold is perishable

The world is eater of carrion, neglectful of God and greedy of mammon

Like an ogre on a beast, it eateth forbidden food

Restrainst thy hearts, or the omnipotent will take and punish thee in hell.

When Azrail shall seize thee of what avail

Shall patrons, brothers, courts and possessions and mansions

The pure God knoweth thy condition

Slave Nanak utter thy prayer to the holy man to guide thee.62

The Emperor found nothing objectionable. The slanderer of the Guru represented that it was specially selected for the Emperor's hearing. Now the Emperor himself turned the pages and pointing to a particular spot asked Bhai Gurdas to read. The hymn which begins with the following lines was read:

'Thou fastenest a stone to thy neck,

And sees not God who dwelleth in the heart.63

Akbar expressed deep appreciation for the book. In the Khulastut Twarikh, Sujan Rai Bhandari of Batala states that while returning from Lahore Akbar stayed on the bank of river Beas and saw Guru Arjun, the successor of Baba Nanak and heard his verses.64 The Emperor also remitted a portion of the years revenue of the Zamindars whose hardships were brought to his notice by the Guru.65

Abul Fazal in the Akbarnamah states that on the thirteen of the month of Azur (Jamald-ul-Sani) of forty third year of Akbar's reign (24 November 1598) Akbar with gorgeous military retinue crossed the Beas and saw Guru Arjun. People reverenced the successor Guru as spiritual leaders and solicited their benedictions.66



  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 595 mnu hwlI ikrswxI krxI srmu pwxI qnu Kyqu ] nwmu bIju sMqoKu suhwgw rKu grIbI vysu ]
  • Ibid, p. 360 : Kurwswn Ksmwnw kIAw ihMdusqwnu frwieAw ]
  • A Short History of Muslim Rule in India Ishari Prasad, Allahabad, 1965, p. 271-73.
  • Memoirs of Zahirruddin Babar, translation by Leyden and William Erikine, revised Lucas King Oxford University, Press, 1921, Vol. I, p. 219
  • Ibid., p. 148
  • The Adi Guru Granth, p. 360

AwpY dosu n dyeI krqw jmu kir muglu cVwieAw ]

eyqI mwr peI krlwxy qYN kI drdu n AwieAw ]1]

krqw qUM sBnw kw soeI ] jy skqw skqy kau mwry qw min rosu n hoeI ]

skqw sIhu mwry pY vgY KsmY sw pursweI ]

rqn ivgwiV ivgoey kuqI muieAw swr n kweI ]

  • Memoirs of Babar, op.cit., p. 98
  • History of Punjab, Syed Mohammed, Latif, p. 123
  • Memoirs of Babar, op.cit., Vol.II, p. 149
  • The Adi Guru Granth, p. 417

ijn isir sohin ptIAw mWgI pwie sMDUru ] sy isr kwqI muMnIAin@ gl ivic AwvY DUiV ] mhlw

AMdir hodIAw huix bhix n imlin@ hdUir ]1]……

ieku lKu lhin@ bihTIAw lKu lhin@ KVIAw ] grI Cuhwry KWdIAw mwxin@ syjVIAw ]

iqn@ gil islkw pweIAw qutin@ moqsrIAw ]3] Dnu jobnu duie vYrI hoey ijn@I rKy rMgu lwie ]

dUqw no PurmwieAw lY cly piq gvwie ] jy iqsu BwvY dy vifAweI jy BwvY dyie sjwie ]4]

Ago dy jy cyqIAY qW kwiequ imlY sjwie ] swhW suriq gvweIAw rMig qmwsY cwie ]

bwbrvwxI iPir geI kuieru n rotI Kwie ]5] ieknw vKq KuAweIAih iekn@w pUjw jwie ]

  • Ibid., p. 417 : khw su Kyl qbylw GoVy khw ByrI shnweI ] khw su qygbMd gwfyriV khw su lwl kvweI ]
  • Ibid., p. 722

pwp kI jM\ lY kwblhu DwieAw jorI mMgY dwnu vy lwlo ]

srmu Drmu duie Cip Kloey kUVu iPrY prDwnu vy lwlo ]

kwjIAw bwmxw kI gl QkI Agdu pVY sYqwnu vy lwlo ]

muslmwnIAw pVih kqybw kst mih krih Kudwie vy lwlo ]

jwiq snwqI hoir ihdvwxIAw eyih BI lyKY lwie vy lwlo ]

KUn ky soihly gwvIAih nwnk rqu kw kuMgU pwie vy lwlo ]1]

swihb ky gux nwnku gwvY mws purI ivic AwKu msolw ]

  • Ibid., p. 418

iek ihMdvwxI Avr qurkwxI BitAwxI TkurwxI ]

iekn@w pyrx isr Kur pwty iekn@w vwsu mswxI ]

ijn@ ky bMky GrI n AwieAw iqn@ ikau rYix ivhwxI ]

  • Ibid., p. 1412

lwhOr shru jhru khru svw phru ]

  • Memoirs of Babar, op., p. 151
  • History of Punjab, Syed Mohammad Latif, op. cit., p. 123
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 418

mugl pTwxw BeI lVweI rx mih qyg vgweI ]

En@I qupk qwix clweI En@I hsiq icVweI ]

  • Memoirs of Babar, op. cit., p. 182-183
  • Ibid., p. 183
  • Ibid., p. 211
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 723

Awvin ATqrY jwin sqwnvY horu BI auTsI mrd kw cylw ]

  • The Crescent in India, S R Sharma, p. 279
  • Asa Di Var As source of History, Journal of Sikh Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Vol. No. 17, 1990-2
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 471

gaU ibrwhmx kau kru lwvhu gobir qrxu n jweI ]

  • Some aspect of Religion and Political Life in India during 13th century, Introduction by Mohammad Habib (K A Nizami), Delhi 1961, p. XX
  • Even under the Muslim rulers the Khatris had been appointed to high administrative posts. Glossary of Tribes and Castes, by H A Rose, Vol. II, p. 506
  • Lanepool, Medieval India, p. 104, History of Punjab, Vol. III, edited FAuja Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1972, p. 258
  • Cambridge History of India, Vol. III, p. 108
  • Adi Guru Granth Sahib, p. 768-69

lbu pwpu duie rwjw mhqw kUVu hoAw iskdwru ]

kwmu nybu sid puCIAY bih bih kry bIcwru ]

AMDI rXiq igAwn ivhUxI Bwih Bry murdwru ]

  • All Janamsakhis of Guru Nanak agree that Guru Nanak got employment in the Modi Khana of Daulat Khan Lodhi Sultanpur, the headquarter of his Jagir. For more details vide Janamsakhi Parampara, Kirpal Singh, Pbi University, Patiala 1969, p. 13-14.
  • Agrarian system of Moslem India, W H Moreland, Allahabad, 1929, p. 68.
  • Janamsakhi Guru Nanak Meharban, Ed Kirpal Singh, Amritsar, 1961, p. 76
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 991

koeI AwKY BUqnw ko khY byqwlw ] koeI AwKY AwdmI nwnku vycwrw ]

  • Guru Granth Sahib, p. 967

puqRI kaulu n pwilE kir pIrhu kMn@ murtIAY ]

idil KotY AwkI iPrin@ bMn@ Bwru aucwiein@ CtIAY ]

ijin AwKI soeI kry ijin kIqI iqnY QtIAY ]

kauxu hwry ikin auvtIAY ]

  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 967

Pyir vswieAw PyruAwix siqguir KwfUru ]

  • Ibid., p. 967

blvMf KIvI nyk jn ijsu bhuqI Cwau pqRwlI ]

lµgir dauliq vMfIAY rsu AMimRqu KIir iGAwlI ]

gurisKw ky muK aujly mnmuK QIey prwlI ]

pey kbUlu KsMm nwil jW Gwl mrdI GwlI ]

mwqw KIvI shu soie ijin goie auTwlI ]

  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 1116-17

nwvx purb ABIc gur siqgur drs BieAw ]

qIrQ audmu siqgurU kIAw sB lok auDrx ArQw ]

mwrig pMiQ cly gur siqgur sMig isKw ]

pRQm Awey kulKyiq gur siqgur purbu hoAw ]

jogI idgMbr sMinAwsI Ktu drsn kir gey gosit FoAw ]

pRQm Awey kulKyiq gur siqgur purbu hoAw ]

  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 1116

duqIAw jmun gey guir hir hir jpnu kIAw ]

jwgwqI imly dy Byt gur ipCY lµGwie dIAw ]

  • Ain-i-Akbari, translated by the Blackman, Delhi, 1965, p. 292. The following sums are levied as river toll. For every boat, Rs 1 per kos at the rate of 1000 mans, provided the boat and the men belong to one and the same owner. But if the boat belongs to another man and every thing in the boat to the man who has hired it, the tax is R 1 for every 2½ kos. At ferry places an elephant has to pay 10 d(dam) for crossing, a laden cart 4 d, empty 2 d, a laden camel 1 d, empty camels, horses, cattle with their things 1 d, other beast of burden pay 1/10 d. Twenty people pay 1 D for crossing, but they are often taken gratis. The rule is that one half or one third of the tolls thus collected go to the state (and the other half goes to the boatman).
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 1116

jwgwqI imly dy Byt gur ipCY lµGwie dIAw ]

  • Ibid.,

sB mohI dyiK drsnu gur sMq iknY AwFu n dwmu lieAw ]

AwFu dwmu ikCu pieAw n bolk jwgwqIAw mohx muMdix peI ]

  • Macauliffe Sikh Religion, Vol. II, p. 114.
  • Dr Gopal Singh, translation Guru Granth Sahib, Vol. IV, p. 1068.
  • Gurbachan Singh Talib, Translation Guru Granth Sahib, Vol. IV, p. 2271, footnote 2.
  • Shabdarth, SGPC, Amritsar, Vol. IV, p. 1116, footnote.
  • Punjab Past and Present, Punjabi University, Patiala, Oct 1979, p. 344
  • L. D. Swami Kannu Pillay, An Indian Ephemeries Vol I, p. 8-9
  • M A Macauliffe, Sikh Religion, Vol. II, p. 112
  • The Adi Guru Granth Sahib Steek (Farid Koti Tika), Patiala, 1970, Vol. II, p. 2287
  • And Indian Ephemeris Vol. V, p. 308-347
  • The Punjab Past and Present, Punjab University., Patiala, Oct 1974, p. 399
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 923-24

siqguru purKu ij boilAw gurisKw mMin leI rjwie jIau ]

mohrI puqu snmuKu hoieAw rwmdwsY pYrI pwie jIau ]

sB pvY pYrI siqgurU kyrI ijQY guru Awpu riKAw ]

koeI kir bKIlI invY nwhI iPir siqgurU Awix invwieAw ]

hir gurih Bwxw dIeI vifAweI Duir iliKAw lyKu rjwie jIau ]

khY suMdru suxhu sMqhu sBu jgqu pYrI pwie jIau ]6]1]

  • Adi Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1200

kwhy pUq Jgrq hau sMig bwp ]

ijn ky jxy bfIry qum hau iqn isau Jgrq pwp ]1] rhwau ]

ijsu Dn kw qum grbu krq hau so Dnu iksih n Awp ]

iKn mih Coif jwie ibiKAw rsu qau lwgY pCuqwp ]1]

jo qumry pRB hoqy suAwmI hir iqn ky jwphu jwp ]

aupdysu krq nwnk jn qum kau jau sunhu qau jwie sMqwp ]

  • Bhai Khan Singh Nabha, Mahankosh (Punjabi) under Sulhi Khan and Kotha Guru.
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 371

pRQmy mqw ij pqRI clwvau ] duqIey mqw duie mwnuK phucwvau ]

  • Ibid., p. 825

sulhI qy nwrwiex rwKu ] sulhI kw hwQu khI n phucY sulhI hoie mUAw nwpwku ]1]

mMdw icqvq icqvq picAw ijin ricAw iqin dInw Dwku ]1]

puqR mIq Dnu ikCU n rihE su Coif gieAw sB BweI swku ][/FONT]

  • Ibid., p. 1138[/FONT]

Apxy dws kau kMiT lgwvY ]

inMdk kau Agin mih pwvY ]1][/FONT]

  • The actual word in Gurbani is Mehzarnama which according to Steingrass, Persian English Dictionary means document attested by witnesses. It was a type of summon which was issued on the complaint of people. Here complaint was made by Brahman Mullans, against the Guru.[/FONT]


  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 119

mhjru JUTw kIqonu Awip ] pwpI kau lwgw sMqwpu ]1]

ijsih shweI goibdu myrw ] iqsu kau jmu nhI AwvY nyrw ]1] rhwau ]

swcI drgh bolY kUVu ] isru hwQ pCoVY AMDw mUVu ]

  • Twarikh Guru Khalsa, Language Deptt. Patiala, p. 406-7, Macauliffe Sikh Religion, Vol. III, p. 81-82-83.
  • Ibid
  • Adi Guru Granth, p. 723
Kwk nUr krdM Awlm dunIAwie ]

Asmwn ijmI drKq Awb pYdwieis Kudwie ]1]

  • Ibid., p. 738-39

Gr mih Twkuru ndir n AwvY ]

  • Khulasatut, Twarikh, Sujan Rai (Punjabi) Punjabi University, Patiala, 1972, p. 436.
  • Ibid
  • Akbar Namah, Abul Fazal, Vol. III, Lucknow 1883, p. 514, quoted in Makhaz-e-Twarikh Sikhs SGPC, Amritsar, p. 191.

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