Sakhis - The Truth Of Janamsakhi Bhai Bala | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Sakhis The Truth Of Janamsakhi Bhai Bala

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
The Truth of Janamsakhi Bhai Bala

Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Dr Sukhdial Singh writes: “To reject the birth-date of Guru Nanak as Katak Poornmashi, Karam Singh Historian first rejected the authenticity of Janam Sakhi Bhai Bala in his book Katak ki Vaisakh. Though the major reason shown is corruption by Hindalias which appears to be correct but if there is an obvious corruption that part can be removed. It cannot however be the reason to reject Janam sakhi altogether on this point.” (Sukhdial Singh: Bhai Bale Wali ate Puratan janasakhi: asliat ki hai? Paper in the proceeding of Seminar on 22-23 nov 2001 in GNDU on Life and personality of Guru Nanak in Sources of Guru-period. P. 51). He further states: “Every initial source on Guru Nanak’s life gives the evidence that having heard the same from Bhai Bala, Guru Angad got a Janamsakhi (Janampatri) written from Bhai Paida Mokha”. Kesar Singh Chhiber, 1769 AD: Bansawlinama Dasan Patshahian ka; Sarup Dass Bhalla, 1776 AD, Mehma Prkash; Bhai Santokh Singh, 1843 AD; Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth, Giani Gian singh, 1880; Sri Gur Panth Parkash and Twareekh Guru Khalsa ; Khazan Singh, 1914,History of Sikh religion and many more authoritative sources on Sikhism consider Bhai Bala Janamsakhi as authentic barring the corruption. Giani Gian Singh writes: “Having innovated the new letters for Gurmukhi, Guru Angad In Samwat 1598 Bikrami, got in writing the life and character of Guru Nanak as heard from Bhai Bala by Paida Mokha in Bikarmi 1600-1601 (1543 AD) and got it bound in 1602 Bikrami; the janamsakhi which is in circulation these days.” (Giani Gian Singh, 1891,Twareekh Guru Khalsa, Sialkot, p.175). Giani Lal Singh Sangrur writes in Guru Khalsa Twareekh p. 184: “With the assistance of Bhai bala and Bahi Paida Mokha the life history if Guru Nanak was written in Bikrami 1601 in Gurmukhi letters. It took 1 year and 6 months to complete.” He further writes: “S: Karam Singh Historian has propagated Bhai Bala as a pseudo-name. Bhai Bala Sandu a farmer was the resident of Talwandi Rai Bhoi. His father’s name was Chander Bhan. He was Guru Nanak’s follower and remained with him during some of his itineraries. He was born in 1523 Bikrami and died in Bikrami 1601. His last rites were performed by Guru Angad. His smadhi is in Khadoor sahib. He dictated the details to Paida Mokha. Paida Mokha was a khatri of sultanpur and was highly learned person. ( May or may not be the same person as sent by Guru Arjan to Sri Lanka to obtain Pran Sangli); Ajita Randhawa, Bhai Moola (Guru Nanak’s father- in-law,Bhai Lalu, Baba Budha and other Sikhs also helped in writing the Janamsakhi. Later Hindalia (Niranjanians) corrupted it. But truth does not hide; since number of copies had already been prepared.”(p.184)

In addition to the monument of Bhai Bala at Khadoor Sahib, there are number of other places connected with Bhai Bala. Some of these are Balakot (name of the city on the name of Bhai bala in district Hazara, Pakistan) (Punjab Kosh, Bhasha Vibhag Punjab entry Balakot, p.595), Bala kund and Mardana Kund at Hajo.

Having studied all the Janamsakhis in detail (Janamsakhi Bhai bala, Puratan janamsakhi , Jansakhi B 40, janamsakhi Meharban (S. Karam Singh does not mention these two in Katak ki visakh) and Gyan Ratnavli, it was found that all these Janamsakhis had myth in them and have to be carefully sifted to find out the truth. Taking the direction from SGGS and Bhai Gurdas, all these Janamsakhis should be used judiciously sifting the myth out. All these sources then turn out to be complementary as well as supplementary. The Mythological names mentioned in Janam Sakhi Bhai Bala must be carefully studied with the help of mythological names in various mythological sources in India specially the Puranas (Vayu Puran being quite important). The travelogues of the period i.e., of Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Zheng, Niccolo de Counti etc., will also help clarification of the names.

Interpretation of Janamsakhis is a very tedious process. The visits to the places and the interviews with scholars and elders, helps relating traditions. The following of Guru Nanak among Lamas, Tharus, Bihari sangats, Assamese Sikhs, Badauni Sikhs, Sikligars, vanjaras, The records of Chaitnya, Sankar Deb, Kabir and other persons of importance of the period clarify the matter further. Notwithstanding the corruption by Hindalias, Janamsakhi Bhai Bala remains an important source about Guru Nanak’s life, hence should be used as a source carefully keeping in mind the other available evidence.

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