This wonderful composition is comprised of seventy-three stanzas in ramkali meter and comfortably nestled between pages 938 and 946 of the Adi Granth
, the sacred Sikh scripture.
It is the words of the Adi Granth
which provide the most pervasive sound in the complex, its text sung by Granthis (priests) who, in continuous three-hour shifts, intone the entire book over the course of the day, accompanied by squeeze-box harmoniums and the unmistakeably Indian sound of the tabla drums.
As is generally known, the Adi Granth
(AG) in its canonic form, redacted by the fifth Sikh guru, Arjan, in 1604, contains verses, arranged by musical raga, composed by the first five of the Sikh Gurus, namely Nanak, Amgad, Amar Das, Ram Das, and Arjan.
Sikh tradition maintains that the fifth Guru, Arjan (1563-1606) produced the "first canonical text" of the Adi Granth
It is the first study in English, since Surindar Singh Kohli's 1961 A Critical Study of the Adi Granth
, to attempt a systematic overview of the AG.
In the first of these, Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth
(Albany: State Univ.
The study also introduces to Adi Granth
scholarship six seventeenth-century manuscripts of the Adi Granth
4] Pashaura Singh notes in his analysis of these earliest manuscripts that, while compiling the Adi Granth
in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Guru Arjan recognized the high regard exhibited by the rural population of the Punjab for the heroic ballad (var) and himself selected the epic tunes (dhuni) of these ballads at the beginning of the vars in different rag sections of the Adi Granth
In particular, Daljeet Singh and Kharak Singh maintain that "textual analysis" is an "oblique route" to attack the authenticity of the Adi Granth
"under the guise of western scholarship" (p.
Pashaura Singh had earned the degree in Religious Studies with a dissertation entitled "The Text and Meaning of the Adi Granth
," and was the first person to have graduated at the doctoral level in Sikh Studies from a Canadian university.
The more controversial topics taken up in the book include the historical evolution and nature of key texts such as the Adi Granth
, the Dasam Granth, the more important hagiographies about Guru Nanak, and the texts that specify the rahit or code of belief and discipline for members of the Khalsa community.
As early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, mainstream Sikh tradition began to contend that the existence of Mina bani(9) composed in the name of Guru Nanak had caused Guru Arjan to compile the Adi Granth
in order to safeguard the sanctity of the Gurus' authentic compositions.
There are certain groups within the Panth which take a rigorous view of their Sikh duty and of the Sikh scriptures, particularly the Adi Granth
(the "Guru Granth Sahib").
14) While in jail the fifth Sikh Guru was often beaten in order to persuade him to convert to Islam and to incorporate into the recently compiled Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth
(First/Primal Book), hymns in praise of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Punjabi work was Gatha Sri Adi Granth
, briefly released and then hastily withdrawn by its publisher, Gum Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, because of the noisy clamor raised against it by a group within the Panth (the Sikh community).