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An Ang (Page) of a puratan (old) bir of Sarbloh Granth, from 18th Century

The Sarbloh Granth (Punjabi: ਸਰਬਲੋਹ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ, sarabalōha grantha) is a poem that recites the story of gods and demons, and is said to be the work of Guru Gobind Singh. Sarbloh Granth literally means "the Granth or Scripture of all-steel or iron".

However, many scholars and researchers question the authenticity of the Granth and its credibility remains in doubt. According to Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, a nineteenth century Sikh scholar and researcher, the Sarbloh Granth is the work of Bhai Sukha Singh, a granthi (priest) at Takht Sri Patna Sahib, who however claimed that he had acquired its manuscript from an Udasi recluse living in a forest near Jagannath Puri (Orissa).

The Akali Nihang tradition who make use of the Granth holds that whereas the Guru Granth Sahib is the embodiment of "Shaant Ras" (essence of peace), the Dasam Granth and the Sarbloh Granth are the embodiments of "Bir Ras" (essence of war). They believe that the difference between the Dasam Granth and the Sarbloh Granth is that although "Bir Ras" is born in the Dasam Granth, it is in the Sarbloh Granth where the individual warrior achieves an everlasting, final and complete lethal cutting edge advantage in this sphere of "Bir Ras". This Nihang belief is not accepted by the majority of the rest of the Sikh community.

Basic information and content

It is a lengthy composition in a variety of meters, comprising totally 4361 stanzas (862 pages in print). The original source of the narrative is, according to the author (stanzas 2093, 3312.3409), Sukra Bhashya, an old classic of Hindu mythology. It is divided into five parts:

  • Part-I: Starting with a lengthy panegyric and invocation to goddess Sri Maya Lachhmi, who is identified with Adi Bhavani (literally "Primordial Goddess"), Durga, Jwala, Kali (or Kalika), Chandi, as also with masculine Hari and Gopal. Among her myriad attributive names is also Sarbloh (literally "all-steel") which had been used by Guru Gobind Singh for Akal Purakh, the Supreme God, in Akal Ustat.
  • Part-II: In this section, Lord Vishnu is entreated to become incarnate as Sarbloh (stanza 1167). * * Part V: But it is early in part V that it becomes clear that Sarbloh is an incarnation of Mahakal or Gopal, the Supreme Deity (stanza 2386).

See photo ‘Table of Contents’ at end of document and Mahan Kosh (under ‘Sarbloh granth’) for reference

First Chapter – ਪਹਿਲਾ ਅਧਯਾਯ The first chapter contains the praise of Māhā Māyā, and Māhā Kāl. After losing to the demons, the Devtian (Gods and Goddesses) came under the protection of the Devi (Chandi). The Devi defeated the demon army and its leader Bhīmnād.

Second Chapter – ਦੂਜਾ ਅਧਯਾਯ Bhīmnād’s wife prepares to become a Satī while his brother, Bīrjnād, prepares to wage war against all the Devtian. Indira then sends letters to all the Devtian asking for assistance in the war.

Third Chapter - ਤੀਜਾ ਅਧਯਾਯ The demons got the upper hand on the gods and goddesses. Vishnu then sends Nārad as an ambassador to Bīrjnād. Bīrjnād would not listen and prepared for battle. At the beginning of the battle the 11 armies of Bīrjnād that were on foot were destroyed.

Fourth Chapter - ਚੌਥਾ ਅਧਯਾਯ A great battle full of terror is occurring. Giving Vishnu’s ambrosial nectur (amrit) to the Devitan they re-gained life. After Indira captures the demons, Bīrjnād attains victory and captures/imprisons Indira.

Fifth Chapter – ਪੰਜਵਾ ਅਧਯਾਯ After the Devtian experienced great pain in the battle they went before Akal Purkh and pleaded for help. Akal Purkh manifested himself as Sarbloh (all light). Sarbloh avatar made Ganesh his ambassador and sent him to Bīrjnād. Ganesh’s pleads fell on deaf ears and the war was started. The gods and goddesses used all their power to call on Sarbloh to help them. By getting Sarbloh's darshan all the Devtian and Demons were immersed in bliss. Bīrjnād then begins to praise Sarbloh. Sarbloh becomes a frightening form and has a great battle full of terror with Bīrjnād, in which Bīrjnād is defeated and killed.

Following the conclusion of the story of Sarbloh avatar there are the following sections about Vishnu avatar, they are as follows: - Mach (fish) Avatar - Kach (tortoise) Avatar - Barhā (Wild-Boar) Avatar - Nar Singh (Half Man half lion) avatar - Purshraam Avatar - Rām Avatar, called ‘Bīj Ramaein’ - Krishna avatar, called, Dasam Sakand (tenth chapter of Bhagvad Purana)

Research for its authenticity

There is much scholarly work going into the authentication of the Sarbloh Granth, one recalls passage written in manuscripts kept by Damdami Taksal recording Banda Singh Bahadur having done seva (doing work for Sikhi without wanting any bargain) of writing Sarbloh Granth handwritten birs (this point is from a very biased and untrusted source someone should look into its authenticity).

The Baba Buddha Dal of Nihangs believe in the Sarbloh Granth in equal respect to Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth, When they do akhand paths they would do a combination of 4 birs, Japji Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth and Sarbloh Granth.

How did it come into Being

With no mention of its existance until lately rumors abound concerning the Sarbloh Granth's discovery. Some say the udasis had it and gave it to the Baba Buddha Dal, others say it was found in a hole, where it had been burried for safe keeping in the manner of the 'Dead Sea Scrolls'. Still others say the work of the Sarbloh Granth, in recording to the Dasam Granth where Guru Gobind Singh in his previous avtar of Dusht Daman came and wrote this manuscript, which Guru Gobind Singh came to Hemkunt Sahib to reclaim.

Much of the information on the Granth varies and only the Baba Buddha Dal know much about this Granth. As the Baba Buddha Dal holds the rights to the Granth the organization's permission will be required before an electronic on line version such as that of the Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth at:* Dasam Granth Sahib online can be prepared.

Why is it that not many people know about this?

Sarbloh Granth is the third great scripture worshipped by the Nihangs. Whereas extensive works have been written on Guru Granth Sahib and to some extent on Dasam Granth, one will find hardly anything written on the Sarbloh Granth.

In fact, the vast majority of Sikhs have not even heard of this text let alone laid eyes on Sarbloh Granth. Even ancient Sikh and non-Sikh texts are silent on the subject of the Sarbloh Granth.

Whereas the Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth could be publicly seen at gurdwaras, Sarbloh Granth was always kept within the Nihang groups as a secret text.

Didar Singh Khjal and his teacher, Baba Thakur Singh, wrote a sanctioned book that speaks of Nihang Baba Gurbakhsh Singh’s handwritten copy of Sarbloh Guru Granth:

‘Baba Gurbakhsh Singh Ji like Baba Deep Singh Ji Shahid made hand written copies of Sikh scriptures and small liturgy booklets and sent them to appropriate places. His handwritten copy of Sri Sarbloh Granth Sahib is also mentioned before 1920 it was at the Gurdwara Shahid Ganj at the place of martyrdom of Baba Gurbakhsh Singh, but then during the Akali agitation [1920-1925] it was lost by the elder lady who served there.’ - from - ‘Itihas Damdami Taksal (Sankhep)' (Page 54)

Nihang tradition holds that, whereas Guru Granth Sahib is the embodiment of 'Shaant Ras' (essence of peace), Dasam Granth and Sarbloh Granth are the embodiments of 'Bir Ras' (warrior essence).

The difference in Dasam Granth and Sarbloh Granth is that although Bir Ras (warrior essence) is born of Dasam Granth, it is Sarbloh Granth which gives an individual's warrior essence an everlasting, final and complete lethal cutting edge.

With contemplation of Dasam Granth, ‘Chandi chr jandi te uttar jandi heh’, meaning 'spirit of war comes and goes'. With the contemplation of Sarbloh Granth, ‘Chandi sda chri rhendi heh’ meaning, one is always intoxicated in the spirit of war against ignorance.

Thus it was from the Sarbloh Granth that the Khalsa of the Misl Period drew its greater strength and prowess. That is why Sarbloh Granth was the most secret and guarded of Sikh religious texts. Englishmen like Malcolm easily managed to procure Birs of the Guru Granth Sahib taking them to Calcutta to study. Colebrooke even managed to get his 'scheming hands' on the Dasam Granth, as well.

But, because the Sarbloh Granth was being guarded deep in the sanctuary of the Nihang groups, no invader even heard of its existance, let alone get his hands on it.

Also, the Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhias apart from Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha in general never got around to commenting on the Sarbloh Granth. The present day offspring of Tat Khalsa Singh Sabha, the SGPC is also quiet about the Sarbloh Granth. The language of the Sarbloh Granth, being hidden away so long, has resulted in its being very difficult to understand as it has skipped whole generations of scolars as the words they used and their meanings have continued to change in the outside world. Like an ancient time capsule the obscure text has only recently been made available to modern Sikh scholars.

How can one obtain a copy

One Udasi, Harnam Das of Kapurthala, formally known as Nihang Nurang Singh has made an attempt in the last century to study the Sarbloh Granth.

He prepared a transliteration of the Sarbloh Granth which the Buddha Dal later published. Another learned man, Giani Partap Singh, himself a scholar of Sikh religious texts, claims Harnam Das' works are incomplete.

Originally this transliteration was not available at any shop or library and could only be attained from Buddha Dal. In order to acquire a copy an individual had to present a written request stating the reason why he/she would need the copy of the Sarbloh Granth. The letter would then be taken to the head of the Nihangs, most recently Jathedar Baba Santa Singh Ji. Once Baba ji was satisfied with the request, he would officially give his authority and approval. The individual then had to travel to Patiala, Punjab, where the Buddha Dal printing press would make available a copy of the Sarbloh Granth.

The ideal Buddha Dal tradition does not sell the priceless Granths, or any other sacred text. But in the year 2000, due to over whelming public demand for the Sarbloh Granth and because of the Buddha Dal's inability to keep it in print, the Buddha Dal published version of Sarbloh Granth began to be sold at book shops in Punjab.

In modern times the head of the ancient order Shiromani Panth Akali Buddha Dal Panjvah Takht, Jathedar Baba Santa Singh Ji has done a great service to the Sikh tradition by bringing this Granth out into the public and returning it to it's rightful place, Prakash alongside Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth Sahib. Baba Santa Singh has been successful in printing this Granth in two volumes and also printing a small Sampuran Granth (like a Gutka steek of Guru Granth Sahib ji) for the purpose of parkaash.

The money, from the sales, has been used to fund the printing of further copies of the Sarbloh Granth.

Sarloh Granth Santhia Smagam and Akhand Paath

In 2003, Baba Santa Singh Ji conducted a Sarbloh Santia Smagam where he personally over saw the santhia of 18 individual Nihang Singhs. This smagam has not been publicized; Baba Jee had the dream of conducting a Sampuraan Akhand Paath Saheeb of this Granth before he departed this Earth. His dream became true at Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib Ji in 2003, the first recorded (In post colonial era) Sarbloh Granth Akhand Paath took place at this blessed location.

Niddar Singh's 'propaganda'

The self-proclaimed leader of the Buddha Dal in UK, Niddar Singh, has done 'propaganda' for several years claiming that this granth was to be treated as a Bir Rass Granth, thus the tradition of jhatka (killing in one blow) was associated with it. Niddar Singh's lack of scriptual education was exposed by the fact that the Akhand Paath of Sarbloh Granth was conducted in a completely Vaishnavite (vegetarian) manner.

Khalsa Mero Roop Hai Khaas

The famous Khalsa Mehma "Khalsa Mera Roop Hai Khaas - Khalse Mai Hou Karo Nivaas - Khalsa Mera Satgur Puraa - Khalsa Mera Sjn Suraa" are contained within the Sarbloh Granth. Also mentioned within one of it's Dhiyais (chapters) is the writing "Satguru Nanak Aap Parmeswar - Avtaar Lie Shubh Bans Pardhana".

Position of Sarbloh Granth in several Sikh sects

In all Nihang Singh groups, Sarbloh granth is kept parkaash, it is venerated by Singhs in both the Buddha Dal and Tarna Dal.

Nihang Singhs, Nirmalas, Udasis and Sevapanthis all traditionally acknowledge Sarbloh Granth as Gurbani (writings) of Guru Gobind Singh ji.

Five Points: Is it really written by Guru Gobind Singh?

Five points casting doubt on the ascribed authorship of Guru Gobind Singh.

  • 1. The work is marked by extraordinary effusiveness and discursiveness of style, compaired to the compactness, so characteristic of Guru Gobind Singh's compositions collected in the Dasam Granth. Qualitatively, too, the poetry of Sarabloh Granth does not match that of Guru Gobind Singh's Chandi Charttras and Var Durga Ki dealing with the same topic of wars between the gods and the demons. The profusion of metaphor and superb imagery of the latter compositions are missing here.
  • 2. The author of Sarbloh Granth often uses his name, 'Das Gobind' or the phrase 'Das Gobind fatah satgur ki', which is generally contrary to the style of Guru Gobind Singh.
  • 3. The Sarbloh Granth contains, quite out of context, an account of the Sikh religion, which also includes a reference to the devolution of guruship on Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Panth (stanzas 3159-66). This would be out of place in a work of Guru Gobind Singh's own composition.
  • 4. There is also a reference in it to Rup Dip Bhasha Pingal (stanza 2938/ 8), a work on prosody written by one Jaya Krishna in 1719, i.e. eleven years after the death of the Guru.
  • 5. It uses dass Gobind or Fateh Gobind yet mentions Guru Granth Sahib being Guru. This means it is written after Guru Granth Sahib received Gurgaddi

if Guru wrote it then it wouldn't be dass gobind but Gobind Singh. that is if Guru was going to use his own name. But Guru Ji used Nanak as all Gurus had Guru Nanak's jot. So why would Guru Gobind SIngh Ji use something else? If 5th Nanak doesn't have permission to change 1 word from Guru Granth Sahib Ji, then how did 10th Guru get permission to change Nanak to Gobind?

Similiarities with Chandi Charitar?

The plot of Sarbloh Granth is almost identical with that of Chandi Charitra. The gods defeated by the demons approach the Goddess Bhawani who kills several demons including their chief Bhimanad during the 7-year long war. Later, Bhimanad's son Viryanad, rises in power and wages war against the gods. This time Lord Vishnu comes to their succour. Brahma and Shiva also help; but Viryanad not only remains unbeaten in the 12-year long war, but also captures the king of the gods, Indra, along with his sons. Vishnu secures their release and leads them to Mahakal, who at their supplications appears as Sarbloh and afterfurther battles, fiercely fought, puts an end to Viryanad and his host. At this stage, the poet also describes the epic as a contest between reason and irrationality in which the former ultimately triumphs.

External links