The Guru’s Kashi

The Guru’s Kashi

By DAVINDER P.S. SANDHU | 8 April, 2017

After many battles across the Punjab, Guru Gobind Singh arrived at Talwandi Sabo in January 1706, and stayed there for several months. The place is now called Damdama Sahib (the place of rest).

The Guru was a prolific author and poet, with writings in Pali, Sanskrit, and Persian. Much of his writings were lost during crossing of the flooded Sirsa river near Anandpur, and at Damdama, he spent time in cataloguing what remained. The Guru Granth Sahib had been finalized much earlier, by including hymns of the five Gurus, and many saints from across India, from both Hinduism and Islam. Since then, Guru Tegh Bahadur had recited hymns, which were not part of the holy book, and the Guru decided to incorporate these too.

The original copy of the Granth Sahib was in the possession of the Dhirmal family, and it was decided to consult this as an authentic source for the fresh effort. However, despite the Guru’s request, they did not bring the original holy book to Damdama. The holy book was the main reason for the allegiance and respect that the local devotees had for the family, and they did not to want risk losing it. The family asked the Guru’s messenger to return, and convey their message – if you are the Guru, why not write down your own book?

After inviting many scholars to Damdama, the Guru began reciting the Guru Granth Sahib, and dictated the entire book, 1430 pages in total, faithfully scribed by Bhai Mani Singh. The Guru had asked the assembled scholars to propose any corrections for any mistakes that he may make, but history has no record of any corrections. Some historians mention that at a later stage, the original volume was made available, but a comparison found no differences needing corrections. This spiritual and academic activity had a profound impact, and Damdama also came to be called Guru’s Kashi, after the famous city of knowledge and learning in eastern India.

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