It is oral tradition that the Sarbloh Granth Sahib was completed at the Sarbloh Bunga, now called Langar Sahib at Hazur Sahib (Takht Abachal Nagar, Hazur Sahib, Nanded). The last verses were heard by Banda Singh Bahadur and were written from Sanskrit sutras preserved by a sect of Sadhus, who are said to have handed them down from the time of Guru Gobind Singh’s previous avatār, Rishi Dusht Daman. The sutras are still in a private collection with a family at Hazur Sahib. From manuscript evidence we can conclude that the bulk of the Sarbloh Granth Sahib was commenced around 1698 AD at Anandpur Sahib and completed in approximately 1708 AD at Hazur Sahib. The Holy Granth contains ‘The Praise of the Khalsa’, and this would therefore coincide with the momentous event of the formation of the Guru Khalsa Panth, in approximately 1699 AD (1756 VS) according to the Gregorian calendar.
The tradition is corroborated by the fact that Hazur Sahib and the Gurdvare in the surroundings area have a number of extant manuscripts of Sarbloh Granth Sahib. The Takht Sahib conserves a number of late 17th and early 18th century recensions. Jathedar Joginder Singh ‘Muni’, in Hazūrī Maryādā Prabodh, describes the traditional exegesis (kathā) from Sarbloh Granth Sahib at the Takht Sahib. Svami Harnam Das in his commentary (ṭīkā) of Sarbloh Granth Sahib also records the early recensions of the Sarbloh Granth Sahib at Hazur Sahib, and the Nabho Katho vālī bīṛ from 1698 AD. At the Chhauṇī of Mata Sahib Kaur there is an extant manuscript of Sarbloh Granth Sahib which also has a colophon of 1698 AD/ 1755 VS. In addition, there are other manuscripts with 1698 AD colophons, one manuscript is preserved by the Udasi Sampradāvāṅ at Bhankandi and there is also another at Mukatsar Sahib. Thus, the manuscript evidence is compelling and with a strong tradition there is no doubt about the authorship. Svami Harnam Das Udasi of Kapurthala made an extensive study of Sarbloh Granth Sahib and has indicated that it was completed by Guru Gobind Singh himself. He also argues that if it contains the compositions of some other poets as well then they were accepted by the Guru, just as Guru Arjan Dev accepted the compositions of Bhagats, Bhatts and Sufi Fakirs while compiling the Adi Granth Sahib.
In the Jāp Sāhib, Guru Gobind Singh has given various creative and attribute names to Akal Purakh. Equally he has described God by names like Māhāloh or Sarbloh (the All-Steel) representing the protective and destructive power of the Divine. The following lines are the invocation at the commencement of Akāl Ustati, which is a replica of the signature verses (daskhat) of Guru Gobind Singh:
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ Ik Oaṅkār Satigur prasādi.
The Lord is One and he can be attained through the grace of the True Guru.
ਉਤਾਰ ਖਾਸੇ ਦਸਖਤ ਕਾ ॥ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ੧੦॥ Utār khase daskhat kā. Pātisāhī 10.
Copy of the manuscript with exclusive signatures of the Tenth Sovereign.
ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਰਛਾ ਹਮਨੈ ॥ Akāl Purakh kī rachhā hamanai.
The non-temporal Purusha (All-Pervading Lord) is my Protector.
ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਕੀ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ ॥ Sarab Loh kī rachhiā hamanai.
The All-Steel Lord is my Protector.
ਸਰਬ ਕਾਲ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ ॥ Sarab Kāl jī dī rachiā hamanai.
The All-Destroying Lord is my Protector.
ਸਰਬ ਲੋਹ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਸਦਾ ਰਛਿਆ ਹਮਨੈ ॥ Sarab Loh jī dī sadā rachiā hamanai.
The All-Steel Lord is ever my Protector.
We can clearly see that the names given to Akal Purakh are attribute names and that Guru Gobind Singh ji is worshiping Akal Purakh and no Indian deity. All of these names have been employed in the Sarbloh Granth Sahib (The Scripture of All-Steel/All-Light).
The Loh Prakāsh was written by Akali Hazura Singh Nihang in 1925, he was the head Granthī at Takht Hazur Sahib. Akali Hazura Singh was respected highly, so much so that a Golden plaque, inside the Takht Sahib itself, commemorates his service as the head Granthī. In his publication, Akali Hazura Singh discusses the famous verses of Guru Gobind Singh, The Praises of the Khalsa (Khālse dī Upamāṅ), from the Sarbloh Granth Sahib. His exegesis is highly important as it records the traditional interpretation of the sacred verses.
The Sarbloh Granth Sahib is essential to understand the concept of the Khalsa Panth. The word ‘Khalsa’ is Persian in origin meaning: pure, unalloyed, with direct contact and responsibility of the owner. In the Deccan and during the Mughal rule, land or property invested directly for the ruler used to be called ‘Khalsa’. It is said that Bhagat Kabir used this word for those who reject meaningless rituals and are attached in true love with their Creator alone (Kaho Kabīr jan bhae Khālse Prem Bhagati jih jānī) . The spiritual and temporal meaning of this word appealed to the Tenth Guru. He has employed it extensively in the Sarbloh Granth Sahib:
‘Ātam ras jo jānahī so hai Khālsā dev. Prabh mai mo mai tās mai raṅchak nāhin bhev.’
‘Khalsa is the one who experience the bliss of the Super-Soul. There is no difference between God, me (Guru Gobind Singh) and him.’
‘Khālsā mero rūp hai khās. Khālse meṅ hau karo niwās’
‘The Khalsa is my special form. I reside in the Khalsa’
‘Khālsā Akāl Purakh kī Phauj. Pragaṭio Khālsā Paramātam ki mauj.’
‘Khalsa is God’s own legion. The Khalsa is manifest due to the Supreme-Soul’s own wish.’
Please note that in Akali Hazura Singh’s exegesis, the Khalsa is the liberated form of Nirankar (Prāpati Niraṅkarī sivrūp mahānaṅ.), not Shiv ji, as some misled Snatan revivalists are trying to claim.
The publication also contains the verses narrating the Gurgaddī passing to the Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Khalsa Panth, the importance of Vāhigurū mantra, and the Das grāhī-Das tiāgī (Ten virtues to hold – Ten vices to renounce) for the Khalsa, orated by Guru Gobind Singh.
The first folio of the Sarbloh Granth Sahib given to Mai Bagh Kaur (Mai Bhago) by Guru Gobind Singh. It is still present at Hazur Sahib in the Bunga of Mai Bhago. Photographed by Kamalroop Singh in 2005.
Of special note is the Foreword to the ‘Loh Parkāsh’ in which the Savant, Akali Kaur Singh Nihang, provides us with valuable information. He states that the Purātan Buddha Dal Singhs considered the Sarbloh Granth Sahib to be by authored exclusively by Guru Gobind Singh, and that there were only about ten manuscripts in the whole of India. He humbly requests that a King or rich Sikh should take up the service of printing the Sarbloh Granth Sahib. His immortal words came true when Panth Pātshāho 96 Croṛī Jathedar Baba Santa Singh completed this great service for the Guru Khalsa Panth Sahib.
If there are any errors forgive me and please notify me.
Dr. Kamalroop Singh