Janam Sakhis (Life History of Guru Nanak Dev Ji)


Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Guru Nanak Biography


Janam Sakhis (Life History of Guru Nanak Dev Ji)

What is Janam Sakhi? 
Which is the first Janam Sakhi? 
How many Janam Sakhis are there ? 
like this, there are many questions that come to a reader's mind. The word 'Sakhi' means the story of a witness to an event. In fact, these stories are stories related to Guru Nanak's life. It describes the Guru Nanak Biography. In fact, Janam sakhi means the story of the life of a great person. When we study the ancient writings, we find that the 'Sakhis' are the oldest source of the life history Guru Nanak Dev ji in Sikh History. The most important are Janam Sakhis are -
1. Purantan Janam Sakhi
2.  Meharban wali Janam Sakhi
3.  Bhai Bale Wali Janam Sakhi 
4.  Bhai Mani Singh Wali Janam Sakhi.
    (And many more names also)
                    Nothing is known about when the first Janam Sakhi was written. His writings in the Janam Sakhi of Bhai Bala have been described as ancient. But the language of this Janam Sakhi shows that it is not so ancient. This language seems to be a period of time or shortly after Guru Gobind Singh. The story of Bhai Mani Singh, considered to be very old, also appears to be of Guru Gobind Singh's time. There is much in the Purantan Janam Sakhi  which is believed to be of the time of Guru Angad Dev Ji, which seems to have been written in the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Or it may have been rewritten by some modification at that time. Bhai Vir Singh has re-written this Janam Sakhi. The task of rewriting this Janam Sakhi began in British times. The British man named Henry Thomas Colebrooke put this text in the library of the 'Indian office London'. The Sikhs asked the lieutenant governor to return to India from London to read this story. Mr Ross, a librarian, sent it back to India. People started to call this the Vilait Wali Janam Sakhi.
                    Dear readers, there is one more religious script which does not come under the category of Janam Sakhi. But it is also important for the readers. This work is done by Bhai Gurdas ji. He wrote a var-1. This var is about first six Gurus. This var is important because it is the first document closely linked to the time of guru Nanak. As we know Bhai Gurdas is an important person in early sikh history. He was the nephew of the third Guru, Guru Amar Das ji. Bhai Gurdas ji joined the Sikh religion in 1579. He worked as a missionary for many years in Agra. Guru Arjan Dev ji asked him to come back in Punjab. He was very close to the house of Guru Nank Dev ji So he knew so many things about Guru Nanak Dev ji. Bhai Gurdas ji was very close to Baba Budda ji, who met Guru Nanak Dev ji. So the 1st var of Bhai Gurdas ji first writing related to Guru Nanak Dev ji’s biography.

1 Puratan Janam Sakhi

                    Under the Puratan Janam Sakhi tradition there are two main topic to discuss firs is Vilait wale Janam Sakhi and second is Macauliffe wali Janam Sakhi. In the early years of 17th century Dr. Vir Singh published the Puratan Janam Sakhi. In 1872 Dr. Trumpp focused his attention on the manuscript of Puratan Janam Sakhi.  He got published his work in 1877. In 1883 the Sikhs of Amritsar sent a petition to Sir Charles Aitcheson, the lieutenant general of Punjab. Thereafter in deference to the wishes of some learned Sikhs, Sir Charles got the photographs and prints of the manuscript  published in 1885 using zincographic process. Same time Colebrooke and Macauliffe published their Janam Sakhis. The Janam Sakhi published by Macauliffe also known as Hafizabad wali Janam Sakhi, because this manuscript was procured by Bhai Gurmukh Singh, a professor of Oriental College Lahore, from Hafizabad. There are also many other Janam Sakhis have been discovered under Puratan Janam Sakhi tradition.

2 Miharban Wali Janam Sakhi

                    Miharban was the son of Prithvi Chand. He belongs to the Sikh Guru family because Prithvi Chand was the elder brother of Guru Arjan Dev ji. Miharban was a good musician and a good writer. So he is a resourceful person about the life stories of Guru Nanak Dev ji. For this reason the Janam Sakhi written by Miharban is very important from the viewpoint of history. On the other hand the Janam Sakhi written by him neglected. Its main reason was the personality of the Miharban. He belongs to the meena sect. The people of this sect were anti sikh Guru from the time of Guru Arjan Dev ji. Miharban prepared this Janam Sakhi for his own motive as he wanted to be regarded as Guru.

3 Bhai Bale Wali Janam Sakhi

Janam Sakhi Guru Nanak Dev Ji

                     Bhai Bala ji was the close friend of Guru Nanak Dev ji since his childhood. But all other Janam Sakhkis don’t accept it. According to Bhai Gurdas ji Mardana was the friend of Guru Nanak Dev ji. There is no hint in the vars of Bhai Gurdas ji about Bhai Bala. So we cannot find out about the existence of Bhai Bala in any older source. In this Janam Sakhi Bhai Bala ji claims that he was the close friend of Guru Nanak Dev ji and he was three years younger than Guru Nanak Dev ji. He also claims that he dictated this Janam Sakhi  during the time of Guru Angad Dev ji. He also claims that this Janam Sakhi was written in year of 1534 when Guru Nanak Dev ji was still alive. But the existence of Bhai Bala ji seems to be doubtful.

4 Gyan Ratnavali or Bhai Mani Singh Ji Wali Janam Sakkhi

Janam Sakhi Guru Nanak Dev Ji

                    Gyan Ratnavali or Bhai Mani Singh Janam Sakkhi has been considered to be more significant in comparison to other Janam Sakhis. It earned a respectful place of itself. Sikh leaders felt that the sikh community needed an authentic version of Janam Sakhi. For this purpose they approached Bhai Mani Singh. But Bhai Mani Singh showed his inability and guided them towards to the Var of Bhai Gurdas ji. But this Var has a small amount of information about Guru Nanak Dev ji. But When they told Bhai ji that meenas in their Janam Sakhi had lowered the respect of Guru Nanak Dev ji, then Bhai Mani Singh ji agreed with those Sikhs and authored a new Janam Sakhi. For this Bhai Mani Singh ji sourced material from the first var of Bhai Gurdas ji, Assa di var, Sidh ghosht  And the Janam Sakhi of Bhai Bala ji.

                    In the end we can say every Janam Sakhi was written in different circumstances. Each author wrote their own story. Each one has its own particular intention. Miharban Wrote the Janam Sakhi to prove himself a Guru and Bala ji wrote the Janam Sakhi to prove himself close to Guru Nanak Dev jji. Bhai Mani Singh Ji wrote the Janam Sakhi in a selfless manner but he too had to base the Janam Sakhi that were already going on. Regardless of who wrote it, for whatever purpose it was, Guru Nanak's main path of welfare of the society shown in all Jamam Sakhis. If these Janam Sakhis are to be considered beyond the realm of reality, then these Janam Sakhis are an important source information of time for Guru Nanak Dev ji.


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