NIHAL SINGH, SANT, also known as Pandit Nihal Singh, a Sanskrit scholar well versed in Vedanta as well as in gurbdm, lived in Sikh times in the village of Thoha Khalsa, in district Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan. Pandit Nihal Singh is famous for his Sanskrit commentary on Japu, {hefapugudhdrthadipakd (Lamp which illuminates the deep and hidden meaning of the Japu) patterned on Sarikar`s Bhasya on Veddntasutra. According to the colophon appended to the manuscript, work on Gudhdrthadipakd was undertaken at the instance of an Udasi saint, Bava Buddh Sarup.

One Pandit Chandar Bhan Kashmir! acted as the scribe.The manuscript, completed in 1839, has not been published. The only extant copy, which is said to be the original one, is preserved in a private collection in Patiala. The manuscript is written in a good clear hand and runs into 103 sheets, B^^Va”, with twelve to thirteen lines to a page. In the Japugudhdrthadipakd, the original text in Gurmukhi is reproduced in Devanagri characters.

Then comes tikd or paraphrase, followed by explanation or commentary. The transliteration of the Japu into Devanagri script is somewhat arbitrary. Vowel symbols used in the original Gurmukhi have been omitted or altered.Some Punjabi words have been transcribed in their original Sanskrit form, e.g. the original sati has been changed to satya, purakhu has been changed to purusa.

There are some plain errors as well, e.g. gurd ik dehi bujhai has been written as gurud ik deh bujhai (stanza VI of the Japu). At places, lines from the original text are missing. The commentasy is coloured by Pandit Nihal Singh “s background in Advaita. He is by faith a Sikh, but his interpretation of the Japu has an emphatic Vedantic bias.

In the inaugural passages, Nihal Singh invokes the Hindu deities and incarnations such as Sri Ganesa, Sarasvati and Sri Krsna. One Sobha Singh Indraprasthi translated the Japugudhdrthadipakd into highly Hindized Punjabi, under the title Japu Nibandh Gudhdrthadipakd Tikd, an incomplete manuscript copy of which is preserved in a private collection at Amritsar.BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. GianAmrit. May 1959 2. Chanda Singh, Bhai, Cranth Sri Dukh Bhanjan Gdthd. Rziwalpindi, 1916 Gr.S. NIHAL SINGH, SANT, a Nirmala scholar, was a pupil of the renowned Sikh saint, Baba Khuda Singh. His seat was at Gobind Mandir or Gobind Kutia, in Chuna Mandi, in Lahore.

His expertness in expounding the Sikh sacred texts brought to his derd (cloister) large audiences as well as flocks of pupils whom he trained in the art of exegetics. He wrote poetry in Braj Bhasha, and is known to have left three works, namely Akdl Ndtak, Nirmal Prabhdkar and Sikkhi Prabhdkar.Of these the last two were got published in a single volume, in 1902, by Sant Gandhara Singh, under the title Nirmal Prabhdkar ate Sikkhi Prabhdkar. In the short preface he added to it, the publisher stated that Sant Nihal Singh had written some more books, the manuscripts of which had till then re mained untraceable.

In the second chapter, described as introductory, Gandhara Singh recorded that Nihal Singh had composed poetry of various types and that he passed away in 1957 Bk (AD 1900). Then follow verses in praise not clear where the composition of Gandhara Singh ends and where that of Sant Nihal Singh begins. In later verses, however, the name of Nihal Singh or Kesri Nihal occurs fairly frequently.The poet describes the earlier period as an age full of wickedness.

Then he sings the glory of the age of the Gurus. He pays homage to their exalted spiritual status, and reprimands those who do not believe in their teachings. Nirmal Prabhdkar, which is the purabdrdha or the first half, is meant for those who want to acquaint themselves with the Sikh way of life. The author pays rich tributes to the Singhs, i.e. Sikhs who have received the rites of the Khalsa.

The Nirmala Singhs are presented as those blessed with knowledge and understanding. The entire section is in verse, employing a variety of metres such as dohrd, kabiti, chaupdi, chhapai, and bhujangpraydt. Sikkhi Prabhdkar (Pp. 175 to 338) is the uttardradh or the second half of the book. It exalts the Bedl dynasty, and pays homage to Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master.

Then follow verses in glorification of the Guru Granth Sahib and the Guru Panth. The poet enumerates the qualities of an ideal Sikh. A true Sikh, according to him, leads a life of piety, does wrong to no one, remains ever in harmony with the Will of God, is upright in thought, speech and action, is tenderhearted but is ready to always resist injustice and oppression confronting them like a steel pillar, is a believer in the universal brotherhood of man, and shuns all ill will. He is the beloved of Akal, the Timeless One, and, being ever attached to Akal, remains detached from earthly pursuits and is humility incarnate.

He has quoted from history examples of Sikhs who had preferred to be cut to pieces rather than resile from their faith. There is also a reference to ardds, the Sikh supplication, which brings to the devotees peace and strength. The daily routine of a Sikh, a brief outline of the lives of all the ten Sikh Gurus, Sikh rites and rituals, the Sikh dress, etc., are some of the other topics touched upon in the work. The volume ends with a chaupai in which the poet states that there are many sects (bhekh) of the Panth Khalsa, but he names only two, viz. the Nirmalas and the Nihangs. The final lines constitute an invocation to the Timeless One.

References :

1. Kahn Singh, Bhai, Gurushabad Ratndkar Mahan Kosh. Patiala, 1981
2. Nihal Singh, Sant, Nirmal Prabhakar ate Sikhi Prabhakar. Lahore, 1902