KHALSA D HA RAM SHASTARKHALSA DHARAM SHASTAR, the Sikh manual of conduct enunciating Sikhs` social and religious duties was prepared under the patronage of Sodhi Ram Narain Singh, a scion of the Sodhi family of Sri Anandpur Sahib and was published at Sri Gurmat Press, Amritsar, in the year Nanakshahl 445 (AD 1914). The name of the author given in abbreviation may be deciphered as Aviar Singh Vahiria. The book contains 430 pages, excluding the introduction, the table of contents, the Anandpur genealogical table and a corrigendum. It is a manual of Sikh ceremonial and tenets; hence the name Plirab Mimarisa (after Purva Mnnarisa describing the Vcdic ritual).
The book, according to the author, was written to preserve Sikhism in its pure fonn which appeared to him to be becoming garbled. The manuscript had been sent to various Sikh authorities and some amendments made in the light of suggestions received. The author claims to have given a true interpretation of the Sikh way of life as communicated by Sikhs who were contemporary of the Gurus and as supported by the Janam Sdkhis, the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, and handwritten pothis or books available in various gurudwaras. He supports his argument by quotations from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Dasam Granth, Bhai Gurdas` Varan and the Rahilndmds or books on the Sikh code of conduct.
The book stresses the independent identity of the Sikh faitli. It is argued that Sikhism has its own individual philosophy, code of conduct and symbols and its own scripture. Tlie author states that the Sikhs have respect for the Vcdas, Shastras and oilier religious books, but they do not accept them as their scripture; that status belongs to the Guru Granth Sahib only. At the same time the author contends that Sikhisiri is part and parcel of Hinduism; it is a branch of Hinduism purified by removing evils that had crept into this ancient religion.
The contents are divided into nine parts, each with a separate heading.The first part is devoted to establishing the superiority of Sikh faith, the second deals with the rituals connected with the Guru Granth Sahib, the third is concerned with initiation ceremony of the Khalsa and the fourth describes the Khalsa code of conduct. The succeeding parts deal with Sikh shrines and institutions, punishments to be awarded for violation of the code, and social ceremonies and rites. The author has set down exhaustively the traditional rituals and ceremonies of Sikhism, classifying and elaborating practices, injunctions and penalties.
Yet there are assertions contrary to Sikh belief and norms. For instance, admitting the abolition by Guru Gobind Singh of the personal guruship and accepting the apotheosization of the Guru Granth Sahib, the author suggests that there should be seats set apart in the gurudwaras for the descendants of the Gurus. Also, he favours a different form of initiation for Sikh women and suggests that they need not keep the kirpdn like men. At.S.