BHAGATRATNAVALI, also known as Sikhan di Bhagatmal or Sikhan di Bhagatmala or Bhagatavali is a tika or exposition, in Punjabi prose, of a Var (no.ll) from Bhai Gurdas`s Varan. The Var con tains a roster of the names of some of the Sikhs of the time of the first six Gurus, Guru Nanak to Guru Hargobind, without giving any details about how they got initiated into the Sikh faith or about their careers. The Bhagat Ratnavali, attributed to Bhai Mani Singh (q.v.), attempts to supply these. The name of Bhai Mani Singh occurs at several places in the text in the third person which makes it doubtful if he is the author.
The anecdotes given are meant to have been those related by Guru Gobind Singh to Bhai Mani Singh. It is likely that they were recorded by another Sikh who heard Mani Singh narrate these at a congregation. The work may be dated between AD 1706 (the year Guru Gobind Singh left Punjab for the South: it is said that Mani Singh started relating the anecdotes after the Guru`s departure) and AD 1737 (the year of Baba Kaladhari`s death to whom belonged a manuscript copy of the work). However, some manuscripts contain, following the exposition of Bhai Gurdas`s Var, anecdotes about some of the Sikhs connected with the last four Gurus.
Whereas the first part of the work ends with the words: “Tika varyarvin di puri hoi here ends the exposition of the eleventh Var,” the second part concludes with “Sakhian purian hoian anecdotes end here.” The language and style in both the parts is identical. The current printed version, edited by Bhai Vir Singh, comprises only the first part. The general format is that of a Sikh more often than not it is a group of Sikhs visiting the Guru and raising questions, he has had in his mind.
The Guru answers the questions and the Sikh bows at his feet convinced. Sikh teaching is in this manner rehearsed. For the dialogue form the book adopts, it has also been described as a gosti.