GUKBILAS CHHEVIN PATSHAHl, lit. the (life)play of the Sixth Guru, is a versified biography of Guru Hargobind in language more akin to Braj, written in the Gurmukhi script. The author is anonymous, though the colophon mentions 1775 Bk/AD 1718 as the year of the completion of the work. The task, says the poet, took him fifteen months to accomplish. Certain anachronistic references to events ofpost1718 period make this date suspect. Another date suggested by a modern scholar is AD 1843.

Two versions of the work are available in print, one edited by Giani Indar Singh Gill and published in 1968 by Jivan Mandar Pustakalia, Amritsar, and the other published in 1970 by the Languages Department, Punjab.Both editions comprise twenty-one cantos of unequal length, the former edition containing 8,131 stanzas and the latter 7,793. Written mostly in the poetic metres of Chaupai and Dohira, the narrative begins with the poet invoking Bhagauti and adoring the Ten Gurus of the Sikh faith to seek their blessings in the task he is launching upon. The circumstances which led to the composition of the epic are also explained.

The poet claims to have versified the biographical details of Guru Hargobind`s life as narrated to him by his literary mentor, Dharam Singh, who happened to be present at Nanaksar, present day Nankana Sahib, where Bhai Man! Singh, scholar and martyr, on the request of a devout Sikh named Bhagat Singh, recounted in successive sittings the memorable events relating to Guru Hargobind`s life.To lend authenticity to his account, he says that Mani Singh`s information was based on what he heard from Bhai Daya Singh, one of Guru Gobind Singh`s Panj Piare, who, in turn, had these details from the Guru himself. The Gurbilds covers events such as the birth, childhood and early education of Guru Hargobind (cantos 13); his marriage (canto 5); compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Arjan (canto 4) and his martyrdom (canto 7); construction of Akal Takht (canto 8) and the digging of Babeksar (canto 9); battle of Amritsar (canto 10); marriage of BibiViro (canto 11) and of Suraj Mall (canto 17); liberation of Kaulari (canto 12); the passing away of Bhai Buddha (canto 16); of Bhai Gurdas (canto 18) and Mata Damodari (canto 19); defeat and death of PaindaKhan (canto 20). The author describes at some length Prithi Chand`s acts of hostility towards his brother.Guru Arjan.

Prithi Ghand laid his claim to the spiritual throne of Guru Nanak after Guru Ram Das on the basis of his being the eldest son of the latter. He resented Guru Arjan`s installation as successor to Guru Ram Das, and became openly inimical after a son was born to him (Guru Arjan). The birth of (Guru) Hargobind is attributed to the blessings of Bhai Buddha, a Sikh of Guru Nanak`s own time, widely reputed for his piety. As Guru Arjan`s wife, Mata Gariga one day brought out food for him, Bhai Buddha started eating it, simultaneously showering blessings on her, saying that a warrior son would be born to her who would crush the tyrants. There is a detailed account given of the founding and construction of the Akal Takht.

Guru Hargobind, it is stated, laid the foundation of the Akal Takht on Har 5, 1663 Bk/ 3 June 1606, allowing only Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas to lend the labour of their liands in raising the structure. Bhai Gurdas was named custodian of the Akal Takht as Bhai Buddha had been of the Harimandar. The poet attributes to Guru Hargobind the assignment of dhums, i.e. tunes, to nine of the vdrs`m the Guru Granth Sahib. Abdul and Nattha, two contemporary bards, recited at Sikh gatherings at Akal Takht the vdrs according to the tunes set by Guru Hargobind.Later on, with the permission of Bhai Buddha, Guru Hargobind is said to have these dhums added in the hand of Bhai Gurdas in the text of the Guru Granth Sahib.

This is contrary to the accepted belief that this was done by Guru Arjan himself at the time of the compilation of the Holy Book. The Gurbilds comes to an end with the death of Guru Hargobind which, according to it, look place in 1695 Bk/AD 1638. This date has been proved to be incorrect as also several others given in the text.