GURBILAS PATSHAHIDASVIN, a poeticized account of the life of Guru Gobind Singh by Bhai Sukkha Singh. The poet, a convert to Sikhism from the barber caste, was born at Anandpur in 1768 and completed the work in 1797 when he was barely twenty-nine. The poetry is more Braj than Punjabi, but the script used is GurmukhT. Recently, the Languages Department, Punjab, has brought out an edition in Devanagari characters also. The oldest printed edition of the work available is the one published in 1912 by Lala Ram Chand Manaktahia from Lahore.
Comprising thirty-one cantos, the work gives a detailed account of the events of the life of Guru Gobind Singh and of the causes which led to the battles he had to fight.Beginning with an invocation to the Timeless One in the classical style, the poet goes on to narrate the dream in which he was instructed in the “Shastranam Mala”, a chapter in the Dasam Granth, and was inspired to delineate in verse the life of Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Sukkha Singh claims to have had that dream while at Patna where he used to deliver sermons to Sikh congregations at Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib. He soon left Patna for Anandpur where he remained until his death in 1838 and where he completed the Gurbilds.
Besides the information received byword of mouth from old people, Sukkha Singh seems to have relied on works such as Guru Gobind Singh`s autobiographical Bachitra Ndtak, Kuir Singh`s life of Guru Gobind Singh, Sainapati`s Sri Gur Sobhd, Ani Rai`s Jangndmd Guru Gobind Singh and Sarup Das Bhalla`s Mahimd Prakash. With its wealth of detail, Sukkha Singh`s Gurbilds combines a rare insight into the prevailing political conditions and into the moral issues involved in the resistance Guru Gobind Singh had launched. Elaborate detail marks the description of the Baisakhi day of 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh introduced khande di pdhul and the pledges of the Khalsa fraternity; of the regal splendour at the Guru`s court at Anandpur; Raja Bhnn Chand`s visit to the Guru and his envy of his style; his machinations at Srinagar (Garhval) which converted a disciple like Fatch Chand into the enemy of the Guru and their attack on the Guru at Paonta; and the evacuation of Anandpur by the Guru under a prolonged siege by the hill chiefs and Mughal troops and the subsequent course of events.The last days of Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded are described in this work in minuter detail than anywhere else.
Gurbilds, however, is not a straight chronicle of events. Poetic imagination and pious adornment predominate over factual narration.