NANAK VIJAI, more properly known as Sn Guru Nanak Vijai, in manuscript, is a narration in verse of the events of Guru Nanak`s life. During his journeys across the country and outside, Guru Nanak met a variety of people whom he won over by his gentle and persuasive manner. This explains the title of the work Ndnak Vijai, which literally means “Victory of Nanak.” The author, Sant Ren, originally from Kashmir, had settled down in the Punjab towards the end of his life. He was born in AD 1741 at Srinagar in a Gaur Brahman family.
He was the only son of his parents father, Pandit Hari Vallabh, and mother, Savitri Devi. From his very early years, Sant Ren was indifferent to worldly affairs and had a passion for travel and for the company of holy men. He left home in his youth and started upon his wandering career. During his journey through the Punjab, he came in contact with Baba Sahib Das, who was much respected and revered Udasi sadhu of his times. Sant Ren came in the Udasi fold under the influence of Baba Sahib Das from whom he received instruction in the Sikh faith.
He visited especially the places of religious pilgrimage with a view to having an opportunity to discourse with saints, rsis and sannydsis. He visited faroff parts of the country like Maharashtra and modern Madhya Pradesh, in the south, Sindh and Baluchistan in the west, Nepal and Kedarnath in the north. He himself established many maths and monasteries.The most important of these was the Dera Gujrariwala, which had a jdgir assigned to it by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Balapur Pith, one of the schools set up by him in the distant Akola district, in Maharashtra, is still in existence.
He took a leading part in the establishment of Sarab Uddsin Panchditi Akhdrd, with the help of Sant Pritam Das Niraban. During his last years, Sant Ren settled at the village of Bhudan, near Malerkotia, in the Punjab, where he died on Phagan sudi 12, 1928 Bk/AD 1872 at the ripe old age of 130. His samddh, built by a woman devotee, stands till today. Sant Ren was a versatile poet. He has left five books including the voluminous Ndnak Vijai. The other four are:Afan Prabodh, Anbhai Amrit Sdgar, Uddsi Bodh and Sri Guru Ndnak Bodh.
Of these four, the first two have been published in a single volume by Shri Sant Ren Ash ram, Bhudan. The manuscript Ndnak Vijai is a huge volume of 1860 leaves 73/4″ X 12″. Each page contains 24 lines with 18 to 20 words per line. The book is divided into 20 sections called khands and 324 adhydyas (chapters) . The original manuscript, in Gurmukhi characters, is in the author`s own hand.
Later four copies were prepared from it for the four important centres of his devotees. The work is a detailed biography of Guru Nanak. The author has made full use of the available sources, including theJanam Sdkhis and Bhai Santokh Singh`s Sri Guru Ndnak Prakash.The events are narrated from the point of view of a devotee, and pious legend and mythology are freely intermixed with history.On the doctrinal side, Ndnak Vijai presents Guru Nanak`s teachings in the framework of Vedantic philosophy.
But the author`s devotion to the Guru and his faith in his bdm are undisputed. The poet has used in his work various metres from the Indian poetic tradition such as kabitt kundaUd, dohd and chaupai. In addition to these, he has employed some folk tunes and has invented some new metres of his own as well. He has made considerable use of the figures of speech, mainly similes and metaphors.The language of Ndnak Vijai is Western Hindi, more polished and scholarly than Sadh Bhakha of the saint poets of earlier times.
Yet it is not as pure as modern literary Hindi. It is, in fact, a mixture of Braj Bhasa idiom and grammar and of vocabulary from different languages, mainly Punjabi. The exact date of the completion of Ndnak Vijai is not known, though according to the author`s own statement, he started writing when he had reached the age of hundred. The writing was not done at any one fixed place. The author wrote as he travelled, depositing the sheets into a matt (earthen pitcher) carried on a country cart.
1. Vaid, Ram Das, ed., Sri Sant Ren Granthavali. Malerkotia, 1953
2. Padam, Piara Singh, Maha Kaw Sant Ren. Patiala, 1959