PRAN SANGLI, lit. the chain of breath or vital air, is a collection of compositions, attributed to Guru Nanak but in reality apocryphal, dealing with yogic practices, particularly prdndydma or control of vital air. The original Prdn Sangli, was, in all probability, a small composition, though the now available recension, edited by Sant Sampuran Singh and published in 1898 in the Devanagri script, in three volumes by Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid, Tarn Taran, runs into more than 700 pages and contains as many as 80 chapter which, with the exception of the first few, are not closely related or coordinated.Each of these chapters is presented as an exposition by Guru Nanak of a question raised by Raja Shivnabh of Sarigladip (Sri Lanka) where Prdn Sangli is said to have been composed.
Tradition goes that Guru Arjan, when compiling the Guru Granth Sahib, despatched Bhai Paira Mokha, a learned Sikh, to Sarigladip to bring a copy of the manuscript of Prdn Sangli believed to be in the possession of the descendants of Raja Shivnabh. The copy he brought was scrutinized by Guru Arjan and adjudged spurious. Thus, on page one of the original KartdrpuriBlr of the Guru Granth Sahib the title Prdn Sangli has been inscribed in Arabic characters, but nothing else.The rest of the page remains blank. In spite of the text having been rejected by Guru Arjan some people continued to treat Prdn SangH as an approved text.
Over the generations it grew in size through the addition of more spurious compositions. Probably the original Prdn Sangli consisted of the first ten chapters which comprise the first volume of the published version. The first six of these ten chapters explain the evolution of the universe, myriads of earths and skies, the elements, man with all his internal organism, etc., from the state of the unmanifest termed as sunn (sunya, literally meaning void or nothingness and in yogic theology representing the Primal Being).The next three chapters explain the intricacies, forms and ideals of yoga, through dialogues between Gorakhnath and Guru Nanak Gorakhnath posing questions and Guru Nanak providing answers.
The tenth chapter asserts that the Unmanifest, Real Being also remained in contemplation and concentration on the VdhVdh (wonderful). There was the Transcendent Being who remained in perfect concentration and equilibrium for myriads of aeons, all alone, without any creation of any form or name. This was the state of unmani. This state gave place to the onkdr state.As Brahman willed to multiply, there emerged the three gunas (qualities of prakriti), five elements, four Vedas, six Sastras, six Vedarigas, etc.
Of the remaining 70 chapters in the following two volumes, around twenty-four are by and large an interpretation of yoga. These chapters, complete in themselves, are devoted exclusively to the exposition of yoga in its own terminology, and also in the bhakti terminology of Guru Nanak, emphasizing the importance of guru, his sabdaand the ethical and spiritual regeneration through meditation on the Name. These yogic texts repeat and elaborate what has been said in Volume I and claim to explain the ideal of yoga according to Guru Nanak`s views.Chapters XI and XII in this section deal with Udas Bairag and Yog Bairag.
The latter gives details of the mind as it transcends itself to reach the Realm of Truth by practising yoga. The composition Sunnte Utpatior Creation out of the Void (Ch. XIV) describes the process of the formation of the body in the womb. From here onward, the theme takes a new course emphasizing how forgetfulness of the Lord ensues after birth and how liberation lies in the remembrance of the Name alone. Chapters XV to XVII stress the need of guru and meditation on the Name.
The Ratanmalds (Chs. XIX and XX) advert to the qualities of an ideal bairdgi who, following the teaching of the guru, transcends the three gunas, fights against desires with the sword ofjndna (knowledge), bathes at the sixty-eight drthas of the body and meditates on the Name by churning the curd of sahaj in the milkpot of the body. He is the one who lights the path leading to the tenth door (dasam dvdr) with effort as the lamp, discrimination as the oil, concentration as the wick and sahajas the matchstick. The Yog Garbhdvalt Chhutkdrd (Ch. XXVII) and the Prakriti Vistdr (Ch. XXXI) are elaborations of Chs. IVVL The KriydsdrJog (Ch.
XXIX) stresses how vital the Guru`s grace is to controlling the senses.The Kathd Agam Mahal Ki (Ch. XXXII) emphasizes the role of the guru in helping one to apprehend the Supreme Being. The Anbhau Pragds (Ch. XXXIII) counts the 84 dsanas (postures) of the yogis. As the name indicates, the Astdng Yoga (Ch. XXXIV) speaks of the eight stages of the yogic discipline. The Kalapmald deals with the preparation of medicines from herbs, plants and metals for various maladies.
All this apocryphal literature seems to have grown up in imitation of Guru Nanak`s Sidha Gosti and a large number of hymns about the theme of yoga as incorporated under Raga Ramkali in the Guru Granth Sahib.Applying Sidha Gosti as the touchstone, these compositions in the Prdn SangK are easily proved apocryphal, for they do not have Guru Nanak`s compact expression, his intensely theistic devotion or bhakti and his clear verdict in favour of the household and a piouslylived worldly life. Apart from yoga, the Prdn SangHha.s compositions addressed to Hindu saints. Among them is a Gost, i.e. a dialogue, with Ramanand and Kabir (Ch. XIII) which stresses devotional bhakti by referring to the example of some early Hindu saints such as Shuk, Narada, Dhru, Prahlad, Namdev, Trilochan and Kabir.
The chapter on Nirjog Bhakti (Ch. XXI) refers to the Sakta (materialist) who remains involved in evil and sin, but who can by concentrating on the sabda of the guru win honour in the court of the Lord. Sach Khand kiJugti (Ch. XXII) says that the guru`s sabda can change dross into gold, a sinner into a saint. The Sahansarandmd (Ch. XXIV) enlists the different names of the Lord and DasAvtdrdn di Vdrtd (Ch. XXVIII) tells of the ten ancient incarnations of Visnu. Dakkham Oankdr (Ch. XXXV) is Guru Nanak`s own composition as incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. The Bhogal Purdn (Ch. LIX), a prose work, gives, according to mythological astrology and astronomy, details about the creation, universes and myriads upon myriads of earths, skies, stars, etc., all supported on the back of a tortoise of unimaginable magnitude.
The Pindi Daiv Asur Sangrdm (Ch. LXXII) is the description of a battle between the good and evil tendencies of man. The Gidn Sur Udaya (Ch. LXXV) has for its theme the time, its concept and measures. The JugdvaH (Ch. LXXIX) recounts the Hindu theories about the yugas (aeons), or time cycles and measurements. The third category of apocryphal literature, written in Persianized Punjabi and addressed to the Muslim divines and kings, is contained in chapters LXXVII and LXXVIIL Chapter LXXVII comprises Tilang ki Vdr Mahalld /which follows the general pattern of the vdrs included in the Guru Granth Sahib but is suffused with Islamic thought and terminology.
Opening with the line than thanantari miharvdn sachu khaliq subhdnu, a description of the creation or qudrat follows. All rdgas and rdginis are shown singing the praises of Khuda. Says another line: duniyd upari dyd bhejiyd dpi Allah (man comes into this world having been sent by Allah). The iwis followed by another composition, entitled Rdga RdmkaU Mahalld /, partially composed on the pattern of Guru Nanak`s Sodaru.
The hymn states how millions of Muhammads, Ramas, Gorakhs, etc. are singing His praises in the grand court of Allah and how everything moves under His command only. Other compositions in this category include: Nasihat Ndmah or an epistle of admonitions; Hdzar Ndmah or a discourse on the importance of being alert; Pdk Ndmah or an address on pure living and Kami Ndmah or an address on the importance of good conduct.