SINGH SAGAR, by Vir Singh Bal, is a versified account of the life of Guru Gobind Singh. The author, not many details of whose career are known, was born to Bhai Bakht Singh towards the end of eighteenth century. He was a poet at the court of Maharaja Karam Singh (1797-1845) of Patiala and wrote several books, including Kissa HirRahjha, Bara Maha, GurKirat Prakas, Gopi Chand Vairag Shatak, Sudha Sindhu Ramayana. The Singh Sagarwas written in 1884 Bk/AD 1827 at Patiala. The work, two manuscript copies of which are extant one preserved in the Motibagh Palace at Patiala has since been published (1986) by the Punjabi University.
The book, a sequel to the author`s Gur KIrat Prakas that deals with the lives of the first nine of the Sikh Gurus, is primarily based on Bachitra Natak, Sri Gur Sobha and Sukha Singh`s Gurbilas Dasvin Patshahi. It is divided into fourteen cantos called tarangs, each treating of a particular episode from the Guru`s life. The first tarang deals with the birth of Guru Gobind Singh and the following two narrate his journey through Lakhnaur (2) and Makhoval (3). The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur is dealt with in the fourth tarang, followed by a description of the splendour of the Guru`s court (5), chastisement of the masands (6), Guru`s arrival at Paonta Sahib (7) and his return to Anandpur (8).
The following five cantos deal with different battles such as that of Nadaun (9), Husaini (10), Cliamkaur Sahib (1112) and Muktsar (13). The concluding tarang narrates the Guru`s departure to the South and his arrival at Nanded. While selecting the episodes the poet has omitted many important ones, his major concern being with bringing out the Guru`s martial prowess and heroism.
The dominant mood of the poem is thus chivalry (vTrrasa), with several subordinate ones to support it ; doha and chaupal are the metres used more frequently, some other metres employed being Rasaval, Bhujang, BhujangPrayat, Padhari, Arill, Svaiyya, SorathaJhulana, Raval, Sankhnari, Madhubhar,Vijaya, Manohar, Totak, Kabitt, and Tilka. The language is Braj, with an admixture of Punjabi vocabulary. Arabic and Persian words appear in the original, too. Figures of speech borrowed generally from everyday life embellish the verse.