SASTRA NAM MALA PURAN is a versified composition, included in the Dasam Granth. It is acknowledged to be the work of Guru Gobind Singh. The poem lists weapons of war, which are praised as protectors and deliverers. It runs to 1318 verses and covers 98 pages in the Dasam Granth (24point 1934 edition). Patshahi 10 is mentioned, although the usual inscription Sri Mukhvak, i.e. from the Guru`s own lips, is absent. 

The Sastra Nam Mala, was completed in mid1687, thus making it one of the earlier compositions, possibly a prelude to the clash of arms that took place at Bhangani the following year.The opening section of 27 verses is an invocation to Sri Bhagautiji for assistance. Here the Sword (BhagautT), is personified as God. God subdues enemies, so does the sword; therefore the sword is God, and God is the sword.

In the following arsenal, the weapons of the day are presented under fanciful names, such as for the arrow, bowroarer, skinpiercer, deerslayer, Krsnafmisher; for the mace, skullsmasher; for the combatlasso, deathnoose ; the gun is the enemy of the army, the tigerfoe, the enemy of treachery. Many of the weapons are listed in the form of riddles so dear to the Punjabi heart.These are often abstruse, and must be resolved in devious ways.” For example : Think hard and take the word tarangam (stream) They sayJa char (grasseater), Then think of the word naik (lord), At the end say the word satru (enmy) Lo ! Good friend, you have thought of the word meaning tupak (gun), (verse 811) The reasoning seems to be that each thing mentioned is the enemy of its predecessor ; the grasseater is the deer (ja is what is produced by the moisture of the stream ; char is to graze) ; the lord and master (naik) of the deer is the tiger; the enemy (satru) of the tiger is the gun (tupak).

About 25 verses deal with swords of various types, followed by verses concerning spears and quoit (chakra). There are 178 verses (75252) on the bow and arrow; on the noose, or combatlasso, 208 (253460) ; on the gun or musket, 858 (4611318), indicating, possibly, an interest in the more modern weapons. Time and again the weapons are referred to as the instruments of God`s deliverance, and they are addressed as personifications of God. This is sometimes shown in their very names, as when the dagger is called sristes.

Lord of Creation. Adoration is reserved for the weapons only when they are used by the righteous. Thus, what might have been merely a gory account of destructive weapons becomes a sharpening of the moral purpose in waging war. The language of 5astra Nam Mala is Braj, with much lower frequency of PersoArabic words than in most of Guru Gobind Singh`s other compositions. Sanskrit vocabulary, in tatsama form, is in abundance. The style is fanciful, and the reader is amazed by the opulence of linguistic innovation.

References :

1. Loehlin, C.H., The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
2. Ashta, Dharam Pal, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
3. Padam, Piara Singh, Dasam Granth Darshan. Patiala, 1968
4. Jaggi, Rattan Singh, Dasam Granth Panchaya. Delhi, 1990
5. Randhir Singh, Bliai, Sabadarth Dasam Grantli Sahib. Patiala, 1973