DAS GUR KATHA, by Karikan, one of the poets in attendance on Guru Gobind Singh, is a versified account, in an admixture of Braj, Hindi and Punjabi, of the events of the lives of the Ten Gurus. The only known manuscript of the work is present in the Panjab Public Library at Lahore, a copy of which was obtained for the library of the Khalsa College at Amritsar in 1956 and which was published with annotation in book form, in 1967, by the Khalsa Samachar, Amritsar. The colophon indicates the author`s name, but not the year of composition which from internal evidence is reckoned to be around AD 1699.

The work deals with events up to the creation of the Khalsa which took place during this year. The Katha comprises 234 stanzas and is written in different poetical metres such as Doha, Savaiyya, Chaupai, Pauri, Soratia and Arill. The post attributes the popularity of Gurmukhi characters to Guru Nanak who, according to him, communicated his message in a much easier language and form than those of the Vedas. Succession in Guru Nanak`s line was determined by qualities of humility and dedication and not by ties of blood. Guru Nanak`s spiritual successor was Guru Arigad, his own devoted disciple. Especially detailed is the account of Guru Hargobind, Nanak VI, comprising 84 stanzas.

The poet hails him as one who combined the spiritual with the temporal and describes the battles he had to engage in. Among other details is the enumeration of Mughal provinces under Emperor Shah Jahan. The poet panegyrizes Guru Tegh Bahadur`s martyrdom which, as he says, he voluntarily embraced to uphold righteousness. The concluding twenty-one stanzas describe the cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur`s severed head brought from Delhi to Anandpur by a disciple, Guru Gobind Singh`s investiture as successor to Guru Tegh Bahadur and creation of the Khalsa. Events are described with considerable embellishment, and no dates are given. Certain factual errors such as ascription to Guru Gobind Singh worship of the goddess Durga have also crept into the work.

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