We present an article by Prof Pritam Singh appearing in We thank both for the use of the article (Kanwal)

It is my pleasure to thank Dr Jasbir S Mann and Dr Gurmel S Sidhu for having persuaded the recluse in me to `cross the seven seas', as they say in Panjabi, to share with American and Canadian friends my assessment of the Ahiyapur Pothi.
Ahiyapur is a village in the Hoshiarpur district of the Indian Panjab.Before making Ahiyapur its sojourn, which the MS had to leave later, to settle down at Jalandhar, a flourishing city of the same State, it remained for long at Goindwal, its birthplace. Goindwal is well-known to the students of Sikh religion and history, as the headquarter of Guru Amardas (1479-1574), the third Guru of the Sikhs. The MS (manuscript)is, therefore, also known as Goindwal Wali Pothi or Goindwal Pothi. This MS has a companion volume, now in the possession of a family settled in Pinjore, a small town near Chandigarh. In the present paper, I shall confine myself to the scrutiny of Ahiyapur MS only.
Both the extant MSS contain some compositions of the early Gurus of the Sikhs and a few medieval Bhagats (bhaktas). These MSS were believed to have provided the source material which Guru Arjun Dev (1563-1606), the fourth successor of Guru Nanak Dev, used in the preparation of his own comprehensive anthology, comprising the complete works of his four spiritual predecessors, his own works and the selected works of a few other well-known and not-so-well-known personalities of the religious field.
Recently, this belief, pertaining to Guru Arjandev's alleged borrowings from Goindwal MSS has come under cloud. As t my name occurs in the list of persons who are responsible for this development, I propose to give, in this paper, step by step, the reasons that prompted me to become a non-believer in this theory. The fact is that before I began my work on Ahiyapur Pothi, I was as good or as bad a believer in the Borrowing Theory as anyone else. But as I shall soon explain, the MS itself seemed to me to provide sufficient internal evidence to disprove any borrowing from it by Guru Arjandev.
A few years back, It should not have been very difficult to dispose of the i assertions of the protagonists of the Borrowing Theory by merely pointing out that the temporal divide that parted the MSS and the first weaver of the yarn, measured more than a century and the contradictions between the statements of different writers about the number and contents of these MSS created doubts about their veracity. One additional piece of information that none of the propagators of this theory, such as Sarup Das Bhalla (Mehma Prakash; 1776 ), the author of Gurbilas Chhewin Patshahi (1843 ?) and Bhai Santokh Singh (Sri Gurpratap Suraj Granth; 1843 ) had ever cast his eyes on the said MSS,would have clinched the issue. But, of late, this simple act of demolition has no longer remained that simple, as some of the most highly qualified modern scholars of the East and the West have been pleased to throw the full weight of their scholarship in favour of the Borrowing Theory. The pick of western scholars, interested in Sikh Studies, including, I am told, myoid friend, the venerable Dr. W.H. Mcleod, has rallied round Dr.Gurinder Singh Mann, the author of The Goindwal Pothis : The Earliest Extant Source of The Sikh Canon (1996 ). Back home, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then President of the most representative elected religious body of
the Sikh people, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, decided to pin the faith of his Committee in the Borrowing Theory by showering fulsome praises and bestowing robes of honour on Giani Gurdit Singh,the learned author of Itihas Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Bhagat Bani Bhag (1990), in which he fully upholds the traditional view. It is this cartelization of eastern and western scholarship, if I may say so,in favour of the Borrowing Theory, that makes the task of its non-believers, such as myself, a bit more difficult than before. Now, the case against the traditional belief has to be proved so convincingly that no chink remains.
As I look back, it becomes clear that Professor Sahib Singh had already thrown a spanner into the prevalent theory by persistently claiming, that Guru Arjun Dev had compiled the Adi Granth on the basis of an inherited corpus, containing the works of his predecessors and others. In support of his assertion he quoted verse after verse from the works of successive Gurus to prove that such copious dictional and thematic similarities as existed in their writings, could not happen without the existence of a corpus which was transferred from the first Guru to the second and from the second to the third with his own work added & so on. The Professor also dismissed, as pure concoction, the whole story in which Guru Arjandev was shown as composing and singing a euology in honour of Baba Mohan and receiving, as reward,the Goindwal MSS,on loan. The Mohan hymn, according to the Professor's interpretation, was a paean adoring the great Lord Himself. The learned Professor's handicap was that he had no access to any of the said MSS. Most of the traditionalists, therefore, ignored his research in Panjabi language as something hardly deserving their highbrow attention. But I regard Prof. Sahib Singh's solo effort as a pioneer's brilliant step towards applying the stylistic touchstone on the sacred text.
The next challenge to the Borrowing Theory has tried to fill the gap by exploring in detail the contents of at least one of the famed MSS, namely the Ahiyapur Pathi. I am referring to my own book Ahiyapur Wali Pathi ( 1998 ) published in Punjabi by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. I may say, in all humility, that my study of the contents of the Ahiyapur Pathi confirms, though indirectly, Prof. Sahib Singh's thesis and negates some of the major, if not all the conclusions of Dr. Mann and Giani Gurdit Singh. However, in this paper, 1 shall try to restrict myself only to the evidence provided by the Ahiyapur MS in favour of my stand that Guru Arjandev did not, or better still, would never have liked to consult this MS, before finalising his own anthology, which was destined to become the Sikh Canon.
In a nutshell, my finding is that Adi Granth and Ahiyapur Pathi are two parallel recensions of Gurbani and Bhagat Bani with the Adi Granth serving as the scripture of the Sikh mainstream and the Ahiyapur Pathi intended to be the official sacred book of the almost still-born faction set up by Mohan and his son.
Interestingly, my very first encounter with the contents of the MS proved to be destabilsing for my faith in the traditional theory. I found the hymnic portion of the text prefaced by a decorated edict, decreeing, among other things, that "anyone owing allegiance to any Guru other than the one belonging to our ancestral line, will certainly land himself in hell." The handwriting expert, who was consulted by me, declared that the hand which had written the edict and the hand that had written the next folio, from which the hymns in the Pathi started, was the same, though there might have been some time-lag between the two. For me, the conclusion was inevitable that the MS was the relic of a frustrated claimant for the exalted seat of Guruship of the Sikh community. The date given on the edict (Samvat 1652 / A.D. 1595 ) was clearly a later interpolation. Therefore, it had to be ignored. As blessings of the first three Gurus were made available in the edict for the MS, the claimant, clearly, belonged to the period posterior to the third Guru. The third Guru, as we know it, had bypassed both his sons, Mohan and Mohri, and appointed his son-in-law Bhai Jetha, as his spiritual successor, under the new name of Ramdas. Evidently, the newly-nominated fourth Guru's ancestral line was not the same as that of his father-in-law, but the claim of ancestry by the sons of the third Guru could not be challenged. Fortunately, the Sikh Canon itself provides evidence that the younger son, Mohri, accepted the validity of Guru Ramdas as the spiritual successor of his father, Guru Amardas and enrolled himself as one of his loyal followers (cf. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 924). Significantly, the Canon is silent about Mohan's role. According to the traditional version of the story, Mohan was complete unmindful of the goings-on around him, being deeply immersed in the remembrance of God's Name. But Bhai Gurdas, who was Mohan's contemporary and was a confidant of the fifth Guru, the compiler of the Adi Granth, has a different story to tell. According to him Mohan [When he found to his dismay that his claim to the next Guruship had been overruled by his father], he became mentally deranged (cf. 26th Var, 33rd Pauri), meaning thereby that he had lost all sense of shame, propriety and decorum. ln, the given context, it seemed quite natural for me to conclude that the Ahiyapur MS was made to serve the role of a totem for the newly-conceived ancestral Guruship for Mohan and his progeny. It was used as proof, as also a justification for a parallel Guruship that rejected the Guruship of Guru Ramdas and invested Mohan, the lineal descendant of the third Guru, with the normal legal right of succession. This is how the edict unmasked for me the schismatic designs of Mohan and his family. If Bhai Gurdas knew what Mohan was up to Guru Arjan Dev could not have remained ignorant of the mischievous intentions of the Mohan clan. Under these circumstances, it would have been absolutely unusual for Guru Arjun Dev to go abegging for the Pothi or Pothis from the head of a schism, who regarded his (the Guru's) father and consequently him also, as usurpers of his rights.
I would concede, though very, very reluctantly, the distant possibility of Guru Arjan beseeching the rival camp for the loan of the MS / MSS, if it is presumed that Guru Arjun Dev had with him no record of the works, particularly of the first three Gurus, with the result that, as compared to the Guru himself, Baba Mohan would have proved certainly to be a religious heavy-weight. Supposing that were the actual position at that time, which nincompoop from the rival faction would have liked to strengthen the shaky position of Guru Arjun Dev by providing him with the very treasure, which he, a usurper in their eyes, lacked so badly? Fortunately, my comparative examination of the Ahiyapur Pothi with Adi Granth makes it clear, beyond any doubt, that such a supposition would be entirely misplaced.
Before I take up this aspect of the MS,I would like to draw the attention of my learned friends here to another schismatic fact that came to my notice as soon as I turned the folio of the edict to reach the hymn of Guru Nanak in the musical measure Suhbi or Suhi .The invocational canopy, namely the Mul Man tar, under which the first hymn was placed, differed substantially from the one which appears at the top of the first composition in the Adi Granth. The Mul Mantar of the Pothi reads as under:
<siq gur prsdu (prswdu) scu nmu (nwmu) krqru (krqwru)
inrBEu inrIkwru aklu (Akwl) mUriq AjUnI swBEu (sMBau
(Folio 1B)
while the same formula as found in Adi Granth runs as under:
<siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur
(Folio lb)
When Meena faction,headed by Guru Arjan Dev's elder brother, Pirthi Chand,
appeared on the scene, it also went the Mohan-way. It adopted the Mohan faction's version of the Mul Mantar .The difference in the wording of the basic credal assertion also made me pause and think whether Guru Arjan would deign to bend h is knees before Mohan or, for the matter, before Pirthi Chand,whose schismatic designs included non-adherence to Guru Arjan's credal formula? But soon,as I went deeper and farther into the text, comparing each verse with its Granthian counterpart, the questionings in my mind were replaced by a conviction that the two anthologies owed their existence to two different sources. They were parallel products and the Adi Granth owed nothing to the Ahiyapur Pathi.
Now let me prove my claim by comparing the contents of only the opening Rag namely Suhi of the Pathi with their counterpart in the Adi Granth. To be fair, I have restricted my comparative study to ~ the hymns of the first three Gurus, as the compiler of the Pathi had no intention to go beyond that limit. Of Course, the bhagats available in this rag have been covered in the following analysis. The learned audience will excuse me if I make it doubly clear that the analysis of Rag Suhi is in the nature of a sample only. Other Rags also abound in the types of examples quoted in the first Rag of the Pothi.
A total of 48 hymns are recorded in the Pothi under this rag, though the actual total comes to 47, as one of the hymns of Farid was unwittingly written by the scribe twice
(qip qip lUeI hQ mroVy; PolIE 58n / qip qip luih luih hauN hwQ mrorEu (PolIE 60T)
The earlier version stands cancelled in the Pothi, but the count of the total was allowed to remain untouched. As compared to these 47 hymns,the Adi Granth has a total of 44 hymns ( not counting the Var of the 3rd Guru and all the hymns of the 4th and the 5th Gurus). Starting with this difference in the number of hymns preserved in the two compilations, the divergences of various types, begin to surface. For example,
(i) The authorship of one hymn kEu BwfY BwEu iqnw svwrsI (PolIE10T) is attributed by the Pothi to the second Guru. The Adi Granth ascribes it to the first Guru.
(ii) Similarly, as many as seven hymns, ascribed to Guru Amardas in the Pothi, are included among Guru Nanak's compositions in the Adi Granth. (These hymns are:
jpu qpu kw bMDu byVulw ijqu lMGih vhylw (PolIE 9T); Bwfw hCw so jo iqsu BwvsI [[[(PolIE 10 n);ijin kIAw qny dyiKAw jgo DMDVY lwieAw (PolIE 32n) myrw mnu rwqw gux rvY min BwvY soeI (PolIE 34 T); mnhu n nwmu ivswir aihins iDAeIAY (PolIE44T); mwxs jnmu dulMBu gurmuiK pwieAw (PolIE 51n) qy ijEu Awrix lohw qwie Bin GVweIAY (PolIE 52 n)
(iii) One of Guru Amardas's hymns available in the Pothi (kir lwlc mnu loBwxw ikEuN kir CutIAY (PolIE 30n) is absent from the Adi Granth.
(iv) One hymn of Guru Nanak given in the Adi Granth (jo dIsY gur isKVw iqsu iniv lwgau pwie jIau (pMnw 763) does not occur in the pothi.
(v) Similarly, 2 hymns of Kabir jYsy rMgu supny iniD pweI mnu hI mn smwnw (PolIE 55 n) qy kuslu kuslu kir sBu jgu ibnisAw pwiVE kwl kI PwsI (PolIE 60 n) and one of Namdev (mwq khY myry puqrw Gir Amin ikEu srsI (PolIE 61T) are recorded in the Pothi but are not included in the Adi Granth.
(vi) All the three hymns authored by Gulam (ipr kY rMig rqI sohwgix Anidnu rlIAw mwxY (PolIE 53 nl ) mY AvgixAwrI ko guxu nhIj (PolIE 54T) qy pky mMfp mhlw hjwrw (PolIE 55T) and one each by Sada Sewak ip kY sMig rqI sohwgix Anuidnu rlIAw mwxy (PolIE 54n) and Saraf ijs kwrix qnu mnu jwilAw (PolIE 61n) are not available in the Adi Granth. (vii) Two of Kabir's hymns (Dwky nY n sRvn suin Dwky QwkI suMdir kwieAw qy eyku kotu pMc iskdwrw pMcy mwgih hwlw) Which the pothi records under Rag Suhi, are given under Rag Parbhati in the Adi Granth.
I have ignored many other differences such as differences in vocabulary and arrangements of lines, etc, but in certain cases these have grown into major differences. For example, in the Pothi there' are two independent hymns under rag Bhairo (beginning with the opening lines ihdU grdin mwrEu qoih (PolIE 265n) sulqwnu pUCY khu ry nwmw qyrw suAwmI kYsw hY (PolIE 266n) but these two are found merged into one hymn in the Adi Granth (sulqwnu pUCy sunu by nwmw (pMnw 1165).
How could such vital and wide differences between the two anthologies occur, unless it is presumed that Guru Arjandev had before him a corpus different from the Pothi ? Add all these textual differences to the diction and other similarities between the works of the successive Gurus, as adduced by Prof. Sahib Singh and we have almost a foolproof case that Guru Arjandev had nothing to do with the Ahiyapur Pothi, that belonged to a rival schism which placed its own Kachi Bani at par with Gurbani. The Pothi has preserved as many as 13 hymns carrying the pseudonym of `Nanik'. These hymns are not the hymns of Guru Nanak. Nor are these the compositions of Guru Ramdas composed before he ascended the throne of Guruship, as wrongly believed by some scholars. These are exactly the types of writings, which Guru Amardas had branded as `fake' or Kachi Bani and warned his Sikhs against having any concern with them. Guru Arjandev could never be expected to have any truck with such people and their literature, whatever the circumstances, especially when he was fully equipped with the required material. A host of questions may still be raised by competent scholars relating to the compilation of the Adi Granth, but all these, I hope, will remain irrelevant for the subject of this paper, namely, the non-contribution of anything by Ahiyapur MS towards the compilation of Guru Arjandev's magnum opus, the Adi Granth.
In the end,1 would like to pose a question to my friends on the other side of the fence: Suppose the Ahiyapur Pothi is senior to the Adi Granth in age and also that it was with Guru Arjandev before he began compiling the Adi Granth, then the question that should nag my friends again and again, would be : what on earth could have made Guru Arjandev change the authorship of the hymns, preserved in the older MS of the Pothi as the works of the second and the third Gurus, to that of the first Guru? What will make him close his eyes towards otherwise quite passable hymns ascribed by the Pothi to Guru Nanak, Guru Amardas, Bhagat Kabir and Bhagat Namdev, while some other hymns by these very persons were accepted for inclusion? Does the elaborate system followed by the Guru in the compilation of the Adi Granth suggest that the Guru or his amanuensis, Bhai Gurdas, could make drastic changes in the authorship of hymns, or reject others, just for the fun of it? Does the Adi Granth, a huge work accomplished by the Guru and his assistants, really betray any signs about the whimsical, wayward or temperamentally unstable nature of the team, which would accept or reject the authorship of their literary heritage without any rhyme or reason? The reply to all such questions is a definitive No. The utmost veneration and care with which the Guru approached the Granthian project and, later, the final MS of the Adi Granth itself, is proof enough that he couId not have played frivolously with any such matter, much less the authorship of hymns. His own compositions, as well as those of his predecessor Gurus, provide ample evidence that they treated Gurbani as the sacred word revealed to them by the Divine Dispenser. The only satisfactory answer for wide and large divergences between the contents of the two anthologies lies, in my humble opinion, in accepting gracefully the Theory of Parallel Entities and rejecting straightaway the Borrowing Theory.