Suraj Prakash

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Suraj Prakash (lit. "The Light of the Sun"), also called Gur Partap Suraj Granth,[1] is a popular and monumental hagiographic text about Sikh Gurus written by Kavi Santokh Singh (1787–1843) and published in 1843 CE.[2][3] It consists of life legends and miracles performed by Sikh Gurus and historic Sikhs such as Baba Banda Bahadur in 51,820 verses.[2][4] According to Pashaura Singh – a scholar of Sikhism, the text freely borrows from prior mythical stories in Janamsakshis and older Sikh literature such as Bansavalinama, Sikhan di Bhagat Mala, and Mahima Prakash, then embellishes it further.[2]

The Suraj Prakash is written in Braj Bhasha language in Gurmukhi script, with significant use of Sanskrit words.[5] It is organized into "seasons" and "rays".[2] It includes Vedantic doctrines of Udasi Sikhs and Nirmala Sikhs.[2] The text also incorporates some ideas of the Hindalis considered heretical by Khalsa Sikhs. This, states Pashaura Singh, may have been the result of the traditional Sikh schools in Amritsar of 18th– and 19th–century which included Vedanta as a standard part of the Sikh learning.[2]

According to W. H. McLeod – a historian and Sikhism scholar, the Suraj Prakash contains "somewhat higher proportion" of Sikh history, but it is mostly ahistorical mythology and untrustworthy source of Sikh history.[2][6] Max Arthur Macauliffe extensively but selectively used the Suraj Prakash, in cooperation with Kahn Singh Nabha, for his six-volume The Sikh Religion series that presented Sikh scriptures and history to the Western world in early 20th-century.[2] While Macauliffe used it extensively in his Sikh Gurus and history sections, he added that the Suraj Prakash is of doubtful trustworthiness, because the education and heritage of its author Santokh Singh was "largely tinctured with Hinduism".[2][7]

Suraj Parkash is a popular text in the Sikh community, profusely poetic, and it is sometimes recited in a katha form.[2]

The text is a sequel to Santokh Singh's Guru Nanak Prakash, describing the life of the first Guru in 9,700 verses.[1] The lives of the Gurus, are divided into twelve Raas or sections. The life of the tenth Guru is presented in six Ruts (literally six seasons), and into two Ayans, the ascending and descending phases of the year.[citation needed] Suraj Parkash was first edited by Bhai Vir Singh over 1926-1935 in 14 volumes, with Punjabi footnotes.[2][8]

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ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Santokh Singh Bhai, Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Volume IV, S–Z, Punjabi University, Patiala, pages 51–52
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pashaura Singh (2006). Life and Work of Guru Arjan: History, Memory, and Biography in the Sikh Tradition. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–56. ISBN 978-0-19-908780-8.
  3. ^ Trilochan Singh (1994). Ernest Trumpp and W.H. McLeod as scholars of Sikh history religion and culture. International Centre of Sikh Studies. p. 41.
  4. ^ Christopher Shackle (2014). Pashaura Singh and Louis Fenech (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-19-100411-7.
  5. ^ Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Volume IV, S–Z, Punjabi University, Patiala, page 236
  6. ^ Navdeep Mandair (2014). Pashaura Singh and Louis Fenech (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-19-100411-7.
  7. ^ Gurudharm Singh Khalsa (1997). Guru Ram Das In Sikh Tradition. Harman. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-81-86622-06-3.
  8. ^ Christopher Shackle (2014). Pashaura Singh and Louis Fenech (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-19-100411-7.

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