The Adi Granth Traditions and Canon Formation

Pashaura Singh

in The Guru Granth Sahib

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195663341
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080694 | DOI:
The Adi Granth Traditions and Canon Formation

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This chapter discusses the origins of the Adi Granth traditions in the light of the situation of the Sikh Panth in the seventeenth century. It shows that the process of canon formation in the Sikh tradition conceals a politically unstable situation in which different sections of the Panth used several competing versions of the Adi Granth, giving rise to different recensions of the scripture such as the Lahore recension, the Banno recension, and the Damdama recension. Guru Arjan's martyrdom heightened the spirit of militancy and resulted in the consolidation of the Sikh community against the Mughal authorities. In addition, Guru Arjan's open but cautious approach to the selection of the bhagat bani seems to have created a tension within some sections of the Panth. Following Guru Arjan's death, the followers of the sants successfully inserted those hymns in their copies of the Adi Granth. This may explain why there were three versions of the Adi Granth in the seventeenth century.

Keywords: Guru Arjan; bhagat bani; Sikh Panth; martyrdom; spirit of militancy; canon formation; Lahore recension; Banno recension; Damdama recension

Chapter.  14468 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sikhism

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