This book is a translation of Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala’s steek on these two excerpts which appear towards the end of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj. The steek is translated by Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi who has dedicated his life to making such texts available to the masses.
The book begins with a short synopsis of Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala’s life and highlights the fact that he was an extraordinarily gifted child who was determined to continue religious learning at all costs. Included in this synopsis is a list of texts written by Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala so that if others want to continue in his legacy of learning they are free to do so.
The main part of the book itself contains the original text of Funhe Mahalla Panjva Steek in Punjabi. Each line is presented individually, with the Gurbani first followed by the words in the steek, followed by an English translation. Footnotes are included to highlight further information and variances, where relevant, in differing steeks and copies of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.
In many cases we read Gurbani using literal translations and therefore lose the deeper spiritual meanings behind the messages presented by the Guru. This book goes a long way to remedying this. Funhe Mahalla Panjva contains many important topics which are essential for any Sikh to understand and reflect upon. This includes a narrative on the forms and the formlessness of God and the importance of remembering God in constant meditation. It provides an opportunity to look internally and deal with a wandering consciousness, as well as forgetting pride and self-identity. The steek describes multiple disciplines in the way of sainthood and presents the limitations of external practices often used in one’s journey to realise God. The steek also answers other pertinent questions regarding the difference between the consciousness and the body, and what the desires of a Sikh should be and how we should ask the Guru for these boons.
The second part of the book reflects on Chaubolay Mahalla Panjva. This part of the steek contains an introduction to this Bani including the historical context as put forth by Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala.
Variances between differing opinions on this subject are also put forth for the reader to be aware of. This brief commentary also touches upon the dangers of reading Gurbani through narrowed views of grammar. Given that Gurbani is liberating it can also be regarded as being higher than (or liberated from) the common grammatical and poetic rules.
One of the notable aspects of Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala’s steek is the description of the invocation ‘Ik Oangkar Satgur Prasadh’. This phrase is repeatedly found within Gurbani but is often translated simplistically and therefore fails to provide an English-speaking audience of its true meaning. By contrast, Sant Sanpuran Singh Nirmala aptly gives prominence to this invocation, highlighting its relevance in answering questions around true self-identity, the role of the Atma and link with Parmatma.
This Bani ‘Chaubolay’ has a different focus and a theme primarily focused on love and devotion. Guru Ji reflects on the importance of performing actions in love (rather than in ego) as occurred in the Sakhi of Saman and Musan (Sikhs of the Guru). The Bani discusses the significance in true love liberating individuals from the limitations of the body and physical death. In this way the mystery of dying in love is reflected upon.
Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi does a superb job of bringing this Steek to the fore and making it relevant for a modern-day English reader. Unfortunately the spiritual significance of these Baanian may otherwise be easily overlooked by the average Sikh reader. This book provides an easily accessible way to opening this deeply significant message for all to benefit from.
The book can be purchased here.