Book review by Bhajneek Kaur
Summary of the book:
To the uninitiated reader, Kamalpreet Singh Pardeshi Nirmala’s translation of the Matra Sahib Ji provides a unique insight into the philosophy of the Udasi samparda tradition. For mainstream Sikh readers the 31 page book is a gem of digestible information regarding the life and spirituality of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s eldest son Baba Sri Chand Ji. Baba Sri Chand’s writings are succinctly translated and easy to read. The footnotes add valuable insights into Udasi traditions and their roots stemming from Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings.
The Matra Sahib itself is a beautiful conversation between the Sidhs and Baba Sri Chand Ji at the festival of Shivratri in the village of Achal Batala, in which Baba Sri Chand Ji expands on several aspects of Brahmvidhia.
What is already known on this subject?
There is very little in the way of widely available English literature on Baba Sri Chand Ji or the Udasi samparda.
What does this book add?
This is the first English translation of the Matra Sahib, perhaps the greatest prayer of the Udasi sect. The book provides accessible, engaging information on the above to a generation of English-speaking Sikhs. It can be read within an hour. The book is supplemented with several images from various Udasi Akharas. This book will widen the minds of readers who may be unfamiliar with the originality of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message. Similarly the book will blow open the minds of those who have been sold a watered-down version of Sikhism, conditioned to believe that spirituality is a singularly narrow, inflexible path, or nothing at all. Kamalpreet Singh Pardesi is clear that there are many versions of the Matra Sahib but has chosen to translate the one recited at the Brahm Buta Akhara in Amritsar where Baba Sri Chand Ji meditated. Baba Sri Chand has composed four other Matras and it is hoped that Kamalpreet Singh Pardesi Nirmala will undertake the translation of these for the benefit of the panth. From a purely biographical and historical perspective the book provides a worthwhile glimpse into the life history of Baba Sri Chand and the political turbulence which has resulted in Sikhism as we see it today.
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