One of the greatest historian and poet in Punjab’s History
Bhai Santokh Singh Ji
Wrote Teeka of Jap Ji Sahib called Garab Ganjani Teeka which is so advanced and informative that Giani Sant Singh Ji Maskeen said there should be a teeka to understand Garab Ganjani Teeka.
His most memorable work is actually “Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth”, a voluminous history of the Gurus in Braj Bhasa consisting of 51,820 verses written during 1835-43.
Along the road from Tarn Taran to Lahore, through Jhabaal, thrives the village of “Sarai Noor Din” (Now re-named Kila Kavi Santokh Singh). At this village in September 1787, this great Sikh historian Bhai Santokh Singh was born to Sardar Deva Singh and Mata Raj Devi.
At the age of eleven his father sent him to Amritsar to be tutored by Giani Sant Singh, who was at the time in-charge of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Under the guidance of Giani Ji, Santokh Singh gained immense knowledge of the Sikh scriptures, history and spirituality. His diligence in studying prompted him to go to Benaras in 1808. At the time Kashi (Benaras) was the centre of education. His astute mind and immense knowledge had the Pundits of Kashi completely enchanted. After gaining considerable knowledge in various subjects, he returned to Punjab.
A very rare pose of Bhai Sahib – during his days at the State
In 1813 Kavi Ji was appointed the Raj-Kavi of Boodia Riyasat (State), where he was greatly honoured. But Kavi Ji’s main aim in life was to write the Guru history, and that could only be achieved by research and most importantly with spiritual guidance. To receive Godly blessings he went to a nearby village “Dyal Garh”, where he started his meditation on the shores of the River Jamuna. His only ‘Ardaas’ (supplication) to the Almighty was, “O Lord, grant me the boon, so that I can write Guru Jass and Gur Itihas according to Your wishes.” His meditated for five years and it is believed that Guru Ji gave him darshan (granted audience) and bestowed on him the boon for which he had longed for.
Bhai Sahib engrossed in his meditationFrom 1818, Kavi Ji started the mammoth task of writing. His first volume was the “Naam Kosh”, a dictionary of Sanskrit, which concluded in 1819 and at the birth celebrations of Guru Nanak “Katak Shudi Puranmashi in 1821, his Maha Kav (Great composition of Poetry) of Guru Nanak was inaugurated. The same year Kavi Ji got married to Bibi Ram Kaur of Jagadhri. Simultaneously he was invited by Maharaja Karam Singh to come to Patiala, where Kavi Ji was given all the due honour and was allocated a home and a regular pay packet for the enhancement of his researches.
In 1825, the Raja Saheb Bhai Uday Singh of Kaithal, summoned Kavi Ji over to him and proclaimed him as Royal Poet and conferred on him all the conveniences that were required for an accomplished writer. The first volume “Garab Ganjani”- a translation of Japuji Sahib was completed here, followed by the translation of ‘Balmiki Ramyan’ into Braj. This achievement so much impressed the Raja that he presented Kavi Ji with a village ‘Morthali’ as a token of appreciation. The writer later translated the Upanishads and the Vedant Shastras, which took nearly a year to complete.
Gur Partap Suraj Granth.
The greatest work of Kavi Ji is the Suraj Parkash or Gur Partap Suraj, which is a complete history of the ten Gurus. An interesting event occurred when he had finished writing about the nine Gurus. He was unable to proceed further regarding the tenth Guru. Even after considerable research some of the anecdotes and stories of the tenth Guru could not be confirmed. Eventually Kavi Ji went into a deep meditation and prayed to the Guru for divine help. This divine help came in the form of a Sikh, who came to visit him and stayed at his residence. The next morning the Sikh was not found anywhere but a bag was left behind, which when opened contained all the material required by Kavi Ji for the completion of the Granth. Kavi Ji was very much overcome by this miracle, as he writes, “Bhayo Achanak Sanchey Ayi, Sarab Guran ko jas samudai.” Kavi Ji was sure that this was a boon from Guru Gobind Singh Himself, to help him complete this gigantic task.
During the fulfilment of this task, Kavi Ji’s mentor the Raja Saheb expired and Kavi Ji was thrown into an uncertain future. When he was told to look for another benefactor, Kavi Ji replied,
“Ab aur ki aas niraas bhei, Kalgidhar baas kiyo man mahin.”
His belief in Satguru and his supplications again transformed into a vision of his Satguru and Guru Ji enlightened him – to keep on writing and God will be with him all the time.
Undoubtedly this tremendous task was finished with the grace of God in 1843. After this work he completed another five small books. He took his life work of Suraj Parkash and Nanak Parkash, to the Akaal Takht and had an Ardassia do an ardaas, thanking the Guru for the divine assistance given to him for the completion of these Granths. That very year he died after presenting his extraordinary accomplishments to the Darbar Sahib and the entire Sikh panorama.
The Birth Place of Kavi Ji at “Kila Santokh Singh”