In the last 10 years several translations of the Dasam Granth have become available to English-speaking sangats. This has really been a blessing, and it is wonderful to access the knowledge and incredible inspiration of the 10th Master’s writings, Siri Guru Gobind Singh ji. However, translating the words of Guru Gobind Singh is no easy task, and some work is better than others. They say that Dasam Bani (bani of the 10th Guru) is “mangi bani” – meaning precious but very difficult.
Even with the credible works of Dr. Jodh Singh and Surinder Singh Kolhi, my favorite translation is an earlier work by Dr. Ujaghar Singh Bawa. The Bichitra Naatik -A part of the Sikh Scriptures, published in 1991, is a translation of the third book of the Dasam Granth that contains Guru Gobind Singh life history in his own words, beginning not only from conception, but even before during his time at Hemkunt Sahib. “This is an unusual autobiography of a saint-soldier whose principal aims of life were to cleanse the soul through meditation, to profess and uphold righteousness, freedom of religion, protection of human rights, [and] to live with dignity.” It consists of 14 chapters and 471 verses.
Dr. Bawa translates this difficult text with a deep sense of consciousness and sensitivity. He doesn’t shy away from the truth as it is written, and gives us an honest representation of the Guru’s words. This is a book I have referred to over and over again in the exploration and discovery of the life of Guru Gobind Singh ji.Dr. Bawa and his lovely wife visited Espanola in 2005, and I had the honor and pleasure of meeting him. He is a Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Pennsylvania and a man of deep thought and devotion.