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Guru Nanak Dev And His World - Book By Pabitrakumar Roy
From The Back Cover Of 'Guru Nanak Dev And His World' By Pabitrakumar Roy
It was wonderful to have had the award of a fellowship from the Department of Development of Punjabi Language at Punjabi University, Patiala, to work on the philosophical ideas of Guru Nanak Dev. It was an honour indeed, and I am grateful to the authorities of the university for their kind courtesy. In particular, I would like to thank Professor Dhanwant Kaur and Professor Amarjeet Kaur for their graciousness in seeing that I could complete my studies on Guru Nanak Dev. They have been friends in a far away city I have been greatly touched by their interest in my work. I am grateful to Professor Jasbir Kaur for her kind words for me in the Departmental Note.
I am an outsider, and naturally, my studies would be found to have misunderstandings of the Guru's message. His message encoded as it is in medieval Punjabi is difficult to understand, and my knowledge of the language is highly inadequate. I had to rely on lexicons and respective translations. My intention in these studies has been to see Guru Nanak Dev in the light of contemporary issues, and find elements in his teachings that have a perennial relevance. To a large extent my studies have been a lonely man's dialogue with the Guru. This has been a great experience, and the blessedness of the encounter will remain with me.
As any Bengali boy I had my first encounter with the Sikh heroes and their sacrifices through the poems of Rabindranath Tagore, and it ever stirred me to think how courageous it was on the part of the great poet to renounce his knighthood in protest against the massacre and atrocities committed at Jalianwala Bagh, at a time when the British power was at its zenith in the empire. As I have noted elsewhere that Guru Nanak Dev has been a well known figure amongst Bengal's spiritual circles. Rammohun Roy mentioned the Guru's name as one of the great unifiers of the country. The other day I found that Swami Vivekananda had regaled his master, Ramakrishna Deva, by singing the famous Arti piece, gagan mai thail ravi cand dipak banai in Bengali version, ganganer thale ravi chandra dipak jvale. The translation is by Rabindranath Tagore. The Swami sang the song on two different occasions in the presence of his master. It does go to show that Guru Nanak Dev's songs were current in Bengal for Swami Vivekananda to have it in his music repertoire. There is another translation of this very song by Rabindranath Tagore and also set to music by him. It is included in the anthology of his devotional songs. There are two poems by him on Guru Gobind Singh, very moving pieces in terms of diction and inspiration. One of these was Subhas Chandra Bose's favourite and he quoted it in one of his letters written from prison in Mandalay. These are a few amongst many instances that could integrate the parts of the country closer.