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Minstrel Divine and Other Essays - Book By Dr. Balbir Singh

Table Of Contents For 'Minstrel Divine and Other Essays' Book By Dr. Balbir Singh



Page No




Mi nstrel Divine 1
Pearl of Peerless Lusire 32
Miracle of the Pen 62
In the Service of Humanity 73
Power Born of an Ideal 102
Prayer 113
Gurmukh 120


Foreword To Book  'Minstrel Divine and Other Essays' By Dr. Balbir Singh

It has been quite an experience for me going through 'Minstrel Divine and other Essays' by Dr. Balbir Singh. The essays, originally written in Punjabi, have been rendered into English by Mr. Mohinder Singh Sarna, who had the privilege of being the recipient of the affection and patronage of Dr. Balbir Singh. Mr. Sarna's adoration of Dr. Balbir Singh and understanding of his vibrant mind have enabled him to capture the spirit of the original. The English rendering of the Essays reveals Mr. Sarna's command over English and feeling for its finer nuances.

Dr. Balbir Singh was a savant and sage, whose life symbolised passion and dedication in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. He blended deep understanding of theology and philosophy with analytical powers which he had developed as a perceptive student of Science. The beautiful blend constitutes the hallmark of Dr. Balbir Singh's creative genius.

The seven essays in the present collection bring into focus many facets of Dr. Balbir Singh's composite sensibility. The essays threw into saliency Dr. Balbir Singh's rootedness in Sikh scriptures. He has the flair for summoning passages from Gurbani to his aid while interpreting subtle and intricate philosophical and mataphysical issues.

I trust the English-knowing world will benefit immensely by the fecund insights and profound erudition of Dr. Balbir Singh.

I offer my felicitations to Mr. Sarna who has brought his creativity to bear upon the present enterprise. For him, it has been a labour of love.

Dr. J.S. Puar


Preface To Book 'Minstrel Divine and Other Essays' By Dr. Balbir Singh

Dr Balbir Singh was a great figure in Sikh renaissance rubbing shoulders with such giants as Bhai Vir Singh and Prof. Puran Singh. He was the most eminent among the first generation of  Sikh intellectuals who were trained in western disciplines. These intellectuals having already imbibed the oriental philosophy reacted with characteristic maturity to western scientific thought.

Dr Balbir Singh's versatile genius had many facets. His was an integrated personality in which various strands had been interwoven in an exquisite pattern. The ruling passion of his life was a relentless quest for knowledge. He was an intellectual giant and a scholar of great eminence. His scholarship covered a wide range of disciplines, namely religion, science, fine arts, literature and philosophy. He was never happier than when surrounded by books, both ancient and modern. He relished the company of Greek masters like Plato and Aristotle, drank deep into the western philosophies of Hegel, Kant and Nietsche and loved poets like Shakespeare, Goethe and Milton. Buddha and Shankracharya fascinated him. The Vedas and Srutis, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Puranas and Upanishads, the Bible and Quran were all subjects of his close study. He was well read in history, ancient, medieval and modern and well-versed in the knowledge of movements, social, economic, political and religious which have moulded the destiny of mankind and generated currents and cross currents of thought and action.

Scholarship had become with him a way of life and the Knowledge gained therefrom had become a state of mind. Besides the Sikh scriptures he had made an analytical and discerning study of Vedic, Yogic and Buddhist texts. Thus he acquired a profound knowledge of Indian philosophical and metaphysical heritage. This background enabled him to embellish his reflective essays with quotations and anecdotes from the oriental history and mythology. Quotations from the multifarious sources of his study came to him appositely and effortlessly.

Besides being a scientist, a theologian, an etymologist and Lexicograher of great distinction Dr Balbir Singh was also one of the leading essayists of the Punjabi language. His three collections of reflective essays 'Kalam di Karamat', 'Lammi Narda' and 'Shudh Sarup' bear eloquent testimony to his erudition and philosophic bent of mind. These reflective essays are remarkable for their thought content, wisdom and wit. His prose is a marvel of lucidity, felicity and profundity. Its texture is rich, variegated and colourful. He wrote in the best tradition of literary diction. He was among the few writers of Punjabi language who could express philosophical and scientific ideas in chaste and simple language.

In his essays we find him frequently straying away from the main theme into apparently unconnected lanes and by-lanes but towards the end he harmonizes all the components and weaves them into an indivisible texture. In fact the secret of the powerful impact his essays have on our mind is his unrivalled ability to correlate, absorb and synthesize with effortless ease the different components of his theme into one organic whole. Each one of his philosophical and reflective essays is perfected by its different parts, as the parts observe decorum by contributing directly to the whole with no loose ends left.

We realise the greatness of his genius as an essayist when we compare him with contemporary writers and see how they dwindle in importance.

The present volume contains, among others, such famous essays of Dr Balbir Singh as 'Rabab' (Minstrel Divine) Sev Kamai ( In the service of Humanity), 'Abdar Moti' (Pearl of Peerless lustre) and 'Kalam di Karamat' (Miracle of the Pen). Those who have not been able to read the original essays in Punjabi will find this volume a rare and unforgettable experience.






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