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Introduction To 'Varan Bhai Gurdas Ji English Translation' By Shamsher Singh Puri
After publication of my first book Prayer in 1995, I was much inspired by my friends, Dr. Harbans Lal and Dr. Kulwant Singh Khokhar, both of whom are good scholars of theology, to take up the project of interpreting Bhai Gurdas Ji's works in English. I took their advice rather sedately while I was more involved with my other writings (Sikh Philosophy and Spiritual Life, Handbook of Sikh Theology, Saints and Bhagats in Gum Granth Sahib, Influence of Thought on Mind and Body, Happy Marriage, joy of Surrendering to His Will, Spiritual Sayings). However kept working on the project of translating vars rather at a snail's pace and managed to complete it by the end of year 2000. During the time when I was working on this project, I sent a copy of a part of my manuscript to the Management of Gurdwara Keling, Singapore; who after its perusal had very graciously agreed to have it published. Thereafter, I sent them my complete manuscript of about a thousand pages (original). Of and on, would enquire off them about the progress of printing and publication of the book, but without tangible results. To my dismay, I was informed in November 2004 that the manuscript had been lost. Although I was much hurt, yet I feel that it was a blessing in disguise. Apparently that effort was below standard and the True Guru wanted me to produce a more viable and acceptable work through His blessings. That work was a verbatim exposition of the verses. However, the need apparently was to present the readers with the essence of the writings of the great scholars like Bhat Gurdas Ji. When I learnt about the loss of manuscript, I was working on the translation of Kabitt-Swayyas of Bhai Gurdas Ji. I prayed before God to bless me with ability and intellect to accomplish this task as He would like it to be.
I commenced this project in June 2005. Interpreting the writings of a versatile genius like Bhai Gurdas, who was well-entrenched in the tenets of Sikh philosophy, adept in vernacular languages beside Persian and Sanskrit, which he used to bring forth the ethos and culture of Indian sub-continent, of course putting Sikhism always at the forefront, could not be done without Satguru 's blessings. His Vars are epitome of the commentaries and explanations of theological as well as ethical doctrines of Sangat (holy congregation), Haumai (ego), Gura, Gurmukh (Guru-conscious), Manmukh (self-willed), Truth, Nam etc. reverberating in Sri Guru Grantb Sahib. His Van, which are in chaste Punjabi of that period explores the names of Sikhs of the first six Gurus (Guru Nanak to Guru Hargobind), hhagats of medieval period, devotees and their works.
The idea of bringing forth the quintessence of each Pauri (Stanza) of each Var (ballad) motivated me to undertake this work on priority basis. Putting aside everything else, I started working on this project with a view to present a more meaningful exposition of this great work, which is considered as key to Gurbani.
Original text of Varan has been retained, followed by its transliteration in Roman in traditional English alphabet so that one could read the original and understand it. Since this work is voluminous (over 1800 pages) it is being published in two volumes.
This English transliteration and translation of Varan Bhai Gurdas Ji is very different from the earlier published works, which appear more or less verbatim translation. This work gives the reader the deep spiritual meanings of Bhai Sahib's writings and is more explanatory. Therefore, its significance is obvious.
All that is written in this book is mine and I am fully responsible for it. I most humbly request the readers to forgive me for my shortcomings, which are bound to be many.
About The Author Of 'Varan Bhai Gurdas Ji English Translation'
Shamsher Singh Puri is a civil engineer by profession. After having worked in his chosen profession he migrated to U.S.A. in 1974. After working as a well reputed construction engineer for 14 years in his adopted country he voluntarily retired and absorbed himself in the study of Sikh scriptures.
Love of Gurbani being strong in his inheritance he had opportunity, means and mind to pursue the study of Gurbani and write about the message of Guru Nanak. Hence many of his articles were published in reputed journals of U.K., U.S.A. and India. These articles were widely applauded by the readers.
Encouraged by the publication of his articles, he wrote his first book Prayer which was published in 1995. After that he authored Handbook of Sikh Theology, Bhagats and Saints of Guru Granth Sabib, Happy Marriage-the Sikh Perspective, Spiritual Sayings, Sikh Philosophy and Spiritual Life, Ab to Jaag Masafir Pyare (Punjabi), The joy of Surrendering to His Will, The Essence of Japji, Let us Learn Gurmukhi (4 parts). All of his works have been well received by scholars and general readers alike.
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