Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam-sakhi

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Gyan-ratanavali. The fourth and eveidently the latest is the Gyan-ratanavali attributed to Bhai Mani Singh who wrote it with the express intention of correcting heretical accounts of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Mani Singh was a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He was approached by some Sikhs with a request that he should prepare an authentic account of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. This they assured him was essential as the Minas were circulating objectionable things in their version. Bhai Mani Singh referred them to the Var of Bhai Gurdas Ji, but this, they maintained was to brief and a longer more fuller account was needed. Bhai Mani Singh writes :

Just as swimmers fix reeds in the river so that those who do not know the way may also cross, so I shall take Bhai Gurdas’s var as my basis and in accordance with it, and with the accounts that I have heard at the court of the tenth Master, I shall relate to you whatever commentary issues from my humble mind. At the end of the Janam-sakhi there is an epilogue in which it is stated that the completed work was taken to Guru Gobind Singh Ji for his seal of approval. Guru Sahib Ji duly signed it and commended it as a means of acquiring knowledge of Sikh belief.