Chobis Avtaar

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Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
(ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)

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Jaap - Akal Ustat - Bachitar Natak - Chandi Charitar Ukat(i) Bilas - Chandi Charitar 2 - Chandi di Var - Gyan Parbodh - Chobis Avatar - Brahm Avtar - Rudar Avtar - Sabad Patshahi 10 - 33 Swaiyey - Khalsa Mahima - Shastar Nam Mala - Ath Pakhyan Charitar Likhyate - Zafarnama - Hikayats
Other Related Banis
Bhagauti Astotar - Ugardanti - Sri Kaal Chopai - Lakhi Jungle Khalsa - Asfotak Kabits - Sahansar Sukhmana - Vaar Malkauns Ki - Chandd Patshahi 10
Historical Sources - Memorials - Anti Dasam
Philosophical aspects
Idol Worship - Pilgrimages - Chandi - Triya - Shastar
Scholar Views
Singh Sabha Lahore - Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha - Professor Sahib Singh - Bhai Veer Singh - Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale -
Ram Raaiyas of Payal - Teja Singh Bhasod - Gyani Bhag Singh Ambala - Professor Darshan Singh

The Ath Chobis Avtar Kathanang(PA: ਅਥ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਉਤਾਰ ਕਥਨੰ), commonly known as Chaubis Avatar or Avtar Bani, is the narrative of the works and life of twenty-four incarnations, penned down by Guru Gobind Singh, present in Dasam Granth. This narrative is technically part of Bachitar Natak, but is entirely independent composition in case of Subject.

In Daily Sikh Liturgy, A Swaiya and a Doha forms important part of recitations in Nitnem Banis, which are taken from Rama Avtar (verse 863/864).

This narrative is brilliant piece Literature having all Historical, Secular, Philosphical, Spiritual, Maritial Flavour. This narration tells the history of Dharma and changes occurred in Dharma with passage of time. Guru Gobind Singh does not believes in supremacy of any of twenty four incarnations and belief in Supremacy of Supreme Command only.

ਜੋ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਕਹਾਏ ॥

जो चउबीस अवतार कहाए ॥
Those who are called twenty-four incarnations;

ਤਿਨ ਭੀ ਤੁਮ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਨਿਕ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥
तिन भी तुम प्रभ तनिक न पाए ॥
O Lord ! they even could not realise thee in a small measure;

(Chopai 7, Chobis Avtar, Dasam granth )
The Twenty-four Incarnations of Vishnu, Modern Madhubai Painting

History & Content Distribution

  • The Chaubis Avtar was a long project which was in execution for a decade or more. While Krishnavtar is stated in verse 2, 490-91 to have been composed in Samvat 1745/ 1688 AD at Paonta when Guru Gobind Singh was residing there, Ram Avtar, according to verses 860-61 was composed at Anandpur in Samvat 1755/ 1698 AS near the temple of Nainadevi, close to the bank of the River Sutlej.
  • Historical Sources: According to Gurbilas Patshahi 10 (1751), Bhai Koer Singh, Guru Gobind Singh ji started writing Vishnu Avtars in Paunta Sahib.
  • Distribution: The composition is believed to be covered 30% of the Dasam Granth containing 5571 verses. The longest are Krishna Avtar and Rama avtar containing 2492 and 864 verses each. Other longest narration is Kalki avtar with 586 Verses. Krishna and Rama avtar are written to that length because these are most worshipped forms in India and it is required for Khalsa to know History of Dharma and their role in it. Other then these three the 25% of Composition belong to other Avtars. There is supplement called Mehdi Mir Badh. Mehdi Mir is one who Kill Kalki Avtar when Kalki become too powerful and Houghty. In End Mehdi Mir was killed by Insect when he also turn egoistic.
  • Languages: The avtars are written in Braj(Neoclassical), Avadhi, Punjabi and Persian languages.
  • Meters: The poet has employed a 125 variety of metres, and made them responsive to the passing moods or emotions and changing situations. The metres are alternately short and long in consonance with the increasing and lessening of the fury of battle. Blank verse in Punjabi has been inserted for the first time by the poet in the Sirkhand metre (Ramavtar, verses 467-70).
  • Commencement (Mangal): The Mangal of this composition is: ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥ ਅਥ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਉਤਾਰ ਕਥਨੰ ॥ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ੧੦॥ ਤ੍ਵਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥[1]
  • Versions:
  1. In the standard Dasam Granth Sahib printed in 1897, the Chaubis Avatar Bani is from page 155-page 611 of the Granyh's 1428 pages.
  2. At website of Gobind sadan, this text spans from page 643 to page 1343 of the 1478 Pages.
  3. On website [ Sri Dasam], it spans from page 644 to 1345.
  • Difference from Puranas: The difference of Chobis Avtars with Puranic literature is that Chobis Avtar believes in One God which is beyond Birth and treat all avtars as persons who worked as Agent of Hukam, in begginig Guru Gobind Singh clears that none of 24 known a bit of Akaal Purakh. In Puranas, Arhant, Sun, Chandra and Nar are not mentioned as avtars but are present in Dasam Granth.

Concept of Avtar in Gurmat

  • Meaning of Avtar: In, Gurmat defines 'avtaar' as The soul who has taken birth onto this mortal earth. In Adi Gur Granth Sahib, the state is mentioned as
    ਅਵਤਰਿ ਆਇ ਕਹਾ ਤੁਮ ਕੀਨਾ ॥
    it says that O Soul(Councious Mind) what have you done after taking avtaar/birth?
    Every being whether a snake or donkey, etc.:
    ਸਰਪਨਿ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਅਉਤਰੈ ਜਾਏ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਖਾਇ ॥੧੦੭॥
     :shall be reincarnated as snakes, and eat their own offspring. ||107||
    The words ਅਵਤਰਿ, ਅਉਤਰੈ denotes mortal.
  • Difference with Hindu Belief: This is opposite to Hindu belief which says Avtar to be deliberate descent of any of Supreme Being(i.e., Vishnu for Vaishnavites) and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation". Sikhism does not believes that Akaal Purakh takes form the reason it is called Ajooni. In Gurmat, Soul is a Formless entity and when it takes form, the state is termed as Avtar or appearance. Such soul is also called Raam Ki Ansh or Anshavtar. In this state, Soul forget it's divinity and supreme entity for that Gurmat, the spiritual knowledge, is given for divine awakening, i.e to turn into Supreme/Original state but Akaal Purakh does not take form. The superiority of Avtars is rejected in Dasam Granth Sahib and Adi Granth Sahib
ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰ ਰਾਜੇ ਹੋਇ ਵਰਤੇ ਮਹਾਦੇਵ ਅਉਧੂਤਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਭੀ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਤੇਰਾ ਲਾਇ ਥਕੇ ਬਿਭੂਤਾ ॥੩॥ (Guru Granth Sahib)

ਜੋ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਕਹਾਏ ॥ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਭੀ ਤੁਮ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਨਿਕ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥ (Dasam Granth)

Significance/Aim of Chobis Avtar

The introductory thirty-eight chaupais or quatrains refer to the Supreme Being as unborn, invisible but certainly immanent in all objects. Whenever evil predominates, saviours of the humanity or avatars emerge by His hukam, i.e. order, to reestablish righteousness. They fulfil His will and purpose. Akal Purakh who creates them ultimately subsumes them all in himself. The poet asserts his monotheistic belief here and while enumerating the avatars discountenances any possibility of their being accepted as the Supreme Being, i.e. Akal Purakh.

The aim of writer was not to worship any of incarnations but to enlighten the world about these incarnations:

  1. This information needed to be accessible to people of so-called lower castes. This thing didn't go down the throat of caste-ridden Pandits who never wanted that the lower caste people should get knowledge of any kind.
  2. Thinking these men of yester years to be some Gods or demi-Gods, people started worshipping them as some boon-givers or destroyers. Guru Sahib removed all such misconceptions and told the common public that these were indeed human figures only. He has used wit in his explanations to explain these concepts.
  3. Guru Sahib has given an abridged version of their elaborate tales. A Gurmukh person can tell after reading that who and all from among these was a Bhagat and who was not. Guru Gobind Singh didn't want to make a tome out of these tales only that is why he says ਜਉ ਕਹਿ ਕਥਾ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਸੁਨਾਊ ॥ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਬਢਨ ਤੇ ਹ੍ਰਿਦੈ ਡਰਾਊ ॥ ਤਾਂ ਤੇ ਥੋਰੀਯੈ ਕਥਾ ਕਹਾਈ ॥ ਭੂਲ ਦੇਖਿ ਕਬਿ ਲੇਹੁ ਬਨਾਈ ॥੪॥
  4. Guru Sahib has enlisted, 10 Avtaars from the total of 24, who he considers good among all. The ones who devoted their life towards the prosperity of Sach-Dharam. The ones who did walk on the true path and were able to win over the mind. Gurmukhs will be able to learn important key things after reading the life sketch of these 10 as portrayed by Guru Gobind Singh ji. Still Guru Gobind Singh holde same view as of Guru Granth Sahib, that, ਜੋ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਕਹਾਏ ॥ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਭੀ ਤੁਮ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤਨਿਕ ਨ ਪਾਏ ॥
  5. The ballad enforces the view that although each Avtar has great powers and carried out great deeds, they all succumbed to egotism. The 'Atma' (soul) of these great beings still derived its strength from 'Parmatma' (Highest of all Souls, ie. the Almighty). The chapter also reinforces the traditional Sikh philosophy than none other than the Almighty Nirankar (formless) God is to be worshipped.
  6. The introductory thirty-eight chaupais or quatrains refer to the Supreme Being as unborn, invisible but certainly immanent in all objects. Whenever evil predominates, saviours of the humanity or avatars emerge by His hukam, i.e. order, to reestablish righteousness. They fulfil His will and purpose. Akal Purakh who creates them ultimately subsumes them all in himself. The poet asserts his monotheistic belief here and while enumerating the avatars discountenances any possibility of their being accepted as the Supreme Being, i.e. Akal Purakh.
  7. The description of 24 Avtars given in Sri Dasam Granth are the incarnations of god Vishnu which is acc. to Hindus. The most important of all the Avtars are Rama and Krishna; It is mistaken belief of Hindus to call them as the Supreme God. It was to clarify the Mistaken Beliefs of people that the Avtars were God, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee took pains to write about these 24 Avtars, giving their limitations and pitfalls. It was never the intention to teach to worship them, but to enlighten people to Worship One Creator God Alone, Who is Infinite and is the Ultimate.
  8. In the epilogue to one of the episodes in Krishnavtar occurs a statement repudiating the worship of popular deities like Ganesa, Krishna and Vishnu (verses 43440). The Supreme Being, called in the Guru's authentic idiom, Mahakal (the Supreme Lord of Time) is acknowledged as the Succourer to whom prayer is made to keep operative the defensive might (tegh) and dispensing of charity (deg). Thus is set forth the basic principle of the Sikh faith amid a long literary exercise.
  9. The poet asserts that he, having descended from the martial Ksatriyas, cannot think of adopting the attitude of a recluse towards the disturbed conditions of his time. The greater part of the tales of Ramavtar and Krishnaavtar are taken up with battlescenes evoked through many alliterative devices with the clash and clang of arms constantly reproduced. At the close of Krishnavtar, in a kind of postscript, is proclaimed the crusader's creed, which is ever "to remember God, to contemplate holy war;and, unmindful of the destruction of the perishable body, to embark the boat of noble repute." The poet has thus extracted the element of heroism from the prevalent stories without projecting the attitude of a worshipper, with the sole purpose of inspiring his followers with the resolve to fight for Dharma, i.e. to uphold righteousness.
  10. Another component of the Chaubis Autar is Nihkalank Avtar which is a sustained expression of appearance of Nihkalank who would destroy evil and establish righteousness.
  11. An interesting phenomenon observable in Krishn Avtar is the sliding of the poet from Krsna's mythical career into his own contemporary scene. Among the heroes mentioned some bear medieval Rajput names (Gaj Singh, Dhan Singh, Surat Singh); some Muslim like Nahar Khan, Tahir Khan, and Sher Khan. In verse 1602 malechh which was the pejorative term used for Muslims is used. The name of the city of Delhi appears, which is an anachronism. Such anachronisms indicate how the poet's consciousness was touched by the turmoil in contemporary Mughal times.
  12. The entire chapter is very narrative and speaks of Dharam always being protected by the Almighty and how this has occured through the various eras. The section covering Sri Krisha, Sri Ram, and Nehklanki is the longest. Each Avtar brings with him a special technique or method of warfare to defeat the enemy he is facing.
  13. It is this aspect that appeals to the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa as much of this forms the basis for the higher martial art skills within Shastar Vidiya. The avtars can be categorised as being either:
  14. Shastardhari (using weapons and battle techniques to uphold Dharam, eg, Narsingha)
  15. Shaastardhari (using wisdom to overcome unrighteousness, eg, Buddha)
  16. Kalyaandhari (who change their environment through great deeds, eg, Machh)

The summary of this Bani is narrated by Gobin Sadan at:
"This is a very important literary piece. In this the stories of twenty-three Avatars of lord Vishnu have been included. These are Machch, Kachch, Nar, Narain, Mohini, Varaha, Narsingha, Baman, Parasram, Brahma, Rudra, Jallandhar, Bisan, Sheshmai, Arihant, Dev, Manu Raja, Dhanantar, Sooraj, Chandra, Ram Krishan, Nar (Arjan), Budh and Nehkalanki. Of these, Krishnavatar is the longest followed by Ramavatar and then Nehkalanki avatar. While some of the facts included are as per the scriptures, the writer has also used his own imagination to further elaborate on the facts.

At the beginning, Guru Gobind Singh Ji has clearly stated his aim for writing this literary piece. In this God has been referred to as the source and fountain head from which all avatars have come forth. Whenever the earth gets weighed down by evil and sin, God sends down lord Vishnu as an avatar. But even the avatars fall prey to their inflated ego hence face the displeasure of God who then sends another avatar. Each of these avatars is an expert at martial arts and strategies. It is this aspect of their personalities that is of utmost significance to the Guru."

Ath Chobis Avtar Kathan

Commencement of Composition
1. Mach Avtar | 2. Kach Avtar | 3. Nar Avtar | 4. Narain Avtar | 5. Maha Mohini | 6. Bairah Avtar | 7. Narsingh Avtar | 8. Bavan Avtar | 9. Parasram Avtar | 10. Brahma Avtar | 11.Rudra Avtar | 12.Jalandhar Avtar | 13.Bisan Avtar | 14.Bisan Avtar to kill Madhu Kaitab | 15. Arihant Dev Avtar | 16. Manu Raja Avtar | 17.Dhanantar Vaid | 18.Suraj Avtar | 19. Chandra Avtar | 20. Ram Avtar | 21. Krishna Avtar | 22. Nar Avtar | 23. Baudh Avtar | 24. Nihkalanki Avtar

According to hymns in Adi Gur Granth Sahib, Dasaavtar were Kings of their Times and were born under Supreme Command(Hukam).

ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰ ਰਾਜੇ ਹੋਇ ਵਰਤੇ ਮਹਾਦੇਵ ਅਉਧੂਤਾ ॥
There were ten incarnations; and then there was Shiva, the renunciate.

ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਭੀ ਅੰਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਤੇਰਾ ਲਾਇ ਥਕੇ ਬਿਭੂਤਾ ॥੩॥
He did not find Your limits either, although he grew weary of smearing his body with ashes. ||3||

History of Avtarvaad

  • The concept of avatar within Hinduism is most often associated with Diety Vishnu which is believed to be typically descend for a very specific purpose as believed by Bhagvad Gita interpretations done in Hinduism. The ten best avatars of Vishnu are known as the Dasavatara out of which four appeared in the Sat Yuga, three in Treta Yuga and other two in Kali Yuga and End of Kaliyuga respectively.
  • Who became Avtar? Who gives title of Avtar?: In the earlier times, a ruler, who spend his life doing positive works for his people, who had political stronghold and weaponry and was considered invincible was thought to be having divine authority to rule. Thus such a person was termed 'Avtaar'. This has been a global phenomeneon be it Egypt, where Pharoahs were seen as divine Lords, or be it Greece. Same has happened in India too. Over time these men were equated with God. Guru Gobind Singh ji in his baani refers to this fact and tells us that they were mere human beings who were kings and no special divinity. This Avtar term was given by Brahmins. Kshatriyas were foodgivers of brahmins. Brahmin earn their livelihood from house of Kshatriyas. So Brahmins and Priest give this term Avtar to a King (Kastriyas), who have done some amazing works for people. Even Some groups condenm those avtars like some believe there were 10 Avtars, Some believes there were 12 Avtars. Guru Gobind Singh Covered all 24 Beliefs of Avtars, and gave a nice package to know what exactly they were, who was right and who was wrong. One Should have a through knowledge of Guru Granth Sahib before reading the Chaubis Avtars.

List of Dasavtaras/Chobis Avtar

In Guru Granth Sahib

Out of 24 Ten incarnations are mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib. Bhatt Gayand also mentioned Dashavtar in his hymn

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਬਿੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥
सतिगुरू सतिगुरू सतिगुरु गुबिंद जीउ ॥
The True Guru, the True Guru, the True Guru is the Lord of the Universe Himself.

ਬਲਿਹਿ ਛਲਨ ਸਬਲ ਮਲਨ ਭਗ੍ਤਿ ਫਲਨ ਕਾਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕੁਅਰ ਨਿਹਕਲੰਕ ਬਜੀ ਡੰਕ ਚੜ੍ਹੂ ਦਲ ਰਵਿੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥
बलिहि छलन सबल मलन भग्ति फलन कान्ह कुअर निहकलंक बजी डंक चड़्हू दल रविंद जीउ ॥
Enticer of Baliraja, who smothers the mighty, and fulfills the devotees; the Prince Krishna, and Kalki; the thunder of His army and the beat of His drum echoes across the Universe.

ਰਾਮ ਰਵਣ ਦੁਰਤ ਦਵਣ ਸਕਲ ਭਵਣ ਕੁਸਲ ਕਰਣ ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਆਪਿ ਹੀ ਦੇਵਾਧਿ ਦੇਵ ਸਹਸ ਮੁਖ ਫਨਿੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥
राम रवण दुरत दवण सकल भवण कुसल करण सरब भूत आपि ही देवाधि देव सहस मुख फनिंद जीउ ॥
The Lord of contemplation, Destroyer of sin, who brings pleasure to the beings of all realms, He Himself is the God of gods, Divinity of the divine, the thousand-headed king cobra.

ਜਰਮ ਕਰਮ ਮਛ ਕਛ ਹੁਅ ਬਰਾਹ ਜਮੁਨਾ ਕੈ ਕੂਲਿ ਖੇਲੁ ਖੇਲਿਓ ਜਿਨਿ ਗਿੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥
जरम करम मछ कछ हुअ बराह जमुना कै कूलि खेलु खेलिओ जिनि गिंद जीउ ॥
He took birth in the Incarnations of the Fish, Tortoise and Wild Boar, and played His part. He played games on the banks of the Jamunaa River.

ਨਾਮੁ ਸਾਰੁ ਹੀਏ ਧਾਰੁ ਤਜੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੁ ਮਨ ਗਯੰਦ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਗੁਬਿੰਦ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥੯॥
नामु सारु हीए धारु तजु बिकारु मन गयंद सतिगुरू सतिगुरू सतिगुर गुबिंद जीउ ॥४॥९॥
Enshrine this most excellent Name within your heart, and renounce the wickedness of the mind, O Gayand the True Guru, the True Guru, the True Guru is the Lord of the Universe Himself. ||4||9||

Dasam Granth

24 Avtars of Vishnu are mentioned in Bachitar Natak composition in Dasam Granth, the second scripture of Sikhs written by Guru Gobind Singh:[2]

  1. Mach Avtar
  2. Kacch Avtar
  3. Nar Avtar
  4. Narayan Avtar
  5. Maha Mohini Avtar
  6. Bairah Avtar
  7. Nar Singh Avtar
  8. Bavan Avtar
  9. Parashurama
  10. Brahma Avtar
  11. Rudra Avtar
  12. Jalandhar Avtar
  13. Bishan Avtar
  14. Sheshayi
  15. Arihant Dev Avtar
  16. Manu Raja Avtar
  17. Dhanvantari
  18. Suraj Avtar
  19. Chandar Avtar
  20. Rama
  21. Krishna
  22. Nar Avtar
  23. Buddha
  24. Kalki

Before describing these avtaras, the composers have written that these tried to equate themselves with god and unable to know secrets of almighty.

Adi Gur Granth Sahib on Avtarvaad

  • Those 10 Avtars which were previously explained in Hindu Mythology and was being treated as god by hindus, were also born in command of god.
    ਹ੝ਕਮਿ ਉਪਾਝ ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰਾ ॥
    By His Hukam, He created His ten incarnations,

    Avtar was title which was not given by God but by People. Guru Gobind Singh exposed life history of these people.

The Line itself clears, 10 Incarnations were Kings of their time. It gives a big clue, that Priests of those time gave the Title of Avtars. Gurus haven't mentioned them Avtar of Vishnu or Brahma. Question is why it was need of mentioning.

  • In Commencement of Composition Chaubis Avtar, the writer told about his worshipper, which itself tell that he is worshipper of Niralam, Beant, Alakh, Ajooni, Abhekhi, Alekh, etc which all are attributes of One Primal God i.e Akal Purakh = Nirankar. So one should not confuse the writer is worshipper of any of 24 Incarnations.

where Guru Granth Sahib believe in Ten Avtars there Dasam Granth also belief in superiority of 10 Avtaars, over of 24 and both granth simultaneously believe in superiority of Hukam over all these incarnations.

In Guru Granth Sahib, following are hymns :

ਹ੝ਕਮਿ ਉਪਾਝ ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰਾ ॥
By His Hukam, He created His ten incarnations,

ਦੇਵ ਦਾਨਵ ਅਗਣਤ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥
and the uncounted and infinite gods and devils.

ਮਾਨੈ ਹ੝ਕਮ੝ ਸ੝ ਦਰਗਹ ਪੈਝੈ ਸਾਚਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ਸਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੩॥
Whoever obeys the Hukam of His Command, is robed with honor in the Court of the Lord; united with the Truth, He merges in the Lord. ||13||

ਸ੝ੰਨਹ੝ ਉਪਜੇ ਦਸ ਅਵਤਾਰਾ ॥
From the Primal Void, the ten incarnations welled up.

ਸ੝ਰਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਇ ਕੀਆ ਪਾਸਾਰਾ ॥
Creating the Universe, He made the expanse.

ਦੇਵ ਦਾਨਵ ਗਣ ਗੰਧਰਬ ਸਾਜੇ ਸਭਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੧੨॥
He fashioned the demi-gods and demons, the heavenly heralds and celestial musicians; everyone acts according to their past karma. ||12||

ਪਉੜੀ ॥

ਬ੝ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨ੝ ਮਹੇਸ੝ ਦੇਵ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and the deities were created.

ਬ੝ਰਹਮੇ ਦਿਤੇ ਬੇਦ ਪੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥
Brahma was given the Vedas, and enjoined to worship God.

ਦਸ ਅਵਤਾਰੀ ਰਾਮ੝ ਰਾਜਾ ਆਇਆ ॥
The ten incarnations, and Rama the king, came into being.

ਦੈਤਾ ਮਾਰੇ ਧਾਇ ਹ੝ਕਮਿ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥
According to His Will, they quickly killed all the demons.

ਈਸ ਮਹੇਸ੝ਰ੝ ਸੇਵ ਤਿਨ੝ਹ੝ਹੀ ਅੰਤ੝ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Shiva serves Him, but cannot find His limits.

ਸਚੀ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਪਾਇ ਤਖਤ੝ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥
He established His throne on the principles of Truth.

ਦ੝ਨੀਆ ਧੰਧੈ ਲਾਇ ਆਪ੝ ਛਪਾਇਆ ॥
He enjoined all the world to its tasks, while He keeps Himself hidden from view.

ਧਰਮ੝ ਕਰਾਝ ਕਰਮ ਧ੝ਰਹ੝ ਫ੝ਰਮਾਇਆ ॥੩॥
The Primal Lord has ordained that mortals must practice righteousness. ||3||

Dasam Granth on Avtarvaad

In Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind SIngh mentioned the same philosphy of Gurmat as

ਚੌਪਈ ॥

ਇਨ ਮਹਿ ਸ੝ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸ੝ ਦਸ ਅਵਤਾਰਾ ॥
In this narration ten incarnations are superior;

ਜਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਰਮਿਯਾ ਰਾਮ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥
Within them pervades our Lord;

ਅਨਤ ਚਤ੝ਰ ਦਸ ਗਨ ਅਵਤਾਰ੝ ॥
Besides ten, other fourteen incarnations are also reckoned;

ਕਹੋ ਜ੝ ਤਿਨ ਤਿਨ ਕੀਝ ਅਖਾਰ੝ ॥੪॥
And I describe the performance of all them.4.

ਚੌਪਈ ॥

ਜੋ ਚਉਬੀਸ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਕਹਾਝ ॥
Those who are called twenty-four incarnations;

ਤਿਨ ਭੀ ਤ੝ਮ ਪ੝ਰਭ ਤਨਿਕ ਨ ਪਾਝ ॥
O Lord ! they even could not realise thee in a small measure;

ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਭਰਮੇ ਭਵ ਰਾਯੰ ॥
O Lord, All world and kings are in delusion ;

ਤਾ ਤੇ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਅੰਤ ਕਹਾਯੰ ॥੭॥
Therefore you are called limitless.7.

Chaubis Avtar By Scholars

Introductory lines by Guru Sahib

Hereunder are the 38 Introductory Points of the 24 Avtars, as stated by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee, which should ever be kept in Mind while examining the translations of Hindu Sacred Books made by the Guru and included in Sri Dasam Granth. It was due to these translations of Hindu sacred books of Hindus having different approach from the Sikh; the Guru decided that his Compositions to remain separate from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. These translations make a Sikh to appreciate GURMAT more clearly than otherwise, if any one would read judiciously.

One of Message for sikhs
  1. Chaupai – Now I recite as I have seen the feats of the 24 incarnations.O Saints! Listen to it attentively; Poet Shyam(Guru Gobind Singh) will describe them according to wisdom blessed him by God.
  2. As and when many inimical persons emerge (and the spirit of righteousness decreases), it is supposed that the incarnation of god Vishnu take place. The Time aspect of the Lord God (Kal) beholds the feats of all and ultimately perishes one and all.
  3. Kal is the ultimate Creator of all and ultimately subsumes all in Him. He assumes His many forms and at the end merges all in Him.
  4. KAL created the Ten Incarnations and in all of them pervades Himself (The Transcendent Lord). Beside ten, fourteen other incarnations have also been created and the feats they have performed are delineated here.
  5. Kal (Supreme Lord) keeping His Own Name concealed and not shouldering any blame holds all others responsible for their evils. This fact I know already that He keeps Himself detached from the temporal activities of this world.
  6. Kal Himself creates, Himself destroys but making others the efficient CAUSE FOR THE GOOD AND EVIL HOLDS THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DEEDS.
  7. The so called 24 incarnations, O Lord, could not maintain even an iota of You. Becoming worldly kings they got deluded in the worldly affairs and are known by many names.
  8. O Lord! You have been deluding one and all but You Yourself were never deceived by anybody. That is why You are called the Deluder (Chaliya) also. Seeing the saints suffering, You become anguished and that is why You are called Friend of the poor (Deen-bandhu).
  9. Time to time You annihilate the whole Universe and that is why this world calls You KAL also. On different occasions and in different Ages You have been helping the saints and accordingly these Avtars have been counted by the saints.
  10. Seeing the helpless, You show Your kindness and realizing this we call You the Friend of the poor ones. Your compassionate sentiments rain upon the saints and that is why the world calls You the Treasure of Compassion.
  11. You always wipe out the troubles of the saints and that is why Your one Name is Trouble Wiper, Sankatharan. You have been destroying the suffering of the saints and that is why You are called Perisher of the Suffering.
  12. You are ever Eternal and none could know Your mystery. That is why Your Name is Infinite, and is also known. In the world You through Your Light assume the forms of all and that is why Your Name is called the Creator also.
  13. None could perceive You so far, so Your Name is Imperceptible, is also known. You never take birth in the world and that is why You are called Unborn by the people.
  14. In the process of knowing Your mystery, the poor fellows, Brahma, Vishnu, Mehesh etc. have got tired. Moon and Sun also ponder upon You, that is why You are known as their Creator.
  15. You also remain without any guise so the world says You are beyond ALL THE GARBS. Your Invisible Form is not known to anybody and that is why You are delineated as Imperceptible.
  16. Your Beauty is Incomparable and Form Infinite, guise or no guise You are different from all. You are the Giver to all and You Yourself beg from nobody. That is why we know you in the form of Creator.
  17. You do not get influenced by the omens and the auspicious time etc., this s known to whole world. No Mantra, Yantra or Tantra can make You happy and even through different garbs none could attain You.
  18. The Creatures of the world are deeply engrossed in their own selfish ends and none has identified the Transcendent Lord. To attain You many go to the cemeteries or the cremation grounds but in both these places no Lord is there.
  19. These both types of persons engrossed in their infatuations and oral debates are waste, but O Lord! You are different from these both. Attaining Whom one clears away the delusions of the heart, before that Lord, no one is Hindu or a Muslim.
  20. One uses beads and the other keeps rosary; one recites the Holy Koran and the other Purans. Persons of both these sects are dying while opposing each other and none of these have got the fast color of the love of the Lord.
  21. Those who have dyed the fast color of the Lord, their repudiating the worldly shame dance in sheer happiness. Those who have identified the one primal Lord from their hearts the sense of duality has perished.
  22. Those who are absorbed in the sense of duality i.e. who consider them separate from the Lord are in fact away from meeting Lord, the Supreme Friend. Who has even a BIT UNDERSTOOD THE Lord in fact has understood Him as the Supreme Reality.
  23. As much as yogis, ascetics, the shaven heads and Muslim Fakirs are there, they assuming their different guises are looting the world. The saints whose total base is the Name of the Lord, never become manifest before the people and keep themselves concealed.
  24. The worldly creatures show their hypocrisies just for the sake of bread and butter because without hypocrisy they do not get any monetary profits. The person who has concentrated upon one supreme reality, has never shown any pretensions to anybody.
  25. Without pretensions the selfish ends are not attained and none bows before anybody. Has this belly not been there attached with the body, no body would have been king or a pauper in this world.
  26. Those who have accepted God as One, have never shown pretensions to anybody. Such person gets his head cut but never repudiates the Truth. And only such person accepts this body as a particle of dust.
  27. Split ear, the individual is known as Yogi, who being variously hypocritical goes to the forest. If he has not realized the essence of the Name of the Lord, he is neither useful in the forest nor he remains of any use for the household.
  28. How long this poet can describe because one tongue cannot know the mystery of the Infinite. May be somebody has crores of tongues, even then the end limit of Your ocean of qualities cannot be known.
  29. The Primal Lord, called the KAL is the Father of the whole Creation. It is from Him emerged the tremendous radiance, which is known by the Name of Bhavani. This God’s Light (Jot) is called Bhavani or Durga or Kali, etc., which created this Universe. (In Gurmat God’s Light (Jot) in all is called Guru, Satguru or Satguru Poora, verily God Himself).
  30. First He articulated Oankar and this resonance became diffused in the whole world. From this and the combination of Prakriti and Pursha, the world got expanded.
  31. The creation got created and since then this is known as the world. Grossly the four mines of creation are described (these are, egg, fetus, sweat and vegetation). I have not that much of power that could describe their various names.
  32. The Lord created both powerful and the weak and cleared the distinction of the high and low. The Mighty Kal (Lord) assuming bodies through His Light (Jot), manifested Himself in different forms.
  33. As and when He assumes the body by putting His Light, He becomes popular in the forms of different incarnations. But ultimately all merged in the Supreme Form of the Lord.
  34. As much as the number of the Jivas are there in the world, consider them all enlightened by the One Flame of the Lord. Whole of world subsumes in the Lord God, Who is known in the form of KAL
  35. Whatever is perceptible is given the name of Maya by our mind. He, the One pervades through all and people have established Him according to their own understandings.
  36. The Invisible Lord permeates all, and all the creatures according to their station in life due to their karmas beg of Him. Whosoever has known that Lord as One, only he has attained the Supreme Reality.
  37. His One Formless Form is superb and He only is at one place, a King and at other a pauper. He has entrapped all variously but Himself is detached from all, and none could know His mystery.
  38. In different forms He has created all and He only annihilates them differently. He never takes any responsibility of any wrong done; jivas are rather held responsible for their evils.”

The Guru at the onset clarified his views, called Gurmat, which has no commonality with any other ideology. After these Introductory clarificatons, follows the translation of Hindu Puranic stories on 24 Avtars. Invariably the Guru at the end of translation of the life of each Avtar, gave his views where he differed. The views expressed in the translations of the life of Avtars, are not the views of the Guru.

The 24 Avtars are the incarnations of god Vishnu, who himself was full of limitations. These three Trinity gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva had their weaknesses; they even committed crimes, told lies and indulged in adulterous affairs. Points 1 –6, 32 and 29 given above are Most Important. KAL is GOD, Who subsumes all the Creation. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib it is repeatedly stated that there is NO OTHER DESTROYER EXCEPT GOD. God’s Light (Jot) in all creatures, we call it Guru, Satguru and Satguru Poora; verily God Himself. Here the Guru states goddess Chandi , Bhaviani, Durga, Bhaawati, Kali, etc. are none else but God’s Light (Jot), which created the Universe, the Immanent or the Functional God, as part of the Transcendent God. This will explain the Guru’s version of Chandi Chritrars. Chandi or God’s Light or God in Man fights with the temptations of the instinctual passions, depicted as varied names of Demons. Index

  • Please note that these page number are from the website and that these do NOT correspond to the Sri Dasam Granth.

Commencement of Composition, Chobis Avtar

No. Name of Chapter Start page No. of pages
1. Mach Avtar 426 4
2. Kach Avtar 430 4
3. Nar Avtar 434 Shared 2
4. Narain Avtar 434 Shared 2
5. Maha Mohini 436 2
6. Bairah Avtar 438 4
7. Narsingh Avtar 442 10
8. Bavan Avtar 452 6
9. Parasram Avtar 458 7
10. Brahma Avtar 465 2
11. Rudra Avtar 467 7
12. Jalandhar Avtar 484 6
13. Bisan Avtar 490 1
14. Bisan Avtar to kill Madhu Kaitab 491 1
15. Arihant Dev Avtar 492 4
16. Manu Raja Avtar 496 1
17. Dhanantar Vaid 497 2
18. Suraj Avtar 499 5
19. Chandra Avtar 504 3
20. Ram Avtar 507 137
21. Krishna Avtar 644 491
22. Nar Avtar 1135 1
23. Baudh Avtar 1136 half page
24. Nihkalanki Avtar 1136 to 1194 58

Chobis Avtars

Ath Chobis Avtar Kathan

Commencement of Composition
1. Mach Avtar | 2. Kach Avtar | 3. Nar Avtar | 4. Narain Avtar | 5. Maha Mohini | 6. Bairah Avtar | 7. Narsingh Avtar | 8. Bavan Avtar | 9. Parasram Avtar | 10. Brahma Avtar | 11.Rudra Avtar | 12.Jalandhar Avtar | 13.Bisan Avtar | 14.Bisan Avtar to kill Madhu Kaitab | 15. Arihant Dev Avtar | 16. Manu Raja Avtar | 17.Dhanantar Vaid | 18.Suraj Avtar | 19. Chandra Avtar | 20. Ram Avtar | 21. Krishna Avtar | 22. Nar Avtar | 23. Baudh Avtar | 24. Nihkalanki Avtar

For Gurmat Vyakhya of Chobis Avtar Click here


  • C.H. Loehlin, The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
  • Dharam Pal Ashta, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
  • Ratan Sirigh Jaggi, Dasam Granth Parichaya. Delhi, 1990
  • Gurmat info

  1. ^ Dasam Granath, Dr. S.S Kapoor
  2. ^ Cite error Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Dasam Granth Sahib; $2