Shastar Nam Mala

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Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
(ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)

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ਤਰਕਸ ਤੀਰ ਕਮਾਣ ਸਾਂਗ ਤੇਗਬੰਦ ਗ੝ਣ ਧਾਤ੝ ॥
The pursuit of virtue is my bow and arrow, my quiver, sword and scabbard.
(Guru Nanak Dev)

Shastra-Nama Mala Purana (Gurmukhi: ਸ਼ਸਤ੝ਰ ਨਾਮ ਮਾਲਾ) (Old mala of weapon names) is a versified and splendid composition included in the Dasam Granth is an awesome work Guru Gobind Singh. In Shastar Naam Mala, Guru Gobind Singh praised God and it's will power in form of Weapons. The Bani also showed the way to form words. In Guru Granth Sahib, Weapons are used to explained Gurmat like Gyan Kharhag, Gyan Gola, Tarkas Teer Kaman, Tegband, all are qualities of God and Gurmat.

There are two kind of weapons, Miri(Outer) and Piri(Inner). When Sword act as wisdom and kill all the darkness of inner soul it's called Gyan Khadag and is part of Piri and when Sword of iron is used to kill evil people, to finish evilness from world it's Khadag. Difference is Sword of Wisdom and Sword of Iron. A Gurmukh will interpret this bani, taking internal meanings and external too.

Bani starts with name of God i.e Ik Oankaar, ੴ ਸ੝ਰੀ ਵਾਹਿਗ੝ਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹ ॥ continued with ਅਥ ਸ੝ਰੀ ਸ਼ਸਤ੝ਰ ਨਾਮ ਮਾਲਾ ਪ੝ਰਾਣ ਲਿਖਯਤੇ ॥ continued with ਸ੝ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥, continued with ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ॥੧੦॥The poem lists weapons of war praising them as protectors and deliverers.

The Sastra Nam Mala, was completed in mid 1687, thus making it one of the Guru's earlier compositions, possibly a prelude to the clash of arms that took place at Bhangani the following year. The opening section of 27 verses is an invocation to Sri Bhagauti ji for assistance. Here the Sword (Bhagauti), is personified as God. God subdues enemies, so does the sword; therefore the sword is God, and God is the sword. In the list that follows, the weapons of the day are presented under fanciful names, such as 'Bow Roarer, Skin Piercer or Deer Slayer' for the arrow; Krsnafmisher or skullsmasher, for the mace; combatlasso for deathnoose; the gun is the enemy of the army; the tigerfoe, the enemy of treachery. Many of the weapons are listed in the form of riddles, so dear to the Punjabi heart.

These are often abstruse, and must be resolved in devious ways." For example : Think hard and take the word tarangam (stream) Then say, Ja char (grasseater), Then think of the word naik (lord), at the end say the word satru (enemy) Lo ! Good friend, you have thought of the word meaning tupak (gun), (verse 811) The reasoning seems to be that each thing mentioned is the enemy of its predecessor; the grass eater is the deer (ja is what is produced by the moisture of the stream; char is to graze); the lord and master (naik) of the deer is the tiger; the enemy (satru) of the tiger is the gun (tupak). About 25 verses deal with swords of various types, followed by verses concerning spears and quoit (chakra). There are 178 verses (75252) on the bow and arrow; on the noose, or combat lasso, 208 (253460); on the gun or musket, 858 (4611318), a more modern weapon.

Time and again the weapons are referred to as the instruments of God`s deliverance, and they are addressed as personifications of God. This is sometimes shown in their very names, as when the dagger is called sristes, Lord of Creation. Adoration is reserved for the weapons only when they are used by the righteous. Thus, what might have been merely a gory account of destructive weapons becomes a sharpening of the moral purpose in waging war. The language of the Shastra Nam Mala is Braj, with far fewer Perso-Arabic words than in most of Guru Gobind Singh`s other compositions. Sanskrit vocabulary, in tatsama form, is in abundance. The style is fanciful, and readers are amazed by the opulence of linguistic innovation.

Cunningham says that this is not Guru Gobind Singh's composition, but does not give a reason for this statement. The composition is made up of 1318 verses of various weapons given fanciful names. Among the simpler of these names are names for arrows: Bow-roarer, Skin-piercer, Deer-slayer. The opening verse sets the mood:

"The three kinds of swords are sure and friendly deliverers,

Finishers of the enemy, armor-piercers,

They make sure our protection."

Many of these names of weapons are listed in the form of riddles. These seem to be resolved in somewhat devious ways,-for example:

"Think hard and take the word tarangani (stream),

Then say ja char (grass-eater), then think of the word naik (lord)

At the end say the word satru (enemy)-

Lo! Good friend, you have thought of the word meaning tupak (gun)."


The reasoning seems to be that each thing mentioned is the enemy of the next: the grass eater is the deer (ja is what is produced by the moisture of the stream, char is to graze); the lord and master of the deer is the tiger; the enemy of the tiger is the gun. There is quite a store of similar riddles in this arsenal. On the bow and arrow there are 177 of these riddles; on the combatlasso, 207 riddles; on the gun, 857 riddles, indicating possibly an interest in the more modern weapons of destruction.

The summary of this Bani as narrated by Gobin Sadan:

"More in the form of a dictionary in verse, this composition includes the description of the various weapons used in warfare. There is no similar writing in existence and it stands out unique for its presentation and theme. While on the one hand the various well-known ancient personalities who used these weapons have been referred to, on the other the way in which these weapons are used in the contemporary period is also highlighted."

Shastar Nam Mala

♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 1 ♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 2 ♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 3 ♣♣
♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 4 ♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 5 ♣♣ Shastar Nam Mala - 6 ♣♣


  • Loehlin, C.H., The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and the KHALSA Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
  • Ashta, Dharam Pal, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
  • Padam, Piara Singh, Dasam Granth Darshan. PATIALA, 1968
  • Jaggi, Rattan Singh, Dasam Granth Panchaya. Delhi, 1990
  • Randhir Singh, Bliai, Sabadarth Dasam Grantli Sahib. Patiala, 1973
  • Loehlin, C.H (1971). The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh and The Khalsa Brotherhood. Lucknow Publishing House. ISBN.