Bhai Bala Janamsakhi

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This is probably the most popular and well known Janamsakhi, in that most Sikhs and their Janamsakhi knowledge comes from this document. This work claims to be a contemporarry account written by one Bala Sandhu in the Sambat year 1592 at the instance of the second Guru, Guru Angad. According to the author, he was a close companion of Guru Nanak and accompanied him on many of his travels. There are good reasons to doubt this contention: Guru Angad, who is said to have commissioned the work and was also a close companion of the Guru in his later years, was, according to Bala's own admission, ignorant of the existence of Bala. Bhai Gurdas, who has listed all Guru Nanak's prominent disciples whose names were handed down, does not mention the name of Bala Sandhu. (This may be an oversight, for he does not mention Rai Bular either.) Bhai Mani Singh's Bhagat Ratanwali, which contains essentialy the same list as that by Bhai Gurdas, but with more detail, also does not mention Bala Sandhu. It is only in the heretic janamsakhis of the Minas that we find first mention of Bhai Bala. The language used in this janamsakhi was not spoken at the time of Guru Nanak or Guru Angad, but was developed at least a hundred years later. Some of the hymns ascribed to Nanak are not his but those of the second and fifth Gurus. At several places expressions which gained currency only during the lifetime of the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), are used e.g Waheguru ji ki Fateh. Bala's janamsakhi is certainly not a contemporary account; at best it was written in the early part of the 18tyh Century.

This janamsakhi has had an immense influence over determining what is generally accepted as the authoritative account of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. Throughout the nineteenth century the authority of the Bala version was unchallenged. An important work based on the Bahi Bala janam-sakhi is Santokh Singh’s Gur Nanak Purkash commonly known as Nanak Parkash. Its lengthy sequel, Suraj Parkash carries the acount up to the tenth Guru and contains a higher proportion of historical fact, this was completed in 1844.

In the first journey or udasi Guru Nanak Dev Ji left Sultanpur towards eastern India and included, in the following sequence : Panipat (Sheikh Sharaf) Delhi (Sultan Ibrahim Lodi) Hardwar Allahbad Banaras Nanakmata Kauru, Kamrup in Assam (Nur Shah) Talvandi (twelve years after leaving Sultanpur) Pak Pattan (Sheikh Ibrahim) Goindval Lahore Kartarpur.

The Second udasi was to the south of India with companion Bhai Mardana. Delhi Ayodhya Jagannath Puri Rameswaram Sri Lanka Vindhya mountains Narabad River Ujjain Saurashtra Mathura

The third udasi was to the north : Kashmir Mount Sumeru Achal

The fourth udasi was to the west. Afghanistan Persia Mecca Madina Baghdad