BIBEK BĀRDHĪ, (bibek = discrimination or discipline, bārdhī = ocean; by implication, "guide to Sikh religious practice") is a collection of rahitnāmās or codes of conduct compiled in AD 1877 by Paṇḍit Bhagvān Siṅgh, a Brāhmaṇ who converted to Sikhism under the influence of Bābā Sumer Siṅgh celebrated high priest of Takht Srī Paṭnā Sāhib. The work has never been published and the manuscript, believed to be written in the compiler's own hand, is preserved at the Dr Balbīr Siṅgh Sāhitya Kendra at Dehrā Dūn. The manuscript comprises 140 sheets, written on both sides, of plain hand-made paper of approximately foolscap size. Paper, obviously procured at different times, ranges in colour from off-white to light cream. Different pens and inks have been used, but the hand is throughout the same. The text begins with the compiler's invocation to the goddess Kālī, followed by a section stressing the importance of bibek, i. e. strict observance of the Sikh code of conduct. Bhagvān Siṅgh, then, proceeds to specify the code a Sikh is expected to follow. Like other writers of rahitnāmās, he lays down rules of conduct for a Sikh embracing personal, social and religious aspects of his life. To support his prescriptions, he puts forth copious illustrations and quotations from the Sikh sacred literature, though these are not always relevant and germane to the point sought to be upheld. A major part of the work consists of reproduction of several older rahitnāmās such as those of Bhāī Manī Siṅgh (d. 1737), Bhāī Nand Lāl, Bhāī Chaupā Siṅgh, Bhāī Prahlād Siṅgh, and Kavī Saināpati.
Among the lesser known rahitnāmās are "Rahatmālā Rahatnāmā Aṭhārvāṅ Muktnāmā Jo Sūraj Prakāsh Ādko Meṅ Kahā Hai, " "Bhāī Sukhā Siṅgh Anandpurīe Ke Gur Bilās Me Se Rahat Bachan Chhāṇṭe Haiṅ, " "Mālve kī Sākhī Me Jo Rahatnāme Ke Bachan Hain Dasam Gurū Krit, " "Bibek Bodhnī Sapat Satī Yāne Bābā Sumer Siṅgh Jī Krit, " and "Jo Muktsar Tīrath Me Gurū Jī Sabh Sikhoṅ Ko Sunāye. " In all, the manuscript has, according to the author's own calculation, 2, 555 bachans or sayings. In the index, appended to the manuscript the author has classified various rahits and worked out the total number of injunctions set down. The work is important insofar as it gathers in one volume many old rahitnāmās and authorities, but most of the compiler's own writing is under Brāhamaṇical influence and at several places he goes against the Sikh tenets. For his involvement with this genre of Sikh literature, he is also known as Bhagvān Siṅgh Rahitnāmīā. He is the author as well of a rahitnāmā called Rahit Darpaṇ.
K. S. Thāpar