GOṢṬI BĀBĀ NĀNAK, lit. the discourses of Bābā [Gurū] Nānak dictated by Harijī, son of Soḍhī Miharbān, is an unpublished and incomplete work (MS. No. 2306) preserved in the Sikh History Research Department at the Khālsā College at Amritsar, comprising 235 folios and 23 complete and two, one in the beginning and the other at the end, incomplete goṣṭis. The goṣṭis contained in this manuscript appear to be remnants of a large volume consisting of 287 goṣṭis presumed to have been lost for ever : the colophon appended to another manuscript (No. 427) available in the same department and since published under the title Janamsākhī Srī Gurū Nānak Dev Jī states that the six folios (Sach Khaṇḍ Pothī, Harijī Pothī, Chaturbhuj Pothī, Kesho Rāi Pothī, Abhaipad Pothī and Prempad Pothī) constituting the work contained 575 goṣṭis whereas only 228 of them, which comprised the first three of these six pothīs, have come down to us. None of the goṣṭis included in this manuscript is found among the 228 we are already familiar with. The colophon places the manuscript in 1707 Bk/AD 1650. Although the name is not mentioned, a likely conjecture is that the scribe was Kesho Dās who wrote Harijī Pothī, both of them having been written in the same year and in the same hand. In point of paleography, the formation of its characters resembles Bābā Mohan's pothīs. The two line margin on each side of the page stands drawn without the aid of a ruler; the size of the letters is not uniform nor is there any consistency in the number of lines per page. The ink used is also of inferior quality and lacks brilliance. The paper is thick, greyish in colour and at places worm-eaten. The first nine folios, which contained a good part of the first goṣṭi, are missing, as also folios 145, 146 and all after folio No. 235. The goṣṭis included in this manuscript are exegetical in character and follow the Miharbān style : Gurū Nānak is shown sitting at his place in Kartārpur, a number of seekers come to him, the usual salutations follow and then questions on matters spiritual are asked which the Gurū answers readily, of course, with reference to hymns of his own.

         The hymns dealt with in the present collection, come from Rāga Gauṛī, Prabhātī, Sūhī, Mārū, Vaḍhaṅs, Rāmkalī, Malhār, Āsā, Gūjarī, Bilāval and Dhanāsarī, and have been chosen mainly to explain the nature of God, soul and the world, man's aim in this life, the true path leading to its fulfilment, and the role of a true preceptor. Of unusual interest are, goṣṭis 12 and 18. The former takes the form of a dialogue between Jaidev and Gurū Nānak in which both explain their viewpoints about the Supreme Reality and the way in which union with Him can be achieved. Both rely on their own compositions. The latter gives the exegesis of one of his own compositions called Alāhṇiāṅ (doleful songs, the elegies). Also of special interest are a number of hymns and ślokas from the pen of Soḍhī Miharbān and his son, Harijī. They figure between goṣṭis numbered 17 and 18. One of the hymns by Miharbān is in imitation of Bhakta Dhannā's Āratī. Each of the goṣṭis ends with a śloka by Miharbān, providing thereby a sort of epilogue to the discourse concerned.

Piār Siṅgh