GUR PUR PRAKĀSH is a versified history in four parts of the ten Sikh Gurūs on the same lines as Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh's Nānak Prakāsh and Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, following as far as possible the same style, but much reduced in volume. The author, Sant Reṇ Prem Siṅgh who claims direct descent from Gurū Aṅgad through Bābā Dāsū, the Gurū's elder son, was born in November 1879, the son of Bābā Lachhmaṇ Siṅgh of the village of Naryāb in Haṅgū tahsīl of Kohāṭ district in the North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan). He received religious instruction at Amritsar under the famous classical scholar, Giānī Amīr Siṅgh, and studied Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh's monumental works under different scholars. He found that these works contained several statements which did not conform to the teaching of the Gurūs. These, he considered, were due to the fact that their author died soon after the completion of his magnum opus without having time for a revision. He undertook fresh researches and travelled extensively to places connected with the lives of the Gurūs. His main source, he claims, was a rare manuscript dated 1709 by Bābā Binod Siṅgh a collateral descendant of Gurū Aṅgad and contemporary of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur. He set down to compiling in 1914 his own Srī Gur Pur Prakāsh. The first three editions of the work came out in 1919, 1924 and 1944, respectively. The fourth edition was published in 1965 from Paṭiālā, where the author had settled after the partition of the country (1947).

         The work generally follows the traditional sequence of events and anecdotes as found in janam Sākhīs, gurbilāses and in the Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. All dates are in the Nānakshāhī era with the exception of the initial one of the birth of Gurū Nānak, which is given as Kattak Pūranmāsī of 1526 Bikramī. The author's dates are not all reliable. For example, the date according to him of the birth of Gurū Rām Dās is NS. 55 corresponding to AD 1524 against the generally accepted 1534; the date of his marriage to Bībī Bhānī is NS. 68/AD 1537 against the traditional 1553; and the date of Gurū Arjan's birth is NS. 84/AD 1553 against the commonly accepted date AD 1563. Moreover, in his anxiety to make his history strictly to conform to the Sikh view he at times gives a free reign to imagination. For him the marriage of Gurū Nānak was performed not according to the traditional ceremony of circumambulations around the burning fire. According to him, when asked how he would wish the wedding ceremony to be solemnized, the bridegroom wrote out the Mūl Mantra on a piece of paper around which the couple circumambulated four times. This the Gurū named as the "anand marriage" ceremony.

Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)