Janamsakhi Tradition – An Analytical Study – Dr. Kirpal Singh


If you’re not aware, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was this pretty cool guy who lived an amazing life and started this whole thing called “Sikhism.” In this book, Dr. Kirpal Singh explores the entire breadth of history surrounding the Janamsakhis – literally stories about Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. Where they came from, who put them together, who wrote which parts, and how the sikhs came to keep them in the form they are now. Here’s an excerpt to wet your tongue:

Janamsakhi literature; produced essentially to preserve the tradition of Guru Nanak, defies classification. The Janamsakhis are neither hagiographies1 nor biographies. In fact it is implicit within the word Janamsakhi that these are no more than compilations of anecdotes about the life of Guru Nanak. At best they can be called “anthologies of the stories told of his life.”2 One is sometimes inclined to place them at par with the four gospels, appearing at the beginning of the New Testament. The Sikh multitude revered the Janamsakhi as “good news” (Sakhis) of Guru Nanak. Like the four ‘Gospels’, the various Janamsakhis were initially not looked upon as rivals of each other but as parallel versions of the anecdotes concerning the life of Guru Nanak and were not written primarily in the interest of history in the modern sense of the word.

Definitely worth a good looking over.


Updated:July 13, 2009
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