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At the Feet of The Mother

VIII. NATIONALISM. Guru Govind Singh (IX)

A life of Guru Govind Singh, written by Shri Basanta Kumar Banerji, has been received by us recently. In this book, the character of Guru Govind Singh and his political activities have been brought out in a very fine manner in simple and lucid style. But the tenth Guru of the Sikhs was not merely a military leader and statesman. He was also a great religious personality and a preacher commissioned by God. He gave a new form to the sattwic type of religion in Nanak, with its rich store of Vedantic thought. This fine biography could thus have avoided a touch of incompleteness, had it given a full account of the Guru’s views on religion and the transformation that he effected in Sikh religion and society. The writer has made it easier to appreciate the Guru’s character and the historical causes and circumstances of his advent, by giving the early history of the Sikh people. It would have helped a great deal in understanding the results of the tenth Guru’s extraordinary work and the fruit of his mighty endeavour, had a brief account been likewise given of the subsequent events.

The history of the Sikhs has Guru Govind Singh as its central theme. The true biography of this great personality could be nothing but the history of that people to whose organisation he applied all his strength and genius. In the absence of both the early and the later history of the Sikh community, a biography of Govind Singh would present a rather fragmentary appearance, like the trunk of a tree shorn of its roots and branches. It is to be hoped that the author will add the missing parts in the second edition of his work and make it a beautiful whole by giving a full description of the great Sikh personality’s views on religion and his work in the cause of social reform.

On reading this book, the mind is powerfully attracted by the magnanimous nature and extraordinary activities of this great hero, patriot and founder of the Khalsa. Any one who has given himself to the work for the national cause or is thinking of doing so will find this life augmenting his strength and fortifying the divine inspiration.

(Dharma, No. 8, October, 1909)

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