Alt Ctrl It was first published in after many years of painstaking research from to Mahan Kosh as it is generally called is a model encyclopaedia. It modestly claims in it subtitle to be an encyclopaedia of Sikh literature, but it is, in fact, much more. Its remarkable coverage and exemplary accuracy has a multitude of entries ranging from brief definitions of difficult words from the scriptures and tradition, through descriptive notes on various doctrines, individuals and institutions to accounts of the Gurus. It gives careful treatment of ter-minology, which has dropped out of usage or changed its meaning.
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Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha was the most erudite Sikh scholar. Mahan Kosh, his magnum opus, over which he spent fifteen years bears eloquent testimony to his great qualities. Visualized by him as the Encyclopcedia of The Sikh Literature, it comprises the exposition of 64, terms, relating in the first instance to Gurmat and Gurbani. He embellished his exposition with illustrations richly drawn from seminal Sikh sources.
To his exposition, so opulently illustrated, Bhai Sahib sought to provide a wider perspective. Terms relating to the ancient Hindu scriptures, masterpieces of Sanskrit literature, the Indian systems of prosody, music and medicine are explicated with as much authority. Mahan Kosh, prepared in and published in , is the 12 th in the history of encyclopredias in the world.
Yet the world is unaware that a Sikh scholar did this pathbreaking scholarly work single handed at that time, when no modern research facilities were available. Magnificent source of profound and varied knowledge, Mahan Kosh has remained shrouded in mystery, particularly for people in India and abroad, not well-versed in the Punjabi language.
For enabling them to make the best use ofthis vast reservoir of knowledge, Punjabi University Patiala has embarked upon its English translation. This stupendous project has been made possible by the liberal grant so magnanimously sanctioned by Captain Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab. Major A.
Singh, grandson ofBhai Kahan Singh, has used his tremendous persuasive skills in arranging resources for the purpose.
Eight decades back, Patiala State had rendered a great service by bearing all expenses of publication of Mahan Kosh in Punjabi. The name ofthe House ofPatiala figures a second time in bringing this store of knowledge in English version before the whole world. Mahan Kosh is the greatest work of scholarship till today published in Punjabi.
Since the publication of its first edition, it has often been cited as the most authoritative reference work in the academic world. It is hard to think of a more cherished source of knowledge and general information about Sikhism. It presents the most comprehensive attempt to consolidate, authenticize and synthesize the knowledge of Sikh literature. It sets a trend in making an organized and systematic access to Sikh literature, philosophy, history, culture, Punjabi language as well as other ancient languages.
Comprising 64, entries on seminal words drawn from all fields ofknowledge, Bhai Sahib put in rigorous work for fifteen years to explicate them. It is beyond human power to imagine the labour gone into the composition ofthis enormous work. The way this Encyclopredia has selected, organized, preserved and disseminated knowledge, is marvellous.
It is an eloquent witness to the extraordinary phenomena of the genius of a race, the exquisite sensibility of a highly evolved and unique personality and the ethos of a particular epoch. What Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha did, was nothing short of a miracle.
The Encyclopcedia of The Sikh Literature was designed to provide comprehensive and authentic version about the growth and development of Sikh literature. No source of philosophical, historical or lexicographical skill has been spared to fulfil the purpose.
To explicate the meanings of seminal words, illustrations are drawn from original sources. To my mind, the scope ofthis unimaginably grand work goes beyond these realms of knowledge. Hindu scriptures, literary epics, myths and chronicles have also been explained with equal authority. To the discerning eye, the notes reveal a striking continuity of tradition from ancient to modern times. Etymologies or word-histories give interesting insights into the richness and versatility ofPunjabi language.
It is with great pleasure that Punjabi University, Patiala presents the translation ofthis wealth ofknowledge, to the English speaking public. We believe that the scope ofthis work is global, and reflects the needs ofthe present-day world at large. In an informal meeting with Major A. Sardar Swarn Singh Boparai has an excellent futuristic vision of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat in the fast changing world.
While conceptualising this project, the Vice-Chancellor held that the rich cultural heritage ofthe Punjab should be presented and projected for global requirements. Convinced ofthe validity ofthis project, I discussed it with scholars of Sikh philosophy, history, literature and language. All praised the proposal and recommended its urgent need. Some highlighted the hardships as well.
They underlined how much intellectual acumen was required. We weighed the pros and cons ofour capacities and resources. After detailed deliberations with officials and scholars, we decided to take up this challenging task. We submitted the proposal to the Department ofHigher Education, Government ofPunjab for financial help.
The Department cautioned us about the numerous difficulties the proposed project entailed and directed us to submit some specimens oftranslation. We did the job and the concerned officials got convinced of our capacity and commitment and the grant was sanctioned without any delay.
With such an ambitious project in hand, it was necessary to plan it with requisite care. Sardar Swarn Singh Boparai, our Vice-Chancellor not only encouraged us but guided us in this venture. He took the responsibility ofseeing that the project picked up momentum and got all support from the administration. As a first step, we identified prominent scholars, to serve on the Advisory Board. These distinguished scholars drawn from the fields of religion, philosophy, history, science, language, literature and culture, were gracious enough to advise and help us for finalizing the modalities of the project.
They laid down guidelines which were crucial in devising the methodology. The important guidlines laid down by the Advisory Board were: 1. To preserve the authenticity and spirit of Mahan Kosh, the original text will be kept unaltered, and unedited. No editorial activity regarding addition, deletion, correction or updating will be taken up. The different categories into which the original text is classified i.
The English version of Mahan Kosh will embrace the original Gurmukhi alphabetical order of the words. The Roman transliteration of the seminal word will follow the Gurmukhi word and will be placed in parenthesis. Transliteration will be done in accordance with its spellings and not pronunciation. Page 9 of IV. XI The etymological words will be kept in the original script i.
Persian, Devnagari, Roman. Only original quotations will be transliterated. Footnotes will be given as in the original text. Equivalent computer fonts will be prepared from Gunnukhi fonts used in Mahan Kosh. The Advisory Board, played an important role in framing tihis project and identifying the team. I am grateful to all the respected members of the A.
The Editorial Board was entrusted the task of maintaining the authenticity, standardisation and uniformity oftranslation. We were fortunate to have Dr. Prem Singh, a linguist of great repute, Dr.
The efforts of the Editorial Board have gone a long way iin awarding final shape to the translated version. After rigorous discussions, its members: laid down the parameters for maintaining uniform standard oftranslation.
While editing the text they worked like missionaries. We accepted the hand-written copies from the translators. It is worth noting that the translated text has gone through so many proofreadings before it was finalized for print order, The Editorial Board held eighteen sittings to discuss the keys and lay down rules for maintaining uniformity. For the translators, two workshops: were organized. The contribution of the Editorial Board is remarkable indeed.
In this volume, the translation aspect of the text, has been vetted wholly by Dr. Tejwant Singh Gill. Transliteration and the related linguistic exercise has been performed by Dr. Gurkirpal Singh Sekhon. My special thanks go to both of them for their tireless contribution. They have put in enormous amount ofwork with commendable coordination. Gurkirpal Singh Sekhon was assigned the additional job of giving print order for the whole text. He has been tireless in this regard as welL The translators took on the challenging task and worked enthusiastically to complete it.
It was impossible to evolve a flawless and perfect model for such a tough and complicated text dealing with numerous subjects i. Its scope is so wide and treatment is so intensive: that no scholar can claim complete authority over the knowledge it conveys.
An open call to scholars in the field and experts in the art oftranslation was made to assist the project. I am proud to say that senior scholars offered their services for this prestigious cause. The list of the translators to this volume is appended alongwith. I want to express my deep gratitude and sincere thanks to all the translators. It is worth to mention that the major part of the translation ofthis volume was done by the late Major Gurmukh Singh, a lexicographer of great dedication and compiler of the highly acclaimed Punjabi-English Dictionary, earlier published by Punjabi University, Patiala.
He showed examplary commitment to this formidable task. He started his work on the very first day we organized a meeting of scholars including Major Gurmukh Singh to discuss the feasibility of the project and kept on working till last breath of his life. He translated all words ofthe first three Gurmukhi characters i. He completed the assignment, enshrined the papers in a file for handing them over to me. That very evening, he breathed his last, thereby putting Punjabi University under a debt ofgratitude to him.
This Volume has been completed in a period oftwo years. The Advisory Committee of University Scholars met on May 12, to discuss its viability and opined that the project could actually start only when the Editorial Board laid down the guidelines.
Mahan Kosh Vol 1 Kahan Singh Nabha - English Translation