From Muktsar, the Guru moved to Rupana, Bhander, Gursar and Thehri, Bambiha, Rohila and Jangirana and Bhai Ka Kot which had been founded by Bhai Bhagtu. From there, he moved on to Kot Sahib Chand and further on to Chatiana where Brars who had fought for him demanded the arrears of their pay under the threat of blocking his onward march. But by God's grace, it so happened that a devoted Sikh of the Guru from the neighbouring area brought enough money in time which enabled the Guru to pay off all the arrears. Chaudhari Dana the leader of the Brars was extremely apologetic for the insolence and impudence of his people and refused to receive any payment for himself.
His act of self-abnegation greatly impressed the Guru who on his request immediately agreed to visit his native place, Mehma Swami. The journey lay through Ablu a place founded by uncle of Dana. Reaching Mehma Swami, the Guru encamped at the place now called Lakhisar and from there made a visit to Dana's home and several other places around. After a few days at Lakhisar, the Guru decided to go to Talwandi Sabo at the request of Chaudhari Dalla. He took the same old route and once again passing through Chatiana, Kot Sahib Chand and Kot Bhai arrived at Giddarbaha and then paying short visits to Rohilla, Jangirana, Bambiha, Bajak, Kaljhirani, Jassi Bagwali, Pakka Kalan and Chak Hira Singh reached Talwandi Sabo now called Damdama Sahib or Takhat Damdama Sahib. The place appealed to the Guru so much that he assumed a permanent residence there. He reached here on January 17, 1706 and stayed on till October 30, 1706. At this place, Mata Sundri and Mata Sahib Deva joined him from Delhi along with Bhai Mani Singh. After obeisance and greetings Mata Sundri said, "Me Lord, where are my sons? Where have they been left?" The Guru, never unequivocal, consoled her and remarked, "The four sons have been offered as a sacrifice over the heads of these sons. What does it matter if we have lost four sons, while thousands like them are alive and are in thine lap and mine."
These words of the Guru had their instant effect. The mother's sadness vanished and a new realization dawned on her. She was an altogether changed person. She realised that death in the cause of righteousness is in fact a cause for rejoicing in the Will of God.
The period at Damdama was put to best possible use by the Guru. He utilised the time in laying abiding foundations of Sikhism in the Malwa tract. Many old and hereditary Sikhs were administered Khande-ki-Pahul and brought more thoroughly into the Khalsa fold. Dalla, the Choudhary of the Talwandi Sabo; Tiloka, the ancestor of Nabha State and Rama, the ancestor of Patiala State, were outstanding examples. Besides, new converts were also made in large numbers. According to Trumpp, their number swelled to one lakh twenty thousand.
Talwandi Sabo attracted large crowds from far and near and presented the spectacle of a new Anandpur. The Sikh devotees and others who came and assembled here had been estimated at more than ten times the number of people at Anandpur. The Guru made a number of trips to important places nearby. In one trip he visited Bhagi Bhander, 3 kms North of Talwandi Sabo, Kot Shamir, 3 kms further North and Chak Bhai Ka, about 10 kms from Talwandi Sabo to the North. At the last-named place, the Guru was given a warm reception by one Rai Singh, grandson of Bhai Bhagtu. On another occasion, he went to Bathinda city and stayed there for seven days. While coming back to Talwandi Sabo, the Guru visited Mahima and Bhakri, both located North of Bathinda. On some other occasion, he visited Tala Pind about 16 Kilometers to the South. At Kewal, Chaudharies, Rama and Tiloka waited upon him.
Guru Gobind Singh was equally awake to the spiritual need of the people living at far off places. To this purpose, the Guru appointed preachers like Bhai Pheru. Punjab Singh and Rocha Singh having been baptised at Bathinda were appointed to disseminate Sikhism in the areas of Pothohar, Kashmir, district of Hazara and Muzaffrabad. They and their successors strove hard to awaken the people to the Khalsa way of life. All available records vouchsafe the veracity of this fact. The Guru also made efforts to organise preaching work in Sind and Rajasthan. Bhai Kanahiya and his associates did commendable work in Sind, presently a province in Pakistan.
Along with his work of administering Khande-ki-Pahul to the Sikhs, the Guru spared no efforts to transform the little culture which had gripped the minds of the people. It was exactly because of this that in his discourses to various Sangats, he dwelt at length on the futility of totems, esoteric practices, caste-distinctions as well as caste considerations, superstitions, grave-worship and many other social and religious prejudices. The Guru did all this to persuade the people to attach themselves at mental level with better cultural roots.
To make the preaching effective and to keep it on the right track, it was found essential that a cadre should be raised to do the job. This also necessitated the correct interpretation of the compositions enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru interpreted the scripture himself and asked some of his devoted disciples to understand its true meaning and impact. According to Baisakha Singh, sixty persons acquired mastery over the subject. The most important out of them was Bhai Mani Singh. Besides this, the Guru created two Orders, one of the Nirmalas and the other of the Gyanies. No doubt, the Guru, while at Paonta, sent eleven members to Benaras to learn Sanskrit and acquire knowledge in Hindu Philosophical systems. These men were named Nirmal meaning pure, yet the Nirmala order was set afloat at Talwandi Sabo. The purpose was to interpret Indian religious thought and history in terms of the world-view of Sikhism.
The order of the Gyanies also came into being under the direct inspiration of the Guru and that too at Talwandi Sabo. The underlying objective was to raise a group of persons competent enough to interpret Gurbani correctly. Guru Gobind Singh interpreted the verses enshrined in Sri Adi Granth and took steps so that a number of persons might acquire proficiency to do the same. Bhai Mani Singh was the first person who received this training from him. He laid the foundation of the order of Gyanies. This class later on did a lot to ensure correct exposition of the Sikh scriptures as it was passed on to its head by the Guru himself. The two chief headquarters of this order have been at Damdama (Talwandi Sabo ki) and at Amritsar.
Another important and abiding contribution of the Guru during this period was to prepare afresh the final recension of Sri Adi Granth. According to Giani Gian Singh, Bhai Mani Singh was appointed amaneusis. Everyday two watches of time were fixed for the purpose of preparing the scripture. As the Guru dictated, so recorded Bhai Mani Singh. The project was completed in several months. A new volume of the original Granth was prepared in this way. This is how that volume came to be known as Damdami Bir recension.
The averment of certain scholars that the Granth was named so, because it was originally written at Talwandi Sabo, also known as Damdama is not correct.
Prior to Guru Gobind Singh, three recensions had gained currency and prevalence. These were Bhai Gurdas recension, Bhai Banno recension and Lahore recension. Bhai Gurdas recension was original and authentic as it was completed by Bhai Gurdas ji under the able guidance of Guru Arjan Dev in 1604. But because of certain extraneous influences and certain vested interests, Banno's recension and Lahore recension were prepared and each of them was passed on as the original. In Lahore recension the Dhunis which had been specified to be used while singing Vars in Bhai Gurdas recension were deleted because presumably its framers did not wish the Sikhs to be aroused under the impact of Dhuni-based Vars in view of the biased attitude of the Mughal government towards the Sikhs.
Examination of the manuscript of the Lahore tradition has revealed that a significant number of them originated in the Kiratpur area during the period of Guru Har Rai (1644- 1661 A.D.). This tradition continued to be popular in some section of the Panth right up to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The solitary and the only copy of the Lahore tradition that was written in the early nineteenth century is held at the British Library in London. This contains a solitary couplet attributed to Guru Har Rai. It comes after the Mundavani as follows:
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ।
ਸਲੋਕ ਮਹਲਾ ੭ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਬੋਲਣਾ
ਜਿਨਿ ਕਉ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਦਇਆ ਕਰੇ ਤਿਨ ਰਖ ਚਰਨੀ ਲਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸ ਬਲਿਹਾਰਣੇ ਜਿਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਡਿਠਾ ਜਾਇ ॥
The introductory formula in the beginning of this couplet (the voice of Sri Guru Har Rai) clearly shows that the Lahore recension was quite different from the Kartarpur recension and hence could not claim authenticity and originality.
Likewise Banno recension was also passed on as authentic, while it was not at all so. Firstly, it contained spurious material, as for instance, Gosht Maler Nal and Ratan Mala, a composition of 25 stanzas in Raag Ramkali. The alluded to apocryphal Slokas of Guru Nanak under both the headings have themes which have nothing to do with Sikh ideology. The first set of Slokas under the heading Gosht Maler Nal reflect discussions with a Muslim audience about creation while the stanzas of Ratan Mala give exposition of Hath Yoga technique which obviously cannot be the work of Guru Nanak. It is definitely an Udasi account which was edited out of the Kartarpur Bir, as prepared by Bhai Gurdas under the dictation of Guru Arjan Dev. According to Professor Sahib Singh, this recension was prepared by Handalis in association with Udasis.
The first Banno Bir as it is found today is believed to be prepared in 1642 when the centre of Sikh activities had already shifted under Guru Hargobind from Amritsar to Kiratpur in the Shivalik Hills. The Banno version became prevalent during the second half of the century. Possibly it was brought into existence by Handalis, Udasis and Bhatt interests.
Along with Lahore version and Banno version, Bhai Gurdas version was also prevalent. But different recensions had created a lot of confusion whose persistence was sure to provide pretexts for different vested interests to organise dissent or schism.
Guru Gobind Singh soon after the assumption of Guruship took steps to set at rest any controversy or confusion caused or likely to be caused by vested interests including the Mughal government. He made an attempt to standardise the text of Sri Adi Granth and thus correct the problem of the circulation of unauthentic recensions. Although he approached Dhirmal's descendants at Kartarpur to obtain the (original) Adi Bir, he did not succeed in persuading them to part with the same. A number of copies of this recension, however, were available at that time along with two other versions of the Adi Granth. He used these to prepare the authorised and authentic version of the Sri Adi Granth at a resting place (Damdama) in Anandpur in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. He also included in it the Bani of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The Damdami recension is believed to have been lost or drowned in the flooded River Sirsa when the Guru had to evacuate Anandgarh under unfavourable circumstances. Now at Talwandi Sabo, also called Damdama, the Guru got the authorised form re-prepared. The motivating factors to the Guru were the same, generally speaking, as, for instance, to uphold the integrity of Gurbani, to block the ingress of spurious compositions in the name of Nanak, to deprive schismatic groups to find their legitimacy on the basis of scriptural differences.
There was another factor that seemed to have had impact deeper than any other factor at this point of time. Since the emergence of Sri Adi Granth, the Gurus had been emphasising that this was the embodiment of the 'Word' which God Himself, out of His Grace, bestowed upon Guru Nanak and which each Guru passed on to his successor, thereby raising each of them to the status of a Guru. This implies that even the Guru was Guru because word was enshrined in him. Various verses of Gurus very clearly vouchsafe that 'Word' is Guru.
On account of this comprehension, Sri Adi Granth was without any doubt the Guru. The enlightened Sikhs regarded Sri Adi Granth as such but this idea/belief had not yet been institutionalised formally and consequently many Sikhs were still in the grip of confusion. Hence the dire need of preparing authorised version of Sri Adi Granth. In this connection, we must draw our attention to the hidden but nefarious designs of Dhirmal’s descendants, who went a long way to motivate the Guru to prepare the final form of Sri Adi Granth. Finding that the recension prepared at Damdama at Anandpur had been lost during the turmoil after the evacuation of Anandgarh, they reckoned that now, because of strains and stresses besetting the Guru's future career, it would not be possible for him to prepare another recension, and thus it would be easier for them to lay their claim to Guruship since Bhai Gurdas recension believed to be the authentic one, was with them. It was against this backdrop that the Guru sent his request through his special emissary to descendants of Dhirmal to lend Bhai Gurdas recension. But they refused point blank to part with the same.
The Guru now decided to prepare the authentic version afresh and then to institutionalise it. Already on the momentous Baisakhi of 29th March, 1699, he had merged his physical personality in the Khalsa, thereby exalting the Khalsa equal to the Guru authorising it to operate in the world as per light of the Word.
Having raised Khalsa equal to the status of Guru to work in the world, it was only logical to institutionalise Sri Guru Granth Sahib the embodiment of 'Word as the Guru eternal'. And to do so it was imperative that the authorised version of Sri Adi Granth should be prepared. The Guru, therefore, did the needful and installed it at Damdama (Talwandi Sabo). Bhai Mani Singh was asked to start its reading from the beginning to end. The commencement hymn received by him is recorded in Guru Kian Sakhian. This was the Guru Arjan Dev's composition in Raag Todi:
To Thy protection have I found my Lord Give me the gift of Thy name, of Thy praise So in harmony may I dwell,
Easing the unease of mind At Thy door have I at last thrown myself No other refuge do I know Rescue this worthless one, O Lord.
Bring me not to account;
By this concession alone could I be saved By Thy support are all sustained Slave Nanak follows in the Footsteps of holy saints,
Liberate me, O Lord, here and now.
At the conclusion of the recitation Karah Prashad was distributed.
According to Ishar Singh Nara, the celebrated author of Zafarnama and Safarnama, the Guru dictated two copies; one to Bhai Mani Singh and the other to Bhai Gurdas. One was kept at Damdama Sahib (Talwandi Sabo) and the other at Takht Sri Sachkhand Hazur Sahib. The finalisation of Sri Adi Granth was celebrated with appropriate ceremony and thanksgivings. The ink and reeds used in transcribing the Granth was cast by the Guru into the pool close to the tent under which the work had been in progress. The Guru said that Damdama would be 'Kashi of the Sikhs' and become famous as a seat of learning. He foretold that many would study here and become learned.
The Guru collected a galaxy of scholars, poets and men of letters at the place. Once again, literature began to be created to inspire the people to be awake to new realities. Literary meets were arranged to bring into focus the process of resurgence as it had been started by the Guru as also to give fillip to the production of literature to serve both as mirror of the environment and a guide to the future generation. Arrangements were also made to impart education to the people. Sukha Singh, the author of Gurbilas Patshahi Dasvin, says that in addition to the extension of patronage to scholars of different disciplines, he encouraged the people to study at the Ashram. The tradition revolving round Sikhan Sar testify to the ardent desire of the Guru to educate the masses of this area. It will not be wide of the mark that the Guru was doing all this under the conviction that literature being produced under Sikh inspiration would help the people to regain elan vital, so essential for any society to move further on the road to integrated progress. It is against this background that the Guru aspired to see 'Talwandi Sabo Ki' emerge as a great centre of learning like Kashi (Benaras) a renowned Hindu centre of learning. 'New Kashi' of the conception of the Guru was to symbolise aspirations of the new generation. The Guru also made efforts to procure the copies of the composition, forming part of this huge Granth, Vidya Sagar, which had been lost in the waters of flooded Sirsa. This task was partially accomplished later on by Bhai Mani Singh who collected writings of the Guru and compiled them into what came to be known as the Dasam Guru ji ka Granth the book of the Tenth Master, in the third decade of the eighteenth century. At this time, the art of calligraphy was at its creative best and the pothies prepared here were much sought after.
Along with the above activities, the Guru continued to give military training to his followers and succeeded in rallying around himself a considerable number of armed disciples ever ready to lay down their lives for the ideals of the Khalsa without any desire of pecuniary advantage. Efforts were also made to inculcate among the Sikhs the spirit of resistance to injustice and unrighteousness wherever and whenever they happened to come across. Various methods such as hunting, and mock fights were organised to make the people courageous. The Guru laid added emphasis on alertness and discipline. According to Dr. Indubhushan Banerjee, the Guru's strength seems to have increased to a great extent, as, besides regular followers he had also taken some Dogras and Brars in his service. Koer Singh, the author of Gurbilas Patshahi 10, also testifies to this fact. According to him, "the Guru would distribute gold and silver coins every day and countless soldiers would get attracted to him."
Wazir Khan, the Subedar of Sirhind, was going all out in his efforts to snuff out the Khalsa movement and to arrest or kill the Guru. This attitude is clearly manifest in his two messages to Chaudhari Dalla. The gist of the messages was that Dalla should arrest the Guru or else his territory would be plundered and he would be punished severely. Dalla's reply was that of a person surcharged with the mission of translating the Khalsa ideals into reality. He said, "I will by no means have the Guru arrested to please thee. Nay, I will defend him with my life." Zabardast Khan, the Viceroy of Lahore, was also averse to the Sikh cause. He plundered a party of Sikhs on their way to make offerings to the Guru.
In the face of this attitude of the Mughal officials of Lahore province and Sirhind, the Guru intensified his military activities. He repeatedly made exhortations to the Sikhs to bear arms and diligently practise their use. He said, "Now the times have altered and the Sikhs are obliged to defend themselves. He has established Khalsa order, and whosoever desired to abide in it should not fear the clash of arms, but be ever ready for the combat for the defence of his faith." At the same time the realisation of Nam was still the chief object of the Sikh adoration.
Shortly after, the Guru received the tidings of Imperial emissaries deputed to convey Aurangzeb's wish for a personal meeting. Guru Gobind Singh's letter to Aurangzeb appears to have produced the desired effect. In the Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, the receipt of a letter from Guru Gobind Singh to the Emperor is acknowledged besides the issue of orders to Munim Khan (the deputy Subedar) at Lahore to conciliate Guru Gobind Singh, and also making of satisfactory arrangement for his travel towards South. This may be seen in the same compendium— Ahkam-i-Alamgiri. That Aurangzeb was anxious to meet Guru Gobind Singh is evident from the Ahkam, though it is not clear, why? Possibly after having pursued Zafarnama, a new awareness may have dawned on him under whose impact he invited the Guru to find an enduring solution to the Sikh problem. He, in turn, also welcomed the opportunity and planned to move to Ahmednagar where Aurangzeb had been residing. He left Talwandi on October 30, 1707.
The tremendous success achieved by the Guru in this area, despite heavy odds was due to several factors. One among them of importance may be his decision to leave the hills and to come into the interior of Punjab which was the real base of his strength. Anandpur, notwithstanding its strong fortification, suffered from inherent weakness, for the population around, consisting mostly of the conservative and caste-ridden Rajputs, was hostile to the Sikhs. They caused him harassment and impediments day in and day out. On the other hand, when the Guru entered the Punjab plains the people around were helpful, co-operative and were willing to rally under his banner, should the call come from him. This made all the difference. Closely allied to that was the second factor, viz. the impact left by the previous Gurus on the people of these areas during their visits. The 6th, 7th and 9th Gurus had, one after the other, conducted extensive tours across this area and left a deep imprint on the minds of the people. Guru Gobind Singh route through this area was dotted with the places which had already been visited by his predecessors, as for instance, Bur Majra, Ghulal, Lall Kalan, Katana, Bassian, Chakkar, Takhtupura, Patto Hira Singh, Bhagta Bhai ka, and Lambhawali, had all been sanctified by Sikh Gurus previously. The third important factor was the valuable support provided by some of the influential Zamindars of the area, prominent among them being Nihang Khan, Rai Kalha, Chaudhari Kapura, Chaudhari Dana, Chaudhari Dalla, Chaudhari Rama and Chaudhari Taloka. At that time the Mughal Empire was facing a serious agrarian crisis. As a result, the Zamindars were asserting themselves. Their increasing strength was a great helping asset for Guru Gobind Singh. The next important factor was difficult terrain of the jungle Desh. Last but not the least was the Guru's charismatic personality which could turn adversity into a fortune and discomfiture into a triumph. But for his powerful and towering personality, even the best of circumstances would have yielded no fruit.
It was for the first time that the Emperor truly came to know about the personality of Guru Gobind Singh and appreciated his situation. He felt persuaded to adopt a conciliatory attitude and ordered Wazir Panah Munim Khan, Deputy Governor of Lahore to write a letter to the Guru to be dispatched through Muhammad Beg Gurz-bardar and Yar Muhammad Mansabdar. Therein Munim Khan was desired to conciliate the Guru and invite him to his headquarter and then, having conveyed to him the Royal firman, to send him to the Emperor at Ahmednagar accompanied by a trusted officer of his own alongwith the above mentioned Gurz-bardar and Mansabdar. And whenever the Guru arrived in the neighbourhood of Sirhind, wrote the Emperor, Wazir Khan was to provide him with an escort and see him off safe beyond his own territories. Munim Khan was further instructed to soothe the Guru if the latter had any secret or open suspicions and to pay to him out of his attached properties as much as he desired for his travelling expenses. With this letter Gurz-bardar and the Guru's envoy Bhai Daya Singh together moved to the North.
Notes and References
 Bhai Vir Singh, Kalghidhar Chamatkar, p. 757.
 Trumpp, Adi Granth, p. XCII.
 Fauja Singh (ed.), Guru Gobind Singh Marg, p. 27.
 Baba Pheru Singh, received Pahul on the Baisakhi of 1699; preached Sikh religion in Kashmir and other hill areas around.
 Punjab Singh, Birth 1672 at Nand Har-Shahar, father's name Hari Ram Shah, a great scholar of Persian and Sanskrit, member of the band of preachers of Pheru Singh, received Khande-ki-Pahul from Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama, nominated successor to Pheru Singh after his death in 1736. Preached in the areas of Muzaffrabad, Poonch and Srinagar.
 Rocha Singh, Birth 1688 in village Kausa (Hazara District in Pakistan); Received Khande-ki-Pahul from Guru Gobind Singh and preached in Hazara District, Kashmir.
 Vaisakha Singh, Malwa Sikh Itihas.
 Some scholars aver that the Guru reproduced the whole Adi Granth from memory and completed it by adding to it the hymns composed by his father. That the hymns of the ninth Guru were incorporated here is contradicted by the fact that there is a copy of the Holy Granth at Patna bearing the date 1748 BK (1691), containing the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur in their proper places. There is another copy found at Dacca which was written earlier than this, in 1675, in the first year of Guru Gobind Singh's accession.
 Giani Kirpal Singh, Sri Gur Panth Parkash, pp. 1678-80.
 British Library London, MSOR 2748.
 By the grace of the eternal one, the true Guru Slok Mahalla 7 'The voice of Sri Guru Har Rai'. Those on whom the true Guru bestows his benevolence, are kept in his refuge. I am devoted to those, Nanak, who go to have a glimpse of the Guru.
 Sahib Singh, Adi Bir Bare, pp. 176-81.
 Guru Ram Das, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Rag Nat Narayan, p. 982. Rag Kannra, p. 1310.
 Dhirmal was summoned to Delhi by emperor Aurangzeb and was imprisoned in the fort at Ranthambore, where he died on 16th November, 1677.
 Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru Kian Sakhian.
 Sat(i)gur aio saran tuhari
Milai sukh nam(u) har(i) sobha chinta lahe hamari. (SGGS, p. 713)
 Ishar Singh Nara, Safarnama te Zafarnama, p. 307.
 He was, most probably, Gurdas who later wrote Ramkali Var Patshahi Dasvin. There had been four eminent personalities in Sikh history bearing name of Gurdas. The first one is celebrated Bhai Gurdas Bhalla. The second Gurdas was an attendant of Guru Tegh Bahadur while the third one was among the progeny of Bhai Bahlo who later went over to the Ram Rai's sect. The fourth one was Gurdas Singh supposed to be the writer of Ramkali Var Patshahi Dasvin.
 C.H. Payne, A Short History of the Sikhs, pp. 41-42. "Secure in his new retreat Gobind re-established his court, and surrounded himself with all the pomp and circumstances of Royalty." Damdama became the centre of Sikhism and a place of resort for learned men from all parts of the country.
 Also consult Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, p. 232.
 Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, Vol. II, p.138.
 Koer Singh, Everyday would the Guru distribute gold and silver coins; countless soldiers were thus attracted to the place.
C.H. Payne, A Short History of the Sikhs, pp. 41-42, "Numberless new recruits joined the ranks of the Khalsa and the position of Gobind Singh became stronger than ever before."
 According to the author of Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, he immediately sent through Muhammad Beg a Gurjbardar or mace bearer and Sheikh Yar Muhammad a Mansabdar, a firman to Munim Khan deputy governor of Lahore, asking him to make peace with the Guru.
 Refer to Irfan Habib’s book, Agrarian System in India-Asia.
 Inayatullah Khan 'Ismi', Ahkam-i-AIamgiri; Insha-i-Farsi, II, pp. 429-30. Sri Gursobha, XIII, pp. 38-40.