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Appendix I - Date of Birth and Death

Date of Death

While there is confusion about the date of birth of every Guru, there is no confusion about the date of death, because this date began to be recorded on the appended pages to oldest copies of Adi Granth. From the first copy of Adi Granth, the Kartarpur recension, to the late nineteenth century, all copies give September 7, 1539 A.D. Besides this, Bala's Janam Sakhi, Mehma Prakash, Kesar Singh Chibber’s Bansavali Nama and nearly all the gurparnalis give September 7, 1539, Puratan Janam Sakhi or the Valayat Wali Janam Sakhi gives even the date and year of death incorrectly. Macauliffe was persuaded by his advisers to accept this wrong year and date of death which he did. Teja Singh and Ganda Singh in their “Short History of the Sikhs,” write “He (Nanak) took him (Angad) to his seat and calling him the flesh of his flesh and the bone of the bones saluted him as his successor. He died soon after, on September, 22, 1539.” Khushwant Singh in his A History of the Sikhs Vol. I says: Guru Nanak died on September 22, 1539 and then he gives the legend of the disappearance of the body from under the sheet and the Hindus and Muslims sharing the flowers half and half.” Both these books do not give the source of their incorrect date of death, 22nd September 1539. Probably they accept the date of Valayat Wali Janam Sakhi but not the year.

A very interesting clue is given by Bhai Mani Singh’s recension of a combined Volume of Adi Granth and Dasam Granth in which the writings of all the contributors are recorded author-wise. The date of death is given as, September 7, asu vadi, 10. But the fact that Bhai Mani Singhs Janam Sakhi says asu sudi 10 shows that someone has later on interpolated the wrong date of death as well that of birth. The author of Gurbilas Patshahi Chevin claims to be a student of Bhai Mani Singh, through one of the great companions of the apostle.

It gives Kartika Puran Mashi as the date of birth of Guru Nanak and mentions Bhai Mani Singh as the source of information. The fact that someone has introduced Baisakh Sudi 3, (April 1) in Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam Sakhi shows that it is an interpolation and not Bhai Mani Singh’s date.

Date of Birth

The following records give the date of birth of Guru Nanak as Kartika Puranmashi, October 20, 1469 A.D. and they disprove conclusively the fantastic lie propagated by Bhai Gurumukh Singh that it was some Singh Sabha leader who introduced this date of the basis of spurious version of Bala’s Janam Sakhi and that it was never before recorded in any earlier record nor celebrated on that date in earlier times. The following are the historical records which disprove this fact and supports Kartik date, 20, October 1469.

  1. Bhai Gurdas in his Kabit 345 which says “Kartik mas rut sarad puranmtfshi, ath jam, sathghari aj teri bari hai. See the interpretation of this in Sant Sampuran Singh's Kabit Sweyyas Sidbhant Bodhani Satikh, Dayal Singh’s Nirmal Panth Darshan and a historical discussion of over 15 pages on Bhai Gurdas' View on Guru Nanak's Birthday in “Sikh Review” February 1964 by the author.
  2. Guru Tegh Bahadur's Malwe the Safar (1716 or thereabout) ;
  3. Kesar Singh Chibber’s Bansavalinama and Gurparnali (1727 A.D.).
  4. Sant Gulab Singh, 1753.
  5. Nanak Chandrodaya Sanskrit Janam Sakhi, 1797 A.D.
  6. Gurbilas Patshahi VI 1797 A.D.
  7. Sant Das Chhiber, Janam Sakhi Baba Nanak (18th Century)
  8. Sant Singh Chhiber, Janam Sakhi Nanak Shah (early 19th Cen.)
  9. Kavi Santokh Singh: Nanak Parkash 1823 A.D.
  10. Gurparnali of Gulab Singh (1851 A.D.) says “In Nanak Chandrodaya and Amritsari Gurparnali the date of birth is Kartik Purnima, but Meharban’s Janam Sakhi gives Baisakh Sudi 3. The correct one is that of Guru Nanak's Chandrodaya thus as far back as 1851. Sikh historians were conscious that Kartika's Puranmashi is the correct date and the Baisakhi Sudi 3 introduced by Mina Maharban should be rejected.
  11. Kaiflat Khandan Sahibzudgltn Babe Nanak jio (mentions Bala)
  12. Baba Nihal Singh Bawa Gurmukh Singh: Khurshid Khalsa
  13. Pundit Tara Singh Nirotam: Gur Tirath Sanghreh 1884 A. D.
  14. Gian Singh Giani: Panth Parkash 1890, he refutes the Baisakh date in his introduction to Kartik ke Baisakh by Karam Singh Parchain Sewa Das, (mentions Bala) 18th Cent.
  15. Sharda Ram Phillauri : Sikhan de Raj di vithia 1899
  16. Brahmananda Swami: Sri Nanak Chandrodaya Stik
  17. Ram Narayan: Guru Chandrodaya Kaumadi 1884 A.D.
  18. Baba Sumer Singh: Prem Parkash (late nineteenth century)
  19. Khazan Singh: History and Philosophy of the Sikhs.
  20. Sewa Ram Singh: Divine Master

Bhai Vir Singh continued to believe in Kartik Puran Mashi inspite of his admiration for Puratan Janam Sakhi. When the Chief Khalsa Diwan printed the second edition of Karam Singh’s Kartik ke Baisakh it destroyed all the copies probably on the advice of Bhai Vir Singh. At least the Chief Khalsa Diwan realized that the book did more harm than good, but burning down a book or the opinion of scholar, even though he himself in a letter to Baba Prem Singh historian repented later, is a bad practise. I found it difficult to acquire a book for a critical study of it.