It is the popular Sikh belief is that there are 404
distinct stories contained within Treh Chrittar
(Charitropakhyaan). However, this is not so. There are not 404 stories
but 404 distinct chapters.
Some of these stories are spread over several chapters
such as those of 'Anup Kaur' which is spread over
chapters 21,22 and 23. These stories though predominately dealing
with wiles of women.
They are of wondrous variety,
being sensual, romantic, humourous,
philosophical, valiant and entertaining.
Many stories also deal with the darker side of human nature, such
as incest, magic of myth, the
mystical nature of legend, homosexuality,
adultery, etc. These stories were collected from
Punjabi folklore, Indian folklore and classical traditional texts.
The famous tale of the two Punjabi lovers Sohni and Mahiwal is
retold within Charitropakhyaan (Number 101) within Dasam Guru Durbar
They also arise from foreign sources, personal experiences
of the Tenth Guru and others miscellaneous sources. Many scandalous
stories floating about the society of the time, imaginary stories,
urban legends etc., also found their way into Treh Chrittar. In
some cases, multiple tales are mishmashed together to produce a
wonderful new concoction of stories.
The magical tale of Sassi and Pannu that echos within the
folklore of Punjab is the subject of Charitropakhyaan Number 108
The claim by the S.G.P.C. and other
Sikhs of such narrow-minded puritanical thinking (too many groups
to mention), that these beautiful and timeless stories are derived
of 'Hindu' mythology is opinion born of complete stupidity,
ignorance, paranoia, insecurity
and extreme fanaticism.
Rishi Gautam and Ahliya
Charitropakhyaan Number 115 speaks of a Rishi Gautam (holy man)
his beautiful wife Ahliya who cheated on him with the Lord Indra.
the price when Rishi Gautam in a furious rage, cursed her and turned
her to a stone pillar
To end, one asks, what are the significances of such
tales? As Sanatan Shastar Vidiya Gurdev Akali Nihang Baba Mohinder
‘If we travell a road in which are dangerous potholes.
Is it not wisdom to be aware of them and thus avoid them?
Treh Chrittar forewarn the Khalsa of the potholes we encounter
in daily life.
They warn us of all the evil consequences of lust, blind rage,
greed, vices etc.’
(Sanatan Shastar Vidiya Gurdev Akali Nihang Baba Mohinder Singh)