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The Scriptures - Dasam Guru Durbar
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Gian Prabodh
Another highly devotional ballad comprising 336 verses, Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh ji praises the qualities of the Almighty. The text then deals with a dialogue the soul has with the King of Souls (the Almighty), where emotions, the play of various eras (Satyug, Treta, Dwapur and Kalyug) are discussed. The four facets of Dharm (righteousness) are deliberated (Bhog, Raaj, Dhaan, and Mokh). However, only Dhaan Dharam has been discussed, the other 3 facets have not, which leads many to belive this work was left unfinished.


Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
An old painting of an Akali Nihang Singh holding 'salotar' (heavy club),
and wearing a 'dastaar boongah' (towering turban) embelished with a variety of weapons

Chaubees Avtar
The second largest work within Dasam Guru Durbar covering 5297 verses, it recounts the 24 incarnations of Vishnu: Machh, Kachh, Rudra, Jallandar, Bisan, Sheshmai, Arihant, Dev, Manu Raj, Dhanantar, Nar, Narayan, Mohini, Varaha, Narsingha, Baman, Parshuram, Brahma, Suraj, Chandra, Ram Krishan, Arjan, Buddha, and Nehklanki (Kalki).


Vishnu
A painting of Vishnu (the preserver) being tended
to by his beloved consort Lakshmi and seated on Sheshnaag (the King of the Snakes)


Machh Avtar
The first Avtar of Vishnu in the form a fish that saved Manu
and returned the Vedas from the demon King Hayagreev to Brahma


Kachh Avtar
The second incarnation of Vishnu in the form of a tortoise came to
support the Mountain Mandara during the churning of the ocean of milk


Viraha Avtar
A fresco from a Gurudwara at Narangabad, Punjab depicting Viraha.
A demon named Hiranyaskha had once dragged the earth to the bottom
of the sea. Vishnu, taking the form of a half-man half-boar incarnation fought
with the demon for a thousand years and raised the earth back up from the sea


Narsingha Avtar
A fresco from a Gurudwara at Narangabad, Punjab depicting
the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, the half-man half-lion Narsingha
who came to the aid of Bhagat Prahlad. The demon King Hiranyakasipu who
attempted to kill Prahlad had his chest ripped apart by Narsingha with his claws


Baman Avtar
The eighth incarnation of Vishnu came in the form of a Dwarf that appeared
before the all-conquering king Bali who had conquered Heaven, Earth and the
Netherworld. Eventually, Bavan retrieved Heaven and Earth back from the Bali


Parasram Avtar
Known as 'Raam with an axe', Parasram was manifest in Treta Yug (the
second age) and delivered the Brahmins from the arrogant dominion of the Kyshatriyas


Brahma
The creator, one of Vishnu's early incarnations seen here
seated on a lotus that signifies the move of creation from chaos to order


Krishan Avtar
One of the most popular of Vishnu's incarnations who came to Earth
and killed the demon king Kans, fought in the Mahabharat and recited
the Bhaagvad Gita to the Pandav King Arjan at the battlefield of Kurukshetra


Buddha Avtar
The twenty third incarnation of Vishnu whom it is said came
to teach mankind to reject the Vedas, and to see all men as equal


Kalki Avtar
The final incarnation of Vishnu that is yet to arrive signalling the end of Kal Yuga (the
Age of Technological Marvel). Manifesting from a village known as Salbalpur, Kalki will
ride a horse and destroy Adharam (unrighteousness) and will eventually be killed by Midhi Avtar

The entire chapter is very narrative and speaks Dharam always being protected by the Almighty and how this has occured through the various eras. The section covering Krishan Maharaj, Raam, and Nehklanki are the longest. Each Avtar brings with him a special technique or method of warfare to defeat the enemy he is facing.

It is this aspect that appeals to the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa as much of this forms the basis for the higher martial art skills within Shastar Vidiya (click here for more information). The avtars can be categorised as being either:
i) Shastardhari (using weapons and battle techniques to uphold Dharam, eg, Narsingha)
ii) Shaastardhari (using wisdom to overcome unrighteousness, eg, Buddha)
iii) Kalyaandhari (who change their environment through great deeds, eg, Machh)

The ballad enforces the view that although each Avtar has great powers and carried out great deeds, they all succumbed to egotism. The 'Atma' (soul) of these great beings still derived its strength from 'Parmatma' (Highest of all Souls, ie. the Almighty). The chapter also reinforces the Sanatan Sikh philosophy than none other than the Almighty Nirankar (formless) God is to be worshipped.

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