In the Akal Ustat (within
Dasam Guru Durbar) are 10 Dohras (Verses) from Ank (Number)
201 to 210. Within these verses, Akali Nihang Guru Gobind
Singh Ji has asked a number of questions. These questions
are meant to be pondered over and answered by each
Gursikh (searcher of spiritual truth) be they of whatever
Akali Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji
A 19th Century fresco from the walls of Baba Atal Gurudwara,
Amritsar of the Sanatan
Sikh Guru (right), the great grandfather of Akali Nihang Guru
Gobind Singh the author of Akal Ustat
These questions can be said to be a barometer
by which an individual can gauge one's knowledge and understanding
of Sikhi on the 'Atmak' (spiritual) level.
It is at this level only that one begins to appreciate true
Sikhi meaning Sat Guru (the true Enlightener):
Sat meaning 'Truth Eternal' Guru arises from 'Gu' =
Dark (Ignorance) and 'Ru' = Light (Knowledge)
Sat Guru therefore refers to 'that which
leads one from Ignorance to Knowledge'
In other words, 'Sat Guru' is that which leads one to Truth
that is Eternal.
Sadly, the vast majority of so-called 'Sikhs', never mind
non-Sikhs, are completely unaware of these
questions despite the fact that 'translations' of Akal Ustat
are widely available in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and in English.
Even from those Sikhs who claim to have read Akal Ustat, all
seemed to have over looked these questions. This sounds astonishing,
but not entirely surprising considering the great level of
ignorance prevalent in so many so-called Sikhs of today.
It was the young men, whom Nihang Niddar Singh taught the
traditional Khalsa martial art of Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya
for more details) who first asked him to translate these questions
into English. As Nihang Niddar Singh admits, he did this with
It is not possible to translate all the questions directly
into English because in order to answer any question, it is
essential to fully understand the question in all
it’s complexities, implications and nuances. The advice
given by Nihang Niddar Singh is for each individual desiring
to sit this test of Akali Guru Gobind Singh Ji, is that one
has to read and try to understand these questions in their
original form. Even so, due to overwhelming demand by his
Shagirds (students), Nihang Niddar Singh has endeavored to
put these amazing questions into English, however, he asks
all to forgive any shortcomings.
Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji Starts his questions in
this wonderful manner:
'Tav Parsad [With the grace of the Almighty]
Dohra [name of verse]
Once Siri Atma [Primal Atma (self)/God] spoke to the mind.
That Who’s glory shines every where is the master
of the world.
Say then, how is this glory manifested in all its varieties?”
('Akal Ustat', Dasam Guru Durbar)
The mind to whom the 'Atma' (soul) is speaking to above is
that of mankind. That question, which has been asked, its
answer is what is understood as Naam
Simran in Sanatan Akali Nihang Sikhism. The questions
the Guru asks here after this question, and their answers
in fact, answer this above great question.
(2) What is the form of 'Atma' (True self)?
(3) What is the thought behind creation?
(4) What is 'Dharma'?
(5) What is 'Karma'?
(6) What is creation?
(7) What is life?
(8) What is Death?
(9) What is heaven?
(10) What is hell?
(11) What is cleverness?
(12) What is stupidity?
(13) What is 'Tark' (Reasoning)?
(14) What is not 'Tark'?
(15) What is slander?
(16) What is praise?
(17) What is Sin?
(18) What is 'Dharma'?
Some of the questions are asked twice by the Guru. Here,
the Guru desires a different answer to previous answer. Each
question and its answers are inter-linked to each other to
produce a whole picture of Sat Guru, meaning
the ideology and philosophy of Sat Guru which should appear
at the end of answering all the questions.
(19) What is Yoga?
(20) What is enjoyment of worldly pleasures?
(21) What is action?
(22) What is inaction?
(23) What is hard work ?
(24) What is controlling the senses?
(25) Who is a warrior?
(26) Who is giver of charity?
(27) What is 'Tantra'?
(28) What is 'Mantra'?
(29) Who is poor?
(30) Who is a King?
(31) What is happiness?
(32) What is Sadness?
(33) Who is ill?
(35) Who is affectionate?
(36) What is essence of affection?
(37) Who is satiated?
(38) Who is healthy?
(39) What is thought behind creation?
(40) What is creation?
(41) Who is defiled?
(42) What is creation?
(43) Where is action superstition?
(45) Where is superstition destroyed?
(46) Where is happiness of consciousness?
(47) Where is knowledge of that which we can not grasp with
(48) What is Naam?
(50) What is self control?
(51) What is knowledge and ignorance?
(52) Who is ill?
(53) Who is a worrier?
(54) Where is Dharma lost?
(55) Who is a warrior?
(56) Who is beautiful?
(57) What is secret of being at one with Sat Guru?
(58) Who is the charitable one?
(59) Who is wise?
(60) What is knowledge?
(61) What is ignorance?
Here the questions end.
It must be noted that many of these questions can be interpreted
and rephrased in a different manner, therefore one would derive
at a different answer. For example, question (3) can be interpreted
(3) Where are thoughts of creation contemplated?
Question (7) can be thought of as asking:
Where is death ?
Most of the questions can also be coupled to form one
question. For example:
Question (5) and (6) can be combined to form:
What is the Karma of Dharma?
This coupling of questions alters their numbers. Hence, the
traditional Sanatan Sikh Gianis (interpreters of scripture)
tended not to give a particular number count
of these questions. Nihang Niddar Singh has only given a number
count of these questions so as the reader may have reference