Darbari Rattan - Royal Jewels (52 Poets of Anandpur Sahib)

Mat Vich Rattan Jawaahar Maanik; Jae Ik Gur Ki Sikh Sunee
Replica of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond which was worn on the armband of Maharaja Ranjit Singh... A different type of Royal Court Jewel than what will be discussed here.

Sarbans Daanee Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj's Anandpur Sahib Darbar served as a renaissance movement in bringing back rich ancient culture and values. We hear about the Chief Kavi, Bhai Nand Lal Ji, quite a bit in history but what about the rest of the poets? In order to re-awaken the Panth to these lost treasures, Piara Singh Padam Ji compile the available writings and provide context to the Anandpur Sahib Darbar through the pothi: Darbari Rattan (Jewels of the Royal Court).  

The role of this series is not to translate everything that Piara Singh Padam Ji have written in Darbari Rattan (As there is extensive personal commentary which is not necessary to write about). Rather, the attempt is to translate sections that share poetry written in Maharaj's Darbar and to share important stories that provide us context what Sikhi looked like in Guru Sahib's Time.

This post is taking you from two paragraphs of introduction directly into the content:
On Page 44, Piara Singh Padam write that there are a total of 52 Poets & 36 Scribes in Anandpur Sahib.
GurPratap Sooraj Rut 3, Ansu 51:
Hutae Bavanja Kav[i] Gur Paas | Sabh Hee Baanee Karehi Prakaash |
There remained 52 poets with Guru Sahib who all did shined light upon Gurbani or the poetry brought even more radiance to the Darbar.

Gurbilas, Bhai Sukha Singh, Adhiyaye 17:
Lekhak Gunee Chhatees Bar, Kripa Sindhh[u] Kae Paas |
Jo Aagiaa Gur Karat Hain, Likhvat Budhh[i] Bilaas | 12 |
There were 36 Writers, which stayed near to the Blessing Bestowing Ocean [Guru Sahib], Whatever the Guru commanded them to do, they would write and attain intellectual bliss

This doesn't mean that there were just 52 poets in Maharaj's Darbar. There were many other poets that came and left throughout the duration of the Anandpur Sahib Darbar. The amount of Farsi & Sanskrit translations which have been completed point us to the idea that there were many other poets. Especially, acknowledging the fact that Guru Maharaj paid these writers handsomely and gave them a huge deal of respect. Some poets came with the greed of wealth where others came with a yearning to have Darshan of Guru Maharaj.
GurPratap Sooraj Rut 2; Ansu 50: Ik To Darab Laalasaa Karai | Duteeae Gurdarshan Mudh Dhharai | 2 |).

The question then arises: how did the Kavi count become 52? Does it follow along the popular counts of 52 Warriors or 52 letters? The nuanced nature of the word Kavi should also be considered. They were not just poets. There is a grey area as to what specific knowledge they had. Poet/Kavi is a blanket term that referred to a Vidhvaan/Scholar. These Kavis had completed translations of the Upanishads as well as zoological texts about elephants, horsemanship, falconry (Baaz-nama), dogs (Suaan-nama), and the knowledge of weaponry.
Certain prose writers (prose is like regular writing which isn't poetry) did not write their names (versus poets that included their names within the end of their poetry) and thus, their authorship is unknown.

We find the name of select poets in Sau Sakhi. Kavi Santokh Singh also then mention 41 of these names dispersed throughout
Gurpratap Sooraj Granth's 5th Rut:

Udae Raai, A-loo, Aasaa Singh, Aalam, Ali Hussain, Amrit Raai, Eesar, Sukha Singh, Sukhdaev, Sukhoo, Sukheeaa, Sudhama, Sainaapat[i], Hansraam, Kalooaa, Kuvraesh, Khaan Chand, GuNeeaa, GurDaas, Chandan, Chanda, Dharam Singh, Dhyaan Singh, Dhanna Singh, Nihaal Chand, Nand Laal, Nand Singh, Pindee Laal, B-Labh, B-Loo, Bidhhi Chand (not the same Biddhi Chand as from Guru Arjan Dev Ji/Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji), Brikhaa, Brij Laal, Madhan Gir[i], Madhhoo, Maan Chand, Maan Daas, Maalaa Singh, Mangal, Raaval, & Lakhaa.

To complete this count, Bhai Veer Singh have added the following 11 names:
Anee Raai, Syaam, Sundar, Sohan, Heer, Tahikan, Dayaa Singh, Naanoo, Nischal Daas, Raam Chandra, Raushan Singh.

Outside of these names there are more Kavis mentioned in the footnotes of Gur Prataap Sooraj, Rut 5, Ansu 27, Page 5569:
Achal Daas, Jamaal, Baland, Mathharaa, Malloo, Gopaal, Madan Singh among others present in Maharaj's Darbar. Further references of these sources can be found in Baba Sumair Singh's Gurpad Praem Prakaash (Page 338, stone printed in 1882) and Giaani Giaan Singh's Twaarikh Guroo Khalsaa (stone printed in 1891). After sifting through all of these various historical sources, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha features 52 names in GurShabad Ratnaakar Mahaan Kosh under the heading: "Bavanja Kavi". Most modern writings use the listed names as a reference for the 52 poets.

This series will take a look at the writings & events that belong to these little known poets. Please forgive daas for all the mistakes made. This is another series which is being placed in the Guru Khalsa Panth's Godh (Lap). Please accept this humble translation.

A big shout-out to The Anandpur Art Project. They are attempting to revive and promote knowledge of the Anandpur Sahib Darbar. They have done a lot already to provide context and content for the Anandpur Sahib Darbar. If you are interested in this content, please check out their Instagram.

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