Although even the first part of Charitropakhyan (Chandi Charitar) is not acceptable to Sri Dasam Granth’s adversaries, however it is mainly the second part that is the subject of intense hatred as most of the stories deal with amorous events, and it is their belief that they are of lewd, sexual nature. The plot of the second part is something like this: A fairy from the heavens gets enchanted upon seeing the king Chitr Singh of ‘Chitravarti’ state and eventually marries him. This queen fairy gave birth to a beautiful son but went back to heavens after a few years (or we can infer that she passed away). King Chitr Singh became very sad. He ordered his ministers to find him a girl with similar beautiful looks and qualities. The daughter of King of Orissa was almost similar in looks and personality as that of fairy Queen. In order to obtain this girl, king Chitr Singh attacked the king of Orissa. Chitr Singh’s son, Hanwant Singh, supervised and led his father’s army in the battlefield. The king of Orissa was defeated and killed in the war. And so, Chitr Singh won the princess and married her. In reality, however, the new Queen was attracted to king’s son – the handsome, youthful Hanwant Singh.
The king sent Hanwant Singh off to a learned Brahmin for higher education but he always remained quiet and aloof. The king tried talking sense to him, but all his efforts went wasted. When the helpless king presented this issue in front of everyone in his courtroom, Queen Chitramati secretly took Hanwant Singh to her room. She said to him, “You are so charming and indescribably handsome, like the God of love Kama-Dev. O my friend! Your eyes mesmerise me and bewitch my mind… I am not satisfied with the king. Drop your fears of him and copulate with me.” The prince, however, flatly refused her offer. The Queen, embarrassed by his refusal, retaliated by instigating the king, “O King! Your son is most evil! He tore my clothes off and scratched and scarred my whole body!” The king, totally blinded in her lust, ordered the execution of the prince without any investigation. This is when his wise ministers tell him tales that describe the carnal desires of females, although there are a few stories that deal with equivalent male characteristics too. Majority of these stories are based on crimes originating from amorous sentiments. Following are the facts that emerge from the above plot:
1. After attaining power of the State, the ruling faction forgets its primary responsibilities and engages itself in carnal pleasures and other similar immoral acts.
2. The rules shove innocent people into battlefield for their own corporal wants. As a result, the humanity has to suffer in the aftermath.
3. According to the story, king’s son had reached that state of youth where he was able to lead an army by himself i.e. the king was far older than him. Despite his old age, he married a girl much younger than him, while ideally she should have been married to his son instead. Whenever a man uses his wealth and power as influence to establish illicit relations, the results will always be devastating.
4. The mention of aloofness of Hanwant Singh is a portrayal of a child whose parents, like Chitr Singh, make immoral decisions blinded by the influence of amorous desires. The indication of full mental and physical growth of Hanwant Singh is given when he provides leadership services during the war. But the king is ignorant of his son’s mental and physical development. It was natural that all this would have adverse affect on Hanwant Singh. The moral learnt from this incident is that decisions made by people like sexually engrossed Chitr Singh effect their own family first.
5. The moral character of princess was not bad. It is the excesses of man that drives her towards wrong-doings. As a result of these excesses, inappropriate conduct of females projects an illusion of inherent impurity within the society. It is this illusion – the result of male excesses and oppression – that glitters as obscene in the eyes of adversaries of this Granth.
6.In the story, the model, responsible ministers of State have been portrayed. Thus, if a ruler goes astray from the righteous path, it becomes the duty of the ministers to use diplomatic means to persuade him back on the right path – to bring him out of darkness and into the light.
7.It is important to note that the composer of this Bani has deployed intricate, abstract reasoning while creating the plot; he has narrated the ethical content not in first person, rather used ministers for the narrative, which indicates that it is not compulsory for Beebis to read the Charitars. These tales can however be used for the emancipation of people that are trapped in blind faith. Charitropakhyan is a treatise on ethics; it is meant to be quoted wherever need is felt. The first, third and fourth parts of it, however, are highly inspiration for both men and women.
The 401 Charitars that appear in the second part of Charitropakhyan have not been narrated by the ministers for king’s amusement; rather, there aim is to put the king back on the path of righteousness and virtue. The opposing faction of Sri Dasam Granth has serious objections against some of the language used in these stories. A brief critical evaluation of this issue is important. In the first story i.e. third Charitar, the protagonist is a woman whose husband is quite aged, because of which she forms illicit relations with a younger person. Minister says:
ਹੋਤ ਤਰੁਨ ਕੇ ਤਰੁਨਿ ਬਸਿ ਬਿਰਧ ਤਰੁਨਿ ਬਸਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ਇਹੈ ਰੀਤਿ ਸਭ ਜਗਤ ਕੀ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਕੋਇ ॥੬॥
ਅਰਥ (ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਰੈਣ ਸਿੰਘ) – ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਜੁਆਨ ਆਦਮੀ ਦੇ ਵੱਸ ਵਿਚ ਅਤੇ ਬੁਢਾ ਆਦਮੀ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਦੇ ਵੱਸ ਵਿਚ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਏ, ਸੰਸਾਰ ਦੀ ਇਸ ਰੀਤ ਨੂੰ ਸਾਰੇ ਜਾਣਦੇ ਹਨ ॥੬॥
Meaning – Women get bewitched by a youthful male, while an aged man gets lured by a woman. This is the custom of this world, (which) everyone knows.
In the second Charitar of this part (ਘੁਰਕੀ – Ghurki), Mahanand is an old man, because of which his wife commits adultery with younger males. The fact that old age is the cause of her wife’s meanderings is crucial to note, because these stories commence with aged men marrying younger women. The abuses hurled at the composer of this work without analysing minute, intricate facts like these are most unfortunate. In the third Charitar (ਸਹਿਜ ਕਲਾ- Sehaj Kalaa), the evil, perverted mentality of people impersonating as saints is delineated.; a character, that pretends to live in cavity of a tree in the woods, while in reality he absconds with a beautiful girl of a nearby city. In the fourth story (ਮਾਲਮਤੀ – Maalmati), a character of a Muslim lady is painted to illustrate the fact that these amorous events are prevalent in every social order. Sixth (ਅਨੁਰਾਗ ਮਤੀ – Anurag Mati) and seventh (ਜਗ ਜੋਤਮਤੀ – Jag Jogmati) Charitars depict the killing of a couple having illicit relations and eight (ਚਿਤਰਕਲਾ – Chitarkala) Charitar tells the story of a characterless woman who commits heinous crimes of killing her son and husband.
The adversaries of Sri Dasam Granth are particularly critical of the sixteenth (ਛਜੀਆ – Chhajia) Charitar because the events in this story create an illusion of it being associated with Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The story goes like this: A king lives happily on the banks of river Satluj. A prostitute, in greed of money, comes to the king’s house. She gets smitten by king’s good looks, but her beauty does not have any effect on the king. She even tries sorcery on him, but all attempts prove unsuccessful. One day, she comes to the king’s court disguised as a Yogi. The king decides to establish contact with her so that he can learn some magic Mantra (i.e. verify her true internal qualities). The prostitute, disguised as a yogi, tells the king to come see her at midnight at her place. Upon king’s arrival, the yogi orders everyone else to leave and asks for incense, candles, rice, flowers and wine, which the king makes available. The prostitute in yogi’s disguise says to the king that she has got magical power of converting her physical form; that she will disclose the Mantra in male form but will copulate with him in her female form. The king refuses and says, the givers of Mantras are like parents, one cannot dream of having pervert relations with them.
The prostitute then says, “That man, who refuses to satisfy the sexual desires of a passion ridden woman, should be thrown in hell. If you do not copulate with me, I will scream that you are a thief and get you arrested… People from all corners come to you for rewards, then why do you disappoint me?” The king argues, “Why should I destroy my virtues by having immoral relations with you?” Upon hearing this, the woman screams and gathers everyone but quickly changes the version of her story and says she was just murmuring in sleep. Everyone leaves, and she starts pressurising the king again to copulate with him. The king devises a plan and gets the woman drugged; after she falls unconscious, he returns back to his home safe and sound. The king says, “The Mantra that I have learned from this yogi is that I will never have any sexual contact with her. This woman does not know the meaning of love and affection; her only aim in life is to obtain more money and physical gratification.” –
ਰਾਇ ਤਬੈ ਚਿਤ ਭੀਤਰ ਕਿਯਾ ਬਿਚਾਰ ਹੈ ॥ਯਾਹਿ ਨ ਭਜਿਹੌ ਆਜੁ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਕਾ ਸਾਰ ਹੈ ॥
There is a specific meaning and purpose behind giving 60 coins to Chajjia. It has been told in the early parts of this Charitar that this woman became immoral because of her greed for money. The primary reason for entering prostitution has always been money. The act of giving 60 coins symbolises that help should be provided to these daughters of humanity who have fallen into immoral trades because of their poor economic situations; that they can become women for high moral character. The next message the rational composer wants to give through the Charitar is that whenever there is a situation where prestige and faith are at stake, a man should always defend his faith and religious duties. Whenever such tricky situations surface in other Charitars, perverted people do not hesitate from killing even their own loved ones; in contrast, the protagonist of this Charitar shows immense sympathy for the sorry state of that woman.
ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨਤ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਕੀ ਪੈਸਨ ਕੀ ਪਰਤੀਤ ॥ਬਿਛੂ ਬਿਸੀਅਰੁ ਬੇਸਯਾ ਕਹੋ ਕਵਨ ਕੇ ਮੀਤ ॥੪੩॥
ਅਰਥ (ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਰੈਣ ਸਿੰਘ) – ਇਹਨੂੰ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਦੀ ਰੀਤ ਦਾ ਪਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ, ਪੈਸੇ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਹੀ ਇਸਦਾ ਇਹ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਹੈ । ਬਿੱਛੂ, ਸੱਪ ਅਤੇ ਵੇਸਵਾ ਦਸੋ, ਇਹ ਭਲਾ ਕਿਸਦੇ ਮਿੱਤਰ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ ॥੪੩॥
She does not know the practice of love as her love is subjected to wealth similar to a scorpion, snake and prostitute who are the companion of none. At the same time, he reiterates his unshakable pledge:
ਤਬੈ ਰਾਇ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਆਇ ਸੁ ਪ੍ਰਣ ਐਸੇ ਕਿਯੋ ॥ਭਲੇ ਜਤਨ ਸੌ ਰਾਖਿ ਧਰਮ ਅਬ ਮੈ ਲਿਯੋ ॥ਦੇਸ ਦੇਸ ਨਿਜੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਭਾ ਬਿਖੇਰਿਹੌ ॥ਹੋ ਆਨ ਤ੍ਰਿਯਾ ਕਹ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਹੇਰਿਹੌ ॥੪੯॥
ਅਰਥ (ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਰੈਣ ਸਿੰਘ) – ਤਾਂ ਰਾਜੇ ਨੇ ਘਰ ਆਕੇ ਪ੍ਰਣ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਵਾਰ ਤਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਜਤਨ ਕਰਕੇ ਅਪਣੇ ਧਰਮ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਾ ਲਿਆ, ਹੁਣ ਮੈਂ ਦੇਸ ਦੇਸਾਂਤਰਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਉਸ ਪਰਮੇਸ਼ਰ ਦਾ ਜਸ ਫੈਲਾਵਾਂਗਾ ਅਤੇ ਕਦੇ ਵੀ ਕਿਸੇ (ਪਰਾਈ) ਇਸਤਰੀ ਵਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਤੱਕਾਂਗਾ ॥੪੯॥
The king had returned home after leaving 60 coins on the bedside of the unconscious woman. Upon coming home, he swore, “With great effort, I have been able to protect my virtues. I will never, ever look at any woman other than my wife. This pledge is now etched deep in my heart.”
ਦੋਹਰਾ ॥ਵਹੈ ਪ੍ਰਤਗ੍ਯਾ ਤਦਿਨ ਤੇ ਬ੍ਯਾਪਤ ਮੋ ਹਿਯ ਮਾਹਿ ॥ਤਾ ਦਿਨ ਤੇ ਪਰ ਨਾਰਿ ਕੌ ਹੇਰਤ ਕਬਹੂੰ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੫੦॥
ਅਰਥ (ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਰੈਣ ਸਿੰਘ) – ਉਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਣ ਉਸੇ ਦਿਨ ਤੋਂ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਵਸਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਹੁਣ ਕਦੇ ਭੀ ਪਰਾਈ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਵੇਖਾਂਗਾ ॥੫੦॥
Skeptics associate this story with Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. There is one more story before this one, that story is associated with Amritsar and Kiratpur Sahib. The opposition has several arguments – They say that how could it be possible that characterless people lived in cities of Guruji. But even to this day, do only religious people live at holy places? Pilgrims at major holy places get their personal belongings stolen. Therefore, Guruji is giving this caution that immoral people not only enter religious places, they can also try to deceive innocent pilgrims. The protagonist of Guruji does not go to Chajjia to learn any Mantra, because there is nothing but “sex Mantra” in her possession. In the story, a great attempt has been made to expose the real facet of a sexually obsessed woman impersonating as a holy person. The real Mantra (lesson) to be learnt was to reach deep down and expose the intrinsic character of such perverted individuals disguised as yogis. That is why Guruji says that only Mantra that’s learnt from this episode is that no immoral relations should be established with such a woman.
And finally the following verse, which the adversaries of Sri Dasam Granth Ji are calling the ideas of the writer, and use it to launch attacks against the Granth are in fact uttered by Chajjia and not by Guruji:
ਕਾਮਾਤੁਰ ਹ੍ਵੈ ਜੋ ਤਰੁਨਿ ਆਵਤ ਪਿਯ ਕੇ ਪਾਸ ॥ ਮਹਾ ਨਰਕ ਸੋ ਡਾਰਿਯਤ ਦੈ ਜੋ ਜਾਨ ਨਿਰਾਸ ॥੨੩॥ ਤਨ ਅਨੰਗ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਜਗੈ ਤਾਹਿ ਨ ਦੈ ਰਤਿ ਦਾਨ ॥ ਤਵਨ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੋ ਡਾਰਿਯਤ ਜਹਾ ਨਰਕ ਕੀ ਖਾਨਿ ॥੨੪॥
ਅਰਥ (ਗਿਆਨੀ ਨਰੈਣ ਸਿੰਘ) – ਕਾਮ ਦੀ ਦੁਖੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਹੋਈ ਜਿਹੜੀ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਪਾਸ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਏ, ਜੋ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਉਹਨੂੰ ਨਿਰਾਸ਼ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ ਤਾ ਐਸਾ ਮਿੱਤਰ ਘੋਰ ਨਰਕ ਵਿਚ ਡਿਗਦਾ ਹੈ ॥੨੩॥ਜੋ ਆਦਮੀ ਕਾਮ-ਰਤੀ ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਨੂੰ ਭੋਗ ਦਾਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਦੇਂਦਾ, ਉਸ ਆਦਮੀ ਨੂੰ ਨਰਕ ਦੀ ਖਾਨ ਵਿਚ ਸੁੱਟ ਦੇਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਹੈ ॥੨੪॥
If a lady tortured by lust comes to her lover and if he disappoints her, he shall fall in the horrible hell. If a man does not satisfy a lustful woman, he deserves to be in hell. (This lines were told by the Chajjia to the King NOT by Guru Gobind Singh Ji as blindly claimed.)
Based on the above, it is obvious that Guru Ji has narrated the stories in its true context with the advisory notes and moral values to be extracted from the Charitr.