Bachitar Natak – Mahakal Kal-Ka Aradhi – autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Mahakal Kal-Ka Aradhi – Giani Man Singh Jhaur


Giani Man Singh Jhaur, legendary katha kar explains the meaning of “Mahakal Kal-Ka Aradhi” from Bachitar Natak, autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.


Giani Man Singh Jhaur with the sangat at Tatt Khalsa, Kuala Lumpur, 1970.

What is the meaning of Mahakaal

 by Harnaak Singh     22-Dec-2016

Mahan Kosh:

ਮਹਾਕਾਲ Mahakaal – (1) ਕਾਲ ਦਾ ਭੀ ਕਾਲ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲਾ. ਯਮ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਆਦਿ ਜਗਤ ਦਾ ਅੰਤ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਭੀ ਜਿਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਲੈ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ. ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ. ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ One who is the death of death, to whom Yum (God of death) and Shiv pay obeisance to, Vaheguru, God (2) ਉਹ ਲੰਮਾ ਸਮਾਂ, ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਅੰਤ ਅਸੀਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਜਾਣ ਸਕਦੇ A very long period of time to which we cannot imagine the end (3) ਸਮੇਂ ਨੂੰ ਹੀ ਕਰਤਾ ਹਰਤਾ ਮੰਨਣ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਮਤ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਅਨੰਤ ਰੂਪ ਕਾਲ Those who believe in the timeless creator-destroyer as the lord (4) ਕਾਲਿਕਾ ਪੁਰਾਣ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਦਾ ਇੱਕ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ. ਇੱਕ ਵਾਰ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਨੇ ਆਪਣਾ ਵੀਰਯ ਅਗਨਿ ਵਿੱਚ ਅਸਥਾਪਨ ਕੀਤਾ, ਉਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਦੋ ਬੂੰਦਾਂ ਬਾਹਰ ਡਿਗ ਪਈਆਂ. ਇੱਕ ਬੂੰਦ ਤੋਂ ਮਹਾਕਾਲ ਅਤੇ ਦੂਜੀ ਤੋਂ ਭ੍ਰਿੰਗੀ ਪੈਦਾ ਹੋਇਆ The Kalka Puran states that Shiv manifested as fire Agni from which two sparks produced Mahakaal and Bhringi (5) ਉੱਜੈਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਹਾਕਾਲ ਨਾਮਕ ਸ਼ਿਵਲਿੰਗ  the Jyotirlinga at Mahakaleshwar Ujjian is called Mahakaal.

Punjabi University Patiala Punjabi- English Dictionary

ਮਹਾਕਾਲ Mahakaal – eternal time, God.


The verse below refers to this word

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤੂ ਜੀਵਹਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਨ ਖਾਈ ਮਹਾ ਕਾਲੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ SGGS 885 M:5 Ramkalee

Meditating in remembrance on the Lord’s Name, you shall live, and the Great Death shall not consume you ever again. ||1||Pause||

Here ਮਹਾ ਕਾਲੁ is translated as “Great Death” by Sant Singh Khalsa

God is attributed with the qualities of creation, preservation and destruction.  The destruction aspect of God is “Maha Kaal” or “Great Death” as translated above.  Why use the word “great death”.  Why not just “death”?  Death as we perceive it is the loss of life of a living entity.  When a building burns down, do we say the building had incurred death?  This is why God’s destroying power is called “Maha Kaal”.  The destroying power extends to living or non-living entities.  The word Kaal is generally understood to be death, but according to the Punjabi-English dictionary (Uni Patiala) it also means time.  So death also means “Ante (ਅੰਤ) Kaal”.  Maha Kaal, on the other end is the power of destruction by terminating the time dimension of an entity and this destruction can destroy the entire universe; only God can do this. The above verse therefore means

You (ਤੂ), meditate on (ਸਿਮਰਿ) the Name of God (ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ), then you will never be consumed (ਫਿਰਿ ਨ ਖਾਈ) by the destroying power God (ਮਹਾ ਕਾਲੁ).

Summary from the meanings above

Mahakaal means God, to who both Yum and Shiv pay obeisance unless the context points to a different meaning.

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Bachitar Natak

The Bachitar Natak style is autobiographical and gives Guru Gobind’s personal faith and philosophy.

The opening stanza (written below) clearly states Guru Gobind’s concept of God as the Sword (ਸ੍ਰੀ ਖੜਗ) of dharma, asking for help to complete the compilation and set the mood for battle scenes with beautiful and inspirational stanza 2.

ਨਮਸਕਾਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਖੜਗ ਕੋ ਕਰੋਂ ਸੁ ਹਿਤੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਲਾਇ ॥

I salute the Glorious SWORD with all my heart’s affection.

ਪੂਰਨ ਕਰੋਂ ਗਿਰੰਥ ਇਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਮੁਹਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਸਹਾਇ ॥੧॥

I shall complete this Granth only if Thou Helpest me.

It starts with where Guru Gobind Singh is called into the world to uphold dharma.  Detailed descriptions of battles between the armies of Lava and Kusa are given.  Death on the battlefield is glorious. Verses of war and worship intermingle and a picture emerges of an ideal warrior saint. (source: Encyclopaedia of Sikhism)

This concept of sword as spiritual protector (albeit metaphorically) is also stated in the SGGS as shown below.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਖੜਗੁ ਹਥਿ ਦੀਨਾ ਜਮਕੰਕਰ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਿਦਾਰੇ ॥ SGGS 574 M: Vadhans

The True Guru has placed the sword of spiritual wisdom in my hands; I have overcome and slain the Messenger of Death.

The “introduction” to Dasam Granth at “” states that the “main aim of writing this composition was to delineate the courage, the strength and the might of Guru Gobind Singh Ji against the backdrop of a world stage”.

This composition has a very strong martial inclination.