Katha, Kavita & Kirtan on Hemkunt by Bhai Sadhu Singh & Bhai Harbans Singh ji (previous place of incarnation of Guru Gobind Singh)

Bhai Sadhu Singh Ji – Ab Main Apni Katha Bakhano-Hemkunt Parbat Hai Jahaan

Bhai Harbans Singh Ji – Hemkunt Da Tapsvi Aya Duniya De – Hemkunt Wal Jande Rahiyo

following narrative by Harnaak Singh (extract from https://gurvichar.com/2017/02/03/hemkunt/ )

There has been alternative views, causing misconception, as to what Guru Gobind Singh Ji meant be the following verses.  These alternative views and arguments showing these are untenable are presented below.  The long accepted view that the verses identify the location where Guru Gobind Singh Ji performed meditation is correct.

The verses where Guru Gobind Singh Ji refers to Hemkunt are shown below.

ਹੇਮ ਕੁੰਟ ਪਰਬਤ ਹੈ ਜਹਾਂ ॥ ਸਪਤ ਸ੍ਰਿੰਗ ਸੋਭਿਤ ਹੈ ਤਹਾਂ ॥੧॥

The site was the mountain named Hemkunt, with seven peaks and looks there very impressive 

ਸਪਤ ਸ੍ਰਿੰਗ ਤਿਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਹਾਵਾ ॥ ਪੰਡੁ ਰਾਜ ਜਹ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵਾ ॥

That mountain is called Sapt Shring (seven-peaked mountain), where the Pandraj Practised Yoga

ਤਹ ਹਮ ਅਧਿਕ ਤਪਸਿਆ ਸਾਧੀ ॥ ਮਹਾਕਾਲ ਕਾਲਿਕਾ ਅਰਾਧੀ ॥੨॥

There I was absorbed in deep meditation on the Primal Power, the Supreme KAL

We have since long time been of the understanding that in the verses above Guru Gobind Singh Ji is narrating about the location “Hemkunt mountain adorned with seven peaks where earlier the king Panduraj had practised austerities” where he performed meditation in his past life (“Encyclopaedia of Sikhism”, Edited Harbans Singh Punjabi University Patiala, 1996)

Note that concept of past life i.e. reincarnation is an accepted concept in Gurbani otherwise Guru Gobind Singh Ji would not be talking about it.

The two alternative interpretations are as follows.

  • There is a reference to his mother’s womb connecting it to Pandu wandering in the woods of the garden of Sapat Sringa during spring.  Explaining the word jog “ਜੋਗੁ” to mean union (copulation), it is stated that Pandu had union with his wife and his death ensued because of a curse on him.  (see Link A). 
  • Another reference is to the spirit’s abode (Hirda).  The explanation is as follows.  Hemkunt means; Hem meaning “ice” and kunt meaning “house”; “ice house”.  This refers to waves in water which represent the soul entangled in outside world.  When the water is frozen, becomes ice, then there are no waves and this represents the state where the soul is not affected by the outside world. The person who has achieved this state is called a Gurmukh. The abode of his inner soul is Hemkunt. (see Link A).

LINK A: http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Hemkunt_(Gurmat)

Let us consider each of the dot points above.

First dot point: there is no evidence of the garden “Sapat Sringa”.  Search of the word “sringa” in the Mahabarata (“The Mahabharata of Vyasa (English Prose Translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, 2003), to which the story of Pandu is related, does not refer to any type of a garden.   However the word is mentioned in the Book 1 section 119 in reference to the mountain with several peaks.  Therefore this dot point is an unlikely interpretation for the verses above.

Second dot point: In Mahan Kosh “Hem” means “gold, thorn apple, one gram weight” and “kunt” means “direction, corner, pond, pool”.  These meanings do not support the meaning given as “ice house”.  Further what about the “seven, peaks, mountains”?  Where do these come in?    Again this is also an unlikely interpretation of the above verses. 

The conclusion is that the long accepted meaning which is also given in the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism is the most appropriate.  Further this is supported in the extract from the Mahabharata (see below).   This extract substantiates  ਪੰਡੁ ਰਾਜ ਜਹ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਵਾ in the second verse – the red underlined part in the extract refers.


Dr Trilochan Singh (in “The History and Compilation of the Dasam Granth Sikh Review 1955”) also supports this view.  It is also pointed out that this (explanation in the two dot points) is trying to interpret the verses based on the transcendent “Nirgun” thought.  It is noted that the Dasam Granth is biased toward immanent “Sargun” thought (refer to Link E under section LINKS for a discussion on this) and the accepted interpretation is directly related to latter (sargun thought); further supports the long accepted interpretation of Hemkunt being a place.