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Chhatris Kror - An Unpublished Granth

By Dr. Shiraz Ismail

The name Chhatris Kror literally means three hundred and sixty million. It refers to the number of Pir Sadardin's followers out of whom Baar Kror or one hundred and twenty million attained salvation. This granth was composed by Pir Sadardin. It has never been published. From a brief note in one of his books, we learn that Mukhi Lalji Devraj was aware of its existence and intended to publish it. However, for reasons that we do not know it never got published. With Mukhi Devraj's death most of the Ginan publishing activities came to a standstill.

The manuscript used for this presentation was given to me by Mukhi Abdulsultan Rahemtulla. The manuscript is about one hundred years old. The text of this granth is in Khojki and consists of 178 verses. Nagib Tajdin has another manuscript in his possession which has 180 verses. However at the time of writing this paper, I did not have access to it.

It is important not to confuse these 36 Kror with the 33 kror mentioned elsewhere in various Ginans. The 33 Kror are the ones who did attain salvation (5 Kror through Raja Pahelaj, 7 Kror through Raja Harishchandra, 9 Kror through Raja Jujesthan and 12 Kror through Pir Sadardin). Whereas the 36 Kror here represent the total mass of Pir Sadardins' followers out of whom 12 Kror attained salvation through him and thus got included in the 33 Kror.

The main part of the granth contains the story of the 24 Kror who did not attain salvation and were thus condemned to "Ghor andhar" or total darkness. It is important to bear in mind that the whole Granth including all the names and incidents are full of symbolism and should not be taken literally. The narration begins with the Pir announcing to the jamat that he was going to Alamut (the residence of the Imam of the time) and would the jamat like to accompany him, to which the Jamat agrees and assembles under the three Mukhis, each with a group of 12 Kror. The names of the three Mukhis are also given, they are; Mukhi Trikum (who from other Ginans is known to be from the city of Kotda), Mukhi Shamdas from Lahor (east) and Mukhi Tulsidas from Kashmir (west).

The group starts the journey and comes to Gujarat in the kingdom of King Bhikham. On the outskirts of the town there lived a courtesan by the name of Subhagi. The Pir visits her house and spends a night there. All the three mukhis witness this incident and are perplexed by the behaviour of their master. When the morning comes the Pir orders his Mukhis pay the courtesan her fees. Mukhi Shamsdas was the first to ask her about her fees and she demands one hundred and twenty five thousand (sava lakh). The next day when Mukhi Tulsidas inquires about her fees she demands two hundred thousand in exchange for the Pirs freedom. The two mukhis begin to have serious doubts about the Pirs virtues and openly accuse him of engaging in immoral activities. On the third day Mukhi Trikum goes to release his master. Subhagi now demands three hundred and seventy five thousand. Mukhi Trikum not only agrees to arrange for the sum but tells her that since his master was living with her she was like a mother to him (note the difference in approach between the three mukhis).

Mukhi Trikum now ponders on how to raise the money. A thought crosses his mind to use the Dasond money, however, he quickly dismisses it as not right. Finally he comes to the decision to take his wife's and daughter's jewellery to the king. Once again we are given in the granth, not only the names of his three daughters, but also the name of his wife. The names of his three daughters are; Shamsundri, Devdand and Dayal while his wifes name is given as Maanand. I have no doubt that all these names have deep symbolic meaning. Coming back to the story, the king refuses to buy the jewels unless Mukhi Trikum also includes his three daughters in the bargain. Finally out of desperation, Mukhi Trikum agrees to the deal, takes the money and releases the Pir.

Thereafter, Mukhi Trikum invites Pir Sadardin to his place for dinner. However, when the Pir sits down to eat he inquires about the Mukhis' daughters. The Mukhi had no alternative but to tell the truth. When the Pir heard about the fate of the daughters, he refuses to partake any food until the Mukhi secures the release of his daughters. Mukhi Trikum then goes to the King to plead for his daughters release, Subhagi enters the scene, it turns out that she was a true momin all along. She returns the money to the King, who in turn releases the Mukhis daughters assuring Trikum that he in no way took advantage of them, that they are pure and he treated them well. They all return to Trikum's place where they are joined by the Pir. It turns out that it was all a test of their faith (Iman) and Mukhi Trikum and his lot held on to it while the others lost theirs. The other two groups now repent for their error, the Pir forgives them and they proceed with the journey.

The 24 Kror, now having got their second chance, the caravan proceeds until they come to the banks of river Atak (atki jai ???) where they pitch their camp. This part of the country was ruled by King Devchand and his queen Chandade rani. Now it so happens that while the queen was taking her bath, Satan (Shaitan, it is not clear in the ginan who he is) goes to her in the disguise of Mukhi Trikum and not only steals her necklace of nine strings (Nav lakho haar) but also behaves in a very disrespectful manner. The queen reports the incident to the king who immediately orders a search of the caravan for the culprit. During the search the Pir is found to have the necklace. Once again the faith of the 24 Krors is shaken. When the King is notified of the discovery, he orders the Pirs execution. However when the soldiers come to execute the Pir, Mukhi Trikum intervenes and declares that he is the real culprit and it is he who should be punished and not the Pir, and so he is slain instead. When the Mukhiani saw what happened to her husband she declares that she and not her husband was the real culprit and so she is killed also. Seeing this the three daughters repeat the same plea and are executed followed by the three sons (whose names are also given) who go on to meet the same fate. Now one by one the 12 Kror followers enter the same plea and gladly accept the punishment. Their bodies are thrown in the river. The massacre continues for four days.

Meanwhile, princess Ramkali who had her palace on the yonder banks of the river was witnessing the incident. She saw that those slain were not really dying but were ascending to heaven in shinning attire (noorani vastra). Realizing that this might be a unique opportunity to salvation, she decides to join in. However, by the time she gets to the site, the slaying is over. While the killing was in progress, it so happened that some sixteen hundred souls from the 24 Kror had realized their error for the second time and were repentant. These were told by the Pir that if they desired salvation, then they will have to undergo a trial. They were ordered to collect wood, sell it and offer the money as Dasond.

So it happens that these sixteen hundred set out to sell the wood. However, after trying for a long time they could not find a buyer. Eventually they come across a medicant (Faqueer) who offers to buy the entire stock in exchange for a precious stone. The aspirants then take the stone to the local jeweller in the hope of selling it to him for cash. After examining it the jeweller declared that the stone was too precious for him to buy, but he suggested that the king might be able to afford it. The aspirants then took the diamond to the king who upon seeing it recognised it as belonging to the queens jewels and ordered that these sixteen hundred should be slain also by the river banks. The princess seeing that the opportunity was once again there to sacrifice herself and attain salvation disguised herself as a male and joined the sixteen hundred in laying down their lives.

After it was all over a holy man (sadhu) visits the queen and tells her about her daughter's death and explains to her that this whole incident was staged so as to enable the believers to attain salvation. Both, the king and the queen, upon hearing it were very repentant and so were the 24 Kror who had missed the opportunity for the second time. However the moment had passed (vera hati te to vahi gai) and they were condemned to total darkness (ghor andhar). Thus ends the story of Chhatris Kror.

A couple of points need mentioning; a date appears in the granth regarding the time of this incident. It is 17 th. of Ass (month) Savant 1452 (1396 AD). This date is the same as that given by Pir Hassan Kabirdin in one of his Ginans. Also at a couple of places mention is made of a wall of iron (vajar bhit), where believers have to wait six months (not six months and six days as in other Ginans). Again this could have some spiritual significance.

Thus in a few paragraphs I have tried to present the gist of this very interesting and as yet unpublished Granth. The language of the Granth although relatively simple is highly symbolic and full of mystical interpretations. I hope that with the availability of Gujarati transliteration this important Granth will be more widely read.

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