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The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 30-Oct-2011, 22:49 PM
Ambarsaria's Avatar Ambarsaria Ambarsaria is offline
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

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Prakash.s.Bagga ji thanks for your response. Some comments,
Quote:
I feel there are many observations for which we may not be able to get the answer as why it is so.?Now since GuRu Sahib ji has presented the way it is we have no right to ask why.? It has to be accepted as it is.
I 110% agree with you, my veer ji. This is more to share so that we all learn together with reasonably good approach or mindset. Even though I am sure no two Sikhs will have the same approach as all minds are beautifully different.
Quote:
I think we should concentrate more and more on understanding Gurbani in a Gurmati way.I would fail to understand how knowledge of structure can be useful in understanding the essence message of Gurbani.
Veer prakash.s.bagga ji again I agree 110% as I don't believe given the possibility of the following (not verified for total correctness) that we can have hard rules. We need to know words like "rahao" but should not become slaves to some coincidental rules if we see a pattern. We could get some expediency but the danger is we might lose the opportunity to fully understand.
Quote:
Examples of the languages used and the contributors:

Punjabi - the Sikh Gurus, Sheikh Farid and others
Sanskrit - Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan and others
Sindhi - Guru Arjan
Western Punjabi/Lehndi - Guru Arjan
Influence of Arabic and Persian - Namdev
Gujrati and Marathi - Namdev, Trilochan
Eastern Hindi - Bards
Western Hindi - Kabir
Eastern Apabhramsa - Jaidev
Your comment about ASTAPADEES SABADS, I again thank you for it. We have a choice to either dissect structure, count number of sabads in an astapadee or spend the same time to understand Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Thanks again for your comments and inputs.

Sat Sri Akal.



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Last edited by Ambarsaria; 31-Oct-2011 at 00:00 AM.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 30-Oct-2011, 23:24 PM
prakash.s.bagga's Avatar prakash.s.bagga prakash.s.bagga is offline
 
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

AMBARSARIA ji,
I thank you for such a nice note as above.
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/gurmat-vichaar/32638-use-metaphor-gurbani-how-use-when.html

Prakash.s.Bagga
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 31-Oct-2011, 15:23 PM
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

Although we are different, and think differently, I cannot help but beam when there is common ground between us all

Although I am sure it wont last long, there is much harmony on this page peacesignkaur
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 31-Oct-2011, 15:50 PM
prakash.s.bagga's Avatar prakash.s.bagga prakash.s.bagga is offline
 
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

Harry Hallar ji,

I greatly appreciate your attitude which is so practical.I liked this
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638

Prakash.S.Bagga
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 01-Nov-2011, 01:58 AM
Inderjeet Kaur's Avatar Inderjeet Kaur Inderjeet Kaur is offline
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

I admit that I have not read every word of this thread, but I want to share my thoughts anyway.

The Rahao line is like the topic sentence in a paragraph. That is the starting point for understanding anything about any shabad.

Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji is written as poetry. It is vital never to forget that. The language and meaning and purpose of poetry are different from that of prose. Poetry taken literally is poetry lost. Good poetry speaks through simile and metaphor, and, of course, Gurbani is the best poetry. To take it too literally is to miss both the point and the beauty of the writing. Also, it should not be forgotten that the shabad are lyrics meant to be sung, each in a particular way. That is part of its meaning, as well as the actual words.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the description of a journey, with notes to help others to follow along. As Sikhs, we have chosen this particular path on which to make this journey. Please note that Guru ji is not a rulebook. The rules are in the SRM or whatever Maryada you choose to accept.

I think it is important to approach Gurbani with a fresh outlook. The attitude of "I already know" is fatal for gaining further understanding and is, thus, fatal to growth. When I approach a shabad, I try to clear my mind and read it as if I'd never heard it before because, even if I have heard it a hundred times, I have changed since the last time I heard it. Gurbani doesn't change, but I do, so the meaning of Gurbani will change for me.
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638

My last point follows from that. We are all at different places on this journey, so we will all have different understandings of what we are reading/hearing/singing. It is important to show respect for those who are not where I am. I may seem to be much farther along than someone else and their interpretation may seem simplistic and shallow to me. I suggest I need to be very careful in judging where anyone is on this journey, though. What seems shallow and simplistic to me may be an elegant understanding that is far beyond where I am at the moment. I think the goal is to understand what the author, whether Guru or Bhagat is trying to convey. Unfortunately, to know that for certain, I would have to be on a spiritual level with them. I am not. I very much doubt that anyone in SPN is either!

Let us approach these various interpretations with love and respect. Our human Gurus and the Bhagats ask no less of us. Let us read and listen and think and consider, and let us avoid critcising where another is on their journey. With mutual respect we can help each other and we can all move in the direction of our final destination.

Thank you for reading this.

Inderjeet Kaur
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 01-Nov-2011, 07:14 AM
Tejwant Singh's Avatar Tejwant Singh Tejwant Singh is online now
 
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inderjeet Kaur View Post
I admit that I have not read every word of this thread, but I want to share my thoughts anyway.

The Rahao line is like the topic sentence in a paragraph. That is the starting point for understanding anything about any shabad.

Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji is written as poetry. It is vital never to forget that. The language and meaning and purpose of poetry are different from that of prose. Poetry taken literally is poetry lost. Good poetry speaks through simile and metaphor, and, of course, Gurbani is the best poetry. To take it too literally is to miss both the point and the beauty of the writing. Also, it should not be forgotten that the shabad are lyrics meant to be sung, each in a particular way. That is part of its meaning, as well as the actual words.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the description of a journey, with notes to help others to follow along. As Sikhs, we have chosen this particular path on which to make this journey. Please note that Guru ji is not a rulebook. The rules are in the SRM or whatever Maryada you choose to accept.

I think it is important to approach Gurbani with a fresh outlook. The attitude of "I already know" is fatal for gaining further understanding and is, thus, fatal to growth. When I approach a shabad, I try to clear my mind and read it as if I'd never heard it before because, even if I have heard it a hundred times, I have changed since the last time I heard it. Gurbani doesn't change, but I do, so the meaning of Gurbani will change for me.

My last point follows from that. We are all at different places on this journey, so we will all have different understandings of what we are reading/hearing/singing. It is important to show respect for those who are not where I am. I may seem to be much farther along than someone else and their interpretation may seem simplistic and shallow to me. I suggest I need to be very careful in judging where anyone is on this journey, though. What seems shallow and simplistic to me may be an elegant understanding that is far beyond where I am at the moment. I think the goal is to understand what the author, whether Guru or Bhagat is trying to convey. Unfortunately, to know that for certain, I would have to be on a spiritual level with them. I am not. I very much doubt that anyone in SPN is either!

Let us approach these various interpretations with love and respect. Our human Gurus and the Bhagats ask no less of us. Let us read and listen and think and consider, and let us avoid critcising where another is on their journey. With mutual respect we can help each other and we can all move in the direction of our final destination.

Thank you for reading this.

Inderjeet Kaur
Inderjeer Kaur ji,

Guru fateh.

Very well said and thanks for that. It is the Sikh's duty to learn, unlearn and relearn daily. Gurbani is the manual of life which has to be consulted daily and at times many times a day so that the Sikh in us can live the life of a hire wire peace warrior who is basking in Miri-Piri. This is reason we read Gurbani daily so that we can find new gems in this ore that is a universal never ending treasure.

Our Gurus were very visionaries and we must accept the Gurbani the way it is written and try to learn from it with an open mind of acceptance. After all we are the true people of The Book.

Rules like Rahao wherever applicable are to be understood so that we can relish and savour the last drop of nectar of every Shabad. One does not and should not become enslaved to the rules provided one understands them but must follow of them otherwise there would not be any need for the rules.

If our Gurus wanted to give us the grammar rule book on which the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is based and given us the interpretation of the whole Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, they would have.

They did not do this on purpose to show us that the journey is of the individual and each of us carry our own spiritual torch. They just lit our Gurmat torches so that we are able to find the way even during our darkest times and shortcomings which are not rare.

In my personal opinion, Mool Mantar is the Blue Print of Sikhi, Jap- its foundation and the rest of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the detailed map which the individual can use to build any kind of mansions or palaces based on his/her personal quest.

I thank you again for your wonderful insights.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 01-Nov-2011, 08:14 AM
Gurmit Singh's Avatar Gurmit Singh Gurmit Singh is offline
 
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

Waheguru jee ka Khalsa Waheguru jee kee Fateh

In respect of "Ramdas Sarovar Nahtey"...please read both the Shabds under
Nos. 60 and 65 at pages 624 and 625 of the Guru Granth Sahib. As I try to
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638
understand, Guru Arjan Sahib teaches us that the true devotees of the Almighty
God recite, comprehend and practice the Divine Teachings, which enable them
to get rid of the worldly evils and the vicious thoughts.

Whereas most of the Teekakaars and Translators of Gurbaani go on repeating
word-by-word as if the Sikhs/Followers should take bath in the Sarovar at
Amritsar started by Guru Ramdas Sahib but completed by Guru Arjan Sahib?

When we read the entire Shabd and understand the gist, it does not mean that
the person becomes pure and pious by merely taking bath in a Amritsar Tank.

However, the Sikh Scholars have failed to share Gurbaani in its true spirit, though some efforts are being made when we view some programmes on Websites: www.timetvindia.com/Live; www.gurbani.co/Katha_bs.php (Gurduara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi local time 7-30 to 8-30 AM) and www.gurmatgian.com;
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638
www.ggsacademy.com; www.thelivingtreasure.com

Gurmit Singh (Australia)
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 01-Nov-2011, 08:44 AM
Ambarsaria's Avatar Ambarsaria Ambarsaria is offline
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

Gurmit Singh ji thanks for your post.

Please share more often if you can as we all learn. There is quite a healthy and ever growing learned Cyber Sangat taking shape here.
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32638

Sat Sri Akal.
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Old 01-Nov-2011, 10:33 AM
C Kirpal's Avatar C Kirpal C Kirpal is offline
 
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Re: The Use of Metaphor In Gurbani and How to Use That When Interpreting Shabads

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Quote:
Originally Posted by findingmyway View Post
Someone recently asked me how do you know that your interpretation is correct when there are so many different ways of thinking? I thought I would demonstrate my way of thinking using a shabad that most people know but that I commonly see misinterpreted - RamDas Sarovar Nate. However, Sikhi is a constant process of learning so I would appreciate feedback to develop my way thought processes in line with Gurmat.

The shabad is from Ang 624.
ਸੋਰਠਿ ਮਹਲਾ
ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਕੀਤੀ ਪੂਰੀ
ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰੀ
ਖੇਮ ਕੁਸਲ ਭਇਆ ਇਸਨਾਨਾ
ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਵਿਟਹੁ ਕੁਰਬਾਨਾ
ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਕਵਲ ਰਿਦ ਧਾਰੇ
ਬਿਘਨੁ ਲਾਗੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਕੋਈ ਕਾਰਜ ਸਗਲ ਸਵਾਰੇ ਰਹਾਉ
ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਖੋਏ
ਪਤਿਤ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਸਭ ਹੋਏ
ਰਾਮਦਾਸਿ ਸਰੋਵਰ ਨਾਤੇ
ਸਭ ਲਾਥੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਤੇ
ਗੁਨ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨਿਤ ਗਾਈਐ
ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਧਿਆਈਐ
ਮਨ ਬਾਂਛਤ ਫਲ ਪਾਏ
ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਰਿਦੈ ਧਿਆਏ
ਗੁਰ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਆਨੰਦਾ
ਜਪਿ ਜਪਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨਾ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਰਖਾਇਆ ੧੦੬੦

Literal meaning (taken from searchgurbani.com):
The Perfect Guru has made me perfect.
God is totally pervading and permeating everywhere.
With joy and pleasure, I take my purifying bath.
I am a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord God. ||1||
I enshrine the lotus feet of the Guru within my heart.
Not even the tiniest obstacle blocks my way; all my affairs are resolved. ||1||Pause||
Meeting with the Holy Saints, my evil-mindedness was eradicated.
All the sinners are purified.
Bathing in the sacred pool of Guru Ram Das,
all the sins one has committed are washed away. ||2||
So sing forever the Glorious Praises of the Lord of the Universe;
joining the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, meditate on Him.
The fruits of your mind's desires are obtained
by meditating on the Perfect Guru within your heart. ||3||
The Guru, the Lord of the World, is blissful;
chanting, meditating on the Lord of supreme bliss, He lives.
Servant Guru Nanak meditates on the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
God has confirmed His innate nature. ||4||10||60||

Looking at the literal meaning we can see several things that don’t make sense:
1) What does the 1st line mean? What is the definition of perfect? How does this line further our understanding?
2) The most important message is the rahao line in every shabad. The rahao line here is telling us to enshrine Akal Purakh into our hearts then we will not be afflicted by any problems. The literal translation refers to lotus feet but this contradicts the line above which states God is everywhere and later the shabad says God is innate in his creation-so how can he have lotus feet?
3) How can a purifying bath wash away sins? Eradicating bad points is an internal process and cannot be achieved by cleansing superficially (outside). The Guru Granth Sahib Ji has spoken against rituals in several places including ritual bathing. Here are 3 examples from the 1st half of Jap Ji alone:

ਸੋਚੈਸੋਚਿਹੋਵਈਜੇਸੋਚੀਲਖਵਾਰ ॥ (page 1 pauri 1)
Even if I have 100000 ritual baths to keep my body clean, my mind will not be clean.

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ ॥ (page 2 pauri 6)
What is the point of pilgrimages and ritual baths when they do not please Akal Purakh.

ਭਰੀਐ ਹਥੁ ਪੈਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਦੇਹ ਪਾਣੀ ਧੋਤੈ ਉਤਰਸੁ ਖੇਹ ਮੂਤ ਪਲੀਤੀ ਕਪੜੁ ਹੋਇ ਦੇ ਸਾਬੂਣੁ ਲਈਐ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਇ ਭਰੀਐ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਪਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਓਹੁ ਧੋਪੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਕੈ ਰੰਗਿ ॥ (page 4 pauri 20)
When the hands and feet and body are dirty then water can wash them clean. If clothes are dirty, they can be cleaned with soap. But when the mind is full of sin and bad thoughts, only love of Akal Purakh can clean the mind.

Gurbani is poetry so if we now use metaphor to interpret the same shabad, the meaning changes:

In the 1st pauri Guru Ji is telling us that Waheguru (the perfect/complete) Guru has given me great success in this life-I see God everywhere. Inside my soul is at peace (this is the bath). I am a sacrifice/I am indebted to Waheguru who has joined me with himself.

In the rahao line (the most important line that forms the basis of the shabad), the komal charan or lotus feet are analogy for the beauty of Waheguru’s nature. So the meaning here is that whoever instils Akal Purakh’s beauty/good qualities in himself, will not suffer from any problems in his/her life. Waheguru looks after him/her. This does not mean problems in a wordly sense but refers to our spiritual strength so that like Guru Arjan Dev Ji and the shaheeds we can deal with whatever happens without worry and say “Tera bhanna meetha lage”.

In the 2nd pauri saint refers to Waheguru himself as no person is considered a saint. Guru Ji tells us that when we join with Waheguru (by breaking down our internal barriers) your rudeness goes far away. Even an immoral person becomes a good person when meeting with Waheguru. This shabad was written by Guru Arjan Dev Ji so Darbar sahib was already built. It was a place for people to congregate and further their learning about Sikhi hence a place of sadh sangat. The ramdaas sarovar natey refers to spending your life amongst sadh sangat and doing ishnan in the naam (as in pauri one-this is the bath of the soul, immersing it in following Waheguru) in order to eradicate the wrongs you have committed earlier in your life and turn over a new leaf.

In the 3rd pauri Guru Ji is telling us remain with the Guru’s sadh sangat and always remember Waheguru, to always sing His praises. Whoever, instils Waheguru (the perfect Guru) in his/her whole being obtains the fruit of their wishes.

In the 4th pauri, Guru Ji is telling us that Akal Purakh has a very loving nature. He is greater than all beings, He is the creator of this world and is the embodiment of spiritual peace. Whoever walks on his path, is able to live a spiritual life of peace.

Summary
* This shabad is actually about sangat and finding Waheguru rather than doing ishnaan in Amritsar.
* It is important to interpret Gurbani as poetry as literal meanings will often give rise to conflicting ideas.
* To understand the correct interpretation, look at the message in the context of all the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as 2 shabads will NEVER contradict.

Jasleen Kaur
Thanks for simple description.Please keep posting the explanation of One Pauri of Guru Granth Sahib ji every day.
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