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Gurbani of a Different Flavour

Discussion in 'Intellectual Translations by SPNers' started by Ishna, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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    I had trouble selecting a title for this thread. Words like "Dark", "Confronting", and "Direct" were in the running, but none of those go with "Gurbani", do they. Do they?

    Well, just after Guru Arjun Sahib Ji's Thitee (The Lunar Days) shabad, Guru Ram Das launches into Vaar in Gauree from Ang 300. The Thitee shabad beforehand is the calm before the storm which is the Vaars.

    So far during my sehaj paath (in English), these 17 pages have been the most confronting. It seems to place a lot of emphasis on manmukhs and slanderers. It talks about hate, and being struck down, and cursed. It seems so out of character for Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which has made mention of manmukhs and slanderers on earlier pages, but nothing like it does now.

    I admit to being rather surprised by this.

    What's your impression of it? Does anyone else notice a pronounced change of pace compared to other Gurbani? It's not all sweetness and light anymore.

    Is there some historical context I'm missing around these shaloks and paurhis? Was Guru Ram Das Ji talking about literal slanderer's of himself, or of his Guru predecessors, or of Waheguru Itself?

    Here's a snippet for you, in case you don't believe me:
    ਸਲੋਕ ਮਃ ੪
    Salok mėhlā 4.
    Shalok, Fourth Mehl:


    ਸਾਕਤ ਜਾਇ ਨਿਵਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੇ ਕੂੜਿ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੇ
    Sākaṯ jā▫e nivėh gur āgai man kẖote kūṛ kūṛi▫āre.
    The faithless cynics go and bow before the Guru, but their minds are corrupt and false, totally false.


    ਜਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਕਹੈ ਉਠਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ਬਹਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਘੁਸਰਿ ਬਗੁਲਾਰੇ
    Jā gur kahai uṯẖahu mere bẖā▫ī bahi jāhi gẖusar bagulāre.
    When the Guru says, "Rise up, my Siblings of Destiny", they sit down, crowded in like cranes.


    ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਚੁਣਿ ਕਢੇ ਲਧੋਵਾਰੇ
    Gursikẖā anḏar saṯgur varṯai cẖuṇ kadẖe laḏẖovāre.
    The True Guru prevails among His GurSikhs; they pick out and expel the wanderers.


    ਓਇ ਅਗੈ ਪਿਛੈ ਬਹਿ ਮੁਹੁ ਛਪਾਇਨਿ ਰਲਨੀ ਖੋਟੇਆਰੇ

    O▫e agai picẖẖai bahi muhu cẖẖapā▫in na ralnī kẖote▫āre.
    Sitting here and there, they hide their faces; being counterfeit, they cannot mix with the genuine.


    ਓਨਾ ਦਾ ਭਖੁ ਸੁ ਓਥੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਾਇ ਕੂੜੁ ਲਹਨਿ ਭੇਡਾਰੇ
    Onā ḏā bẖakẖ so othai nāhī jā▫e kūṛ lahan bẖedāre.
    There is no food for them there; the false go into the filth like sheep.


    ਜੇ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਨਰੁ ਖਾਵਾਈਐ ਲੋਚੀਐ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਢੈ ਮੁਖਿ ਉਗਲਾਰੇ
    Je sākaṯ nar kẖāvā▫ī▫ai locẖī▫ai bikẖ kadẖai mukẖ uglāre.
    If you try to feed the faithless cynic, he will spit out poison from his mouth.


    ਹਰਿ ਸਾਕਤ ਸੇਤੀ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਕਰੀਅਹੁ ਓਇ ਮਾਰੇ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰੇ
    Har sākaṯ seṯī sang na karī▫ahu o▫e māre sirjaṇhāre.
    O Lord, let me not be in the company of the faithless cynic, who is cursed by the Creator Lord.


    ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਸੋਈ ਕਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮਾਰੇ ॥੧॥
    Jis kā ih kẖel so▫ī kar vekẖai jan Nānak nām samāre. ||1||
    This drama belongs to the Lord; He performs it, and He watches over it. Servant Nanak cherishes the Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||1||


    Oh, and one last question: Why does it finish, on ang 317, with the word 'Sudh'?
    ਜਿਉ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਿਉ ਰਖੁ ਤੂੰ ਸਚਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਿ ਆਸ ਤੇਰੀ ਵਡ ਵਡੇ ॥੩੩॥੧॥ ਸੁਧੁ
    Ji▫o bẖāvai ṯi▫o rakẖ ṯūʼn sacẖi▫ā Nānak man ās ṯerī vad vade. ||33||1|| suḏẖ.
    If it pleases You, then save me, True Lord. Nanak places the hopes of his mind in You alone, O greatest of the great! ||33||1|| Sudh||


    Many thanks.
     
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    #1 Ishna, Oct 29, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
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  3. aristotle

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    Ishna Ji,
    The Gauree Vaar is a beautiful hymn, and the question you have posed are both natural and challenging. Though I may not be able to respond immediately due to paucity of time, I'll get back in a couple of days with whatever I can share.
     
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  4. aristotle

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    Ishna Ji,

    The Vaars mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj are derived from the war-poem genre of vernacular Punjabi poetry known by the same name. Though the events or war or unrest are not the subject of Gurbani Vaars, they show an extreme picture of language, may either be the radical change of season (as in Basant Ki Vaar), the growth of a new faith-system (as in Ramkali Ki Vaar by Satta and Balwand), or the stark contrast between the Gurmukhs and Manmukhs (as in the present Vaar).

    The sudden change of language you experienced was not the change of content matter, but the transition of poetic forms, from Shabads to Vaars.

    Before considering the verse you pointed out, I would like to quote from Shabad after the fourth Pauri,

    The Guru is described as without hatred, and as one who wishes the well of all. The Vaar then progresses to expose the contrasts of the Gurmukhs and Manmukhs, and the greatness of the true Guru.

    Now, coming to the tuk you quoted, it talks of cursing and killing the mammon worshipper, but does it really talk of physical harm or smiting by the Lord?

    To understand this, lets talk first about the structure of this Vaar. The Shabads/Saloks are given first, followed by Pauri and then the numeral of this set. Mostly, the Shabads and Pauri talk about the same topic as in the preceding verses, elaborating their meaning.

    If we consider the Shabad following the quoted verse,

    The Guru destroys the ominous spiritual death of the Gurmukh, the Manmukh who slanders the Guru (the
    Eternal Lord himself), the next line talks of 'Dargah'(ਦਰਗਹ) and 'Nanak' as the servant narrator (ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਗਮੁ ਵੀਚਾਰਿਆ), (Guru Sahib evidently isn't talking about himself) is smitten with spiritual death.

    The concept of 'blasphemy' or 'death to the disbelievers' is not highlighted here, and it is nowhere to be found in whole of Guru Granth Sahib.

    I suggest you read the Shabad/Salok and the Pauri that follows as a complete set, you'll be able to understand the Vaar better.
     
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    #3 aristotle, Oct 30, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  5. aristotle

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    Most of the larger Vaars end with a 'Sudh' or 'Sudh Kichey', which literalky means 'to refine'. It serves a dual purpose,

    * As the Vaars had works of multiple authors, so it was an instruction for the scribes not to change the order in which the verses were arranged by Guru Arjan Sahib. Also, it has been placed at the end of the Vaar to prevent anyone from adding anything at the end, which normally would not have been noticeable because of enormousity of the Vaar. So, even the larger heterogenous hymns such as these Vaars have been protected from tampering by Guru Sahib.

    * Secondly, they instruct the reader not to single out or selectively read the different constituents of the Vaar but to consider it a single unit. The Vaar ends as a single unit with the 'Sudh', not where individual Shabads, Saloks or Pauries end.
     
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  6. Ishna

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    Thank you so much Aristotle ji. I will re-read this Vaar and make more effort the read the shalok and paurhi groups in togetherness. My little brain struggles with the enormity of each set, to say nothing of the whole 17 pages! *collapses*
     
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  7. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    SHUDH KEECHEY means "CORRECTED". That is the Editorial Note /Remark made by the Editor of SGGS - Guru Arjun Ji Sahib.

    NO other person has the authority to do any Shudhhing...or refining...so its NOT an "instruction"..its a REMARK of an action already taken.

    Example of an INSTRUCTION is as written in sukhmani Sahib.."Eh salok aad aant parrhnna"..because the SAME SLOK appears twice..and some smart aleck may decide thats duplication and no need to read again..hence the clear instruction..READ THIS AGAIN.
     
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  8. Luckysingh

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    Although I haven't confirmed or checked with historical references (I didn't have time or patience), I am sure that Gyanji has mentioned somewhere else previously, that the real issue of fakes and fraudulent bani had began to surface during this time of Guru Ram Daas ji.
    (I'm sure Gyanji can elaborate and/or correct me as well!)
    - I think it became widely known that Prithi Chand, the eldest had become a kind of self taught master by watching and copying his father. He was pretty much convinced that he would be getting the guruship gaddiand at the same time he had many schemes that helped in pocketing sangats money as well.

    I'm sure Guruji was very familiar with encounters of slandering, deceit adn evil intentions which is why he may have addressed such issues in gurbani as in these vaars.
    As for the Shudh keechay as mentioned above - this was more evidence that fake or kachi bani was on the loose via Prithi Chand and then his son Mehraban also continued to do this as well sometime later..
     
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  9. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Ishna ji thanks for wonderful and invigorating threads and posts. Great contributions indeed.

    I saw the thread title and was ready to pounce till I fully read the other posts. The reason for premature invigoration was the concept I hold that there is but one thought or messaging in SGGS. So as a matter of fact there are not many flavors but one. Now if we break down flavors as experienced by each and every one uniquely based on their unique ability to taste, experience, absorb or contemplate then we will realize that in practical terms one flavor may appear as many different across thousands and millions of readers.

    What helps me to get to the essence of some parts of Gurbani is to treat the writers as great teachers. They may share a contemplative, logical, cool headed persuasion but like all teachers they must have also encountered dozing off students. Nothing like a little kick in the pants to get the attention and help in learning. This kick or style may be driven by local environ of the times, subjects of interest of the times, fables and beliefs of the learners and so on. Hence the beauty of variation versus monotony of singular style, rhythm or approach.

    I believe the others above have alluded to some aspects of the environ but I believe it is more fundamentally related to teaching in the most effective way to get the message across recognizing now as well as posterity.

    Just some thoughts.

    Sat Sri Akal.:kaurhug:
     
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