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One line Poem in SGGS

Discussion in 'Gurmat Vichaar' started by Gyani Jarnail Singh, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Dear all,

    I came across this fine article on the poetic style in SGGS. I hope it is of benefit to the readers of SPN.

    Gyani jarnail Singh Malaysia

    One Line Poem in Guru Granth Sahib Ji

    Written by Nanak Singh Nishter

    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    A Japanese poet introduced “One-line poetry” to the modern world at the end of the nineteenth century. Named as Haiku, this type of poetry denotes a new and self-contained style of short poetry. It was developed in Japan some 400 years ago. In recent times, various poetic movements have also deliberately produced one-line poems. In the early part of the twentieth century, a French poet wrote one-line poetry. It was followed by English poets in England and United States. Currently, it is quiet popular in English literature. Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which was compiled between 1599 and 1604, also contains one-line poetry. Readers and scholars alike are not aware of this most precious literary heritage of India, which was composed much before people of the world could imagine about it. Unfortunately, there is no literature or record in libraries, archives or museums to substantiate our claim. There is no writing on this pattern of poetry even in the history of Hindi, Punjabi or any other literature. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is much more than a spiritual guide and world teacher for honest living, uniting people and upholding dignity of all castes, creed and gender. It is also a matchless treasure for protection of Indian civilization, classical ragas, reference to historical events, inspiration for sovereignty for individuals, religions and the country. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is an un-imaginary literary collection which can serve to be the source of guidance and inspiration for the dead souls of entire humanity and preparing them to meet the multifarious challenges of life for generations to come.The Bani (hymns) of Bhagats in Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Raag Sarang starts from page1251. It contains two shabads of Bhagat Kabir Ji, three shabads of Bhagat Namdev Ji and one shabad of Bhagat Parmanand Ji. The total number of shabads at the last is given as 6. Afterwards there is only one line:
    Chaad mun Har bemukhan ko sung.It means, “O ‘my mind, get rid of the company of non-believers of God.”No heading is given to it nor is any number given after this line. This one line contains the complete text of a teaching. In no way can this one line can be described as a missing line from another poem. This is a complete poem in itself and is in concurrence with the meters of the classical Raag Sarang. This style of poetry is called One-Line Poetry, which has disappeared from Indian soil. It is gaining popularity throughout the world and has attained a significant position in English poetry. Regrettably, various translators of Gurbani have not done justice to this unique concept. Almost all of them have described it as one line of a shabad, but hardly has anyone described it as a shabad of one line. The prime reason is that this art of poetry has vanished from this land and nobody is aware of it.After this one line, the shabad is inscribed with the heading of “mhlw 5 sUrdws” i.e., “Shabad of Guru Arjan Sahib Ji with Surdas”, which has been placed as an explanation with reference to this shabad of Bhagat Surdas Ji. In this shabad, Guru Sahib has suggested the ways and means to get rid of the company of non-believers. After this, the total number of Shabads is given as 8. This clearly indicates that the one line of Bhagat Surdas Ji has been taken as a complete shabad. That is why the total number of shabads is given as 8 to the shabad after this one line shabad. After this shabad there is one shabad of Bhagat Kabir Ji and the total number shabad is given as 9, which ends the shabad of Raag Saarang chapter.Apart from this there is a two-line shabad of Guru Arjan Sahib Ji on page 927 with the heading “Raag Ram Kali Mohalla Punjwan”. This shabad also delivers complete meaning of the shabad, in just two lines and is complete in the meters of the classical Raag Ramkali.
    Raag Ramkali Mohalla VRunjhunjhunda gavo sakhi Har ek dhyiyavaho.Satguru tum sev sakhi mun chindiyada phal pavaho.It means, “O ‘friends, sing the melodious songs praising the Absolute One God. O ’friends, by reflecting upon Satguru (God), the desires will be fulfilled.” Why are we not aware of these facts? How many of us know what is Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and why was Guruship conferred on it? In recent years we have formed committees of Satkar (respect), resulting in not allowing the convenient handing over of Guru Granth Sahib Ji to persons desirous of having Parkash in private chapels in their homes. Some babas and sants are busy collecting huge sums of money for construction of “Angitha Sahib”. They are keener on collecting bodies of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and cremating them at several places. According to the 2001 Census, 39.45% of the Sikhs are totally illiterate and maximum illiteracy is in Panjab. A large number of people in Panjab do not know how to read or write any language! Out of those who know how to read, how many of read Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a question each Sikh should ask oneself.In the year 1999, we celebrated the “Khalsa Tercentenary” at Takht Keshgarh Sahib and conferred the title of “Nishan-i-Khalsa” to Khuswant Singh. In one of his well-read columns, which appeared in leading newspapers of the country in June 2004, I was astonished to read his remark, “Having spent the best part of my life working on Sikh history and translating selected passages of Gurbani, I felt I owed it to myself to read the Granth Sahib from cover to cover”. In the least, he was honest. If this is the position of the ninety year old “Nishan-i-Khalsa” title holder, what about the ordinary Sikh? We do not read Guru Granth Sahib Ji ourselves, nor do we allow others to have easy access to its content. It is the need of the hour for every Sikh to think over this issue, do soul-searching and devise novel means to popularize the contents of our Guru Sahib, instead of converting it into an icon of worship, which is plainly antithetical to the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which repeatedly cautions Sikhs and everyone else, not to worship any object, except the One Formless God.Sikhism is the latest of all the religions. Bearing in mind the shortcomings of the existing religions, it was modeled to meet the worldly and spiritual challenges of coming generations. It is designed on the basis of the experience and genius of ten Guru Sahibs, over their life-span of 239 years. Guruship was conferred on Guru Granth Sahib Ji to teach and Sikhs were asked to constantly learn from it. It is a compilation and collection of the teachings of six Gurus and thirty other pious souls over a period of five hundred years from Hazrat Baba Sheikh Farid Ji (1175-1265) to Guru Teg Bahadar Ji (1621-1675). It is a unique theological compendium in multiple languages spoken in the Indian sub-continent.Rituals and rites are not religion in Sikhism, Shabad (knowledge) and its implementation is its true essence. Every learned Sikh should consider it his earnest duty to know the philosophy, ideology and scriptures of his privileged faith. Every Sikh should read and recite the entire Guru Granth Sahib Ji at least once in his lifetime if possible repeatedly, before their relatives arrange the Bhog of the Path for the peace of his soul. This will bring about immense positive change in one’s life. The last Path (recitation) arranged by relatives at the time of departure of the soul from this world may not alter one’s fate.

    Nanak Singh “Nishter”
    The relationship of the Guru and Sikh is that of teacher and student. Without learning from our Guru and without following the relationship, can we claim to be a Sikh? Those of us, who cannot read Gurbani in Gurmukhi script, should resolve to learn it. In consonance with the teachings of our Gurus, we should teach atleast one Sikh, either from our family, neighbourhood or even a stranger, to read and understand Gurbani. Let us pledge, “Each One–Teach One” Gurbani in Gurmukhi Script. This will make you proud of your faith and continue a chain of learning for generations to come. Nanak Singh “Nishter” is a Hyderabad based orator, writer and Urdu poet, whose poetry collection on the genocide of Punjab has been published under the title, “Safed Lahoo”. He is an activist-academician making immense contribution to the social and cultural welfare of Sikh society. He has presented papers at national and international seminars on Sikhism and social problems. He is director of International Sikh Centre for Interfaith Relations. He is presently in Houston, USA. He may be contacted at

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