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Translating A Vaar of Bhai Gurdas. Please Help If You Can Understand Punjabi!

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by dalsingh, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Would the sangat bless me with their Punjabi skills. The following is from Vaar 5 Pauri 8 (Bhai Gurdas).

    I've been trying to understand it in Punjabi and some of translation that is given doesn't seem right. (i've put in square brackets what I understand, could the sangat help me with the words that I don't). Afterwards I can try and translate it. Please help.
    I couldn't get the Gurmukhi text in but you can view it at: (may need to download font).

    http://www.searchgurbani.com/main.php?book=bhai_gurdas_vaaran&action=pauripage&vaar=5&pauri=8



    soun sagun beechaaranae noun greh baareh raas veechaaraa||

    The life led in the light of omens, the nine planets, the twelve signs of the zodiac;

    [soun = monsoon season, same as saavan?. Sagun = auspicious. Beechaaranae = promoted/believed. Noun greh = nine planets. Baareh raas = twelve signs. veechaaraa = belief?]
    Line 1



    kaaman ttoonae aouseeaaan kan sohee paasaar paasaaraa||

    Incantations, magic divination by lines and by the voice is all futile.

    [kaamam = ?. Ttoonae = talisman. Aouseeaaankan=? sohee=? paasaar=? paasaaraa = ?]




    gadhon kuthae bileeaaan eil malaalee gidharr shhaaraa||

    Cries of donkeys, dogs, cats, kites, blackbirds and jackals cannot control our lives.

    [animals known but shhaaraa = ?]




    naar purakh paanee agan shhik padh hiddakee varathaaraa||

    It is superstitious to draw good or bad omens from meeting a widow, a bare headed man, water, fire, sneezing, breaking wind, hiccups;.

    [naar=women. purakh=man. paanee=water. agan=fire. shhik=sneeze. padh=breaking wind. hiddakee=hiccup. varathaaraa = ?]


    thhith vaar bhadharaan bharam dhishaashool sehisaa sansaaraa||

    Lunar and week days, lucky-unlucky moments and going or not going in a particular direction

    [thhith=lunar dates. vaar=days. bhadharaan=lunar month after savaan, considered unlucky. bharam=illusion/superstition. dhishaashool=direction, sehisaa=?, sansaaraa=the world.
    Line 5



    val shhal kar visavaas lakh bahu chukheen kioun ravai pathaaraa||

    If a women behaves like a prostitute and does every thing to please everybody, how can she be loved by her husband.

    val = way. shhal=fraud/ruse. kar visavaas = to trust. lakh=10,000. bahu=wife? chukheen=?. kioun ravai = why remain. pathaaraa=?


    guramukh sukh fal paar outhaaraa ||a||

    The gurmukhs who reject all superstitions enjoy happiness with their Lord and get across the world-ocean.
    sukh=peace. fal=fruits. paar= opposite bank. outhaaraa=disembarking.
     
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  3. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Don't all jump in at once!
     
  4. kaur-1

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    Maybe you could pm the giani from malaysia. He could most probably help you.

    Sorry das cant help
     
  5. dalsingh

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    Which giani from Malaysia?
     
  6. kaur-1

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  7. sikhmeansdisciple

    sikhmeansdisciple
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    Dear Dal Singh,

    Let me see if I can be of some help. I'm a "big picture" person, so let me try and give you the BIG PICTURE of what Bhai Gurdas is trying to say in this stanza.

    In lines 1-5 he lists a bunch of practices, folk beliefs, and what we may call "superstitions" that the people of his context relied on to live their lives. He is obviously very critical of these things coming from a Gurmat perspective.

    Line #6 is using the metaphor of a {censored word, do not repeat.} (an "unvirtuous woman") to underline his point that superstitions don't get you anywhere. The "{censored word, do not repeat.}" is the Manmukh who is swayed by the above-mentioned superstitions, and the "Husband" is the Guru/God.

    Do you see?

    Now the last line makes more sense: Bhai Gurdas is pointing to the Gurmukh, the opposite of the above-mentioned person, who doesn't believe in these things, is loved by God and Guru, and enjoys the "fruit of peace" (Sukhphal) while finding deliverance/liberation (Par Utara) from this messy world.

    Does that help?
     
  8. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Hey SMD,

    Thanks for your input. It was helpful and confirmed what i believed about the meaning of the var.

    On another thread we talked about misinterpretation of Gurbani and how often, the words in the translation don't strictly conform to the original.

    I think the above var is very important as a warning against superstitious beliefs (beham) but from my understanding the translator has added his own interpretation on the text. I think it would have been better to make a stricter translation and perhaps include a brief paragraph afterwards explaining it.

    For example I can't see the word that corresponds to "prostitute" in the original but my Panjabi isn't that takree so it could be an oversight.

    Also the use of the word "omen" in the first line, what is the Panjabi equivalent of omen? Is it soun?

    The concluding line goes:

    guramukh sukh fal paar outhaaraa ||a||

    Trans: The gurmukhs who reject all superstitions enjoy happiness with their Lord and get across the world-ocean.

    I feel a more accurate translation would have been:

    Through the peacegiving fruit [of Sikhi] Gurmukhs cross the worldly ocean to reach the opposite bank.

    (just realised how unpoetic I am! lol)
     
  9. sikhmeansdisciple

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    Your absolutely correct, Dal Singh, Jodh Singh's translation is very clumsy: sometimes too literal, sometimes he takes too much liberty with the work.

    I know for a fact that qualified Sikh scholars are working on these issues right now, and I expect that you will see a fresher, more accessible translation of Bhai Gurdas's works in the next few years. The Kabitt Sawaye are in particular need of translation because of the language difficulty in those texts.

    In the meantime, I highly recommend Hazara Singh/Vir Singh's VARAN BHAI GURDAS STEEK (in Punjabi from earlier in the 20th century).
     
  10. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Yeah,

    I'm hoping there is some new stuff in the kabits to give us a better understanding of Sikh theology.

    Bhai Nand Lal Goya's work also needs a full translation, I know some are available but a full work is needed. I hear Lou Fenech is working on something like that but if his previous work is anything to go by, expect a westernised attack on the fundamentals of Sikhism/Sikh history.

    I'm not too harsh on Jodh Singh because his work is a pioneering attempt. I had another small selection of translations published many years ago and distributed by The Sikh Missionary Centre in Southall (U.K.), but it to suffers from the limitations of Jodh Singh's work and is also highly selective in the choice of vars.

    But slowly slowly Sikh scholars will get there hopefully. What is disappointing is that the scholars from India do not seem to utilise the Sikh talent available in the diasporic Sikh communities of the west. They should liase, as we have better English skills than them.
     
  11. Archived_member2

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    Pray Truth for all and say Satsriakal!
    Dear all!

    "guramukh sukh fal paar outhaaraa"
    Guru's mouth is Sukh fruit, leads across.


    Balbir Singh
     
  12. dalsingh

    dalsingh
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    Thanks for that Balbir, nice attempt but it has to make sense in context.....not TOO literal mate


    Not that I am any better...lol
     
  13. Archived_member2

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    Pray Truth for all and say Satsriakal!
    Dear Dalsingh Ji!

    I find it difficult to understand Bhai Gurdas Ji's Vaars. For example "guramukh sukh fal paar outhaaraa" means "Guru's mouth is Sukh fruit, leads across."

    We know from Gurdev that Naam leads one across or Shabad is the boat that takes one across the 'Bhav-saagar'.

    How does a fruit, according to Bhai Gurdas Ji, take one across is not clear?


    Balbir Singh
     
  14. roopsidhu

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    SSA to all brothers
    The Pauri of vaar 5 in question is:-
    soun sagun beechaaranae noun greh baareh raas veechaaraa||
    kaaman ttoonae aouseeaaan kan sohee paasaar paasaaraa||
    gadhon kuthae bileeaaan eil malaalee gidharr shhaaraa|
    naar purakh paanee agan shhik padh hiddakee varathaaraa|
    thhith vaar bhadharaan bharam dhishaashool sehisaa sansaaraa||
    val shhal kar visavaas lakh bahu chukheen kioun ravai pathaaraa||
    guramukh sukh fal paar outhaaraa ||

    Let's first note the word meanings line by line
    Soun = from Hindu "saun shashtar" science of studying shagun and upshaguns, Sagun = shagun (good happening). Better to read both first words together as soun sagun which would mean study of shagun and upshaguns. Beechaarnae = to study, Noun greh = nine planets, Raas = rashi (horoscope) veechaaraa = studied.
    Kaaman = wish, ttoonae = magical incantation, aouseeaaan = drawing lines on earth, kan = Another magical way practices by hindu which is called kan nikalana also, sohee = that same Paasaar = publicity , parchaar message, paasaaraa = spread.
    Gadhon = donkey, kuthae = dogs, bileeaaan = cats, eil = eagle, malaalee = Shayama (an animal) , gidharr = Jackal , shhaaraa = a kind of crow.
    Naar purakh = man woman, paanee = water, agan = fire, shhik = sneezing Padh = breaking wind (passing of wind noisily, hiddakee = hiccups, varathaaraa = behavior
    thhith = Dates as per Hindu lunar system, vaar = days, bhadharaan = dates of dooj saptami etc as per hindu calendar, bharam = doubt, dhishaashool = study of going or not going to a particular direction on a particular time, sehisaa = scared, sansaaraa = world
    Val shhal kar = doing tricks and duping, visavaas = believe, lakh = a unit of conting, bahu = several, chukheen = very little, kioun = why, ravai = speak, pathaaraa = insulting language
    guramukh = Guru's follower, sukh = comfort, fal = fruit, paar = across the sea, outhaaraa = landing across the sea
    After studying all the word meanings carefully the abouve pauri can be explained as given hereunder:
    They study of the science of good or bad happenings, nine planets and by study twelve houses of horoscope. By magical incantations to fulfill wish, drawing lines on earth, picking up the kaan (particle) etc is also that same message (parchaar) is being spread. They believe in Donkey, dogs, cats, eagles, shayama bird, jackals, and a kind of crow. Hindu calendar dates, days, dooj saptam days, and the doubt of study of going to different directions (dishashool) has scared the whole world. Why they do tricks and duping after taking in confidence and many or little times why they utter insulting words. The fruit and the comfort of being guru's disciple is "happy landing across the worldly ocean".
    Central idea: - To believe in shaguns, upshaguns, planets, horoscopes, magical incantations, drawing lines is all useless. Same way to link the happenings to the animal's birds, dates, days, and direction is also useless. These all lead us to cheating, tricking, duping, and speaking insulting words. These all above things do nothing good for our daily life or spirituality. The best way to land cross the sea of spirituality (bhav saagar) is being gurmukh (disciple of the great guru)

    I hope this reply will help some one from Sangat
    Roop Sidhu
     
  15. roopsidhu

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    SSA to all bros
    Sorry I have missed expaination of the fourth line which says
    "naar purakh paanee agan shhik padh hiddakee varathaaraa|"
    Means
    "to believe on superstitions like gender, water, fire, sneezes, hiccupd and breaking of wind etc is being practiced.
    pls add this to the previous mail
    RoopSidhu
     
  16. dalsingh

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    Roop,

    Thanks for that. Your Panjabi Vocabulary is very good!!! How did you develop it?
     
  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    gadhon kuthae bileeaaan eil malaalee gidharr shhaaraa||

    Cries of donkeys, dogs, cats, kites, blackbirds and jackals cannot control our lives.

    [animals known but shhaaraa = ?]

    shrarra is the "sound..concert..mixture of the sounds....of all the animals together..."

    Gyani jarnail Singh
     
  18. Canuck Singh

    Canuck Singh
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    Wonderful thread
     

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