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Trouble Understanding This Pauree of Bhai Gurdas

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Ishna, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Ishna

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    May 9, 2006
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    I've recently been reading Bhai Gurdas Vaars.

    I was reading Vaar 2, Pauri 6. I continued reading as many examples were given.

    However, I still struggle with the very last line of this Pauri (highlighted in green). I think the translation might be a little off. Can someone please help me to understand it?

    ੬ : ਸੰਗਤ ਦਾ ਅਸਰ-ਨਾਨੱਤ੍ਵ

    ਸੋਈ ਤਾਂਬਾ ਰੰਗ ਸੰਗਿ ਜਿਉ ਕੈਹਾ ਹੋਈ।
    Soee Taanbaa Rang Sangi Jiu Kaihaan Hoee.
    सोई तांबा रंग संगि जिउ कैहां होई ।
    Mixing with tin, the copper transforms into bronze.
    1 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੧

    ਸੋਈ ਤਾਂਬਾ ਜਿਸਤ ਮਿਲਿ ਪਿਤਲ ਅਵਲੋਈ।
    Soee Taanbaa Jisat Mili Pital Avaloee.
    सोई तांबा जिसत मिलि पितल अवलोई ।
    The same copper mixed with zinc appears in the form of brass.
    2 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੨​

    ਸੋਈ ਸੀਸੇ ਸੰਗਤੀ ਭੰਗਾਰ ਭਲੋਈ।
    Soee Seesay Sangatee Bhangaar Bhuloee.
    सोई सीसे संगती भंगार भुलोई ।
    Copper mixed with lead changes pewter, a brittle metal called bharath in the Punjab.
    3 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੩

    ਤਾਂਬਾ ਪਾਰਸਿ ਪਰਸਿਆ ਹੋਇ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੋਈ।
    Taanbaa Paarasi Parasiaa Hoi Kanchan Soee.
    तांबा पारसि परसिआ होइ कंचन सोई ।
    With the touch of the philosopher’s stone, the same copper becomes gold.
    4 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੪​

    ਸੋਈ ਤਾਂਬਾ ਭਸਮ ਹੋਇ ਅਉਖਧ ਕਰਿ ਭੋਈ*।
    Soee Taanbaa Bhasam Hoi Aoukhadh Kari Bhoee.
    सोई तांबा भसम होइ अउखध करि भोई ।
    When transformed into ashes copper becomes a medicine.
    5 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੫

    ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਗੁਣ ਗੋਈ ॥੬॥
    Aapay Aapi Varatadaa Sangati Goun Goee ॥6॥
    आपे आपि वरੴतदा संगति गुण गोई ॥६॥
    Likewise, though the Lord is omnipresent, yet the effects of the company of man are different over men. Knowing this much, the Lord is eulogised in the holy congregation.
    6 ਵਾਰਾਂ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ : ਵਾਰ ੨ ਪਉੜੀ ੬ ਪੰ. ੬
    Many thanks.

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Re: Trouble understanding this - Bhai Gurdas

    Ishna ji

    What is it about the line highlighted in green that you find puzzling? Do any of the preceeding lines provide you with context clues as to what that line means?
  4. Ishna

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    Spnadmin ji

    I knew someone was going to ask me that! *facepalm*

    I continued to read the following pauris last night as they are more examples of the metal metaphore -- using the idea of water which changes when things are added to it, cotton which is spun to become thread which becomes clothing but is still cotton, etc.

    Reading the other pauris I understood them to be illustrating how the Creative Force permeates everything and everyone and the Gurmukh is lucky who can realise that amid the variety of creation.

    And then I came back to the green sentence, and I think it might just be that the English is not written well (or it is explaining an entirely foreign concept to me), because it literally doesn't make sense to me.

    Likewise, though the Lord is omnipresent, yet the effects of the company of man are different over men. Knowing this much, the Lord is eulogised in the holy congregation.

    The Lord is omnipresent (the "copper", or the "cotton", or the "water").

    Yet the effects of the company of man are different over men. Is this saying that people will influence other people with different ways of thinking?

    Or is the man the copper and the company they keep the other elements they come in contact with which changes their presentation to the world?

    Bhai Gurdas goes on in the following example pauris and always re-iterates the omnipresence of Waheguru at the end of the pauri -- he never again mentions the "company of people" and I've found more in his writing which supports the "congregation is with Guruji, not people" theory. I haven't read much of his writing thought so I can't really put too much into it yet.

    So with these conflicting pre-conceptions, I have no idea how to interpret the line in green. It doesn't keep the theme of following pauris, I don't think.

    I would like to say, it means "people have different opinions and influence over others but at the core is none but Waheguru" but I feel I'm distorting the words to suit my own agenda.

    Okay, dragging my sick Sikh bottom to work now... *sniffle*
  5. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
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    Dec 21, 2010
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    Ishna ji some thoughts that may be at variance on the English translation,

    I stand corrected like always and all errors are mine.

    Sat Sri Akal.
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    Jul 4, 2004
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    While we are constantly encouraged to seek the company of saadh sangat...saintly men, spiritual men and women etc...Gurbani also ACTIVELY DISCOURAGES us form BAD COMPANY....."SAKAT SAANG NA KEEJEAH...dont even go near a sakat..an atheist..the unspiritual..the ungodly...I wonder if you people are aware that the Books of the HINDU religion are also infiltrated by the SAKAT SECT...the sect that worships MAHA KAAL..Demi-God drinker of blood, encourager of free ses, sex orgies, wild parties, nudism, alcohol etc. This SAKAT literature is also the suspected one in Dsm Granth..undermining all thats good and saintly in SGGS and trying to fosit itslef on the Sikhs just as it has successfully infiltrated Hinduism and mixed itslef so well its undistingushable from real Hinduism....
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