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Baba Bolte Thhey Kahan Gaiyeh

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Gyani Jarnail Singh, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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

    Jul 4, 2004
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    A commentary by my dear friend sardar Satnam Singh Ji on aShabad in gurbani.

    Sadh Sangat jio,

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh,

    Few days ago some veer jis on these forums had asked me to translate the hymn as mentioned in the subject above.

    So, let us try to understand the meaning of the hymn, by Bhagat Kabir Ji, the lines of the "rahaao" of which are : Baba Bolte te Kaha Gaye, Dehi ke sung rehte, ( Guru Granth Sahib ji, Page : 480).

    Many exegetes have created much confusion and the matters have been made worst by our ignorant and illiterate Ragis and Kathawachaks. It appears that they are not interested in the serious study of Gurbani and, as a consequence of it, they do not understand the underlying philosophy of the Gurbani. That is why they are found reciting it at the bhog ceremonies performed in memories of the deceased persons.

    Some well educated persons have also helped create and perpetuate this situation. For instance if one looks at the translation done by Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa one is bound to get confused. He gives literal meanings and many a time the meanings given by him are not in consonance with the Gurmat philosophy. One can refer to the translation of this hymn from the said version. The said translation reqires to be immediately recensed because it is readily available and majority of the people who use it are not fully conversant with the Gurmat philosophy and, therefore, unimaginable damage is being done to the propagation and undestanding of the Gurmat philosophy.

    The "rahaao" of this hymn goes like this:

    Baba Bolte te Kaha Gaye, Dehi ke sung rehte, surat maahi

    jo nirtay kartay kathaa baartaa kahtay. [ggs p 480]

    Baba = it is a common form of address and may be translated as, Dear sir, Brother, gentleman.etc ; Bolte = is the plural of Bolta which is a noun and, inter alia,means 'a thought'. Thus Bolte means the thoughts (that keep on rising in the whirlpool of our conciousness); Te = is not the Hindi word "the" and ,therefore, it does not mean 'were'. In fact it is the plural of the pronoun 'oh' (he or she) and it means 'they or those'. Incidently, in Sanskrit also this word 'te' is used as the third personal pronoun ; Dehi = the human body; Dehi ke sung rehte, means: which bided or remained with the body ,that is, which remained concerned with the body only; Surati Maahi= in your mind or consciousness; Niratey Kartey = used to dance, that is, used to rise and gyrate in the mind; Kathaa Barta kehtey= prompted conversation (centered round or related to the human body).

    O Brother (or dear sir), where have those thoughts vanished which hitherto bided with the body and used to keep on dancing (i.e. whirling in the mind) and, consequently, prompting conversation (i.e. making noise )about or centered round the body only?

    In fact, in this Shabad, Bhagat Kabir Ji depicts the mental condition of a person whose psyche has been edified and who is now living in the world and, being conscious of the ultimate concern of human existence, is no more enmoured of or distracted by the worldly attractions. When such a person casts a hindsight on his past, he is taken aback at the radical change that has taken place in his outlook.

    There was a time when he was so attached to the worldly desires that all the ideas that rose in his mind and his talks were related to the body only. That is, his mind was totally under the influence Maya (that is,the illusion superimposed upon the true being) ,and he regarded all external things as his own and he was totally involved in the worldly things and pursuits only. But now when, by the grace of the Amighty God, he is become dead to the mundane attractions, all those previous ideas and talks about body have taken wings to which place he does not know.

    Please remember that TOO MUCH attachment with the body is also form of Maya. Once a person is absorbed in Naam Simran ( remembrance of the Almighty God) all attachments with the body and the influence of Maya vanish.

    We must keep in our mind that Bhagat Kabir ji laid stress only on total self-surrender to and ceaseless remembrance of One God. He sedulously preached against withdrawal from the world.


    The central message conveyed through the above hymn becomes even more clear when we try to understand what Bhagat ji is telling us in following lines:

    "Keheh Kabir suno re santoh Meri meri jhoothi,

    Chigat Phar Charata ley gayo , tari Tagri Chooti

    " [ggs p 480]

    Chigat= Cage ; Charata= Male Sparrow (Parrot);

    Santoh = saints, Gurbani-oriented holy men.

    Says Kabir, listen O saints, false is to indulge in egoism (I-am-ness). Breaking the bird's cage, the death (cat / male cat ) takes away the bird (parrot) and the threads and yarns, are shorn.

    Here Bhagat ji has tried to convey that this body of which we are so proud of is destructible and is sure to perish one day. That is why Bhagat ji has given us a very simple example from daily life when he says Chigat Phar Charata ley gayo , tari Tagri Chooti. And he has tried to give us a message that it is useless to have egoism (I-am-ness) when we definitely will die one day. That is why he has given an example of Cat coming and breaking into the cage of Parrot and killing it and destroying the cage.

    I happen to see this in old towns where people used to keep Parrots in Cage, in their homes. There was always fear that cat will come and kill the parrot. And many a times cats were successful in catching their prey.

    Since Rahao conveys the central theme, I have tried to concentrate on Baba Bolte te Kaha Gaye, Dehi ke sung rehte. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Rahao is used because here we are required to pause and spend some time to concentrate and contemplate on the central idea conveyed in the concerned Shabad.

    Rest of the lines can also be translated and explained in a similar way and those lines only expatiate the central theme (Rahao) or explain it with the help of some imagery or examples.

    Bhul Chuk Muaf,

    Satnam Singh

    Posted By::) Jarnail singh
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  3. seekree

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    May 5, 2013
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    The scenario is right. This shabad is often sung during Antim Ardas and sangat becomes emotional about the deceased. Its correct interpretation is given by Jarnail Singh ji. I also found similar explanation by prof. Sahib Singh in his 10 volume set.
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  4. inder preet

    inder preet
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    Jun 11, 2013
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    gianiji is right that if we really know the true meaning of words then we will never misinterpret it and this thing is really lacking in many sikhs today whether they are small children,young youth or aged or even highly learned so it is very important to know the meaning and interpretations of the words to have the true knowledge of sikhism.i really appreciate it .
    thank you very much for helping us to know the correct meaning of this shabad.
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