Sri Guru Granth Sahib- The linguistic techniques.
The study of literature demands language to be made the basic and centre-point of attention because like any creative job, the literary creativity has to grapple with the medium of expression (language), its limitations as also its potential. Being the main means of constructive effort made through cultural institutions and in the background of its peculiar characteristics,a language becomes a driving force in cultural activity. On the other hand, literature and culture walk in step. Therefore the recognition of the creative nature of a language is very essential to understand the true import of literature written in a language. It can be said in this context that many writers devise such methods as do not let the limitations of the language stand in the way of their creativity, still this point is worthy of attention that the devising of these methods cannot overstep the creative nature of the concerned language.
The above comment goes to point to the fact that the linguistic techniques of a literary work can be discussed only by going into the language used and the method thereof. From this point of view, it is a difficult problem to initiate discussion about ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib – its language and techniques applied’ because so far the solutioin, acceptable to all, has not been found as to which is the language used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. To delve deeper into its features, is a question to be tackled later. In this regard, it has been seen that all the scholars of the linguistic aspect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib link the different Banis to different languages. These languages number nearly a dozen, of which those mostly mentioned are : Sant-Bhasha, Braj Bhasha, Punjabi, Sehaskriti, Gatha, etc.
As a matter of fact, for the study of linguistic aspect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, ‘two-time method’ –which has been used so far, should be replaced by one-time method which seems to be more meaningful. The one-time method of linguistic study raises the point that Sri Guru Granth Sahib’s language could be divided into two sections: (1) Spoken language, (2) Written language. The written language form (Sehaskriti, Gatha, etc.) – which has been used in name only – has perhaps been symbolically used by way of relationship with the ancient literary heritage. Of course, these language forms too, by and large, appear to be spoken language forms. Thus basically, the language of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is that of the spoken-language forms. Viewed carefully, in these different language-forms (regional languages), in spite of local diversity, there is a unity also. It seems that in the Bani of different writers belonging to different religions, castes, reigions, or even holding different views, there is a unity of purpose and in the same way, in spite of use of many languages, there is a unique linguistic unity. This owes its origin to the linguistic methodology of those languages which have been discussed in brief in this paper. Because of being the first attempt of its kind, it is possible that there may be some luacunae from which the first attempt generally suffers. It would be appororpriate to say in this context that no offence is meant to any one nor any feelings are intended to be hurt in this attempt, still I seek forgiveness in advance for any lapse on my part.
The linguistic methodology of Sri Guru Granth Sahib can be divided into two classes. (1) literary methods;and (2) compilation methods. As their names suggest, the first type of methods (literary) are those which have been used by the writers of Bani at the common level; and the second, are those which were applied by Sri Guru Arjan Dev at the time of compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
As far as literary linguistic methods are concerned, the leading one is the use of language as a revolutionary tool. This method could be regarded as the contribution of the Bhagati Lehar (Movement) and Sri Guru Granth Sahib can aptly be considered as the Most Important achievement of the movement. The Bhagti Movement, mainly was the voice raised against the destructive divisions prevailing in the human race – social, political, economic, religious, etc. and the virtues of an ideal man have been highlighted. In fact, the thought process behind the Bhagti Movement was used a tool aimed at seeing the people in high spirits and it was conscious of the decline prevailing in the minds of the people because of the imposition of the foreign language (Persian) of the rulers under duress.
Ghar ghar Mia sabhna jian, boli avar tumari (SGGS, p.1191)
(Everyone is speaking the other language. ‘Mia’ is in use in all houses.)
Khatria ka dharma chhodya malelchh bhakhya gahi (SGGS, p.663)
(The role of Kashtriyas has been given up,and the foreign language adopted).
Therefore the great men involved in the Bhagati Movement made use of the language of the people as the medium of sending across their message to them. The people’s language being connected with a particular region, in the writings of every hymn writer there is the local touch. In spite of the difference of such local nature, these writings are very close to one another in the language aspect. The reason for this is that the regional languages are connected with the process of evolution of the Indo-Aryan branch of the language and the differentiation in the new emerging regional languages was almost missing. In the circumstances the writers of Bani adopted a method which played a major role in bringing together the regional languages despite their diversity. This method is related to selection of words.
The linguistic register of a literary text is in accord with its subject matter. The entire text of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the register of religious vocabulary. The point to note in this context is that all the writers of Bani have made a conscious effort to use the vocabulary of this register, without limiting it to a particular region, or a particular view, or a faith, or a language. For example, some of the vocabulary connected with different points of view is as under: Ancient Hindu religion- Incarnation, transmigration of soul, salvation, highest state, recital, etc.
Budhism-Sunn (Zero-state), Sehaj (equipoise), Nirban (salvation), etc.
Yogmat – Posture, meditation, unstrung sound, salutation,etc.
Islam- Bandgi (Meditation, Prophet, Nadri-i-karm (Grace),
Iman (faith), etc.
Many of the Banis of Guru Granth Sahib tend to make use the vocabulary of a particular type(circle). Such word circle basically, seems to be connected to the thought process which the writer has chosen as the main topic. Regarding such a difference as the difference of language, would not be on scientific lines.
Many concepts of the religious philosophy are found to have been expressed in more than one word. Through the different words used for the same concept in different ways, an attempt has been made to create an effecttive seriousness in expression. For example, the main concept of the relevant register is Parmatma (God), for whom countless names have been used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. ‘One concept but more than one word’ could be explained by way of taking two words coming from the same source – (1) Sahib and (2) Khasam. These two words mean ‘Master’ but the difference between the two implies that the Master taken to mean Sahib is different from the Master taken to mean Khasam.In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the choice of a particular word for a particular concept appears to be in accordance with the import thereof.
Duplication is a peculiar form of usage in the Indo-Aryan languages. At the spoken level, it has been extensively used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. To make this point of view more explicit, the following would speak for itself –
Janam Jana ka vichhrya miliya.
Sadh kripa tai sooka harya.(SGGS p.102)
(By the Grace of holymen, those separated in the different lives, have met. With Grace of the holymen, the dried up (plant) has become green again.) Ghat-ghat vajai kinguri, andin sabad subhai SGGS p.62
(The fine tune rings in every heart day and night) Dhan dhan O Ram ben bajai.
Madhur madhur dhun anhat gajai.1. rahau(Namdev,p.988)
(The tune of Rama is heard, blessedly. It is so sweet, so melodious and unstrung)
Like the lexical items, the writers of Bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib adopted the method of keeping the grammatical items in unison. Such items of a regional language – connective and auxiliary – have not remained limited to a particular writer or that region.It has been seen generally that making use of an item of a particular reigional language, some change of form has been made to suit the context.
Nadri avai tis sio moh (SGGS p.801)
Jau tum apnai jan sio kaam. (SGGS, 331)
Bajigar sau mohe preet ban ayee. (SGGS p.487)
Another linguistic method found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is with regard to the vowel signs. The main purpose of this method is to construct more than one word by making a slight change in vowel signs. As –
a-1. Antar (difference) Tohi mohi antar kaisa, p.93
a-2.Antar(Inside):Antar bahar Hari Prabhu eiko.p.445.
b-1 Kar (tax). Gau Brahmin kaur kar lavahu, p.471
b-2 Kar (Hand. Kar Kar tehal rasna gun gavau,p.189
b-3 Kar (by doing): Kar kirpa Hari Nam divaio,720
c-1 Dhan (wealth): Sanch dhan Hari pooj Satgur,51
c-2 Dhan (Blessed: Dhan janani jin jaiya dhan pita pardharn. P.32
The vowel signs at the end of words (kanna, sihari, bihari, Aukar, etc.) have been used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib in different types of grammatical forms, as a means of communication. The leading ones of these are, gender, number, case, etc. It has come to notice that in the case of singular number feminine and masculine gender, different types of word-endings are found but in the plural number, it is the same for both the genders, like
(u-end ) (consonant-end) (e-end)
Ehu Eeih eihi
Ohu Oh Ohi
Sabhu Sabh Sabhi
Avaru Avar Avari
Similary in the context of karak (case), the following line can be considered in which one word, because of its different endings, has been used thrice and in every form thereof, the case is in a different position:
Ahar sabhi karda phirai Aharu Iku na hoye.
Nanak jitu ahari jagu udhrai virla boojhai koye, p.965)
(One may try all means, but none works. Nanak, the means by which the world is saved Is rarely known to any one)
The phonology has also been placed systematically in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Up to the time of writing the Banis of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the words of some foreign languages (Arabic and Persian) had come in common use but the sounds created by these words did not come facilely on the native tongues. Similary some sound in the of forms of Indo-Aryan languages were getting away from people’s tongues. In the words of both these types, memorphis was done, which becomes an adopted method.
/za/ – /da/
/ksha/ – /kha/
/Sha/ – /kha/
/sha/ – /sa/
/ya/ – /ya, etc./
There is no doubt that nasal sound is a major sound of Indo-Aryan languages which has two levels, strong and mild. In the Gurmukhi script, for the first level ‘tippi’ is made use of and in Sri Guru Granth Sahib this sign is available. For the second nasalization level, a dot is used in modern Punjabi writing which is missing in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In the absence of this sign- ‘dot’ – in the case of many words, the pronunciation is different from the required pronunciation.These pronunciations are: oral and nasal.Viewed carefully, such words coming in any writing, are pronounced in accordance with the sign.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that different Banis incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib would have been received in different scripts. It is just possible that such Banis – which were in non-Gurmukhi script would have been transliterated in Gurumukhi script and Guru Arjan Dev had arranged the spellings in a scientific way and might have exercised some editorial discretion, in the same manner as, in order to maintain uniformity, many measures were adopted. This effort could be taken as the intial linguistic editorial device.
The methodology adopted by Sri Guru Arjan Dev in the compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the linguistic approach vis-à-vis Chhand-praband (arrangement of meter). It is very clear that in the versified form of writing, the vowel signs need a special attention to be paid. On the other hand, in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, as stated above, in the case of word-meanings the vowel signs have been used grammatically. Guru Arjan Devji used this method when the rhyming necessitated uniformity of sound. As a solution to this problem, Guru Arjan Devji put both types of vowel signs with the consonants. Mainly, to deal with such a situation, these are the vowel signs – Aunkar and Hora (Auo and O signs) (signs of high and low sounds)
Muol amuol na paiai vanaji na lijai hati. p.1087
Sukh saguoro paya sahej subhaya janam maran dukh harai, p.11223
Mai andino sud sud sada Hari japiya Hari Nao, 120l
The different linguistic forms found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are the product of branches of Indo-Aryan language, the direction and evolution of which has been on utilitarian and non-utilitarian lines. The linguistic forms belong to that phase of evolution when the differences arising in them had not yet been established. At that time at the lexical and gramatical level there was ample similarity. Such similarly in these linguistic forms and as a consequence of the above stated use of linguistic methodology, the language of Sri Guru Granth Sahib – inspite of the local and regional dialectical touch – seems to have become a distinct language having its own character. Any suitable name can be given to this language, like, ‘Gurmat Bhasha’, ‘Bhagti Bhasha’, ‘Madhkali Bhagti Bhasha, etc. To examine the linguistic aspect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib on scientific lines, along with linguistics and grammar, music, poetics, religion, philosophy, etc., there is need for the linguists and expert scholars to come forward.
Sahib Singh (1990) : Gurbani Vyakaran, Singh Bros, Amritsar.
Padam, Piara Singh (1977): Sri Guru Granth Sahibn Prakash, Kalam Mandir, Lower Mall, Patiala.
‘Punjabi Duniya’ (1988): Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vishesh Ank, Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala. Sri Guru Granth Sahib-
Dr. Amritpal Kaur
In the present time, a creative work is studied from many angles. It is possible because any ‘writing’ at the same time is concerned with many aspects of life.Writer-society-culture, co-existence of the reader and the ‘writing’, are the main aspects. It is for this reason that a ‘writing’ is assessed in the light of different points of view by the critics who, no doubt, succeed in reaching some conclusions, but such a one-sided approach is a matter of concern.
Study of Gurbani is rather a very serious matter. History bears witness that study of Gurbani based on different models, has not been able to provide a clear lead to the readers. It is because Gurbani is written in verse form and its presentation is its singing in the form of Kirtan. In the religious context, this Bani is Guru’s Form. Being composed in verse, many aspects of poetics including its beauty, tend to inspire us in assessing it from poetic angle. From the point of view of music, its entire compilation being based on Ragas, its study from this angle draws our attention. The devotees and thinkers lay greater emphasis on the spiritual and moral aspect of the true import of Gurbani.Undoubtedly all this comes to us from the vast treasure that Gurbani is, but considering all the above stated aspects, it is almost impossible to determine a single approach. It is, therefore, necessary that we should make an over-all study of Gurbani to understand the true import of all these aspects.
The Writers of Gurbani are the Gurus and the Bhagat poets. They were fully conversant with the past and contemporary thought processes. The clear proof of this is the entire compilation pattern of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is well organized, balanced and disciplined. Based on the scientific lines, the compilation of Gurbani, has a distinct form in the context of the contemporary spiritual thinking. This special method keeps in view the communication skill because basically it is written for ‘Communication’, for conveying the message to the masses. Its writing process, its text and its presentation link it directly with communication. This communication methodology is of a distinct nature, which basically differs from an ordinary writing.This difference is not only because of the nature of Gurbani but it is quite apparent from its writing, its text and its written form.
The special feature of communication methodology is that, being in the form of words, it is not without its initial communication-oriented approach; ab initio, it is connected with a particular communication system of its own. This was adopted in the beginning by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. If we look into the exhortation given by Guru Nanak Dev in his Bani and the episodes from his life, the writing process of Gurbani and its direct relevance, becomes crystal clear. The literally meaning of Bani is ‘spoken word’ but in the context of Guru Nanak Bani, if this oral form is studied deeply, it is revealed that it is so very different from an ordinary oral expression. Direct and clear communication is established between the speaker and the listner but as soon as a word escapes the speaker’s lips, it gets away from the speaker and its re-presentation needs a mediator who can present it. This may be the spoken or the written word, repeating it in any form, simple or in a tune, would be different from the original form. Sometimes the latent meaning of these words are not possible to be presented and thus remain unexpressed. For the re-presentation of the spoken word, a system of communication has been consciously devised and followed. From the communication angle, this is also of great significance as the writer of Gurbani, Guru Nanak Dev, does not claim or show to be its author in any way. According to him this Bani is, Khasam-ki-bani (Master’s word)1, Khaliq-da-adesh 2(Creator’s orders ), Param-Pita-Parmatma’s Command. 3. Guru Ji is presenting this Divine Command in His Will (Raza). It is medium is Shabad (Word). In the Bani, the word has been turned into sound and meaning. Here the Shabad basically is the revelation of spiritual Truth and mystique and the way to salvation, getting across the ocean (of life). Thus using the word in double-meaning, to attain the ‘Nirbhaipad’ (state of fearlessness), by means of unity of shabad and mind awakening the state of ‘unstrung sound’. 4
The Shabad form denotes God. In it lies the spiritual experience of the ‘Inaccessible’, ‘Invisible’, ‘Unexplainable’, and Timeless, to sing His praises, Guruji is making use of the different powers of the Word. The Bani being, Khasam-ki-bani, ‘Khaliq-da-adesh’or Command, it is indicative of the fact that Guruji is according the first position to the Revealed Word and the second position to ‘Gyan’ (knowledge). This gyan is based on the orders. Here Gyan is not a philosophy nor does it conform to any pre-concevied idea of the listener. Rather this is the adoption of different means of communication to convey the message through Gurbani.Worldy methodology is created to convey the Divine Message which is very difficult to analyse in all its perspectives. Guru Nanak’s asking Mardana, “Shabad chit kar, tau bajhon Bani sur nahin awandi, Maradnya, rabab wajai” (Mind the Word,Mardana, without you Bani is not getting tuneful, play the rebec) (Puratan Janam Sakhi, p.71) helps to understand Bani and the role of the bard. This important ‘saying’ suggests in the ‘Word-building’ role of poetics and music or joint action helps to analyse it at word level.
Bani in its Shabad form (Word) is incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We also accept it as our Guru. These words are not
Jaisi mai awai Khasam ki Bani, taisra kari gyan vai Lalo. Tilang Moh 1. P.722
Khalaq kau ades dhadi gavna. Mo. 1 Var Majh p.148
Hau apahu bol na janda, mai kahya sabh hukmau jio. Suhi Mo.1, p.763
Khat-mat dehi man bairagi. Surat Sabad Dhun antar jaagi. Wajai anhad maira man leena, Gurbachni mach Nam patina, pp. 903-4
… Gur chailai apna manu manya, Nank dooja mati samanya. 8. there in the form of silent writing only but also like a Living Guru eternally working to achieve the divine objective. The outer form of Bani is in the shape of writings compiled in a systematic way. Different indications, headings and references and its discipline, in its outer form, pointe to its role as communicator of the Divine message. When we try to study these signs, headings and the systemetised compilation by the Guru, along with the communication methodology, we come to know about its inner meaning articulated so very well. It appears clearly from this that the study of Gurbani includes its outer and inner forms, the spirit behind it.
The Bani is before us in its poetic form. The poetics of Gurbani has all the elements of excellence, beauty and clarity. Different forms of poetics, rising above the artistic and egoistic stance, are interwoven in the fabric of Bani ever trying to spread the gospel. The medium of the Divine message is the language, which is at work as a powerful means. The experiments with language have been made in Gurbani for multiple objectivity. Firstly, it presents the artistic form of word power in different meters, bringing to the fore its contextual background and contemporary historical relationships. Secondly, is its special style of writing which contains in itself several communication methos. By means of these methods the message of Gurubani is conveyed to the people. It is for this reason that the human mind, human thinking and human consciousness play a great part in this regard.These are the elements which get together to make Gurbani so popular and ever alive. In order to convey to the people the mystique of Gurbani, to touch their mind and intellect, the folk lore too has been made use of consciously. These are capable of highlighting the importance and aim of Gurbani. Besides its writing, its presentation in the musical form is an important method in accord with musical notes. It is quite evident from the above methodology that the poetics, language, folklore and music have been used as part of communication methodly. The independent existence of these methods is clearly visible as also their working together as communication units to convey the message.
The message of Gurbani flowing through Bani is not merely a message which caters to the seeker’s material and other worldly needs by revealing the mysteries and assuming a philosophical stance, it deals with the day to day human life in its spiritual, social and intellectual perspective. For this reason Gurbani is a writing of live communication system for the entire world at large. It has not been conceived keeping in mind a particular faith, region, class or individual nor in the contemporary context directly concerning some section of society. As a matter of fact, its exhortation is common 1 for all the four classes of society, addressed directly as it is to the entire humanity. 2 Every section of society is its reader/listener who is imbibing its spirit. As the nature of the message is mysterious, it takes into account the mental make up, consciousness and totality of the human nature and devises means to send across its method effectively. Therefore the poetics, language folklore and music all become the mediums of communication. These communication methods and their working are outlined in the following diagram:
1.Khatri Brahmin, Sud Vaish updesh chahu varna kau sanjha. Gurmukh naamu japai kali main, ghat ghat Nanak majha. –Suhi Mo.5, p. 747
(The four castes of Hindus – have been given the common exhortation. Whosever recites His Name gets across the Ocean of Birth, in every heart dwells He, sayeth Nanak..
Parthaye saakhi maha purakh boldai Sanjhi sagal jahanai.
(Though exhorting someone, the message is common to all)
Gurbani has evolved its communications system in a scientific way through the above methodology which is directly and explicitly in tune with the readers/listeners’experience.
According to nature of communication based on the writer’s experience, the presentatioin in words of such experience, and the experience of the reader are three different entities but in spite of being separate from one another, because of their nature and reaility of purpose, they are one.The spiritual truth of Gurbani is not limited to the transfer process but it so systematizes itself in accordance with the scientific growth of the communication units that it is able to make the reader/listner share this experience in an unadultrated form.Undoubtedly the journey of the expression of deep and mysterious experience of the unseen on the part of writers of Bani and enlightening the reader/listener about such experience in all its purity sounds rather outside the realm of possibility, but still the communication units work continuously in unison to keep originality of thought intact, imparting knowledge to the reader/listener having regard to his psyche, background of conscious and sub-conscious build up. This is the reasons that the message to the entire class of readers/listeners is in consonance with the capability gained through experience, and it estsablishes an eternal unity between the sender and the receiver of the message. The disciplined manner in which the message of Bani reaches the reader/listener in all its intricate and subtle dimensions, achieving its aim, it is the scientific arrangement of the entire Bani. It appears to be appropriate here to make it clear that this system is not born of the meaningful nature of the collection of words, but it is poetry, put to musical measures, presenting itself in a unified form. As has been clarified earlier, the shortest unit of Bani is called a Shabad.The number of the Mohalla given in the beginning as its heading, denotes the Guru-poet. Thereafter comes the Raga and its poetic form. The different parts of the Shabad are didvided by numerals.
The line of ‘rahau’ (pause) lies in these poetic forms which is the central driving force. In it lies the intrinsic and central context. Getting inter-connected with the line of ‘rahau’, the other elements in the hymn have to act in unison. Thus the ‘rahau’ line determines the meaning and explanation thereof. The following examples are cited in this context:
Achhal chhalayee neh chhalai neh ghao katara kar sakai.
Jio Sahib rakhai tio rahai, is lobhi ka jio talpalai.1
Bin tel diva kio jalai.1.rahau. 1 (Question-answer method)
(The Guru-minded) is beyond the reach of deception, can’t be harmed even by a sharp edged weapon. He lives in accordance with His Will; the greedy person has a wavering mind. How can the lamp burn without oil. Pause (question-answer)
Ek na bhariya gun kar dhova.
Maira sahu jagai hau nis bhar sova.1.
Eon kyon kant pyari hova.
Sahu jagai hau nis bhar sova.1.rahau 2. (themic method)
Not one but (I am) tainted by countless sins, which can’t be washed. My Spouse keeps awake but I sleep the whole night.
How can then I be worthy of His love?
The Master is awake and I sleep the whole night.
Jog na khintha jog na dandai jog na bhasam charhayiai.
Jog na mundi moond mundayiai jog na singi vaiyiai
Anjan mahi niranjan rahiaai jog jugat iv paiyiai.1.
Galli jog na hoyee.
Ek drist kar mamsar janai jogi kahiai soyee.l.rahau. (Central importance)
(True yoga can’t be had by wearing the cloak of a yogi – the staff, and the smearing of ashes on body, wearing ear-rings, shaving off head or blowing horn. One should remain spotless in the midst of evil (soot). That is how the state of yoga is attained, and not by talking alone. One who treats everyone equally, is the true yogi.)
In the above ‘rahau-lines’ the nature of the word and its import are given in an easy way. Numerals 1, 2, 3 4, etc. follow these lines but the rahau-line is at work to elucidate the purpose. The rahau-line is the driving force behind the different communication units achieving the objective. When the Shabad is communicated in its entirety, it is able to help the reader/listener to know its import and experience it. It is worthy of attention here that on the self existence of every communication method the prod (control) of Bani has to enforced, freeing it of fanaticism and pettiness, and these units, accepting the ‘rahau’ as the centre-point work towards mainaining originality and scientific system.
In the process of communication emerging out of the above system of Bani, while becoming the basis of different communication units, we find countless examples where the ‘rahau’ line is absent but despite there being no indication of ‘rahau’, the communication is complete in all respects. Such a communication pattern is discernible in the following saloka from Asa-di-var (Guru Nanak):
Sam kahai setember suami, sach mahi aachhai saach rahai
Sabh ko sach samavai. Rig kahai rahya bharpoor.
Ram Nam deva mahi soor. Nai laiyiai prachhat jahi.
Nanak tau mokhantar pahi. Sri Rag Mo.1, pp.25-26
1. Sri Rag Moh. 1, pp.,25-26
2. Asa Moh1, p.356
3. Suhi Moh. 1, p.730
(According to SamVeda, the dress worn was white and living
was truthfully in Truth.(Satyuga) Truth pervaded everhwere. Rig says He is manifests everwhere, lives in every one and it is the main force accepted by gods as destroyer of sin. (Treta) It is the means of salvation, sayeth Nanak.)
Juj mahi jor chhali chandraval kanh Krishna jadam bhaya
Parjat Gopi lai aiya Bindraban mahi rang kiya.
Kal mahi Bed Atharvan hua nao Khudayee Allahu bhaya
Neel bastra lai kapdai pehrai Turk Pathani amal kiya.
Charai Ved hoye sachiar
Padhai guneh tin char vichar.
Bhau Bhagat kar neech sadai
Tau Nanak mokhantar paye.2 1
(According to Yajur Veda, in the Duapar yuga, It was believed that Krishna had seduced Chandraval, the milk maid, who brought the Parjaat Tree (Boon-giver) from Indra’s garden, and did merry-making in Bindraban) And the Atharvana Veda talking of the Kaliyuga says that God’s name becomes Khuda or Allah. The blue dress is worn and the ways of Turks and Pathans are adopted. Thus all the Four Vedas got authenticated. One should read them for their beautiful expression. One who considers himself humble and low shall attain salvation.
The above saloka, if studied carefully, brings before us the following points:
This saloka is from Assa di Var.
Its heading is – Assa Moh. 1 Var saloka nal salok bhi mohallai pehlai ke likhai-Tundai Asrajai ki dhuni.
Moh.1, indicates that Guru Nanak is the writer.
Assa Raag points to the Raga Assa, which has developed from the stream of Punjabi folklore. From this stream has been taken up the Var form of poetry. The salokas have been added before it.
To accord it the original form, it has been indicated to be sung to the tune of the noted folklore after ‘Tunda Asraja.’
The Tundai Asrajai ki dhuni in the folk lore stream is based on the folk tale which has its own relevance.
Though singing of Var is related to folk-singing, its own peculiar ‘free and easy manner’ has been given the prod of Bani over it and given the tuneful form. It has been placed under Raag Asa.
Its salokas as sung in raga-free style and the ‘Pauri’ is sung in accordance with the prescribed tradition.
‘Assa di Var’ being based on a raga, the devotional singers sing it as kirtan chauki (Morning Service singing).
Though salokas and Pauri are written together in this Var, Guru Arjan Dev began the tradition of singing it along with the Chants of Moh.4
In the salokas of the Var, different aspects of life have been depicted, both mythological and historical.
The spiritual truth is explained through different poetic symbols.
The references quoted in the salokas have been given in a cogent manner in order to convey the message to be imbibed by the reader/listener.
The entire saloka, through the different units of communication,
working through a unified system, conveying the message of Gurbani according to Gurbani systemization to occupy a firm place in the human mind. While the above communication methodology is simple and natural in its form, its originality and uniqueness is something unprecedented. The use of the Gurbani methodology devised by the Gurus and its study needs to be viwed in the context of its intrinsic value combining different elements in a unified manner because the different units of communication are inter-twined. Thus the context of the whole and the belief are joined together. The system has been devised only for the purpose of effective communication. The compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, different communication methods, elements, pointers and references prove this aspect so very well. This point also becomes crystal clear and self-evident that the Bani is the subject of bearing it in mind and (acting upon it truthfully). The people connected with the spiritual thought of Gurbani, the existence of the Sikh faith as a religion and the establishment of Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the Guru, are the clear examples of successful communication. It is therefore, very essential that Gurbani is understood in the context of its basic purpose as an effective tool of communication.