Joti Bigas

From SikhiWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Joti Bigas is the joint title of two poetic compositions, one in Persian and the other in Punjabi, by Bhai Nand Lal Goya, a devoted Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh, much revered in Sikh piety and in letters. Bhai Nand Lal's verse is classed as approved Sikh canon and can be recited at religious assemblies along with the hymns of the Gurus. Both the works included Joti Bigas are in the nature of a fervent homage to the Gurus, all ten of whom are acclaimed as sharing the same light, the same voice speaking through ten bodies.

The work in Punjabi comprises forty three couplets whereas the one in Persian has 175 couplets. In the former, the first twentysix couplets are in praise of the Guru who saves the good and punishes the evil, who is everlasting and who removes all fear, who fulfils all desires and grants liberation, who is perfect and the very image of God himself and turns men's hearts to remembering Him. The next five couplets (2731) allude to Guru Nanak and his nine successors, proclaiming them all to be one in genius. The concluding stanzas refer to the 330 million Hindu gods and goddesses, and innumerable bhaktas, siddhas, yogis and prophets all of whom seek shelter under the Guru. It is to the feet of such a Guru that the poet has attached himself.

The Persian part of Joti Bigds is a masnavi, beginning with an account of Guru Nanak (122) who is the highest of the high (3), the emperor of both the worlds (5), and the embodiment of all virtues (6). Innumerable gods and goddesses bow before him (1114) and innumerable planets (1516) and sovereigns (22) are slaves to his will. Guru Nanak was followed by a line of nine spiritual successors who, though different in body, shared the same light (2327). The subsequent couplets (28175) are in praise of Guru Gobind Singh who fulfils the desires of all and who keeps both the worlds in order (100). He is blessed by God with the key to all problems (101). He is superior to all not only spiritually but also in the field of battle where he roars like a lion (120). He is the jewel in the ring of justice and the fruit of the tree of God's grace (117). He is the glow of the gems serene (104). The style of poetry is highflown in the tradition of a qasidd, i.e. encomium, in Persian. That the poet is attempting to match the Muslim na'at or laudatory verses addressed to the Prophet, is also obvious. The heroic qualities of Guru Gobind Singh are described in terms of those of the heroes from Indian mythology and the Iranian tradition (160).