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PATTI, literally means a writing board, slate or notebook. When it appears at the top of the Shabad, it's also used to impart the Divine Teachings in the order of the Varanmaalaa (alphabet).

Patti is the name given to two hymns, in the Guru Granth Sahib, composed in the form of an acrostic, employing letters of the Gurmukhi alphabet. Patti by Guru Nanak titled Ragu Asd Mahala I Patti Likhi comprises thirty five stanzas, each stanza introduced with a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet. From stanza nine to thirtythree, the order followed is exactly that of the alphabet current today; elsewhere there are deviations. The order prevalent in Guru Nanak`s time is uncertain. The main themes touched upon in this composition are the unicity of God, human ego and karma and the law of causality. God is one, He is the Creator of all that exists.

Main article: Patti Likhi

Egocentricity is the cause of man`s nescience, of his isolation from the Divine Essence. He who frees himself from ego realizes his true self; he alone can be called a learned one or pandit. God is all pervasive. He pervades all the places and dwells in the minds of all. Whereas God, who is the Primal Lord, is true and eternal, all other beings, though His own creation, are physically transient. Since life is transient, it must not be wasted away and one must seek ever the Lord`s protection.

God is all powerful, and He began his play by making the four ages or time cycles His diceboard and all beings His draughtsmen. He is the Primal Giver, and one must always remember Him and be absorbed in His Name. Comfort pervades the hearts of those who remain attached to Him. Man will get peace by serving Him. Serving Him means serving one`s fellow beings, for He is in them all.

If man does not remember and serve God but remains lost in duality, it is the consequence of his own deeds. As one sows so does one reap. Those engaged in singing laudation of the Divine escape the bonds of transmigration. It is through His grace alone that one is so persuaded.

Patti by Guru Amar Das follows Guru Nanak`s in the Guru Granth Sahib. It comprises eighteen stanzas, besides a couplet titled Rahau or pause. Some of the stanzas begin with Gurmukhi letters and some with vowels as well as with compounds from Sanskrit. At the beginning are vowel forms of ayo and an, the latter expressing nasal sound. Then intervene the consonants k, kh, gh and the nasal n, followed by nri and laH, representing letters of Vedic Sanskrit ri, ri, Iri and Iri.

Next come the rahdu or pause lines summing up the central idea:

"O my mind, what is the use of such calculations as thou hast learned! The debt that thou owest is still on thy head."
(GG, 434).
Main article: Patti(Guru Amar Dass)

The composition, presenting the teachings of SIKH faith in terms of the karmic theory, revolves around three key words Jiva, Pandit and Guru. The individual being, jiva, is advised always to remember the Creator for He alone can save him from death (Yama, the Hindu or Vedic god of death). The tragedy of man, however, is that he remains oblivious of Him and thus wastes his opportunity continuing in the circuit of birth, death and rebirth. The learned Pandit who teaches the young student how to write on patti, the wooden tablet, is adjured to instruct him not only in the knowledge of the world, for that binds him as well as his pupil. Such a Pandit is prey to greed, ego, lust and anger. Man engrossed in mdyd remains caught in the cycle of transmigration, but the realization of God through the grace of the Guru helps him attain liberation. It is man's forgetfulness of God that keeps him tied to the chain of transmigration. However, if man submits himself to the Guru, he is exonerated of all his past sins and ultimately gets liberated.


  • Sabaddrth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. AMRITSAR, 1964
  • Kohli, Surindar SINGH, A Critical Study ofAdi Granth. Delhi, 1961