Chandi Di Var

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Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
(ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)

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Jaap - Akal Ustat - Bachitar Natak - Chandi Charitar Ukat(i) Bilas - Chandi Charitar 2 - Chandi di Var - Gyan Parbodh - Chobis Avatar - Brahm Avtar - Rudar Avtar - Sabad Patshahi 10 - 33 Swaiyey - Khalsa Mahima - Shastar Nam Mala - Ath Pakhyan Charitar Likhyate - Zafarnama - Hikayats
Other Related Banis
Bhagauti Astotar - Ugardanti - Sri Kaal Chopai - Lakhi Jungle Khalsa - Asfotak Kabits - Sahansar Sukhmana - Vaar Malkauns Ki - Chandd Patshahi 10
Historical Sources - Memorials - Anti Dasam
Philosophical aspects
Idol Worship - Pilgrimages - Chandi - Triya - Shastar
Scholar Views
Singh Sabha Lahore - Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha - Professor Sahib Singh - Bhai Veer Singh - Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale -
Ram Raaiyas of Payal - Teja Singh Bhasod - Gyani Bhag Singh Ambala - Professor Darshan Singh

Chandi Di Vaar (The Ballad of Chandi) is a philosphical, spiritual and heroic composition written by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib. It is fifth Bani of Dasam Granth. It is also called Vaar Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki (In some birs, the title is Vaar Durga ki). The first stanza of Chandi di Var forms the introductory part of the Ardas, the Sikh prayer. Guru Sahib used the Ballad to explain the priciples of Gurmat (the Guru's way).

The Ballad relates a contest between a Gurmukh (a Gurmat individual who walks on god's path, following the command of God) and a Manmukh (one who does not believe in god and chooses to follow himself or other Manmukh humans). This ballad points out that whenever there is a Battle of Spiritual Discussion, between Gurmukhs and Manmukhs that the Gurmukhs always win. Like Nanak, who went to "Gorakhmata" and had Sidh Gosti (learning through dialogue) with the Sidhas (yogis). The yogis learned the error of their thinking and reliance on manmukh rituals from the Guru and gained valuable knowledge ("Matt"). This place then came to be known as "Nanak Mata" and became a major centre of the Udasi sect. Nanak acted as Chandi and Sidhas acted as Deamons, who were not clear of truth like Dhumarlochan.

So Guru Gobind Singh picked characters of Brahmgyan, which were already well known and used the legends to give a new Punjabi explanation to the Battle of Gurmat and Manmat.

Note: Chandi/Durga is a terminology of Brahmgyan which was used in past by many poets but Guru Gobind Singh explored real defination of Chandi i.e formless, eternal, accountless, garbless etc. Sikhs do not worship Durga, Chandi or Bhagwati as Idols or as Human, as interpreted by Hindus and Anti Dasam Elements, neither did Guru Sahib, reiterating Chandi does not refer to the Hindu deity and neither does Bhagauti refer to any Hindu Devi or Deity. From the beginning Guru Sahibh was clear that he worshiped, only the one true Creator. Even he cleared that Durga/Chandi born through god.

ਤੈ ਹੀ ਦ੝ਰਗਾ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੈ ਦੈਤਾ ਦਾ ਨਾਸ੝ ਕਰਾਇਆ ॥
O Lord! By creating Durga, Thou hast caused the destruction of demons.


Var Sri Bhagauti JI Ki, is mostly known by Sikhs as Chandi Di Var. Older manuscripts also record another name Var Durga Ki. It is written in fifty-five stanzas (Pauris). This was traditionally performed holding a three foot Sword (Sri Sahib). The Rahitname (codes of Sikh conduct) state it should be read standing up, with sword in hand. Therefore to do this properly one must memorise this composition. The Ardas from Chandi Di Var begins:

ੴ ਵਾਹਿਗ੝ਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹ ॥

God is One and God is always Victorious

ਸ੝ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥
May Gurmat Help

ਵਾਰ ਸ੝ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਕੀ ॥
Ballads of Sri Bhagauti Ji

ਪ੝ਰਿਥਮ ਭਗੌਤੀ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਕੈ, ਗ੝ਰ੝ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਈਂ ਧਿਆਇ ॥
First I meditate on Bhagauti, which Guru Nanak Dev Ji meditated

ਫਿਰ ਅੰਗਦ ਗ੝ਰ ਤੇ ਅਮਰਦਾਸ੝ ਰਾਮਦਾਸੈ ਹੋਈਂ ਸਹਾਇ ॥
Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das also sahaye in simring Bhagauti

ਅਰਜਨ ਹਰਿਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨੋ ਸਿਮਰੌ ਸ੝ਰੀ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ॥
Guru Arjun and Guru Har Gobind Ji did the same

ਸ੝ਰੀ ਹਰਿ ਕਿਸ਼ਨ ਧਿਆਈ ਝ, ਜਿਸ ਡਿਠੇ ਸਭਿ ਦ੝ਖਿ ਜਾਇ ॥
Guru Har Krishan also meditated on Bhagauti, with the help of which all pains and suffering goes

ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਝ, ਘਰ ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਆਵੈ ਧਾਇ ॥
Guru Tegh Bahadur also meditated on Bhagauti and in house 9 Nidhs comes

ਸਭ ਥਾਈਂ ਹੋਇ ਸਹਾਇ ॥੧॥
The Bhagauti, or the chandi is helpful everywhere


Philosphical Aspects


Main article: Bhagauti

Bhagauti means Gurmat, A mind (Buddhi) having spiritual, intellect, and wisdom. In Gurmat, a body of soul is never regarded as a Bhagauti but the intellect and wisdom of a soul is Bhagauti. The term Gurmat(i) is a feminine term derived from two words Gur(wisdom) + Mat(i)(Mind) = Mind of Spiritual Wisdom. Gurmat contains the whole explanation of the Soul and Supreme Divine and a soul who bears Gurmat is called Gurmukh(i) or Gurmat(i) or Bhagauti. Such a soul is always in Hukam, Following the Supreme Command and staying away from the illusionary world.

Guru Gobind Singh used phrase ਸ੝ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥. Here "Sri Bhagauti" means "Great Bhagauti". Great Bhagauti is Hukam (Parmeshar Di Mati).

Who is Creator, Destroyer and Nourisher?

As per Chandi Di Vaar, Guru Gobind Singh rejected the concept of Brahma, as creator, Vishnu as Nourisher and Mahadev, as Destroyer. He directed that Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Krishna, Rama, Durga, dieties all were created by Hukam ( or Shakti). He also said that Kansha, Demons, Ravnas etc were also created by Hukam and clearly described that Krishna got Power from Hukam to kill Kansha, which means Krishna did not have power of it's own and same with Rama and Durga.

ਬ੝ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨ੝ ਮਹੇਸ ਸਾਜਿ : He created Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
ਸਿਰਜੇ ਦਾਨੋ ਦੇਵਤੇ:He created the demons and gods
ਤੈ ਹੀ ਦ੝ਰਗਾ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੈ: By Creating Durga

Earth stable on Bull or Snake?

In Sanatan/Hindu Philosphy, It was written and preached around, that earth is standing on a Bull or on Snake. This fact of ignorance was cleared by Guru Gobind Singh in Chandi Di vaar, who directed that whole earth is existing in space by Hukam.

ਸਿੰਧ੝ ਪਰਬਤ ਮੇਦਨੀ ਬਿਨ੝ ਥੰਮ੝ਹਾ ਗਗਨਿ ਰਹਾਇਆ ॥
The oceans, mountains and the earth are made stable in the space without columns.


The most strongest character ever in Gurmat philosphy is Durga(Feminine term) or Durgshah(Masculine Term). SHe is one which born under Hukam and fight with demon to help Deities. Feminine Term, denotes Discerning and Intuitive Mind(Vivek Budhi) = Gurmat. Durga made with two words Durg + Gah, Durg means fort and Gah mins to win. One who win Fort. In Gurmat, Kabir said "Kabir chadeyo Garh(fort) upar raaj kiyo abinaasi".Masculine Term, It means the follower of Gurmat = Gurmukh.

Chandi is a terminology of Brahmgyan which was used in past by many poets but Guru Gobind Singh explored real defination of Chandi i.e formless, eternal, accountless garbless etc. Sikhs do not worship any Durga devi, Chandi Devi or Bhagwati Devi, as interpreted by Hindus and SOme Anti Dasam Elements, neither Guru Sahib did, nor Chandi means any Devi or Hindu deity and neither Bhagauti means any Devi or Deity.


In Gurmat philosphy, Demon is attribute to Mann(Mind) which is submerged in temporal love. The soul having such mind is also called demon. It is negative because it always opposes Gurmat and Hukam. The demons of chandi charitras are attributes of Manmukhi Soul

  1. Mehkhasur: This character comes in Adi Granth Sahib. This is a soul which have mind like a Bull. He does not listen to Truth and is stubborn in nature.
  2. Rakatbeej: This character also comes in Guru Granth Sahib. Rakatbeej symbolizes Illusion. The Nature is when there is any doubt related to a concept and if is not cleared then other doubts arises from that concept.
  3. Madhu Keetab: This character also comes in Adi Granth Sahib. Madhu means Sweet and Keetabh means Insect. Keetab is negative with Madhu. This symbolizes a soul which have inclination towards Gurmat but has shadow of Manmat. Madhu Keetab is base of every soul. Svaibhang is concept related to Madhu Keetab.
  4. Dhumarlochan: Dhumarlochan means the soul have smoke in his eyes i.e who could not see truth clearly. This again is concept related to soul which come into sikh institution.

One interpretation is Lust is personified as demon Mehkhasar; Selfishness is personified by demon Sumb. The instinctual forces are demons, Indra is the self of Man, Durga is the Divine (God) within the self. Sumbh is Pride and Nisumbh is Anger. Dhumerlochan is Cloudy Vision, Chund (Greed) and Mund (Attachment).

Blessing for one who Understand Chandi ki Vaar

ਦ੝ਰਗਾ ਪਾਠ ਬਣਾਇਆ ਸਭੇ ਪਉੜੀਆਂ ॥

All the stanza of Durga Path have been composed;
ਫੇਰਿ ਨ ਜੂਨੀ ਆਇਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਹ ਗਾਇਆ ॥੫੫॥

And that person who understand and sings it, will not take birth again.55.

The word Gaaya(ਗਾਇਆ) is traditionally interpreted as one who will sing Chandi di vaar or recite it again and again(ਗਾਇਆ), with mouth, will not born again(become Ajooni), a part of Nirankar.Just mere sing/recite from mouth, with instruments have no place in Gurmat. Adi Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth Condenm this. What is Gaaya (ਗਾਇਆ)?In Gurmat Philosophy, ਗਾਇਆ means to understand and follow commandments of Hukam. Reciting, in wisdom and Reciting, in ignorance are seperate things.For example: All Gurus and Devotees did "Gun Gaayan" (speaking the qualities) of Hukam. For that, firstly they need to understand what is Hukam is? only then they spoke(in Hukam). A Sikh need to understand what is Hukam then he should come out for preaching. Little knowledge is dangerous thing and acts done in little knowledge are more dangerous. When we tell about someones talent is gun gaayanGuru Gobind Singh said one who will understand ballad of Chandi will attain divine wisdom and will merge into his Nirankar, which is called Jyoti Jyot rale. Such soul will become Ajooni (a character of Nirakaar) and will not take form again and again.

Guru Gobind Singh writes first God created the double edged sword(Negative and Positive), then the Universe. He created the play of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva(Humans). On His command Durga kill's all negative powers. In this context Durga is the power of the Angels to defeat the demons. The Guru is not interested in the medium of the Hindu Goddess, he is interested in the Shakti given to her by God, which is God's own power.

Following the invocation, this composition is a description of war and Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. It is written in a clear style and deals with matters related to war so it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors, even warriors of discussions. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.

However at the end of the composition is the verses: Durga path baniya Sabhai Pauriya. Phir Na Johni Aiyah Jiney Ih Gaiya. The lines itself clears that Prithme bhagauti simar ke too is part of pauri. The verse of Durga have been made into stanzas. Those who sing this ballad, will not be born again, means when he become knower of characterstics of Gurmat, he will also follow the same. By this line we must conclude that the Chandi Di Var, has spiritual motives as well as physical. It encapsulates both Miri and Piri.

Functional Aspects

The main reason for writing about war and Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. The aim of these ballads (1st one has 233 verses, the 2nd has 266 verses, the 3rd has 55 verses) is to inspire warriors to stand up for truth and righteousness in the face of tyranny and oppression. On a deeper level they deal with the internal struggle to control basic animal instincts. All 3 ballads are extremely metaphorical and deeply narrative in nature, and describe the battles of Durga (also known as Chandi, Bhawani, Kalika) against demon warlords (such as Sumbh, Nisumbh, Chandh, Mundh, Domar Lochan and Rakt Beej).Thus Chandi became the embodiment of strength and might in female form and was described in all her majesty and glory. Guru Gobind Singh taught that Chandi is none other than the primordial power of the Almighty which fights evil, and, as such, Chandi is actually not to be worshipped as an idol but instead revered by using the 'Tegha' (sword). Hence he taught all that the true worship of Chandi was actually knowing how to wield the sword in battle to destroy evil. In case of spiritual world it is Gyan Khadag.As expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he a grandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any. The poetry has a virile temper evoked by a succession of powerful and eloquent similes and by a dignified echoic music of the richest timbre. These poems were designed by Guru Gobind Singh to create a spirit of chivalry, dignity and Bir Ras.The poem allegorizes the eternal conflict between good and evil. The source of the legend is "Devi mahatmya," a section of the Markandeyapurana, and the narrative follows, in the main, the classical detail though the dominant interest lies in the character of Chandi which, through the creative genius of the poet. attains reality and firmness belying its mythical origin. The Var, in Punjabi, is one of the trilogy of poems about Chandi in the Dasam Granth, the other two being in Braj. Chandi, the eightarmed goddess, consort of Siva, the god of destruction in the Hindu mythology, is also known by the name of Durga or Bhagauti. This last name has multiple connotations: it stands for goddess Chandi as well as for the sword, which, according to Guru Gobind Singh, is the symbol of power (sakti) and ultimately of Akal, the Timeless One Himself.Sikhism is strictly monotheistic and Guru Gobind Singh, like his nine spiritual predecessors, promoted belief in the One Formless God, excluding all incarnations and images. He chose the Pauranic story of Durga`s valorous fight against the demons for its martial import. The Var opens with an invocation to God symbolized as sword and then to the first nine Gurus or preceptors of the Sikh faith. This part of the poem with the subsequent addition of invocation to the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, forms the opening section of the current Sikh ritual supplication, Ardas.


The story begins with the demons overthrowing the gods and establishing their own sway where once the gods ruled. The Satyuga, the age of truth, is past and it is now the time of not so righteous Treta. Great discords prevail in the world; Narada famous for his ability to stir up passions is abroad. The gods in their helplessness turn to Mount Kailash where lives Durga. Their leader, King Indra, supplicates the goddess for help : "Thy shelter we seek. Goddess Durgshah!" Riding her demondevouring lion, Durga at once sets out to annihilate the evildoers. A fierce battle ensues, and the heavens are torn by the beating of drums, blowing of shells and the piercing cries of war. The sun becomes invisible in the dazzling brilliance of shiny swords and spears. In the awesome confusion of battle, the warriors fall to the ground, in agony, like drunken madmen. Those pierced with spears lie motionless like olives on the branch of the tree. The fallen heroes look like so many domes and turrets struck down by lightning. The demons fight with dreadful determination and not one of them has been seen fleeing the field. Their womenfolk watch the bloody scene from their towers, amazed at the goddess`s wondrous valour. Durga`s sword seems dancing in her hand raining death on the dauntless foe. The demons, full of wrath, close in upon her roaring like the black clouds. The mighty Mahkhasur comes in great fury, but Durga smites him with such force that her sword, breaking the helmet to pieces and piercing through the body of the rider, the horse and the earth, rests on the horns of the bullock (who supports the earth). The Queen, upon her stately lion, tears through the battleranks of the demons demolishing them with her deathly sword. "Durga, with God`s grace, has won the day." Restoring to the gods their lost kingdom, she returns. But the troubles of the gods are not yet ended.

The demons again rally under their chiefs, Sumbha and Nisumbha, and march upon the kingdom of Indra. The gods are again undone and are forced to seek Durgshah`s help. The goddess is ready for another battle. Chandi another name for Durga in the poem flashes upon the battle`s dread array like lightning. Warlike heroes such as Lochana Dhumra come forward to match the goddess`s prowess, but they all fall to her fatal sword one by one. Sumbha sends out fresh armies to face the fight. The goddess meets them with an angry charge of arrows sending many a hero to eternal sleep.

It is now the turn of another, Sranvat Bij, who brings a mighty host of ironclad, vengeful soldiers. Durga mounts the lion as she hears the fiendish din and, flourishing the mace of battle in her hand, leads her army on. But deathless is Sranvat Bij. As the drops of his blood fall to the ground, hosts of demons arise from them to join the strife. Many more are born every instant than Durga and the gods can destroy. The goddess, in a rage, remembers Kali, who bursts forth from her forehead in a flame of fire. Durga and Kali both spread ruin in the enemy`s ranks with their bloodwashed swords. At last, Sranvat Bij is surrounded and "the swords around him look like a crowd of fair maidens eagerly gathered to see a newly arrived bridegroom." Kali drinks the blood falling from Durga`s blows so that no drop touches the earth, thus preventing the birth of more demonwarriors. Great is Sumbha`s anguish when he learns of Sranvat Bij`s death. The wrathful demons prepare for revenge. The firm earth trembles under the marching heroes like a vessel upon stormy seas. But resistless is Durgshah on the field of battle. She cuts up the foemen like a hewer cuts the twigs. Those who were never tired of fighting have had more than their fill today. Mounting his fiery steed comes Nisumbha with a heavy bow he had specially sent for from Multan. But before he can take aim, a deadly blow from Durgshah`s sword bears him down. The same fate awaits Sumbha. Seeing their chiefs fall in this manner, the demons raise a loud howl of woe. They leave their horses and fly with weeds of grass in their mouths in token of surrender. Durgshah restores to Indra his crown. "Hail toJagmat the Universal Mother," cry all the worlds. Durga emerges from this account triumphant, highspirited and glorious. She is the symbol of divine power and justice. To the virtuous, she is a ready and kindly friend and protector.

In Chandi di Var, the different names used for the goddess are Durgshah, Chandi, Devita, Rani, Bhavani, Jagmat and Maha Mai the Great Mother. The chief point of Chandi di Var lies in its warlike temper which is evoked by a succession of powerful and eloquent similes and a dignified, echoic music of the richest timbre. The poem, though not the size of a true epic, has a remarkable breadth of sweep and intensity and a heightening rhythmical tempo with wellmarked climactic patterns. On the reader`s mind it makes a stirring and invigorating impact.

NIHANGS, among SIKHS, especially include it in their daily devotion and derive much inspiration and spirit from reciting it. .This is the name given to the fifth Bani in the second holy scriptures of the Sikhs called the Dasam Granth. This text spans from page 297 to page 325 of the 1478 pages of this holy book of the Sikhs. (Original text is over 1428 pages). This composition is part of Chandi Charitra, which in turn is part of Bachittar Natak

It is important to note that Guru Gobind Singh Ji ultimately gave credit to the Akaal Purakh, and in Chandi Di Var he explains

"thai hee dhuragaa saaj kai dhaithaa dhaa naas karaaeiaa O Lord! By creating Durga, You alone have caused destruction of demons by her."


The summary of this Bani is narrated by Gobin Sadan at:
"The third piece of writing associated with the portrayal of Chandi is called Chandi di Vaar. Written in fifty-five stanzas, this is the only composition this is in Punjabi. The first stanza of Chandi di Vaar forms the introductory part of the ardaas, the Sikh prayer.

Pritham bhagouti simar key Guru Nanak layin dhyay....

Following the invocation, this composition highlights the major events and incidents about Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. The remaining portion is a description of war. Since it is written in such a clear style and deals with matters related to war it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.

The main reason for writing about Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. Thus Chandi the embodiment of might in the female form was described in all her majesty and glory, her strength and might. And as expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he agrandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any."



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  • Ashta, Dharam Pal, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
  • Nikky, Gunindar Kaur Singh, "Durga Recalled by the Tenth Guru," in The Journal of Religious Studies, vol. XVI, Nos. 1 & 2. PATIALA, 1988
  • Harbans Singh, Aspects of Punjabi Literature. Firozpur, 1961
  • Jaggi, Ratan Singh, Dasam Granth Parichaya. Delhi, 1990
  • Bcdi, Kala Singh, ed., Chandi di Var Satik. Delhi, 1965