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Wedding procession

Ghorian or Khoreea or Ghoreea (Gurmukhi: ਘੋੜੀਆ) or "The Wedding Procession Song" is a composition of hymns written by Guru Ram Das, in measure Vadahans, which are part of the Guru Granth Sahib and appear on pages 575 to 576 of the holy Granth. The word `ghorean` ਘੋੜੀਆ s  in Punjabi is the plural form of ghoree ਘੋੜੀ s , a mare.

In Punjabi folk poetry, a type of lyrical songs which are sung on the occasion of marriage are called "ghoreea". A Punjabi marriage comprises a series of ceremonies performed at different stages. In one of these ceremonies the bridegroom mounts a handsomely caparisoned mare to go to the house of the bride where a reception awaits.

As the bridegroom climbs onto the back of the mare, his sisters feed the mare with crushed gram from a plate, embellish the bridle strings and sing the songs of ghori, as other girls and women join them in chorus. These songs eulogize the bridegroom and his ancestry and wish him a happy marriage. In the songs, the word ghon (mare) occurs frequently, almost once in every verse.

Raga Vadahans in the Guru Granth Sahib incorporates hymns cast in the moulds of folk songs commonly sung at the time of birth, marriage and death. Guru Nanak has composed poems, in this raag, called "alahamanor dirges", songs of mourning. Guru Amar Das has also contributed to these hymns in the same style. Guru Ram Das, the Fourth Guru, has composed two ghondn hymns, reminiscent of ghondn of folk poetry. The folk forms meant for mundane occasions have been utilized by the Gurus to compose verses of spiritual reference and meaning.

The word - Ghoreea/Ghorian

The word Ghoreea or Ghorian ਘੋੜੀਆ s  is a common Punjabi word in everyday use even now although the word Ghora (masculine) ਘੋੜਾ s  meaning "horse" is more commonly used these days due to the increase use of the male in modern and rural life in Punjab. The female or mare is called "Ghoree" ਘੋੜੀ s  and the word for this composition of Gurbani is a plural of this word - Ghoreea or (Gurmukhi: ਘੋੜੀਆ) or "mares"; also used to refer to songs sung at weddings and other happy occasions.

The composition

The ghondn hymns, composed by Guru Ram Das, are lyrics of exquisite beauty, woven round images and symbols appropriate to the occasion of marriage, more particularly, to the ceremony of ghon or mare-riding. These hymns hold that human life is a precious opportunity to become united to God as marriage is the opportunity to become united with the bride. The human body is the mare, riding which the seeker of God could successfully and victoriously reach his goal.

The mind is to be harnessed, conquered and controlled, just as the mare is controlled by the saddle and bridle. In the hymns, the mare {ghon) has been called tejani, tun and tukhdi, all synonyms of ghon. The holy men or saints form the marriage procession; God Himself lays out the feast for them.

Thus is the spouse found and begotten. The sustained metaphor, in the ghondn hymns, unfolds itself in eight parts, as follows:

  1. This mare, i.e. the human body, has been created by God. It is most valuable and precious, a marvellous specimen of the craftsmanship of the Creator. It is obtained by good fortune only. It is of immense value in the spiritual journey, for through the faculties and potentialities it is endowed with, man gets an opportunity to obtain union with God.
  2. The saddle refers to the subjugation of the mind through the guidance of the Guru. Divine knowledge is the harness that controls the mind. Meditation on the Name enriches the mind and gives it poise. This is the conquest of the mind. A mind so saddled or controlled is of vital aid in the journey of the soul towards its spouse, the Lord.
  3. Bridle is the jnana or divine knowledge. True realization leads to the control of the mind. This directs and guides one on the path of spiritual journey.
  4. Love of God is the whip used to urge the mare on its spiritual path. Love cultivates, chisels and fashions the mind. A cultivated mind remains in perfect balance and poise, and is not swayed by worldly desires and lusts. The nectar of nam (Name) transforms the human personality or mind completely.
  5. The journey that the soul has to cover riding this mare is across the "sagar" ਸਾਗਰ (world ocean/human life). This is an arduous journey filled with worldly desires and attractions obstructing one at every step.
  6. The holy men and saints form the marriage procession. It is the holy company which inspires and aids man to cross the obstacles. Thus the bridegroom, the seeker, successfully completes the journey, repeating constantly the Name, receiving inspiration from the saints.
  7. The experience of bliss is the marriage feast. The marriage procession reaches its destination and crosses into the house of `Hari, the Supreme Being. There they enjoy and relish the ambrosial food, the nectar of the Name. This is the first taste of bliss, the supreme state of Anand.
  8. Union with God is the solemnization of the marriage. The bridegroom finds the spouse within himself (the pure being inside everyone - the pure soul who is fearless, truthful always, without enemies.) It is his own real self. This union is eternal and the joy so attained is unending. This is the spiritual meaning of the hymns composed by Guru Ram Das in the style of the popular Punjabi folk form of ghondan. (Yes, the pure being inside everyone - the pure soul who is fearless, truthful always, without enemies, etc)

Ghorian (Shabads) are sung on marriage and other festive occasions to celebrate a wedding; they are also sung on other festive occasions. In addition to the classical music, the folk music (because of its wide appeal) is also given importance in the SGGS. In this regard, in addition to the Vaars listed above, there are some Shabads about the Ghorian, as well as others in the Alahunian (dirge, or funeral song) tradition, which are sung in chorus by women mourning the death of a close relation.

"Ghorian" (Song of the Mare)

Ghorian (Song of the Mare) Page 575 to 576 by Guru Ram Das

ਵਡਹੰਸ੝ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ਘੋੜੀਆ

vad­hans mehlĝ 4 gẖoṛī­ĝ

Wadahans, Fourth Mehl, Ghorees ~ The Wedding Procession Songs:

ੴ ਸਤਿਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

Ik­oaʼnkĝr saṯgur parsĝḝ.

One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਦੇਹ ਤੇਜਣਿ ਜੀ ਰਾਮਿ ਉਪਾਈਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Ḏėh ṯėjaṇ jī rĝm upĝ­ī­ĝ rĝm.

This body-horse was created by the Lord.

ਧੰਨ੝ ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮ੝ ਪ੝ੰਨਿ ਪਾਈਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Ḏẖan mĝṇas janam punn pĝ­ī­ĝ rĝm.

Blessed is human life, which is obtained by virtuous actions.

ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮ੝ ਵਡ ਪ੝ੰਨੇ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੇਹ ਸ੝ ਕੰਚਨ ਚੰਗੜੀਆ ॥

Mĝṇas janam vad punnė pĝ­i­ĝ ḝėh so kancẖan cẖangṛī­ĝ.

Human life is obtained only by the most virtuous actions; this body is radiant and golden.

ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਰੰਗ੝ ਚਲੂਲਾ ਪਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਵ ਰੰਗੜੀਆ ॥

Gurmukẖ rang cẖalūlĝ pĝvai har har har nav rangṛī­ĝ.

The Gurmukh is imbued with the deep red color of the poppy; he is imbued with the new color of the Lord's Name, Har, Har, Har.

ਝਹ ਦੇਹ ਸ੝ ਬਾਂਕੀ ਜਿਤ੝ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਪੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸ੝ਹਾਵੀਆ ॥

Ėh ḝėh so bĝʼnkī jiṯ har jĝpī har har nĝm suhĝvī­ĝ.

This body is so very beautiful; it chants the Name of the Lord, and it is adorned with the Name of the Lord, Har, Har.

ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਈ ਨਾਮ੝ ਸਖਾਈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਮਿ ਉਪਾਈਆ ॥੧॥

vadbẖĝgī pĝ­ī nĝm sakẖĝ­ī jan Nĝnak rĝm upĝ­ī­ĝ.

By great good fortune, the body is obtained; the Naam, the Name of the Lord, is its companion; O servant Nanak, the Lord has created it.

ਦੇਹ ਪਾਵਉ ਜੀਨ੝ ਬ੝ਝਿ ਚੰਗਾ ਰਾਮ ॥

Ḏėh pĝva­o jīn bujẖ cẖanga rĝm.

I place the saddle on the body-horse, the saddle of realization of the Good Lord.

ਚੜਿ ਲੰਘਾ ਜੀ ਬਿਖਮ੝ ਭ੝ਇਅੰਗਾ ਰਾਮ ॥

Cẖaṛ langẖĝ jī bikẖam bẖu­i­angĝ rĝm.

Riding this horse, I cross over the terrifying world-ocean.

ਬਿਖਮ੝ ਭ੝ਇਅੰਗਾ ਅਨਤ ਤਰੰਗਾ ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਲੰਘਾਝ ॥

Bikẖam bẖu­i­angĝ anaṯ ṯarangĝ gurmukẖ pĝr langẖĝ­ė.

The terrifying world-ocean is rocked by countless waves, but the Gurmukh is carried across.

ਹਰਿ ਬੋਹਿਥਿ ਚੜਿ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਲੰਘੈ ਗ੝ਰ੝ ਖੇਵਟ੝ ਸਬਦਿ ਤਰਾਝ ॥

Har bohith cẖaṛ vadbẖĝgī langẖai gur kẖėvat sabaḝ ṯarĝ­ė.

Embarking upon the boat of the Lord, the very fortunate ones cross over; the Guru, the Boatman, carries them across through the Word of the Shabad.

ਅਨਦਿਨ੝ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਗ੝ਣ ਗਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੀ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗਾ ॥

An­ḝin har rang har guṇ gĝvai har rangī har rangĝ.

Night and day, imbued with the Lord's Love, singing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, the Lord's lover loves the Lord.

ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਰਬਾਣ ਪਦ੝ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਉਤਮ੝ ਹਰਿ ਪਦ੝ ਚੰਗਾ ॥੨॥

Jan Nĝnak nirbĝṇ paḝ pĝ­i­ĝ har uṯam har paḝ cẖanga.

Servant Nanak has obtained the state of Nirvaanaa, the state of ultimate goodness, the state of the Lord.

ਕੜੀਆਲ੝ ਮ੝ਖੇ ਗ੝ਰਿ ਗਿਆਨ੝ ਦ੝ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Kaṛī­ĝl mukẖė gur gi­ĝn driṛ­ĝ­i­ĝ rĝm.

For a bridle in my mouth, the Guru has implanted spiritual wisdom within me.

ਤਨਿ ਪ੝ਰੇਮ੝ ਹਰਿ ਚਾਬਕ੝ ਲਾਇਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Ŧan parėm har cẖĝbak lĝ­i­ĝ rĝm.

He has applied the whip of the Lord's Love to my body.

ਤਨਿ ਪ੝ਰੇਮ੝ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਾਇ ਚਾਬਕ੝ ਮਨ੝ ਜਿਣੈ ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਜੀਤਿਆ ॥

Ŧan parėm har har lĝ­ė cẖĝbak man jiṇai gurmukẖ jīṯi­ĝ.

Applying the whip of the Lord's Love to his body, the Gurmukh conquers his mind, and wins the battle of life.

ਅਘੜੋ ਘੜਾਵੈ ਸਬਦ੝ ਪਾਵੈ ਅਪਿਉ ਹਰਿ ਰਸ੝ ਪੀਤਿਆ ॥

Agẖ­ṛo gẖaṛĝvai sabaḝ pĝvai api­o har ras pīṯi­ĝ.

He trains his untrained mind with the Word of the Shabad, and drinks in the rejuvenating essence of the Lord's Nectar.

ਸ੝ਣਿ ਸ੝ਰਵਣ ਬਾਣੀ ਗ੝ਰਿ ਵਖਾਣੀ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗ੝ ਤ੝ਰੀ ਚੜਾਇਆ ॥

Suṇ sarvaṇ baṇī gur vakẖĝṇī har rang ṯurī cẖaṛĝ­i­ĝ.

Listen with your ears to the Word, uttered by the Guru, and attune your body-horse to the Lord's Love.

ਮਹਾ ਮਾਰਗ੝ ਪੰਥ੝ ਬਿਖੜਾ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਰਿ ਲੰਘਾਇਆ ॥੩॥

Mahĝ mĝrag panth bikẖ­ṛĝ jan Nĝnak pĝr langẖĝ­i­ĝ.

Servant Nanak has crossed over the long and treacherous path.

ਘੋੜੀ ਤੇਜਣਿ ਦੇਹ ਰਾਮਿ ਉਪਾਈਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Gẖoṛī ṯėjaṇ ḝėh rĝm upĝ­ī­ĝ rĝm.

The transitory body-horse was created by the Lord.

ਜਿਤ੝ ਹਰਿ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਾ ਧਨ੝ ਧੰਨ੝ ਤ੝ਖਾਈਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

Jiṯ har parabẖ jĝpai sĝ ḝẖan ḝẖan ṯukẖĝ­ī­ĝ rĝm.

Blessed, blessed is that body-horse which meditates on the Lord God.

ਜਿਤ੝ ਹਰਿ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਜਾਪੈ ਸਾ ਧੰਨ੝ ਸਾਬਾਸੈ ਧ੝ਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਕਿਰਤ੝ ਜ੝ੜੰਦਾ ॥

Jiṯ har parabẖ jĝpai sĝ ḝẖan sĝbĝsai ḝẖur pĝ­i­ĝ kiraṯ juṛanḝĝ.

Blessed and acclaimed is that body-horse which meditates on the Lord God; it is obtained by the merits of past actions.

ਚੜਿ ਦੇਹੜਿ ਘੋੜੀ ਬਿਖਮ੝ ਲਘਾਝ ਮਿਲ੝ ਗ੝ਰਮ੝ਖਿ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥

Cẖaṛ ḝėhaṛ gẖoṛī bikẖam lagẖĝ­ė mil gurmukẖ parmĝnanḝĝ.

Riding the body-horse, one crosses over the terrifying world ocean; the Gurmukh meets the Lord, the embodiment of supreme bliss.

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਾਜ੝ ਰਚਾਇਆ ਪੂਰੈ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਜੰਞ ਆਈ ॥

Har har kĝj racẖĝ­i­ĝ pūrai mil sanṯ janĝ jañ ĝ­ī.

The Lord, Har, Har, has perfectly arranged this wedding; the Saints have come together as a marriage party.

ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਵਰ੝ ਪਾਇਆ ਮੰਗਲ੝ ਮਿਲਿ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਵਾਧਾਈ ॥੪॥੧॥੫॥

Jan Nĝnak har var pĝ­i­ĝ mangal mil sanṯ janĝ vĝḝẖĝ­ī.

Servant Nanak has obtained the Lord as his Spouse; joining together, the Saints sing the songs of joy and congratulations.

Guru Ram Das


See Also


1. Kohli, Surindar SINGH, A Critical Study of ADI GRANTH. Delhi, 1961.