Historical Facts in the Vaars of Bhai Gurdas
Historical Facts in the Vaars of Bhai Gurdas ji
Bhai Gurdas was a scion of the family of Guru Amar Das ji. He was contemporary of four Gurus, Guru Amar Das Ji, Guru Ram Das Ji, Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Guru Hargobind Ji. He was born probably in 1555 and died in 1629 / 1637 in the presence of Guru Hargobind Ji. He is accepted to be a nephew of Guru Amar Das Ji and maternal uncle of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Bhai Gurdas must have been hearing anecdotes from the lives of the Gurus and the situation in Punjab at the advent of Guru Nanak. There was no written record about the life and times of Guru Nanak but stories must have been going round by word of mouth.
Poetry starts welling out from the mind at a young age. As soon as poetry started forming in his mind he commenced writing about the story of the new emerging society whose foundation was laid by Guru Nanak. His sensitive mind quickly concluded that Guru Nanak had in fact organised a new "Nirmal (pure) Panth". This was an entirely new dispensation differing from all existing religions and sects. He studied the all important existing religions and their interactions with one another to understand the reasons which lead Nanak to embark upon creation of a new path or movement. He considered it necessary to describe the practise of religion by the people when Nanak came on the scene.
Historical Events Mentioned In The First Vaar
Bhai Gurdas Ji gives us a great insight about Guru Nanak in his first Vaar, which happens to be the longest one with 49 pauris. He describes the Creation of the Universe and the beliefs accepted by the ancient Hindu Mythology in the first 19 pauris. He commences by his comments on the Creation of the Universe and the behaviour of humans.
The ALL PERVADING ONKAR revealed Himself by his one word and created the infinite Cosmos. Gurdas writes that it appears as if in His "One Hair" there are myriads of galaxies. In each world He revealed Himself in uncountable forms. He created the four Yugas or ages of this world. In the Satyug, Treta and Duapur Yug people lived for lacks of years but they did not construct palaces or temples. Dwelling briefly on the events of the Satyug, Treta and Duapur Yugas Bhai Gurdas describes that in the present age of Kalyug the low instincts came to the forefront. Ego and hatred reign supreme. Everyone behaves according to his own whims and is ever engrossed in his personal welfare. So long the Lord does not appear on the earth as True Guru (Satguru) the Mystery of the world cannot be understood.
Bhai Gurdas does not find any difference between the True Guru and God. Satguru dispels the darkness. Kaliyug is the ocean of ignorance. Some worship stones, others worship graves, some recite magical formulas, and practice spells and charms. Hypocrisy is practiced at a large scale. Different religious practices have cropped up. Some are worshipping the moon and sun and others are worshipping the earth and sky. Others propitiate air, water, and fire to appease Yama, the God of Death. The public is immersed in delusions. Four Varnas, Ten orders of the ascetics, and twelve of the Yogis have emerged. Naked Jain, other sadhus, and mendicants have their own way of living.
Many varieties of Brahmins commenced giving different expositions of religious philosophy by commenting on Shastras, Vedas and Puranas. Mutual rivalries confused the public. In the twentieth pauri he describes the prevalent tenets of Islam. After Mohammad Sahib, 72 divisions appeared among Muslims. Pirs and Aulias propagated the rituals of Ramzan Rozas, Eid and Namaz. Temples were demolished and mosques erected in their place. Non-conformists were declared apostates (Kafirs) and killed.
- Pauri 21.1 Chari varani chari majahaban jagi vichi Hindu Musalmaney.
- Pauri 21.3 Gang Banarasi Hinduan Makka Kabba Musalmanye.
- Pauri 21.5 Ram Rahim Kahaide iku namu dui rah bhulaney.
- Pauri 21.7 Sachu kinare rahi gia khahi maradey bamhani mauliney.
Like the four main Varnas of Hindus, four sects of Muslims became prominent. As opposed to Hindus making pilgrimages to Ganga and Banaras, Muslims considered Kaaba in Mecca as their Holy shrine. Muslims practised circumcision and Hindus sandalwood mark on forehead and wearing of sacred thread. Hindus invoke Raam and Muslims Rahim – the merciful. Both have forgotten the Truths of Vedas and Muslim Holy Books and worldly greed and mammon have lead them astray. Truth escaped from both. Maulanas and Brahmin were killing each other.
Story Of Guru Nanak As Written By Bhai Gurdas In 10 Episodes
Advent of Guru Nanak
- Pauri 23.1 Suni pukari datar prabhu Guru Nanak jag mahi pathaia.
- Pauri 23.4 Chare pair dharam de chari varan iku varanu karaia.
- Pauri 23.8 Kali taran Guru Nanak Aaia.
The benevolent Lord listened to the woes of Humanity and Guru Nanak appeared in this world. Nanak preached about the One Lord of all, rich and poor and converted all into one clan of humanity. Nanak came to redeem the dark age of Kaliyug.
- Pauri 24.1 Pahila babey paya bakhasu dari pichho dey phiri ghalikamai...
- Pauri 24.4 Baba paidha sach khand nau nidhi namu garibi pai.
- Pauri 24.5 Baba dekhai dhian dhari jalati sabhi prithavi disi ai.
Baba Nanak first obtained Grace and then underwent rigourous discipline. He reached the Realm of Truth and received the Naam of nine treasures and humility. Baba contemplated and saw the whole earth burning (with fire of lust and anger).
Baba Nanak on his World Mission
- Pauri 24.7 Babey Bhekh banaiya udasi ki riti chalai.
- Pauri 24.8 Charhia sodhani dharati lukai.
Baba donned the robes of an Udasi (teaching saint) and commenced his journey to bring the humanity on this earth to the path of righteousness.
Baba at pilgrim centres
- Pauri 25.1 Baba aia tirathai tirathi purabi sabhe phiri dekhai.
- Pauri 25.3 Bhau na Brahame likhia charey Bed Simmriti pari pekhai.
- Pauri 25.5 Kalijug dhundukar hai bharami bhulai bahu bidhi bhekhai.
- Pauri 25.6 Bhekhi prabhu na paiai apu gavae rup na rekhai.
Baba Nanak visited the pilgrim centres and observed the rituals and ceremonies. He read the four Vedas and Simrities and found that Brahma had nowhere written about Love of the Primal Lord. Pitch darkness prevails in Kaliyug and religion appears in the form of garbs, guises and rituals. The Hypocritical ways do not lead us to the Lord. He can be reached by self-effacement and devotion.
- Pauri 26.6 Gurmukh koi na disai dhunde tirathi jatri meley.
- Pauri 26.7 Dithe Hindu Turaki sabhi pir paikambari kaumi katele.
- Pauri 26.8 Andhi andhe khuhe thele.
Even after extensive search at the pilgrim centres, Guru Nanak did not find any truth-oriented people. He came across many Hindu, Turks, Pirs and other Muslim religious heads and found that blinds were pushing the blind.
CONCLUSION OF BHAI GURDAS ABOUT APPEARANCE OF GURU NANAK
- Pauri 27.1 Satguru Nanak pragatia miti dhundhu jagi chananu hoa.
- Pauri 27.2 Jiu kari suraju nikalia tarrey chhapey andheru paloa.
- Pauri 27.6 Ghari Ghari andari dharamsal hovai kirtan sada visoa.
With the advent of True Guru Nanak, the mist disappeared and the world was illumined. It was just like the appearance of the Sun when darkness and the stars disappear. Every home has become a place of religion where singing (kirtan) the Praises of the Lord commenced.
Baba meets the Sidhs at Sumer Parbat Pauris 28-31 (significant lines)
- Pauri 28.1 Babe dithi pirathami navai khandi jithe taki ahi.
- Pauri 28.2 Phir jai charhia sumer par sidh mandali drisati ayee.
- Pauri 29.6 Sidh chhapi baithe parabati kaun jagat kau paar utara.
- Pauri 29.7 Jogi gian vihunia nis dini angi lagaye chhara.
- Pauri 29.8 Baajh Guru dubba jagu sara.
- Pauri 30.1 Kali ayee kute muhi khaju hoia murdar gusayee.
- Pauri 30.2 Rajey paapu kamavande ulati varh khet kau khai.
- Pauri 30.6 Qazi Hoe risvati vadhi lai ke haku gavai.
- Pauri 30.7 Isatri purakhai daam hitu bhavai ai kithaun jai.
- Pauri 30.8 Varatia pap sabhas jug manhi.
- Pauri 31.7 Sabadi jiti sidhi mandali kitosu apana panthu nirala.
Baba Nanak toured the nine division of this earth and then went up the Sumer Mountain (Mount Kailash) and reached a party of Sidhs and asks them "as to why are they hiding, away from the public and the world. In their absence from the society, who would teach the public the path of truth? Jogis are without knowledge and are only applying ashes to their bodies. Without a Guru (Teacher) the whole world is drowning in ignorance.
In Kaliyug the mentality of the people has become like that of a dog who is always seeking the dead to eat. Even the kings are corrupt as if the fence is destroying the crop fields. The Kazis whose duty is to dispense justice are taking bribes and giving false judgments. There is sin everywhere." Through dialogue Baba won over the Sidhs and proclaimed his unique True Panth.
Baba at Mecca Pauris: 32-34
- Pauri 32.1 Baba phiri Makkey gia neel bastatr Dharey banwari.
- Pauri 32.2 Aasa hathh Kitab Kachh kuja bang mussala dhari.
- Pauri 32.4 Ja Baba suta raat nounn vali maharabey paiye pasari.
- Pauri 32.5 Jivan maari latt di kehara suta kuffar kuffari.
- Pauri 32.7 Tangon Pakkaur ghasitia phiria Makka kalla dikhari.
- Pauri 32.8 Hoey hairan kareni Juhari.
- Pauri 33.3 Puchhan Pholi kitab nounn Hindu vada ke Musalmanoi.
- Pauri 33.4 Baba Aakhey hajian subh amlan bajhau dono roi.
- Pauri 33.5 Hindu Musalmaan dui dargah andari lahani na dhoi.
- Pauri 33.7 Karani bakhili aapi vichi Ram Rahim Kuthai Khaloi.
- Pauri 33.8 Rahey Saitani dunia goi.
- Pauri 34.2 Jithai jai jagat vichi babe bajhu na khali jai.
- Pauri 34.3 Ghari ghari baba pujiai Hindu Musalman guai.
- Pauri 34.7 Ugavanahu te athavano naukhand prithami sabh jhukai.
In these pauris Bhai Gurdas describes the visit of Baba Nanak to Mecca. Donning blue clothes, holding a stick in one hand, book under the arm pit and carrying his prayer mat and a lota (jug) Baba reaches Mecca and relates the well known anecdote about Guru Nanak keeping his feet towards the Mehrab at night. Mullah named Jiwan hits him with his leg saying that who is this Kafir keeping his feet towards the house of God and holding Nanak's legs pulls them to change their direction and sees the "Mecca moving in the same direction".
They asked Baba Nanak to open and search in his book and tell them as to who is better, Hindu or Muslim. Baba replied to the Haj Pilgrims that without good deeds both would come to grief. Both Hindus and Muslims would not be accepted in the court of the Lord. In their verbal duals they denounce Raam and Rahim. The world is following the ways of the Satan. Baba won over everyone. Wherever you go in the world you would not find a place where Baba was not known. From East to the West, all nine divisions of the earth bowed to him (Nanak).
Baba at Bagdad: 35-37
- Pauri 35.1 Phiri baba gaia Bagdad non bahari jai kia asthana.
- Pauri 35.2 Ik baba akal roop dooja rababi Mardana.
- Pauri 35.3 Diti bang nivaji kari sunni samani hoa jahana.
- Pauri 35.4 Sunn munni nagari bhai dekhi pir bhaia Hairana.
- Pauri 36.2 Ethe vichi Bagdad de vadi karamati dikhlai.
- Pauri 36.3 Paatala aakas lakhi orhaki bhali khabaru sunai.
- Pauri 36.5 Naal leeta beta pir da akhi meet gaia havai.
- Pauri 36.6 Lakh akas patal lakh akhi phurak vichi sabhi dikhalai.
- Pauri 37.1 Garh Bagdad nivaikai Makka Madina sabhe nivaia.
- Pauri 37.7 Bhaia anand jagatu vichi kali taran Guru Nanak aia.
- Pauri 37.8 Hindu Musalman nivaia.
Baba reached Baghdad and stayed outside the city. Here, the Akal Roop (like the Lord Himself), Baba was accompanied by the Rababi (Rebec playing) Mardana. Bhai Gurdas does not mention as to why the Muslims made an exception and allowed a non-Muslim to visit Mecca when non-Muslims were strictly forbidden to visit the place. We can justifiably conclude from his writing about the Akal Roop Baba Nanak here, that the Light of the Lord Himself shining on Nanak's face attracted everyone towards Him.
Baba gave a loud call of Namaz and the world was stunned into silence. The city became quiet and the Pir was wonderstruck. Here in Baghdad Baba showed a great miracle. He announced existence of lakhs of skies and netherworlds. Taking along Pir Dastgir's son (asking him to close his eyes) showed him in a wink myriad of galaxies. Baba made Baghdad, Mecca and Madina pirs bow to him. The world was delighted that Guru Nanak had come to redeem the world from ignorance. He made Hindus and Muslims accept him (bow to him).
Baba at Kartarpur: 38
- Pauri 38.1 Phiri baba aia Kartarpuri bhekh udasi sagal utara.
- Pauri 38.3 Ulati Gang vahaioni Gur Angadu siri upari dhara.
- Pauri 38.4 Putari kaulu na palia mani khote aki nasiara.
- Pauri 38.7 Sodar Aarti gaviai amrit veley japu uchara.
In the 38th Pauri Bhai Gurdas writes that on returning back to Kartarpur, Baba removes his Udasi garments (robe of a traveler) and putting on the ordinary householders' clothes sits preaching on a cot. Soon he reversed the Ganga when he made Angad the Guru and bowed to him. This he did because his sons did not accept his instructions and ran away from him. Here Guru Nanak sang "Sodar" and "Aarti" in the evening and recited the "Japji" in the morning.
Baba at Achal Vatala – Discussions with Sidhs: 39-44
- Pauri 39.1 Mela suni sivarati da baba Achal Vatale aiyee.
- Pauri 39.2 Darasanu vekhani karane sagali ulati pai lokai.
- Pauri 40.4 Bhekhu utari udasi da vati kiu sansari reet chalai.
- Pauri 40.7 Hoey atitu grihasati taji phiri unahu ke ghari mangani jai.
- Pauri 41.4 Roop vatae jogia singh baghi bahu chaliti dikhai.
- Pauri 42.4 Guru sangati bani bina dooji oat nahi hai rai.
- Pauri 43.2 Bajho sache naam de horu karamati asan te nahi.
- Pauri 43.8 Satinaam binu badari chhai.
- Pauri 44.1 Babe kiti sidhi gosati sabadi santi sidhan wich ai.
- Pauri 44.3 Sidhi bolani subh bachani dhanu Nanak teri vadi kamai.
- Pauri 44.4 Vada purakh pargatia kalijugi andari joti jagai.
Hearing about the Shivratri fair, Baba Nanak arrived at Achal Vatala. The whole public swooped to the fair to have a look at Him. The sidhs performed many tricks and asked Baba as to why he had changed back to the householder's garb. It is very likely that these were the same group of sidhs whom Baba Nanak had confronted at Mount Sumer, several years earlier. Baba remonstrated that having renounced worldly life why were they going begging to the householders.
Yogis performed many miracles and asked Baba Nanak to show his miraculous powers. Baba replied, O respected Naths, I have no such thing to show. I rely on the strength of the Guru (Lord), His holy congregation (Sangat) and the Bani (Word). Except the True Name of the Lord, I have no miracle to show. Besides His True Name, all else is momentary like the shadow of the clouds. As a result of the discussion between Baba and Sidhs, the latter achieved mental tranquility. Sidhs announced that O Nanak, "you have achieved greatness, you have emerged as a Great personality and have illumined the Kaliyug."
Baba visits Multan: 44
- Pauri 44.5 Melio baba uthia Multane di jarati jai.
- Pauri 44.6 Agon pir Multan de dudhi katora bhari lai ai.
- Pauri 44.7 Babe kadhi kari bagal te chambeli dudhi vichi milai.
- Pauri 44.8 Jiu sagar vichi Gang samai.
Leaving the fair at Achal Vatala Baba went on a 'pilgrimage' to Multan. At Multan the Pirs came forward holding a bowl of milk full to the brim. Baba took out a jasmine flower from his bag and put it on the surface of the milk indicating that he would spread fragrance. Bhai Gurdas likened it to the river Ganga merging into the ocean.
Baba back to Kartarpur and giving charge to Guru Angad: 45
- Pauri 45.1 Jarati kari Multan di phiri Kartarpure no aia.
- Pauri 45.4 Maria sika jagati vichi Nanak niramal panth chalaia.
- Pauri 45.5 Thapia Lahina jivade guriai siri chhatr phiraia.
- Pauri 45.6 Joti joti milaikai satigur Nanaki rup vataia.
- Pauri 45.7 Lakhi na koi sakai acharaje acharai dikhaia.
- Pauri 45.8 Kaia palati sarup banaia.
Returning from Multan, Baba reached Kartarpur. Just like minting a new coin in the world, Nanak commenced a Pure Panth (religion). While still alive he appointed Lehna and spread the Canopy of Guruship over his head. Merging his own light with him, the True Guru Nanak just changed his body. No one could understand this strange happening. Nanak converted his "body" into a new form.
WHEN DID BHAI GURDAS WRITE HIS VAARS:
Bhai Gurdas does not mention this fact himself. All of us have accepted the fact that Bhai Gurdas was the scribe of the Pothi Sahib or the first recension of Guru Granth Sahib, which was installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the newly constructed Darbar Sahib at Amritsar in 1604. It appears strange and not logical to state that Bhai Gurdas wrote his Vaars during the years 1610-1628 as stated by Dr Sukhdial Singh. ("Punjab da Itihas" Vol.5 Guru Kaal 1469-1708, Punjabi University 2000 p.40). This means that Bhai Gurdas became a poet in the last years of his life. There are 3 good reasons which point out that Bhai Gurdas wrote major portions of his famous composition (Vaars) much before he was chosen to be the scribe of Pothi Sahib by Guru Arjan Dev Ji.
- 1. Poetry is a born gift and it starts forming in the minds of the poets at a very young age usually in the teens.
- 2. Bhai Gurdas must have established himself as a known writer and poet before Guru Arjan Dev ji selected him for being the scribe of the holy Pothi Sahib.
- 3. Bhai Gurdas was born about 20 years after Guru Nanak Dev Ji had left this world. Bhai Gurdas selected only 10 important episodes from his life, which have a bearing on Sikh thought. He left out so many other prevalent anecdotes, which he considered unimportant. It is quite likely that some of them may have been concocted much later. The story of Panja Sahib at Hasan Abdal is one such story.
There is no doubt that while returning from Baghdad Guru Nanak passed through this place and had met 'Wali Kandhari', a respected pir or "wali" of the place and the imprint of the hand on the stone is indeed that of Guru Nanak. The story of the "wali" throwing a big rock on the Guru Sahib from the hilltop is incredible.
Guru Nanak may have met the "wali" by the side of the natural spring. "Wali" may have requested Guru Nanak to let his Right palm imprint be sculptured on a rock to commemorate his visit and meeting him. It is most unlikely that "wali" would hurl a rock on a "Haji" and 'Akal Roop' Baba Nanak. Even if Bhai Gurdas knew this episode as described above, he must have ignored it as of little importance.
Poets are fond of reciting their poetry and Bhai Gurdas was the only poet of the time. After completing the major portion of the 1st Vaar and ending the story of Guru Nanak when he (Nanak) appointed Guru Angad in his place while he was still alive Bhai Gurdas must have recited his Vaar repeatedly to the Sangat and Guru Sahib (probably Guru Amar Das Ji)
It is very likely that Guru Amar Das Ji must have appreciated his poetry on the one hand but must have stopped him from writing further worldly histories or anecdotes of the successor Gurus. There is no other reason to explain that a poet of the caliber of Bhai Gurdas does not write a line about so many momentous events concerning the panth many of which were happening in front of him:
- Teaching of "Gurmukhi" Script and writing of Gurbani Shabads to the Sikhs by Guru Angad Dev Ji.
- Construction of Baoli at Goindwal as the first pilgrim centre of Sikhi.
- Visit of Emperor Akbar and his meeting with Guru Amar Das Ji.
- Commencement of Digging of sarovers and founding of CHAK Ram Das by Guru Ram Das Ji.
- Brick lining of Sarover, laying of foundation stone of Darbar Sahib by Mian Mir and construction of the unique central shrine of the Sikhs.
- Construction of Gurdwara and Sarovar at Taran Taran.
- Construction of the unique well with six Persians wheels at Chheharta by Guru Arjan Dev Ji.
- Coming up of new towns of Kartarpur (Jalandhar) and Sri Hargobindpur.
- Construction of Bauli at Lahore.
- Bhai Gurdas scribing the Pothi Sahib and its installation in the Darbar Sahib.
- The diversity of occupation and industries bring taken up by the Sikhs.
- Trading of Army Horses, which were brought by the Sikhs from Central Asia traveling West through 2000 miles of Muslim Territory.
- Most important was the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, which was the first epoch making event of the emerging new Panth. He just mentions the ascension of Guru Arjan Dev Ji very discretely and indirectly in pauri 23 of vaar 24:
- Pauri 23.1 Rahide guru dariau vichi meen kuleen hetu nirabani.
- Pauri 23.2 Darasanu dekhi patang jiu joti andari joti samani.
The Guru established his abode in the river just like that of fish. Just like a moth on seeing the light gets merged (killed) into it. He does not give any detail of the Shahidi as mentioned by Jahangir in his autobiography.
There cannot be any other reason for Bhai Gurdas not commenting even briefly or even hinting of any happening concerning the successor Gurus after Guru Nanak. Guru Amar Das Ji must have stopped him from giving any historical events concerning the worldly life of the Gurus. In the next 3 pauris (46-48) of the first Vaar Bhai Gurdas just gives the following details of the next five Gurus after Guru Nanak:
Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das: 46
- Pauri 46.2 Gur Nanak handi muhari hathi Gur Angad di dohi phirai.
- Pauri 46.3 Dita chhori Kartarpuru baithi Khadure joti jagai.
- Pauri 46.5 Lehane pai Nanako deni Amar Dasi ghari ai.
- Pauri 46.7 Pheri vasaia Goindvalu acharaju khelu na lakhia jai.
The power of Guru Nanak was now with Guru Angad and this was proclaimed publicly. Guru Angad left Kartarpur and illumined Khadur. Whatever Lehna got from Guru Nanak reached the house of Guru Amar Das. Guru Amar Das founded Goindwal. The people could not understand these strange happenings or 'plays'.
Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan Dev: 47
- Pauri 47.2 Baitha Sodhi patisahu RamDasu Satiguru kahavai.
- Pauri 47.3 Puranu tal khataia Amritsar vichi joti jagavai.
- Pauri 47.6 Phiri aiyee ghari Arjane putu sansari Guru kahavai.
- Pauri 47.7 Jani na desan sodhian horasi ajaru na jaria javai.
Now Sodhi Emperor was called the True Guru Ram Das. He completed the digging of Holy tank and illumined the town of Amritsar. Then the Guru ship came to Guru Arjan Dev the worldly son of the Guru. This Guru ship would remain with the Sodhi family because none else could bear this unbearable burden.
Guru Hargobind: 48
- Pauri 48.1 Panj piale panji pir chhathamu pir baitha guru bhari.
- Pauri 48.2 Arajanu kaia palat kai murati Harigobind savari.
From Guru Nanak to Guru Arjan Dev were the Five Pirs and now the sixth pir is sitting as the great Guru. Guru Arjan transformed himself and appeared as Hargobind.
Waheguru Mantra: 49 =
In this pauri Bhai Gurdas described evolution of the word Waheguru, its four letters denoting the four yugas. The Gurbani had yet to be compiled and the Sikhs were only writing some Gurbani Shabads for their personal use. The masands and manjis were provided with small collections of shabads in the form of small pothis. The Gurus did not encourage others in writing about the day-to-day happenings connected with the Gurus and the Sikhs, because this would have lead the Sikhs away from Gurbani. The examples of Ramayana, Mahabharta and Shariat were in front of the Gurus. The Hindus were not learning or studying the religion described in Vedas, Shastras, Puranas and Simrities but were fond of Ramayana. Similarly the Muslims were not trying to understand the True Islam explained in Quran but were fighting for the Shariat. The Gurus stopped everyone from writing of their day-to-day worldly history, because it would have resulted in something akin to Ramayana and would have taken the Sikhs away from Gurbani.
THE RELATION OF GURU NANAK TO THE SUCCESSOR GURUS IN OTHER VAARS
Bhai Gurdas refrains from writing any event from the lives of the subsequent Gurus but describes their relationship to Guru Nanak 8 times prominently in the remaining 39 vaars, in addition to other minor references of similar nature.
1 Vaar 3 Pauri 12 (Guru Nanak to Guru Hargobind)
- Pauri 12.1 Satigur Nanak deu gura guru hoia.
- Pauri 12.2 Angadu alakhu abheu sahaji samoia.
- Pauri 12.3 Amarahu amar sameu alakhu aloia.
- Pauri 12.4 Ram nam arikheu amritu choia.
- Pauri 12.5 Gur Arajan kari seu dhoai dhoia.
- Pauri 12.6 Gur Harigobindu ameu amiu viloia.
The True Guru Nanak Deo was the Guru of Gurus. Angad was absorbed with ease in the invisible and mysterious Lord. Amardas with love got imbibed in the invisible Lord. Ram Das was dripped with loving Nectar. Guru Arjan was rewarded for his devoted service. Guru Hargobind churned the limitless sea of the Word.
2 Vaar 13 Pauri 25 (Remembering the Six True Gurus)
- Pauri 25.1 Parbrahamu puran brahamu Gur Nanak deu.
- Pauri 25.2 Gur Angadu gur ang te sach sabad sameu.
- Pauri 25.3 Amarapadu Gur Angadah ati alakh abheu.
- Pauri 25.4 Gur Amarahu gur Ram namu gati achhal achheu.
- Pauri 25.5 Ram rasak Arjan Guru abichal arakheu.
- Pauri 25.6 Harigovindu govindu Guru karan karaneu.
Guru Nanak Deo is the embodiment of the Primal Lord. Guru Angad emerged from the body part of the Guru and was engrossed in the Word. From Guru Angad, achieving immortal status Amar Das appeared as a Unique being. From Guru Amar Das, the virtuous Ram Das was manifested. From Ram Das appeared Guru Arjan who remained attuned to the Everlasting Lord. Then came Hargobind, a Guru like the Lord of all Causes and Effects.
3 Vaar 24 Pauri 5 (Advent of Guru Angad)
- Pauri 5.1 Angahu angu upaionu gangahu janu tarangu uthaia.
- Pauri 5.4 Gur chela chela guru guru chele paracha parachaia.
- Pauri 5.8 Babane gur Angad aia.
Angad was created from his limb just like a wave appears in River Ganga. Such was their mutual love that the Guru became the Disciple and the Disciple Guru. Like this Guru Angad appeared through Baba (Nanak).
Vaar 24 Pauri 10.1 (Guru Nanak's Grandson Amar Das)
- Pauri 10.1 Sabadu surati parachai kai chele te guru guru to chela.
Absorbed in the Word, the Disciple became Guru (Angad) and from the Guru (Angad) emerged the Disciple (Amar Das).
Vaar 24 Pauri 14 (Guru Ram Das)
- Pauri 14.5 Guru Amarahu Guru Ram Dasu joti joti jagai juhara.
- Pauri 14.7 Takhatu bhakhatu paragatu pahara.
From his Light Guru Amar Das enlightened Guru Ram Das who was offered salutation. Sitting on the throne he has become manifest in the world.
Vaar 24 Pauri 18 (Guru Arjan Dev Ji)
- Pauri 18.7 Guru Arajanu sachu sirajanahara.
Guru Arjan is the builder of Truth.
Vaar 24 Pauri 19 (Guru Arjan Dev Ji)
- Pauri 19.1 Piu dada paradadiahu kul dipaku ajaravar nata.
- Pauri 19.2 Takhatu bakhatu lai malia sabad surati vapari sapata.
- Pauri 19.3 Gurbani bhandaru bhari kiratanu katha rahai rang rata.
Guru Arjan is the Light of the family of his father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Having occupied the throne he has merged his self with the Word. Having collected the store of Gurbani he is busy in singing kirtan and explaining Gurbani (Katha).
Vaar 24 Pauri 21 (Hargobind in Ecstasy)
- Pauri 21.4 Gur govindu govindu guru Harigovindu sada vigasanda.
Like Guru (Arjan) as Gobind (God) and God as Guru, Hargobind, always remains in ecstasy.
4 Vaar 24 Pauri 25 (The Six Gurus)
- Pauri 25.1 Nirankaru Nanak Deu nirankari akar banaia.
- Pauri 25.2 Guru Angadu gur ang te gangahu janu tarang uthaia.
- Pauri 25.3 Amar Dasu guru Angdahu joti sarup chalatu varataia.
- Pauri 25.4 Guru Amarahu guru Ram Dasu anahad nadahu sabadu sunaia.
- Pauri 25.5 Ram Dasahu Arjanu guru darasanu darapani vichi dikhaia.
- Pauri 25.6 Hargobind gur Arjano gur gobind nau sadwaiya.
- Pauri 25.7 Gur murati gur sabadu hai sadh sangati vichi paragati aia.
The formless Lord manifested his formless self as Nanak Deo. Guru Angad emerged from the Guru's limb just like the wave is created in the river Ganga. Amardas appeared when the Light transference from Guru Angad to him was visible to all. From Guru Amar Das emerged Guru Ram Das like the unstruck sounds create Word. Guru Arjan appeared as mirror image of Ram Das. Hargobind was created from Guru Arjan and was called Gur Gobind (Gobind means the Creator of the Universe). The "Physical" form of Guru is the 'Word' which is revealed in the Holy Congregation (Sadh Sangat).
5. Vaar 26 Pauri 34 (Lineage of the Gurus)
- Pauri 34.1 Babani piri chali gur chela paracha parachaia.
- Pauri 34.2 Guru Angadu guru angu te guru chela chela guru bhaia.
- Pauri 34.3 Amar Dasu gur Angadahu satiguru te satiguru sadaia.
- Pauri 34.4 Guru Amrahu guru Ram Dasu gur seva guru hoi samaia.
- Pauri 34.5 Ram Dasahu Arjanu guru amrit brikhi amrit phalu laia.
- Pauri 34.6 Hargovindu guru Arjanahu adi purakh adesu karaia.
- Pauri 34.7 Sujhai sujh na lukai lukaia.
The line of Baba Nanak commenced with the love between the Guru and the Disciple. From the body part of the Guru emerged Guru Angad as the beloved Disciple. Amardas took over from Guru Angad True Guru and was proclaimed True Guru Himself. By devoted service of Guru Amardas, Guru Ram Das became the Guru. From Ram Das emerged Guru Arjan as ambrosial fruit of the ambrosial tree. From Guru Arjan emerged Guru Hargobind who preached salutation of the Primal Lord. The visible Sun cannot be concealed.
6. Vaar 38 Pauri 20 (Six Gurus Praised)
- Pauri 20.1 Satiguru Nanak Deu hai paramesaru soi.
- Pauri 20.2 Guru Angadu guru ang te joti joti samoi.
- Pauri 20.3 Amarapadu Guru Angadahun hui janu janoi.
- Pauri 20.4 Guru Amarahun Guru Ram Das amrit rasu bhoi.
- Pauri 20.5 Ram Dasahun Arajanu Guru guru sabad sathoi.
- Pauri 20.6 Harigovind guru Arjanahun guru Govindu hoi.
- Pauri 20.7 Gurmukhi sukh phal piram rasu satisang aloi.
- Pauri 20.8 Guru govindahun bahara duja nahi koi.
True Guru Nanak Deo is like God Himself. Guru Angad emerged from the limb of the Guru just like a lamp is kindled from a lamp. From Guru Angad appeared Amar Das who was given omniscient knowledge. From Guru Amar Das emerged Guru Ram Das full of Ambrosia. From Ram Das came Guru Arjan who remained engrossed in Gur Sabad (Word of the Guru). Hargobind appeared from Guru Arjan as Guru and God. In their company the Gurmukhs in the Holy congregation obtain the fruit of contentment and pleasure. At present there is no Guru besides Govind (Hargobind).
7. Vaar 39 Pauri 2 (The Five Gurus)
- Pauri 2.2 Oankaru akaru kari iku kavau pasau karaia.
- Pauri 2.7 Satiguru Nanak Deu hai guru Angadu angahun upajaia.
- Pauri 2.8 Angad te guru Amarpad amrit Ram namu guru bhaia.
- Pauri 2.9 Ram Das guru Arjan chhaia.
The Formless One created the Universe by His One Word. True Guru is Nanak Deo who made Angad emerge from his limb. From Angad appeared the immortal Guru Amardas from whom emerged Ram Das. From Ram Das Arjan appeared on the scene.
8. Vaar 39 Pauri 3 (Praise of Guru Hargobind Sahib)
- Pauri 3.1 Dasatgir hui panj pir hari guru Harigobindu atola.
- Pauri 3.2 Din duni patisahu patisahan patisahu adola.
- Pauri 3.3 Panj piale ajaru jari hoi masatan sujan vichola.
- Pauri 3.5 Chhia darasanu chhia nirbian ikasu darasanu andari gloa.
- Pauri 3.9 Antarajami bala bhola.
The first five Pirs (Gurus) held the hands of the people and now Hargobind is the incomparable Guru God. He is both the king of Spirituality as well Worldly King and in fact is the serene Emperor of all Kings. He has assimilated the deep knowledge of the five cups (Gurus) and is the wise mediator. Six personalities six generations are represented in one. The omniscient Guru has childlike innocence.
Other Topics Discussed By Bhai Gurdas In His Vaars
Bhai Gurdas writes in praise of the Creator describing His attributes in the Gurbani but does not give any Gurbani quotation. He discusses Guru and his disciples and creation of Panth of Gurmukhs. He eulogizes the Gurus, life being lead by Guru faced Sikhs, relation between the Guru and the Word, similarity between the Guru and the True Sikh and discusses in detail qualities of a Sikh. He describes the difference between the Guru oriented – Gurmukhs and Self-oriented-Manmukhs. He discusses the daily routine of Gursikhs, their virtues and their conduct in the world in several Vaars.
He discusses in detail Hinduism, Islam, their sects and beliefs without criticizing or finding faults in them.
He discusses the five evils of the human mind responsible for its degradation. In place of the five evil thoughts of Lust, Anger, Greed, Infatuation and Ego the Guru oriented or Gurmukhs imbibe Truth, Contentment, Compassion, Duty and Fortitude. He praises the value of Sadh Sangat or Holy Congregation.
He relates several stories from epics: Dhruv and Prahlad; Rajas Ambrik, Bal, Janak and Hari Chand; Episode of Dropdi; Krishna and Sudama; Story of Ahilaya and Gotam Rishi; Conversion of Balmik from Dacoit to Saint; Liberation of Ajamal, Ganika and Pootna, the evil women. He praises the various Bhagats: Jaidev, Naam Dev, Trilochan, Dhanna, Beni, Kabir, Rama Nand and Sain etc. He describes briefly the ten incarnations of Vishnu, and stories of Mahadev (Shivji), Indra, Brahma, Narad and other Rishis. He mentions their ego in showing miracles. He discusses the division of four varnas and how these are clashing with one another.
Only Gurmukhs are above caste, belonging to one caste, they are ever imbued in the love of the Lord. He describes evolution of Human Life as the Supreme Being among the 84 lakh species on this earth. Without True Guru (Satguru), Man keeps on groping in the dark, ever engrossed in the distractions of the world like family relations, business, pilgrimages, holy baths, worship of gods and goddesses and charities. Listening to the Word of the Guru in the holy congregation (Sadh Sangat), the Gurmukh are ever attuned to the Lord, detached from the world like Lotus in water.
The Gurmukh loses ego and ever accepts the Will of the Lord. Involved in the Creation and infused with lust, anger, opposition, greed, infatuation, greed, deceit and ego leads to infighting and crime in this world. Again and again Bhai Gurdas praises Gurmukhs, their humility and their ever remaining attuned to the Lord while earning their livelihood, their serving the Sadh Sangat or holy congregation and their doing good in return of evil. Gurmukhs are without ego and donot indulge in greed even in dreams.
Bhai gurdas gives the names of the important sikhs of the first six gurus in the 11th vaar:
- i. Sikhs of the First Guru : In Pauris 13-14 are enumerated 22 Sikhs of Guru Nanak. Some are identified by their castes and others by their profession. He only mentions that they were beloved of the Guru and were good Sikhs. He writes that Mardana was the good Rabab player in all congregations but does not mention the name of Bala among the Sikhs of Guru Nanak. Even earlier in the First Vaar Bhai Gurdas had only mention that Rababi Mardana was accompanying the "Akal Roop Baba Nanak" when Baba reached Baghdad. If Bala had been a prominent Sikh and had accompanied Guru Nanak during his travels then Bhai Gurdas must have known about it. We can justly conclude that there was no Sikh of Guru Nanak by the name of Bala and only Mardana was the constant companion of Guru Nanak during his journeys.
- ii. Sikhs of the Second Guru : Pauri 15 Among the 12 Sikhs of Guru Angad enumerated here, Bhai Gurdas just mentions that Jodh was the Cook of the Guru who was liberated.
- iii. Sikhs of the Third Guru residing at Dalla : Pauri 16 Here Bhai Gurdas gives 25 names but only mentions that Pandha and Bulla were known as singer and writer of Gurbani respectively.
- iv. Sikhs of the Fourth Guru residing at Sabherwal : Pauri 17 Here Bhai Gurdas just gives 21 names but as before does not give any episode or event connected with any one of them.
- v. Sikhs of the Fifth Guru : Pauris 18, 19, 20
- In the first list of 27 names is mentioned that Jhanju and Mukand were Kirtanias.
- In the second list of 27 only Ram Das is mentioned as a cook and all are praised as Gurmukhs.
- In the third list of 16 Sikhs, some are identified by their subcaste. He does mention that Goend of Ghai sub caste was a hgihly respected beloved Sikh of the Guru. He, however, does not give any reason as to how and why did he deserve this special praise.
- vi. Sangat at Sultanpur – Pauri 21 Here are enumerated 20 names and in the end Bhai Gurdas mentions that Sultanpur is a store house of Gursikhs. This indicates that he is mentioning the names of only prominent Sikhs.
- vii. Important Masands of the Guru – Pauri 22 Here are mentioned names of 14 well known Masands and Bhai Gurdas writes that they were all respected Gurmukhs.
- viii. Very dear Sikhs of the Guru : Pauri 23 In this list Bhai Gurdas identifies 21 names by their sub-caste or their physical character and in addition states that each was better than the other.
- ix. Well know Sikhs of Punjab : Pauri 24 This list includes 14 names, identified by their caste or profession. Again no reason is mentioned to explain their prominence.
- x. Sangat of Lahore residing at Mozang : Pauri 25 Here again the 18 Names are identified by their sub caste or profession and that they were all respected Gursikhs.
- xi. Sikhs residing at Far Off Places : Pauri 26 Here are given names of 15 Sikhs who were residing at Kabul, Kashmir, Sirhind, Thanesar and Fatehpur. Here again he does not mention any special detail about any individual Sikh or of the Sangat at those places.
- xii. Sikhs of the Agra Congregation : Pauri 27 In this list are given 15 names and Bhai Gurdas remarks that all Gursikhs were stringed like the beads of the rosary.
- xiii. Sikhs Of The Inner Circle : Pauri 28 Here are given names of 12 Gursikhs who were always in close company of the Fifth Guru. These Sikhs were always at the service of the congregation but no details are given about any specific work they were doing.
- xiv. Sikhs of the Sixth Guru : Pauri 29 – 31
- In the first list of Sikhs of the Sixth Guru are given 18 names only.
- In this list of 12 Sikhs is mentioned that one was residing at Lashkar, another at Gwalior, one at Ujjain and one at Gujrat. He mentions that large numbers of Sikhs were residing at Burhanpur.
- In the third list of Sikhs of the Sixth Guru are 11 names and among them is mentioned one residing at Suhanda, one at Lucknow one at Parag one at Jaunpur, one at Patna, one at Agra and one at Dhaka.
These lists of Sikhs in the 11th Vaar tell us that by the time of Guru Hargobind Ji Sikhs had spread out from Punjab to Kabul, Kashmir, Central and Eastern India (now Bangladesh). Bhai Gurdas, however, does not mention any activity, episode or happening among Sikh Sangats of those places. He does not give any reason as to why he has not detailed any events, which he has witnessed or learnt during his lifetime. He only gives detailed exposition of living according to the teachings of Gurbani in his own words.
The remark of Guru Arjan Dev that Vaars of Bhai Gurdas serve as a key to understand Gurbani has been accepted by all of us. There is no doubt that the details of Sikhs of Guru Hargobind and his writing about Guru Hargobind confirms that several of his vaars were written during the life of Guru Hargobind i.e. after the compilation of the Pothi Sahib. This hypothesis that Gurus were not in favour of anybody writing about the worldly anecdotes, happenings in relation to Gurus and the Sikhs held true even in the time of Guru Gobind Singh.
All of us accept that Guru Gobind Singh had a large number of scholars with him. None of them wrote about the details of martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadar or any details of the various battles forced upon Guru Gobind Singh. No one recorded the exact details of his last days and ascension. The scholars with Guru Gobind Singh wrote mostly stories from the epics and Puranas.
THE VAARS OF BHAI GURDAS CLEARLY INDICATE THAT BHAI GURDAS WAS FULLY CONVERSANT AND PROFICIENT IN THE ART OF HISTORY WRITING. THIS IS BORNE OUT BY HIS NARRATION OF ONLY SIGNIFICANT EVENTS FROM THE LIFE OF GURU NANAK. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT HE WAS PREVENTED FROM WRITTING ABOUT THE REMARKABLE EVENTS CONCERNING THE GURUS AND THE SIKHS WHICH WERE HAPPENING IN FRONT OF HIM.
- "Vaaran Bhai Gurdaas ji steek" by Pt. Narain Singh ji Giani. Published by Bhai Chattar Singh Jeevan Singh Asr. 11th edition. (In Panjabi)
- "Vaaran Bhai Gurdas" by Dr. Jodh Singh Vol. 1&2, Vision & Venture Patiala 1998, (in English)
- "Panjab Da Ithiaas" Vol. 5 'Guru Kaal' 1469-1708 by Dr. Sukhdayal Singh. Punjabi University 2000 (in Panjabi)