GHARUGHARU, pronounced ghar, is a term used in the titles of many of the hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib. The final “u” is only of grammatical significance indicating masculine gender and singular number. Gharu appears after the name of the rdga (musical measure) and the indication with regard to the author, and is followed by a numeral. For instance, the first hymn in the Siri Raga is entitled “Ragu Siri Ragu Mahala Pahila 1 Gharu I”. As in the case of Mahala the numeral following Gharu is pronounced as first, second, third, and so on, and not as one, two, three, etc.
Gharu, ordinarily an equivalent of “house “or “home”, here indicates a variant or style of a rdga corresponding to variation in metre, pitch, rhythm and lai. Lai (Sanskrit laya) is a term in Indian musicology signifying timing or speed, Lai figures in three varieties, viz. druta (quick), madhya (mean or moderate) and vilambita (slow). Interestingly, the Sanskrit lay a also means “rest, repose” as well as “a place of rest, residence, house, dwelling,” the latter being synonymous with ghar`m Hindi and Punjabi. This explains the use of gharfor musical variations in the Sikh Scripture. In Iranian music, the Persian word gdh (time, place) is used for various musical notes such as dugdh and sihgdh in the same sense.