The Sikh Encyclopedia The Sikh Encyclopedia Encyclopedia of Sikhism

Arts & Heritage

Search Now!

MAHALA

(0 votes)

MAHALA, traditionally pronounced mahalla, appears in Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, as a special term to credit the authorship of the compositions of the Gurus recorded in it. Mahala here refers to the person of the Guru specified by a numeral following it which signifies his position in the order of succession, commencing with Guru Nanak as Mahala 1 (pahila or first). Mahala is a modified form of mahal, a word of Arabic/Persian origin. Mahal has also been used in the text of some hymns in its usual literal meaning as palace, grand building, house, dwelling, abode, and in its figurative cannotations as human body, heart, mind or the mystic, mental state. It also appears with the same spelling mahala but signifying the Sanskrit mahila (lit. a woman, female).

But the use of Mahala as a denominator of the Gurus is peculiar to Guru Granth Sahib. Mahala in this sense is derived from the Arabic word halul which means "descending, alighting, remaining; entering, penetrating; transmigration."  The Sikh belief is that the spirit or light of Guru Nanak informed the bodies of the successive Gurus, and that all of them were in essence the same Nanak. Mobid Zulfiqar Ardastani, who had personally known Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) and Guru Har Rai (1630-61), testifies in his Dabistan-i-Mazahib that Guru Nanak was referred to as Mahal I, his successor Guru Angad as Mahal II, and so on.

He uses the very word halul for the transference of Guru Nanak's spirit to the body of Guru Angad. All the Gurus whose bani is included in the Guru Granth Sahib used Nanak as their nom  de  plume. Mahala I, Mahala II, and so on (pronounced Mahalla Pahila-First, Mahalla Duja-Second, and so on) were used by Guru Arjan, the compiler of the scripture, to mark the authorship of the compositions. Mahala I at the beginning of a composition means that it is by the First Guru, Guru Nanak; Mahala II that it is by Guru Angad, his successor; Mahala III that it is by Guru Amar Das, Nanak III, and so on. That the practice dated back at least to the time of Guru Amar Das (1479-1574) is evidenced by two old manuscripts known as Goindval Pothis, which also have the Gurus mentioned in this style.

References:

1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
2. Gurdas, Bhai, Varan.
3. Tara Singh, Granth Gur Granth Kosh. Lahore, 1895

More in this category: « KIRTAN MANGA, BHAI »

Leave a comment

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

All About Sikhs

AllAboutSikhs is a comprehensive web site on sikhism, sikh history and philosophy, customs and rituals,sikh way of life, social and religious movements, art and architecture, sikh scriptures,sikh gurudwaras. Based on the belief in One God, the Sikh religion recognizes the equality of all human beings, and is marked by rejection of idolatry, ritualism, caste and asceticism. This website serves to heighten the awareness of Sikhism and hopefully can be of some use to seekers of knowledge.

Visit AllAboutSikhs.com

Search Gurbani

SearchGurbani brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas. You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.

Visit SearchGurbani.com

World Gurudwaras

World Gurudwaras will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.

Visit WorldGurudwaras.com

 

Get Latest Updates