PARAMARTHA, a combination of param, i.e. the highest or the supreme, and artha, i.e. meaning or objective or purpose, is, in literature, the title generally applied to a work of exposition of a scriptural text. Unliked which deals with the text in an elaborate and comprehensive way, the paramdrtha, in contradistinction, refers only to the inner or central meaning of the text. In Sikh exegetical literature, the paramdrtha tradition goes back to the Janam Sakhis, the first ever written accounts of Guru Nanak`s life, which also contain elaborations and expositions of some of his compositions.

The mode became an integral part of the hagiographical works of Sodhi Manohar Das Miharban (1581-1640), Potht Sach Khand and other writings of the family {Pothi Harji, and Pothi ChaturbhuJ). It was presumed that the true meaning of the Guru`s hymns could be explained or understood only by placing them in the contexts in which they had been or could have been uttered. Thus a possible situation or setting befitting a hymn was conceived and in reference to it the paramdrtha or meaning of the Guru`s words explained. The better known paramdrthas that have come down from this school are those of Japu, Patfi, Oankdr, Siddha Gosti and Bard Mdhd. Paramdrtha in Sikh letters gave place to find, annotation and commentary which gained vogue in the nineteenth century.

References :

1. Taran Singh, Curbam didn Vidkhid Prand Rdn. Patiala, 1980