KABITTSAVAIYYE, by Bhai Gurdas who had worked with Guru Arjan on the preparation of the original volume of Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, and who is remembered in the Sikh tradition as the first consistent interpreter of the Gurus` word, is a collection of 675 kabitts and savaiyyds composed by the poet in Braj. Of his kabitts and savaiyyds, a total of 556 only were known before 1940 when Bhai Vir Singh searched out and published another 119 of them, thereby bringing their total to 675.
However, nine kabilts, among the later 119, are almost identical with the other nine published earlier. Some scholars, thus, exclude these nine and take the total number of these kabitts and savaiyyds to be 666.It is generally believed that some of the kabitis and savaiyyds are still untraced. As regards the time and place of these compositions, opinion varies. It is generally believed that a major part of this work was completed after the poet`s more popular work, the Vdrs, had been written.
The more likely venue was Kashi and Agra where the Bhai had lived for some time. The conjecture is strengthened by several factors. One, the theme of the poetry belongs to the poet`s maturer years. Second, the language of these compositions is akin to the contemporary religious and literary genius of Kashi and Agra. A pang of separation from the Guru is the running theme of this poetry.Bhai Gurdas was able clearly to comprehend the meanings of the text and then explain it in the simplest vocabulary.
For the Punjabi readers, he has done this in his vdrsand for his readers in Kashi and Agra in the kabittsand savaiyyds. To make his works widely comprehensible, Bhai Gurdas has used similes and metaphors from daily life. In the first section the poet has used kabiits and savaiyyds in their simplest form. The thrust is in the fourth and final line in which his meaning is communicated very forcefully.
The poetry also symbolizes Bhai Gurdas`s deep love for his Gurus. Bhai Gurdas spent long spells in Agra and Kashi spreading the message of the Gurus, but he always longed for a glimpse of the Guru. Compositions dealing with poet`s pangs of separation are a fine specimen of his poetic art.
1. Kaur Singh, Akali, Taikara Bhai Curdns p. de Kahitt Savaiyye. Amritsar, 1929
2. Jaggi, Rattan Singh, Bhai Gurdas: fivani Ie Rachna. Patiala, 1974
3. Darshan Singh, Bhm Cwdds. Patiala, 1986