ANANDU, noncanonically spelt Anand, by Guru Amar Das, is like Guru Nanak`s Japu, one of the more familiar texts in the Guru Granth Sahib. Set in the Ramkali musical measure and comprising forty stanzas, Anand is recited liturgically, especially in its shortened form, at the conclusion of all congregational services and at prayers offered at weddings and other ceremonies to seek God`s grace and solace and to rejoice on happy occasions in the favours granted by Him. The Sikh marriage ceremony itself has come to be called anand, which term has also been used in the legislative enactment governing the custom.
Tradition recounts that Guru Amar Das had just finished the recording of this composition when the news of the birth of a grandson (son of Mohri, the younger of his two sons), was communicated to him. The child was named Anand after the title of the composition he had just completed. In Sanskrit, and so in Punjabi, the word anand means bliss. In the Taittinya Upanisad, it has been used for Brahman Itself. The term there also denotes a rasa or emotion. Guru Amar Das`s composition centres upon the experience of anand (bliss, supreme beatitude) resulting from the individual soul`s merging with the Supreme Soul which is attained through constant remembrance of God under the direction of the Guru.
Herein, anand is a positive spiritual state of inner poise and equanimity wherein one is freed from all dukkha (suffering), roga (malady), and santapu (anxiety) and one realizes the ultimate goal of union with the Lord. A synoptic summary of the contents of the poem, stanzawise, may go as under:(1) Anand is attained by the grace of the Guru who has bestowed upon me enlightenment, equanimity, harmony and Godrealization; (2) God has banished suffering, giving me the sense of fulfilment; (3) He bestows upon men all gifts including the gift of the Name; (4) the Name sustains life, banishes desires, gives peace, tranquillity and happiness; (5) it drives away the five lusts and cancels death; (6) the gift of the Name follows and it can come from Him alone; (7) the Guru is the source of anand, for his teaching gives detachment and discrimination and banishes sin; (8) without the Guru`s guidance one gropes in the darkness of ignorance; (9) the Guru leads the seeker to the company of the holy saints where the Immaculate One is meditated upon; (10) thus the mind gets detached from illusory maya, the enchanter; (11) it surrenders itself to God, the Eternal Reality; (12) God, Creator, is beyond comprehension; (13) even the angels and rsis are the seekers of the nectar of His Name which banishes ego and sin; (14) the bhaktas tread the path of nonego and nondesire; (15) men do what God wills, some by His grace take to meditating on the Name; (16) they on whom is His grace listen to the Guru`sword; (17) they become pure by meditating on the Name, liberating their companions as well; (18) doubt and ignorance are dispelled by meditating on the Name alone and notby any ritual practices; one remains in impurity as long as doubt persists; (19) an impure mind can never win liberation; (20) they who practise what the Guru teaches are pure inside and outside; (21) a disciple has to surrender completely to the Guru by shaking off his ego and placing full faith in him; (22) none can achieve liberation without the Guru`s aid; (23) he has to concentrate on the True Guru`s word and this is possible by His grace only; (24) all other learning is of little avail; (25) the Guru`s sabda is a pure diamond which one receives through His grace alone; (26) the Guru breaks the bondage of maya and thus frees the spirit; (27) the Smrtis and Sastras cannot pierce maya; (28) the Guru teaches concentration on the Name which is one`s protector and sustainer; (29) maya charms one away from concentration; (30) maya is worthless whereas the Name is priceless; (31) those who concentrate on the Name build up real capital; (32) the taste of the Name is sweetest and it eliminates all desire; (33) the Name is the divine spark within the bodily frame; (34) its realization gives bliss and annuls sorrow and suffering; (35) blessed is the man who is devoted to the Guru and God; (36) blessed are the eyes which see God everywhere; (37) blessed are the ears which hear the nectar sweet Name; (38) blessed is the realization of the state wherein one sees God in all His vastness; (39) of highest value is the Truth which abides in the pure hearts; and (40) with the realization comes anand or bliss which banishes suffering, maladies and anxities.
1. Taran Singh, Sahy te Anandu. Amritsar, n.d.
2. Kohli, Surindar Singh, A Critical Study of Adi Granth. Delhi, 1961
3. Talib, Gurbachan Singh, Barn of Guru Amar Das. Delhi. 1979
4. Macauliffe, M. A., The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909 T.S.