BILAVAL KI VARBILAVAL KI VAR, by Guru Ram Das, is one of his eight vars in a corpus of twenty-two included in the Guru Granth Sahib. It occurs in Raga Bilaval, and consists of thirteen pauris or stanzas, each comprising five lines, with the exception of pauri 10 which is of six lines. To the pauris which are of Guru Ram Das`s composition, slokas were added by Guru Arjan at the time of the compilation of the Holy Book. In its present form, each paun, except pauri 7 which has three slokas prefixed to it, is preceded by two slokas. Of these twenty-seven slokas, two are of the composition of Guru Nanak, one of Guru Ram Das and the remaining of Guru Amar Das.
Raga Bilaval is the melody of bliss which, as the poem stresses, consists in contemplation on the Divine Name. This constant remembrance of God becomes possible only through the grace and guidance of the Guru. He who takes refuge in the Guru acquires the wealth of nam or Divine Name thereby attaining the state of sahaj, the highest state of spiritual progress in which ignorance and dualism are expelled. Such a person called a gurmukh, i.e. one turned towards the Guru, is honoured everywhere and by all. By pursuing the teachings of the Guru, he becomes a jivan mukta, i.e. one who has attained liberation while still living.
The Var reiterates some of the basic principles of Sikh thought. God has created this universe and sustains it.He is eternal and formless, self existent and all pervading, and yet transcendent. He cannot be conceived or explained in empirical terms. He is the Lord of the universe and His Will governs all.
He through His grace releases men from the cycle of birth and death. The human soul partakes of the Divine, but man becomes ignorant of his true origin because of the influence of maya and his haumai or egoity. Contemplation on His Name by following the Guru`s counsel is the only way to overcome haumai. He who has overcome his ego becomes permanently attuned to the Ultimate Reality. On the ethical plane, the poem denounces vices such as pride, slander, avarice and attachment. Truthfulness, humility and purity of thought are recognized as prized virtues.
1. Bishan Singh, Giani, Ba; Varan Satik. Amritsar, n.d.