GAURI KI VAR, by Guru Ram Das, is one of his seven vars in a total of twenty-two in the Guru Granth Sahib. As the title indicates, the Vdr is cast in the Gauri musical measure a rdga commonly sung in the evening. In Sikh Scripture, Gaun is the third of the thirty-one ragas. Gaun ki Vdr comprises thirty-three pauns and sixty-eight slokas. Except pawns 15 and 20 which are preceded by three slokas each, the rest have two slokas prefixed to each.

In the case of most of the other vdrs included in the Holy Book, the pauns which form the core of the text are from one pen, the slokas which vary in authorship having been added by Guru Arjan at the time of the compilation of the Holy Granth. Gaun ki Vdr is the only Vdr which has five pauns (27 to 31), all of the composition of Guru Arjan. Of the sixty-eight slokas, seven are by Guru Amar Das, fifty-three by Guru Ram Das and eight by Guru Arjan. Whereas the slokas vviry in the number of verses from two to thirteen, pauns consist of five verses each, except for four (11,12,31 and 32) which contain six to ten verses each.

The Vdr has been moulded to a spiritual theme, the burden being the individual soul`s yearning for ultimate union with the Supreme Soul. Whereas the former is limited and finite, the latter is infinite and unfathomable, omniscient and omnipresent. Equally deep emphasis is laid on God who is the sole creator and sustainer of the universe.The human body He has created is like a fort with several shops within it.

This body is meant for righteous action. Men are divided into two categories, gurmukhs and manmukhs. The former imbibe godly qualities by following the instruction of the Guru and repeating His Name with every breath of theirs. Thus they successfully swim across the ocean of life and win acceptance at His portal. On the other hand, the manmukh, the wayward one, takes to evil ways.

His speech is insipid, and he takes delight in calumny and falsehood. He is greedy and lustful and is punished accordingly.To realize God, the seeker need not renounce the world and wander into the forests. They are saved who take refuge with the True Guru. The Guru helps the human soul reach its destination of final beatitude.

The Guru is full of the nectar of the Name of the Lord. He is generous and envious of none. It is under his guidance that the disciple learns to keep company with the holy, imbibe virtues and cast away all deficiencies. s.s.K. GAUR1 Kl VAR by Guru Arjan is one of the twenty-two vdrs included in the Guru Granth Sahib. The Vans a form of folk poetry cast in a spiritual mould in the Sikh holy corpus.

It falls in the Gauri musical measure from which it takes its title.As in the case of some of the vdrs in the Holy Book, there is at the head of it a direction as to the tune in which it should most appropriately be sung. The tune indicated is that of the then popular folk ballad recounting the chivalry of Mojdi (Muazz udDin) who fought against and defeated Kamaldi (Kamal udDin), his uncle: they were Muslim Rajput chieftains of the Bar, or inter riverine jungle country, in the erstwhile central Punjab. At the close of the Vdr are appended the words sudhu kiche (please correct) , indicating that the text as copied from the original pages was sought to be checked and inaccuracies, if any, corrected.

The Vdr comprises twenty-one pauns or stanzas, and forty-two slokas or couplets, all composed by Guru Arjan. This is unlike most of the other vdrs in the Guru Granth Sahib which contain slokas by the author of the pauns as well as by other Gurus which were added to the pauns by Guru Arjan at the time of the compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib. Pauns consist of five lines each which, though of unequal length, mutually rhyme, the last word of each line ending with a long mdtrd to create in recitation an echoic, lingering rhythm. Like other vdrsm the Guru Granth Sahib, this Vdr opens with the laudation of the Creator, expressing devotion as well as a sense of wonder, and then, with rapid transition, moves on to other aspects of ethical experience and to exhortation towards the spiritual life.

Remembrance of God lovingly and wholeheartedly and praising the Name in holy association are set out as the means to elevating the seeker to the ideal plane where he comes in contact with the Supreme Lord and where he experiences the joy of becoming one with the Perfect Being. In such a state there is no psychic conflict and man abides in sublime bliss. Pauns as well as slokas bear up these themes. The essential element of the metaphysical doctrine of Guru Nanak reiterated by Guru Arjan in this Vdr is monotheism. 

The ultimate reality is the One Absolute, the Transcendent, Eternal and Omnipotent.He is supreme, ineffable and indescribable. So wondrous and exalted is He that human mind can neither define nor fathom Him. His Will is the sole cause of the creation of this universe which is sustained and nourished by Him. He is not separate from His creation, but permeates it.

He is imperishable, infinite, unapproachable and unfathomable. He looks equally adorned amongst the high and the low, the big and the small. He is diffused through all the places and inter spaces and is within the mortals. Only God, the creator of this universe, is the Everlasting Reality. All else is subject to death, and so is man.

Although the cosmos will last longer than the living creatures, it will not stay for ever. Neglecting the soul`s yearning for union with the Ultimate and seeking material and physical satisfaction in self indulgence is said to make man unbalanced. The Vdr presents a very vivid picture of this sick mortal. Such a man does not perform his duty, but wanders waywardly. He is attracted towards vices such as lust, wrath, avarice and worldly love like a vulture attracted to carrion.

He might seem happy outwardly, but within him lies anxiety. His unsatiable hunger for worldly things leads him to pain and sorrow. Surrounded by calamities and with a mind full of doubt, he is ever unhappy, ill at ease and discontented.Devoid of faith, he is continuously suffering agony like a thief writhing on the noose. The Vdr impresses upon such an ignorant man tft`e uselesSriess of worldly ostentation which is like the flash of lightning.

The worldly grandeurs are evil friends who will not stand him in good stead. In fact, this world to which man is attached in preference to God is like an awesome ocean which he cannot cross without the help of a true guide. Man is made to realize that this beautiful body and the material gains after which he is so crazy shall not remain with him for ever. Man is advised not to succumb to the fascination of the visible and the exterior, but accumulate “the capital of the Lord`s Name.

” There is no peace without nan. His name alone will help man`s acceptance at His Court. God is the supreme judge of human actions. He is the lover of saints and saviour of sinners. Since Lord`s Name is the only intermediary between the human spirit and His Being, man is advised to “embark on the ship of the service of the True Lord” and cross the ocean of this world.

To gain access to Him, the easier way is to take help of the saint Guru and of the company of saints. Man is told that “evenly smooth shall be the path if the saint Guru be the Uniter” and that the True Lord can be obtained by submitting to His Will and by associating with the holy.The saints show man the way to God and so he contemplates His Name, and it is the society of the saints which dispels all lust, wrath, avarice and love for worldly things from human mind and make it a worthy abode of God. However, this “becomes easy when the True Lord becomes pleased.

” This pleasure or grace of God is also the necessary condition before unity with God becomes a possibility. Grace without which there can be no spiritual achievement is the responsive love of God rewarding man for his true love towards Him. Man should dispel all doubt and love Him.He should read and understand Him. He should place hope in only the True Lord whom he sliould never forget.

Man should grasp His feet, remember and praise Him, submit to His Will and seek his shelter. He should contract friendship with Him and ever long for Him with eagerness. Man can achieve perfection only in union with the Perfect One for which he will need the help of the True Guru and the grace of the Lord. So he transcends to a state which is thus described: “The Name I hear, the Name I amass and with the Name I embrace Love. My home and wealth are all sanctified by singing the praise of God.

” The spiritual insight as well as the doctrinal aspect has been presented in the Vdr in language which is an easy variety of Majhi Punjabi spoken in the central districts. Many tatsam words long used in this tradition and incidental to the theme have been used along with their tadbhav forms. Words of Lahindi or western Punjabi are also used their use being more evident in slokas than in pawns. Different headings of two slokas, i.e. `salok dakhana` on the first sloka preceding paun 19, and `salok doha` on the first sloka before paun 18, bear testimony to the use of western Punjabi and western Hindi, respectively, in these verses. Some words of Persian and Arabic, mostly in the tadbhav form have also been used.

References :

1. Kohli, Surindar Singh, A Critical Study of Adi Granth. Delhi, 1961