The first hymn, by Guru Arjan, Nanak V, has been taken from Raga Majh. It is a chaiipada, i.e. comprising four stanzas. It is believed that all the four stanzas are, in fact, letters written by Guru Arjan to his father, Guru Ram Das. As the story goes, once Sahari Mall, first cousin of Guru Ram Das, elder to him, invited the Guru to attend the marriage of his son at Lahore.
The Guru unable to go himself wanted one of his sons to represent him at the ceremony. He asked Prithi Chand, his eldest son, to go to Lahore to fulfil the social obligation on his behalf, but the latter made an excuse and declined to undertake the trip to Lahore.The second son, Mahadev, was of a retiring nature and had little interest in worldly affairs. Arjan, the youngest, forthwith offered to do his father`s bidding and left for Lahore.
He had instructions to remain there until recalled. Receiving no message for several weeks to return to Chakk Guru (Amritsar), he started missing his Gurufather. He wrote to him two letters in verse one after the other which were intercepted by his brother, Prithi Chand. Arjan Dev wrote a third one marking it number 3.
This letter did reach Guru Ram Das who had the first two recovered from Prithi Chand`s house.Young Arjan was immediately sent for. On his arrival in Amritsar, he recited extempore a fourth stanza expressing his joy at returning to the presence of the Guru. Some believe that this fourth stanza was composed when Arjan was formally installed as Guru by his father, for he could not have used until tllpn.
the in the penultimate line of this stanza. The second hymn, by Guru Nanak , has been taken from Raga Dhanasri. It is an invocation to God, the Merciful, who is the Liberator of all and by whose favour alone men turn to Him. To remain attached ever to His Name is the gift sought by the true devotees.
The next two hymns, also by Guru Nanak are from Raga Tilang.The first of these exalts those who absorb themselves in God`s Name. Thus is maya or illusion ended; thus one realizes oneself and attains union with the Divine. The image used to describe this ultimate state of union is that of husband and wife.
In tlie hymn following, the emphasis is on love and surrender which, according to Guru Nanak, are the ultimate means of attaining discernment and release. Devotion, freedom from greed and attachment, and obedience to the Divine Will are the virtues repeatedly applauded. The fifth hymn is again of Guru Nanak`s composition and occurs in Raga Suhi. It consists of four stanzas with a deeply mystical strain.
Its theme is illimitableness, ineffableness and all pervasiveness of God. The last two hymns, again by Guru Nanak, are from Raga Bilaval each having four stanzas. Both are in praise of God, the Creator, who is infinite, ineffable and unknowable. His will prevails in the world.
His Word is the music which the seers hear in their moments of ecstasy. By His grace one attains the vision unattainable. Words like `chatrik` and `sararig"` which in Indian poetic tradition symbolize the lover`s longing for the beloved have been used in these hymns to describe the devotee`s love for the Lord. Likewise, use has been made of some mythological terms as well.
For instance, the word `kaljug (the dark age of vice and strife) signifies the pangs of separation. The word `maya (illusion) refers to the transience and allurement of worldly attachments and carnal pleasures. On the whole, this is a collection of seven devotional hymns. They recite in intensely emotional and spiritual terms the glory of God, Who is the source of love, compassion and grace.
The yearning of the human soul for the Divine and the means to attain union with Him have found expression in homely, but striking, images and symbols. The language of these sabdas is Punjabi with a mixture of the vocabulary and^at places, even of the grammatical constructions, of Sadh Bhasa.
1. Sabadarth Sn Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1975
2. Sardul Singh, Giani, Nit Neni Satik. Amritsar, 1945
3. Narain Singh, Giani, Panj Granthi Satik. Amritsar, n.d