Thursday, 1 January 2015

Dasam Granth - Commentry - Part 1 Jaap Sahib

I had a request from a Singhani, a sister, about delivering some basic Gurbani knowledge. Gurbani is so deep and profound how can we ever do it justice, but saying that the Guru did make it a whole lot easier to understand than compared to other scriptures. I would like to make my first post about the scripture I am humble student of, the Sri Dasam Granth Sahib - 'The Granth of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.' With His grace I completed my PhD at Birmingham University on this scripture.
Guru Ji's scripture is mostly written in a classical idiom of Hindi called Braj Bhasha, which is well understood in the land of his birth, Bihar. Throughout Dasam Granth Sahib we find the title/invocation 'ਤ੍ਵਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥.' ਤ੍ਵ means like ਤੇਰੀ in Punjabi, Yours or Thou. Some Taksals pronounce this 'Tau' 'ਤੌ' as they take the 'ਵ' 'vava' on the foot on the conjunct to mean a 'haura' and not a 'vava.' A conjunct is where two letters are combined, and there is no 'mukta'. So in some manuscript copies or Gutkas you will also see the spelling as Tav or 'ਤਵ'.
The next word is ‘Prasādi’ or ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ. Prasadi is a Sanskrit word (प्रसाद), and has many meanings but here it means grace, kindness, or graciousness. So, both words combined mean ‘Thy Grace.’ Some of you brighter minds would have noticed that the word has an ‘i’ after it, which is there for grammatical purposes, and here it means from, or by. Therefore the translation is [This Gurbani has been written] ‘By Thy Grace.' In Punjabi we would say ਤੇਰੀ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਾਲ.
Let us go back to ਤ੍ਵ, the eagled eyed amongst you would also notice that this also comes as a part of a larger word, ਨਮਸਤ੍ਵੰ. The word ਨਮਸ is also Sanskrit and means to salute or bow. It is where the word or greeting Namaskar (ਨਮਸਕਾਰ) comes from, Namo also means the same (ਨਮੋ). So, ਨਮਸਤ੍ਵੰ means ‘Bow to You’, or ‘I bow to Thou.’ This is a form of poetry called onomatopoeia which imitates the sound associated with something, in his case the TWANG of a bow, when an arrow is fired. Here we even see same in English.
In the first verse of the ‘Jāp Sāhib’ ਜਾਪ ਸਾਹਿਬ called the ਛਪੈ ਛੰਦ, which means a verse of six lines, Channd means poetic verses, literally a ‘Chant.’, i.e. rhythmically spoken. The Guru says ‘How can Thy name be explained? So with pure intellect I will praise Thy attribute or action names.1. ‘ਤ੍ਵ ਸਰਬ ਨਾਮ ਕਥੈ ਕਵਨ ਕਰਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਰਣਤ ਸੁਮਤਿ ॥੧॥‘. The first word that the Guru expresses Vahiguru by is ਅਕਾਲ, meaning ਕਾਲ Time/Death so the Timeless/Deathless/Immoral. ਨਮਸਤ੍ਵੰ ਅਕਾਲੇ ॥ ‘Salutations to the Timeless.’ We see the same usage of a in English - 'no' or 'not. Like in amorphic - 'no form'.
The Jaap Sahib was composed at a Gurdwara in Bhagpura at Anandpur Sahib, as the Guru himself did Shastravidia with his Army.