| Opinion | 6 Oct 2016 | Asia Samachar |
By Karminder Singh PhD (Boston)
This composition is sung in Gurdwaras by ragis and kirtanias as kirtan.
We have been told that Miter Pyare Nu depicts a prayer Guru Gobind Singh ji made to God during his moments alone in the jungles of Machiwara.
We have also been told that the terms “Miter Pyara” (my beloved friend) refers to “God” and that the “tenth Guru is narrating his solitary situation in Machiwara after the final battle of Chamkaur.”
Pictures such as the following, showing Guru Gobind Singh ji resting alone on the floor, barefooted, and injured are normally found printed with verses from MitarPyare Nu. The four verses of this composition are said to describe this situation.
ਤੁਧੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਰਜਾਈਆਂ ਦਾ ਓਢਣ ਨਾਗ ਨਿਵਾਸਾਂ ਦੇ ਰਹਿਣਾ ॥
ਸੂਲ ਸੁਰਾਹੀ ਖੰਜਰੁ ਪਿਆਲਾ ਬਿੰਗ ਕਸਾਈਆਂ ਦਾ ਸਹਿਣਾ ॥
ਯਾਰੜੇ ਦਾ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਸੱਥਰੁ ਚੰਗਾ ਭੱਠ ਖੇੜਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਰਹਿਣਾ ॥੧॥੧॥
Mitar Pyare Nu Haal Murida Da Kehna.
Tudh Ben Rog Rajayean Da Odhan Naag Nivasa Dey Rehna.
Sool Surahee Khanjar Pyala Bingg Kasayean Da Sehna.
[Yarera Da Sanu Sathar Changa Bhath Kheriaya Da Rehna.
WHERE IS MITER PYARE NU FROM
Miter Pyare Nu is titled ਖਿਆਲ ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ੧੦॥ (Khyaal Patshahi 10) which translates as “The Thoughts of the 10th Master.”
The composition is NOT from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS).
It is found on page 709 of the Dasam Granth (DG). In Taksalee Gutkas, the composition is listed as one of the 10 Shabads of a compostion titled “Shabad Hazare” which literally means “shabads equivalent of one thousand shabads. The connotation is that reading one “shabad” from “shabad hazare” gives one the benefit equal to reading one thousand other shabads.
Miter Pyare Nu is one such “shabad.” Reading it will be equivalent to reading 1,000 other shabads.
It can also be found in the Amrit Kirtan book under the title Khyaal Patshahi 10 without reference to the DG.
We know that the DG contains compositions that are lifted from three major sources – the Markandey Puran, Shiv Puran and Sri Mad Bhagvat Puran.
Such lifting is acknowledged by the three main authors: Poets Syam, Raam and Nul. This acknowledgement can be found at the end of each composition. Poet Syam’s and Ram’s name as the writers appear as individual writers at 165 pages of DG and as co-writers at 15 pages of DG, suggesting that they worked together.
There are other sources of the DG’s compositions and one of them is classical folklore.
A critical examination of the meanings of the composition Miter Pyare Nu is thus required to enable us to trace its origins.
DAMODAR, WARIS SHAH AND THE STORY OF HEER RANJHA
Damodar (1550s) was a classical poet of Punjab. He is the first person to compose the folklore legend of Heer Ranjha.
The opening lines of Damodar’s story are telling of his passion towards the tale of Heer Ranjha. “Damodar is my name, Gulati is my caste. I came to the fiefdom of the Sial (neighbouring Jhang Village). My heart, using its discretion, led me to spend my days there, and write this Kissa.”
Waris Shah ਵਾਰਿਸਸ਼ਾਹ (1722–1798) was a Punjabi Sufi poet of Chishti order, renowned for his contribution to Punjabi literature.
He is best known for his seminal poem Heer Ranjha, which in essence is a re-write based on the traditional folk tale of Heer and her lover Ranjha as conceptualized by Damodar.
He is not the only one to have done so. Poets Muqbal and Charag Awan are others who have re-written Damodar’s Heer Ranjha into modern language.
THE CHARACTERS OF DAMODAR AND WARIS SHAH’S FOLKLORE
The primary character of Varas Shah’s (and Damodar’s) Kissa (folklore) is a young female named Heer, belonging to Siaal fiefdom, who is the daughter of a man named Chuchak.
The secondary character is a young male named Dheedo, belonging to Ranjha Caste who is a resident of Takhat Hazare.
Heer and Dheedo Ranjha are lovers whose relationship is bitterly opposed by her parents and relatives.
As part of their design to prevent Heer from continuing her romantic liason with Dheedo Ranjha, she is forcibly married to a wealthy resident of Gangpur, of the Kherey Caste. This village, located in the district of Jhang, still stands today as Gangpur Kherey-an Da.
Heer is forcibly married, but her yearning mind (khyaal) is depicted by a poet as follows:
Mitar Pyare Nu – To my beloved friend.
Haal Mureeda Da Kehna. – I say my pitiful condition as your devoted one .
Tudh Ben – Without you / separated from you / taken away from you.
Rog Rajayeean da Odhen – The fine/rich bed covers & sheets (of my wealthy home) are a suffering bearing disease (rog).
Naag Nivasa de Rehna – I am living in the company of poisonous serpents.
Sool Surahi – The decanter (pot) of liquor (served to me) is in reality a spear.
Khanjar Pyala – The liqour glass is a dagger.
Bingg – fat removing hollow heated metal rod that is inserted into the back of an animal while alive. The protruding half is heated under a flame. The heat travels through the rod and allows the fat from within the animal’s body melt and pour out throw its hollow design.
Kasayeean da Sehna – I have to bear the pain of the Bingg inserted into me by butchers.
Yarrey da sanu sathar changa – In my sweet lover’s company a bare bed is better.
Bhath Kherey-an da rehna – living within the Khere household has become unbearable / painful – akin to being kept burning in a furnace.
Sikhs who believe that the composition is:
- composed by Guru Gobind Singh ji,
- depicts his mental /spiritual condition in the jungles of Machiwara after Chamkaur and that;
- Miter Pyare Nu is fit for singing as spiritual kirtan in the sanggat and presence of SGGS ji;
need to think hard over the following SEVEN questions.
ONE: Would Guru Gobind Singh ji use vocabulary that is contained in Miter Pyare Nu?
Why would our Guru use words such as Odhen (Bedding), Naag (Serpents), Surahi (Liqour pot/decanter), Pyala (Liquor Goblet), Kasayee (Butcher), Binggg (hollow metal rod poked into an alive animal’s behind); Sathar (bare bed or sleeping on the floor); Bhath (large hot furnace)’; and Kherey ( a caste of people)?
TWO: Would Guru ji paint such a painful /ugly picture of his situation?
His father Guru Teg Bahadur ji was beheaded in Delhi and Guruji’s head was brought and delivered to the young Guru Gobind Singh ji. He did not complain to God or to anybody.
Guru ji’s eldest Sahibzada Baba Ajeet Singh died before his own eyes. He did NOT cry out to God in agony. Instead he sent the second one Baba Jujhar Singh to die in the same battle.
His younger Sahibzadey were brutally executed and his mother would pass on within hours of such brutality. Guru Gobind Singh ji never uttered any words of complaint to God.
Why would he chose to do so in Machiwara? And that, too, by using such questionable vocabulary?
THREE: What context or situation was Guruji in to use such words as contained in Miter Pyare Nu?
In all the sacrifices that Guru Gobind Singh ji endured, he NEVER ONCE depicted his life as akin to “living with serpents, suffering the pain of butchers, being tortured with a Bingg or being in a hot furnace – even when faced with the ultimate of sacrifices of his parents, four children and beloved Khalsa in the battle fields. Why would he do so in Mahicawara?
FOUR: What is the depiction of Guru ji’s state of mind should one attribute the verses of Miter Pyare Nu to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.?
The verses of this composition are clear that the subject/writer of the composition is in tremendous pain, agony and unbearable suffering. The degree of pain brings about a mind set of complaint and distress. There is also a feeling of being deserted that comes out of the verses.
Can such EVER be the state of mind of our Guruji?
FIVE: What is the overall resultant emotive state of the reader?
The pain and agony of the verses is powerful that it gets transferred to the reader. The reader or listener cringes and gets into a state of distress. Is this the emotion that Guru Gobind Singh wanted Sikhs to have regarding his stay in Machiwara (If indeed he wrote this composition)?
SIX: Is the narrative of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s behaviour (as suggested by Miter Pyare Nu – one of pain, distress, agony and complaint) comparable to the behaviour of Guru Arjun Ji and Guru Teg Bahadur Ji?
Guru Arjun Patshah sat on a hot plate, was boiled in a couldron, had hot sand poured over his body in unspeakable and continuous torture for three nights in a row. He eventually gave his life for his cause.
Are there any shabads in the SGGS suggesting that Guru Ji complained, was in distress, pain, or agony?
Alternatively, is there any other record suggesting such, given that there were many spiritual people of that time who witnessed the horrendous tortures that Guru ji endured as an epitome of peace?
The following messages written by Guru Arjun ji are available in the SGGS.
ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ 392
Asa M: 5. Aath Peher Nikat Kar Janay. Prabh Ka Keea Meetha Manay.
I consider God to be within me every minute. All that He does, I acceptin sweet compliance.
ਆਸਾ ਘਰੁ ੭ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਨਿਤ ਧਿਆਈ ॥ ਸੰਗੀ ਸਾਥੀ ਸਗਲ ਤਰਾਂਈ ॥੧॥ ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ ॥ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਦਾ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਲੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਤੇਰਾ ਕੀਆ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਾਂਗੈ ॥੨॥੪੨॥੯੩॥
Asa M: 5. Har Ka Naam Ridey Nit Dhiayee. Sangee Sathee Sagal Taree. 1 Gur Mere Sang Sdaa Hai Naley. Simar Simar Tis Sda Smalay. 1. Rahao. Tera Keea Meetha Lagey. Har Naam Padarath Nanak Mangey (SGGS, 394)
God, You are with me ALWAYS. Your doing is considered sweet.
Similarly, Guru Teg Bahadur sat cross-legged with calm in Chandni Chowk as he waited for the executioner’s sword to take his life with a single swing.
Is there any shabad in the SGGS, or any record elsewhere, that suggests that the ninth Guru had any complaints, was in distress, in agony or in pain?
Three other Sikhs suffered horrendous deaths with the ninth Guru – Bhai ji’s Dyala, Satee Daas and Matee Daas ji. Is there even a single narration of them being in distress, agony, pain and hence complained ?
Surely Guru Gobind Singh Patshah was aware of the courage, peace, calm and sacrifice of his own ancestors.
And Guru Gobind Singh ji is ALIVE, in Machiwara.
SEVEN: How do we apply the verses of Miter Pyare Nu as being said by the tenth Guru to God?
Tudh Ben means “separated from you”. Are we saying Guru Gobind Singh ji is saying there is “No God in Machiwara?” Or that Guru ji got “separated from God in Machiwara”? Or that God deserted Guru Gobind Singh ji in Machiwara? Or that someone “took Guruji away from God forcibly”?
In the shabad above, Guru Arjun ji is saying ਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਲੇ (Gur Merey Sang Sdaa Hai Nalley) meaning God, You are with me ALWAYS. And here we have Guru Gobind Singh ji supposedly saying “God why have You deserted me”?
The principle of SGGS is:
ਤੂੰ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਜਿਥੈ ਹਉ ਜਾਈ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
Tu Sabhnee Thaeen, Jithey Haon Jayee. GGS 438.
You exist at ALL locations that I go.
ਜਹ ਦੇਖਾ ਤੂ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ॥
Jeh Dekha Tu Sabhnee Thaee GGS 1052.
You exist at ALL locations.
ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਤਾ ਭਉ ਕੇਹਾ ਕਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
Tu Mera Rakha Sabhnee Thaee Ta Bhau KEha Kaara Jio GGS 103.
You Protect me at ALL locations, so why would I fear or worry?
is Mahiwara out of the parameter of Sabhnee Thaeee (all locations), that Guru Gobind Singh feels deserted by God to the point that he says “Tudh Ben Rog ….” I am a suffering diseased being..”?
Rog Rajayeea Da Odhen means The fine/ rich bed covers are a disease / suffering. What fine rich bed covers could “Guruji” be reffering to? And what disease?
Naag Niwasa Dey Rehna means “Life is in the company of poisonous serpents”. Who are the serpents and which serpents is “Guru ji” refffering to?
Sool Surahi Khanjar Pyala means “The decanter / pot of liquor is a spear, the liquor glass /goblet is a dagger.”
What is being referred to by using the paraphernalia of drunkenness – a state condemned in the SGGS?
Bingg Kasayeean da Sehna means – enduring the torture of a fat removing hollow heated metal rod? What metal rod, and what torture is “Guru ji” talking about? Who inserted the Bingg into whom?
Yarrey da sanu sathar changa. In my Lover’s company I prefer a bare bed? What are the connotations when someone attributes such stuff to any Guru?
Bhath Khereyan de Rehna means “Living with the Kherey has become unbearable.” Which Kherey is Guru Gobind Singh Ji referring to? When and why was he ever in the company of any Kherey? There is no mention of any Kherey in the life and times of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Even if he was, why would he condemn a whole group of people based on their caste?
MAKING SENSE OF MITER PYARE NU
Going by the meanings of the four verses of this composition Miter Pyare Nu, it becomes clear that is is NOT composed by Guru Gobind Singh ji under any circumstances.
This is because Guru ji was never in a situation of agony and complaint ever. Even in the most difficult of situations, all our Gurus were always an epitome of peace and calm within the Hukm and Rzaa of God. They were always in Chardee Klaa. And they were NEVER in complaint.
It is clear that the origin of Miter Pyare Nuis folklore; as conceptualized by poets Damodar and Waris Shah.
Inspired by such folklore, a poet has coined the verses to depict the pain, agony and distress that filled the heart and mind of Heer as a result of forcible separation from her illicit lover Dheedo Ranjha.
Her pangs of separation and tormented self that are caused by her marriage against her wishes into the Kherey family is captured in Miter Pyare Nu. In her Khyaals (imaginations), Heer has come to despise the Kherey family.
It is to Heer that the fine/ rich bed covers given to her in her rich Kheyrey in-laws are seen as a disease / suffering (Rog Rajayeea Da Odhen).
It is Heer who prefers a bare bed so long as she get to be in her separated lover Ranjha’s company (Yarrey Da Sanu Sathar Changa).
It is Heer that feels staying with the Kherey family is to live in the company of poisonous serpents (Naag Niwasa Dey Rehna).
It is Heer who is enduring the torture that is akin to the torture of a fat removing hollow heated metal rod (Bingg Kasayeean da Sehna).
It is Heer who being served liquor in the rich in laws home; sees even the intoxicants as pain and suffering (Sool Surahi Khanjar Pyala – the decanter / pot of liquor is a spear, the liquor glass /goblet is a dagger).
It is Heer who has reason to say that her forced marriage into the Kherey family has become unbearable (Bhath Khereyan de Rehna “Living with the Kherey has become torturous.”)
How, why and under what circumstances this composition managed to make its way into the Dasam Granth, into Taksali Gutkas, Amrit Kirtan and began to be sung as Kirtan by ragis and kirtanias in our Gurdwaras IN THE PRESENCE OF THE SGGS is the key question.
It also begs another question: Have we Sikhs been so gullible to have been singing and listening to Heer’s agonising cries to her lover Dheedo Ranjha presented to us as “spiritual kirtan” in our Gurdwaras – all because someone fraudulently stamped the words “Patshahi 10” above the composition?
How was it possible to commit such a cruel deception upon Sikhs seeking solace in Kirtan in the company of the SGGS? How was it possible to declare Heer Ranja song as “shabad hazare” – equivalent of singing / reciting 1,000 other shabads?
The adulterated title of this composition says “Khayaal Patshahi 10.” Who has the capacity to step into the mind of our Great Guru and figure out his thoughts and his imaginations (Khyaal)? And then decide that his thoughts are indeed disturbed, painful, agonizing, distress filled and overflowing with complaint?
Didn’t we come across this verse in the SGGS:
ਉਲਾਹਨੋ ਮੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਨ ਦੀਓ ॥ ਮਨ ਮੀਠ ਤੁਹਾਰੋ ਕੀਓ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Ulahno Mein Kahu Na Deyo. Mun Meeth Tuharo Keeo. SGGS 978
I have no complaints to You. My mind accepts at sweet all that You do, God.
It is in verses of SGGS such as these that the actual Khyaals of our Gurus is to be found.
One can suppose Miter Pyare Nu (and there are many other deceptions waiting to be exposed) is what happens when ragis and kirtanias sing without knowing the meanings of what they sing and sanggat sit and sway their heads and get moved to tears, because they too don’t know what they are hearing.
Will Sikhs have the courage to say NO MORE Miter Pyare Nu in our Kirtan, in our Gurdwaras disguised as spiritual message?
WHAT DOES MITER PYARE NU SAY ABOUT DASAM GRANTH?
For one thing it shows that the DG is an utterly adulterated collection of compositions from a variety of sources.
Apart from stuff that found it way into the DG from the Markandey Puran, Shiv Puran. Shansarnama, Sri Mudh Bhagvat Puran etc, it is clear that folklore depicting illicit romantic liaisons, too, have found its way into the pages of DG.
Secondly, Miter Pyare Nu lays bare the conspiracy that the DG is the work of elements who are bent on corrupting the spirituality of Sikhi.
As if corrupting it with compositions from rejected scriptures was not enough, the elements resorted to romaticised folklore; leading the way perhaps to the inclusion of some 600 pages of erotica.
Thirdly, Miter Pyare Nu lays bare the crippling inability of some of our ragis, kirtenias and parcharaks to see through the conspiracy that is the DG.
Is such blindness going to put Guru Gobind Singh ji’s khyaals on par with those whose thoughts and imaginations are depraved?
Finally, Miter Pyare Nu is provides one more reason to a mountain of other reasons why Sikhs should reject attempts to bring compositions of the DG (other than the three sanctioned by the SRM) into our katha and kirtan in the presence of the SGGS.
Karminder Singh Dhillon, PhD (Boston) writes on Gurbani and Gurmat issues in The Sikh Bulletin, USA. He also conducts Gurbani Katha in local Gurdwaras. He is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of the Asia Samachar.
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