Bhagautee and Bhagaotee (ਭਗਉਤੀ and ਭਗੌਤੀ)
To the untrained ear, the words Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ and Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ sound the same. In the written form, the difference lies in the phonology of the signs aunkar and the khanohra. Their meanings can be derived in accordance with the usage (and non-usage) of each in the SGGS.
- Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ (with an aunkar)
The word Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ appears nine times in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. In all these instances the word refers to a ‘realized human being’; one who is imbued in the love of the Creator.
(SGGS 71 Sri Rag M: 5)
ਭਗਉਤੀ ਰਹਤ ਜੁਗਤਾ ॥
The Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ practices self-discipline,
ਜੋਗੀ ਕਹਤ ਮੁਕਤਾ ॥
The Yogi speaks of liberation,
ਤਪਸੀ ਤਪਹਿ ਰਾਤਾ ॥੨॥
And the ascetic is absorbed in asceticism. ||2||
(SGGS 88 Sri Rag M: 3)
ਸੋ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜਦ਼ ਭਗਵੰਤੈ ਜਾਣੈ ॥
The Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ is one who knows the Benevolent Lord God.
ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥
By Guru’s Grace, he is self-realized.
ਧਾਵਤੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਇਕਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਆਣੈ ॥
He restrains his wandering mind and brings it back to focus.
ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ॥
He is free from vices and is absorbed in Godly virtues.
ਐਸਾ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਉਤਮੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
Such a Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ is most exalted.
ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ਸੋਇ ॥੨॥
O Nanak, he merges with the Omnipresent One.
- Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ (with a khanorra).
This word is not found in the SGGS. It is thus not to be confused with the Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ of the SGGS.
The first stanza of the Sikh Ardas in present use that uses Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ is NOT derived from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. It is derived from Durga Ki Var as contained in the Bachitar Natak Granth. There are 55 paurees in Durga Ki Var. Each of the 55 are in praise of Durga. The Ardas stanza is from the first pauree of Durga Ki Var.
(Durga Ki Var Pauree 1)
ਵਾਰ ਦੁਰਗਾ ਕੀ ॥
Title of ballad.
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
The Lord is one and the Victory is of the Lord.
ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗੌਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥
May Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ be Helpful.
ਅਥ ਵਾਰ ਦੁਰਗਾ ਕੀ ਲਿਖ੍ਯਤੇ ॥
The ballad of Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ (Goddess Durga).
(Durga Ki Var 55 Pauree 55)
ਦੁਰਗਾ ਪਾਠ ਬਣਾਇਆ ਸਭੇ ਪਉੜੀਆ ॥
All the Paurees (stanza) in this Durga paath are composed about the exploits of Durga.
The final verse of Durga Ki Var is Pauree 55 : ਦੁਰਗਾ ਪਾਠ ਬਣਾਇਆ ਸਭੇ ਪਉੜੀਆ ॥ meaning that all the preceeding paurees are constructed in praise of Durga. And that includes Pauree 1 – which is included in the Sikh Ardas.
Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ is one of Durga’s many names. She is also addressed as Chandi, Shiva (consort of Shivji), Kalika, Chandi, Parvati, Sheran Valee, Bhavanee, Jug Mata etc. So Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ in the first pauree of Durga Ki Var refers to Durga.
There are two more compositions in the Bachitar Natak Granth called Chandi Ki Var 1 and 2. The narratives of both are similar to Durga Ki Var. It is clear then that the story of a Hindu goddess is written three times by three different persons in the Bachitar Natak Granth. All three authors have opted to use their favorite names of the same goddess in their three compositions.
A Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ (SGGS) is a seeker, engulfed in prema bhagti or in other words an elevated seeker, one who realises who is Bhagwant. Any among us who realizes Bhagwant is Bhagautee ਭਗਉਤੀ. With Gurparsaad, the guru’s grace and blessing, this realisation is achieved.
The Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ of Durga Kee Vaar is neither a sword nor the One Lord. Attempts to define Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ as Akaal Purakh are not supported by both a language dictionary or by the banee of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Bhagaotee ਭਗੌਤੀ also cannot be defined as referring to a sword. Why would a Sikh offer prayers or salutations to a sword?
We are now left to speculate as to how and why the stanza from the Durga Ki Var has been incorporated in the Sikh Ardas! We can also speculate as to who inserted this Bhagoutee ਭਗੌਤੀ stanza into the Sikh Ardas. We can further speculate as to the why a word that sounds similar to another word used 9 times in the SGGS (but with a starkly different meaning) was chosen to become part and parcel of the Sikh spirituality.