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Russ Soena Russ Ruppa Kaaman Russ Parmal Ki Vaas ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥

ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥

Russ Soena  Russ Ruppa  Kaaman Russ  Parmal Ki vaas

Karminder Singh PhD (Boston)

Sikhs, on cue from our ragis and parcharaks, have translated Kaam as sex and lust. They further translate Kaaman as woman. Kaaman, after all is one who is “absorbed and imbued in Kaam.” With Kaam being translated as above; the woman is thus seen as the root and cause of Kaam.

Does Gurbani support such a view? How is Kaam defined in Gurbani? What is the meaning of Kaaman as used in the SGGS ji?

This article examines one Shabd of Guru Nanak ji to obtain answers to these questions. It is composed in Sri Raag and contained on page 15 of the SGGS ji. The complete Shabd is as follows.

 

 

 

 

ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥ Sri Raag Mehla 1.

ਲਬੁ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠਗਿ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥ Labb Kutta Koor Choohra Thugg Khadha Murdar.

ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਪਰ ਮਲੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਧੀ ਅਗਨਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਚੰਡਾਲੁ ॥ Par Ninda Parmal Mukh Sudhee Agan Krodh Chandaal.

ਰਸ ਕਸ ਆਪੁ ਸਲਾਹਣਾ ਏ ਕਰਮ ਮੇਰੇ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥ ੧ ॥ Russ Kuss Aaap Slahna E Karam Merey Kartar.

ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲੀਐ ਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਊਤਮ ਸੇ ਦਰਿ ਊਤਮ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਨੀਚ ਕਰਮ ਬਹਿ ਰੋਇ ॥ ੧ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Baba Boleay Patt Hoey. Utam Sey Dar Utam Kaheah Neech Karam Beh Roye. Rahao.

ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ Russ Soena Russ Ruppa  Kaaman Russ Parmal Kee Vaas.

ਰਸੁ ਘੋੜੇ ਰਸੁ ਸੇਜਾ ਮੰਦਰ ਰਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਰਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ॥ Russ Ghorey Russ Seyja Mandir Russ Meetha Russ Maas.

ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਕੈ ਘਟਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ੨ ॥ Etey Russ Sareer Kay Kaey Ghat Naam Niwas.

ਜਿਤੁ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਪਤਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸੋ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ Jit Boleay Patt Payeay So Boleya Parvan.

ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਿ ਵਿਗੁਚਣਾ ਸੁਣਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਮਨ ਅਜਾਣ ॥Fikka Bol Viguchna Sunn Murakh Mun Ajaan.

ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਹਿ ਸੇ ਭਲੇ ਹੋਰਿ ਕਿ ਕਹਣ ਵਖਾਣ ॥ ੩ ॥ Jo Tis Bhavey Sey Bhaley Hor Key Kehn Vakhaan.

ਤਿਨ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਪਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਧਨੁ ਪਲੈ ਜਿਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ Tin Mutt Tinn Patt Tinn Dhan Jinn Hirdey Raheya Samaye.

ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਸਾਲਾਹਣਾ ਅਵਰ ਸੁਆਲਿਉ ਕਾਇ ॥ Tin Ka Kya Salahna Avar Sualeyo Kaye.

ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਰਾਚਹਿ ਦਾਨਿ ਨ ਨਾਇ ॥ ੪ ॥ Nanam Nadree Bahrey Rachey Daan Na Naye.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE SHABD.

Given that the central idea of the entire Shabd is contained within the Rahao Verse(s), we shall begin our quest towards understanding this shabd by examining the Rahao Verse couplet.

ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲੀਐ ਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਊਤਮ ਸੇ ਦਰਿ ਊਤਮ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਨੀਚ ਕਰਮ ਬਹਿ ਰੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Baba Boleay Patt Hoey. Utam Sey Dar Utam Kaheah Neech Karam Beh Roye. Rahao.

Baba – O Mind of mine. Boleay- Lit. Talk; Discourse. Patt – Lit. Dignified; Godly. Utam – Elevated. Sey Dar – Lit. that door; Journey towards Realization. Kaheay, – Is, Said to be. Neech – Lowly. Karam – Actions. Beh Roye – Idiomatic for Regret, Remorse, Shame. [Note: Lit. means Literal Meaning].

O Mind, The Discourse of Spirituality is one of Godly Deeds. The Journey of Realization Entails Elevation to Godly Heights; But I Suffer Shame on Account of my Actions.

Verse 1.

ਲਬੁ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠਗਿ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ॥ Labb Kutta Koor Choohra Thug Khadha Murdar.

Labb – Greed. Kutta – Lit. Dog; Barking, Howling. Traits of Greed within the mind. Koor – Lit. Fakery; Absence of Godliness. Choohra – Lit. Low Caste; Lowest Rung. Thug – Cheat, Deceive. Khadha – Consumed; Grab Murdar – Lit. Carcass; Rightfully Belonging to Others.

Constant Howling in Greed, Desire to Grab by Deceit the Rightful Possessions of Others and the Absence of Godliness have resulted in my mindset being Relegated to the Lowest Rung of Humanity

Note: Koor in Gurbani is defined as the antonym (opposite) of Sach. Sach in Gurbani (From the Sanskrit words Sat and Satya) always refers to the Creator. So Koor is the state of “absence of the Creator” as in the Verse of Guru Nanak: ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਤੁਧੁ ਬਾਝੁ ਕੂੜੋ ਕੂੜੁ ॥ ੧ ॥ Nanak Vekhaney Benti Tudh Baajh Kooro Koor. SGGS 468. Meaning: Koor of Koor comes to exist whence Your existence has been denied.

Verse 2.

ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਪਰ ਮਲੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਧੀ ਅਗਨਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਚੰਡਾਲੁ ॥ Par Ninda Par Mal Mukh Sudhee Agan Krodh Chandaal.

Par – Others. Ninda – Condemn. Mal – Lit. Dirt; Derogatory. Mukh – Speak. Sudhee – Complete, Forever. Agan – Fire, burning. Krodh – Anger. Chandaal – Demon

The Demon of Anger Within Fans the Ever Burning Desire of Condemning and Speaking Derogatively of Others.

Verse 3:

ਰਸ ਕਸ ਆਪੁ ਸਲਾਹਣਾ ਏ ਕਰਮ ਮੇਰੇ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥ ੧ ॥ Russ Kuss Aaap Slahna E Karam Merey Kartar.

Russ Kuss – Indulgences. Aaap – Self. Slahna – Praise, Acclaim. E Karam – These Deeds Merey – Mine. Kartar – Creator.

These then are the Indulgences and Self-Acclaimed Deeds of Mine, O Creator.

Verse 4.

ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ Russ Soena Russ Ruppa  Kaman Russ Parmal Kee Vaas.

Russ – Desire for the Essence. Indulgence. Penchant. Soena – Gold. Ruppa – Silver. Parmal – Fragrance. Vaas – (from Vaashna) Craving. Kaaman – Permeated in Desire; Imbued in Kaam, Defining of Kaam.

My Desires, Indulgences and Cravings for Gold, Silver and Fragrances have made me Imbued in Desire; Defining my Kaam.

 

Note 1: The Word ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman in the Vedic Scriptures refers to Woman. She is considered the embodiment and root of KAAM which is translated as lust and sex. Gurbani REJECTS the notion that woman is the embodiment or root of anything evil. Gurbani also rejects the view that Kaam is lust and sex.

Note 2: Gurbani defines KAAM as desire for the ESSENCE (Russ) of anything material. Kaam is indulgence in worldliness at the very basic level. Verse 4 of the Shabd thus uses the word ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman as a descriptive adjective of a human being imbued in Kaam. In this sense of its usage then this verse is a definition of KAAM. Kaam is the desire, indulgence, penchant and cravings for all things material. ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman is a human being who is imbued in Kaam.

It must be noted that material in itself is NOT critiqued by Gurbani. It is the unbridled desire for the ESSENCE of material that is Kaam – and hence critiqued as an impediment to spirituality.

Note 3: In some instances, Gurbani uses the word ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman to denote the soul bride. This is so because when our gurus talk about union with the creator they depict seeker as a female. In the following verses, for instance, ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman as a Bride-Soul (Jeev-Istri) or a Seeker is depicted as a wife to her Creator-husband.

ਮੈ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੰਤੁ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥SGGS 1128. Main Kaaman Mera Kant Kartaar. Meaning: I am a bride-soul of my Creator-husband.

ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਸਦਾ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੀ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਆਪਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ ॥ SGGS 244. Nanak Kaaman Sda Rung Raati Har Jeo Aap Milae. Meaning: The Creator unites me as a bride imbued in His love.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਾਮਣਿ ਬਣਿਆ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥ SGGS 1277. Gurmukh Kaaman Banea Singaar. Meaning: The Guru’s wisdom (Gurbani) is my adornment as His Soul-bride (Seeker).

 

Note 4: However, in the case of the Shabd under discussion above; the subject matter is focused on desires, indulgences and cravings for all things material. The usage of ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman in the CENTRE of this verse, makes clear three things:

  1. Gurbani considers KAAM as desire for the essence of anything material. Kaam is thus indulgence in worldliness at the very basic level.
  2. ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman is used as a descriptive adjective of a human being imbued in Kaam. In other words, ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman is a human being who is permeated in Kaam. In this sense of its usage then this verse is a definition of KAAM.
  3. ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman cannot be translated as “woman” in this verse or the “essence of woman”. Gurbani has no gender bias. Our Gurus would not denote Russ for woman only? Why not for man? Further, if we look at the structure of the verse there is no Russ mentioned for KAAMAN. There is ਰਸੁ ਸੁਇਨਾ Russ Soena. There is ਰਸੁ ਰੁਪਾ Russ Ruppa. And there is ਰਸੁ ਪਰਮਲ ਕੀ ਵਾਸੁ Russ Parmal Kee Vaas. There is NO ਰਸੁ ਕਾਮਣਿ Russ Kaaman. This means that ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman is used as an independent and standalone word in the verse. Its function is as an anchor word in the verse.
  4. The meaning of verse 4 therefore is “My Desires, Indulgences and Cravings for Gold, Silver and Fragrances (things material) have made me into a ਕਾਮਣਿ Kaaman – one that is Imbued in Kaam, and Filled with Desire for material, thus defining Kaam

Verse 5

ਰਸੁ ਘੋੜੇ ਰਸੁ ਸੇਜਾ ਮੰਦਰ ਰਸੁ ਮੀਠਾ ਰਸੁ ਮਾਸੁ ॥

Russ Ghorey Russ Seyja Mandir Russ Meetha Russ Maas.

Ghorey – Lit. Horses; depiction of Travel. Seyja – Lit. Bedding; Comforts. Mandir – Dwellings. Meetha – Sweet. Maas – Lit. Meat; Palate, Tastes.

I Possess Desires and Cravings for Dwellings and Comforts of Travel; and Indulge in Penchants of the Palate.

 

Verse 6

ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਕੈ ਘਟਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ੨ ॥ Etey Russ Sareer Kay Kaey Ghat Naam Niwas.

Etey – Abundant, Copious. Sareer Kay – Of the Body, Physical. Kaey Ghat – How within the Mind? Naam – Godly Virtues. Niwas – Reside

So Abundant are my Physical Desires, Indulgence and Cravings; How then Will Godly Virtues Come to Reside Within my Mind.

Verse 7.

ਜਿਤੁ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਪਤਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸੋ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਣੁ ॥ Jit Boleay Patt Payeay So Boleya Parvan.

Jit – Which. Boleay – Discourse. Patt – Spiritual Dignity. Payeay – Earned, Realized. Parvan – Acceptable.

The Acceptable Discourse (of Spirituality) is one that Brings About Spiritual Dignity.

Verse 8

ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਿ ਵਿਗੁਚਣਾ ਸੁਣਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਮਨ ਅਜਾਣ ॥ Fikka Bol Viguchna Sunn Murakh Mun Ajaan

Fikka – Devoid of Godly Essence; Absorbed in Worldly Essence. Bol – Discourse. Viguchna – Conduct. Sunn – Lit. Listen; Realize. Murakh– Self Centered. Mun – Mind. Ajaan – Unenlightened.

Realize, O Self-Centered and Unenlightened Mind – Discourse and Conduct that is Absorbed in Worldly Essence is Devoid of Godly Essence.

Verse 9

ਜੋ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਹਿ ਸੇ ਭਲੇ ਹੋਰਿ ਕਿ ਕਹਣ ਵਖਾਣ ॥ ੩ ॥ Jo Tis Bhavey Sey Bhaley Hor Kay Kehn Vakhaan.

Jo – Those, That. Tis Bhavey – Acceptable to the Creator. Bhaley – Good; Hor – Other, Else. Kay –What use? Kehn Vakhaan – Empty Talk.

That Which is Acceptable to the Creator is Good O Mind; of What Use is All Else if not Mere Empty Talk?

Verse 10

ਤਿਨ ਮਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਪਤਿ ਤਿਨ ਧਨੁ ਪਲੈ ਜਿਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ Tin Mutt Tinn Patt Tinn Dhan Jinn Hirdey Raheya Samaye

Tin Mutt – Of the right Mindset. Tinn Patt – Of Spiritual Dignity. Tinn Dhan – Inner Wealth. Palley – Earned, Acquired, Possesses. Hirdey – Within; Mind. Raheya – Remain. Samaye – God Realized

The God Realized Being Possesses the Correct Mindset, Earns Spiritual Dignity and Acquires Inner Wealth.

Verse 11

ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਕਿਆ ਸਾਲਾਹਣਾ ਅਵਰ ਸੁਆਲਿਉ ਕਾਇ ॥ Tin Ka Kya Salahna Avar Sualeyo Kaye.

Tin Ka – Of Such (Realized Beings). Kya – What. Salahna –Offering of Praises. Avar – Other, Else. Sualeyo – Inner / Spiritual Beauty. Kaye – Who.

What Praises Can Be Offered of Such Realized Beings; Who Else is of Higher Inner Beauty?

Final Verse

ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਰਾਚਹਿ ਦਾਨਿ ਨ ਨਾਇ ॥ ੪ ॥ Nanak Nadree Bahrey Rachey Daan Na Naye.

Nadree – Blessings of the Creator. Bahrey – Devoid, Barren, Bereft. Rachey – Immersed. Daan – Gifts of Material, Worldliness. Naye – Godly Virtues.

Nanak, To Remain Immersed in God Given Gifts (of Worldly Material) Instead of Godly Virtues is to Remain Barren of the Blessings of the Creator.

CONCLUSIONS.

  1. Taking the Shabd of Guru Nanak in its entirety we get the understanding that Kaam refers to our inner desires for material and worldly possessions.
  2. The material and worldly possessions are defined as God’s gifts to mankind (final verse) for use in the conduct of our temporal life. Consequently, the material themselves are not the root – hence there is no need to shun or reject them.
  3. Kaam is defined as the desire for the indulgence and penchant for the ESSENCE (RUSS) of these material possessions. Russ is in turned defined as our attempt to obtain joy and bliss from worldly things.
  4. Given that there is NO permanent or lasting joy of any kind in material; we get deeper and deeper into a slippery slope for more material. The result is a mind that is occupied with worldly RUSS and with no place for Godly Virtues (Verse 6: ਏਤੇ ਰਸ ਸਰੀਰ ਕੇ ਕੈ ਘਟਿ ਨਾਮ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ੨ ॥ Etey Russ Sareer Kay Kay Ghat Naam Niwas.)
  5. Taken as a whole then, Kaam is the antonym of Naam. (Final verse: ਰਾਚਹਿ ਦਾਨਿ ਨ ਨਾਇ ॥ Rachey Daan Na Naye.) Where there is Kaam, there can be no Naam. Since Naam refers to our spiritual desires for Godly Virtues; Kaam refers to our temporal desires for the Essence of Material.
  6. Guru Nanak is asking us to make an enlightened choice for Naam over Kaam. Gurbani helps us make the choice by providing the enlightenment needed. End.