ਕਾਹੇ ਪੂਤ ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ ॥
ਕਾਹੇ ਪੂਤ ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ ॥
Kahey Poot Jhagrut Haon Sang Baap.
Karminder Singh, Phd.
This deeply spiritual and divine shabd is composed by Guru Ramdas ji and is contained on page 1200 of the SGGS.
The literal translation of the first verse is: O Son, Why Do You Argue with Your Father. It is a Sin to Argue with The One Who Fathered You and Raised You. (Sant Singh MD Khalsa)
The common interpretation of the shabd is that it was composed by the fourth Guru both as a reprimand as well as advise to his elder son Prithi Chand. Professor Sahib Singh, in his Darpan writes the following towards the end of his translation of this shabd.
ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਿਆਈ ਮਿਲਣ ਤੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਥੀ ਚੰਦ ਨੇ ਪਿਤਾ-ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਵਿਰੋਧਤਾ ਕੀਤੀ । ਤਦੋਂ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤਾ । Translation: Prithi Chand opposed his Father-Guru upon the conferment of Guruship to Guru Arjun. This (shabd) was the advice given to him at that point.
The origin of this story is a book titled ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka. The meaning of the word ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka is “introductory information.” According to Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha’s Mahan Kosh (Encyclopaedia) Uthanka is a book whose author is unknown and it contains the “reasons and circumstances” behind the composition of selected shabads.
There is no denying that Prithi Chand opposed Guru Ramdas ji’s decision pertaining to the transition of Guruship to Guru Arjun because he wanted the position for himself.
He had been entrusted with major responsibilities by Guru Ramdas ji pertaining to the finances, logistics and administration of the Ashram of the fourth Guru at Amritsar. He had thus expected that the Guruship would be handed down to him.
He turned on his father after the announcement that his youngest brother Arjun was appointed Guru instead.
The issue that needs examination is whether this deeply rich and spiritually meaningful shabd has anything to do with the behaviour of Prithi Chand; and whether it is addressed to him.
EXAMINING THE ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka OF THIS SHABD.
The following SIX points will help us decide if the interpretation of the shabd as being one that is related to Prithi Chand holds any water.
FIRST, the quarrel that Prithi Chand created was after Guru Ramdas ji had made the official announcement that Arjun would become the successor Guru. Once such an announcement is made, the Guruship and Gurbani pothis – including the one in which the preceding Guru wrote his own bani – are passed on to the succeeding Guru.
The preceding Guru – Guru Ramdas ji in this case – would NOT be composing any more bani for inclusion into the pothis AFTER the transition.
SECOND, Gurbani, when composed by a Guru, can ONLY be composed and accepted as Gurbani, in the duration that the personality has been installed Guru.
For example, Gurus Angad, Amardas and Ramdas became Guru at age 35, 73 and 40 years respectively. What, if anything, each of them wrote before becoming Guru is not considered Gurbani. It follows therefore that once Guruship has been transitioned to the succeeding Guru, the preceding one does not compose any Gurbani anymore.
It is crucial to note that at the time Prithi Chand kicked up his quarrel with his father – Guru Arjun was the reigning Guru. Ramdas pathsah was not the Guru as he had already made the official announcement.
So while it is natural to assume that Guru Ramdas would have explained his decision to both his sons – Prithi Chand and Mahadev both of whom wanted to be Guru – as to why they were not chosen and requested them to comply; it is against the tenets of Guru behaviour to compose such explanation and advise as GURBANI and then have it INCLUDED in the pothi that has already been handed over to Guru Arjun.
From transition point onwards, only Guru Arjun has the spiritual authority to compose Gurbani.
THIRD, all our Gurus –including the ones who wrote bani in the SGGS faced a litany of setbacks at the personal and family level including torture and death. But NONE of them have narrated any of these incidents in Gurbani.
This is because Gurbani is Creator-connecting and spiritual at its core. It is not a personal account of the writer’s temporal challenges.
This is also because the Gurus were well above and beyond these kind of setbacks to be affected by them. It is therefore inconceivable that Guru Ramdas was so affected by the behaviour of Prithi Chand that he composed the account in the form of Gurbani to be read in perpetuity by us Sikhs.
The Guru would never want his Gurbani-reading Sikhs to be burdened by a temporal narrative of bad behaviour of his son towards him.
FOURTH, the Rahao verse contains within it the assertion: ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਜਣੇ ਬਡੀਰੇ ਤੁਮ ਹਉ Jin Kay Janney Bdirey Tum Ho; meaning the “One Who Created and Sustained you.” If this is indeed being said to Prithi Chand, then Guru Ramdas is in effect saying that “he Created and sustained Prithi Chand.” Our Gurus would never claim such. They tell us that creation and sustenance is the job of the Creator.
On page 476 of the SGGS we have this verse: ਬਲਿ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਾਪੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਹਉ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਪੰਚਾ ਤੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਸੰਗੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ Bal Tis Bapey Jin Hao Jaiya. Pancha Tey Mera Sang Chukiaya. Meaning: I am a Sacrifice to the Father Lord Who Created Me and Liberated Me from my Five Vices.
FIFTH, IF we assume the shabd was indeed composed for Prithi Chand; it had zero effect on him. In fact, his subsequent behaviour was in the form of unbelievable treachery, betrayal and disloyalty towards the Guru household. He ended up contributing towards the torture and killing of his own brother Guru Arjun.
In this regard then, isn’t the unknown author of ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka (and all the rest of us who accept this story) saying – in effect – that Guru Ramdas ji gave futile advice? That the Guru gave ineffectual counsel? Or that the Guru’s guidance was fruitless? Aren’t we denigrating the Guru and his bani indirectly then?
SIXTH, Gurbani in its essence is spiritual. It is the narrative of a spiritual journey undertaken by the writers (Gurus and Bhagats). It is a first-hand, experiential and personal journey of the writers that is being shared with us Sikhs who are desirous of walking the same spiritual path and traversing the same divine journey.
Gurbani is therefore NEVER composed as addressing a particular individual, occasion or location. Gurbani is never person-specific. It is also never occasion-specific. It is further never location-specific.
The notion that shabd A was composed for person A or that shabd B was narrated for the purposes of occasion B etc. is the subject matter of our sakhis and Nirmala concocted literature such as ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka, Suraj Parkash, Sakhi Parman and others.
Such a notion is prevalent and perpetuated by our clergy because of their own need to give non-existent and irrelevant “backgrounds” to the shabds.
It is a clergy notion that we “need” shabds for a child’s birth, anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, marriages and funerals. Our clergy have thus compartmentalised Gurbani into imaginary boxes that are labelled “occasions.”
Since Gurbani was not meant to be fitted into such boxes – the only way to make it fit would be to either distort its meanings or create sakhis to that effect.
This is a great dis-service to the messages of Gurbani that are for the entirety of mankind, for all situations, all occasions, and all locations. This verse on page 747 of the SGGS captures the UNIVERSAL targets of Gurbani.
ਖਤ੍ਰੀ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਸੂਦ ਵੈਸ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਚਹੁ ਵਰਨਾ ਕਉ ਸਾਝਾ ॥ Khatree Brahmin Sud Ves Updes Chou Varna Ko Sanjha. The counsel of Gurbani is COMMON and SHARED (Sanjha) for the ENTIRETY of MANKIND (as represented by the all-encompassing four so called classes of mankind – Brahmin, Khatri, Sudar and Veys).
So the claim that this shabd was composed for Sajjan Thugg, that one for Prithi Chand, this one for Kaoda Rakshash and the other for Bhai Lalo etc goes against the tenets of Sarb Sanjhi Gurbani.
It further raises the question – why am I asked to read, understand and follow its advice when it was meant for someone else in the first place?
THE ROOT OF THE CONFUSION – BAAP ਬਾਪ, POOT ਪੂਤ AND JHUGRUT ਝਗਰਤ.
The root cause of linking this shabd with the derangement of Prithi Chand seems to be the use of these three words BAAP ਬਾਪ, POOT ਪੂਤ and JHUGRUT ਝਗਰਤ – all in one statement by Guru Ramdas ji. Such usage is a trap that is all too easy to fall into especially for those who would not want to go beyond literal meanings.
Had the shabd been composed by Guru Nanak, the sakhi creators would have tied to Sri Chand instead. If it carried the titled of Mehla 2, it would be connected with his son Datu. Sri Chand and Datu did exactly what Prithi Chand did.
Why did the sakhi creators not connect it to Mahadev, instead? After all, as the son of Guru Ramdas, he too lay claims to the Guruship.
GURBANI MEANINGS OF BAAP ਬਾਪ , POOT ਪੂਤ AND JHUGRUT ਝਗਰਤ.
The following verses from within the pages of the SGGS – composed by a variety of authors – make clear the meanings of the words Baap and Poot.
Guru Nanak: ਬਾਪੁ ਦਿਸੈ ਵੇਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ Baap Dissey Veyjat Na Hoe. SGGS 796.
Meaning: Realising the Creator Father My Spirituality is no Longer Without a Protector. (Veyjat is an orphan child).
Guru Amardas: ਬਾਬਾਣੀਆ ਕਹਾਣੀਆ ਪੁਤ ਸਪੁਤ ਕਰੇਨਿ ॥ Babania Kahaneya Putt Saputt Kareyn. SGGS 951.
ਪੁਤ Putt is converted to ਸਪੁਤ SaPutt by the addition of a prefix. The Sa prefix is added to add positivity. The Ka ਕ suffix is added to add negativity ਕਪੁਤ Kaputt. ਪੁਤ Putt – literally child. ਸਪੁਤ SaPutt – literally good/beautiful child. ਕਪੁਤ Kaputt – literally bad / ugly child.
Meaning: The Messages and Narratives of my Guru Has Sculptured my Vice filled Mind (ਪੁਤ Putt) into a Vritue filled one (ਸਪੁਤ SaPutt).
Guru Ramdas: ਹਉ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਬਾਪੁ ॥ 1 ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Hao Tudh Salahi Tu Mera Prabh Baap SGGS 1134
Meaning: I Praise You as My Omnipresent Lord Creator.
Bhagat Namdev: ਮੈ ਅਜਾਨੁ ਜਨੁ ਤਰਿਬੇ ਨ ਜਾਨਉ ਬਾਪ ਬੀਠੁਲਾ ਬਾਹ ਦੇ ॥ 1 ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Mein Ajaan Jun Tarbey Na Jano Baap Beethla Bah Deh. SGGS 873
Meaning: Show me the Way of Lord Creator Being; for I Know Not How to Traverse my Spiritual Journey.
Similarly, the following verses from within the pages of the SGGS – composed by a variety of authors – make clear the meanings of the word ਝਗਰਤ Jhagrut.
Guru Nanak: ਜਹ ਜਹ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਹ ਤਹ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ ਬਿਨ ਬੂਝੇ ਝਗਰਤ ਜਗੁ ਕਾਚਾ ॥ 4 ॥ 224. Jeh Jeh Dekho Theh Theh Sacha. Bin Bujhey Jhagrut Jug Kacha.
Meaning: I have come to Realize the Omnipresent Creator Within. Sans this Realization, my Spiritual World was one of Defiance / Denial of the Creator.
ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਿ ਮਰਣਾ ਕਿਆ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਪੂਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੇ ਸੋ ਝਗਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਵੈ ॥ 6 ॥ Hao Hao Kar Marna Kya Pavey. Pura Gur Bhetey So Jhagur Chukavey.
Meaning: My Spirituality was Dead on Account of my Ego. The Complete Enlightenment of the Shabd’s messages Has Eliminated my Denial / Defiance of Him.
Guru Ramdas: ਗੁਰ ਪੂਰੇ ਮਿਲਿ ਝਗਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਪੰਚ ਦੂਤ ਸਭਿ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਆਇਆ Gur Purey Mil Jhagar Chukayea. Panch Doot Sabh Vasgat Aiya.
Meaning: The Enlightenment of My Guru Dispelled My Defiance of the Creator; My Vices Have Fallen in Line.
ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥ 984 Kam Krodh Lobh Moh Nit Jhagrtey Jhagrayea.
Meaning: My Denial of the Creator is on Account of the Constant Defiance of My Vices.
Bhagat Namdev: ਨਾਮੇ ਕੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਲਾਹਿ ਲੇ ਝਗਰਾ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਰਸਾਇਨ ਪੀਉ ਰੇ ਦਗਰਾ ॥ 3 ॥ Namey Chey Suami Lahe Le Jhagra. Ram Rasayan Pio Rey Dagra. 486. Dagra – stone hearted, stubborn.
Meaning: My Stubborn Mind Has Realized the Omnipresent Lord Master; its Defiance / Denial has been removed.
Bhagat Kabir: ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਪੰਚ ਕੋ ਝਗਰਾ ਝਗਰਤ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ Keht Kabir Pach Ko Jhagra Jhagrut Janum Gvaeya. SGGS 482
Meaning: Kabir, the Denial of the Creator is on Account of my Vices; my Spirituality is being lost in such Defiance.
It is clear that Father and Offspring (Baap and Poot) are metaphorically being applied to mean “Sikh and The Creator.” In the realm of SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, the Sikh is one whose Mind is sculpted in Gurbani. Poot therefore is used to mean the MIND as the abode of Realization of the Creator (Baap).
That then is the ਭਾਵ ਅਰਥ spiritual meanings of Baap and Poot.
Equally clear is the fact that JHAGRUT which literally means to quarrel, has a specific spiritual meaning. It refers to the MIND that is in DEFIANCE of the Creator; and in DENIAL of REALIZATION of the Divine Virtues of the Creator on account of our vices.
This then is the ਭਾਵ ਅਰਥ spiritual meaning of JHAGRUT.
INTERPRETING THE SHABD.
ਸਾਰਗ ਮਹਲਾ 4 Sarang Mehla 4
ਕਾਹੇ ਪੂਤ ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਜਣੇ ਬਡੀਰੇ ਤੁਮ ਹਉ ਤਿਨ ਸਿਉ ਝਗਰਤ ਪਾਪ ॥ 1 ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Kahey Poot Jhagrut Haon Sang Baap. Jin Kay Jnney Bddirey Tum Hao Tin Sio Jhagrut Pap. Rahao
Kahey – Why. Poot – Mind. Jhagrut Haon – In Denial , in Defiance. Sang –With. Baap – Creator. Jin Kay – Whose. Jnney – Created. Bddirey – Sustained. Pap – Impiety, Vice.
Why Be in Defiance of the Creator O Mind. Denial of the One Who Created and Sustained Your Existence is an Impiety (Vice).
ਜਿਸੁ ਧਨ ਕਾ ਤੁਮ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੋ ਧਨੁ ਕਿਸਹਿ ਨ ਆਪ ॥ Jis Dhan Ka Tum Garub Kart Haon So Dhan Kisey Na Aap
Dhan – Wealth, Resources, Abilities. Garub – Pride, Ego. Kisey – No one, none. Aap – Self, claim.
This Defiance is on Account of the Pride of Your Abilities; None of Which Are Yours to Claim in Spirituality
BLUE: CONTEXT FROM PREVIOUS VERSE
ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਜਾਇ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਸੁ ਤਉ ਲਾਗੈ ਪਛੁਤਾਪ ॥ 1 ॥ Khin Meh Chod Jaye Bikhiya Rus Tao Lagey Pachtap
Khin Meh – In short period of time; instantly. Chod – Discard. Bikhiya – Toxic, Poisonous, Noxious, Lethal. Rus – Essence of Spirituality. Lagey – Inflict. Pachtap – Remorse, Regret.
This Pride of Your Abilities Inflicts Instant Toxicity Within the Essence of my Spirituality; this is Regrettable.
BLUE: CONTEXT FROM PREVIOUS VERSE
ਜੋ ਤੁਮਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਹੋਤੇ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਜਾਪਹੁ ਜਾਪ ॥ Jo Tumrey Prabh Hotey Suami Har Tin Kay Japho Jaap
Tumrey – Yours. Prabh – Creator. Suami – Master Lord. Har – Omnipresent. Japho- To Be Realized. Jap– Realize
O Mind, Realize that the Omnipresent Creator Who is My Master is to be Realized Within.
BLUE: CONTEXT FROM RAHAO VERSE
ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰਤ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਨ ਤੁਮ ਕਉ ਜਉ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਤਉ ਜਾਇ ਸੰਤਾਪ ॥ 2 ॥ Updes Kart Nanak Jun Tum Ko Jao Sunho Tao Jaye Santap.
Updes – Advice, counsel. Kart – Undertake, perform. Jun – Humble. Humility. Sunho – Lit. listen; abide. Jaye – Remove, Eliminate. Santap – Agony, anguish, woe.
Nanak, Counsel Yourself in Humility O Mind; Abiding by it Will Eliminate the Anguish of Defiance of the Creator on Account of Your Pride.
BLUE: CONTEXT FROM RAHAO AND SECOND VERSE.
The following FIVE conclusions can be drawn from the shabd as translated above.
1.The shabd is deeply spiritual and divine.
2.The First Verse (Rahao) states the PROBLEM: The Mind is in a State of Denial and Defiance of the Creator. (ਝਗਰਤ ਹਉ ਸੰਗਿ ਬਾਪ JHUGRUT HAO SANG BAAP).
3.The Second Verse states the ROOT of the PROBLEM: This Defiance is on Account of the Pride Within the Mind. ਜਿਸੁ ਧਨ ਕਾ ਤੁਮ ਗਰਬੁ ਕਰਤ ਹਉ …Jis Dhan Ka Tum Garub Kart Haon)
4.The Third Verse states the CONSEQUENCE of the PROBLEM: It Inflicts Instant Toxicity Within the Essence of my Spirituality. ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਜਾਇ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਸੁ… Khin Meh Chod Jaye Bikhiya Rus.
5.The final two Verses jointly present the OUTOME and CURE of the PROBLEM: Go into a state of Humility (ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰਤ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਨ ਤੁਮ ਕਉ…Updes Kart Nanak Jun Tum Ko), Eliminate the Anguish of Defiance of the Creator (ਤਉ ਜਾਇ ਸੰਤਾਪ ॥ Tao Jaye Santap) and Realize the Creator Within (ਹਰਿ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਜਾਪਹੁ ਜਾਪ …Har Tin Kay Japho Jaap).
These divinely spiritual messages would be completely lost if we went along with the author of ਉਥਾਨਕਾ Uthanka and accepted that the shabd was about Guru Ramdas ji pleading with Prithi Chand to stop quarrelling with him.