Learning Gurbani pauri by pauri

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ividAw vIcwrI qW prapkwrI jwn pWc rwsI qW qIrQ vwsI ]1]
Vidi-aa veechaaree taa-N par-upkaaree.  Jaa-N panch raasee taa-N tirath vaasee. 

Contemplate and reflect upon knowledge, and you shall become a benefactor to others. When you conquer the five passions (lust, anger, greed, attachment, ego), then you shall become pure and pious like a sacred shrine of pilgrimage.

Keeping this motto in mind this effort has been designed to disseminate the understanding of Gurbani, Pauri by Pauri (step by step). As any 101 course in a school is the introductory course for a subject, Gurbani101 is an introduction to the understanding of Gurbani in simple English. This is not a literal translation, as by doing that, one can loose the real meaning of what Guruji said. At the same time, this is not an explanation of the deeper thoughts behind the Guru’s words. For that, one should refer to translations done by our Sikh Scholars such as Bhai Vir Singh, Prof. Saheb Singh, Bhai Harbans Singh and many others. Audience for these translations is our young generation, which often complains that they do not understand anything when they listen to Gurbani in Gurudwara or at home and even the older generation who recite Gurbani everyday without really understanding the meanings.

The translations are arranged to allow a person to learn the meanings of Gurbani in small steps (Pauri by Pauri) at his/her own pace and with minimum effort. In most cases, each verse of Gurbani is translated in one or two lines with meaning of each word shown below the translation. The translations are intentionally kept short, to the point, and without detailed discussions. It is hoped that after reading these ranslations in small steps (one pauri at a time), the thoughts of what Guruji said in that one verse or Pauri will remain in the reader’s mind and they will remember the meanings whenever they are reciting or listening to that verse or Pauri.

A renowned English writer, W.H. McLeod, who studied the Sikh Scriptures, wrote "The world is poorer for its ignorance of the Sikh Scriptures. Although it is doubtless true that translation can rarely recapture the charm of a choice original, it is equally true that competence is always attainable and that a skilled translator who senses the power of the original Punjabi will occasionally reproduce its spirit and beauty as its literal meaning. Already there are promising beginnings. We must hope that they prosper". People who know Punjabi (Gurmukhi script) are fortunate because they can explore the spiritual treasures in Guru Granth Saheb without having to go through an interpreter. These translations are for those who either do not know Gurmukhi or have only a limited knowledge of the language. This is an humble attempt to try to recapture the real spirit and beauty of the original verses in Guru Granth Saheb.

This is a good opportunity to memorize Gurbani, one Pauri at a time. You can concentrate better and enjoy more if you recite bani without looking at the gutka.

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at rajsinghmarwah@yahoo.com. Any suggestions for improvement will be most welcome.

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After Guru Nanak Dev ji, none of the Gurus used their names in their writings. They always used the name "Nanak" as if everything was written by Guru Nanak Dev ji. This reinforces our belief that all our Gurus had the same spirit in different bodies. The eternal source of spiritual knowledge that was within Guru Nanak Dev ji was passed on to each Guru and they uttered Gurbani that originated from the same source.)


vidi-aa veechaaree taaN par-upkaaree.
jaaN panch raasee taaN tirath vaasee. (SSGS)

[Contemplate and reflect upon knowledge and you will become benefactor to others. When you conquer the five passions (lust, anger, greed, attachment, ego), then you shall become pure like a sacred shrine of pilgrimage. ||1|| ]

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