Sunday, June 11, 2006

ਅਨੰਦੁ - anandu

Many times after a divan, kirtan or katha it is common to hear "Bhai Sahib, aj bara anand aia!!". Anandu literally may be translated as "bliss". But like many orther Sikh terms (carhdi kala, ammrit, hou vari jao, etc), there exists no real or exact translation in English. To understand the concept it is necessary to look at the Infinite Wisdom - sabad. Guru Amardas Sahib has made the definition of anandu crystal clear:

ਆਨੰਦੁ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇ ਜਾਣਿਆ ॥
ਜਾਣਿਆ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਸਦਾ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਰੇ ਪਿਆਰਿਆ ॥
ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਕਟੇ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨੁ ਸਾਰਿਆ ॥
ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਜਿਨ ਕਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਤੁਟਾ ਤਿਨ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਚੈ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ॥
ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਏਹੁ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜਾਣਿਆ ॥7॥

ānandu ānandu sabh ko kahai ānandu gur te jāniā.
jāniā anandu sadā gur te kirpā kare piāriā
kari kirpā kilabikhu kate giān anjan sāriā
andarahu jin kā mohu tuta tin kā sabad sace savāriā
kahai nānaku ehu anandu hai ānandu gur te jāniā.7.

Now it would be a travesity to try and use a translation of the word anandu in the translation of the sabad itself. As a matter of fact, the sabad is never really "translated". What we read everyday are more like what we would call "transcreations". They are humble attempts, by us mere mortals, at communicating the Infinite Wisdom in colloquial language (english, panjabi, hindi, german).

I love this transcreation of this pauri from Sirdar Kapur Singh (please read The Incomparable Prophet at

"There has been much speculation about what Anandu is, but the Word of the Guru now makes the matter clear. The Anandu is to be ever with God, the gift of His Grace and mark of His love. God, in His Mercy, destroys the impurities and limitations of the human ego and bestows upon him the true knowledge and everlasting existence. The man when freed from the gravitational pull of the world of corruption becomes weightless and purified with Truth, that is, the Word."

- Anandu taught by Sikhism

This differs from what one can discern from, for example, Guru Granth Darpan by Prof. Sahib Singh. Prof. Sahib Singh's work is phenomenal and is usually the best resource for understanding/translating Guru Granth Sahib. He was a linguist par excellence. His rendition mixes translation and transcreation very adroitly. In this pauri he translates sabad as bol or words/voice. Sirdar Kapur Singh translates sabad as Word (capital W), which means Sabad/bani or as I usually transcreate - Infinite Wisdom or Divine Wisdom. Word with capital W is more a Judeo-Christian concept. It is similar to our concept of sabad - but not the same. More on that some other day. I think both Sirdar Kapur Singh and Prof. Sahib Singh got it right in their own way. It is mere choice...there is no right or wrong. The point is that this feeling or state of anandu has a deep relationship with the sabad of the Guru. Without the Guru, anandu is incomplete.


Here is my "humble" attempt at a transcreation of this pauri. I always try to remain gender neutral and avoid any Judeo-Christian words like God or Lord, Heaven or Word:

Everyone assumes they know what anandu is. The fact of the matter is that the realization of anandu comes from the Gurū. Yes, the realization of anandu comes from the Gurū. The Beloved bestows this Grace. The Beloved bestows this Grace that anandu is the state where all doubts and frustrations are vanquished and one sees the world through the lens of Wisdom (giān). Anandu is that state where the internal soul is not pulled by external attachments, and when the soul is soothed only by the sound of Infinite Wisdom (sabad). Yes my friends, that is what anandu is. Trust when Nānak says: the realization of anandu comes from the Gurū.

The question now remains: after a blissful divan, kirtan or katha - are we truly in anandu?

Carhdī kalā!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the translation!

    Even though We sing everytime, after diwan "anand bhaya meri mayee", but some of us have yet to reach that state of mind.