Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yo yo girlfriend! Me no complain no more!

It’s amazing how the Guru speaks to us. Sometimes we are his children (puta), sometimes his brothers (bhai), sometimes his girlfriends (saheli), sometimes a spiritual companion (sant jano).

I thought of this when I heard this sabad sung in rag asa. It is part of the Sikh Heritage recordings on Sarbpreet Singh is busy loading up all the recordings he did while Gyani Dyal Singh and Bhai Kanwarpal Singh were in town. Now that I am back in the Boston area, I hope to get a chance to listen live to the traditionalist kirtania that will hopefully keep visiting us in the future.

So, the sabad is on page 384 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. You should also check out the sabads before and after this one. It is in the section of Asa Mahala 5, Ghar 7, it is the 2nd sabad in that section and is the 53rd sabad by Guru Arjan Sahib in Rag Asa. The metaphors relate to “girlfriend”, “husband”, “virtuous bride”, "immaculate marriage". These are metaphors for us now, but back in the day, this is how people spoke, and people understood when it was spoken. Based on that I always think, hypothetically, if Guru Sahib was around today and wanted to speak to the youth, he would use the kind of language that the youth are used to. Something like a mild form of ghetto talk that I get a big dose of while I am at Sikh youth camps. You know what I’m talking about! Anyway, the Guru does indeed visit us at the camps in the form of the sabad – the infinite wisdom. And it is up to us to interpret the wisdom in the current generation vernacular.

So, the first sentence of the rahao di tuk is: ਚੁਕਾ ਨਿਹੋਰਾ ਸਖੀ ਸਹੇਰੀ ॥ A formal (read bland) translation/transcreation would be something like: “My complaining and frustrations (of materialistic life) has seized, oh my truthful female companions”. Now if I share that with teenagers they will 1) insist on calling me Uncle ji, 2) have no interest and not understand how it applies to their life. However, if we explained it to them something like this: “Yo yo, girlfriends, check it out! I no complain no more! The main man - my Guru - has ….”. I don’t know good ghetto talk so I can’t think of how to complete the sentence. But you get my point. If I said it that way, then the kids would atleast laugh at me trying to be like them, and at least listen, if not get the point.

Anyway, below I present my flowery, partial uncle ji partial ghetto style transcreation of the sabad:

Yo, yo girlfriends! I don’t need to complain no more! Through the Guru, I have no more confusions and frustrations, and as a result I have merged with my spouse - Vahiguru! (Reflect and ponder this thought).

Yo, yo girlfriends! I was really down and unhappy because I felt far away from Reality, kinda in a zone of my own. But now, I think I understand the teachings of the Guru, and I feel I am always within Divine presence.

Yo, yo girlfriends! Thanks to the Guru, I am now in the safety of the protection (bed) of the Universal Spouse. I am no longer dependent and oppressed and stand confident as an independent sovereign.

Yo, yo girlfriends! The infinite wisdom (Sabad) has enlightened my heart and thus, my way of life! It’s all good! It’s all bliss with me and my Universal Spouse!

Yo, yo girlfriends! Nanak says: Check it out! Ain’t it cool that because of grace and positive fortune, my Infinite Spouse is like in my heart! It’s like the coolest Divine Marriage and I am simply a happy bride!

(originally revealed by Nanak V in Raga Asa)


ਆਸਾ ਮਹਲਾ 5 ॥
ਦੂਖੁ ਘਨੋ ਜਬ ਹੋਤੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥
ਅਬ ਮਸਲਤਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਮਿਲੀ ਹਦੂਰਿ ॥1॥
ਚੁਕਾ ਨਿਹੋਰਾ ਸਖੀ ਸਹੇਰੀ ॥
ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਪਿਰ ਸੰਗਿ ਮੇਰੀ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਨਿਕਟਿ ਆਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਸੇਜ ਧਰੀ ॥
ਕਾਣਿ ਕਢਨ ਤੇ ਛੂਟਿ ਪਰੀ ॥2॥
ਮੰਦਰਿ ਮੇਰੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥
ਅਨਦ ਬਿਨੋਦੀ ਖਸਮੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥3॥
ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੁ ਮੈ ਪਿਰੁ ਘਰਿ ਆਇਆ ॥
ਥਿਰੁ ਸੋਹਾਗੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਨ ਪਾਇਆ ॥4॥2॥53॥


  1. LOL@ Uncle ghetto talk!
    But I think this is a great post and should be submitted on one of those youth magazine (Sikh Speak or others) and posted on Sikh forum. Atleast the youth will make an effort reading it with that title!

  2. Yah...I thought this post would atleast get some interesting reactions. Glad you like it. I am sure some other people out there won't appreciate or understand the issue and difficulty of getting the younger generation interested in Gurbani. For adults like us, it is great and completely natural to be affected by bani. But we need to come up with creative ways to introduce the kids to our Guru...I mean really create a relationship with bani, history and discipline.

    Anyway, feel free to post it - and don't worry about using my name...I am not worried about my identity (remember the anonymous episode!! hee...hee...)

  3. i really love the the way u translated the shabad..its so easy to relate to a grp of teenagers sitting and talking about life...and easy for them..or even me to relate to..

    kudos ji...yupp it should be published...=)

  4. Anonymous6:41 PM

    I am sorry that the comment is not accepting the way you put it.

    We elders are youth of past. But we were taught the original way, so it is simple for us to understand. Gurbani was simple, is simple and shall remain the same in ages to come. If we can understand and enjoy and live the original explanations, surely coming generations can.

    As Guru ji put, Guru Granth Sahib ji di lor es layi pai kyonki Ved te shastar aam lokayi di samajh ton parre si. Oh sagar si- sagar de kande baithi lokai layi (i.e. in Sanskrit for brahmins). Te gurbani (bani of Guru Granth Sahib ji) barish da paani hai. Jo har kise tak bina uchecha pohunchda hai.

    Gurbani is the rain that without any effort reach everyone. Simple to understand in original presentation only. We need to talk gurbani to the raw and creative children's minds. That is important. Parents want to ease their responsibility of spending the time with the children and explain.

    Sorry for my comment but I could not stop myself.

    -Preet Kaur.

  5. Interesting thoughts veerji. I think this is at the least a good way to get kids to start thinking about Shabad Guru and relating personally. Now, please grace us with an entire SGGS translation/transcreation. =)