Pyaar and Literature

Love lost, love gained, and love yearned for HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

gurunanak.jpgSome of the first things that comes to my mind when thinking about Valentines Day are thoughts of carnations, roses, scobby-doo miniature valentine day cards, and those sugary heart candies with statements like Be Mine and Page Me. With the expression-of-affection- through-consumption aspect of of Love Day aside, let’s take this time to think about the idea of love. As I think about the depth, significance, and longevity of the emotion and meaningfulness of love thoughts of Heer/Ranjha, Sohni/Mahiwaal, shyaari (poems) by Shiv Kumar Batalvi, and Guru Nanak Dev Jis love poetry come to mind. These works share the complications, nuances, selfishness, self-lessness, and spirituality of love.

backsikhcouple.jpgEven though the ending in some of these works is not happily-every-after, I think beauty lies in the process and meaning of their love how their actions expressed it not so much the outcome! Lets take Love Day to think and appreciate the expression of love in Punjabi and Sikh literature !

So, I leave you with a few lines from one of my favorite Shiv Kumar Batalvi poems (Jagjit Singh sings it for us too). Please remember dont focus on the outcome (basically one lover leaves the other lover) … its more about the process here and its significance!

 

BolaaN de vich (In his words)

Paun pure di, (Blew the eastern breeze,)

Ni o koyilaaN da hamsaaya (Like the sound of a blackbird.)

ChiTe daNd jyuN dhaano bagala, (His smile was the whiteness of a crane in the rice fields,)

TauRi maar uDaaiya. (Taking flight at the clap of a hand.)

Ni maeN vaari jaaN! (I was enamored!)

 

Choori kuTaaN (I crushed choori)

Te o khaaNda naaheeN (He would not eat it.)

Uhnu dil da maas khavaaiya. (So I fed him the flesh of my heart.)

Ik uDaari aesi maari (He took flight, such a flight did he take,)

O muR vatani na aaiya. (That he never returned.)

Ni maeN vaari jaaN! (I was enamored!)

Maae! Ni maae! (Mother! Mother!)

MaeN ik shikra yaar banaaiya. (I befriended a hawk.)

Uhde sir te kalgi (A plume on his head)

Te uhde paereeN jhaaNjhar, (Bells on his feet,)

Te o chog chugeeNda aaiya. (He came pecking for grain.)

Ni maeN vaari jaaN! (I was enamored!)

 

NOTE: The above lines are excerpts of Shiv Kumar Batalvis poem and are not necessarily in the order he wrote them (there is a large chunck before and after the first-set of lines as well as following the last set of lines).

Please share lines from any of your favorite Punjabi and Sikh poems/literature about love! Tell us why you chose them too!

If you have written any love poems of your own in Punjabi please do not hesitate to share!


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36 Responses to “Pyaar and Literature”

  1. idiot says:

    I said I wouldn't write again but I sort of had to having seen this.

    The love depicted by Guru Nanak was an attachment to God and a compassion towards mankind. It was not a self-defying insane obsession for another human being. It was self defying devotion to the divine.

    The fallacy that is Heer Ranjha (and all the other mortal ‘love’ stories’) is far from the difficult sort of love practiced and taught by Guru Nanak. To care for others without desire is the love depicted by Guru Nanak. To desire union with the divine (i.e. GOD) is a different path to desiring union with other human beings.

    Guru Nanak didn’t walk around saying ‘I gave roti to the sadhu – hai he didn’t thank me’. We human beings are not capable of such love; we seek affirmation and personal gain in the love that we offer but Guru Nanak didn’t.

    Please, I request that in future we abstain from such comparisons / associations. I’m not belittling human love, though I personally don’t think anything of these fairy tales anymore and if you want to talk about ‘love’ that’s your call but please let’s keep the boundaries clear here.

    There are other intellectual arguments about ‘love’ for humans being the same thing as love for God but it’s not the love that Guru Nanak taught.

    Obviously – just my point of view – no one is obliged to accept it. Still if we're looking to make clarifications in Sikh circles – then this is my contribution.

  2. idiot says:

    I said I wouldn’t write again but I sort of had to having seen this.

    The love depicted by Guru Nanak was an attachment to God and a compassion towards mankind. It was not a self-defying insane obsession for another human being. It was self defying devotion to the divine.

    The fallacy that is Heer Ranjha (and all the other mortal love stories) is far from the difficult sort of love practiced and taught by Guru Nanak. To care for others without desire is the love depicted by Guru Nanak. To desire union with the divine (i.e. GOD) is a different path to desiring union with other human beings.

    Guru Nanak didnt walk around saying I gave roti to the sadhu hai he didnt thank me. We human beings are not capable of such love; we seek affirmation and personal gain in the love that we offer but Guru Nanak didnt.

    Please, I request that in future we abstain from such comparisons / associations. Im not belittling human love, though I personally dont think anything of these fairy tales anymore and if you want to talk about love thats your call but please lets keep the boundaries clear here.

    There are other intellectual arguments about love for humans being the same thing as love for God but its not the love that Guru Nanak taught.

    Obviously – just my point of view – no one is obliged to accept it. Still if we’re looking to make clarifications in Sikh circles – then this is my contribution.

  3. Mewa Singh says:

    Dear Ms. Idiot,

    I understand your appeal to not make such a comparison, but the esteemed Bhai Gurdas in one of his Vaars also made such a comparison. Maybe that Vaar will shed some light.

    Bhai Gurdas Var 27, verse 1

    Layla Majnun askee chau chakki jaati

    Sorath Beeja gaveyai jus sughrha vaati

    Sassi Pannun dosti huey jaat ajaati

    Mahiwal no Sohni nai tardi raati

    Ranjha Heer vakhaneyai ohu pirm praati

    Peer mureedan pirharhi gavan parbhati

    Layla-Majnun (the most famous Persian romance story), the lovers, are known throughout the four corners of the earth

    The story of Sorath-Beeja (still popular in Haryana) is sung in every direction

    Sassi-Pannun's love broke caste boundaries

    Sohni left at the ill-fated night to see her Mahiwal

    Ranjha and Heer showed a great love

    BUT, the love between the Guru and the disciple (read Sikh) is the highest as they sing in remembrance of each other.

    (Translation/Explanation mine), sorry for any errors

  4. Mewa Singh says:

    Dear Ms. Idiot,

    I understand your appeal to not make such a comparison, but the esteemed Bhai Gurdas in one of his Vaars also made such a comparison. Maybe that Vaar will shed some light.

    Bhai Gurdas Var 27, verse 1

    Layla Majnun askee chau chakki jaati
    Sorath Beeja gaveyai jus sughrha vaati
    Sassi Pannun dosti huey jaat ajaati
    Mahiwal no Sohni nai tardi raati
    Ranjha Heer vakhaneyai ohu pirm praati
    Peer mureedan pirharhi gavan parbhati

    Layla-Majnun (the most famous Persian romance story), the lovers, are known throughout the four corners of the earth
    The story of Sorath-Beeja (still popular in Haryana) is sung in every direction
    Sassi-Pannun’s love broke caste boundaries
    Sohni left at the ill-fated night to see her Mahiwal
    Ranjha and Heer showed a great love
    BUT, the love between the Guru and the disciple (read Sikh) is the highest as they sing in remembrance of each other.

    (Translation/Explanation mine), sorry for any errors

  5. idiot says:

    Aesie naame(h) preet naraayan is applicable here.

    Bhagat Namdev ji's bani also explains the comparison between mortal love and a love for the divine. It is comparable but it is not the same. In the way a fish needs water so the soul needs the divine. This too is my understanding of Guru Nanak Dev ji's poetry and of the love that Guru Nanak Dev ji dipicted for Parmaatma.

    Actually Bhai Gurdaas ji has concluded similar in the last line of the verse. I don't know enough about Bhai Gurdaas ji's vaaran to be able to explain the rationale behind the verse properly. I have made an assumption.

    I personally don't believe in glamorising these so called legends (heer-ranjha et al). For me that sort of insanity is only valid when applied to the worhsip of God.

  6. idiot says:

    Aesie naame(h) preet naraayan is applicable here.

    Bhagat Namdev ji’s bani also explains the comparison between mortal love and a love for the divine. It is comparable but it is not the same. In the way a fish needs water so the soul needs the divine. This too is my understanding of Guru Nanak Dev ji’s poetry and of the love that Guru Nanak Dev ji dipicted for Parmaatma.

    Actually Bhai Gurdaas ji has concluded similar in the last line of the verse. I don’t know enough about Bhai Gurdaas ji’s vaaran to be able to explain the rationale behind the verse properly. I have made an assumption.

    I personally don’t believe in glamorising these so called legends (heer-ranjha et al). For me that sort of insanity is only valid when applied to the worhsip of God.

  7. Camille says:

    I'm confused by the complaint here. It's true that Gurbani teaches us that the connection between Vaheguru and disciple is the "highest" love/relationship one can seek in the world. That said, I don't understand why there is an argument to any analogy to mortal love. While this is a Sikh blog, it is also a Sikh Punjabi blog. In the context of this post specifically, the Punjabi in me can value poetry about human love, while the Sikh in my exalts the scripture of Divine love. How are these at odds or in tension with one another? I don't see these as mutually exclusive, just different facets of a similar concept.

  8. Camille says:

    I’m confused by the complaint here. It’s true that Gurbani teaches us that the connection between Vaheguru and disciple is the “highest” love/relationship one can seek in the world. That said, I don’t understand why there is an argument to any analogy to mortal love. While this is a Sikh blog, it is also a Sikh Punjabi blog. In the context of this post specifically, the Punjabi in me can value poetry about human love, while the Sikh in my exalts the scripture of Divine love. How are these at odds or in tension with one another? I don’t see these as mutually exclusive, just different facets of a similar concept.

  9. Shardaloo says:

    Idiot:

    I personally don't believe in glamorising these so called legends (heer-ranjha et al). For me that sort of insanity is only valid when applied to the worhsip of God.

  10. Shardaloo says:

    Idiot:
    I personally don’t believe in glamorising these so called legends (heer-ranjha et al). For me that sort of insanity is only valid when applied to the worhsip of God.

  11. Harbeer says:

    Phulkari, for a great repository of Punjabi poetry, check out ApnaOrg.com some time. There's even scratchy old mp3s of Shiv Kumar reciting his poetry in his own voice.

    Idiot, it's fundamentalist anti-sensuality, anti-aesthetic attitudes like yours that made me start distancing myself from Sikhi. If you can't love God's creation, I don't really see much hope for you "loving God"–the two are inseparable.

    I'm also a big fan of Rilke and his Book of Hours, love poems to God (albeit in German.)

  12. Harbeer says:

    Phulkari, for a great repository of Punjabi poetry, check out ApnaOrg.com some time. There’s even scratchy old mp3s of Shiv Kumar reciting his poetry in his own voice.

    Idiot, it’s fundamentalist anti-sensuality, anti-aesthetic attitudes like yours that made me start distancing myself from Sikhi. If you can’t love God’s creation, I don’t really see much hope for you “loving God”–the two are inseparable.

    I’m also a big fan of Rilke and his Book of Hours, love poems to God (albeit in German.)

  13. Harbeer says:

    One of my favorite lines of Punjabi poetry is "Jaach Mainu Aa Gayi Gham Khaan Di," another Shiv Kumar poem (sung here by Chitra Singh.)

    I like it because I'm a silly punster and I translate it as "I finally got the hang of chewing gum."

  14. Harbeer says:

    One of my favorite lines of Punjabi poetry is “Jaach Mainu Aa Gayi Gham Khaan Di,” another Shiv Kumar poem (sung here by Chitra Singh.)

    I like it because I’m a silly punster and I translate it as “I finally got the hang of chewing gum.”

  15. Phulkari says:

    Idiot Bhenji,

    I can understand your desire not to equate the love expressed in Punjabi folktales and poetry with that conveyed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. You bring up some good points about the differences and I agree with you. However, those differences as Camille stated, are "… just different facets of a similar concept" and not mutually exclusive. The beauty in Sikhi, for myself, is that the concepts of social relationships discussed by our Gurus are supposed to be practiced in real life (their teachings provide us guidance); however, we are supposed to figure out how that actually works out for us "mortals". I hope this thread would provide a space for us to have those discussions in a critical and respectful manner (that is the purpose of this blog) by thinking about the love discussed in Punjabi literature alongside that conveyed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sikh scholars. What are the similarities, differences, contentions, nuances, and possibilities?

    You seem to have some knowledge of Gurbani and Sikh literature, please continue to share it.

  16. Phulkari says:

    Idiot Bhenji,

    I can understand your desire not to equate the love expressed in Punjabi folktales and poetry with that conveyed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. You bring up some good points about the differences and I agree with you. However, those differences as Camille stated, are “… just different facets of a similar concept” and not mutually exclusive. The beauty in Sikhi, for myself, is that the concepts of social relationships discussed by our Gurus are supposed to be practiced in real life (their teachings provide us guidance); however, we are supposed to figure out how that actually works out for us “mortals”. I hope this thread would provide a space for us to have those discussions in a critical and respectful manner (that is the purpose of this blog) by thinking about the love discussed in Punjabi literature alongside that conveyed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sikh scholars. What are the similarities, differences, contentions, nuances, and possibilities?

    You seem to have some knowledge of Gurbani and Sikh literature, please continue to share it.

  17. Phulkari says:

    Harbeer,

    Thank you for posting that line from Shiv Kumar Batalvi's poem! It's absolutely beautiful … the idea and process of how you just learn to eat and digest sorrow because there is no other option.

    P.S. Thanks a lot Harbeer for the "chewing gum" comment … now I can't stop listening to Chitra Singh's version without initially thinking that she is trying to explain how she finally learned to properly eat a piece of watermelon flavored Bubblicious!

  18. Phulkari says:

    Harbeer,

    Thank you for posting that line from Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poem! It’s absolutely beautiful … the idea and process of how you just learn to eat and digest sorrow because there is no other option.

    P.S. Thanks a lot Harbeer for the “chewing gum” comment … now I can’t stop listening to Chitra Singh’s version without initially thinking that she is trying to explain how she finally learned to properly eat a piece of watermelon flavored Bubblicious!

  19. what's in a nam says:

    'it’s fundamentalist anti-sensuality, anti-aesthetic attitudes like yours that made me start distancing myself from Sikhi'

    My attitude is not 'fundementalist' – far from it. Neither am I anti-sensual nor anti-aesthetic. I simply choose to to elevate in my mind the love of Guru Nanak for the Divine above and beyond mortal love. That's my interpretation. I stated in my first comment that it was my personal point of view.

    'If you can’t love God’s creation, I don’t really see much hope for you “loving God”–the two are inseparable.'

    I didn't say that I don't love God's creation – I said I choose not to glamorise love stories like Heer Ranjha and this is because I choose to exercise moral responsibility towards those who might be easily influenced by these so called legends. Then you'll get people who complain that so and so's daughter has 'run off' with someone because people promoted bollywood love stories or the 'legends' of heer ranjha et al. Four years down the line you realise that the girl ran off with a total waster thinking that it was 'true love' etc etc… This is my reason for my statement.

    Associating this sort of love with religion – gives the impression that it's acceptable to make life altering / destroying decisions based on 'feelings'. We don't live in satjug anymore Harbeer ji and there are people out there who just need an excuse to excercise immorality.

    But okay I accept the value of such literature in intellectual discussions on the internet. So Cammile I accept your argument on this level – For me personally if the analogy is used to promote Sikhi – and the Teachings of Sikhism then cool – but the other way around it doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps this is pragmatism to an extreme that other's consider 'fundementalist'

    Phulkari, I don't know how more to explain my point of view on the similarities and differences than I already have done in the first comment.

  20. what's in a name says:

    ‘its fundamentalist anti-sensuality, anti-aesthetic attitudes like yours that made me start distancing myself from Sikhi’

    My attitude is not ‘fundementalist’ – far from it. Neither am I anti-sensual nor anti-aesthetic. I simply choose to to elevate in my mind the love of Guru Nanak for the Divine above and beyond mortal love. That’s my interpretation. I stated in my first comment that it was my personal point of view.

    ‘If you cant love Gods creation, I dont really see much hope for you loving Godthe two are inseparable.’

    I didn’t say that I don’t love God’s creation – I said I choose not to glamorise love stories like Heer Ranjha and this is because I choose to exercise moral responsibility towards those who might be easily influenced by these so called legends. Then you’ll get people who complain that so and so’s daughter has ‘run off’ with someone because people promoted bollywood love stories or the ‘legends’ of heer ranjha et al. Four years down the line you realise that the girl ran off with a total waster thinking that it was ‘true love’ etc etc… This is my reason for my statement.

    Associating this sort of love with religion – gives the impression that it’s acceptable to make life altering / destroying decisions based on ‘feelings’. We don’t live in satjug anymore Harbeer ji and there are people out there who just need an excuse to excercise immorality.

    But okay I accept the value of such literature in intellectual discussions on the internet. So Cammile I accept your argument on this level – For me personally if the analogy is used to promote Sikhi – and the Teachings of Sikhism then cool – but the other way around it doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps this is pragmatism to an extreme that other’s consider ‘fundementalist’

    Phulkari, I don’t know how more to explain my point of view on the similarities and differences than I already have done in the first comment.

  21. Admin Singh says:

    what's in a name,

    Please stick to one name on this blog. This is your 3rd name on the blog. Keep switching names will get you banned.

  22. Admin Singh says:

    what’s in a name,

    Please stick to one name on this blog. This is your 3rd name on the blog. Keep switching names will get you banned.

  23. what's in a nam says:

    Why will I get banned? What's wrong with using different names? Have I said something offensive again?

    I'm deeply sorry. Clearly my comments are not welcome.

  24. what's in a name says:

    Why will I get banned? What’s wrong with using different names? Have I said something offensive again?

    I’m deeply sorry. Clearly my comments are not welcome.

  25. Admin Singh says:

    we never mentioned anything about your comment being offensive, or your comments not being welcomed. simply that please stick to one name on this blog, thats all we're asking for.

  26. Admin Singh says:

    we never mentioned anything about your comment being offensive, or your comments not being welcomed. simply that please stick to one name on this blog, thats all we’re asking for.

  27. Kaur says:

    As someone who doesn't actually know Punjabi Literature, I appreciate this post. It allows some of us to think outside of what is the western norm for us, giving a chance to connect to the romanticized Sikh and Punjabi within =)

    Thanks! And thanks to Harbeer for the website =)

  28. Kaur says:

    As someone who doesn’t actually know Punjabi Literature, I appreciate this post. It allows some of us to think outside of what is the western norm for us, giving a chance to connect to the romanticized Sikh and Punjabi within =)

    Thanks! And thanks to Harbeer for the website =)

  29. Charanjeet Singh says:

    We r very pleased to be a part of sikh religion and our punjabi tradition is the oldest tradition in India and we should respect our religeon with heart and soul.

    Thank you so much .this is what i could write for everyone .

    Have a bless day .

  30. Charanjeet Singh says:

    We r very pleased to be a part of sikh religion and our punjabi tradition is the oldest tradition in India and we should respect our religeon with heart and soul.
    Thank you so much .this is what i could write for everyone .
    Have a bless day .

  31. Tula says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insights and learning from your interesting and informative article. – Tula

  32. Tula says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insights and learning from your interesting and informative article. – Tula