Thursday, May 30, 2024

A Beginner's Guide to the Ardaas - A Contexual Translation (Part 3)


The second section of the Ardaas

The following section, typically recited in a congregational setting, captures the spirit and devotion that unite the Sikh nation. These words, passed down through generations in some form or another, draw strength and inspiration from the martyrs, saints, and rich history of the Sikh people.

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Filled with awe and inspired by the Guru’s beloved Sikhs, we remember the unwavering faith of the Panj Pyaare (the Five Beloved), the bravery of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, the humility of the Chali Mukte (Forty Liberated Ones) who returned to the Guru recognising their mistake, and countless others who walked the path of devotion with unwavering faith – those who meditated, chanted God's name, shared generously, fed the less fortunate, and practiced compassion in defending the oppressed – we fill our hearts with their strength as we chant together: 'Vaheguru.'

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Let the thoughts of the extraordinary faith of Sikh men and women martyrs fill our soul with awe and strength. The brave souls who gave their heads but not their faith, whose bodies were chopped piece by piece but did not flinch, who had their scalps removed but refused to cut their hair braids of divine love, whose bones were crushed but didn’t let their courage be crushed, who were sawn alive but remained complete in the faith, who sacrificed their lives for saving others and protecting the sanctity and respect of Gurdwaras. Inspired by the memory of such blessed souls, we chant together: ‘Vaheguru.’

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Turning your thoughts to remember our rich spiritual heritage – the five takhats (thrones) that manifest the kingship & strength bestowed upon the Sikh nation, & the rich history of all historical gurdwaras, we chant together: ‘Vaheguru.’

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First the shared prayer of all faithful Sikhs collectively is, that may ‘Vaheguru, Vaheguru, Vaheguru…’ resonate in the consciousness of all Sikhs, bringing inner-peace. May the honour of the Sikh Faithful (Khalsa) be protected wherever they go, and grant them with victory in feeding the hungry and protecting the helpless. Praying for the success of this pathway of divinity and truth, the holy sword of justice forever providing help, and for its universal recognition, we chant: ‘Vaheguru.’

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Kindly grant to the Sikhs: the gift of faith, the gift of divine love represented in keeping unshorn hair, the gift of commitment represented in following the ordained code of living, the gift of wisdom represented in the ability to discern, the gift of acknowledging the Divine represented in the ability to have trust, the gift of seeking help in the Divine represented in confidence in the Divine, and the biggest gift of all – divine union through connecting with the Sound of the Divine.  Kindly bless them with the opportunity to take a dip in the Holy Tank of Amritsar. May the spiritual routines, flags of Truth & Justice, and buildings of learning continue forever. May righteousness always prevail. Seeking these blessings, we chant: ‘Vaheguru.’

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May all Sikhs have humble hearts, soaring wisdom, and honour protected by You, O Vaheguru!

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May the Sikh Faithful (Khalsa) be granted free access & custodianship of the birthplace of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Sri Nankana Sahib, and all other Gurdwaras without hindrance from geographical or political constraints.

The closing section of the Ardaas

hey  ne-maaNiyaa  dey  maan.  ne-taaNiyaa dey  taaN.  ne-oh’tiyaa  dee  oh’t,  sachey  pitaa vaa’eh-guroo…
O Eternal Father Vaheguru Ji, Honour of the honourless, Power of the powerless, Shelter of the shelterless….

Note: At this point add your personalised words and speak to Vaheguru Ji and state the reason for the prayer.

naa’nak  naam,  charr’dee-kal’aa. 
tey’rey  bhaa’Ney,  sar’bat  daa  bhal’aa.
By focusing on Naam, the Sound of God, as guided by Guru Nanak, we find lasting optimism and positive spirit. May your blessings shower peace upon all.

vaa'eh-guroo  jee  ka khaal’saa.
vaa'eh-guroo  jee  kee  fateh.
The Pure/purity belongs to Vaheguru, and all achievements belong to Vaheguru!


Monday, May 20, 2024

A Beginner's Guide to the Ardaas - A Contexual Translation (Part 2)

The first section of the Ardaas

 ik o’ann-kaar, siree vaahe’guroo jee kee fateh.
The Ultimate One is the source of all, through its Sound expands/creates; all victory is credit to Vaheguru.

 siree bhagau’tee jee sahaa’ey.
May the Power of Vaheguru be of help.

vaar siree bhagau’tee jee kee, paat’shaahee das’veen.
 The poem on the Divine Power of Vaheguru by the Tenth Guru.

pritham  bhagautee  simar  kai,
gur  naanak  leyee  dhiyaa’e.
I first call upon the Power of Vaheguru Ji and meditate on Guru Nanak Ji (in whom Vaheguru Ji revealed Their Power).

fir  ann’gad  gur,  tey  amar  daas,
raam  daa’sai  ho’een  sahaa’eh.
May (the same Power that passed through) Guru Angad Ji, Guru Amar Daas Ji, and Guru Ram Das Ji help me everywhere.

ar’jan  har’gobind  noo,  sim’rau  siree  har  raa’e.
I then meditate upon (the same Power that passed through) Guru Arjan Ji, Guru Hargobind Ji and Guru Har Rai Ji.

siree  har  krishan  dhiyaaee’yai,
jis  diTh’ai  sabh  dukh  jaa’e.
I meditate upon (the same Power that was revealed in) Guru Har Krishan Ji, whose holy vision makes all pains and sufferings go away.

tey’g  bahaadar  simree’yai, 
ghar  nau  nidh  aa’vai  dhaa’e.
Then, I then meditate upon (the Power of Vaheguru Ji revealed through) Guru Teg Bahadar Ji, which causes spiritual treasures to fill my inner-being.

sabh  thaa’een  ho’e  sahaa’e.
May (the Power of Vaheguru Ji revealed through) all the Gurus help me everywhere.

Note: These lines were written by the Tenth Guru.  Following them are words of devotion recited by Sikhs since the Tenth Guru's time.  Together, they form the first section of the present-day Ardaas text.

das'vey  paat’shaah, 
siree  guroo  gobind singh  saa’hib  jee,
sabh  thaa’een  ho’e  sahaa’e.
May (the same Power that passed through) the Tenth Master, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, help me everywhere.

dasaan  paat’shaahee-aan  dee  jyot,
siree  guroo  grann’th  saa’hib  jee,
dey  paaTh  dee’daar  da  dhiyaan  dhar  key,
bo’lo  jee  vaa’eh-guroo.
Turning my thoughts to the same Power that worked in the Ten Gurus and now in the holy words contained in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, connecting with that Power we chant: ‘Vaheguru.’

Note: In a personal Ardaas, simply recite the opening section and then proceed to the closing section.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A Beginner's Guide to the Ardaas - A Contexual Translation (Part 1)


Ardaas can be informal and formal and is offered by standing with folded hands. The formal Ardaas begins with holy words written by the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, from the scriptural composition named ‘Chandi Di Vaar.’ This verse seeks the blessings of the Divine Power of Vaheguru. It then goes on to mention each of the Gurus through whom Vaheguru revealed Their Power, asking for their assistance and protection. The rest of the Ardaas has evolved as the collective prayer of the Sikh nation, providing inspiration & rekindling the Sikh spirit by remembering the devotion, love, exemplary acts & sacrifices of Sikh men, women & children throughout history. It also reminds Sikhs of their rich spiritual heritage. After each section, the congregation connects with the Divine Power of Vaheguru by collectively saying ‘Vaheguru!’ The Ardaas concludes with sharing the reason for the prayer and wishing good for all humanity. At the end, one bows in humility to acknowledge & surrender before the presence of the Divine Creator. Standing back up, the congregation responds to "Boley So Nihaal" (“whosoever responds to this call will be blessed”) with the victory cry of "Sat Siri Akaal" (“God is the Ultimate Truth”).

Before the Ardaas

 As an individual or congregation rise to offer the Ardaas, it fairly common for all participants chant the following sacred verse to prepare the mind for surrender and allow the congregation to gather in quiet reverence with hands folded and hearts open, before embarking on the Ardaas.

too  Thaa’kur,  tum  peh  ar’daas.
You are the Master and I make this Ardaas (prayer plea) to You;

jee’o  pinn’d,  sabh  tey’ree  raas.
My body and soul are all Your property.

tum  maat  pitaa,  ham baa’rik  tey’rey.
You are my mother and father; and we are Your children.

tum’ree  kripaa,  meh  sookh  ghaney’rey.
   All comforts are obtained by Your grace.

ko’e  na  jaa’nai,  tum’raa ann’t.
No one knows Your capabilities.

oo’chey  tey  oo’chaa  bhag-vann't.
You are the Highest of the High and Most Generous.

sagal  samag’ree,  tum’rai  soo’tar  dhaaree.
The whole creation is strung together in Your Divine Law.

tum  tey  ho’e,  su  aa’giyaa-kaaree.
Whatever has been created complies with the Divine Law.

tum'ree  gat  mit,  tum  hee  jaa’nee.  
You alone know Your state and capabilities.

naa’nak  daas,  sadaa  kur’baanee. (8.4.)
This servant forever submits to You. ||8||4||