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||

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