BASANT KĪ VĀR, by Gurū Arjan, is the shortest of the twenty-two vārs, i. e. holy poems composed in the style or tone of odes (vārs, in Punjabi) or heroic ballads included in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Basant, Punjabi for spring, from which musical measure the Vār derives its title is, like Malhār (the rāga of the rainy season), an ancient seasonal rāga - the rāga of springtime.

         Basant kī Vār comprises three pauṛīs or stanzas only, each pauṛī consisting of five lines. Like the Vār of Balvaṇḍ and Sattā and unlike any other vār in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, this Vār does not have any ślokas added to the pauṛīs. The Vār addresses itself to the theme of the Gurū's grace which alone will enable man to overcome his ego or selfhood and, thus, attain, communion with the Creator. Springtime is the period of newness when vegetation stirs to life and nature comes to bloom in all its beauty and splendour. As the Gurū's grace occurs, man sheds the winter-born leaves of ego, lust, greed, attachment and anger and blossoms into nām, joy in the constant remembrance of God. If Basant, i. e. spring, is the season of union, this Vār impresses upon man to submit himself to the true Gurū to achieve union with the Divine. Men who meditate on the Name and surrender themselves to the Will of the Lord are gurmukhs. They are holy, turned towards the Gurū (gur=gurū, mukh=face, i. e. face turned towards the Gurū). They alone overcome the five vices, companions of manmukhs, the self-willed. Such men succumb not to grief, nor are they beguiled by pleasures. They are freed from the cycle of birth and death. Transmigration thus annulled, the self merges in the Creator.


    Bishan Siṅgh, Giānī, Bāī Vārāṅ Saṭīk. Amritsar, n. d.

Harnām Siṅgh