ḌAKHAṆE, title of sixty-nine ślokas by Gurū Arjan, incorporated in his vār in the measure Mārū, three each with its twenty-three pauṛīs or stanzas. The word ḍakhṇe (Skt. dakṣiṇī) means 'southern. ' The language of these verses is a dialect of the southern Punjab, now in Pakistan, known as Mūltānī or Saraikī. Ḍakhaṇe is not the name of any language but of a style of song-verse of that region. Gurū Arjan, however, has complete mastery of the dialect of that region distant from his own central Punjab and these verses are remarkable for their poetic qualities.

         The central theme of the Ḍakhaṇe is the intense longing of the human spirit for the all-pervading Supreme Spirit and they depict, first, the beauty of the Beloved; secondly, the intensity of longing for Him; thirdly, the helpfulness of the Gurū, the mediator between the seeker and the sought after; and fourthly, some of the obstacles which bar union between the two.

         The "woman" (devotee) addresses the. all-pervading Spirit as 'my own good friend' (I); 'my good friend and true king' (II. 3); 'beloved dwelling with me' (IV. 1); 'my close friend who is fond of me and who is friend of all, never disappointing anyone' (VII. 2); 'the hidden gem which I have found and which now shines on my forehead' (VII. 3 ); 'the One who is present in all and of whom none is bereft' (IX. 3); 'the colourful One' (XI. 1); 'the King of kings' (XII. 1); the One whose light is reflected in all as is the moon in the water in the pitchers' (XIV. 2); and implores Him to come and embrace her.

         This is how "she" expresses the intensity of her longing : 'My eyes long for Thee' (I. I); 'I am ready to give my head for Thy love' (I. I); 'I am in love with Thee and with none else' (I. 2); 'do not separate me from Thee for a moment' (II. I); 'my heart has been charmed by Thee' (II. I); 'if Thou cometh to my courtyard, the entire earth will turn green for me' (III. I); 'while embracing Thee, even the necklace I am wearing creates distance unbearable' (III. 3); 'I am longing ever to see how beautiful is Thy face' (VIII. I); 'may I become a couch for the Beloved, my eyes 'spread on it as a sheet' (XII. 3); 'incomparable in beauty is the face of my Beloved' (XVII. 2); 'I have looked in all directions, searched everywhere, none is comparable to Him' (XVIII. 1).

         'Those who take shelter with the ustād (teacher) are saved' (VI. 1); 'the saints whose deeds are for the well-being of others show the path' (XXI. 2); 'eyes which see the Loved One are different from the outward eyes' (XVI. 3); 'this is the opportunity and He must be realized here and now' (VII. 1). Māyā is compared to a wet stone of jaggery (guṛ) and men to flies which fall upon it and get caught (IX. 2). This is how man is beguiled from the path to union.


  1. Shabadārth Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib, vo1. III. Amritsar, 1959
  2. Sāhib Siṅgh, Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib Darpaṇ, vol. VIII. Jalandhar, 1964

Tāran Siṅgh