GAUṚĪ KĪ VĀR, by Gurū Rām Dās, is one of his seven vārs in a total of twenty-two in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. As the title indicates, the Vār is cast in the Gauṛī musical measure -- a rāga commonly sung in the evening. In Sikh Scripture, Gauṛī is the third of the thirty-one rāgas. Gauṛī kī Vār comprises thirty-three pauṛīs and sixty-eight ślokas. Except pauṛīs 15 and 20 which are preceded by three ślokas each, the rest have two ślokas prefixed to each. In the case of most of the other vārs included in the Holy Book, the pauṛīs which form the core of the text are from one pen, the ślokas which vary in authorship having been added by Gurū Arjan at the time of the compilation of the Holy Granth. Gauṛī kī Vār is the only Vār which has five pauṛīs (27 to 31), all of the composition of Gurū Arjan. Of the sixty-eight ślokas, seven are by Gurū Amar Dās, fifty-three by Gurū Rām Dās and eight by Gurū Arjan. Whereas the ślokas vary in the number of verses from two to thirteen, pauṛīs consist of five verses each, except for four (11, 12, 31 and 32) which contain six to ten verses each.

         The Vār has been moulded to a spiritual theme, the burden being the individual soul's yearning for ultimate union with the Supreme Soul. Whereas the former is limited and finite, the latter is infinite and unfathomable, omniscient and omnipresent. Equally deep emphasis is laid on God who is the sole creator and sustainer of the universe. The human body He has created is like a fort with several shops within it. This body is meant for righteous action. Men are divided into two categories, gurmukhs and manmukhs. The former imbibe godly qualities by following the instruction of the Gurū and repeating His Name with every breath of theirs. Thus they successfully swim across the ocean of life and win acceptance at His portal. On the other hand, the manmukh, the wayward one, takes to evil ways. His speech is insipid, and he takes delight in calumny and falsehood. He is greedy and lustful and is punished accordingly. To realize God, the seeker need not renounce the world and wander into the forests. They are saved who take refuge with the True Gurū. The Gurū helps the human soul reach its destination of final beatitude. The Gurū is full of the nectar of the Name of the Lord. He is generous and envious of none. It is under his guidance that the disciple learns to keep company with the holy, imbibe virtues and cast away all deficiencies.

Surinder Siṅgh Kohlī