GOSHṬI, from Sanskrit goṣṭha (go = cow + stha = place, i.e. cow-pen) means, secondarily, an assembly of people engaged in a discourse or debate on some metaphysical, theological or ethical point, thereby seeking to expound their respective views or tenets and revealing in the process their dialectical prowess and learning. The first recorded goshṭi in Punjabi literature is Gurū Nānak's Sidha Gosṭi ("A Dialogue with the Siddhas"), included in the Gurū Granth Sāhib in rāga Rāmkalī, a musical measure favourite of the yogis. This dialogue in verse brings out the quintessence of Gurū Nānak's teaching, viz. how life lived in the world cherishing the Name of the Lord is to be preferred to sannyāsa, renunciation, or haṭh yoga, the practice of austerities. The scope of the genre was broadened in the seventeenth century to include, besides dialogue, a recital of the events of the life of a saint or mystic. This form was popularized by Manohar Dās Miharbān (AD 1581-1640) and his sons, Harijī and Chaturbhuj, who recorded goshṭis while narrating the life story of Gurū Nānak in their works Pothī Sach Khaṇḍ and Pothī Chaturbhuj. The Gurū is presented in these goshṭis in converse with a variety of people, saints and sinners, and with mythical characters. The object in each instance was to elucidate some aspect of his precept. The form was commonly employed to illustrate the teachings of holy men, saints and sūfīs, and their lives.

Tāran Siṅgh