KABITT-SAVAIYYE, by Bhāī Gurdās who had worked with Gurū Arjan on the preparation of the original volume of Sikh scripture, the Gurū Granth Sāhib, and who is remembered in the Sikh tradition as the first consistent interpreter of the Gurūs' word, is a collection of 675 kabitts and savaiyyās composed by the poet in Braj. Of his kabitts and savaiyyās, a total of 556 only were known before 1940 when Bhāī Vīr Siṅgh searched out and published another 119 of them, thereby bringing their total to 675. However, nine kabitts, among the later 119, are almost identical with the other nine published earlier. Some scholars, thus, exclude these nine and take the total number of these kabitts and savaiyyās to be 666. It is generally believed that some of the kabitts and savaiyyās are still untraced.

         As regards the time and place of these compositions, opinion varies. It is generally believed that a major part of this work was completed after the poet's more popular work, the Vārs, had been written. The more likely venue was Kāshī and Āgrā where the Bhāī had lived for some time. The conjecture is strengthened by several factors. One, the theme of the poetry belongs to the poet's maturer years. Second, the language of these compositions is akin to the contemporary religious and literary genius of Kāshī and Āgrā. A pang of separation from the Gurū is the running theme of this poetry.

         Bhāī Gurdās was able clearly to comprehend the meanings of the text and then explain it in the simplest vocabulary. For the Punjabi readers, he has done this in his vārs and for his readers in Kāshī and Āgrā in the kabitts and savaiyyās. To make his works widely comprehensible, Bhāī Gurdās has used similes and metaphors from daily life. In the first section the poet has used kabitts and savaiyyās in their simplest form. The thrust is in the fourth and final line in which his meaning is communicated very forcefully. The poetry also symbolizes Bhāī Gurdās's deep love for his Gurūs. Bhāī Gurdās spent long spells in Āgrā and Kāshī spreading the message of the Gurūs, but he always longed for a glimpse of the Gurū. Compositions dealing with poet's pangs of separation are a fine specimen of his poetic art.


  1. Kaur Siṅgh, Akālī, Tatkarā Bhāī Gurdās Jī de Kabitt Savaiyye. Amritsar, 1929
  2. Jaggī, Rattan Siṅgh, Bhāī Gurdās : Jīvani te Rachnā. Patiala, 1974
  3. Darshan Siṅgh, Bhāī Gurdās. Patiala, 1986

Dharam Siṅgh