MĀRŪ VĀR, Gurū Arjan's composition in the Mārū musical measure in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Traditionally, Mārū which gives the Vār its title is elegiac verse and is commonly sung in the afternoon. This measure has a martial undertone as well. The singing of Mārū rāga with devotion annuls the five evils, says Gurū Arjan.

         The Mārū Vār comprises twenty-three pauṛīs, or stanzas; each of eight lines, with a running rhyme. Each pauṛī is preceded by three ślokas or couplets, all of which are also the composition of Gurū Arjan. For ślokas Gurū Arjan has in fact used the word ḍakhṇe, a form especially popular in south-western Punjab, the dialect of which region here predominates. However, all the ślokas, or ḍakhne, are not in this Multānī dialect: those prefixed to pauṛīs 10, 16, 17, 22, 23 are in central Punjabi whereas those added to pauṛī 20 are a mixture of both.

         The themes of devotion, a spiritual vision of Reality and the operation of the moral law predominate the poem. In the ślokas, in general, the theme is devotion rendered in the idiom of conjugal love. Other strains such as emphasis on the immanence of the Divine Being, exhortation to men to disengage themselves from the illusory show of māyā, praise of the Gurū, joy in God's will also occur, though the main emphasis is on devotion to and love of the Divine Being.

         God is the sole creator of this universe. He alone is omnipresent, all-pervasive and infinite. Everything else in this world is finite and subject to decay and death. The grace of the Gurū and constant meditation on the Name of the Lord help man realize the Absolute. The seeker after Truth must be pure in thought as well as in deed. He must uphold the moral principle and have abiding faith in God. God is imaged as Almighty and man is adjured to seek His help and grace. Fearlessness results from fearing God. There is exhortation for man to practise nām, dān, isnān (devotion, charity, and chastity).

         More specifically, stanzas 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, and 16-22, comprise thematically four parts of the composition. The first part describes this world, along with māyā, as the creation of God who is all-pervading. Man forgets his Creator and remains engrossed in haumai , i.e. egoity. The only way to attain the Ultimate is to discard haumai and surrender oneself to the Gurū. The second part compares this world with an arena where various evils resulting from man's ego are denuding him of his spirituality. He alone can escape who with the grace of God takes shelter in the Gurū's Word. In the third part, there is a rejection of religious garbs and rituals which are termed futile; in the fourth is presented a glimpse of worthy living which consists in constant remembrance of God's Name.


  1. Śabadārth Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib. Amritsar, 1964
  2. Sāhib Siṅgh, Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib Darpaṇ. Jalandhar, n.d.
  3. Bishan Siṅgh, Giānī, Bāī Vārāṅ Saṭīk. Amritsar, n.d.

Harnām Siṅgh