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All Under The Earth (Ham Jer Jimī)

Persian Voice in the Guru Granth Sahib

Tuesday
,
17
December
2019
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All Under The Earth (Ham Jer Jimī)

Persian Voice in the Guru Granth Sahib

Tuesday
,
17
December
2019
No items found.
⟵ Back to articles

All Under The Earth (Ham Jer Jimī)

Persian Voice in the Guru Granth Sahib

Tuesday
,
17
December
2019
No items found.

Sabad is Infinite; we are very finite. This is our understanding at the moment, which was different yesterday and may evolve tomorrow, as we deepen our relationship with the Sabad. In this transcreation, we have chosen to keep the repeating words in the Sabad the same. We aspire to learn and retain the Divine attribute as used in the original Sabad and avoid terms like God or Lord.

ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੧ ॥
سلک محل ۱
Salok, First Embodiment

ਹਮ ਜੇਰ ਜਿਮੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਪੀਰਾਮ ਸਾਇਕਾ ਰਾਇਆ ॥
ham jer jimī dunīā pīrām sāikā rāiā.
هم زیر زمین دنیا پیران شیخ ها راییا.
All the sheikhs, spiritual teachers, rulers [will be buried] under the ground.

ਮੇ ਰਵਦਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਸਾਹਾ ਅਫਜੂ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥
می رود بعدی شاه ها افزون خدایی.
me ravadi bādi sāhā aphajū khudāi
Then the Kings will go as well, the Creator is what remains.

ਏਕ ਤੂਹੀ ਏਕ ਤੁਹੀ ॥੧॥
ek tūhī ek tūhī
You are One, you are One.

ਨ ਦੇਵ ਦਾਨਵਾ ਨਰਾ ॥
na dev dānavā narā
Not gods, demons, or humans.

ਨ ਸਿਧ ਸਾਧਿਕਾ ਧਰਾ ॥
na sid sādikā darā
Not Siddhs (master yogis) or Sadhiks (yogis) [will remain] on the earth.

ਅਸਤਿ ਏਕ ਦਿਗਰਿ ਕੁਈ ॥
ast ek digir kuī
There is One, who else?

ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ॥੨॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī
You are One, You are One.

ਨ ਦਾਦੇ ਦਿਹੰਦ ਆਦਮੀ ॥
na dāde dihand ādamī
نه داد دهند آدمی.
Not the cry for justice of the one who gives to humanity

ਨ ਸਪਤ ਜੇਰ ਜਿਮੀ ॥
na sapat jer jimī
Nor the seven realms beneath the earth [shall remain].
نه سپت زیر زمین.

ਅਸਤਿ ਏਕ ਦਿਗਰਿ ਕੁਈ ॥
ast ek digir kuī
است یک، دیگر که؟
There is One, who else?

ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ॥੩॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī
You are One, You are One.

ਨ ਸੂਰ ਸਸਿ ਮੰਡਲੋ ॥
na sūr sas manḍalo
Not the sun, moon, skies (galaxies).

ਨ ਸਪਤ ਦੀਪ ਨਹ ਜਲੋ ॥
na sapat dīp nah jalo
Not the seven islands (continents) or water (oceans).

ਅੰਨ ਪਉਣ ਥਿਰੁ ਨ ਕੁਈ ॥
aun pūṇ tir n kuī
Rains or air, nothing is fixed.

ਏਕੁ ਤੁਈ ਏਕੁ ਤੁਈ ॥੪॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī
You are One, You are One.

ਨ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਦਸਤ ਆ ਕਸੇ ॥
na rezaq dast hā kase
نه رزق دست ها کسی.
Our sustenance is not in the hands of any person.

ਹਮਾ ਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਆਸ ਵਸੇ ॥
hamā rā ek ās vase
همه را یک آس وصی.
Everyone’s hope is executed within One.

ਅਸਤਿ ਏਕੁ ਦਿਗਰ ਕੁਈ ॥
ast ek digir kuī ||
است یک دیگر که؟
There is One-who else?

ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ਏਕੁ ਤੁਈ ॥੫॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī||5||
You are One, You are One.

ਪਰੰਦਏ ਨ ਗਿਰਾਹ ਜਰ ॥
parande n girā jar
پرنده نه گیرا زر.
A bird does not grasp gold.

ਦਰਖਤ ਆਬ ਆਸ ਕਰ ॥
darakht āb ās kar
درخت آب اس کر.
It wishes upon trees and water.

ਦਿਹੰਦ ਸੁਈ ॥
dihand suī
The One alone is the Giver.
دهند سوعی.
ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ਏਕ ਤੁਈ ॥੬॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī
You are One, You are One.

ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਲਾਰਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥
nānak lilār likhīā soi
Nanak, the destiny [the One] writes [on the forehead] happens.

ਮੇਟਿ ਨ ਸਾਕੈ ਕੋਇ ॥
meṭ n sākai koi
No one can erase [it].

ਕਲਾ ਧਰੈ ਹਿਰੈ ਸੁਈ ॥
kalā darai hirai suī
That [One] which gives skills and life, takes it.
ਏਕੁ ਤੁਈ ਏਕੁ ਤੁਈ ॥੭॥
ek tuhī ek tuhī
You are One, You are One.

     Guru Nanak Sahib in Rag Majh | Guru Granth Sahib 143

Reflections on this Transcreation:

Persian-based Sabad is difficult to read and understand for both native Panjabi speakers and native Persian speakers. Panjabi grammar is imported into Persian and vice versa, creating new deviations of standard pronunciations. The language of Gurbani takes influence from the languages of South Asia at the time (Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Braj, and many more) in which the bani was revealed, but often defies the rules of language and poetry to create new meaning. The language of Gurbani stands alone, therefore the following commentary was written to help guide readers through the meaning of this Sabad and enrich understanding.

In this transcreation, the original Gurmukhi is followed by an English transcription to guide pronunciation of the Sabad in its original form. Gurmukhi script and Perso-Arabic script often have different pronunciations of words with the same meaning, and as such the Persian transcription is written with spellings that allow a modern-day Persian reader to understand the text. The Sabad with a high degree of Persian fluency has been transcribed into Perso-Arabic script, whereas the lines of other linguistic origin have been kept in the original Gurmukhi with corresponding English transcription.

This Sabad (Divine Word) is in couplets (in the form of a salok, one of the prescribed poetic styles of the Guru Granth Sahib), alternating between Persian verses and Old Panjabi/Sanskrit verses. This Sabad has been connected with the sharing of couplets between Guru Nanak Sahib and Sheikh Ibrahim, said to be a descendent of Sheikh Farid. For the purpose of this series, the Persian couplets and their transcreation will be broken down.

“Ham jer jimī” corresponds to the Persian pronunciation “ham zire zameen” (هم زیر زمین), or all under the earth/ground. In the following line, other sources usually write “pīrā masāikā” but pīrām sāikā is a more accurate spacing. In Gurmukhi Persian “n” sounds are often written as “m” and there is no “sh” sound and therefore that sound is replaced with “s”. Pīrān (پیران) is the plural for “pīr” (پیر) or spiritual leader, with ān being a Persian plural ending used most often for nouns that represent people. “Hā” (ها), colloquially pronounced as ā, is a more standard plural ending, used hereafter “sāik” or sheikh (شیخ). “Rāiā” is similarly the plural for the Indic word rai, or ruler. Guru Nanak Sahib begins this Sabad by showing us the ephemerality of the social constructs that uphold a ruling class.

Guru Nanak Sahib tells us, the Kings, “sāhā” or shāh-hā (شاه ها) will go next. “Aphajū” is a permeation of the Persian word afzūn (افزون), which literally means “more” or “increased”. In Urdu poetic usage it can mean “extra” or the “remainder”. In this context, the usage of this word tells us all that remains is Khuda (The Creator). In the Sikh paradigm, we are all part of 1. Our individuality is a temporary illusion--the only thing which remains is the Divine. This couplet ends with the first repeated ending, You are One, You are One.

In the next Persian couplet, Guru Nanak Sahib shows us how even the righteous are impermanent beings. “Dād” (داد) literally means a cry for justice, and “e” makes it the possessive of “ādamī” (آدمی) or humanity. The Sanskrit word “sapat” represents hellish regions below the Earth, corresponding with the number seven. These realms exist “jer jimī” or once again, zir-e zameen (زیر زمین). This couplet ends with the second repeating verse, “There is One, who else?”, along with the original verse, “You are One, You are One”.

Guru Nanak Sahib then delves into the framework of hukam (Divine Order) by emphasizing that the Creator does not take the form of a being or person (kas or کس). Our sustenance (rizak/rezq or رزق) is not doled out to each of us through worldly means. Each and every one of our hopes and desires can be found within the all-encompassing framework of IkOankar (1-ness) that binds Creation, and is only so-called “form” of the Creator. Vase when mentioned in other places in Sabad is often translated as residing, but there is scholarly agreement that here the word has a Persian origin and could be connected to the word وصی which as a noun means executor of will, and comes from the Arabic root for advise, entrust, or bequeath. The implication here is powerful: we do not receive more or less sustenance and support in our livelihoods due to a value judgement from a person-like Creator, but rather, a supported and flourishing state is available to each of us, should we as human beings collectively choose to live by principles of 1-ness. Sustenance is there, Grace is there, but our ego-driven societies restrict and control.

This display of the fallacy of resource restriction flows into the theme of the next Persian couplet, which criticizes the human assumption that material money and wealth carry any true or tangible meaning. Guru Nanak Sahib points out that a bird does not grasp “jar” or “zar” (زر), meaning gold or money in Persian. The Panjabi word ās, or āsha in modern usage, meaning hope or wish, is used to show the desires of nature. The bird’s desire here is in relation to trees and water, and is a part of the cycle of life. Nature is not bound to self-defeating artificial constructs upheld by human societies. “Dihand” comes from the Persian word dahande (دهنده), or generous giver, suī is a Panjabi word to indicate the sameness and singularity of the ultimate Being, IkOankar (1-ness).

The final verses are rooted in Panjabi and Sanskrit. Guru Nanak Sahib expounds upon the Sikh principle of hukamthrough the image of destiny upon the forehead, a common representation of fate in Vedic texts. This is not to say that as humans we have no agency, instead, Guru Nanak Sahib speaks of how we are all connected, as parts of the 1. We will all face the same ephemerality as the destruction of self is inevitable in the structure of 1-ness. The positive and negative emotions and experiences that lead us to our ultimate exit from this temporary world are inevitable, but we can choose whether we uphold the principles of 1-ness in this life or not. By living in the flow of hukam, and not fighting against it, we liberate ourselves.

Coming back to the beginning of this Sabad, one of the many ways people tend to struggle aimlessly against hukamis to assign human power and control, most often patriarchal, in the form of Kings, spiritual leaders, Sheikhs, and Shahs. But these people face the same fate as us all, the erosion of self, and thus their power is merely an illusion.

The Persian Voice of the Guru is an unparalleled effort to elucidate the meaning of the Guru’s word as written in the Persian language in Gurmukhi script. I would like to thank the SikhRI team for their invaluable contributions in making this series possible. Thank you to Harinder Singh for helping transcreate complex hybridized language and to Inni Kaur for reflections on how to convey the true essence of the Sabad. Much gratitude to Surenderpal Singh and Ebrahim Tahassoni for their insights in transcription, making it possible for this text to be read in multiple scripts. And most of all, thank you to my fellow staff members Jasleen Kaur, Damanpreet Singh, and Imroze Singh for their unwavering support. Without Imroze Singh, none of SikhRI’s work would reach our audiences.

Revised:

This Content has been made available for educational purposes only. SikhRI does not make any representation concerning the completeness of the Content. This Content is not intended to substitute research or a deeper understanding of the topic. SikhRI encourages readers to read multiple authors to gain a complete understanding of the topic.

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Research Assistant

Asha Marie Kaur is a Research Assistant with SikhRI. She has a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she was born and raised.

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