Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!
Guru Nanak Sahib in Barah Maha, Twelve Months, describes the human-bride as the seeker, seeking a deep love for the Spouse.
What is Barah Maha?
From a literary point of view, ‘Barah Maha’ is a form of folk song. This folk poetry focuses on the female protagonist, who spends eleven months in separation, and in the twelfth month, she is united.
Where was Barah Maha revealed?
According to Shabdarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, this composition is the last revelation by Guru Nanak Sahib, uttered at Kartarpur Sahib at the time of his merging with the One Light (departure from the earthly realm). The context of the uttering of this composition is described through a very touching vocabulary. It is stated that at the invitation of the Master, Guru Nanak Sahib feels “like a woman living at her parent’s house, who gets ready to see her husband. First, the pangs of separation arise, and she grieves in the absence of the beloved and calls out ‘beloved, beloved’ as she waits for her husband. At the same time, while remembering his sweet qualities, she expresses her yearning for union. When this yearning seems to be getting fulfilled, and the hope of union with her husband becomes stronger, then, one by one, glimpses of her home appear before her eyes and remind her of the grief of separation from her husband.”
This beautiful and captivating composition, starting from the anguish of separation and ending in the bliss of union, has the potential to awaken love even in an ordinary person. It is a composition of deep intimacy, deep trust, longing, and deep love for the Spouse.
Guru Nanak Sahib, in the second stanza, says,
I am all Yours; You are my Beloved; night and day, imbued in the color of love, the human-bride enjoys You.
Nanak: The pied cuckoo chirps beloved, beloved; the Indian cuckoo sounds pleasing by virtue of sweet song.2.
The love is awe-inspiring; there is no separation.
The separation is over for the seeker dyed in the love-color of IkOankar, the One. Day and night, they enjoy the union. Their body becomes the house of all joys.
We pause to reflect on the symbolism of the pied cuckoo.
According to Indic folklore, the symbolism of the pied cuckoo is one of deep yearning. The belief is that the pied cuckoo asks in its language, ‘where is the beloved…where is the beloved.’ It thirsts for the rain. However, there is a particular raindrop, one particular drop, that the pied cuckoo seeks in its calling. It will not drink any other water, for only this one drop can quench its thirst. The pied cuckoo sits patiently in the mango grove, calling out to the Beloved and inhaling the fragrance of the buds before they blossom.
The patience, the longing, and the yearning of the pied cuckoo are awe-inspiring.
May we yearn for that particular raindrop.
May the Wisdom-Guru guide us!
Barah Maha is a folk poetry style that expresses the emotions and yearnings of the human heart in terms of the changing seasons of Nature with each particular month over the twelve months of the year.
Jasleen Kaur reflects on the play of past, present, and future, the play of creation, and the importance of Remembrance.
This poem is from a lived experience of the one who is drenched with love. Nature and its seasons become a mere reflection of that love. The yearning, the anguish, the abandonment, the devotion, the surrender, the ego-annihilation and the union are all unveiled in this exquisite piece.