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.
Her work at SikhRI is tied to her love of the Persian language and the ways it connects Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. She is working on writing sabad in Perso-Arabic script to reassert gurbani's place in the Persian literary world. A self-identifying mixed-up Sikh, she is also working on creating resources for Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike that offer ways to connect the word of the Guru to concepts of justice in today's world. One day she hopes to get a PhD in Iranian politics, and for now can be found between Newark, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois with her travelling cat Mac.
This Sabad (Divine Word), in Rag Tilang of the Guru Granth Sahib, is one of the few Sabads by Guru Arjan Sahib revealed in fluent Persian speech. Guru Arjan Sahib begins by describing the elements infused together to form the creation that we see each day: soil, light, sky, earth, trees, water.
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.
The Persian language occupies a strange place in Sikhi. Sikhs are universally aware that Persian has a place in our history yet simultaneously unaware of its magnitude. It is fascinating how one repeatedly hears the same common knowledge as if the bit were rehearsed: