Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Mittar pyaare nu

Posted on: January 19, 2013

This article is written by Sudhir, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

[NOTE: With apologies to the readers, this write up could not be completed on time to be posted on 18-01-2013, the actual date of this anniversary, and is being posted one day later.]

This day, the Paush Shukal Saptami (the seventh day of the waxing moon cycle of the month of Paush), is a very special day. Today we celebrate the anniversary of birth, of one of the most illustrious and influential persona in the history of our nation. A great teacher who was a poet, a philosopher, an ascetic and yes, a fearless warrior. He taught universal love and brotherhood, inspired his followers to treat their fellow beings at a humanistic level, without differentiating based on caste, creed or beliefs. A rarest of the rare human beings who walked this earth, he lived in this physical world just for 42 years, but his accomplishments and his lasting inspiration for the human race defy the endeavors of many a life time of ordinary mortals.

Guru Gobind Singh ji, revered as the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, was born as Gobind Rai on 5th January 1666. (This date is as per the revised Nanakshahi Calendar of the Sikhs. The corresponding Julian date is mentioned as 22nd December, 1666). He is the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru, and Mata Gujri. At that time, Guru Tegh Bahadur was on a tour of eastern India, with his family, preaching of the word of the Sikh faith. On reaching Patna, the progressing maternity of Mata Gujri made it difficult to travel further. She stayed back under the protection of the local King and his family, while Guru Tegh Bahadur continued his travels further east, to Bengal and Assam. The famous gurudwara of Patna Sahib is built at the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh ji.

After completing his journeys of the eastern provinces, Guru Tegh Bahadur returned to Punjab. He sent message to his family residing in Patna to join him in Aanandpur, the city that he had established in the foothills of Shivalik Mountains, before starting his travels. Gobind Rai was six years when the family reunited at Anandpur. His early education, that started in Patna and continued in Anandpur, covered both Sanskrit and Persian, besides the Punjabi and Brij Bhasha. His education also included martial arts and use of weapons.

Gobind Rai was just nine years old, when a dramatic turn came in his life. The year was 1675 and a group of Kashmiri brahmins visited Anandpur to seek Guru Tegh Bahadur’s advice and assistance. The general appointed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was threatening them with forced conversion to Islam. Aurangzeb thought that if the respected Kashmiri brahmins accepted Islam, others in the country would be easily converted. They had been given six months to decide or suffer the consequences. As the Guru sat reflecting on this problem, young Gobind Rai, arrived there in company with his playmates, and asked why he looked so preoccupied. The father replied, “Grave are the burdens the earth bears. She will be redeemed only if a truly worthy person comes forward to lay down his head. Distress will then be expunged and happiness ushered in.” With the nascent innocence of a child, Gobind Rai remarked, “None could be worthier than you to make such a sacrifice”. Guru Tegh Bahadur advised the brahmins to return to their village and tell the authorities that they would accept Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur could first be persuaded to do so.

Guru Teg Bahadur made arrangements to travel to Shahjahanbad (Delhi), in order to intervene on behalf of the brahmins. He appointed his nine year old son Gobind Rai to be his successor and tenth guru of the Sikhs. On their arrival in the imperial capital, the Guru and his companions were arrested and imprisoned by the Mughal officers acting under the orders of Aurangzeb. The captors employed all manner of atrocities and torture in an unsuccessful effort to coerce Guru Teg Bahadar and his companions to convert to Islam. Guru Teg Bahadar and his companions remained true to their faith until their final breath, and achieved martyrdom on 11th November, 1675.

For the first 20 years of his life, Guru Gobind Rai lived peacefully at Anandpur, paying attention to the mastery of physical skills and literary accomplishment. He practiced to complete his training as a soldier. He engaged 52 poets to translate the Hindu epics. Stories of ancient heroes were translated into Punjabi in order to create the martial spirit among the Sikhs. The Guru also wrote several compositions including Jaap Sahib, Akal Ustat and Sawayas during this period. He also established a Gurdwara at Paonta Sahib on the banks of the river Jamuna.

His increasing influence among the people and the martial exercises of his men created fear and jealousy amongst the neighbouring Rajput hill rulers who gathered together to attack him. During the years from 1689 to 1703, he faced five major battles, against the armies of the Mughal empire and the Rajputs kings. He lost his four sons, and his mother during the course of these battles.

Then in 1699, came the most significant turning point in his life, and in the life of this followers. At the place that is now known as Keshgarh Sahib Gurudwara in Anandpur, a large congregation of his followers collected for the festival of Baisakhi. In the annals of the history of Sikhs, this was the most significant event. Guru Gobind Rai formalized the formation of the Sikh Khalsa, the ordained pure souls. With the challenge of offering their life for their Guru, from the congregation, five persons rose up and took the bold step to sacrifice themselves on the call of the Guru. These five were ordained as the first Khalsa people, and are known as the ‘Panj Piare’ in the annals of history. (Panj Piare means the five beloved faithful). At this congregation, the Guru gave them the appellation of ‘Singh’ (the lion), and issued for the first time, the four basic instructions for the followers. This includes bearing of 5 things on themselves – the five Ks.

After these five brave men were ordained as the first Khalsa people, a most strange and heartwarming event occurred. Guru Sahib himself went down on his knees in front of the chosen five, and requested himself to be baptized into the same discipline. At first the chosen five were taken aback, and asked how could they baptize Guru Sahib himself. And then, Guru Sahib replied, “. . . The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa. There is no difference between you and me. As Guru Nanak seated Guru Angad on the throne, so have I made you also a Guru. Wherefore administer the baptismal nectar to me without any hesitation.” Accordingly the Five Chosen Ones baptized Guru Sahib with the same ceremonies and injunctions he himself had employed. And in the same practice, Guru Gobind Rai was now proclaimed as Guru Gobind Singh.

This is probably the most unique example anywhere in history, which is expressed succinctly in the famous Punjabi bhajan, “Waaho Waaho Gobind Singh, Aape Guru Chela” – Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple.

The famous author, Pearl S Buck wrote thus about this historical event of utmost significance, “The creation of the Khalsa was the greatest work of the Guru. He created a type of superman, a universal man of God, casteless and country less. The Guru regarded himself as the servant of the Khalsa. He said, “To serve them pleases me the most; no other service is so dear to my soul.” The Khalsa was the spearhead of resistance against tyranny.”

The creation of Khalsa was an earth shaking event, and within the next few days of this fateful day, more than 80,000 followers came forward to be baptized. The growing numbers and the spiritual strength of Khalsa, of course had expected consequences. The local kings, with support from the Mughal armies, attacked Anandpur and laid siege to this fortress for a long period of 3 to 4 years, but could not break either the spirit, or the fort walls. In a desperate move, a settlement was negotiated, and the rival armies offered safe passage to the Khalsa people, in exchange for evacuation of Anandpur. It turned out to be a trick. The Khalsa columns were attacked in the cold winter night in December 1705, as they moved out of the fortress. A massacre ensued in which a large number of Khalsa warriors were killed and Guru Sahib barely made it past the enemy forces, as his followers exhorted him to go away and save himself in order to rebuild and consolidate the Khalsa once again.

Guru Gobind Singh reached the city of Dina in the heart of Malva region (in central India), and regrouped his forces. Here he also composed the ‘Zafarnama’, or the ‘Epistle of Victory’, the famous letter to Emperor Aurangzeb. The letter was a severe indictment of the Emperor and his commanders who had broken their oath. Two of the followers were dispatched with the letter to Ahmadnagar in the South to deliver it to Aurangzeb. The Zafarnama apparently touched the heart of Emperor Aurungzeb. He forthwith invited Guru Sahib for a meeting. According to history, the Emperor had a letter written to the governor of Lahore, Munim Khan, to conciliate Guru Sahib and make the required arrangements for his journey to the Deccan. Guru Gobind Singh had already started his journey South in October 1706. He was in Rajasthan, when the news arrived of the death of the Emperor at Ahmadnagar in February 1707.

After the death of Aurangzeb, the expected conflict for succession started between the sons of Aurangzeb. Guru Sahib dispatched a token army in support of Prince Muazzam, the eldest son. Guru Sahib had earlier interacted with Prince Muazzam in the capacity of governor of northern provinces, and found him to be a person with liberal ideas. The prince scored decisive victories and was crowned as Emperor Bahadur Shah, the seventh emperor in the Mughal dynasty. In July 1707, the new emperor invited Guru Sahib for a meeting in Agra.

Kaam Baksh, the youngest brother of the emperor, rose in revolt against the newly crowned king. Bahadur Shah started his journey south to deal with this problem, and Guru Gobind Singh accompanied him. Guru Sahib paused for a stay at Nanded, while the emperor continued his march further south. Nawab Wazir Khan, the ruler of Sirhind (in Punjab) and one of the arch rivals of Guru Sahib, was incensed by the conciliatory relationship developing between the new emperor and Guru Sahib. He dispatched two of his men to assassinate Guru Sahib, before the budding relationship between him and the emperor became a danger for Wazir Khan. These men reached Nanded and assimilated themselves amongst the Khalsa followers, and finding opportunity after a prayer meeting one day, they attacked and grievously injured Guru Sahib. The assailants were killed on the spot. On hearing the news, Bahadur Shah sent his personal physician (a European doctor), who came and tended to the injured Guru Sahib. He stitched the gaping stomach wounds, and for some days, it seemed as if the Guru was on way to total recovery.

But that was not to be. After some days of the surgical procedure, the Guru was testing a new bow, and overexerted himself. The stitches came undone and there was profuse bleeding. Knowing that the time for him was at hand, Guru Sahib called his followers, and issued his last and the most significant instructions to the Sikh people. He offered obeisance to Sri Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh followers, and proclaimed it to be the eternal Guru for his followers, that there will no longer be a living human Guru for them, and that the holy scripture, to be called as Sri Guru Granth Sahib, will be the everlasting Guru instead. He then sang a self-composed hymn:

Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth
Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth
Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh
Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le
Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koye
Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoye.

“Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth (congregation of followers) was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns. The Khalsa shall rule, and its opponents will be no more, Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved.”

In October 1708, this remarkable persona, and an extraordinary messenger of God, breathed his last on this earth. In his 42 years of life, he built an ever-growing and enduring set of faithfuls.

Now coming to this bhajan. This exquisite poetical creation holds a very special place in the holy works of the Sikh religion. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a monumental holy text that contains within itself the writings of many saints and teachers. It also contains the words and bhajans by the Gurus in the Sikh tradition that came before Guru Gobind Singh. Although, Guru Gobind Singh himself has created a number of very important pieces of religious poems and hymns, he never allowed any of his works to be incorporated into the Granth Sahib itself. The reason being, he always considered himself to be not equal to the Gurus and saints who came before him. This particular ‘baani’ or bhajan is the only one of the many creations of Guru Gobind Singh ji, that got incorporated into the Granth Sahib. In that sense, it holds a very special place in the holy books of the Sikhs.

This hymn has a very special history of its own. These lines were recited by Guru Gobind Singh in 1703, after the battle of Chamkur. The Sikh forces were outnumbered and decimated, and Guru Sahib had lost his four sons as martyrs in the battles so far. With a select band of followers, and on the move, the group was resting in the forests at Machiwara, after escaping from the battle. In this ‘Shabad’ or hymn, Guru Sahib yearns for the remembrance of Waahe Guru, the Almighty God, in spite of the hardships and tough times that were being faced by him and his followers.

This particular rendition of the bhajan is from the 1969 Punjabi film ‘Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai’. The film is produced under the banner of Kalpanalok and directed by Ram Maheshwari. The cast of leading actors includes Som Dutt, Vimi, Prithviraj Kapoor, IS Johar, Nishi, David, Jagirdar, Suresh, Mumtaz Begam, Jagdish Raj, and Tiwari etc. The music compositions are by S Mohinder, who has created some very lovely tunes for the traditional ‘shabads’ from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This particular bhajan is rendered by Mohammed Rafi, and is one of his incomparable performances.

In the visual, the main actors are in a train. Gurmeet Singh (Som Dutt) has been blinded in a domestic accident. His fiancée is Channi (Vimi). After the episode, Gurmeet refuses to get married and instead decides to go on a pilgrimage to the main Gurudwaras across the country, accompanied by his aunt, Ratan Kaur (Nishi). Channi, in her turn, refuses to give up her love for Gurmeet, and accompanies Gurmeet and Ratan Kaur, as a servant, dressed like a boy. All people in the family, except for Gurmeet, know about this deception. This bhajan is played while the protagonists are on the train.

As video clip shows, the bhajan starts to play when the train in entering a tunnel. There is a moment of complete darkness, and we hear the softly rising voice of Rafi Sb, starting to sing. I remember when I first watched this film, the starting of this bhajan and the voice of Rafi Sb, sent a wave of exhilaration tingling through my spine.

Listen to this wonderful hymn, a unique creation from the lips of Guru Gobind Singh ji, epitomized for posterity by the music of S Mohinder and the haunting voice of Rafi Sb.

Mittar Pyare Nu
Haal Mureedan Da Kehna

Please narrate to the beloved friend – the Almighty Lord
The sad plight of his disciples.

Tudh Bin Rog Rajaian Da Odhan
Nag Nivasan De Rehna

Without You, sleeping in rich blankets
Is like a disease
And living in comfortable homes
Is like living surrounded with snakes

Sool Surahi Khanjar Pyala
Bing Kasaian Da Sehna

(Without you)
Our water pitchers
Are like sharp stakes of torture
Our cups have jagged edges like daggers
(Your neglect of us)
Is like the suffering of animals at the hands of butchers

Yaarare Da Sanu Sathar Changa
Bhath Kherean Da Rehna

Our Beloved Lord’s straw bed is more pleasing to us
Than the fires that the costly mansions be

Mittar = friend

Piyare = dear, loving

Noo = to Him

Haal = condition; plight or well being

Mureedaa = disciple, student

Daa = of

Kehna = tell, narrate

Thudhh = You

Bin = without

Rog = pain, disease

Rajaai = quilt, blanket

Odhan = to wear, to drape around

Naag = snake, cobra

Nivaasaa = home, house

De = with

Rehna = to stay; to reside

Sool = also ‘shool’; sharp thorns, sharp stakes

Suraahee = long-necked small pitcher

Khanjar = dagger

Pyaala = cup; saucer

Bing = as same; is just like

Kasaai = butcher

Sehnaa = To bear, to suffer, to endure, to sustain, to have patience.

Yaar = friend

Yaar-ade = friend’s; belonging to the friend

Saanoo = me; us

Saathhar = death bed, usually on ground.

Changaa = is good; preferred; better

Bhath = Furnace, distillery

Khereaan = living habitat; Village; also refers to this Body

Rehnaa = life; living



Song-Mittar pyaare nu (Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai)(1969) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Guru Gobind Singh, MD-S Mohinder


mittar pyaare nu
mittar pyaare nu
haal mureedaan da kehnaa
mittar pyaare nu

tudh bin rog rajaaiyan da odan
tudh bin rog rajaaiyan da odan
naag niwaasaan de rehna
naag niwaasaan de rehna
mittar pyaare nu
haal mureedaan da kehnaa
mittar pyaare nu

sool suraahi khanjar pyaala
bing kasaaiyaan da sehnaa
bing kasaaiyaan da sehnaa
mittar pyaare nu
haal mureedaan da kehnaa
mittar pyaare nu

yaar adey da saanu sathar changaa
yaar adey da saanu sathar changaa
bhath khereyaan da rehnaa
bhath khereyaan da rehnaa
mittar pyaare nu
haal mureedaan da kehnaa
mittar pyaare nu
mittar pyaare nu

Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)

मित्तर पियारे नू
मित्तर पियारे नू
हाल मुरीदान दा कहना
मित्तर पियारे नू

तुध बिन रोग रज़ाईआं दा ओडन
तुध बिन रोग रज़ाईआं दा ओडन
नाग निवासान दे रहना\
नाग निवासान दे रहना\
मित्तर पियारे नू
हाल मुरीदान दा कहना
मित्तर पियारे नू

सूल सुराही खंजर प्याला
विंग कसाईआं दा सहना
विंग कसाईआं दा सहना
मित्तर पियारे नू
हाल मुरीदान दा कहना
मित्तर पियारे नू

यार-अड़े दा सानु सथड़ चंगा
यार-अड़े दा सानु सथड़ चंगा
भठ खेडेयां दा रहना
भठ खेडेयां दा रहना
मित्तर पियारे नू
हाल मुरीदान दा कहना
मित्तर पियारे नू
मित्तर पियारे नू

6 Responses to "Mittar pyaare nu"

Beautiful write-up Sudhirji. Even I feel that the longevity of Sikhism as a religion, and the respect it commands rests mainly on the brilliant decision that Guru Gobind Singhji took to stop the line of living Guru’s and commanding the Sikhs to follow the Granth. Sooner or later, a less worthy Guru could have brought down the worth of the early Gurus.

This way the followers have nothing but sterling examples to look up to. His creation of Khalsa panth has given a purpose and a unique identity to all Sikhs.

I love many of the Shabds and kirtans of Sikhs, my own religion. I also like the fact that the Kirtan’s are not set to bollywood tunes and their integrity is maintained by setting them only to ragas. In fact in Darbar Sahib you will still get to hear Shabds and Kirtans set to the prescribed Raga of the hour.

Thank you so very much for this post.


Very well compiled and extremely thoughtful of Sudhir Ji and Atul ji to have presented this article on this Blog. Many of the younger generation is neither aware of the strength of Indian culture and its nor do they have time to read and access them; as such efforts like this go a long way to provide them a glimpse and understanding of solidity of the existence of the present.
Thank you for this post.


Beautiful upload. Thanks for the very informative writeup. During 1969 the entire movie was watched by the full Bench of Honourable Judges of The Punjab High Court. Almost thirty years ago, during my stay at Nanded it was my privilege to visit the Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib almost daily. Great Guru indeed. The bhajan deserves a seven star rating, five stars are not sufficient


A most wonderful post. A most inspiring song reminding us of the inspirational life and sacrifices of a really great Guru.


A very moving write up……thanks Sudhir ji!


Dear Friends,

I am glad to see all your messages of appreciation.

Our land, and the history of this land, is a continuous pageant of shining stars – leaders of the the people who appeared here as if by a divine decree, and provided a guidance and leadership that was appropriate for the times.

In north India, especially in Punjabi families, there is a shared tradition between the Sikhs and non-Sikhs. And many families are interelated. Although I belong to a non-Sikh family, we have Sikh relatives in our extended family circle, and we share many festivals and family events.

Ava ji,
I often attend the shabad-kirtan at Gurudwaras, and on family occasions. The music heritage of this tradition is really remarkable and endearing.



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