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

Sunta hai guru gyaani

Posted on: September 2, 2014


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in sites like lyricstrans.com and ibollywoodsongs.com etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

In our high school curriculum, we had Hindi Padhya (Poetry) in which, among others, poems of Meerabai, Tulsidas, Kabirdas, Surdas, Raskhan were taught to us. While most of the poems were in the praise of Lord Ram and Krishna, poems of Sant Kabirdas were not addressed to any specific God. I had heard the word ‘nirgun’ from my teacher in regard to the poems of Sant Kabirdas, I did not know the meaning of ‘nirgun’ in wider sense until few years back. Some of Dohas (two liners) have still remained in my memory. One of those which often come to my mind is:

Bada huwa to kyaa huwa jaise ped khajoor
Panthi ko chhaaya nahin phal laage ati door

[Eminence or greatness is useless like date trees.
Neither do they provide shade for travellers nor their fruits].
The two liners is a typical of Kabir using the examples from our day to day life to bring out the wider underlying philosophy and realities of life. This makes the rural folks to whom his poems are usually addressed, easy to understand. In his poems, Kabirdas has mainly relied on nature like river, sea, trees, mountains, sky and other earthly objects as metaphors to drive his views on philosophy of life. And these are coming from a person who never studied in school. But he had a Guru in Sant Ramanand Swami who left for heavenly abode when Kabirdas was barely in his teens. But the knowledge he received from his Guru in a short period of time made him from Kabir to Sant Kabirdas. The importance he gives to Guru (Spiritual Master) in his poems can be judged from a Doha among many which I had studied in my school days

Guru Govind dono khade kaake lagoon paay
Balihaari guru aapno Govind diyo milaay

[I faced both my Guru and Govind (God). Whom should I touch feet first?
I submit to my dear Guru who showed me the path to God].
The life sketch of Kabirdas is shrouded with many myths and legends. There are some variants of his early life available on the websites depending up on which Kabir Panthis (religious sects) had written. I have gone along with the general perception of his early days which, more or less, match with my understanding of his life I had studied in my school text book.

Sant Kabirdas (C.1440-C.1518) was born to a Brahmin widow who, fearing the disrespect from the society, being born outside the marriage, abandoned the newborn near a pond at the outskirt of Banaras. The newly born was picked by a muslim couple belonging to weavers’ family who brought him up. Since childhood, Kabirdas was fond of the company of sadhus and saintly persons through whom he came to know about Sant Ramanand Swami, a crusader of social evils in Hindu society. At first, Ramanand Swami was not keen to make him his disciple. But a chance encounter with him at one of the ghats of Ganga in Banaras changed his impression about him and took him as his disciple.

Kabirdas believed in formless God. He was opposed to the idea of idol worship. He denounced superstitions and religious dogmas. His approach to religion was practical and humanitarian as was evident from his poems. Some of his Dohas are hard hitting towards the religious dogmas and hypocrisy of both Hindu and Muslim.

Hindu barat ekadashi saadhe doodh singuada seti
Ann to tayaage man ko na hatake paaran karen sagauti

[Hindus observe fast on ekaadashi but eat water chestnuts with milk.
They give up regular food but do not control their mind. After breaking the fast, they eat meat].

Turuk roza nimaz guzaare bismil bang pukaare
Inki bihist kahaan se howe sanjhai murgi maare

[Turks (Muslims) observe the fast (during ramazan) and offer namaaz.
From the minaret, they loudly utter ‘Bismillah’.
How can they go to heaven when in the evening they kill chickens?]
He never gave his preaching either in the temples or mosques. Instead he preferred to address the folks at the road side or at his house while doing his daily job of weaving.

Because of his open denouncement of some of the established religious traditions, Kabirdas became the enemies of both pandits and Mullahs alike. It is said that during the last phase of his life, he was forced by some influential people of Banaras to leave the place as retaliation for his preaching. He shifted from Banaras to Maghar (now in Sant Kabir Nagar district) along with his disciples and died there in C. 1518. It is said that he deliberately chose Maghar to leave this world just to break the myth that those who die in Banaras gets the salvation and those who die in Maghar go to the hell. Soon after his death, there was dispute between his Hindu and Muslim followers as to how his last rites would be performed. It is said that when the veil over his dead body was lifted, they found only flowers. These were divided between Hindus and Muslims and they performed his last rites according to their religious traditions.

Kabirdas did not write down any of his poems. They were all ‘baanis'(utterances) mostly in Bhojpuri dialect. It was only after his death that most of his ‘baanis’ were written down by his disciples in the form of Dohas and Sakhi. Bijak, a compilation of poems of Kabirdas serves as a religious book for the followers of Sant Kabirdas. Some of the poems of Kabirdas are also a part of Guru Granth Saheb, the holy book of Sikhs.

As I said earlier, unlike other poets of Bhakti Movements, bhajans of Kabirdas were addressed to a formless and omnipresent God. His bhajans are called nirguni (without attributes). In his devotional poems, there is a blending of Sufism with Vedantic principle of Atma (Soul). In most of his poems, Guru plays a prime role in attainment of salvation.

I am presenting one of Kabirdas’ nirguni bhajans ‘sunta hai guru gyaani’(1978) sung and composed by Pandit Kumar Gandharva in Raag Ahir Bhairav. At the outset, like any poem of Kabirdas, this one also looks simple. But when I tried to understand the meaning, it turned out to be complicated one for me. There are many translations of this devotional poem available on the websites. While most of them are transliteration of the poem without going into the deeper interpretation, a few have very complex interpretations bringing in the concepts like Naad Bindu and Aham Baani into a wider connotation of Naad Yogaasan and Shaiva philosophy, respectively. My view is that since Sant Kabirdas addressed his poems and Dohas mostly to downtrodden rural folks, he must have used these words as figurative speech. I have attempted a translation in English keeping in view the overall philosophy of life preached by Sant Kabirdas.

sunta hai guru gyaani
gagan mein aawaaz ho rahi hai jheeni

A wise man hears a faint sound of solemn music (of salvation) from the sky.

pahile aaye naad bindu se peechhe jamaya paani
sab ghat puran puru rahya hai alakh purush nirbaani

The soul originated from naad bindu (shunya or dot of celestial music).
Thereafter, He filled water in earthen vessels in full
who is a mute alakh purush (Supreme God).

wahaan se aaya pata likhaaya trishna toone bujhaai
amrut chhod so vishay ko dhaave khol de phaans phansaani

The soul arrived from there (naad bindu) to this world with a name here
for quenching the thirst (desire). But in this process, one forgot that he had
left nectar (the eternal peace) and opted for poison (worldly desires)
thus getting caught in his own trap.

gagan mandal mein gau bhi aani bhoi pe dahi jamaaya
maakhan maakhan santon ne khaaya chhaachh jagat bapraani

The cow of knowledge is milked in the celestial sphere
which is turned into curd for benefit of everyone on the earth.
The learned men opt for the butter (cream of knowledge) from the butter milk
while the rest are happy with residual butter milk (residual of knowledge).

bin dharti ek mandal deese bin saruvar joo paani
gagan mandal mein hoye ujiyala bol guru mukh baani

See the circle (sphere) beyond the earth as one sees the water beyond the lake.
If one follows this principle, the celestial sphere lights up, says the Guru.

(The underlying philosophy here seems to be that of oneness as against dualism.
The other interpretation could be that one should look at the substance and not the matter).

oham soham baaja baaje trikuti dhaam suhaani
ida, pingala, sukhaman naadi sun dhwaja phahraani

The music of Oham Soham makes the trikuti dhaam pleasant.
The energies from Ida, Pingala and Sukhman naadis (channels)
flow freely in the body upon listening to devotional songs.

[ Oham= Who am I?, Soham= You are I. In other words, there is no difference
between the Creator and creation. Soham is uttered in meditation while
inhaling and exhaling the breath. Trikurti Dhaam= Confluence of holy place.
Naadis are part of Kundalini Yoga].

kahe Kabir suno bhai saadho jai agam ki baani
din bhar re jo nazar bhar dekhe ajar amar ho nishaani

Listen O ascetic man, says Kabir. Understand the words of ‘Agam’.
If one looks with focus throughout the day (soul searching),
they make an eternal symbol in the mind (of getting pure bliss).

[ ‘Agam’ here probably refers to a collection of nirguna compositions,
the philosophic treatises of Shaiva saints of the North India].
Irrespective of the interpretations of this nirguni bhajan, listening to it in the voice of Kumar Gandharv has a soothing effect.


Song-Sunta hai guru gyaani (Kumar Gandharv NFS)(1978) Singer-Kumar Gandharv, Lyrics-Kabir

Lyrics

aa aaa
aa
aaa
suntan hai
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai hai
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gagan mein aawaaz ho rahi
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai

pahile aaye
aaye
aaye
pahile aaye
naad bindu se peechhe
jamaaya paani
paani
ho ji
pahile aaye
naad bindu se peechhe
jamaaya paani
paani
ho ji
sab ghat pooran pooru rahya hai
alakh purush nirbaani ho ji
nirbaani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gagan mein aawaaz ho rahi
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai

wahaan se aaya
wahaan se aaya
pata likhaaya
wahaan se aaya
pata likhaaya
trishna taune bujhaayi
bujhaayi
trishna taune bujhaayi
bujhaayi
amrut chhod chhod
vishay ko dhaave
amrut chhod chhod
vishay ko dhaave
ulti phaans phansaani ho ji
phansaani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani

gagan mandal mein
mandal mein
gagan mandal mein gau biyaani
gagan mandal mein gau biyaani
bhoi pe dahi jamaaya
jamaaya
bhoi pe dahi jamaaya
jamaaya
maakhan maakhan
santon ne khaaya
maakhan maakhan
santon ne khaaya
chhaachh jagat bapraani ho ji
bapraani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani

sunta hai ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gagan mein aawaaz ho rahi
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani

bin dharti ek
ek
bin dharti ek mandal deese
bin dharti ek
aaaaa
aaaaa
bin dharti ek mandal deese
bin dharti ek mandal deese
bin sarovar jyun paani re ae
bin sarovar jyun paani re ae
gagan mandal mein hoye ujiyaala
gagan mandal mein hoye ujiyaala
bole guru-mukh baani ho ji
mukh baani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai ae ae ae
sunta hai
sunta hai
sunta

oham soham baaja baaje
oham soham baaja baaje
trikuti dhaam suhaani re ae
trikuti dhaam suhaani re ae
ida pingala sukhaman naadi
ida pingala sukhaman naadi
ida pingala sukhaman naadi
sun dhwaja phaharaani ho ji
phaharaani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gagan mein aawaaz ho rahi
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
sunta hai guru gyaani
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani

kahe Kabira
Kabira aa
kahe Kabira
suno bhai saadho
kahe Kabira
suno bhai saadho
jayi agam ki baani re ae
jayi agam ki baani re ae
din bhar re jo nazar bhar dekhe
ajar amar ho nishaani ho ji
nishaani ho ji
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gyaani
gagan mein awaaz ho rahi
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
jheeni
sunta hai guru gyaani
gyaani
gyaani

1 Response to "Sunta hai guru gyaani"

What a delicious treat to listen to the godly voice of Kumar Gandhava once more. There was time when I used to listen to so many of his song.

His voice just transports me.

Thank you jee.

Like

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