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How the Composition of Saints (Bhagats) were collected

How the Composition of Saints (Bhagats) were collected

Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains the Compositions of 15 Saints, apart from the Gurus’ Compositions. In this context Poet Santokh Singh wrote in ‘Sooraj Parkash’, that when Guru Arjan Dev had collected the Compositions of the four preceding Gurus for compilation in a book form, then the Saints led by Sri Kabir Ji, came to the Guru in their subtle bodies. Guru Arjan Dev inquired from them the purpose of their visit. Sri Kabir ji then introduced the Saints accompanying him to the Guru. Apart from himself, Sri Kabir Ji introduced the following Saints -
  1. Sri Beni Ji
  2. Sri Namdev Ji
  3. Sri Ravi Das Ji
  4. Sri Pipa Ji
  5. Sri Sadhna Ji
  6. Sri Sain Ji
  7. Sri Bhikhan Ji
  8. Sri Dhanna Ji
  9. Sri Jaidev Ji
  10. Sri Trilochan Ji
  11. Sri Parmanand Ji
  12. Sri Rama Nand Ji
  13. Shaikh Farid Ji
  14. Sri Soor Das Ji.
About the purpose of their visit there, Sri Kabir Ji said that since the Guru was in the process of compiling a book which would contain the Divine Knowledge in the easy spoken language of the people, it was their request to include some of their Compositions also in it. The same thing has been written in Gur Bilas of Sixth Guru, Hargobind.

Opinon of Giani Gian Singh , author of History of Guru Khalsa

According to Giani Gian Singh, there are two schools of thought relating to the dictating of the Compositions of the Saints by Guru Arjan Dev, which appear at the end of each Rag in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There is the one school of thought that the Saints had come down from Heaven in their subtle bodies, and were dictating their Compositions, and also Bhai Gurdas had the Vision of them to remove any possibility of skepticism. Some other people believe that the Guru selected those portions of the the Saints’ Compositions from their respective books, which suited him and thus got them included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This possibility is confirmed from the two books, which the Guru brought from Baba Mohan, which contain the Compositions of Saints also.

Out of the above mentioned two schools of thought, which Gian Singh has mentioned, he has not given his opinion as to which type of thought he would support. He has also not stated, from which books the Guru selected the particular Compositions of the Saints, which he dictated to Bhai Gurdas.

Opinion of Max Arthur Macauliffe

Opinion of Max Arthur Macauliffe, in this respect, as given in his book, “The Sikh Religion”, Vol III, page 61, is given below -
“The followers of the principal Indian saints, Hindu and Muhammadan, since the days of Jaidev, were invited by the Guru to attend and suggest suitable hymns for insertion in the sacred volume. They repeated hymns of their respective sects; and such as conformed to the spirit of reform then in vogue, or were not wholly inconsistent with the Guru’s teaching, were adopted and incorporated in the Granth. It may be here conceded that those hymns received some alterations in the process of transmission from the saints to their followers who were contemporaries of Guru Arjan; and this will explain why so many Punjabi words are found in the Bhagat’s writings, and why they differ from their compositions preserved in other parts of India.”
We can derive the following conclusions from the above mentioned writings of Giani Gian Singh and M. A. Macauliffe -
  1. The Compositions of Bhagats were collected by Guru Arjan Dev. These Composition were obtained from the followers of the respective Bhagats , who were living in Punjab during the time of the Guru.
  2. Some alterations in the text of the Compositions had naturally taken place, while these remained in their possession for a long time. It was for this reason that so many Punjabi words are found in Bhagats’ writings, and the Compositions are different from those found outside Punjab. Some persons believe that these Compositions of Bhagats have been carefully preserved in their originality in other parts of the country; while in Punjab the followers have been greatly careless.
  3. The earlier Gurus (predecessors of Guru Arjan Dev, the Vth Guru), did not come in contact with the Compositions of Bhagats. They did not feel the necessity of reading or giving deeper consideration to these Compositions.
Macauliffe was Confused. It appears that the advisers of M A Macauliffe had totally misguided him and confused him. Is this the reality, that most of the words of Compositions of Bhagats, were changed? On what basis the advisers of Macauliffe came to the conclusion that the Compositions of Bhagats outside Punjab had been maintained in their originality by the followers of the Bhagats, and the changes to the Compositions took place in Punjab? It is a well-known and an accepted fact that after the demise of Sri Kabir Ji, among his followers, there was one sadhu, by the name of Kabir Das, who wrote poetry profusely. It is quite clear as day light that it was out-side Punjab amongst Sri Kabir Ji’s followers, that his Compositions got corrupted.

The changes in the Compositions were possible, if the followers of Sri Kabir Ji had committed his sayings to their memory only and no arrangement had been made to reduce them to writing. But this seems unlikely, as paper and the writing material were available in abundance during the time of Sri Kabir Ji. It was during the Vedic period, when the paper and the writing material were not easily available, that people used to commit the Vedic texts to memory. During the Muslim rule in India, there was no scarcity of paper and the writing material. If any one, a resident of Punjab, having faith in the teaching of the Bhagat Ji, had brought the Bhagat’s Compositions to Punjab, he must have brought them in writing. If he was a sincere follower of the Bhagat, he would never have tampered with the sacred writing to corrupt it. The written records do not change on their own, but are changed by the corrupted persons.

Let us have a deeper thinking of this problem. Who can possibly be the persons who changed or interpolated the compositions of the Bhagats? The answer is quite clear and simple. It can occur only at those places, where the particular Bhagat had vigorously pusued their teachings. There are two types of people, who corrupt the teachings of the Bhagats. One types of persons are those, who want to gain their cheap fame in the name of the Bhagat. They want that people should read their writings also along with the Bhagat’s witings. The second type are those persons, who are full of prejudices and oppose the Bhagat’s teachings due to their selfish interests. These two types of persons can possibly be only those, who belong to the same family and clan and are rivals of the Bhagats. Who started introduction of spurious compositions in the same of Guru Nanak? It was the Punjabis, Hindus and the ones who were related to the Gurus, who became rivals of the Gurus, introduced their own compositions in the name of the Guru, corrupted the genuine word of the Gurus by making interpolations and alterations.. It is therefore, incorrect to say that the compositions of the Bhagat got corrupted in Punjab. If any alteration has been made in the compositions of the Bhagats, it must have been made in the respective lands of the Bhagats. At the same time, the genuine word of the Bhagats that had entered Punjab, must have remained unchanged here, as no rivals to the Bhagats existed in Punjab.

Why Punjabi Words in Compositions of Bhagats?

Macauliffe, on seeing many Punjabi words in the Compositions of Bhagats, drew the conclusion that it were the Punjabi devotees of the Bhagats, who made the alterations in their Compositions. It was not only Macauliffe, who observed the Punjabi words in the Compositions of the Bhagats, there are other learned men too who express their amazement over this phenomenon. According to Dr Mohan Singh, Babu Shayam Sunder Das read a Paper in the Fourth Oriental Conference, held in Allahabad. In this Paper it was mentioned that Bhagat Kabir was greatly moved to use the Punjabi words in his Compositions. It was further stated, that by the close examination of the works of Bhagat Kabir, it was observed that the language used was neither Oadhi nor Brij Bhasha. The language used by Sri Kabir was the conglomeration of many languages, majority of the words used were Punjabi. In the Paper it was also observed that Kabir Ji was born in Banaras, and most of his life was spent there. It was, therefore, very strange that he was greatly influenced by the Punjabi language. It might be that Sri Kabir’s adopted parents were of Punjabi descent or he had spent his early life in association with the Punjabi saints and ascetics. Even it could be possible that Sri Kabir’s compositions had come in possession of a Punjabi sadhu, who might have given the Punjabi shape.

We are here not dealing with the life of Sri Kabir Ji, otherwise we would have proved in its details that the story of his adopted parents is totally baseless. We have clarified this wrong belief in its detail, while describing the life of Sri Kabir Ji in the book on “Compositions of Bhagats”.

The plea that a Punjabi sadhu happened to take possession of Sri Kabir Ji’s compositions and included in it the Punjabi words, is not logical at all. While Sri Kabir Ji was alive, there would have been thousands of people who would either have memorized his compositions or reduced them to writing. To base the case entirely on the supposition that Kabir Ji had kept his composition hidden with himself till end of his life, and then later these texts came in the hands of a Punjabi sadhu, who after introduction of Punjabi words in it, got it promulgated among the devotees of Bhagat Ji , is totally an unrealistic myth, which must be discarded out-right.

Reason for excessive words of Punjabi in Sri Kabir Ji’s Compositions.

Dr Mohan Singh gives us the real reason for use of excessive words of Punjabi by Sri Kabir Ji in his Compositions. During Sri Kabir Ji’s time, the Gorakh Panthis of Punjab and the Muslim Sufi devotees of Shaikh Baba Farid of Punjab were vigorously active in preaching their respective creed in Banaras. The Gorakh sadhus had at that time spread all over India. When Guru Nanak Dev during his First Missionary Tour of India, visited various Hindu sacred places, at that time the Guru also visited the centers of Jogis, and had discussion with them. During those times, Jogi’s Centre of “Gorakh Mata” was widely known. This place after the Guru’s visit, became known as “Nanak Mata”. Gorakh Nath and Chourangi Nath, were the famous jogis of 9th and 10th century A.D. Charpat Nath, who was from Chamba state of Punjab, also was a famous yogi of 10th century. The compositions of these yogis were written in poetry, and in Ramkali Rag. Wherever these yogis were successful in preaching their system of Yoga, there their compositions began to be widely read. The language used in these compositions was Punjabi as spoken during those times. As a result of the yogis’ preaching of their creed, use of Punjabi words became prevalent at those centers out-side of Punjab. The subsequent Bhagats after three centuries, who were the natives of those places, made a careful reading of the Punjabi jogis’ writings of their creed. These Bhagats expressed their disagreement of Yogic creed. In the circumstances, not only Sri Kabir Ji was impelled to use Punjabi words in his Compositions, but also other Bhagats did like-wise to express their views on dis-agreement to the Yogic creed. All the Bhagats whose Compositions are included in Guru Granth Sahib, appeared after jogis Gorakh Nath, Charpat Nath and others. Dr Mohan Singh gives us the period during which some of the Bhagat lived -
  1. Sri Jaidev Ji - 12th century A.D.
  2. Sri Namdev Ji - From 1270 - 1350 A.D
  3. Kabir Ji - From 1380 to 1499 A.D
  4. Ravi Das Ji - Demise in 1490 A.D.
Thus far we have considered that the Compositions of Saints included in Guru Granth Sahib were the original and real ones of the Saints. If any change in the original Compositions were made that could have been in the lands of the respective Saints or Bhagats. Now we have to examine the circumstances under which the Guru collected these Compositions from the lands of the Bhagats. Macauliffe and Giani Gian Singh in his History of Guru Khalsa, have written only this much that these Compositions were collected by Guru Arjan Dev only. This is not true if we examine the Compositions of the Saints and also of the Gurus. There is no denying the fact that History is the Life of the Nation, and the people value the Works of the historians. But no one can ignore the fact that the Compositions in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are the fundamentals of Sikhism. Those events described in history books, which do not corresponds to the spirit of the Gurus’ Compositions, cannot be accepted. This in no way should be considered derogatory to the historian.

When was relationship between Bhagat Bani and Gurbani established?

To answer the question as to when the relationship between Bhagat Bani (Compositions of the Saints) and Gurbani (Compositions of the Gurus) was established, we will have to examine each of the Bhagat’s Compositions. In this way it is feared that the scope of this chapter will be greatly enlarged. We, therefore, give the examples of Compositions of Shaikh Baba Farid and Bhagat Beni Ji only.


Baba Farid spent most part of his life at the city of Pakpattan, in Punjab. He also died there in 1266 A.D. The author of “Puratan Janamsakhi”, writes that Guru Nanak Dev paid a visit to Pakpattan, and met Shaikh Ibrahim there, the descendent of Baba Farid, in his 11th generation. The Guru listened to the Compositions of Baba Farid from Shaikh Ibrahim. The Guru not only listened to the Compositions of Baba Farid, but also expressed his opinion on certain passages. We have already established this fact that Guru Nanak Dev Ji used to keep record of his Compositions. In Pakpattan, whatever he composed, he maintained a record thereof. It is observed that Guru Nanak Dev’s Compositions, which he uttered at Patpattan, had a very close relationship with the Compositions of Baba Farid. Guru Nanak must have kept a separate record of such Compositions of Baba Farid and also his own. We observe the wondrous relationship between the Compositions of Baba Farid and the Guru, when read one after the other. One cannot enjoy fully the beauty of Baba Ji’s Compositions, unless he understands in depth certain ideas in all their perspectives as at places amplified and clarified by Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Amar Das and Guru Arjan Dev,. Let us see what those Compositions are -

(1) Baba Farid Ji -

pehlai pehrai phulra phal bhi pacha raat,  jo jagan lehan sai saei kano dati.
The Meditation on God’s Name in the first part of night, bears flower. Prayers offered in the later part of the night, bears fruit.  They who ever keep awake in God , are blessed with the Gift.” (112)
In the above stanza, Baba Farid used the word “dati” (Gift)- Those who wake up in the early hours of the morning and mediate on God, He blesses them with the Gift of His Name. Guru Nanak Dev Ji clarified the word Gift, that it entirely depends upon His Blessings that He gives His Name. It is not a matter of one’s right or merely waking up early in the morning and meditating on God.

Thus wrote Guru Nanak Dev ji -

dateen sahib sandian kia chalai tis nal. eik jagunday na lehan eikna sutian deh uthal. (113)
All Bounties are God’s - no one can force God Some are awake in the early hours of morning, but they do not meditate on God. There are some ones, whom He awakes and Blesses them with His Name.”
(2) Baba Farid Ji -
sarvar pankhi haikro phahi val pachas. eh tun lehri gadh thiya sachai teri aas. (125)
There is only one lone bird (man) on the bank of a pool. And there are as many as fifty of the hunters. The human body is caught in the whirlpool of desires. O Lord, my total reliance is on You alone. Save me.”
Baba Farid Ji teaches us to take the refuge of the Lord, otherwise we shall be ruined by eating the sweet poison. If we get His Refuge at any cost, it will be an extremely profitable bargain. Baba Ji gives this idea in the following stanza also -
“tun tapai tanoor sio balan had balan pairi thakan sir jola jo moo piri milan. (119)
My body burns like a furnace, and my bones feed this fire. When my feet get tired, I will then walk on my head, in search of my Lord.”
Baba Ji’s love for the Lord is quite evident. But the above Composition of Baba Ji can be misconstrued that he was for mortification of the body as the ascetics believe. To clarify this possible misconception, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji made the following clarification.
“tun na tapai tanoor jio, balan had na bal sir pairi kia phariya andar piri nihal. (120)
Do not burn your body like a furnace. Do not feed the fire with your bones. How head and feet are to be blamed? You only see the Lord within yourself.”
(3) Baba Farid Ji -
sahorai dhoei na lehai, pehai nahi thao. pir vatri na puchei dhan sohagan nao. (31)
The one, who is respected neither in her parent’s house, nor by the in-laws, and also is not cared by her husband, O what kind of fortunate is this bride!”
In the above Composition Baba Ji teaches us that mere labels would mislead us. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the following Composition gave the Qualities of a faithful bride, thus added wonderful confirmation of Baba Ji’s description.
sahorai paihiai kant ki, kant agam atha. nanak so sohagani jo bhavai baiparvah. (32)
The faithful bride, here and hereafter, belongs to Unfathomable and Infinite Lord. Nanak says: the bride is the Blessed One, who is acceptable to her care-free God.”
It is clear from the account given above that when Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Pakpattan, he obtained from Shaikh Ibrahim the Compositions of Baba Farid Ji, and also made the above mentioned clarificatory additions therein. The Guru must have copied all the Compositions of Baba Farid and also made a record of his own additions. The Guru later passed on all of his own Compositions and those of Bhagats he collected, to his Successor, Sri Guru Angad Dev.

Baba Farid Ji and Guru Amar Das Ji

We have already made clear that Guru Nanak Dev Ji passed on the whole stock of his Compositions along with those of Bhagats to his Successor Guru Angad Dev Ji, who in turn passed on along with his own Compositions to Sri Guru Amar Das Ji. We shall note below some further clarificatory additions made in Baba Farid’s Compositions, by Guru Amar Das.

(1) Baba Farid Ji -

farida rati rut na na niklai, jeh tun cherai koeh. jo tun ratai rubbb sio, tin tun rut na hoeh. (51)
O Farid, if any one were to cut a devotee’s body’ one will not see a drop of red blood coming out. Those, who are imbued with the Lord’s Love, have all their blood sapped.”
Blood is the vital fluid which sustains the body. Baba ji, in the above mentioned Composition stated about the type of blood in the body, about which he had pointed out in his preceding Slok No 50, as follows -
farida kan musala soof gal, dil kati gur vat. bahar disai chanana, dil andhiari raat. (50)
O Farid, you are carrying a prayer-mat on your shoulder, you are in a Sufi garb, and you speak sweet, but there is a dagger in your heart. From without you appear bright, but in your heart is complete darkness.”
Guru Amar Das explained the same very idea in its greater details in the following Slok-
“ehho tun sabh rut hai, rut bin tun na hoai. bhai paiai tun khin hoeh, lobh rut vico jaeh. jio baisantar dhat sudh hoeh, tio har ka bhao durmat maile gavai. nanak tai jan sohnai jo ratai har rung laeh. (52)
The body contains blood, and without it, it cannot exist. Those, who are imbued with the love of the Lord, they do not have the blood of greed in their body. When the Lord’s fear enters into the body,  the blood of greed within them is removed. As is the metal purified by fire, so does the Lord’s fear removes the filth of evil inclinations. Nanak says : they are the beauteous persons, who are imbued with the Lord’s Love.”
(2) Baba Farid Ji -
farida parh patola dhuj kari kambalrhi pehraio jini vaisi soh milai, sohi vais karaio. (103)
I have torn all costly wears, and wear shawl only. I will wear only that dress, wearing which I meet with God.”
Baba Ji has the same aim in view, which he described in Slok 119 - The Aim is meeting with the Beloved Lord. Lest any one should misunderstand Baba Ji, Sri Guru Amar Das Ji added the following clarificatory Slok -
kaeh patola parhti kambalrhi pehreh nanak ghar hi baithian soh milai, niat ras karai. (104)
Why do you tear off the silken raiments and wear the shawl? If you clear your mind of ill intentions, even sitting at home, you can meet with the Lord, says Nanak.”
(3) Baba Farid Ji -
farida kali jini na raveya, dhowli ravai koeh. kar siein sio pirharhi, rung navaila hoeh. (12)
Says Farid: they, who do not enjoy their Spouse in youth, hardly any one can enjoy Him, when he grows old and feeble.
Here Baba ji describes the law of nature. Generally people form bad habits of enjoyment in sensual pleasures; thus weakened, in old age, it becomes very hard to change the habits and direct one’s attention toward God.. Sri Guru Amar Das in this respect, points out another thing - it may be during youth or in old age, Love of God, is entirely His Gift to man - no one on his own can claim to attain anything, much less Love of God. Sri Guru Amar Das says -
farida kali dhowli sahib sada hai, jai ko chit karai eh piram piala khasam ka, jai bhavai tai deh. (13)
O Farid, keep this in mind. Irrespective of the fact whether one is young or old, the Lord is ever present. This Love for God cannot be created by one’s own efforts, howsoever he may try. This Cup of Love belongs to God, He gives whom he likes.”
If Guru Arjan Dev had collected the Compositions of Saints, then there should have been no question of Guru Amar Das’ additions in the Sloks of Baba Farid Ji. In Slok No 13, Guru Amar Das directly addresses Baba Farid Ji in his clarificatory note. This clearly proves that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji collected all the Compositions of Baba Farid Ji, and passed them on to Guru Angad Dev Ji, who in turn further passed on to Guru Amar Das Ji.

Baba Farid Ji and Guru Nanak Dev Ji

We are giving below the Two Shabads in Rag Suhi, one by Baba Farid Ji and one of Guru Nanak, so that the readers should form firm belief that Guru Nanak Dev Ji wrote down his own Compositions and also collected Compositions of Bhagats. All of these Compositions were passed on by Guru Nanak Dev to his Successor, Guru Angad Dev, who in turn along with his own Compositions passed on to Guru Amar Das and in this way the whole stock of First Four Gurus’ Compositions and Bhagats’ Compositions reached Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who compiled Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Baba Farid Ji in the following Shabad teaches us that we should not entangle ourselves in the clutches of Maya (lure of material things). Those who get caught in this trap, Baba Farid Ji describes their pitiable condition. Guru Nanak Dev teaches us to always ask for His Grace to bestow on us the Boon of His Love. Who are blessed with His Love, the Guru has described their virtuous life. Baba Ji has drawn an ugly picture of the fallen humanity and Guru Nanak Dev ji the picture of sublime life led by those who remember and love God. Let us first study the verses related to the sections “Pause” of these two Shabads; thereafter the remaining parts of the two Shabads. It will be observed that there is the commonness of number of words used by both the Personalities. How beautifully they have completed both sides of the picture of Man. If Guru Nanak Dev had not kept his Shabad along with the Shabad of Baba Farid Ji, and not passed to his Successor, it was not possible that these two Shabads would have appeared in the present form in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The two Shabads are given below -

bairha bandh na sakion bandhan ki vaila. bhar sarvar jab oochlai tab tarn dohaila (1) hath na laeh ksumbhrhai jal jasi dhola. (Rahao) eik aapipinai patli seh kai re bola. doodha thani na aavei phir hoai na maila kehai farid sahelio so alaisi, hans chalsi dumna aeh tun dhairi thisi. 3.2.
There was time when I could build my boat, but I didn’t. Now, when the sea waves lash, how shall I be ferried across? (1) Do not love the Saf-flower (Material Things), its color will fade away.(Pause) My mind is weak. The Command of the Lord is hard to bear. The life’s game will be lost, there will be no union with the Lord. (2) Says Farid: O my friends, the Divine Call will come to all. God’s Light (Soul or Sat Guru) will leave this body, sad at heart, dust will return to dust.”
SUHI Mehla I (Sri Guru Nanak Dev)
jap tap ka bandh barhla, jit lungeh vehaila. na sarver na oochlai aisa panth sohaila. (1) tera eiko nam majithrha rata mera chola sadrung dhola. (Rahao) sajan chalai piyariya, kion mela hoei. jeh gun hoveh gunthrhiye maile ga soei. (2) miliya hoai na vichrhai jo milia hoei. avagoan nivariya hai sacha soei. (3) homai mar nivariya seeta hai chola gurbachani phal paiya seh kai amrit bola. (4) nanak kehai sahailio soh khara paiyara. ham seh kairia dasiyan sacha khasam hamara. 5.2.4.
You build the Boat of Contemplation of Lord’s Name and Self Control. This Boat will sail unobstructed, as if there is no sea to cross, nor tides to contend with. This will be an easy Path. (1) O Love, Your Name, like madder, dyes the skirt of my body in Your Eternal Color. (1) (Pause). Friends have gone out in search of their Love: but how shall they meet with their Love? The Lord will unite them with Himself, if they gather merit. (2) If one is united in Spirit, he cannot be separated. He thus ends his repeated comings and goings. Such is the Truth of our Lord. (3) He, who overcomes his ego, he stitches a pious robe for himself. He, through the Guru’s Word, gathers in it the Nectar - Word of the Lord. (4) Nanak says: O my friends, our Lord is truly Lovable. We are His maid-servants. He is our Eternally True Spouse.” 5.2.4


Bhagat Beni Ji was the resident of Bihar state in India. He also lived before the birth of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. There are three Shabads of Bhagat ji incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib - in Siri Rag, Ramkali Rag and Parbhati Rag. Which of the Gurus collected Bhagat Beni Ji’s Compositions? To solve this mystery, we will study the Compositions of Bhagat Ji.

Bhagat Beni Ji first Shabad is in Siri Rag. The heading of this Shabad read -

Siri Rag Bani Bhagat Beni Jio ki - Pehariya kai ghar ghavna.” (sing in ghar tune given under Pehre)
The meaning of second part of the heading is - Sing the Shabad in that “ghar”, under which “ghar” the Shabad’ heading has been given as “pehre”. “Pehre” Compositions are given in Siri Rag and these are composed under “ghar 1”. So Siri Beni Ji’s Shabad is to be sung in “ghar 1”. Generally in the beginning of Shabads, in the heading, Rag and Mehla (Which Guru) is given, and thereafter word “ghar” is read, just as -
Siri Rag Mehla 1 ghar 1 (Mehla First, ghar one)
Siri Rag Mehla 1 ghar 4 (Mehla First, ghar fourth)
Siri Rag Mehla 3 ghar 1 (Mehla Third, ghar one)
Siri Rag Mehla 5 ghar 1 (Mehla Fifth, ghar one)
In the beginning of the Astpadian and Chhants, in the similar way “ghar 1”, “ghar 2, “ghar 4” etc., are found written.

In Bhagat Bani (Compositions) also the same procedure has been adopted, for example -

Bhairo Kabir Jio, ghar 1
Bhairo Kabir Jio, Astpadi ghar 2
Bhairo Namdev jio ghar 1
Bhairo Namdev Jio ghar 2
Keeping this point in view, let us examine heading of the Shabad of Sri Beni Ji. There we find, it is written as “pehrian dai ghar gavana”. Now see the Compositions under the heading “Pehre”, where it is written “ghar 1”. As such the Shabad of Sri Beni Ji is also under “ghar 1”. The thing to consider is, why the Guru did not use two words “ghar 1”, but used four words “Pehrian kai ghar gavana”. If we read Shabads of Sri Beni Ji and that of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji under “Pehre” carefully, and note the similarity between the Two Compositions about the ideas expressed and also the words used, we will then appreciate why Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji edited the Holy Book in this manner.

Sri Beni Ji  (To be sung in the Measure of Pehre) -

re nar garb kundal jab aachit, urd dhian liv laga mirtak pindpad madh na aihnis, eik agyan so naga tai din sumal kast maha dukh, ab chit adhik pasariya garabh chod mirat mundal aaiya, tou narhar mano bisariya.
O man, when you were encased in the womb, and were standing on your head, you were then engrossed in meditation on His Name. Your body was lifeless and the pride of being a man was not yours, your ignorance was in silence, and night was as was the day. You recollect those days of great woe. Now your mind thinks too much of self. Leaving the womb you entered the mortal world, and forgot your Lord.” (1)
Guru Nanak Dev Ji -
pehle pehre raine kai vanjariya mitra, hukam pehiya garbhas. urd tap antar karai vanjariya mitra, khasam saiti ardas khasam saiti ardas vakhanai, urd dhian liv laga. nam rajad aaiya kal bhitar, bohar jasi naga. jaisi kalm vori hai masti taisi jiare pas, koh nanak pehlai pehre hukam paiya garbhas. (1)
O my Merchant Friend, in the First watch of the Night, you are cast into the womb. Standing on your head, you undergo penance and remember the Lord. You pray to Him , by fixing your mind on Him. Then you are delivered naked into the world and in the end you go back naked. As is His writ on your fore-head, you act accordingly. Nanak says: By His Will, you are cast into the womb - This is the First Watch of your life.”
Note the similarity in the rhythm and the subject matter of these Shabads. Both Shabad mention that a person so long as he remains in the womb of his mother, he remains absorbed in remembrance of the Lord. But as soon as he comes into the world, his attention is diverted to the worldly things. The idea conveyed by Sri Beni Ji in first part of the Shabad, is the same that Guru Nanak Dev Ji gave in two parts of his Shabad. In the first part he only mentioned that in mother’s womb, man remembers the Lord. In the second part he says -
doojai pehre naine kai vanjariya motra visar gia dhian. hatho hath nachaeiye vanjariya mitra jio jasudha ghar kan. ....... jin rach rachiya tiseh na janai, mun bhitar dhar dhar gyan. koh nanak prani doojai pehre visar giya dhian. (2)
O my Merchant Friend, in the second watch of the Night, you forget your Lord. You are danced about from hand to hand, as Jasodha did to Krishna. ...... You do not make effort to know the Lord, Who created the Creation, nor gather wisdom in yourself. Nanak says: In the Second Watch of the Night one forgets the Lord.” (2)
In Sri Beni Ji’s second and third sections of the Shabad there is the mention of the powerful influence of Maya. He says -
khin khin moh viapai ..... panch pargat suntapai. ..... uchaliya kam ...... sar apsar na pachaniya ....... sut sumpat dekh eh mun garbiya ......rus mis maidh amrit bikh chakhi .... jap tup sunjam chod sokrit mut.
In Guru Nanak’s two Shabads on “Pehre” in sections 3 and 2 respectively, the same thing is mentioned -
dhan joban sion chit ...... bikal bhia sung maya .... ahla janam gavaia bhar joban mai mut. .... ahnis nam visariya .... hor janai rus kus meethai ... tirath varat such sanjam nahi.
In sections 4 and 5 of Sri Beni Ji’s Shabad, conditions during old age have been described. Bhagat Ji says that man wastes away his youth by indulging in sensual pleasures, and he repents in old age -
pach punder kes kusam tai dholai ...... kaiya kamal kumlana pachtana ..... thaka tej ..... oodiya mun pankhi ...... lochan kachoo na soojai.
The same thing has been said by Guru Nanak Dev in his 2 Shabads -
sar hans olathre aaeh ...... joban ghatai jarooa jinai ...... jam pakar chalaiya ...... ant kal pachtasi .... akhi andh.
The common words used by both Bhagat Beni Ji and Guru Nanak Dev -
Sri Beni Ji - garab kundal, ahnis, chet, bisariya, oochaliya kam, rus mis amrit, sunjam, biapai, pachtainga, pachtana, budh nathi, maaan.
Guru Nanak Dev - garbhas, ahnis, chet, visar gaya, kam viapiya, rus kas meeth, sunjam, viapai, pachtasi, pachtaeh, budh visarji, maan.
Not only both Bhagat Ji and the Guru used the same words, at one place, both have used the same sentence -
Sri Beni Ji - ordh dhian liv laga.
Guru Nanak Dev - ordh dhian liv laga.
From the examples given above, it is quite clear that when Guru Nanak wrote his Astpadis on “Pehre”, he had with him Sri Beni Ji’s Shabad on “Pehre”. Furthermore, the Compositions of both Beni Ji and Guru Nanak Dev are in Siri Rag.

Now we take the 3rd Shabad of Sri Beni Ji, which is in Parbhati Rag, page 1351, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In this context, please see Guru Nanak Dev’s Shabad No 14 in the same Rag, page 1331. There is very interesting commonness in both these Shabads -

Sri Beni Ji -

tan chandan mastik pati, ridh antar kar tal kati thug drisht baga liv laga, dekh bainu pran mukh bhaga (1) kal bhagvat bandh chiramung, karar drist ruta nis badung. (1) Rahao.
Look at the man - he rubs “chandan” on his body and places its leaves on his forehead. But in his heart, he holds a knife in his hand.. He closes his eyes and meditates like a heron. He appears to be a Vaishnava, seated still, as if, breath has been taken out of his body. (1) He makes obeisance for a long time before the beauteous idol of Vishnu. He is ever engaged in strife. His eyes are wild with rage.” (1) Pause.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji -
geet nad harkh chutrahi, rehas rung pharmaeis kaei. painan khana cheet na paei, sach sehaj sukh naam samaei (1) kia jana kia karai karavai, naam bina tan kich na sokhavai.” Rahao
“Neither music, nor pleasure, nor cleverness, nor joys, nor colorful life, nor command, please me. Nor my mind is pleased with eats or wears, as the true happiness and poise are in the Lord’s Name. (1) My mind is not in what I am made to do. Nothing can comfort my body, without His Name.” (1) Pause.
The above Shabads have the following common things -
  1. Both the Shabads have five sections each.
  2. In each section there are four verses.
  3. Rhythm of both the Shabads is similar.
  4. Bhagat Beni described the condition of the impostor in whole of the Shabad.
Bhagat Ji stated that the impostor does not realize his real self, therefore, all is vain of this blind one’s religiosity -
    jin atam tat na janiya, sabh phokat dharam abiniya.
In the end Siri Beni Ji stated that only those were the real lovers of God, who reach God through the Guru (God’s Light in Man). Without meeting the Guru within us, we attain nothing. “koh Beni gurmukh dhiavai, bin satgur baat na pavai - Beni says: Meditate on the Lord by meeting with the Guru (God present within us). Without the True Guru, no one can find the Way to the Lord”.

While dealing with the Compositions of Saikh Baba Farid Ji, we have noted that Baba Ji gave the dark side picture of Man, who went astray, and Guru Nanak Dev gave the bright side of the picture of the Blessed Man, thus to give a complete picture of Man. Here too Sri Beni Ji has given the dark side of the Man who has gone astray, and Guru Nanak Dev gave the other side of the picture, to make it the complete picture of Man. Guru Nanak Dev states -

gur ka sabad maha ras meetha, aisa amrit antar deetha. jin chakhiya poora padh hoai, nanak dhrapio tun sukh hoeh.
The Guru’s Word is sweet, too sweet. This Nectar of God, I find within me. Who-so-ever tastes it, attains to the Blessed state of Bliss. His mind is cooled and his body is comforted.”
(5) If we go deeper into these two Shabads, we will find the comparativeness of the ideas and words used, for example -

Sri Beni Ji - About impostor.

  1. tun chandan - rubs chandan
  2. mukh khir - puts milk in mouth
  3. doeh dhoti karam - two lion-cloth
  4. pag nachas chit akarmun. - dances with feet but mind in evil deeds.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji - Addressing a Gurmukh
  1. nam bina tun kich na sukhavai - Without Lord’s Name nothing  comforts the body
  2. painan khana cheet na paei - wears and eats find no place within my mind
  3. kirat karam kar nij sunda - My own affair and avocation is the Lord’s prayer.
  4. geet nad harakh chatraei ... cheet na paei... - Songs, musics, pleasures, cleverness, revelments, commands, wears and eats find no place in mind.
The two above mentioned Shabads, which have been compared giving two opposite pictures of Man, are reproduced below -
tun chandan mastik pati. rid antar kar tal kati. thug dist baga liv laga. dekh baisno pran mukh bhaga. (1) kal bhagvat bund chairamung. karoor dist ruta nis badung. Rahao. nit prat eisnan srirung. doeh dhoti karam mukh khirrung. ridhai churi sundhiani. par darb hiran ki bani. (2) sil poojas chakar ganesung. nis jagas bhagat parvaisung. pag nachas chit akarmung. hi lumpat nach adharmung. (3) mirig asan tulsi mala. kar oojal tilak kapala. ridhai koor kunth rudharkhung. re lunpat krisan abhakhung. (4) jin atam tat na chiniya. sabh phokat dharam abiniya. koh baini gurmukh dhiavai. bin satgur bat na pavai. (5)
A man rubs sandal wood paste on his body and places its leaves on his forehead. But in his heart, he holds a knife in his hand. He looks like a cheat. He closes his eyes and meditates like a heron. He appears to be a Vaishnva, seated still, as if, breath has been taken out of his body. (1) He makes obeisance for a long time before the beauteous idol of Vishnu. He is ever engaged in strife. His eyes are wild with rage. (1) Pause. He takes bath each day in the morning, wraps two unstiched sheets about and practices the way of works and feeds himself only with milk. His heart is like a drawn knife. What he utters is only to cheat men, of whatever they have. (2) He worships the stone image and paints on his body the signs of Gnesha. He keeps awake through the night as if rapt in devotion. He dances to the idols of gods, while his mind is engrossed in evil deeds. He is lured by greed and his dancing is wicked. (3) He sits on the deer-skin and holds in his hand the rosary of Tulsi. He anoints fore-head with saffron-mark with clean hands. Upon his neck is rosary of Rudraksha, but within his mind is falsehood. O sinner, you do not utter the Lord’s Name. (4) Who-so-ever does not realize the Quintessence of the Self, all his deeds are blind, false and vain. Without reflecting the mind on the True Guru, one cannot know the way.”
(Sri Beni Ji, Rag Parbhati, page 1351, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji)
geet nad harkh chatraei. rehas rung pharmaeis kaei. painan khanacheet na paei. sach sehaj sukh nam vasaei. (1) kia jana kia karai kravai. naam bina tun kich na sukhavai. Raho. jog binod svad ananda. mut sut bhaeh bhagat govinda. (2) pirio pirio preetprem urdhari. deena nath pio banvari. andin nam dan baratkari tirapat tarang tut bichari. (3) akathai katho kia mai jor. bhagat kari kraeh mor. antar vasai chookai mai mor. kis saivi dooja nahin hor. (4) gur ka sabad maha ras meetha. aisa amrit antar ditha. jin chakhiya poora pad hoeh. nanak dharapio tun sukh hoeh. 5.14.
The various songs, musics, pleasures, cleverness, comforts, revelments, commands wears and eats, find no place within my mind. The true poise and peace abide in the Lord’s Name. (1) I do not know, what the Lord does and causes to be done. Without the Lord’s Name, nothing pleases to my body. (1) Pause. Through true love and meditation of the Lord of the Universe, I have received within my mind all the joys of the joga, plays and relishes. My own affair and avocation is the Lord’s Praise. I contemplate within my mind the Lord, the Illuminator of the sun and moon. (2) I have lovingly enshrined within my mind, the love of my Beloved Lord. My Spouse, the Lord of Woods, is the Master of the meek. To remember the Lord day and night is my alms-giving and fasting. Deliberating over the Lord’s Quintessence has satiated my hunger for bliss.. (3) I have no power to utter the Unutterable lord. O Lord, if You bless me to worship You, then alone I can worship You.. If You manifest within me, then alone I am rid of egoism. Whom else should I serve, when there is none else except You. (4) The Guru’s Word is sweet, too sweet. Through this Nectar, I have met with the Lord within me. Who-s-ever tastes this Nectar he attains upto the perfect dignity. Nanak says: he is satiated and his body is comforted.” 5.14.
Those, who do not want to go into the depth of the above discussion, they are requested to read the following Shabad of Guru Nanak Dev. Kindly read this Shabad with Sri Beni Ji’s Shabad. See the total similarity with Sri Beni Ji’s Shabad. This Shabad is at page 470 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, in Asa-di-Var -
parh pustik sandiya badang. sil poojas bagal smadhung. mukh jhooth baibhookhan sarang; trehpal tehal baicharang gal mala tilak lilatang. doai dhoti bastar kapatang. jai janas brahmang karmung, sabh phokat nischou karmang. koh nanak necho dhiavai. vin satgur vat na pavai.
A man reads books, performs evening religious practices, enters into arguments by exchanging hot words, worships stones and sits in meditations like a heron. He utters false things in decorated forms. He recites three lined Gytry Mantra thrice a day. He wears a necklace, puts sacrificial marks on his fore-head . He carries two dhoties (unstitched sheets of cloth) and covers his head with a cloth. If he were to know that the true worship is only that of the All Pervading God, then he will realize that these rituals are certainly of no avail. Nanak says: one should remember god with sincere devotion, and without reflecting his mind on the True Guru, the way (to salvation) cannot be found.”
The true seekers of Truth would have by now reached the conclusion that Guru Nanak Dev had in his possession all the Compositions of the Bhagats. In so far as Bhagat Beni Ji is concerned, we can state without any fear that neither Bhagat Ji’s Soul came to Guru Arjan Dev for inclusion of his Compositions, nor the Guru obtained the Compositions from any Punjabi devotee of the Bhagat. These Shabads of the Bhagat were received along with the other Compositions of the Gurus by Guru Arjan Dev. In so far as Compositions of other Bhagats are concerned, those too were received along with the Compositions of the earlier Four Gurus. Kindly see -
bin satgur bat na pavai - Sri Beni Ji
vin satgur vat na pavai - Guru Nanak Dev
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