16. His Compositions

Guru Amardas composed his hymns in 17 Ragas and their total number is 874. He wrote 171 Chaupadas, 91 other Padas including Ashtapadas, Chhants, 430 Salokas, 85 Pauris and 97 Pauris of special compositions like Kafi, Patti, AThhaniva, Satvara, Anand and Sohilay. The different types of poems and the use of different ragas show his keen sense of welding melody to poetic technique. His well-chosen diction offers an insight into his mind and soul. At the same time, his words reflect the ethos, the culture and the tradition of the Sikh Faith. Though apparently the words have a cannotation and significance, they throw ample light on the personality of the author and the philosophy of his time and the milieu. Above all, apart from the semantic nuances of phrases, there is the echo of psychological reflection and intuitive visions as we go into their deeper study. Let us, for example, take the Anand Sahab which has a special place in his compositions. Though idealism and a vision of man's ultimate goal of bliss are presented here, it touches very often the reality of contemporary life, the ritual - Karam-kand - the hypocrisy of the outwardly religious, the fallacy of outer cleanliness and purity of the so-called holy living. The aim of devotional poetry is not giving delight to the mind or the satisfaction of the reader's aesthetic taste, but the revelation of higher values and a glimpse of the ultimate destiny of man. Western thinkers have realised that the function of sacred or higher poetry is the affirmation of universal truths and moral values. In the Anand Sahab, Guru Amardas deals with man's quest for happiness and how to obtain true bliss. A human being has a body, mind and soul. All the three are interlinked. The Body is the chariot; the Mind is the charioteer; the Soul is the owner of the chariot, while the sense-organs are the horses and desire is the road. The soul and the mind are subject to the tendencies of the sense-organs. The soul is a part of Divinity. Man cannot realise his divine element on account of the veil of Maya. He regards himself as separate from God. This obvious superstition or duality is removed by the Guru. The Guru makes man realise his divine nature. He becomes Gurmukh or Sanmukh. The others are the worldly wise: those who follow their self or ego. They are called Manmukh or Bemukh. They are overwhelmed by worldliness. They direct their sense-organs - eyes, ears and tongue - towards mundane and evil pursuits and not towards spiritual efforts - Sadhana. The control of sense-organs and total surrender to the Will of God and constant meditation is needed to enter the Mansion of Bliss. God - the Ocean of Bliss - is man's ultimate goal and destination.