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Lyrical Dexterity from Patshahi 10


Guru Gobind Singh's masterful poetic dexterity is on display below, which is a portion from his Chandi Chritar. The Tenth King uses a literary device known as antanaclasis, or in Braj and Sanskrit literature, Yamak Alankar, whereby the same word will be used repeatably with varying different meanings. The word Hari, has 44 definitions, and Guru Gobind Singh uses 14 separate meanings in this single stanza to describe the beauty of the Goddess.


ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਮੁਖ ਹੈ ਹਰਿਤੀ ਦੁਖ ਹੈ ਅਲਿਕੈ ਹਰ ਹਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਭਾ ਹਰਿਨੀ ਹੈ ॥

Her face is akin to the moon(1), beholding of which all suffering is dispelled(2), her curly hair even surpasses(3) the magnificence of Shiva's(4) garland of snakes.


ਲੋਚਨ ਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਸੇ ਸਰਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਸੇ ਭਰੁਟੇ ਹਰਿ ਸੀ ਬਰੁਨੀ ਹੈ ॥

Her eyes are like lotus flowers(5), her eyebrows are like bows(6), and her eyelashes are like arrows(7).


ਕੇਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਕਰਿਹਾ ਚਲਬੋ ਹਰਿ ਪੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਹਰਿਨੀ ਤਰਨੀ ਹੈ ॥

Her waist is slim like that of a lion(8), [the rhythm in] her stride is [graceful] like an elephant(9), [her beauty] surpasses that of the wife of Kamdevta(10).


ਹੈ ਕਰ ਮੈ ਹਰਿ ਪੈ ਹਰਿ ਸੋ ਹਰਿ ਰੂਪ ਕੀਏ ਹਰ ਕੀ ਧਰਨੀ ਹੈ ॥੮੮॥

Shiva's wife [Chandi](11), with a sword(12) in hand, riding atop a tiger(13), is enchanting like the Sun(14).


ਦਸਮ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਅੰਗ 82

Dasam Guru Granth Sahib, page 82


The word Hari is used for: 1) moon, 2) dispelling, 3) surpassing/stealing, 4) Shiva, 5) lotus flowers, 6) bow, 7) arrows, 8) lion, 9) elephant, 10) Kamdevta, 11) Chandi, 12) sword, 13) tiger, 14) Sun


This literary device is mentioned by the great poet, Santhok Singh, in his Jap Ji Sahib Commentary, Garab Ganji Tika, where he writes:

ਇਕ ਪਦ ਵਾਰ ਅਨੇਕ ਜਿ ਆਵੈ, ਅਰਥਹਿ ਭਿੰਨ ਭਿੰਨ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਵੈ, ਸੋ ਯਮਕਾਲੰਕਾਰ ਬਖਾਨੈ, ਕਵਿ ਸੰਤੋਖਸਿੰਘ ਗੁਣੀ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਨੈ ।

When one word is reused many times, with varying meanings springing forth, this is called Yamak Alankar, Poet Santhok Singh relates these characteristics and evidence.


(ਗਰਬਗੰਜਨੀ ਟੀਕਾ, Garabganjini Tika, 1829CE)

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