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Poetic Prowess from Patshahi 10

The passage below is from the Tale of Kharag Singh, which is within Guru Gobind Singh's Krishnavatar. This particular portion is in the form of a Kabit, which are famed for their complexity. The four line verse has 31-32 syllables per line and a caesura [visram] usually after the 16th syllable. Guru Gobind Singh's poetic prowess is self evident to all who recognize His mastery in fitting 14 similes just in four lines. This type of literary mechanic, a simile, is called upama alankara in Sanskrit and Braj poetry.

ਕਬਿਤੁ ॥

ਜੈਸੇ ਬਾਰ ਖੇਤ ਕਉ ਜੁ ਕਾਲ ਫਾਸ ਚੇਤ ਕਉ

ਸੁ ਭਿਛ ਦਾਨ ਦੇਤ ਕਉ ਸੁ ਕੰਕਨ ਜਿਉ ਕਰ ਕੋ ॥

Just as a crop is surrounded by a fence, just as Death's noose surrounds us all,

Just as a beggar surrounds a donor, just as bangles surround ones wrist.

ਜੈਸੇ ਦੇਹ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਕਉ ਪ੍ਰਵੇਖ ਸਸਿ ਭਾਨੁ ਕਉ

ਅਗਿਆਨ ਜੈਸੇ ਗਿਆਨ ਕਉ ਸੁ ਗੋਪੀ ਜੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ॥

Just as ones body is surrounded by the life force of Prana, just as illumination surrounds the Sun and Moon,

Just as ignorance surrounds knowledge, just as milkmaids surround Krishna.

ਜਿਉ ਤੜਾਗ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਸੁ ਮਾਲਾ ਜੈਸੇ ਜਾਪੁ ਕਉ

ਸੋ ਪੁੰਨਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਉ ਜਿਉ ਆਲ ਬਾਲ ਤਰੁ ਕੋ ॥

Just as the walls of a pool surround the water within, just as ones rosary circulates during recitation,

Just as virtuous action hides sins, just as vines encircle a tree.

ਜੈਸੇ ਉਡ ਧ੍ਰੂਅ ਕਉ ਸਮੁਦਰ ਜੈਸੇ ਭੂਅ ਕਉ

ਸੁ ਤੈਸੇ ਘੇਰਿ ਲੀਨੋ ਹੈ ਖੜਗ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਰ ਕੋ ॥੧੬੩੫॥

Just as the the constellation encircles Polaris, just as the oceans surround land,

In this manner, the enemy had encircled the brave Kharag Singh.

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