33 Swaiyas | Guru Gobind Singh

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33 Swaiyas | Guru Gobind Singh

Author:
Guru Gobind Singh
born: Gobind Rai
Born:
22 December 1666
Patna Sahib, India
Died:
7 October 1708 (aged 41)
Religion:
Sikhi
Status:
10th Guru,
Founder of Khalsa (Sikh Community)
Predecessor:
Guru Tegh Bahadur (9th Guru)
Successor:
Guru Granth Sahib
Biography Online:
1. Guru Gobind Singh Ji
short biography

33 Swaiyas | Guru Gobind Singh

Translated by Bhai Jodh Singh

Introduction

These 33 Swaiyas or Verses give the gist of the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and last human Guru of the Sikhs.

The work 33 Swaiyas is also a part of Dasam Granth, a collection of works believed to be written by Guru Gobind Singh, but separate from Śrī Guru Granth Sāhib.

In the first Swaiya he defines a “Pure Khalsa”:

He, who fixes his thought on the Supreme Reality day and night
and does not turn his mind to anything else except the One;
who is full of love and faith and does not put his trust in fasts
and does not worship tombs hermit-cells or crematoriums;
whose place of pilgrimage charity, compassion, austerity
and self-control consist of devotion to the One,
and whose mind is resplendent with the Ever-Shining Light,

is to be called a pure Khalsa”.

In the next 10 Swaiyas he describes the attributes of the Godhead whom his Sikhs ought to worship.

Then the futility of worshiping various gods and goddesses and the so-called incarnations of God is set forth.

In Swaiyas 18th and 19th he enjoins sincerity and in the next Swaiyas discards idol-worship and goes on explaining that the gods whose images men worship were themselves subject to death (23, 24).

Then he subjects to scathing criticism formal and ceremonial worship and exposes the tactics of sectarian leaders, who care more for self-aggrandisement than for spreading true Religious spirit.

In the end he reminds man that he is morally responsible for his deeds and will have to bear their consequences himself alone: His dear friends and near relations for whose sake he commits inequities, will not accompany him when the soul departs from the body.

1.

Day and night he meditates on the
Ever-radiant Light, and gives not even
a moment's thought (to anything else)
except the one Lord

Adorns himself with perfect Love
and Faith and puts not his trust in
fasts, tombs, crematoriums and hermit -
cells even by mistake.

In pilgrimages, in charities, in acts of
mercy, in austerities. and in self-
restraints knoweth none save Him.

When full light shines within him, then-
a man may be deemed a pure Khalsa.

2.

His existence is eternal, His laws endure..
He is from the beginning, but Himself
without a beginning. He is unfathom-
able and unconquerable.

His bounty, mercy, self-control, self-
restraint, laws, vow of celibacy, and
excellent vow of goodness never fail.

He is primeval, of no colour, without
beginning, without end, self-begotten,
boundless, without jealousy and without
fear.

His form is formlessness. He hath no lines,
is unaffected by old age, is merciful to
the lowly and is all-kindness.

3.

Thou art the first cause. Thou art with-
out jealousy, without any garb, O Great
Master! Thou exist forever and
art the Kindler of Light.

Thou art immanent in every form,
absorbed in the contemplation of the
reality, O Destroyer of Births!

In the beginning, before the eons began,
(nay even) before the creation, Thou
wast present everywhere ,
O All-pervading Lord!

Thou art merciful to the humble, abode
of kindness, all-compassion Thou art
from the beginning, unbegotten, uncon-
querable and indestructible.

4.

He is primeval, indivisble, perfect and
eternal master. His mysteries the
Vedas and the Books have not been
able to reveal.

He is kind to the humble, benevolent, a
treasure of mercy, and everlasting. He
pervades every form.

His depths, Śeṣa, Indra, Gaṇeśa, Śiva
and Brahma have been unable to
fathom even after constant sounding.

O Foolish mind! why hast thou for-
gotten the manifest master.

5.

He is immovable, from the beginning, of
no colour, everlasting. His existence
has been said to be eternal.

He is primeval, cometh not into the womb
and was not born. He is devoid of old
age, holiest of holies and has been
believed in from eternity.

His miracles, begotten of himself, are-
known to the whole world. He is one
but dwells in many places.

Oh! poor mind! why dost thou not know
the Lord, who is free from all defects.

6.

Thou art imperishable. Thou are primeval
Thou art without colour. Thou knowest
no death. Thou exist forever. O
Almighty!

Thou givest food to all living beings in
the wafer or on the land.

The Holy books of the Hindus and the
Muhammadans both ponder over Thee
in various ways

Nothing else lasts in this world, O! Holy
one! Greatest of all!

7.

Thou hast been recognised as primeval
unfathomable, perfect, undivided,
indescribable, unconquerable and
undying.

Thou wast in the past, thou art in the
present, and thou shalt be in the future.
All call thee omnipresent.

The gods and the demons, Vishnu, Nārada
and Saraswati all name thee eternal.

The Purāṇas and the Quran are unable
to unravel any secret of the All-merciful,
who is an ocean of kindness and who is
compassionate to the lowly.

8.

Thou! O Eternal Being I O Master of
everlasting laws! Thou hast caused the
Vedas and the Books to grow.

He Himself sustained in the past and sus-
tains in the present the gods, the
demons and the spirits of the mountains.

Thou art from the beginning, wast before
the eons commenced Thou art colour-
less and undying. Thy light is seen, O
Invisible one!

O ignorant mind! the master is so mani-
fest. Who bath told thee of any other?

9.

The gods, the demons of the mountains,
the inhabitants of the nether world and
the most renowned Sidhas all undergo
various penances (to attain to Him.),
The Vedas, the Purāṇas and the Quran
are tired of singing His attributes.
He cannot be comprehended.

He knows the hearts of the inhabitants
of this world, of the heavens, of the
nether regions, of the four quarters and
of the four corners.

His glory is enveloping the whole earth
Why, O mind! dost thou tell me of
any other?

10.

The Vedas and the Books are unable to
explain His secrets. The Sidhas are tired
of their meditations.

The Smṛiti, the Shastras, the Vedas and
the Purāṇas treat of Him in various
ways, but the story of the Primeval
Being, who is without beginning, cannot
be fully known. He saved Dhru,
Ajamal and Prahlad.

His Name - the Name which saved the
Prostitute—is the basis of all my
deliberations.

11.

All have admitted Him as existing from
the beginning, but Himself without a
beginning, unfathomable, the eternal
master and of immortal beauty.

Of whom the Ghandharvas, the inhabi-
tants of the nether world, of the earth,
of the skies and of the four quarters
have knowledge.

Whom, this world and the others, the
four quarters and the four corners, the
gods and the demons recognise as their
Master.

O ignorant mind! under whose influence
hast thou forgotten the All-wise and
the Self-begotten.

12.

Some firmly believe in the images of
Vishnu, others call Shiva their lord.

Some consider His abode to be a temple;
others fix His residence in a mosque.

Some call him Rāma, some Krishna,
other identify him in their minds with
other incarnations.

Abandoning all these barren ways,
believe the Creator only to be the
author of all beings.

13.

If you say that Rama is unborn and in-
vincible, why was he born of
Kauśalyā’s womb then?

Why was he, whom you call dark-coloured
Krishna, defeated by Kal-yaman.

You call Him all-goodness and without
enmity. Why did then Krishna drive
the chariot of Arjuna?

Recognise Him only as your Master,
whose mysteries none has been able to
unravel or will be able to expound.

14.

 How do you identify Krishna with the
All -merciful? Why did the sportsman
shoot him with an arrow?

Why did he, who saves the families of
others, had his own family destroyed?.

you call him primeval and unborn, why
did Krishna come into the womb of
Devakī?.

It is said that he hath no father or
mother, why then Vāsudeva be termed
his Father?.

15.

Why do you call Shiva your lord? why
do you term Brahma your Master.?

The lord of the Rāghavas, the Master of
the Yādavas and the husband of Rāma,.
whom you consider as lords of the
universe are (in reality) not so.

Śukadeva, Parāśara and Vyāsa, who discar-
ded the one God and worshipped
many, have been duped.

These ways are unprofitable. I believe in
one God who (manifests himself) in
manifold ways.

16.

 Some believe in Brahma, others call
Shiva their lord.

Some regard Vishnu as the lord of the
universe and say that by worshipping
him all sorrow vanishes.

Consider it over and over again, O
dullard! in the end all those gods will
forsake thee.

In the mind make room for Him only
who was, now is and in future will be.

17.

 He created millions of Indras, made and
destroyed millions of Upendras.

The demons, the gods, the serpent, the
mountains, the birds and the beasts are
beyond reckoning.

Shiva and Bhrama have been undergoing
austerities up to the present time and
have not been able to fathom his
depths.

The Vedas and the Four Books are unable
to pry into His secrets. My Guru has
told me to worship Him.

18.

 By thy show of meditation, by growing
matted looks on thy head and long
nails on thy fingers, thou didst succeed
in deceiving others.

Rubbing ashes on thy face, thou didst
roam (hither and thither) and could
cheat the gods and the demons even.

Entangled in the net of avarice/thou didst
wander from house to house and didst
not practice the resignation of a Yogin.

Thou didst lose thy self-respect, but did
not attain to thy end. Without love no one
can reach God.

19.

Why dost thou hanker after appearance?
O Foolish mind! by false show thou
dost lose thine own self-respect.

Why dost thou cheat others? By doing
so thou art dishonoured here and wilt
gain no place hereafter.

Where the All-merciful dwells, there no
room shall be allotted to thee.

O unthinking man! consider it over and
over again, "by merely donning a garb
thou shalt not attain unto the Indescribable."

20.

Why dost thou worship stones. A stone
cannot contain the Lord.

Worship him only as thy master, by
worshipping whom all pains are
assuaged.

All obstacles, in the form of bodily or
mental ailments shall fade away, when
thou repeat His Name.

Meditation on Him only is acceptable;
these unprofitable deeds end in no gain.

21.

If thou didst waste thousands of eons
in the worship of stones, the unprofit-
able deed would bring thee no gain.

How could thou attain to success by
the worship of stones Thy power is
diminished, thy progress retarded and
thou hast not obtained the Nine
treasures.

Day by day time flics on, and thou hast
not achieved thy object. Art not thou
ashamed of it?

Thou dullard! Thou didst not remember
the Almighty and in these deeds thou
didst waste thy whole life.

22.

 For an eon thou may worship a stone
it will not gladden thy heart.

The image will not confer any boon
upon thee, with its arms uplifted in a
gracious, manner, O dullard!

Say, how didst thou come to repose thy
trust in it; it never helped thee in
trouble.

Know, foolhardy person! know, this
barren path is of ignorance. Thou shalt
lose.

23.

 All were caught in the meshes of death
No incarnation or prophet could save
himself.

The gods, the demons, the serpents and
the mountains were created and des-
troyed in the past and will be created
and destroyed in the future.

Those, who had themselves called the
incarnations of the Deity, on this very
earth died broken-hearted in the end.

O unstable mind! why dost thou not bow
to the feet of the Destroyer alone.

24.

 Conditioned by time came Brahma and
taking a staff and a cowl roamed on
the earth

Conditioned by time came Shiva and
wandered from country to country.
We know this also.

Conditioned by time came into being the
whole creation and passed away. Hence
all men came to know Him.

Abandoning all the mysteries of the
Vedas and the Books I acknowledge
the Lord only as the fountain head of
all grace.

25.

Thou didst waste time in these deeds,
unthinking man! and didst never
remember the merciful Lord.

Thou didst banish all feelings of shame
O shameless one! and leaving thy
proper work committed evil deeds,
bringing no fruit to thee.

Thou hadst beautiful horses and huge-
elephants, but thou didst resolve to
ride an ass.

Thou thoughtless fellow! Thou didst
not worship the Supreme Being and
in a regard for the world didst spoil
thy end.

26.

Thou didst read the Vedas and the Books
for many days, but didst not under-
stand their real import.

Thou didst roam hither and thither wor-
shipping one god after another, but
didst never fix thy heart on the One.

Thou didst prostrate thyself before the
idols and the shrines, but did gain
nothing.

Why leaving the master so manifest, O
foolish mind! art thou entangled
thine own head strong fancies?

27.

If one goes to the Yogins, they ask him
to repeat the name of Gorakh.

If he turns to the Sannyāsins, they advise
him to believe firmly that Datta alone
is true.

If he goes to the Muhammadans. they
forcibly convert him to the religion of
the Prophet.

All consider the Lord to be amongst
them alone, but none can tell me of
His secrets.

28.

If one goes to the Yogins, they tell him
to offer all his belongings to them.
If he turns to take shelter with the Sanya-
sins, they ask him to give.up all his
riches in the name of Datta.

If he begins to serve the Masands, they
order him to transfer his property to-
them at once.

All try to take (from me what I have),
but none wants to give me the know-
ledge of God.

29.

 If one begins to serve a Masand, then he
says "bring to me all thy offerings.

"Whatever of thy riches or properly thou
hast, go and present them to me at this
very moment.

"Day and night think of me alone and
never commit the mistake of remem-
bering any other.”

When they hear the word 'give', they
would fly away even at night, and will
never be pleased in the least without
getting something.

30.

Dropping oil in their eyes, they show
the people a flood of tears.

When they know their disciple to be a
rich man they serve him will dainty
dishes.

But if he is poor, he gets nothing for his-
requests and even they hide their faces
when he goes to them.

The beasts are plundering the people.
They never sing the praises of the Lord.

31.

They close their eyes like a heron, and
make a show of meditation, to the-
public.

Like a huntsman they lower their heads
and by their fixed gaze put the cat
even to shame.

They go wherever there is any hope of
getting money. They are dishonoured
in this world and have nothing to build
upon in the world hereafter.

Oh! thoughtless creature! Thou dost not
cherish the Lord. Why art thou solely
engaged in the worldly things?

32.

Why do you make people practice vain
deeds? These actions will not serve
them in any way.

Why do you run after wealth? You
will surely be unable to run away from
the angel of death.

There (i.e. before the Lord) none will bear
witness in your favour, neither sons,
nor wife nor friends, nor companions
or disciples.

Bear this in mind. O unthinking brute!
in the end you shall have to go alone.

33.

 No sooner you leave the body, than your
wife will desert you calling you a ghost

Your sons, wife, companions and bosom
friends will all cry "make haste to
take him out.

The palaces, the treasuries, the lands
and the forts will all pass to others as
soon as you give up your soul.

Bear this in mind, O unthinking brute!
In the end you shall have to go alone.