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Chandi Di Vaar - Sikh Prayer

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Published on Nov 19, 2007

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Written in fifty-five stanzas. The first stanza of Chandi di Vaar forms the introductory part of the ardaas, the Sikh prayer.
Pritham bhagouti simar key Guru Nanak layin dhyay....
Following the invocation, this composition is a description of war and Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. It is written in a clear style and deals with matters related to war so it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.
The main reason for writing about war and Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. The aim of these ballads (1st one has 233 verses, the 2nd has 266 verses, the 3rd has 55 verses) is to inspire warriors to stand up for truth and righteousness in the face of tyranny and oppression. On a deeper level they deal with the internal struggle to control basic animal instincts. All 3 ballads are extremely metaphorical and deeply narrative in nature, and describe the battles of Durga (also known as Chandi, Bhawani, Kalika) against demon warlords (such as Sumbh, Nisumbh, Chandh, Mundh, Domar Lochan and Rakt Beej).
One interpretation is Lust is personified as demon Mehkhasar; Selfishness is personified by demon Sumb. The instinctual forces are demons, Indra is the self of Man, Durga is the Divine (God) within the self. Sumbh is Pride and Nisumbh is Anger. Dhumerlochan is Cloudy Vision, Chund (Greed) and Mund (Attachment).
Based on the tales of Durga in Markandey Puraan, these ballads also weave in the intricacies of the higher power (Akal) that controls creation, yet is also within it.
Thus Chandi became the embodiment of strength and might in female form and was described in all her majesty and glory. Guru Gobind Singh taught that Chandi is none other than the primordial power of the Almighty which fights evil, and, as such, Chandi is actually not to be worshipped as an idol but instead revered by using the 'Tegha' (sword). Hence he taught all that the true worship of Chandi was actually knowing how to wield the sword in battle to destroy evil.
As expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he agrandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any. The poetry has a virile temper evoked by a succession of powerful and eloquent similes and by a dignified echoic music of the richest timbre. These poems were designed by Guru Gobind Singh to create a spirit of chivalry, dignity and Bir Ras.

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