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Bhai Nand Lal Goya poetry of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj


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Guru Gobind Singh and God were one to Bhai Nand Lal Goya. As a Poet Bhai Nand Lal sang of the Almighty but for naming his qualities he drew inspiration from Guru-Darshan. The Presence divine of Guru- Gobind Singh Maharaj the prophet of Light and liberty at whose holy feet.


On Goya,


Far off Ghazni, an old capital city in Central Asia, is known to the people of India as the home-town of two gigantic figures. One belonged to the field of battle and sword, and the other to thought and the pen. One was Mahmud of Ghazni and the other was Bhai Nand Lal. Mahmud was drawn to India by the lustre of yellow metal and Bhai Nand Lal by soundless call of the spirit.


India, the ageless magnet, has drawn, since known history seekers of soul and bullion. Bhai Nand Lal also arrived in India and found cool refuge with Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.


Guru Gobind Singh was warring against the Mogul Emperor, in defense of human rights, of body and soul.


Behind the battle line of cannon and thought, over fifty scholars of eminence were laboring to create literature, new and translated, for the new pattern of mind which the Guru was designing for his followers. Background music to the creation of the Master, and men of letters, came from Bhai Nand Lal, the mystic poet Laureate. His songs range from the beloved to the Beloved.


Goya wrote in Persian. In every word his soul dances, and love plays on the harp of the heart. For nearly three hundred years, millions of eyes have shed pearls of love tears, moved by the songs of Goya. These songs will float down the stream of time and ripple round the sphered, as long as the ears of the soul do not burst, with the "Atam" or the Atom exploding.

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Experienced Ecstatic explained

GOYA'S poems, like life, flow from one to the other. There is continuity of thought and emotions in such a manner that the first nine poems put together make a unity of experience which can only be described as "Ecstasy".

Ecstasy is a state of existence when the mind goes under suspension and the only consciousness that remain is that of emotions which sweep through the body, and the mind is over-whelmed through the streaming in of such transcendental influences which one cannot describe except experiencing them. There are orgasms of joy, sorrow, depressions and elevations which cannot be organically located in the normal working of the human physique.

The mystic thought in Bhai Nand Lal Goya flows from poem to poem and the result is a spiral of emotions. It has its swirls and eddies and takes man down the stream of consciousness. At the end stands the great expereince what we call - Awareness..realisation of ultimate light. beyond which lie the realms of darkness..darkness of non-existence.

Goya was among the masters who could put in verse what he felt deep within, and like the entirety of his self, laid at the sacred feet of the great Guru, the beloved. And no doubt, those who surrender the self, master the world.

This is the character of all those who experiences what we call "Wajd" among mystics and sufis and saints. "Wajd" is the Inner nature of what we call Realization.......of oneness... of ultimate extinction of Duality. Thus man becomes one with God and ultimately one with his creation.

True realization dawns and the blinkers of Duality fall. And the Light of Oneness dispels the Dark of ultimate ignorance...which men call the Self. This realization comes when we become aware of all that is good, not just in the worldly sense of the Right and the Good, but in the penultimate sense of oneness even with evil. No longer man loves one thing and hates another. The moment he gets into that state of mind, realization comes that all is one, and thus he becomes liberated. This is the enlightened and blissful state of mind which takes birth from the experience Ecstatic. It is this experience ecstasies which the first nine encompass as a Unit of Light.

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Nine poems of Bhai Nand Lal Goya:

Ist Poem

1. DEVOTATION TO YOU, like the breeze, blew me into the Garden of existence. There was no other urge for me to take birth.

2. Happy is the life that is spent in your worship, What else is there to gain beneath the blue dome?

3. The moment, I am without your thought, I die, without you what purpose have I, in my life.

4. May my soul and self be a sacrifice to the dust of his feet, who shows me the way to your presence.

5. There were no signs-posts on the pilgrim's way, through heaven or earth; It was the zeal of my quest which bought me to the threshold of worship.

6. Existence without your thought, O Goya, is not possible. If pinning for your ceases, then end of life is only thing coveted.


The devout poet swings and sways and his emotions begin to rise like the Sap in Spring. Goya goes from thought to thought and from limb to limb and sees in every physical expression the sight of that Majesty which like a magnet draws the spirit of man. He sings himself out of senses and soars into the regions of the soundless call of the human heart

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2nd poem-

1. MY FAITH AND ACTION, both are prisoners of the fairy -faced. The present and the here-after weigh less than a single hair of my beloved.

2. I cannot bear the dart of an eye drunk with love. One life-giving glance is enough for Ecstasy.

3. Sometimes a mystic, sometimes a hermit, and sometimes an epicure. My beloved, like a changeling, roams in many forms.

4. The price of jewel none but the lover knows. The value of the tear- born pearl only my tear shedding eye knows.

5. Every breath is dedicated, goya, to the thought of the intoxicated narcissus, The cup of those eyes from which my heart drinks the wine of awareness.


Goya is now deep in the realm of the subconscious. A flood of emotions has stirred even the hardest of the human sub-soil. The poet has become the cauldron of the ecstatic experience. And his inner self cries out- "GIVE ME MY BELOVED."

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Third poem-

1. GIVE ME MY BELOVED, the cup of life, in which I may color my heart, And my eye becomes clear for solving the riddle of riddles.

2. On my way to the beloved every footsteps jingles with happiness, The bells calling for the night's half have no meaning, nor the temptation of the resting place.

3. God is present. Look ! here is the Holy Light ! Neither the whirl pool bars the lover's way nor the torrent, nor the shore.

4. Why, O heart, are you vainly wandering round the desert and the wood, The queen of beauty resides in your own eyes.

5. Wherever I look, I find nothing else but the Holy presence. Then, O Goya, where can i go, if i leave the world and it's trappings?


The rhythm of meditation thought was brought him to the point of awareness of light- what to the mean of the world seems as "losing oneself", that to the mystic seeker is the moment of Light, of "highest consciousness". Look, says Goya, here is the holy light, Light of the ever present. In this moment of finding, of fulfillment, there is the ring of triumph, and of realization that all is one and the all pervading is every where, in himself, in the world itself, in the world of men and things. In the movement of meditation one flight is over and second round of the spiral begins and Goya calls out with the abandonment of a drunkard "Come my Gay(cheerful) beloved".

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Fourth Poem

1. COME MY GAY(cheerful) BELOVED, fill for me the Cup of love, The thrill of your ruby red lips will give me the clue of the True way.

2. When the Goblet of Mansoor's life was breaking, it clanked "I am the truth". Reason stood breathless, in this moment of the Supreme Faith.

3. The world is like the dark of the night, awake, my beloved, Let your moon face be a candle to the way-farer.

4. Even a moment spent in the ecstasy of awareness makes the whole of life worth living. And if one lives a single moment of this burning quest, life becomes bearable.

5. These two eyes, O Goya, are like KAUSER O TASNIM, the twin celestial streams in flood. From each tear sprouts the greenery of a hundred smiling gardens.


Goya's thought has followed his passion for the ruby lipped gay(cheerful)-beloved to the tearful moment, which is the moment of finding highest Joy, of emotion uncontrolled, when every outlet opens the prison gates of the self. And, the mind soars to the highest imagery of it's inner reflexes. Goya sees the streams of heavens in his own tears and with them the world is made as green as the garden of Eden. That for him is the moment of supreme Surrender, moment of the highest sacrifice of man. When man bows his head, the entire universe comes to a stand still.

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Fifth Poem

1. I BOW MY HEAD to my Masters, on the true way. My heart's homage of worship to God, whose name is on my lips.

2. Everywhere I see the manifestation of the Almighty, The company of the holy Masters has conferred on me the blessing of realization.

3. The eye inside me did not open without His Light, With which I saw the vanity of the world.

4. The dust of the feet of the wise gives brightness to the heart If good fortune gets you their guidance.

5. Where is the man, O Goya, who did not get the wish of his heart. Who has mastered himself.


After surrender man becomes one with himself and one with the Divine. And the moment of that awakening is the Supreme moment when the mystic stands breathless experiencing the majesty Divine.

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Sixth Poem

1. IF THE HEART GETS WISE, it finds the Beloved inside it. If the eye can see, the beloved is every-where.

2. He is to be seen everywhere, but where is the eye that can see Him? On all sides, there is the Lightning struck Toor, and all around the flames alight.

3. If you have your heard, take it as an offering to lay at his feet.

4. If you have life, Sacrifice it on his altar, if need be. If you have hands, go and catch the garment of the beloved, O,way farer.

And walk the same way, if your feet have the pride of the speed.

5. If the Ear hears, what can it hear but the name of the True beloved, If the tongue speaks, O Goya, in very word there is this assertion.

6. The Brahmin adores the idol. The mullah prays at the mosque. Where ever the Cup of Love is going round, I have found them drunk.

7. Do not tread on the path of love without devotion, Mansoor has taught thus. Among the way farers of this path he is the fore- runner.

8. What ever you have, sacrifice it for the beloved. Even if you have, like Goya, the talent that creates pearls.


Goya feels himself like the lightning struck peak of Mount Toor. He sees flames leaping around him. He gets drunk with Light, at one time, and feel another moment that he is burnt to cinders- reduced to Ashes, and in a moment of elation laments in Song, the urge of the heart to lay his head as a sacrifice at the alter. These are the drum beats of his heart when he sees flashes of Light of Noor- A new cycle in the ascending spiral of ecstasy begins. Goya sees the vision which bought Light to Saints and Prophets. At the superb sight of grandeur, the lightening scorched mountain top. The Toor, a symbol of worldly height, seems as dark and low as dust, seen in celestial light and compared to the Heavens. Goya, humbled to dust in devotion , and moved in every fibre of his being calls out like a raving mad man.

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Seventh poem

1. THE EYE HAS SEEN the statue of indifference passing. The beloved has gone this way and I have lost my eyes, forever.

2. All went black and the heart emitted sparks, And I am like the smoke from the fire, rising to the high heavens.

3. A single dart from the beloved's eye brow is enough to be slain, Now there is no saving me, since the arrow has left the bow.

4. For even a moment, I did not realize myself and the path Ah me ! whose life, the only treasure , has all been despoiled.

5. He never pines for a stroll in the seventh heaven, who lives, O Goya, in the joy of the path the adores.


Once again the note of surrender is struck. This is the supreme sacrifice of man. No doubt the self is obdurate in submitting but what we call surrender is the ladder to immortality. Immortality in the sense of the clock means the hand at six o'clock and the pendulum of life at the stand still. When the pendulum does not move either to the right or to the left it stands still in the middle. So is middle path the highway to the cessation of being. To the poet this awareness brings realization.

At this sublime point the Ecstasy begins to ebb and foot steps of the spirit bring him back to the sense world, descending the spiral. He is back to earth, to the world of men and things, and he bursts into song of Praise.

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Eight poem

1. THE FULL MOON DIMS before your beauty. Even the world illumining Sun is like a slave to you

2. My eye perceives nothing but the Truth. O ! lucky is the eye that recognizes reality.

3. Never do we boast of false Piety, God forgives even the sinners.

4. From where shall we produce another one, The whole world is acclaiming the one, and the only one.

5. Nothing but the name of the True one is ever utter able. For, God, O goya, is the source of amnesty to all.


Only when the human heart gets filled with the dazzle of the light of Happiness, happiness that flows like a fountain from fulfillment, does the upsurge of Love, born of gratitude , releases the emotion of the devout worship and man sings the songs of Praise Divine. So does Goya, joyfully and tearfully.

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Ninth poem

1. EVEN KING CANNOT Vie with the beggar at your door. The regalia of Kingship and the tilted Cap of Power have no meaning for us.

2. He who conquers the Kingdom of the heart, becomes the monarch. The man who captures You, there is no better warrior than him.

3. The beggar at your threshold is like the Kings of both the worlds. One captured by the Ecstasy of your love needs no Resurrection day.

4. Where is the eye which has not the lustre of your light! Where is the heart which is not the treasure- chest of your Name.

5. Be a sacrifice to the Beloved , without demur, O Goya, for, in the Vocabulary of lovers there is no word like "excuse".


Thus is the supreme moment of all existence, dissolution of all attachments positive and negative. Bhai Nand Lal lived this experience and succeeded in passing this meditation experience to the world in a Language familiar to the ears of understanding. As a mystic master we have to rank Goya among the great sufis and bhagats who succeeded in doing what men of the world do not know or recognize as within the possibility of human performance.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Thank you Malwe Da Sher, kirtan of Bhai Nand Lal Ji Goya is so rare.

Shame it is so bollywoodfied, but still hearing those cabalistic words being sung is a joy!

Anyhow, creating a somewhat more authentic rendition of Bhai Nand Lal Jis mystical expressions seems to be an excellent project waiting to happen!!!

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Dharam Singh Ji Zakhmi were known for singing Bhai Nand Lal Ji's ghazals.

If anyone can locate any, kindly post them here for all to share.

Nasro Mansoor Guru Gobind Singh is the most popular of Bhai Sahibs works which has been sung by many of the more well known Kirtani.

Here is a great traditional rendition by Raagi Dharam Singh Ji (look for the shabd in the list, around 2/3rds of the way down).



(for those of you who don't appreciate alaaps, the kirtan starts at around 6:27)

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Veer Ji, of course we can appreciate alaaps, it's just a shame that the 99% of the population can't.

It's going to take some hard work to pull them out of the vaja, dholki, chennai, chimteh, 120mph punjabi taal tablai and folk/filmi reetan rvaaj which have been set in concrete over the last 80 years!! (with all due respect).

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fantastic, how can you not appreciate the alaap?


To be honest, I haven't reached the avastha to enjoy Raag kirtan as much as I should. Before coming into Sikhi, I used to listen mostly to hip-hop or bhangra and at the Gurudwara would either leave the darbar sahib to do sewa or end up falling asleep if the kirtan was being done in classical style.

In the beginning, only faster, josh-filled kirtan could hold my attention and if it wasn't for the sidhiya dharna of Sant Isher Singh Ji, I wouldn't be Sikh today.

It's only recently, after many years 'in the game' that I can listen to Raag Kirtan with full attention - and that's only if the Raagi has some ras in his/her voice.

I think you need to be a Raag student yourself to appreciate the technical aspects, which may not be apparent to everyone else.

On a side note, does the Raag dictate the tempo or is it up to the Raagi?

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The tempo depends on the poetic structure of the shabd, the raag and style. Many shabd are suited to dhrupad style (slower and highly devotional style - characteristic of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji) which was prevalent in the medieval ages, but there many exceptions i.e. the 22 vaaran, Dahkni (South Indian style), energetic raga like Kanara etc.

The same way many of the sangat on this forum makes an excellent effort to learn so many aspects of the various rvaaj of the Sikh Marg, we should make a double effort to learn kirtan in Guru Ji's hukumi raag.

The stress that Gurbani places on singing kirtan (in the form of rehit) as the key to escaping joon by awakening our atma is huge, yet many people tend to glance over this most important aspect/hukum of Maharaj and make do with listening to something occassionly which satisfies their kan ras (man).

Partaal was launched today by Raj Academy - it's an excellent attempt at gurmat sangeet education - coming with a booklet explaining the raga, the unique contribution of the musical genius Guru Ramdas Ji that invented partaal (multiple tempo/taal - today ripped off by hip artists that studied Indian Classical), an audio CD and DVD so that those that are not aquainted with the original tanti saaz used (and invented) by Guru Sahiban can have darshan. There is a traditional shaan and manglacharan to start followed by 6 shabd in partaal, all played on the Jori. £10 is well worth it.

Bhai Balbir Singh Ji is a legend, but it is a shame that as of late he has also fallen victim to some mainstream filmi kirtan after a life long dedication to nirdareth raag.

Issue of dharna style kirtan which is said to have come about as a mirror image of/defence to Christian missionery parchaar in the late 1800's (spearheaded by Sant Attar Singh Ji) has been discussed here before.

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  • 2 years later...

Dharam Singh Ji Zakhmi were known for singing Bhai Nand Lal Ji's ghazals.

If anyone can locate any, kindly post them here for all to share.

Nasro Mansoor Guru Gobind Singh is the most popular of Bhai Sahibs works which has been sung by many of the more well known Kirtani.

Here is a great traditional rendition by Raagi Dharam Singh Ji (look for the shabd in the list, around 2/3rds of the way down).



(for those of you who don't appreciate alaaps, the kirtan starts at around 6:27)

Woow thanks for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the awal allah noor upaya on my old phone a few years ago and was in love with it however i never know who it was sung by . Hearing it again brought much joy. God bless u bro

Edited by amardeep
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