The Ginan Gist – By Karim Maherali
Our Tariqah being an esoteric tradition which has historically evolved through different cultures and traditions has multiple levels and diversity of meanings attached to various concepts. The concept of Imamat which is pivotal has been understood and interpreted differently based on the cultures in which it evolved and individual capacities . At the basic level, as per the preamble to the Holy Constitution, Imamat began when Prophet Muhammad appointed and designated Hazarat Ali as the first Imam and has since then continued as a hereditary institution and the present Imam Mowlana Shah Karim is the 49th Imam in succession. This is considered as the ‘zaheri (apparent)’ understanding which we articulate to others, Muslims and non-Muslims.
Within the Jamat which is the ‘batin (hidden)’, the Imam is considered to be ever-present and the institution of the Imamat has been in existence since the Beginning as per Holy Qur’an (4:174): O mankind! Verily there hath come to you a Convincing Proof (Hujja) from your Lord: For we have sent unto you a Manifest Light (Nurun Mubeen). Mowlana Sultan Muhamad Shah has said in his Memoirs: All Islamic schools of thought accept it as a fundamental principle that for centuries, for thousands of years before the advent of Mohammed, there arose from time to time messengers, illumined by Divine Grace, for and among those races of the earth which had sufficiently advanced intellectually to comprehend such a message. Thus Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all the Prophets of Israel are universally accepted by Islam. Muslims indeed know no limitation merely to the Prophets of Israel; they are ready to admit that there were similar Divinely inspired messengers in other countries Gautama Buddha, Shri Krishna and Shri Ram in India, Socrates in Greece, the wise man of China and many other sages and saints among peoples and civilizations, trace of which we have lost. Thus man’s soul has never been left without a specially inspired messenger from the soul that sustains, embraces and is the universe.
This Ginan which is recited during the partaking of niaz (holy water), demonstrates that Imamat has existed since creation through the cycles of four Yugas (ages) – Karta, Treta, Dwapur and Kali. History is not a linear progression in time and development but rather moves in cycles involving ages of growth followed by ages of decline. This Ginan depicts the descending cycle from the Golden Age of Karta Yuga to the Dark Age of Kali Yuga prevailing at the time of the composition by Pir Sadardeen. The mention of ghat (container) and paatt (stand upon which the ghat is placed) in all the four verses signifies that our traditions symbolized and represented by the Ghat Paatt ceremony have existed for thousands of years.
The Ginan highlights that the Manifestation of the Niranjan (Formless and Unknowable Divine Essence) and the Manifestation of the Gur Bhrama (Light of Creation) have always existed. To illustrate this, in each verse the respective representative names for both have been mentioned for each age.
The sprinkling of golden particles over the throne mentioned in each verse symbolizes the glorification of the throne of Imamat through service and good deeds.
pahele kirtā jugmāṅhe sonānāre ghaṭ
|1 – with music||Nargis Balolia|
|2 – without music||Parviz Somji|
|3 – Aarti/Bhajan||Unknown|
Transliteration, Translation and Commentary
|ejee pahelaa kartaa jugmaa(n) he sonaanaare ghatt shaahnaa sonaanaare paatt
sonaane see(n)ghaasanne betthaa shree narsha(n)g jee raay
gur bheermaajee nee aartee ne chamar ddhallaay
kesar ne ka(n)kunaa shaahne chhaa(n)ttannaa chha(n)ttaay……………1
During the first era of Karta, the ghat was golden and the Lord’s paatt was also golden. Lord Narsang was seated on the golden throne as the King. Through the supplications and invocations of Gur Bhrama, the throne was decorated and was shining with glory. Sprinkle the Lord with yellowish and golden particles.
Comment: In the concept of the Das Avtar (Ten Manifestations), the Niranjan assumed ten forms (human and non-human) to intervene in history in order to establish and revive dharma (virtue) in societies generally. The Karta Yuga also known as Satya Yuga (Age of Truth) is the longest in duration and is characterised by the occurrence of four manifestations namely, Machh (Fish), Korabh (Tortoise), Varah (Boar) and Narsang (Man-Lion) . This verse mentions Lord Narsang as being representative of the era. The representative manifestation of the Light of Bhrama was called Gur Bhrama.
This is also the age in which the degree of deference to dharma was generally highest of the four eras. It is symbolized by the Ghat Paat being golden. The era was marked by greatest human civilization. Through the activities and supplications of Gur Bhrama, the throne was glorified and made known to the world at large.
|ejee beeje tretaa jugmaa(n)he rupaanaare ghatt shaah naa rupaanaare paatt
rupaane see(n)ghaasanne betthaa shree raamcha(n)ddhrajee raay
gur veejeshtthann nee aartee ne chamar ddhallaay
kesar ne ka(n)kunaa shaahne chhaa(n)ttannaa chha(n)ttaay……………2
During the second era of Treta, the ghat was silver and the Lord’s paatth was also silver. Lord Ramchandra was seated on the silver throne as the King. Through the supplications of the Guide Veejeshtthan, the throne was decorated and made glorious. Sprinkle the Lord with yellowish and golden particles.
Comment: The Treta Yuga is characterized by the occurrence of three manifestations of the Niranjan namely, Vaman (Dwarf), Sri Farsiram and Sri Ram. Sri Ram being the representative one for the age. The Throne was glorified and made known to wider society through the activities and supplications Gur Vijeshthan who was the Gur Bhrama of the age. The era was less civilized in comparison with the Karta Yuga and is symbolized by the Ghat Paatt of silver.
|ejee treeje duaapur jugmaa(n)he traa(m)baanaare ghatt shaahnaa traa(m)baa naa re paatt
traa(m)baane see(n)ghaasanne betthaa shree karashanjee raay
gur veedurvyaas nee aartee ne chamar ddhallaay
kesar ne ka(n)kunaa shaahne chhaa(n)ttannaa chha(n)taay……………3
During the third era of Dwapur, the ghat was of copper and the Lord’s paatt was also of copper. Lord Sri Krishna was seated on the copper throne as the King. Through the supplications of the Guide Veedurvyaas, the place was decorated and made glorious. Sprinkle the Lord with yellowish and golden particles.
Comment: The Dwapur Yuga is characterized by the occurrence of two manifestations of the Niranjan namely, Sri Krishna and Sri Budh. Sri Krishna is mentioned as being representative for the era. This era was less civilized in comparison to the previous ages of Karta and Treta and is symbolized by the Ghat Paat of copper. Gur Veedurvyaas who was the representative Gur Bhrama of the age composed the Bhagavad Gita.
|aaj kaljug maa(n)he maattee naare ghatt shaahnaa maatteenaare paatt
maatteene see(n)ghaasanne betthaa shree nakala(n)kee raay
gur nabee muhamadnee aarteene chamar ddhallaay
kesar ne ka(n)kunaa shaahne chhaa(n)tannaa chha(n)taay
peer sadardeen nee aartee ne chamar ddhallaay
kesar ne ka(n)kunaa shaahne chhaa(n)tannaa chha(n)taay……………4
Today in the present age, the ghat is of clay and the Lord’s paatt is also of clay. Lord Sri Naklank (Hazarat Aly) is seated on the throne of clay as the King. Through the supplications of the Guide Prophet Muhammed, the Throne was decorated and made glorious. Sprinkle the Lord with yellowish and golden particles. The Throne is made glorious through the supplications and activities of Peer Sadardeen. Sprinkle the Lord with yellowish and golden particles.
Comment: The present age (at the time of the composition of this Ginan), the Kali Yuga is characterized by the occurrence of the Niranjan as Naklanki Avtar (Hazarat Aly) and that of the Gur Bhrama as the Prophet. This era is called the Dark Age and is lowest in terms of civilization. It is symbolized by the Ghat Paat of clay.
At present we are in the ascending Dwapur Yuga headed towards the Satya Yuga. Hence we are experiencing a rapid expansion in our ability to understand creation and the energy related issues dominating the scientific and political discourse.