"Take movies, music, poetry out of life & its gone!"

The link between Guru Nanak's divine AARTI, Jagannath Puri, Rabindranath Tagore and World Anthem. (An insight by Bobby Sing)

15 Apr, 2015 | Articles on Music, Poetry and Life

As a revolutionary Sufi saint, Guru Nanak’s extensive travels in and outside India called Udaasis have several enlightening events associated with them prominently mentioned in the history books. But still it’s quite amazing to admit that not many actually know about Guru Nanak’s visit to Jagannath Puri (Orissa) and his rendition of the divine AARTI there, a wonderfully composed poetic explanation of the universe, that is now sung in every Gurdwara as a daily religious ritual as per the Sikh code of conduct post the recitation of Rehraas Sahib in Raag Dhanashri.

As per the various legends written about Guru Nanak’s visit to Jagannath Puri, a few write about the Guru attending the traditional Aarti being practiced inside the temple and in that ecstasy of watching the elaborate celebration, remaining seated that was not liked by the orthodox priest, who later confronted him for this questionable indifference shown. Another legend talks about the worshippers innocently assuming Guru Nanak as a Muslim faqir and droving him out of the premises, whereas the third one explains how the Guru helped Mardana quench his thirst expressed reaching the specific place. The fourth version talks about a fake brahmin exposed by the Guru and the fifth gives the reference of some stolen golden utensils from the temple found later. However the one linking the king says that the priests regretted their mistake of disrespecting the Guru when Lord Jagannath came in the dream of King Prataparudra Deva and said that he was listening to the hyms sung by Nanak. Seeing the dream, the King rushed to meet the saint and everyone apologized for their misbehavior recognizing the true Guru.                                       
Jagannath Puri TempleHere we might have many versions about Guru Nanak’s visit to the Jagannath Temple but one conclusion that can be easily drawn from them all is that the Guru did witness the prestigious Aarti being held inside the temple with the priests bringing in a big platter having many lighted lamps, incense, fruits, flowers, ornaments and more being offered to the deity along with musical beating of drums, bells, cymbals and continuing chanting of sacred mantras from the scriptures.
Inspired by the energetic celebration by the devotees of Lord Jagannath, Guru Nanak spontaneously came up with his own blissful version of the AARTI praising The Almighty’s beautiful creation and its continuous celebration going on every moment since eternity. All the priests and pilgrims were simply stunned to hear such mesmerizing celestial praises sung for ‘the Creator and his creation’ by the unexpected, enlightened soul and the melody touched many hearts experiencing the deeply meaningful rendition in Jagannath Puri that blessed evening.
Described in the above mentioned various versions, the two particular places related with Guru Nanak in the region are Bauli Mathh, where a water source was found in a hole dug on his instructions and Mangu Mathh where he used to sit under a tree during his stay in Puri preaching the people.
Interestingly few other lesser known links between Sikh history and the place include the compositions of Jaidev being a part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, who was a famous spiritual poet of Orissa. And then the ninth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur’s visit to the Bauli Mathh where he stayed for a few days during his travels. Later Bhai Himmat Singh of Puri became one of the five people (Panj Piyaras) who came forward offering their heads to Guru Gobind Singh on the day of formation of Khalsa panth. Also Maharaja Ranjit Singh on his deathbed willed the Kohinoor diamond to the Jagannath Temple only on the suggestion given by his astrologer, but the wish couldn’t be fulfilled due to the refusal of its royal custodian.
Rabindranath Tagore on Guru Nanak's AARTIComing to the 20th century remembering Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, its said that once the veteran actor Balraj Sahni, who taught in Santiniketan in the late 1930’s, asked Rabindra Nath Tagore that,
“You have written many important anthems for India. Why not write an international anthem for the whole world?”
“It has already been written, not only for the world but for the entire universe. It was written in the 16th century by Guru Nanak,”
replied Tagore referring to the Aarti (the ceremony of light).
In fact such was his love and respect for the verses that Gurudev Tagore personally translated it too in order to make it reach many more, not knowing the language (Gurmukhi). And shared below is the first stanza of the same which I have tried to translate in English for all interested fellow seekers on the path as beautifully expressed by Guru Nanak.
“Gagan Mai Thaal Rav Chand Deepak Baney,
Tarika Mandal Janak Moti,
Dhoop Malyanlo Pavan Chavro Kare
Sagal Banraye Phulant Jyoti,
Kaisi Aarti Hoye Bhav Khandna Teri Aarti.
Anhata Shabad Vaajant Bheri”
(Aarti – The word having its Sanskrit origin symbolizes the loving prayers performed as a ceremony, greeting and expressing gratitude towards the one supreme power. And representing the same Guru Nanak beautifully describes how the whole universe is performing an Aarti in reverence towards the Almighty through its spellbinding nature around.)
“The sky is the cosmic plate or bowl, the sun and the moon are the brightly shining lamps placed. The twinkling stars and the constellations are like jewels and pearls in it. The fragrance of sandalwood in air becomes the incense spread by the flowing wind. And all the plants (greenery) around us are the flowers offered to you.
What wonderful is this Aarti continuously happening in the universe.
O Destroyer of fear, Lord, this is your ceremony of lights, your Aarti, with the mystical music in the un-struck sound of the Shabad playing like the temple drums.
What wonderful is this Aarti continuously happening in the universe! O Lord, Your Aarti”
This original Aarti (of four stanzas) composed by Guru Nanak is included twice in Guru Granth Sahib. However the present version sung in Gurudwara’s has four more stanzas added to it penned by Bhagat Ravi Das, Sant Sain, Sant Kabir & Bhagat Dhanna along with the final touches coming from the tenth guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.
And what better example one can find of practicing equality in humanity while remembering that supreme power, the One Almighty………Ek Onkar……through such amazingly peaceful & spiritually transforming Aarti.
Bobby Sing © April 2015
Note : The write-up is a chapter shared from my upcoming book releasing soon. So any additions, rectifications suggested by friends are welcome to make it better.
Did You Know By Bobby SingFor more such interesting articles on lesser known facts on Hindi Cinema, do try DID YOU KNOW Series by Bobby Sing available in both Book and E-book form.

Also available 
at Notionpress and Flipkart stores (in India)
The book is now also available in Hindi titled ITNA TO YAAD HAI MUJHE published by Prabhat Prakashan
Available at all leading portals online.

Tags : The link between Guru Nanak divine Aarti Jagannath Puri and Tagore by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on music life and poetry at bobbytalkscinema.com, Ek Onkar, Sikh Spiritual Aarti, Aarti in Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak in Puri Orissa, History of Guru Nanak Aarti
15 Apr 2015 / Comments ( 12 )
Prakash Bhatia

Hi Bobbyji,
A wonderful piece of information by you sir.Your knowledge of sprituality is as amazing as of films.I feel you should have separate blog for such subjects and this should not be clubbed with films.May GOD bless you.

Bobby Sing

Hi Prakash Ji,
Thanks a lot for your support, but honestly I was really amazed while researching on the net that the information was not available anywhere in a combined focused form to make more people aware of the fact. So I myself felt great sharing it with all like minded friends too.

However regarding such articles based on spirituality, they are posted under the section "Articles on Music, Poetry and Life" at BTC and also at one of my separate blogs -  www.gurmatdarshan.wordpress.com -

But since I haven't posted there for a long time (focusing more at BTC) so you will only find my old articles on it at this particular moment.
Would try to update that soon as you have reminded.
So thanks once again and keep visiting and writing in.



Dear Bobby,
Indeed very good read!
I have also read many times mention of Osho in your articles. As in Shaukeen (new) review, you have mentioned about "Sambhog se samadhi tak". Please write a whole article on him, throwing light on his important work controversial side also.

Keep writing!

Bobby Sing

Dear Sudhanshu,
Glad to know your wish to read more about OSHO.
Though here I have not written any complete article on the mystic but there is one written on the Art of Listening at the following link :


However I do keep posting excerpts from OSHO books at my FB wall often, so please do join me there as a friend in case you are at FB too.

Prakash Bhatia

Hi Bobbyji,
I was lucky enough to see Nanak Shah Fakir in Mumbai. Absolutely brilliant film and must see as you have suggested in your one line review and that extraordinarily picturisation of Divine Aarti is mesmerising and takes the viewer to that spritual world. I think that I was blessed to see this movie as it has not been released in Delhi so far. Unfortunately why such a brilliant work of art gets mired into controversies.Production is in epic form seldom attempted by Indian film makers. It reminded me of classics made on Jesus by Hollywood.

Bobby Sing

Dear Prakash Ji,
Regarding the film "Nanak Shah Fakir", both the supporters and people opposing are in fact right in doing so.
Where the supporter are right as the film does score high on overall impact, making, scale and feel. It has a kind of peace flowing in its sequences undoubtedly that needs to be praised particularly because of the supporting cast.
But at the same time, the people opposing are right too as the film doesn't bring up the history right and has made many big mistakes that need to be rectified as per Gurmat and its code of conducts.

And I only wish they had made this after consulting the historians and not any random writers as such cause the film and the effort made did deserve to reach a much wider audience.


PS Singh

It’s very nice post.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for visiting and writing in.


Thanks for article. Would like to know the words of Oriya and Bengali versions of the song too.

Bobby Sing

My pleasure Sharmila.
Though I dont have the links of exact translations. But would surely try to find out and get back soon.


बहुत सुंदर लेख - मैं सोचता हूँ इसे हिन्दी में अनुवाद कर डालूँ। वास्तव में इस विषय पर एक अच्छी किताब होनी चाहिए हिन्दी में। मैं जब भी हरमिंदर साहब जाता हूँ तो वहाँ सिर्फ़ दैवी शबद सुनता हूँ। आत्मा को तर कर जाता है। हिन्दी फिल्म के संगीतकार लगता है संगीत तैयार करने के लिए शबद सुनने वहाँ जरूर जाते होंगे। 

Bobby Sing

Thanks for your kind words of praise Bibhas Sir.
If you are willing to translate then please do so as the information deserves to reach all as a must.
(Please give link to the the original English article in the end of the translation as that will help many who might be willing to read it in English)

ajay kanagat

Very informative......more power to your pen Bobby.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Ajay Ji.
Please do keep visiting and writing in.


Dear Booby ji,

This article is a wonderful read. Thank you for writing it.
I am doing some research on Guru Nanak's ' Ae Hari sundar' , you have mentioned the same in your article. Could you please tell me where is it written? I couldn't find it in Guru Granth Sahib ji.

It would be of great help.

Bobby Sing

Dear Manroop,
Thanks a lot for your kind praises and glad that the article could help you in your research.

However I couldnt get the comment posted with the reference of 'Ae Hari sundar'.
Please let me know the exact para where it is written in the article?
As then I would be able to help you.


My apologies Bobby Ji!!

Read it in some other article where it said Rabindranath Tagore has translated  'Ae Hari Sundar'..sorry mixed up with your article.


Bobby Sing

Its fine Manroop,
Keep Visiting and Writing in,

Leave A Comment
E-mail (will not be published)
Website (Optional)
Enter shown code