The first stanza of this Alahani encourages the being to sing praises of the eternal Creator, who is all-capable and is the cause of all causes. The second stanza states that the Beloved can be experienced through the Wisdom (Guru). The third stanza describes the seeker who has experienced the Beloved through deep love and teachings of the Wisdom. The fourth stanza inspires the separated seeker to unite with the Beloved by connecting with the Wisdom.
vaḍahansu  mahalā  3  mahalā  tījā  
ikoaṅkār  satigur  prasādi.  
prabhu  sacṛā  hari  sālāhīai   kāraju  sabhu  kichu  karṇai  jogu.      
sādhan  ranḍ  na  kabahū  baisaī    kade  hovai  sogu.    
 kade  hovai  sogu    andinu  ras  bhog   sādhan  mahali  samāṇī.  
jini  priu  jātā    karam  bidhātā   bole  ammrit  bāṇī.  
guṇvantīā  guṇ  sārahi    apṇe  kant  samālahi    kade  lagai  vijogo.  
sacṛā  piru  sālāhīai   sabhu  kichu  karṇai  jogo.1.  
-Guru  Granth  Sahib  582    
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
This composition is set in the rag or musical mode of Vadahans, which is common in wedding and death ceremonies. Vadahans is associated with folk traditions. In this composition, Alahania are the songs of sorrow that are sung after someone dies, which vary based on the deceased’s age and the circumstances of their passing. Usually, the immediate female relatives sing these songs as a group and publicly display their grief and pain by beating themselves or wailing. Vadahans literally means the great swan. The swan is often associated with the self, the being, or the spirit within. In Indology, it is used for those yogis or holy people who are great beings of their time. In the Guru Granth Sahib, many compositions often distinguish between being swan-like (calm on the waters) versus being crane-like (full of pretension). This is about our potential to be swan-like and more vastly understanding folk culture. These compositions are about more than the funeral ceremony, more than the folk culture around death, more than the folk culture of women grieving and lamenting physically, and the sadness of this occasion. Guru Amardas uses this common experience to guide us toward a deeper understanding of how we get through the most painful thing — separation from IkOankar (One Creative and Pervasive Force, 1Force, the One). How do we practice acceptance? Where do we go for guidance? How do we cultivate a relationship with the One who is ever-present? 

In the first stanza, Guru Amardas says, the eternal 1-Light, the eternal Remover of suffering, the Sovereign IkOankar (One Creative and Pervasive Force, 1Force, the One), ought to be praised. This is the One who is capable of doing everything and every task. The Guru uses commonly invoked names of the Divine: Hari and Prabhu, to speak to the positional relationship that the One has with creation as all-capable, gracious, immanent, and transcendent. Prabhu is a name that invokes the royal and godlike nature of the One, whose nature is to fulfill a particular role of goodness and compassion. This is the One who is capable of helping us when no one else can. This is the One who is capable of removing our suffering. It is the human-bride of the Divine-Groom, the seeker in a relationship with that all-capable One who never sits as a widow. The seekers who sing the praises of the Beloved IkOankar never feel separated from that Beloved. They experience the unending presence of the Beloved, and they become unaffected by sorrow and grief. 

The Guru repeats this idea that sorrow does not ever afflict the seeker who sings the praises of the One. When we ask the question as seekers of whether there is a time when there is a feeling of both union and separation, we might turn to this composition as guidance. If we keep praising the One, then everything is possible — every task, every affair, is capable of getting done. Anything is possible. Do not let anyone tell us that our separation cannot end! The cultural paradigm referenced in the invocation of the human-bride, the seeker, and the widow, is quite important. In a worldly sense, in the cultural context of the Guru, a woman in a marriage might worry about becoming widowed because she would lose her social status and her support system, and she may not have a way to take care of herself. In this relationship of the seeker with the One, that sorrow, pain, fear, and anxiety never afflict the seeker. The intensity of the human relationship is transcended to be placed in the context of the Divine relationship. It is impossible for us to be widowed as human-brides of the Spouse. That One is always with us if we only practice praise and remembrance of that One. When we do this, we are in constant bliss, experiencing all the flavors of bliss. We are immersed in the mansion of that One. What is the mansion? It is the abode of the One, where the One is present and operating. The mansion is all of creation! To be in the mansion is to live here and now and enjoy bliss every day, to experience the flavors and excitement of one’s relationship with IkOankar. IkOankar is also referenced as karam bidhata, the Maker of deeds. This is the One who creates our actions in the world, who creates whatever it is we engage in, who makes our deeds fruitful! This is the one who is the architect of whatever karmas we carry, who builds our destinies. Why would we ever think that it is impossible to overcome our separation when the One we seek is the Maker of deeds? 

The seeker in this stanza has recognized that this is the fruit of the Creator — that any bliss they experience is a result of their relationship with the Creator. In this recognition, they recite and voice the immortal utterances, the amrit bani. And it is due to this that the seeker is referred to as virtuous. There are many virtuous seekers! This is not exclusive to one or two people. This relationship with the Beloved is in a different paradigm altogether because the all-Capable IkOankar is present and accessible to all. We all have the potential to become virtuous, to shift the way we look at things. We are urged to learn how to inculcate the virtuous seeker’s behavior. We are shown that it is possible! Will we cultivate a relationship with the Beloved, with the Maker of deeds? Will we address our fear of being widowed from the Beloved? Will we overcome our separation from the Beloved by remembering the virtues?