श्याम पिया मोरी रंग दे चुनरिया – O Lord please let me dye my head-covering (scarf) in your Color

“श्याम पिया मोरी रंग दे चुनरिया ||”

‘Shyam Piya Mori Rang De Chunariya.’

“O Lord, Let me dye my head-covering (scarf) in your color.”

“ Today, I was listening to a devotional song by famous Indian Singer Anup Jalota. Besides the song being very melodious and soothing, it conveyed a very subtle message of living our life as per the dictates of the Lord. The poet talks about a dedicated follower asking Lord Krishna to dye her head-covering in his color. The deeper meaning of the verse is that we all should fashion our conduct in the manner as suggested to us by the scriptures keeping in mind Lord’s directions and make our life sublime. In this very song, poet then asks a few pertinent questions which hinge on certain vices like Anger, Sin, Bad deeds etc leading to blemish in one’s character and also on virtues like spiritual knowledge, noble deeds etc. The poet’s question and answers run as under:-

जल से पतला कौन है, कौन भूमि से भारी |

कौन अगन से तेज है , कौन काजल से कारी |

Jal se patla kaun hai, kaun bhumi se bhari,

Kaun agan se tej hai, kaun kajal se kari.


What is  thinner than water, and what is heavier than Earth.

What is more dangerous than fire and what is blacker than Kajal (a pitch black Indian eyeliner).

And then the poet answers,

जल से पतला ज्ञान है , और पाप भूमि से भारी |

क्रोध अगन से तेज है , और कलन्क काजल से कारी |

Jal se patla gyan hai, aur pap bhumi se bhari,

Krodh agan se tej hai, aur kalan kajal se kari.


Knowledge (Specially spiritual knowledge is even thinner (more intricate and fine) than water,

And Sin is heavier than the Earth.

Anger is more dangerous than fire and Blemish is far blacker than Kajal.

What a beautiful explanation? This explanation was as per the Indian Hindu scriptures and same is further elaborated in Indian Sikh scriptures which I intend discussing briefly.

Anger, as per Sikh scriptures  is like a Chandal (A destroyer) as it is stated in Gurbani.

“ਬਸਇ ਕਰੋਧ ਸਰੀਰ ਚੰਡਾਲਾ ||”.  “Basai Karodh Sareeri Chandala”. Means , The Anger when hidden in Man’s body acts as a Destroyer.” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Page 759). A person sees no reason or logic when he is angry and can commit any type of violent act, thus the anger is far more dangerous than fire.

Knowledge, as per the Sikh scriptures is a very powerful instrument, “ਗਿਆਨ ਖੰਡ ਮੇਂ ਗਿਆਨ ਪਰਚੰਡ,” “Gian Khand mein Gyan Parchand” Means in the realm of wisdom, spiritual knowledge reigns supreme. (SGGS, Page7). The domain of Knowledge beautifies the mind and the consciousness, given the understanding of what is just and fair and good or bad. Thus it is similar to what the poet has compared the knowledge with water.

Sin (Pap), As per Sikh scriptures, An intentional sin committed does not get obliterated during one’s present life but its consequences go far as a man reincarnates itself. As Scriptures put it as.

“ਪੁੰਨੀ ਪਾਪੀ ਆਖਣ ਨਾਹਿ, ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜੇ ਆਪੇ ਖਾਏ ||” “Punnee paapee aakhan naahi, kar kar karnnaa likh le jai.”

Means, Virtue and Vice do not come by mere words, actions repeated over and over again are engraved on the soul. (SGGS, Page 4).

Thus we see that sin once committed takes its toll on a person and hence comparison of sin being heavier than Earth is very relevant. One may get away once a while, but the realization of the sin and its effects on the soul linger on for many lives.

Similarly a person whose reputation has been tarnished or blemished can never wipe it out as it is even blacker than the blackest item (like Indian Kajal (eye liner).

Therefore, Let me pray to the Lord to give me strength to act as per his guidance and let me listen to my inner voice (a light of the Almighty which resides in all) before I indulge into any wrong doings. In other words let my head scarf be colored in the Lord’s color. “श्याम पिया मोरी रंग दे चुनरिया |”



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