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Out of the twenty-two vars recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, Asa Ki Var is one such spiritually impactful var, that mentors an ordinary person to become Divine-like (an enlightened being full of Divine-virtues). The mentoring encompasses all facets of life, such as religious, social, cultural, moral, spiritual, political, etc. while singing the glory of the Timeless Being. Though the saloks in Asa Ki Var describe the worldly aspects in detail, the pauris contain praise of the Formless.

The focus of Asa Ki Var is the Creator-Being, and the Creator-Being’s extensive creation (nature). The tone of the Var is divine and is laden with social concerns. An intense feeling of adoration for the Guru, the glory of the true Divine, and a beautiful sketch of a sight awestruck by Divine pervasiveness in creation is expressed. Satiristic observations, as well as bold criticism of human egoism, socio-cultural ills, ritualism, and customs are also enunciated.

With the exception of two vars, the ‘Asa Ki Var’ is titled (as such) in a style similar to the headings of the rest of the vars, in the table of contents of the Guru Granth Sahib. Though, the title ‘Asa Di Var’ has gained currency in common usage today. Asa Ki Var appears on page 462 through 475 of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is a collection of twenty-four pauris revealed to Guru Nanak Sahib, and a total of sixty saloks (forty-five saloks of Guru Nanak Sahib, and fifteen saloks of Guru Angad Sahib). Generally, two to three saloks appear before every pauri; but in some places the number is greater (four to five).

In the popular tradition while singing Asa Ki Var, chants revealed to Guru Ramdas Sahib are sung one by one before the saloks recorded with each pauri. Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha states that “Guru Arjan Sahib included twenty-four chake of Guru Ramdas Sahib along with the twenty-four pauris in the kirtan.” However, only twenty-four pauris and sixty saloks (that are recorded with the twenty-four pauris), as per the original order (structure) of this var in the Guru Granth Sahib will be discussed. The meaning of the chants will also be discussed based on their order of appearance in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Regarding the subject of Asa Ki Var, Prof. Sahib Singh believes that “the subject of the entire var is the same… the entire var has been uttered together.” However, Bhai Vir Singh, while commenting on the relationship between the saloks and pauris writes, “minstrels used to sing vars and narrate stories of battles and wars, and share them concisely through the pauris. In between, they used to utter saloks, which sometimes were related to the context, satire, tune, or message of the pauris. Similarly, in the vars of Guru Granth Sahib, saloks sometimes either directly relate to the pauris, their satire, their tune, etc., or they allude to any principle; but often the essence of the saloks and pauris connects with one other, one way or the other.”