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Jiu

In the Indic and Panjabi culture, the use of the terms ‘jī’ or ‘jīu’ while addressing someone is considered to be an expression of love and respect. In the Guru Granth Sahib as well, wherever these terms are used as an address, they express a sense of love and respect for the noun or pronoun with which they appear. That is why, generally, a noun or pronoun is used with them in the case of an address to someone:

tūṁ ghaṭ ghaṭ antari sarab nirantari jī hari eko purakhu samāṇā.
iki dāte iki bhekhārī jī sabhi tere coj viḍāṇā. -Guru Granth Sahib 11

prabh jīu khasmānā kari piāre.
bure bhale ham thāre. rahāu. -Guru Granth Sahib 631

In addition to the above, the terms ‘jī’ and ‘jīu are also found to be used in non-addressing (non-vocative) form, such as:

hari kī tum sevā karahu dūjī sevā karahu na koi jī.
hari kī sevā te manahu cindiā phalu pāīai dūjī sevā janamu birthā jāi jī.1. -Guru Granth Sahib 490

manñu kucajī ammāvaṇi ḍosaṛe haü kiu sahu rāvaṇi jāu jīu.
ik dū iki caṛandīā kaüṇu jāṇai merā nāu jīu. -Guru Granth Sahib 762

The use of the terms ‘jī’ or ‘jīu’ in the non-addressing form is similar to the words/phrases like ‘hāṁ, hāṁ ki, hari hāṁ, rām, rām rāje, vaṇāhambai,’ etc. Regarding the use of these words/phrases in the Guru Granth Sahib, scholars like Bhai Vir Singh, Prof. Sahib Singh, Principal Teja Singh, Giani Haribans Singh, etc. are of the opinion that they have been used in poetic compositions as supporting terms, complementary terms, terms for completing a meter, for rhyming, or melody, etc. Linguistically, these words have no direct connection with the meaning of the line. The message of the line is complete even without them.

Every language has some words which do not fall into any of the grammatical categories. Dr. Harkirat Singh has placed similar terms in the category of ‘particles.’ He writes, “In grammar, such words are usually placed in the adverbial category. But if we look closely, it is clear that they cannot be adverbs. In modern English grammar, such words are called particles, but in the parts of speech there is no such category as particles. There are some examples of such words in Panjabi: ‘hī,’ ‘bhī,’ ‘vī,’ ‘nā,’ ‘nahiṁ,’ ‘hāṁ,’ ‘nīṁ,’ ‘ve,’ ‘jī,’ etc.” -Panjabi Bhasha Viakaran Ate Bantar, Compiled by Surinder Singh Khaira, page 98.

Thus, these terms ought to be understood as aesthetic or musical elements instead of semantic elements. Primarily, they can be divided as follows:

As a complementary term in a verse, like ‘vaṇāhambai,’ ‘hāṁ ki,’ ‘harihāṁ,’ etc.
anbhaü kinai na dekhiā bairāgīaṛai. binu bhai anbhaü hoi vaṇāhambai.
sahu hadūri dekhai taṁ bhaü pavai bairāgīaṛai. hukmai būjhai ta nirbhaü hoi vaṇāhambai. -Guru Granth Sahib 1104

janu nānak bhagatu dari tuli braham samsari ek jīh kiā bakhānai.
hāṁ ki bali bali bali sad balihāri.1. -Guru Granth Sahib 1385

ās piāsi sej su kanti vichāīai.
harihāṁ mastaki hovai bhāg ta sājanu paīai.2. -Guru Granth Sahib 1361

As a musical element, like ‘hāṁ’
gobind gobind kari hāṁ.
hari hari mani piāri hāṁ. -Guru Granth Sahib 409

To maintain a consistent musical flow, like ‘rām,’ ‘rām rāje,’ etc.
merai mani merai mani satigur prīti lagāī rām.
hari hari hari hari nāmu merai manni vasāī rām. -Guru Granth Sahib 572

jiu rātī jali māchulī tiu rām rasi māte rām rāje.
gur pūrai updesiā jīvan gati bhāte rām rāje. -Guru Granth Sahib 454

Gurbani is revealed. Each word appearing in it is important. Certain words are understood cognitively, while others enhance our aesthetical or musical experience. The words that lean towards the aesthetic and musical understanding and seem to express a tone of love and respect are included in the literal translation, but not in the interpretive transcreation.