Kal Taaran Gur Nanak Aaya in Raag Bageshri


Next year in November, it will be the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the illumined soul of my music and life. I am hearing of plans of celebrations all over the world ... But why wait until next year? Why not have a year long musical celebration??? I am diving right in, right now!!! 

This week, I start with a beautiful poem by Bhai Gurdas, "Kal Taaran Gur Nanak Aaya" in Raag Bageshri. I have been singing this since the 1990s, and I had recorded this first in 2009. I re-recorded this in the past few days. There will be a lot more in the coming weeks ...

Thanks to Simer Chabbra for the Happy Gurpurab cover art.

Lyrics and Translation

ਸੁਣੀ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ਦਾਤਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਗ ਮਾਹਿ ਪਠਾਇਆ
Sunee Pukaari Daatar Prabhu Guru Naanak Jag Maahi Pathhaaiaa
The benefactor Lord listened to the cries (of humanity) and sent Guru Nanak to this world.

ਚਰਨ ਧੋਇ ਰਹਰਾਸਿ ਕਰਿ ਚਰਣਾਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਪੀਲਾਇਆ 
Charan Dhoi Raharaasi Kari Charanamritu Sikhaan Peelaaiaa 
He washed His feet, eulogised God and got his Disciples drink the ambrosia of his feet. 

ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਇਕ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ
Paarabrahamu Pooran Brahamu Kalijugi Andari Iku Dikhaaiaa 
He preached in this darkage (kaliyug) that, saragun (Brahm) and nirgun (Parbrahm) are the same and identical. 

ਚਾਰੇ ਪੈਰ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਇਕ ਵਰਨੁ ਕਰਾਇਆ
Chaaray Pair Dharam Day Chaari Varani Iku Varanu Karaaiaa
Dharma was now established on its four feet and all the four castes (through fraternal feeling) were converted into one caste (of humanity). 

ਰਾਣਾ ਰੰਕ ਬਰਾਬਰੀ ਪੈਰੀ ਪਵਣਾ ਜਗਿ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ
Raanaa Ranku Baraabaree Pairee Paavanaa Jagi Varataaiaa
Equating the poor with the prince, he spread the etiquette of humbly touching the feet. 

ਉਲਟਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਪਿਰੰਮ ਦਾ ਪੈਰਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਸੀਸੁ ਨਿਵਾਇਆ
Ulataa Khaylu Piranm Daa Pairaa Upari Seesu Nivaaiaa
Inverse is the game of the beloved; he got the egotist high heads bowed to feet. 

ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਬਾਬੇ ਤਾਰਿਆ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ ਪੜ੍ਹਿ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ
Kalijugu Baabay Taariaa Satinaamu Parhhi Mantr Sunaaiaa
Baba Nanak rescued this dark age (kaliyug) and recited ‘satinam’ mantr for one and all. 

ਕਲਿ ਤਾਰਣ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਇਆ ॥੨੩॥ 
Kali Taarani Guru Naanaku Aaiaa ||23 || 
Guru Nanak came to redeem the kaliyug.

[Note from 2011]

"Guru Nanak" in Raag Bageshri:

Happy Gurpurab folks!!! I have been singing Bhai Gurdas' Vaar Kal Taaran Guru Nanak Aaya in Bageshree since the mid-90s. This weekend I made a recording of this shabad mixing in a country ballad style. Following is a copy of yesterday's recording. Feel free to listen, download, and pass along to friends and family.

Feb 16, 2011 Update

My interpretation of this Vaar

How fortunate am I
The supreme giver 
has infinite mercy upon me
and sent for me none other 
than my dear Guru Nanak
to be my guide

My Guru travels far
and learns from the learned
He is the wisest I've know
still he meets everyone
with a peculiar humility 
strange to our world
How fortunate am I

And he teaches me 
the way to learn by example
He travels many million miles.
And when his feet are washed
Particles of his noble ways
make sweet ambrosial nectar
a drop of which I get to drink
How fortunate am I

With that luminious drop
all fog starts to disappear
Himself my dear Guru shows me
there is no difference betwee
one who knows everything
and the mysterious one
that no one can fully fathom
How fortunate am I

This world of ours has
those of different religions
those of disparate social strata
some rich live the lives of king
others, paupers, just survive
they have all, in one drop.,
through his blessed vision
become ONE for me
How fortunate am I

At times when 
everything looks dark 
he lights my path 
with the torch of the 
mantra of truth, Satnam!
My dear Guru Nanank 
has removed my darkness
How fortunate am I
How fortunate am I

Nov 25 Update:
Based on a request in the comments area, following is the notation for one of the guitar parts -- the actual notation is tough to read and play -- but this is a simplified version that works as well. Every two bars is one line of the shabad as follows:

Kal taaran Guru Nanak aayaa - 4
Suni Pukaar Dataar Prabh - 2
Guru Nanak Jag Mahe Pathayaa - 2
Charan Dhoye Rehraas Kar - 2
Charanaamrit Sikhaan Pilayaa - 2
(Rest of the verses repeats similarly)

Music - Raag Bageshri



  1. Kal taran means in Hindi
    Heard about kul taran singh means (kul means family ) we know it