File:Chandi di var.jpg

CHANDI DI VAR (The Ballad of Chandi) or, to give it its exact title, Var Sri BHAGAUTI Ji Ki,Var Durga ki in some birs, by Guru Gobind Singh and included as the fifth Bani (composition) in the Dasam Granth, is the story of the titantic contest between Chandi and other gods on the one hand and the demons on the other, and with help of it Guru Sahib explained the priciples of Gurmat (the Guru's way).

It is contest between a Gurmukh and Manmukh. Chandi di vaar is reply to Chandi Saptsati of Markandya Purana. Guru ji wrote their Chandi Saptsathi under title Chandi Chariter in his own style then he cleared the problems in Chandi Charitar(or Chandi Saptsati) in composition "Chandi Di Vaar".

Note: Sikhs do not worship any Durga devi, Chandi Devi or Bhagwati devi neither Guru Sahib did, neither Chandi means any Devi or Hindu deity and neither Bhagauti means any Devi or Deity. Guru Sahib cleared in beginning his worshipper for only for the one Creater. For Gurmat vyakhya Listen here


Var Sri Bhagauti JI Ki, is mostly known by Sikhs as Chandi Di Var. Older manuscripts also record another name Var Durga Ki. It is written in fifty-five stanzas (Pauris). The first stanza of Chandi di Var forms the introductory part of the Ardas, the Sikh prayer. This was traditionally performed holding a three foot Sword (Sri Sahib). The Rahitname (codes of Sikh conduct) state it should be read standing up, with sword in hand. Therefore to do this properly one must memorise this composition. The Ardas from Chandi Di Var begins:

ੴ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਹ ॥

God is One and God is always Victorious

ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਸਹਾਇ ॥
May Gurmat Help

ਵਾਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਭਗਉਤੀ ਜੀ ਕੀ ॥
Ballads of Sri Bhagauti Ji

ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਭਗੌਤੀ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਕੈ, ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਈਂ ਧਿਆਇ ॥
First I meditate on Bhagauti, which Guru Nanak Dev Ji meditated

ਫਿਰ ਅੰਗਦ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਅਮਰਦਾਸੁ ਰਾਮਦਾਸੈ ਹੋਈਂ ਸਹਾਇ ॥
Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das also sahaye in simring Bhagauti

ਅਰਜਨ ਹਰਿਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਨੋ ਸਿਮਰੌ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ॥
Guru Arjun and Guru Har Gobind Ji did the same

ਸ੍ਰੀ ਹਰਿ ਕਿਸ਼ਨ ਧਿਆਈ ਐ, ਜਿਸ ਡਿਠੇ ਸਭਿ ਦੁਖਿ ਜਾਇ ॥
Guru Har Krishan also meditated on Bhagauti, with the help of which all pains and suffering goes

ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਐ, ਘਰ ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਆਵੈ ਧਾਇ ॥
Guru Tegh Bahadur also meditated on Bhagauti and in house 9 Nidhs comes

ਸਭ ਥਾਈਂ ਹੋਇ ਸਹਾਇ ॥੧॥
The Bhagauti, or the chandi is helpful everywhere


What is Bhagauti?

God is Above All

Guru Gobind Singh writes first God created the double edged sword Khanda, then the Universe. He created the play of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He gave them the power to defeat the demons. Oh Akal Purukh, you are the creator of Durga that killed the demons. In this context Durga is the power of the Angels to defeat the demons. The Guru is not interested in the medium of the Hindu Goddess, he is interested in the Shakti given to her by God, which is God's own power.

Following the invocation, this composition is a description of war and Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. It is written in a clear style and deals with matters related to war so it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.

However at the end of the composition is the verses: Durga Path baniya Sabhai Pauriya. Phir Na Johni Aiyah Jiney Ih Gaiya. The verse of Durga have been made into stanzas. Those who sing this ballad, will not be born again. By this line we must conclude that the Chandi Di Var, has spiritual motives as well as physical. It encapsulates both Miri and Piri.


When Pundits said guru ji to do Yagya and Chandi will come and give blessings to guru sahib. Guru ji recited chandi di var and after he finished chandi di var, guru ji throwed smagari in fire of yagya and take out his sword and said here's chandi.

Sant Harnam Singh Rampur Khere wale recited Chandi Di Vaar in his Nitnem every day. In 'Se Kanehaa?' he explained that if Chandi Di Vaar is recited after the sunset, then it must be continued all night non-stop. It is alright for two or more Singhs to do it in turn. If an individual can recite it all night then that is alright as well. A clean cloth should be spread underneath where you're sitting and you must have your bath first. An oil lamp (dhesi ghior dee joth) should be lit. There are no strict rules about reciting in the day time. Whether it is recited one or more times, it should be done with love and affection.

The main reason for writing about war and Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. The aim of these ballads (1st one has 233 verses, the 2nd has 266 verses, the 3rd has 55 verses) is to inspire warriors to stand up for truth and righteousness in the face of tyranny and oppression. On a deeper level they deal with the internal struggle to control basic animal instincts. All 3 ballads are extremely metaphorical and deeply narrative in nature, and describe the battles of Durga (also known as Chandi, Bhawani, Kalika) against demon warlords (such as Sumbh, Nisumbh, Chandh, Mundh, Domar Lochan and Rakt Beej). One interpretation is Lust is personified as demon Mehkhasar; Selfishness is personified by demon Sumb. The instinctual forces are demons, Indra is the self of Man, Durga is the Divine (God) within the self. Sumbh is Pride and Nisumbh is Anger. Dhumerlochan is Cloudy Vision, Chund (Greed) and Mund (Attachment). Based on the tales of Durga in Markandey Puraan, these ballads also weave in the intricacies of the higher power (Akal) that controls creation, yet is also within it. Thus Chandi became the embodiment of strength and might in female form and was described in all her majesty and glory. Guru Gobind Singh taught that Chandi is none other than the primordial power of the Almighty which fights evil, and, as such, Chandi is actually not to be worshipped as an idol but instead revered by using the 'Tegha' (sword). Hence he taught all that the true worship of Chandi was actually knowing how to wield the sword in battle to destroy evil. As expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he agrandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any. The poetry has a virile temper evoked by a succession of powerful and eloquent similes and by a dignified echoic music of the richest timbre. These poems were designed by Guru Gobind Singh to create a spirit of chivalry, dignity and Bir Ras.

The poem allegorizes the eternal conflict between good and evil. The source of the legend is "Devi mahatmya," a section of the Markandeyapurana, and the narrative follows, in the main, the classical detail though the dominant interest lies in the character of Chandi which, through the creative genius of the poet. attains reality and firmness belying its mythical origin. The Var, in Punjabi, is one of the trilogy of poems about Chandi in the Dasam Granth, the other two being in Braj. Chandi, the eightarmed goddess, consort of Siva, the god of destruction in the Hindu mythology, is also known by the name of Durga or Bhagauti. This last name has multiple connotations: it stands for goddess Chandi as well as for the sword, which, according to Guru Gobind Singh, is the symbol of power (sakti) and ultimately of Akal, the Timeless One Himself.

Sikhism is strictly monotheistic and Guru Gobind Singh, like his nine spiritual predecessors, promoted belief in the One Formless God, excluding all incarnations and images. He chose the Pauranic story of Durga`s valorous fight against the demons for its martial import. The Var opens with an invocation to God symbolized as sword and then to the first nine Gurus or preceptors of the Sikh faith. This part of the poem with the subsequent addition of invocation to the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, forms the opening section of the current Sikh ritual supplication, Ardas.


The story begins with the demons overthrowing the gods and establishing their own sway where once the gods ruled. The Satyuga, the age of truth, is past and it is now the time of not so righteous Treta. Great discords prevail in the world; Narada famous for his ability to stir up passions is abroad. The gods in their helplessness turn to Mount Kailash where lives Durga. Their leader, King Indra, supplicates the goddess for help : "Thy shelter we seek. Goddess Durgshah!" Riding her demondevouring lion, Durga at once sets out to annihilate the evildoers. A fierce battle ensues, and the heavens are torn by the beating of drums, blowing of shells and the piercing cries of war. The sun becomes invisible in the dazzling brilliance of shiny swords and spears. In the awesome confusion of battle, the warriors fall to the ground, in agony, like drunken madmen. Those pierced with spears lie motionless like olives on the branch of the tree. The fallen heroes look like so many domes and turrets struck down by lightning. The demons fight with dreadful determination and not one of them has been seen fleeing the field. Their womenfolk watch the bloody scene from their towers, amazed at the goddess`s wondrous valour. Durga`s sword seems dancing in her hand raining death on the dauntless foe. The demons, full of wrath, close in upon her roaring like the black clouds. The mighty Mahkhasur comes in great fury, but Durga smites him with such force that her sword, breaking the helmet to pieces and piercing through the body of the rider, the horse and the earth, rests on the horns of the bullock (who supports the earth). The Queen, upon her stately lion, tears through the battleranks of the demons demolishing them with her deathly sword. "Durga, with God`s grace, has won the day." Restoring to the gods their lost kingdom, she returns. But the troubles of the gods are not yet ended.

The demons again rally under their chiefs, Sumbha and Nisumbha, and march upon the kingdom of Indra. The gods are again undone and are forced to seek Durgshah`s help. The goddess is ready for another battle. Chandi another name for Durga in the poem flashes upon the battle`s dread array like lightning. Warlike heroes such as Lochana Dhumra come forward to match the goddess`s prowess, but they all fall to her fatal sword one by one. Sumbha sends out fresh armies to face the fight. The goddess meets them with an angry charge of arrows sending many a hero to eternal sleep.

It is now the turn of another, Sranvat Bij, who brings a mighty host of ironclad, vengeful soldiers. Durga mounts the lion as she hears the fiendish din and, flourishing the mace of battle in her hand, leads her army on. But deathless is Sranvat Bij. As the drops of his blood fall to the ground, hosts of demons arise from them to join the strife. Many more are born every instant than Durga and the gods can destroy. The goddess, in a rage, remembers Kali, who bursts forth from her forehead in a flame of fire. Durga and Kali both spread ruin in the enemy`s ranks with their bloodwashed swords. At last, Sranvat Bij is surrounded and "the swords around him look like a crowd of fair maidens eagerly gathered to see a newly arrived bridegroom." Kali drinks the blood falling from Durga`s blows so that no drop touches the earth, thus preventing the birth of more demonwarriors. Great is Sumbha`s anguish when he learns of Sranvat Bij`s death. The wrathful demons prepare for revenge. The firm earth trembles under the marching heroes like a vessel upon stormy seas. But resistless is Durgshah on the field of battle. She cuts up the foemen like a hewer cuts the twigs. Those who were never tired of fighting have had more than their fill today. Mounting his fiery steed comes Nisumbha with a heavy bow he had specially sent for from Multan. But before he can take aim, a deadly blow from Durgshah`s sword bears him down. The same fate awaits Sumbha. Seeing their chiefs fall in this manner, the demons raise a loud howl of woe. They leave their horses and fly with weeds of grass in their mouths in token of surrender. Durgshah restores to Indra his crown. "Hail toJagmat the Universal Mother," cry all the worlds. Durga emerges from this account triumphant, highspirited and glorious. She is the symbol of divine power and justice. To the virtuous, she is a ready and kindly friend and protector.

In Chandi di Var, the different names used for the goddess are Durgshah, Chandi, Devita, Rani, Bhavani, Jagmat and Maha Mai the Great Mother. The chief point of Chandi di Var lies in its warlike temper which is evoked by a succession of powerful and eloquent similes and a dignified, echoic music of the richest timbre. The poem, though not the size of a true epic, has a remarkable breadth of sweep and intensity and a heightening rhythmical tempo with wellmarked climactic patterns. On the reader`s mind it makes a stirring and invigorating impact.

NIHANGS, among SIKHS, especially include it in their daily devotion and derive much inspiration and spirit from reciting it. .This is the name given to the fifth Bani in the second holy scriptures of the Sikhs called the Dasam Granth. This text spans from page 297 to page 325 of the 1478 pages of this holy book of the Sikhs. (Original text is over 1428 pages). This composition is part of Chandi Charitra, which in turn is part of Bachittar Natak

It is important to note that Guru Gobind Singh Ji ultimately gave credit to the Akaal Purakh, and in Chandi Di Var he explains

"thai hee dhuragaa saaj kai dhaithaa dhaa naas karaaeiaa O Lord! By creating Durga, You alone have caused destruction of demons by her."


The summary of this Bani is narrated by Gobin Sadan at:
"The third piece of writing associated with the portrayal of Chandi is called Chandi di Vaar. Written in fifty-five stanzas, this is the only composition this is in Punjabi. The first stanza of Chandi di Vaar forms the introductory part of the ardaas, the Sikh prayer.

Pritham bhagouti simar key Guru Nanak layin dhyay....

Following the invocation, this composition highlights the major events and incidents about Chandi as mentioned in the ancient writings. The remaining portion is a description of war. Since it is written in such a clear style and deals with matters related to war it appeals strongly to soldiers and warriors. In the ancient times literature of this kind was read during the wars to enthuse the warriors to heights of glory and heroism even today the same tradition prevails.

The main reason for writing about Chandi so many times was that Guru Gobind Singh Ji wanted to affect a sea change in the mental make up of the society, to enthuse and encourage them for the war of Righteousness that he planned to undertake. Thus Chandi the embodiment of might in the female form was described in all her majesty and glory, her strength and might. And as expected through his inspirational writings the Guru was able to transform the character of the multitudes totally. At the same time, he agrandised the image of the mother placing it on a pedestal unequalled by any."



  • Loehlin, C.H., The Granth of Guru Gobi`nd Singh and the KHALSA Brotherhood. Lucknow, 1971
  • Ashta, Dharam Pal, The Poetry of the Dasam Granth. Delhi, 1959
  • Nikky, Gunindar Kaur Singh, "Durga Recalled by the Tenth Guru," in The Journal of Religious Studies, vol. XVI, Nos. 1 & 2. PATIALA, 1988
  • Harbans Singh, Aspects of Punjabi Literature. Firozpur, 1961
  • Jaggi, Ratan Singh, Dasam Granth Parichaya. Delhi, 1990
  • Bcdi, Kala Singh, ed., Chandi di Var Satik. Delhi, 1965
Dasam Granth

Jaap | Akal Ustat | Bachitar Natak | Chandi Charitar | Chandi di Var | Gian Prabodh | Chobis Avatar | Brahm Avtar | Rudar Avtar | Shabad Hazare | Swayyae | Khalsa Mahima | Shastar Nam Mala | Charitropakhyan | Zafarnama | Hikayats

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