Asa Di Vaar – The Ballad of Hope

August 14, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today I would like to share with you about Asa Di Vaar – The Ballad of Hope

Asa-di-var—-means “A ballad of hope;” it is one of the basic sacred compositions for the Sikhs and is sung every morning in congregation in gurdwaras. The Var is an heroic ode which describes the brave deeds of a hero. It is generally sung to inspire armies going to battle or to inspire people with martial spirit. The Asa-di-var is to be sung in the Assa raga.

It consists of 24 stanzas (Pauris) and 44 Staves (Salokas) and was originated by Guru Nanak later, Guru Angad added another 15 staves of his own. In congregation, the musicians sing this var along with Chhants (quatrains) of Guru Ramdas. The stanzas express the ideas in general, while the staves clarify them by example and detail. Social and religious issues are then related, to ordinary life.

The Asa-di-var does not tell a story, its theme is: “How to become a spiritual person”-a devta.

In it, Guru Nanak also warns us against the rituals and tricks of priests and monks. The most important thing is how to build up one’s character and how to remove the obstacles that lay in the path of a disciple, the most important of which is the ego, selfishness or conceit. Even holy persons, who are outwardly very good and kind, often suffer from religious pride. Sometimes so-called religious people, commit heinous crimes through self-righteousness and bigotry.

It should be remembered that Ego in its pure essence is self-awareness or identity which when regulated is an essential, for it is the basis of one’s character or moral nature. When regulated by right motivation and active service, it is positive and beneficial. But if uncontrolled through self pride of position or riches, it becomes selfish and mean. The effects of the Ego are particularly contemptible and disastrous when disguised by the apparent holiness or tradition, which exploits ordinary people’s ignorance and credulity. The practice of humility and love are the most effective qualities for keeping people away from sin, far better than all recitations and rituals of religion.

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Thanks to my brothers at I have been able to upload a rare copy of the Asa Di Vaar sung by Bhai Lal Ji. Bhai Sahib is a direct descendent of Bhai Mardana Ji and was a Hazoori Ragi at the Harminder Sahib pre partition. He used to do kirtan till the time a ruling was passed that only Amritdhari Sikh men were allowed to do kirtan in Harminder Sahib. His son Bhai Ashiqle Ali still does kirtan.

Asa di Vaar – Bhai Lal Ji

If I am not wrong this was recorded some time in the 1960’s so the recording quality aint the best.

Have a good week ahead

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh


6 Responses to “Asa Di Vaar – The Ballad of Hope”

  1. satvinder Says:

    brilliant post! thanks for sharing this (“,)

  2. sarbjit kaur Says:

    waheguru ji ka khalsa, waheguur ji ki fateh!!
    this is a very sweet post 🙂

  3. daljit singh Says:

    i have some realy good kirtan of bhai shamsher singh zakhmi.

  4. Harmohan Singh Says:

    Daljit ji,

    Will you be willing to share the kirtan of bhai shamsher singh zakhmi, you have.


  5. Daljit Singh Says:

    Yes. It is on Cassette tapes though.

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