Re: Use of "aunkarr" and "siaree" in Gurbanee that do not seem to be pronounced.
Wednesday, 6/16/1999 2:28 PM MDT
Here is an informed response by Serjinder Singh Sahota to the post which started this thread of information:
(Feel free to respond further to Serjinder Singh, or to thank him, via his e-mail address given below).
Subject: Re: Question about "aunkarr" and "siaree" in Gurmukhi
Author: Serjinder Singh
Email Address: [email protected]
Date: Wednesday, 6/16/99 12:25 PM MDT
Dear Krishna Singh Khalsa ji
Waheguru ji ka khalsa
Waheguru ji ki fateh
A very important point to note is that the languages used in Gurbani are not the same as the present versions in use today. In terms of vocabulary and grammer a gradual
change has taken place over the past few centuries.
Without complicating the issue too much and without discussing all the important
gramatical issues it would be much more useful to point out just the importance of the
Aunkar and Siharee which to a beginner appears to be an unnecessary oddity. For
instance why should one bother about the aunkar and siharee if the pronunciation does
In Gurbani for instance we have Nanaku and Nanak and Nanaki. Although all the
three pronounced without any consideration to the ?u? ending or ?i? ending.
But these word-endings are very important and if one ignores these the meaning could
Let us remember a few simple applications of these endings.
1. When a noun is a masculine singular and ends in a consonant the ending
normally has an Aunkar but a masculine plural noun has no aunkar ending.
e.g. in the very beginning of Japuji we have pharases and sentences
Karta Purkhu, Adi Sachu, Jitu disai Darbaru, Jit Suni Dharai Piaru, Nadri Mokh
Duaru, in which the words
Purkhu, Sachu, Darbaru, Piaru, Duaru, have Aunkar endings
These refer to singular nouns which mean Person, Truth, Court, Love, and Door
On the other hand we have words which are masculine nouns and plural these do not
end in aunkar, e.g.
Similarly when a masculine singular noun is addressed it loses the aunkar ending but
retains if the masculine singular noun is a subject in a sentence. e.g the authorship word
for Guru Nanak ji comes in different forms
Nanaku Neechu kahai Veecharu
Nanak Aivai Jaaneeai Sabhu Aapai Sachiaru
Nanku in the first example is a subject which is saying something and is a subject hence
has aunkar ending
But in the second Guru ji is addressing himself saying O Nanak, this is how one
realises that the True one is Himself everywhere. Nanak here is being addressed and is
an object hence loses the aunkar ending.
2. If a word is associated with a preposition (in the English sense) this is denoted by a
siharee. e.g. the word for mind is Man and one finds it written as either Man, Manu,
or Mani. As said earlier, the aunkar ending in Manu indicates it to be a masculine noun
but when it appears as Man it probably is being addressed as in
E Man Meria tu Sada Rahu Hari Nale (Anand Sahib)
Naamu Jin ke Mani Vasia Vaje Sabad Ghanere ( Anand Sahib)
Mani means IN MIND. The Siharee implies the preposition IN.
Word ?Sabad? in this sentence refers to songs and is plural hence has no aunkar ending
but as a singular it appears in many places as SABADU with aunkar ending.
Similarly word NAM can appear as NAMU, or NAMI
Namu in above sentence refers to a singular masculine word but in
Dhuri Karami Paia Tudhu Jin Kau Si NAMI Hari kai Lage
NAMI means ?With Nam?. The extra siharee stands for with.
As in the case of any grammar there are many variations and each ending or declension
has a definite role to play and can change the meaning which we normally tend to
In the Mool Mantra, the words Purkhu, Nirbhau, Nirvairu have aunkar endings but
Akal does not. Purkhu is a masculine noun as such just as man is and carries an aunkar
ending but Nirbhau and Nirvairu are adjectives and stand for Waheguru which in
Punjabi is masculine and singular hence the aunkar ending. But Akal is also an
adjective which if were alone and standing in for Waheguru would have been written
as Akalu but here it is an adjective qualifying Murti which is a feminine object and
thus loses the aunkar.
Siharee endings also denote feminine gender of a noun e.g.
Bhagti, Murti, Shakti, Raati meaning devotion, statue, energy, and night respetively.
This is just to give an oversimplified view of word endings in Gurbani. Maybe at some
stage I might post a series of illustrations to clarify further points.