What are the Nau-Nidh (Nine treasures of wealth)?

Gurbani is essentially poetry. To convey the message effective language tools were needed to explain to individuals the message of Waheguru. These included using metaphors, imagery and similes. Guru Ji drew upon the culture, beliefs and ambient practices of the society when Gurbani was revealed to help explain to the common folk the universal message of Truth. Therefore, to fully understand the message of Gurbani a person needs to have knowledge of the culture, mythology and languages of the Indian sub-continent, which combined with the aforementioned language tools and grammar allows one to fully understand in correct context what Guru Ji is saying. As a result of ignorance of the latter mentioned points one can sometimes misread and misunderstand the message of Gurbani.

This week’s article will focus on what are the ਨਉਨਿਧਿ (Nau-nidh), translating to mean ‘nine treasures of wealth’. This term is mentioned in the Ardaas ( recited daily by Sikhs) and in Gurbani. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru, writes the first part of Ardaas. Guru Ji ends this verse by writing:

ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਸਿਮਰਿਐ, ਘਰ ਨਉਨਿਧਿ ਆਵੈ ਧਾਇ॥ ਸਭ ਥਾਈਂ ਹੋਇ ਸਹਾਇ॥
“Remember and meditate upon (Guru) Teg Bahadur; and then nine sources of wealth will come hastening to your home. (O Respected Gurus!) kindly help us everywhere.”

‘Nau Nidh’ appears in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 39 times.

According to Indian thought traditionally Nau Nidheeaa(n) or Nine treasures are described as the following:

1. ‘Padam’ – gold, silver, and the like

2. ‘Mahaan Padam’ – gems, jewels etc.

3. ‘Sankh’ – delicious things to eat

4. ‘Makar’ – training in the use of arms

5. ‘Kachhap’ – clothes, corn and the like

6. ‘Kund’ – dealings in gold

7. ‘Neel’ – trading in gems and jewels

8. ‘Mukand’ – mastery of the fine arts

9. ‘Kharab’ or ‘Warch’ – riches of all kinds

In the context of Gurbani the Nau-Nidh or nine sources of wealth are related to ‘Naam’ (the Lord’s Name).

ਆਪਿ ਸੁਜਾਣੁ ਨ ਭੁਲਈ ਸਚਾ ਵਡ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ॥
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਧਿ ਕੈ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੇ ਦਾਣੁ ॥
ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਪਵੈ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥2॥
“The True Lord God knows all; He makes no mistakes. He is the Great Farmer of the Universe. First, He prepares the ground, and then He plants the Seed of the True Name. The nine treasures are produced from Name of the One Lord. By His Grace, we obtain His Banner and Insignia. ||2||”
(Ang 19)

ਮੈ ਛਡਿਆ ਸਭੋ ਧੰਧੜਾ ॥ ਗੋਸਾਈ ਸੇਵੀ ਸਚੜਾ ॥
ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਮੈ ਪਲੈ ਬਧਾ ਛਿਕਿ ਜੀਉ ॥8॥
ਮੈ ਸੁਖੀ ਹੂੰ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਵਸਾਇਆ ॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਵਿਖਾਲਿਆ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਧਰਿ ਕੈ ਹਥੁ ਜੀਉ ॥9॥
“I have forsaken all my entanglements; I serve the True Lord of the Universe. I have firmly attached the Name, the Home of the Nine Treasures to my robe. ||8|| I have obtained the comfort of comforts. The Guru has implanted the Word of the Shabad deep within me. The True Guru has shown me my Husband Lord God; He has placed His Hand upon my forehead. ||9||”
(Ang 73)

ਸਬਦੈ ਸਾਦੁ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਤਾ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਵਖਾਣਹਿ ॥
ਸਚੇ ਸੇਵਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਨਿ ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਵਣਿਆ ॥5॥
“Those who know the essence of the Shabad, understand their own selves. Immaculate is the speech of those who chant the Word of the Shabad. Serving the True One, they find a lasting peace; they enshrine the nine treasures of the Naam within their minds. ||5||”
(Ang 115)

It is clear from reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that the Nine treasures or Nine sources of wealth mentioned in the Ardaas in fact refers to the ਨਾਮ ਰੂਪ ਦੌਲਤ, the wealth of Naam rather than being concerned with the Nine things which are believed to be treasures and sources of wealth according to the traditional beliefs of the Indian subcontinent in themselves.

ਮ: 5 ॥
ਵਿਣੁ ਤੁਧੁ ਹੋਰੁ ਜਿ ਮੰਗਣਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਦੁਖਾ ਕੈ ਦੁਖ ॥
ਦੇਹਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੀਆ ਉਤਰੈ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਭੁਖ ॥
ਗੁਰਿ ਵਣੁ ਤਿਣੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਕੀਤਿਆ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਆ ਮਨੁਖ ॥2॥
“Fifth Mehl: To ask (from You) for any other than You, Waheguru, is the most miserable of miseries. Please bless me with the Naam, Your Name, and make me content; may the hunger of my mind be satisfied. The Guru has made the dried woods and jungles and meadows has made them green again. O Nanak, is it any wonder that Waheguru also makes human beings green and blessed as well ||2||”
(Ang 958)

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