What is Lareevaar?
Lareevar is the physical form of Gurbani, where there are no spaces between Shabad, meaning all of the Shabad are unbroken from one another in a continuous line. Lareevar was the only way Gurbani was written until mid 20thCentury. All Puratan Saroops of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj written by renowned scholars such as Baba Deep Singh ji and Bhai Mani Singh Ji, can be found composed in Lareevaar, as can all other Puratan Granths. Being able to read Gurbani in Lareevar, requires one to be ‘learned’ in the art of reading Gurbani, meaning taking Santhia.
So why Lareevar?
There are two main points behind having Gurbani in Lareevar form. The first is that when the Shabad is unbroken from one another, no editing can take place, where Akhar are added between the separations. This means that Gurbani can keep its authenticity, and Guru Maharaj’s Bani remains pure in its original form.
The other reason for Lareevar is that, to read Gurbani, one has to study to be able to have access to it. Using the analogy of a lock and key, Gurbani being so priceless is guarded by the lock that is its Lareevaar form. So Guru Maharaj has also handed the key to open the lock to their Sikh, in the form of Santhia. This gives Gurbani a sense of value, where the Sikh has to work hard for the reward of Gurbani, and they have to be a ‘Practical’ Sikh (student). Satguru ji has created a system, whereby their Sikh is required to grow as a student of their Guru, in order to have access to the priceless jewel that is Gurbani.
Gurbani in ‘Padh Shedh’ form (Shabad split up from one another) came about mid 20th century. The convenience of having Gurbani in this form, has made it readily accessible to the general Punjabi reading and speaking public. But with this convenience has come about the disregard for needing to take Santhia of Gurbani. From this has arose the thinking that one can simply read Gurbani correctly if you are able to read Punjabi, which is far from the truth.
Guru Maharaaj wanted their Sikh (students) to be practical students and learn how to read Gurbani correctly in its true form. Unfortunately, through our own faults and weaknesses, instead of growing and changing for our Guru through Gurmat Vidhya (study), we have changed the form of Gurbani (physical form) to supplement our laziness and shortcomings as Sikh.
Mahapurakh Sant Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji explain in the following clip the importance of reading Gurbani in Larivaar, and how currently ‘aalas’ (laziness) of reading Gurbani in ‘Padh Shedh’ is overtaking the Panth: