Meaning: noun: Literally, an ill-mannered woman, the title of a composition by Guru Nanak, in Guru Granth Sahib.
ਮੰਞੁ ਕੁਚਜੀ ਅੰਮਾਵਣਿ ਡੋਸੜੇ ਹਉ ਕਿਉ ਸਹੁ ਰਾਵਣਿ ਜਾਉ ਜੀਉ॥
ਮੈਂ ਕੁਚੱਜੀ ਹਾਂ, (ਮੇਰੇ ਵਿਚ) ਬਹੁਤ ਦੋਸ਼ ਹਨ; ਮੈਂ ਕਿਵੇਂ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਪਤੀ (ਦੇ ਆਤਮ-ਮਿਲਾਪ ਦੇ ਅਨੰਦ) ਨੂੰ ਮਾਣਨ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ ਹਾਂ ਜੀ।
maňĵ kuchajjee aṁmaavaṇ ḍosaṛe
hau kiu sahu raavaṇ jaau jeeu.
I am ill-mannered, (filled with) endless faults; how can I go to enjoy the union of the Husband Divine? -Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 762
Message: The verse above, written in the first person, is part of a composition of Guru Nanak, in Raag Suhi, in Guru Granth Sahib. It expresses the emotions of a repentant person who is figuratively called ku-chaji or ill-mannered.
Through this beautiful composition, by reminding a seeker of her shortcomings, the Guru has taught her a method to repent and pray to the Divine seeking forgiveness.
In Guru Granth Sahib, every human being is a potential bride of the Divine. Here the repentant bride, reflecting on her faults, is questioning how she can enjoy a union with the Divine which other virtuous beings are sharing with Him.
Who is a kuchaji? How do we define one who is ill-mannered? What are their faults?
A lack of virtues is considered to be one fault. Awareness of the virtues of the Divine can be the starting point to bring us closer to Him. The wisdom of the Gurus points these virtues out to us. We are just not paying attention.
The lure of material possessions in this world is another. We are captivated by the material gifts we have received from the Divine. The wealth, the desire for more creature comforts blinds us to the need to know, to understand and to practise His virtues. Instead of bringing us closer to Him, we are drawn further away by these gifts even though they are from Him. Fooled by focusing on these gifts, we have strayed from the Divine.
Forgetting the reason why we have been given this human life is one more. We have forgotten what this life – this journey – is for. It is as if we are sleepwalking. Being separated from the Divine is painful.
Hence the plea – how can I enjoy a union with the Divine?
Notes: Kuchaji is said to have been addressed to a sorceress named Noorshah of Kamrup district, in Assam, India, who used to entice men by her ‘magical’ powers. However, the contents contradict the conjecture.
Etymology: Blend of ku (a negating prefix, meaning ill or contrary) + chajj (manner or style) + ee (a suffix of feminine gender).