Bani

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Reading Nitnem Gutka

Bani (Punjabi (Punjabi: ਬਾਣੀ)), short for Gurbani (Punjabi (Punjabi: ਗ੝ਰਬਾਣੀ)), is the term used by Sikhs to refer to various sections of the Holy Text that appears in their several Holy Books.

The word Gurbani consists of two roots - Guru and Bani. The word "Guru" means "spiritual teacher" and here refers to the ten Gurus of Sikhism, the other Bhagats and writers whose writings can be found in the holy Guru Granth. The word "Bani" s refers to their utterances and writings. So the combined word "Gurbani" means the writings of the Gurus as found in the Sikh holy scriptures; the Gurus' words; the Gurus' teachings.

These Banis are also found in small Gutkas or Small Books containing sections of Gurbani. These Gutkas can vary from just a few pages to hundreds of pages and are used by Sikhs to refresh the text of the these Banis in their mind on a daily basis. The handy size of the Gutkas makes it easy to carry them in a coat pocket or purse. Although the Gutkas have to be treated with respect and care, the Sikhs do not accord the Gutkas the same reverence as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib their perpetual Guru, which is treated like a living Guru.

Sikhs carry the Gutka covered in a clean cloth and wash their hands before handling the Gutka.

Sikh woman praying
You should not put any Gurbani script on the floor; nor handle with unwashed hands; read without covering your head; turn the pages with licked finger; or cause any disrespect to the honourable word of the Gurus.

Sikhs normally would sit comfortably on the floor or if this proves difficult on a bed or sofa, cross-legged with the spine in a straight position in a quiet place in their home or wherever they are and then read quietly the Banis from the Gutka or recite them from memory.

The 5 Banis Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Amrit Savaiye, Benti Chaupai and Anand Sahib
Nitnem Gutka
are usually recited daily by some devoted Sikhs in the early morning. Rehras Sahib is read in the evening and Kirtan Sohila before going to sleep at night. No exact time is stipulated by the Guru for the reciting of the Banis as this is left to the individual. However, the morning Banis are normally read early in the morning when the world is still asleep and it is peaceful and silent. One should endeavour to do this as early as possible in the "ambrosial" hours of the morning. Some devout Sikhs read their Banis as early as 4 am but most practising Sikh usually recite their Banis at about 6 am and it takes about 1 hour to complete their meditation.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has recommended that the following 7 Banis should be recited by a Sikh on a daily basis:

Sikh woman reciting Bani
Nitnem Gutka wrapped in cloth

Also see the following links: Japji Sahib Ji - Page by Page text & Audio of Japji Sahib

Whether one recites just one Bani or all the above Banis everyday, a Sikh must bear in mind the following advice given by the SGGS:

  • Gurbani is a jewel:
  • Gurbani is the jewel, the treasure of devotion. Singing, hearing and acting upon it, one is enraptured. ||2|| (page 376)
  • Hold your mind steady while reciting Bani:
  • Under Guru’s Instructions, hold your mind steady; O my soul, do not let it wander anywhere. One who utters the Bani of the Praises of the Lord God, O Nanak, obtains the fruits of his heart’s desires. ||1|| (p538)
  • Focus one’s mind on the True Lord:
  • When the Lord shows His Mercy, He enjoins the mortal to work for the Guru. His pains are taken away, and the Lord’s Name comes to dwell within. True deliverance comes by focusing one’s consciousness on the True Lord. Listen to the Shabad, and the Word of the Guru’s Bani. ||1|| (p1277)
These are the Popular Banis of Sikhism

Mool Mantar | Japji | Jaap | Anand | Rehras | Benti Chaupai | Tav-Prasad Savaiye | Kirtan Sohila | Shabad Hazaray | Sukhmani | Salok Mahala 9 | Asa di Var | Ardas

Audio

The section below lists various Banis which are recited by devout Sikhs regularly. The most important Banis of the Sikhs are:


1. Japji Sahib, forms the beginning of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is regarded as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs. This Bani was complied by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism.

2. Jaap Sahib, forms the first part of the Dasam Granth, which is the second Holy Book of the Sikhs.

Sikh Scriptures

3. Anand Sahib, is a compilation by the Third guru Guru Amar Das. This bani is part of SGGS.

4. Rehras Sahib or Sodar Rehras which consists of hymns from SGGS plus

5. Kirtan Sohila – Prayer to be recited before going to sleep – Also recite just before the body is cremated.

6. Tav-Prasad Savaiye , A short prayer recited as part of the 5 Banis

7. Sukhmani Sahib

8. Asa di Var

9. Ardas

1,3,4,5,7: Part of SGGS.

2,4a, 4b,6: All complied by the tenth Guru of the Sikhs called Guru Gobind Singh Ji and part of Dasam Granth.


See also

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