Three Gurus – Guru Nanak
, Guru Ram Das
and Guru Arjan
- contributed five shabads on the pain of separation and celebrating the bliss of union. The first three Shabads were uttered by Guru Nanak
, the fourth by Guru Ram Das and the fifth by Guru Arjan Dev. This is the night prayer said by all Sikhs
before sleeping. The actual name of Bani is Sohila Sahib.
The religious and artistic value of these hymns is superb.
- The first shabad visualises the union of the personal self with the Ultimate Reality.
- The second shabad presents the singularity of the Ultimate despite endless diversity of scriptures, teachers and philosophies.
- The third shabad rejects all modes of external piety and ritual, and vividly portrays the entire cosmos making harmonious worship. Instead of trays with lamps placed upon them with incense and other offerings, the skies become an integrated platter, the sun and moon the lamps, stars the beads, and all vegetation an offering of flowers. Loud chanting is replaced by the inner unstruck melody playing motionlessly.
- The fourth shabad explains the importance of the divine Name through which all suffering and transmigration is annulled.
- The fifth shabad celebrates life here in this world: we must avail ourselves of this wonderful opportunity to serve others and to win divine merit. The unknown Mystery becomes known to the enlightened person who thereafter enjoys the bliss and freedom of immortality.
It is also recited before cremation, following a death. This Bani is found on pages 12 to 13 of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures.
Kirtan Sohila Link