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The greatness of reading Gurbani - Sakhi Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji from Sri Gurpartap Suraj Granth



This Sakhi is from the life of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji as recounted in Sri Gurpartap Suraj Granth by Mahakavi Bhai Santokh Singh Ji. Many times the question is asked: is there any benefit in reading Gurbani if we do not understand the meanings? This Sakhi from Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji’s life very beautifully demonstrates that even if we do not yet fully grasp the meanings of Gurbani (which in reality are beyond our limited understanding, however every Sikh should make efforts to try and understand the Arth of Gurbani), a Sikh should never stop doing their Gurbani Nitnem: ਕਿਸੂ ਦੇਸ਼ ਤੇ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਆਈ। ਬੰਦਨ ਕਰੀ ਭੇਟ ਅਰਪਾਈ। ਕੇਤਿਕ ਦਿਨ ਰਹਿ ਬੈਠੇ ਪਾਸ। ਕਰਤਿ ਭਏ ਪੁਨ ਇਮ ਅਰਦਾਸ ॥੩੪॥ Sangat had arrived from a different country for Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji’s Darshan, they bowed down to Guru Ji and gave many offerings. After many days of staying in Guru Ji’s Sangat, they asked Guru Ji the following question: ਨਾਮ ਧਰੀਕ ਸਿੱਖ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ। ਕਰਉ ਬਿਨਾਸਨਿ ਸੰਸੇ ਉਰ ਕੇ। ਪਾਠ ਕਰੈਂ ਹਮ ਨਿਤ ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ। ਅਰਥ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਰਥ ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੀ ॥੩੫॥ “Satguru Ji! We are your Sikhs who have received the gift of Naam from you, please destroy the doubts of our hearts! We read Gurbani daily, but we often do not understand the meanings of Gurbani… ਜੋ ਮਾਰਗ ਗੁਰ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਬਤਾਇਵ। ਸੋ ਹਮ ਤੇ ਨਹਿ ਜਾਇ ਕਮਾਇਵ। ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨ ਕੋ ਨੇਮ ਨਿਬਾਹੈਂ। ਪਢੈ ਸਦਾ ਬਾਨੀ ਅਵਗਾਹੈਂ ॥੩੬॥ Guru Ji! That path which you have explained for us to walk upon, many times we cannot walk upon it fully. However, we read and sing Gurbani daily without fail. ਕਯਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਗਤਿ ਅੰਤ ਹਮਾਰੀ। ਇਹ ਸੰਦੇਹ ਨਿਤ ਰਿਦੇ ਮਝਾਰੀ। ਅਸ ਉੱਤਰ ਬੁਝੈ ਅਤਿ ਬਾਢੇ। ਕਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਹਾਥ ਜੋਰਿ ਭੇ ਠਾਢੇ ॥੩੭॥ Guru Ji! This doubt always remains in our hearts; will we receive liberation when we leave this body?” Standing with their hands folded, the Sikhs asked this question with much love to Guru Sahib. ਸ੍ਰੀ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ਕਛੂ ਨਹਿ ਕਹਯੋ। ਸਭਿ ਕੇ ਮਨ ਮੈਂ ਸੰਸੈ ਰਹਯੋ। ਤਿਹ ਛਿਨ ਹੋਇ ਤੁਰੰਗ ਅਸਵਾਰ। ਗਮਨੇ ਬਾਹਰ ਹੇਤੁ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ॥੩੮॥ Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji remained quiet, and the doubt remained in the minds of the Sikhs. Guru Ji then mounted their horse and left to the jungles for Shikaar. ਬਰਖਾ ਹੋਇ ਹਟੀ ਤਿਸ ਕਾਲਾ। ਸੂਰਜ ਨਿਕਸਯੋ ਯੋਤ ਬਿਸਾਲਾ। ਮਗ ਮਹੁ ਹੰਡੀ ਪੁਰਾਤਨ ਹੇਰੀ। ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਠੀਕਰੀ ਚਮਕ ਘਨੇਰੀ ॥੩੯॥ At that time it had just stopped raining and the rays of the sun were shining through the clouds. On the pathway, there was an old broken clay pot. The shards of this pot were shining very brightly in the sunlight. ਘ੍ਰਿਤ ਬਾਸਨ ਕੀ ਫੁਟੀ ਪਰੀ। ਥਿਤ ਹੁਇ ਗੁਰੂ ਮੰਗਾਵਨਿ ਕਰੀ। ਨਿਜ ਕਰ ਮਹਿ ਧਰਿ ਬਾਕ ਬਖਾਨਾ। ਬਾਨੀ ਪਾਠ ਪ੍ਰਸ਼ਨ ਤੁਮ ਠਾਨਾ ॥੪੦॥ This broken pot once contained ghee. Guru Ji seeing this stopped and asked for those shards to be brought to them. Holding them in their hands Guru Ji said, “O Sikhs! You had asked a question regarding the reading of Gurbani. ਤਿਸ ਕੋ ਉੱਤਰ ਲੀਜਹਿ ਸਾਰੇ। ਜੋ ਗੁਰ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਪਯਾਰੇ। ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਭੁਗਤਿ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੁਖ ਪਾਵੇਂ। ਚਲਹਿ ਪੰਥ, ਜੋ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥੪੧॥ Now hear the answer, that person who earns the Guru’s Shabad with love, without a doubt they receive liberation and the ultimate happiness. They walk upon the path explained in Gurbani. ਪਾਠ ਸੁਧਾਰਨਿ ਜੋ ਨਿਤ ਕਰੇ। ਨੇਮ ਨਿਬਾਹਨਿ ਮੈਂ ਅਨੁਸਰੇ। ਪਾਠ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਕਰੈ ਗਤਿ ਐਸੀ। ਸੁਨਹੁ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਨ ਹਮ ਭਾਖਹਿ ਜੈਸੀ ॥੪੨॥ However, those who read Gurbani daily but may not understand the meanings fully, listen to how they also get liberated by the greatness of reading Gurbani: ਜਿਮ ਠਿਕਰੀ ਬਹੁ ਬਰਖ ਬਿਤਾਈ। ਲਗੇ ਤੇਜ ਨਿਕਸੀ ਚਿਕਨਾਈ। ਤਿਮ ਜੇ ਪਠਹਿ ਨੇਮ ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ। ਅੰਤ ਦੇਤਿ ਕੱਲਯਾਨ ਮਹਾਨੀ ॥੪੩॥ In the same way that after many years the gloss of ghee has appeared on these shards when the sun shone upon them, those who read Gurbani daily, at their last moments the power of that Gurbani will liberate them. ਰਹੀ ਚਿਕਨਤਾ ਠੀਕਰਿ ਮਾਹਿ। ਤਯੋਂ ਬਾਨੀ ਗੁਨ ਰਹਿ ਮਨ ਤਾਂਹਿ। ਅੰਤਕਾਲ ਫਲ ਕਰਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ੇ। ਜਥਾ ਕੁਸਮ ਤਿਲ ਪਾਇ ਸੁ ਬਾਸੇ ॥੪੪॥ In the way that the gloss of the ghee has remained upon the shards, in the same manner, the qualities of Gurbani ever remains in the heart of the Sikh who reads it. At the last moment, the reward of reading Gurbani will come forth. It is similar to how fragrance is added to seeds (i.e. in India to make fragrant oils, seeds pressed to make oil were soaked for many days in rose/jasmine perfumes. When the seeds would eventually be ground to make oil, due to the fragrance of the perfume, the oil would also smell fragrant. In the same manner, the fragrance of Gurbani will also come from the reader of Gurbani and forever stay with that Sikh). ਪਾਠਕ ਕੀ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਕਰਿਹੀ। ਅੰਤਕਾਲ ਪੀੜਾ ਪਰਹਰਿਹੀ। ਗੁਰ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਸਿੱਖਨਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ। ਦਈ ਪ੍ਰਦੱਛਨ ਚਹੁੰ ਦਿਸ਼ਿ ਫਿਰ ਕੈ ॥੪੫॥ Gurbani forever helps those who read it, destroying the pain of the last moments.” Hearing these words from Guru Ji, the Sikhs performed Parkarma (Circumambulation) around Guru Ji. ਸਭਿ ਕੇ ਰਿਦੈ ਵਧੀ ਸੁ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਤ। ਬਾਨੀ ਪਢਿਬੇ ਕੀ ਬਡ ਪੀਤਿ। ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਪਗ ਪੰਕਜ ਬੰਦੇ। ਜਾਨਿ ਆਪਨੇ ਭਾਗ ਬਿਲੰਦੇ ॥੪੬॥ The faith for Gurbani increased in the hearts of all those present, their desire to read more Gurbani flourished magnificently. They bowed down to Guru Ji’s lotus feet, recognising their high fortunes. ਗੁਰ ਬਾਨੀ ਜਾਨੀ ਸੁਖ ਕਾਰਨ। ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਬਹੁ ਪਤਿਤ ਉਧਾਰਨ। ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਪਢਿ ਕਰਿ ਗਤਿ ਲਹੈਂ। ਜਯੋਂ ਕਯੋਂ ਪਢਨਿ ਸਦਾ ਚਿਤ ਚਹੈਂ ॥੪੭॥ They realised that Gurbani was the cause of all happiness, reading Gurbani many sinners had been liberated. Our mind should always be enthusiastic to read Gurbani as it is our cause of liberation. ਅਰਥ ਸਮਝਿ, ਕੈ ਸਮਝੇ ਬਿਨਾ। ਬਿਨਾ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ, ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਸੁ ਘਨਾ। ਪਠਨਿ ਨੇਮ ਗੁਰਬਾਨੀ ਕਰੋਂ। ਘਟਿਕਾ, ਜਾਮ ਕਿ ਨਿਸ ਦਿਨ ਰਰੈਂ ॥੪੮॥ With understanding or without understanding, with love or without love, the Sikh should always read Gurbani, be it for a Gharri (22.5 minutes), a Pehar (3 hours) or day and night! (I.e. the Sikh should never stop doing their nitnem with the excuse that we do not understand Gurbani yet fully, or we do not yet feel complete love for Guru Sahib. Those who persevere and do not give up, Guru Ji will, without doubt, bless them with the understanding of Arth and Prem as they continue to read Gurbani). - Raas 9, Adhiyaae 8, Sri Gurpartap Suraj Granth, Mahakavi Bhai Santokh Singh Ji

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