S

ikhs have prescribed a daily spiritual discipline which includes reading Seven Banis (prayers/words written by the Gurus). Jap Ji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Svaiye, Benti Chaupai Sahib, and Anand Sahib are read every morning, along with Rehraas Sahib and Sohila Sahib in the evening and night respectively. This is called Nitnem which literally translates to daily routine. Initiated Sikhs do Nitnem every single day. In this article, we will learn some facts about each Nitnem Bani, their main messages, and how they help us in our daily lives.


Basics of Jap Ji Sahib 

  • Pronounced Jup Jee Saa-hib
  • Enlightenment through repetition and contemplation, by the Master
  • First of the five standard morning prayers for all initiated Sikhs
  • Gives guidance on how to meditate
  • Found on Ang 1-8 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 
  • Compiled in Kartarpur, Narowal, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Revealed through Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru, during their travels
  • Compiled under the guidance of the First Guru by the Second Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji 
  • Reciting alone takes about 20 minutes
  • Compiled approximately in the year 1535
  • Inspires love, acceptance and compassion
  • Teaches of universal truths that apply to all human beings
  • Anyone can apply these teachings to their lives
  • Describes the infinite nature of ‘The One’
  • Listening to the explanation of it can help answer all questions in our minds about life


Basics of Jaap Sahib

  • Pronounced Jaap Saa-hib
  • Continuous praise and remembrance of ‘The One’, by the Master
  • Second of the five standard morning prayers for all initiated Sikhs
  • Gives guidance on what to meditate on
  • Found at the beginning of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji
  • Revealed in Paonta Sahib, Sirmour, Himachal Pardesh, India
  • Revealed through Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Sikh Guru
  • Reciting alone takes about 20 minutes
  • Revealed approximately in the year 1682
  • Inspires constant and intuitive worship of The One when recited and understood
  • Direct worship of The One without an intermediary 
  • Awakens the warrior spirit within
  • Can be recited to perfect technique and rhythm in martial arts, if memorized
  • Emphasizes the omnipresence of The One
  • 199 Stanzas in praise of The One
  • Contains several languages including Braj, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, etc.



Basics of  Tav Prasad Svaiye

  • Pronounced Tha-ve Pra-saadh S-vay-ye
  • Stanzas revealed by ‘The One’s’ Grace
  • Third of the five standard morning prayers for all initiated Sikhs
  • Manifests internal detachment whilst remaining in the world
  • It is a part of Akaal Ustat found in Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji
  • Revealed in Paonta Sahib, Sirmour, Himachal Pardesh, India
  • Revealed through Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Sikh Guru
  • Reciting alone takes about 5 minutes
  • Revealed approximately in the year 1685
  • Inspires devotional worship (Bhagti)
  • Uttered as teaching to Raja Medini Prakash, Raja Rattan Rai, and Raja Bhim Chand 
  • Explains the true value of worldly power and wealth
  • Commentary on people only carrying out external performance without internal reflection 
  • An analysis of rituals being performed within religions
  • Total of 10 stanzas (Svaiye)
  • Also known as Sudha Svaiye, Das (10) Svaiye, Amrit Svaiye



Basics of Benti Chaupai Sahib 

  • Pronounced as Baen-tee Chao-pay-ee Saa-hib
  • A humble request to ‘The One’, written in quatrains by the Master 
  • Fourth of the five standard morning prayers for all initiated Sikhs
  • Teaches how and what to request from the one 
  • Part of the end of Charitar-o-pakhyan found in Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji
  • Revealed at Bhabour Sahib, Nangal, Ropar, Punjab, India
  • Revealed through Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Sikh Guru
  • Reciting alone takes 5 minutes 
  • Revealed approximately in the year 1696
  • Protects from five vices that make up the ego (lust, anger, attachment, greed, pride)
  • Easy to memorize 
  • Inspires strength to begin and accomplish a task
  • Helps to remove fears and anxieties
  • Given by Guru Ji to help face difficulties and obstacles 
  • Inspires humility when recited from the heart 
  • It is also a part of the evening Nitnem (Rehraas Sahib)


Basics of Anand Sahib

  • Pronounced A-nun-dh Saa-hib
  • The song of True Bliss by The Master
  • The fifth out of the five morning prayers for all initiated Sikhs
  • Teaches what True Bliss is and how to achieve it
  • Found on Ang 917-922 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
  • Revealed at Goindwal Sahib, Tarn Taran, Punjab, India
  • Revealed through Guru Amar Das Ji, the Third Sikh Guru
  • Reciting alone (complete version) takes about 20 minutes
  • Revealed approximately in the year 1554
  • Inspired the name of the Sikh Marriage Ceremony (Anand Kaaraj)
  • Written in Raag Ramkali, a morning Raag normally performed after sunrise
  • Emphasize the importance of submitting to a True Guru
  • The complete version contains 40 stanzas and the short version is made up of stanzas 1-5 and 40
  • The short version is always sung on every occasion
  • It is also a part of evening Nitnem (Rehraas Sahib)



Basics of Rehraas Sahib

  • Pronounced Reh-raas Saa-hib
  • The way which keeps you moving straight towards ‘The One’, by the Master
  • Composed of writings from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji
  • Three main parts include
  1. Intro stanzas + So Dar and So Purukh
  2. Benti Chaupai Sahib and other stanzas
  3. Anand Sahib and concluding stanzas
  • Contains revelations from First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Gurus
  • Reciting alone takes about 30 minutes
  • Reciting in congregation takes about 40 minutes
  • Sung at sunset by all Sikhs before dinner
  • The first part is mainly composed in Raag Aasa, a twilight Raag performed at sunrise/sunset
  • Up to the end of ‘So Dar’ is usually sung as Kirtan in the Gurdwara
  • Reminds us to focus on what is important in this human life
  • Helps us to let go of negativity from our day at work/school/home
  • Lifts our spirits and keeps us in true bliss after any negativity in the day
  • Other translations of Rehraas are humble prayer/request, daily discipline, humble welcome


Basics of Sohila Sahib 

  • Pronounced So-hil-aa Saa-hib
  • The song of praise by the Master
  • Sung immediately before going to sleep
  • Found on Ang 12-13 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
  • Contains revelations from First, Fourth, and Fifth Sikh Gurus
  • Sung when Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is being readied to retire for the day
  • Reciting alone takes about 5 minutes
  • Helps to stop over-thinking at night and keeps you focused on The One
  • Sung at the death ceremony of a Sikh
  • Empowers one to wake at Amritvela for morning meditation and prayer
  • Invokes protection by The One whilst you sleep
  • Can take away anxiety and worries so the body and mind can rest properly
  • Explains how to sing the praises of the one
  • Also known as Kirtan Sohila or Aarti Sohila
  • Explains how different paths/experiences /opinions of the world are linked
  • Also translates to The Wedding Song by the Master or the Song of Joy by the Master

The leaflet for this article can be downloaded here.

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