Sukhmani Sahib: Psalm Of Peace

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
by Kulbir Kaur

Here is a line from the Sukhmani Sahib: "Sukhmani Sukh amrit prab nam,/ Bhagat jana kai man bisram. Rahau." Sukhmani is peace of mind, the nectar of the Name of God. The minds of the devotees abide in a joyful peace. Pause.

The word 'rahau' which means 'pause' manifests the true meaning of the bani or sacred sayings, the Sukhmani Sahib. Also known as the 'consoler of the mind' and the 'Jewel of Peace', its recitation leaves a soothing effect on the mind of the reader. A basic text of the Sikh faith, Sukhmani Sahib - Gauri Sukhmani in the Guru Granth Sahib - presents the teachings of the Sikh faith in a simple yet soul-stirring manner.

The sacred bani comprising 24 ashtpadis or cantos opens with an invocation to the Supreme who is remembered as adi-gure, jugadi-gure, sat-gure and sri-gurdeve - the primal guru, guru of all ages, the true guru and the great Divine Guru. It urges that in order to gain peace one should make a constant effort to remember the Name - Shabad or Word of the Almighty. Guru Arjan Dev says that the only way to realise God is through Namsimran or chanting God's Name.

As weak beings, we are full of attachments and desires. In a world of maya or illusion, we forget the Creator while being engrossed in his creation. Only with His Grace and complete surrender to His Will one can overcome evils like anger, greed, attachment and desires. Namsimran helps in self-purification.

The one who is free of weaknesses is the Brahmnjnani. Guru Arjan Dev has projected him as the perfect person who completely identifies himself with the Supreme Being. The Brahmnjnani obtains the ultimate blessings of Waheguru. The eighth ashtapadi enumerates the traits of a Brahmnjnani:

"The Brahmnjnani is always unattached, as the lotus in the water remains detached; always unstained, like the Sun, which gives its comfort and warmth to all. He looks upon all alike, like the wind, which blows equally upon the king and beggar...To him friend and foe are the same...Within his mind, he is the most humble of all."

The Brahmnjnani, highly venerated, is also called gurmukh, sadhu or sant. He enjoys the highest spiritual status so much so that the Guru pronounces him the Supreme Being Himself - such is his merit and sanctity. He is compared to the earth for which he who is digging it with a shovel and he who is plastering it with sandalwood are alike...He is free of all. He centres all his hopes on God. "The True One is on his mind, and the True One is upon his lips. He sees only the One. O Nanak, these are the qualities of the Brahmnjnani." This very Truth can be realised only in the company of realised persons but with His grace only.

Recited by Sikhs in their morning prayer, Sukhmani Sahib is the most popular composition of Guru Arjan in Rag Gauri. It is said that he wrote it for a devotee who was suffering from great physical pain and mental anguish. When he listened to it, he was restored to calm and health.

Anyone who reads it with love and devotion experiences peace. Sukhmani Sahib soothes tired nerves, it rejuvenates mind and soul. Above all, it helps you become a better person.

The Guru Granth Sahib was consecrated as the Eternal Guru on October 20.

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