Learning Gurbani pauri by pauri

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Born in 1656, Guru Har Krishan ji was the son of Guru Har Rai ji (the seventh Guru). He became the eighth Sikh Guru when he was only 5 years old. Guru Har Rai ji had two sons, Ram Rai and Har Krishan. The older son, Ram Rai, offended the Sikh community and Guru Har Rai ji by changing a word in a verse from Guru Granth Sahib to please the then ruler of India, Emperor Aurangzeb. Ram Rai wanted to become the next Guru but Guru Har Rai ji considered him unfit for Guruship and nominated the younger son, Har Krishan ji, to be the eighth Guru.

Guru Har Krishan ji was not disturbed by the claims of his brother for Guruship. He remained at Kirtarpur and continued to look after the spiritual needs of the Sikhs. One day a Pandit came to see Guruji. The Pandit was very arrogant and proud of his learning. Seeing the child Guru, he wondered how a person of such a tender age can be a Guru. He wanted to test the Guru and asked him to explain some difficult passages from Gita, the Hindu holy book. Guru ji smiled and asked the Pandit to pick any Sikh from the congregation to do the translation. The Pandit picked an illiterate, ignorant looking Sikh, named Chhaju. Guru ji placed his stick on Chhaju's head and asked him to explain the passages to the Pandit. The Sikh gave him such scholarly explanations that the Pandit was amazed and sought Guru ji's pardon. Guru ji told him that humility was the essence of all virtues. By this incident Guru Har Krishan ji removed all doubts from anyone's mind regarding his capability of being a Guru because of his age. This also reinforces our belief that all our Gurus had the same spirit in different bodies. The eternal source of spiritual knowledge that was within Guru Nanak Dev ji was passed on to each Guru irrespective of age.

Ram Rai sought Emperor Auranzeb's help for his claim to Guruship. Aurangzeb was also keen to create a division among the Sikhs to weaken them. So he supported Ram Rai's claim to Guruship. The Emperor asked a Hindu king, Raja Jai Singh of Delhi to bring Guru Har Krishan ji to Delhi so that he can persuade the Guru to relinquish Guruship in favor of Ram Rai. Guru Har Krishan ji came to Delhi with some of his Sikhs and stayed in Raja Jai Singh's House, the place where Gurudwara Bangla Saheb stands today. At this time, a smallpox epidemic had broken out in Delhi. Guru ji immediately became busy in serving the sick people, giving them food and medicine and comforting them. He served them day and night and arranged for the cremation of the dead. After some time, Guru ji himself contracted smallpox and became very sick. The Sikhs realized that the end may be near, so they asked Guru ji who will be the next Guru. Guruji had become very weak due to illness and could only utter the words "Baba Bakala", meaning that the next Guru lived in Bakala (a city in Punjab). From "Baba" he meant his grand uncle, Teg Bahadur (son of the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind ji). After saying these words, he closed his eyes and passed away at the age of eight. There is a Gurudwara in Delhi called "Bala Saheb", where Guru Har Krishan ji was cremated.

This is a good opportunity to memorize Gurbani, one Pauri at a time. You can concentrate better and enjoy more if you recite bani without looking at the gutka.

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at rajsinghmarwah@yahoo.com. Any suggestions for improvement will be most welcome.


According to the current Rehat Maryada published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), every Sikh is expected to recite the following banis everyday:

Morning: Japji Saheb, Jaap Saheb, Ten Swayyas. Ardas is performed after reciting these banis.

Evening: Rehras Saheb and Ardas.

Night: Kirtan Sohela


o Written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji
o This is the first bani in Guru Granth Saheb, also called Adi Granth.
o This bani is not assigned to any Raga (most of the bani in Guru Granth Saheb is in various Ragas)
o Consists of mool mantra, 38 paurees, and a slok.
o This bani is recited in the morning before starting the daily routine.


o Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
o This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth, which is a separate Granth (holy book) containing writings of Guru Gobind Singh ji only.
o This bani has 199 verses, which are written on the first ten pages of Dasam Granth.
o This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Japji Saheb.


o Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
o This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth.
o This bani has 10 verses, four lines each.
o This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Jaap Saheb.


o A collection of nine hymns, four of which are written by Guru Nanak Dev ji, three by Guru Ram Das ji, and two by Guru Arjan Dev ji. These hymns follow Japji Saheb in the Adi Granth.
o Also includes Chopyee Saheb, one swayya, and one dohera by Guru Gobind Singh ji, six paurees of Anand Saheb (first five + the last) written by Guru Amar Das ji, and two hymns by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
o This bani is recited in the evening at sunset.


o A collection of five hymns, first three by Guru Nanak Dev ji, fourth by Guru Ram Das ji, and the last hymn is written by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
o All five hymns are from Adi Granth - Guru Granth Saheb ji.
o This bani is recited immediately before going to bed at night and also at funerals


[(Spiritual) cleanliness does not come by taking a shower, Nanak says, (spiritually) clean are those who remember God with love and devotion. ]

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