Doing The Daily Banis

The past 3-4 months I have been spending more time and energy on my daily sadhana (spiritual discipline). It has been an up and down cycle for many years as I struggle to stay consistent. The normal day to day work and happenings tend to try to squeeze their way into my time and force my spiritual practice out. Some days I might feel lazy, tired…or just want to do something else…and before you know it I’m out of time or am really tired. When it comes down to it, it really has to do with what is most important and priority in your life. You make the important things happen and have a choice. Like most of you I am on this path as a Sikh and have to work at it. Having discipline in one’s own life takes commitment and is not always easy.

When I was 5 years old in Amritsar I took Amrit. Looking back at all the things I have gone through since then I realize that it was too early for me, since I did not really understand the commitments. In my teen years I went through some major challenges trying to fit in with western society and "finding myself" as a Sikh. These experiences are what I always try to share with other youth that may be going through similar things.

So, even though I have lived as a Sikh and followed the Rehat most of my life, I never really consistently did ALL my banis and wore a Kirpan/Kanga as an Amritdhari. I guess I never really remembered taking Amrit so it was as if I hadn’t made that commitment. However, I have always had some sort of spiritual practice in my life since it is the thing which keeps me "tuned in" and happy in life.

This past year, writing on my blog and sharing things with you all, has made me go much deeper into myself and feel the call of my soul (As well as being a parent and trying to set an example for my son). Even though many of you might learn from the things that I post on the blog, SO AM I! Many people think of me and SikhNet and assume I am an expert in Sikhi and must be "perfect". I don’t claim to be an expert or perfect person and am on this journey of life as you all are. We all have things to share and learn from each other and should support each other along the path, rather than judging or criticizing what you think they should or should not do. God has given each of us gifts to share and it is up to us to see those things and share them. I try to be real and not have some false outside persona. You can look like something on the outside and put on a show…but if it doesn’t match the inside than it’s no use and won’t carry you. People will eventually see beyond this "mask".

Here is one quote which sums up my experience about learning and teaching:

"If you want to learn something, read about it.
If you want to understand something, write about it.
If you want to master something, teach it,"
Yogi Bhajan

So..If I have learnt anything from this past year it is that you don’t have to be an expert and may not even realize the gifts that you have to share with others. We shouldn’t limit ourselves or be afraid to share something because you are not "X,Y,Z".

In the past I used to just do Japji Sahib and Kirtan Sohila, and even then I was not always regular. I remember seeing friends of mine who were really dedicated and did their banis every day and lots of seva. I don’t think I fully related and had this experience like they did. Or at least I never enjoyed it enough to make it a priority to do EVERY DAY.

The past 6 months or so I have been really feeling the need for a regular practice and have worked at it. I am building slowly and steadily which is good for me and is working!

Recently I have felt some major changes and have really gotten into doing banis and doing more seva and meditation. I started with my normal Japji and Kirtan Sohila…and as soon as I added Jaap Sahib it was like a lighting bolt hit me. I have always been intimidated with Jaap Sahib because I didn’t know the bani well and the few times that I did it I found it hard to read with all the difficult words. Now, after doing the bani I am just powered up and energized. It’s an amazing experience every morning! Then I just want to keep doing more banis. I am really starting to feel the power of bani. If you haven’t already seen the videos, there are some great ones with Guruka Singh talking about banis in the Video Archive.

When I wake up in the morning I start with a yoga set which helps get my body going and gives me the daily "tune up" I need. This has kept me healthy in spite of working 14-15 hours every day. I normally get sick in the winter and even though my family got really sick (and many people around me too)…I have felt really good. I then sit for about 20 minutes and do a few meditations and then start doing banis.
Another thing; I used to always wonder what the 5 banis were since I kept reading different version of the "5 banis", and then I realized that it is not really just 5 banis…but more like 8! (Correct me if I still haven’t gotten it right – Japji Sahib, Tav Prasad Swayia, Jaap Sahib, Shabad Hazare, Benti Chaupee, Rehiras, Anand Sahib, Kirtan Sohila). So…I have a ways to go :)

This post is getting really long so I won’t go on…but I really just wanted to start to share my experiences and what I am going through now. I hope that you will take a chance and push yourself to do more to experience the Gurus bani. I just want to encourage those of you to not feel pressured to make a huge leap that you cannot sustain and take on too much. The method which has worked for me is building slowly and steadily. So…start with one bani…and when you are ready…build on this to do more. Or if you REALLY can’t do one bani…then start with a certain number of pauris from a bani and continue reading till you finish and then start over.

I think the experience of the bani is more important and crucial, rather than just speed reading as fast as you can through. You may notice your mind wandering off onto this or that thing and not even be aware of yourself reading the bani. It is good to try to get into the meaning of the bani too (which I am starting to learn more of now). You might try a few times a week doing a bani really slowly, reading the Gurmukhi line first and then the translation after. Bottom line is you want to have an experience of the bani. So, find what works for you and gives you that connection to the Gurus who wrote these most divine words. These words teach us about life and beyond and can be a guiding light you.

More tommorow on banis….

26 Responses to “Doing The Daily Banis”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sat Sri Akal:

    At least you started on the path!!! Good!!! Keep at it. Always remember:

    “Charan Sharan Gur Ek Painda Jaye Chal
    Satgur Kot Painda Agey Hoey Lait Hai.”

    If you take one step towards the Guru, then the Guru will take thousands of steps towards you. (Vaaran Bhai Gurdas Sahib)

    This was how Bhai Lenha met Guru Nanak Sahib. Bhai Lehna merely began to proceed towards Guru Nanak after hearing Gurbani and Guru Nanak Sahib himself went to fetch Bhai Lehna, met him and escorted him back on horse while Guru Nanak himself went on foot (Bhai Lehna was unaware that this was Guru Nanak). Such is the love of the Guru for the Sikh…

    Panj Banis, as per what little I know, refers to the 5 Morning Banis of Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Sawiyae, Chaupai Sahib and Anand Sahib.

    Quite honestly, if you are unsure of this, ask the Guru in the form of the Panj Pyare about the Rehat so that they may put your mind at ease. Nothing to be scared or ashamed about…you are a son of the Guru. Who else but your father and mother would you ask for advice?

    Bhul Chuk Maaf from a Moorakh who has yet to take one step towards the Guru.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!

    yes, the 5-banis refers to Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Sawiyae, Chaupai Sahib and Anand Sahib. These are the morning prayers as prescribed by Panj Piaraas at the time of Amrit Sanchaar.

    Apart from it, in evening it is Rehras Sahib and at night before bed time it is Kirtan Sohila to be read.

    Shabad Hazaare is the additional bani that many people read daily just like some people read Sukhmani Sahib daily. But these are not the banis that are a must as a daily practice or nitnem.

    But as Panj Piaraas also say it at the time of baptism ceremony, – the more banis you read the better it is. It anyways adds something to us.

    But in Gurdwara’s also, the pattern of 5+1+1 is followed as mentioned above.

    Hope i have been able to put up the things correctly.

    Bhul Chuk Di Khima,

    Guru Fateh!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some GurSikhs read 7 Baanis in the morning. The additional 2 are the Shabad Hazare. The first one is a mix of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Arjun Dev Ji’s Baanis. The other Shabad Hazare Patshai 10 are Baani’s from Sri Dasam Granth, Baani from Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

  4. Kiren says:

    Dear Gurumustuk,

    i know just what you mean about the up and down pattern! there are times when i make up my mind and stick to my nitnem, and then for no real excuse, the practice dwindles away slowly, and i have to work to making it a part of my day again.

    i used to think that perhaps i was not committed enough, but i suppose it is actually just the mind trying to draw my attention away from what is important and good in my life. “Man Jeetay Jag Jeet.”

    thank you for the blog post, it’s nice to know that i’m not the only one struggling :) and it will push me to make more of an effort to stick to my nitnem.


  5. kiran says:

    Hi GM

    How do? just wanted to say that, just do the best you can…and you’ll be fine.

    take care


    ps its 5* in London today…..well cold and it may snow tomorrow. xx

  6. SikhsRus says:

    Thank you you for posting your experience and thoughts on Banis, Gurumustuk! At least now I know it is not just me that feels this way about not being able to get a routine going on Banis! I want to take amrit, but somehow I feel I won’t be able to follow the routine and is kind of preventing me to take this step in life. I don’t want to do it, if I can’t follow it. I could use some help here from other Gursikhs on this feeling and experience.

  7. My problem is that I don’t have a consistent time of doing the banis. Most of the times I will do the 5 Banis around 4 or 5 in the morning, other times I do them when I get time, like 9, 10 a.m. or even later. Reason being, sometimes it is the hectic activities of the previous day and I get to sleep late and I wake up late. Other times, it is the matters at home that influence the time I do my path. I know it is not right, but it is better late than not doing bani at all that day. Like yesterday, I went to sleep @ at 12.30 a.m., after 40 hours of continuous staying up. And then I had to get up @ 4 a.m. to take care of my baby. I was up but I just could not gather the strength to do the paath. It is almost 11 a.m. now and I plan to do paath as soon as I post this comment to GMS post. Also, I dont want to say that I feel less guilty of not sticking to a time for doing bains, coz now I read GMS post and other people comments who face the same challange.

    Bhai Gurumustak Singh jee, I consider you to be very lucky that Guru chose you @ such an early age to be given Amrit. I understand that @ that age you may not have understood the importance of taking Amrit and hence kind of not feel committed as you think you would have if you took Amrit when you were old enough to understand what’s going on. But I believe that commitment can come with time. Moreover, I believe it is not in anyone’s hand to take Amrit. Only those chosen by the Guru are the fortunate ones who get the nectar of Amrit. I have seen people getting ready and then backing out before the Amrit administering ceremony. I have seen people who keep on saying they will get committed to Guru later in life. They want to enjoy the pleasures of life which they can’t if they get committed to Guru. No one knows if there is going to be a later day in life or not. And on top of that, I have also seen people, who take the step of getting committed, take Amrit and then back out of it a few days later, because they took Amrit under pressure. Also, like Sikhsrus says, “I want to take amrit, but somehow I feel I won’t be able to follow the routine and is kind of preventing me to take this step in life. I don’t want to do it, if I can’t follow it.” I would say that we ask ourselevs this question, when our parents put us in school, did we know we will pass out of the school; When we got married, did we know what problems we will face and if we will be able to survive together. Same way taking Amrit is getting admission in Guru’s school. And once we get admitted, Guru will give us strenght to get committed too and will give us strenght to pass it too. Like Anonymous said

    “Charan Sharan Gur Ek Painda Jaye Chal
    Satgur Kot Painda Agey Hoey Lait Hai.”

    Have faith in Guru and Guru will lead you through it. So pray to Guru to give us strenght to take up this challange.

    I took Amrit when I was mature enough, but I think I should have taken that step even earlier. I was at one of the samagams in Ottawa, Canada when they announced that later in the day they will administer Amrit and all those who want to get committed, shall come ready. I didn’t had the remotest thought that I will take Amrit, but I guess that day Guru jee guided me to get up and get ready to get committed. And I can’t explain what happened @ the Amrit Sanchar event. It is beyond words to explain. In short I will say only this that, I found Guru Gobind Singh jee to be present at the Ceremony. Not that I saw him in person, but I could feel the vibes in the air.

    As far as reading Banis, I was doing Banis in my life before I took Amrit when I was in India. I used to try to go to do Guru’s darshan everyday. I found it hard too to read some of the banis, like you said Jaap Sahib. But then I bought a CD of Nitname, and I would play it on my personal CD player and try to keep up with the CD while I read from the gutka. This helped my clear out my pronunciation and now I can read without any hassle.

  8. Gombesa says:

    Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh!

    It is sort of hard reading daily bani’s, juggling work and an 8 month old who last night stayed up sick all night. Im a beginning sikh/bani reader for about a year, at first my own body couldn’t get up in the morning{I was so lazy now that I look back}I needed the Guru’s help, so I went to the Gurdwara to do rehraas/Kirtan Sohilaa.aka.SUKH ASAN with the Guru for a whole month-this was my first step towards daily reading-Then BABAJI gave me a Nitnem gatka with english,Gurmukhi,and transliteration.As the month neared to and end I thought well if I drive 30 min to the Gurus house do Paath and drive 30 min back home,then I could easily go to my room sit do paath and I would be done before I would be back from Lodi and save gas in the car. Well after that I still wanted to see the Guru without driving so long plus I did night paath but wasnt doing morning Sadhana. So I installed the SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB{english version}in my room upstairs. This was my biggest breakthrough in my life.I can never disrespect the Guru so I get up at Amrit Vela to Prakash the GURU since I’m there I do my paath cause why would I not do paath for the GURU also.Not only did I want to do my 5 banis but now I have Prakash and Sukh Asan also but it still doesnt seem enough then I think ohh yeah SEVA.

    Now with actual bani reading. I truely believe don’t recite what you dont know what it means. I read bani in english only for a few months to get used to the subject in each bani, after a while you almost know what you are going to read a sentence or paragraph before.Then I read punjabi only for a few weeks.Now Im geting too used to kirtan sohila in english so I now have to read in punjabi.I memorized and understand ARDAS completly so when I do ARDAS I know exactly what Im praying about totally. I think even 30-40 year old Indian dont know what it means exactly they just read or recite….To me this isnt considered reading bani cause if you understand bani fully you know for an absolute fact that you need AMRIT in order to graduate this life,and if you can justify not taking AMRIT then you dont understand GURBANI whatsoever. I also now listen to a cd they recite english after Gurmukhi I understand in even more and it makes me cry sometimes. It will take at least a year or two maybe more to be able to fully recite and understand my daily Routine{NITNEM} Remember Bani is your best friend all people are your friends after your done with paath.

  9. Siri Dyal says:

    Sat Nam GM. what a nice experience!!!
    I also am reading my banis … just one….:( …(jap ji sahib) and feels so good for doing them every day, so much as meditation as inspiration. Nevertheless I still yet cannot read in gurumukhi, for what I read the trasliteration (roman scripts) and familiarize myself with the sound of Sada Sat Simran Singh´ banis (Chardi Kala Jatha) or the CD of Bani Pro… and not to know gurumikhi is an obtacle to pronounce well every word, so we have a circle of studies every week here in Mexico for learn Gurumukhi, which helps, but yes we need some help from an expert!!!…lol…in fact We have 40 days (JapJi)(today)…ha….lol… anyway Thankyou!

  10. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!
    Thank you for your post Gurmustuk Paaji you made me feel that i was not alone :)
    Now i know i will try to read more bani and i am not the only one trying. I have only just about managed to learn how to read Gurmukhi – but with your sewa of putting the banis on the internet i can understand the beauty of what Gurusahib tells us.
    And your advice rings true with what Captain Sukhdev Singh said at the Sikh Student Camp UK – “Take baby steps if you want to make it last.”
    So – Good luck! And if we meet again maybe we’ll be able to both read our full bani ;P
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!

  11. Gombesa said, “I truly believe don’t recite what you don’t know what it meansâ€?.

    Bhai jee, so you mean one should know the meaning of the Bani before you even try to read or recite it. Com’on. How is one supposed to get the meaning of the Bani without reading or reciting it. When you recite Bani over and over with full faith, the Guru showers his Grace and you get enlightened enough to get to know the meaning.

    Gombesa said, “I think even 30-40 year old Indian dont know what it means exactly they just read or recite�.

    Bhai jee, so you mean you know better than everyone else. Practicing to be a sikh by reading / reciting bani or doing kirtan should reduce your ego to a point where it should not make you say what you said. How do you know who knows what. It is not you job to judge anybody. Leave it to the Akaal Purukh.

    Gombesa said, “why would I not do paath for the GURU also�.

    Bhai jee, I do not do paath for the Guru. Guru gave us bani so that we could get across this world to unite with the Akaal Purukh. So when I do paath, I do it for my benefit coz, I want to get immersed in the Supreme.

  12. SikhsRus says:

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and experineces. It is great to learn from each other.

  13. Gombesa says:

    Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki fateh!

    I mean dont read but study them each time there are men out there that claim to know and Ill ask them what things mean and the seriously dont know they just got into a habit. So I talked to a guy and he said start now make a good habit and read them with your heart each day is a blessing for any openning eyes.Live each day. No ego involed just saying if you want to get good habits,I do it like that.Sorry for offending anyone. I just kicked me into gear when I thought of it like that SORRY IM NOTHING to be looking like I say im better or anything. I will take a hukamnama from Guru Ji at the Gurdwara. Sorry for any grief suffered. WAHEGURU Ji ka Khalsa, WAHEGURU Ji ki fateh!

  14. gurpreet singh says:

    minimum daily banis for a sikh are 7

    jap ji sahib
    jaap sahib
    tua prasaad swayae
    chaupee sahib
    anand sahib

    rehraas sahib

    before sleeping
    sohila sahib

  15. Gurpreet says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji, I too am learning to read Guru’s banis in the Armit vela. I don’t know how to read Gurmukhi so, getting started was a challenge. However, the urge to do the banis was strong so I decided to learn by listening. I made a CD of all the banis and printed a Romanized copy of each of the banis with the English translation. I gave my self a month for each banis (with the shorter banis I was able to do/learn more in one month) – to learn the bani by listening to the pronunciation of each of the words of the bani. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph, section by section I learned the correct pronunciation. With waheguru’s kirpa I have been able to add a new bani each month; I have been able to recite Jap ji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Saviaye, Bentee Choupee, Rehras Sahib, Kirtan Sohila …and this month, my goal is to be able to recite Anand Sahib without trouble. Ultimately, I want to be able to do Sukhmani Sahib, Shabad Hazary and others. It’s a great feeling to be able to recite the Guru’s banis.
    I would urge people who aren’t literate in Gurmukhi but, who want to be able to do the banis try what I have done. With the Trust me, nothing is more rewarding than being able to recite the Guru’s shabad. The best thing is that you get a feeling the waheguru’s presence with you each moment.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have just now at a late stage in my life discovered the word of the lord.
    I have lived an Evil life as a Evil person,now losing everything that was special I have now turned to the word of the lord.
    I wake at 4.30am, bathe and pray, I take time to pray again in the evening. I do Sewa in the local Sikh Temple one evening a week (washing pots and pans).
    I have found as said early in this web page, taking one step towards the lord he is taking a thousand steps towards me.My life is such a mess that only a miricle can save me. I have faith the lord will show me the way.

  17. simran says:

    sat sri akaal ji,
    I was told by one granthi ji that i should do chaupai sahib daily if not any else bani so i do it daily in the evening while doing jyot specially i even do it when sometimes i forget to do it or if i sit free,actually i wanted to know aout the meanibg of kirtan sohila sahib as i do it in the evenibg after chaupai sahib i know the meaning of full chaupai saahib but i am unaware of kirtan sohila sahib can u please let me about the full translation through e-mail as i am in australia at present i do not know from where to get steek as i am new over here just two weeks.

    guru kripa kare.

  18. N Kaur says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    Simran Ji

    I found the English translation of Keertan Sohila here at Sikhnet. You can find it at the following URL. It starts in the middle of the page and carries onto the next. You might have to download a font to see the Gurmukhi letters properly.

    For more translations

  19. Navtej singh says:

    Dear sir,
    I want the complete paath of chaupaye sahib with easy language

  20. Ram Singh says:


    I am able to read gurmukhi and have a basic understanding of the punjabi language, this allows me to have a litlle understanding of japji sahib. However, when I read jaap sahib it feels like it is a completly different language and I’m prety sure it is. My question is that, is there any point in reading jaap sahib if I don’t understand it?


  21. Jaspreet Kaur says:

    Waheguru Ji..

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa,
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

    I have taken amrit and am really struggling with doing my nitnem. My mind would rather do anything else BUT sit down and do nitnem. And the days I do it.. i cant do it in one sitting .. my mind wants to be doing something else while doing nitnem, for example, wash dishes, etc.

    I feel really ashamed of this .. and I also understand this is my punishment of the sins I committed in my last life.. but I don’t want to use that as a excuse everytime I don’t want to do my nitnem.

    When I was reading the article by Gurumustuk Singh and how they started by doing only one bani at a time and then increased slowly.. I was thinking of that but my mind won’t accept it.. I feel like I am not doing what I am asked of by My Father! Even though not doing Nitnem for a couple of days it also not asked by my Father…

    Right now , i am very confused and I beg of you Sangat to help me find whats wrong with me… inside im dieing for Wahegurus Name but this monkey, my mind, tells me different things …. sometimes it wanted to do Baani ..sometimes it doesnt.

    Guru Ki Sangat has a lot of power and wisdom.. Please I beg of you to help me find my Waheguru…

    Thank you all for atleast taking your time out to read my concerns.!
    Please forgive me of being a bad Sikh.. I don’t even deserve to call myself that … Please help me become a kookar of Waheguru’s darbar!

    Waheguru Bless

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa,
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

  22. M Singh says:

    You need to calm your mind down first!

    Before you do nitnem, do a meditation.

    do 11 minutes of this

    and then 11 minutes of

    One thing which makes me want to do japji sahib is when I am inspired of its deep connection with my soul. MOst of us think of nitnem as just “parth” but nothing else, we think we have to do it to be a good person. But that alone is not good enough, we need to EXPERIENCE it! that’s the difference!

    Japji sahib:

    For example, when you do Jaap sahib, you can do it in the bowing exercise (search this blog) bowing down to every “namastang”, it’s a totally different experience. Try it and let us know how you get on!

  23. harjot singh madaan says:

    gurbani always make people calm. it always help one to relax in a good way because by this one do two work at one time it relax our mind as well as we always take right choice in our lives, so please tell me what is the possible site to download rehras sahib free.

  24. Anonymous says:

    WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh

    Sat Sri Akaal to Everybody,

    I just wanted to say thanks to Gurumustuk Singh for writing up this post. And I usually never comment online but after reading what Gurumstuk had to say I just couldn’t resist. I can’t tell you how good I feel after reading what you wrote because now I know I’m not the only person who’s trying to pray all our Banis and struggling. And I used to always feel like such a bad person for missing one of my prayers. But I have taken you’re word of advice to take things slow and steady. And I have always been doing my Sohila Sahib prayer before bed and recently I started Jap Ji Sahib in the morning and I pray Rehraas Sahib but I never knew that we’re also suppose to pray Jaap Sahib, Tva Prasaad, Swayae Chaupee sahib, and Anand sahib. But now I will start that as well, thank so much to everyone for posting it all up. Nobody prays in my family and we’re not religious at all so everything I know about our Sikh religion is only because I’ve gone out of my way and researched for it. And I have two best friends who are Muslim, so there is actually nobody who can guide me and help me out and teach me more about our religion. Sometimes it gets hard because I want to talk about my religion and want to learn something new about it but I can’t talk to anybody around me. So after reading everything that everyone has wrote makes me feel a lot better and lets me know that there are other people who are on the same boat at me! Best of Luck to everybody and I hope you guys continue praying and believing in your faith. WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, WaheGuru Ji Ki fateh. Rab Rakha.

  25. var says:

    i have seen many versions of nitnem..
    like damdami taksal / naamdhari / budha dal / akali and many more… but i am confused which one to choose…

    they all have different bani’s ..

    pls mail me .. [email protected]

  26. Navpreet Singh says:

    Awesome Post. Jaap Sahib really gives you a lot of power. I exactly felt like you and was always intimidated by Jaap Sahib but when I did it today I kind of felt something which I never felt before……..thanks a lot for sharing.-