This is the baani that have been designated for the evening recitation. This starts with “So dar tera kayhaa”. However, because of similarities of the words and our mechanical recitation we start mixing it the words of pauree No. 27; “So dar kayhaa” from Japji Sahib. If we keep going on unvouched we will probably continue with the remaining paurees of Japji Sahib completely unaware that we have gone off-track. Therefore, it is very essential to do recitation with awareness and proper understanding. We can read many translations, interpretations yet we can still be falling in the trap. In order to build a connection with the baani, an association must be build which will help us relate to it. We may find that this can provide a new bonding that not only helps in reciting properly, but it also helps us in understanding the message. In this book we will explore ways on how to try to build that association along with the meanings so that we can make a deeper connection.
Let us first start with the title “Rehraas.” “Rehraas” is a compound word which means capital for life’s journey. This is a true capital which can be amassed in this life for use in this life’s journey by remembering of God. This is also the only capital that we can take with us in our journey after death. Also, this capital is also of the valid currency and accepted in the world of after death. This baani has been part of Sikh ethos from the times of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. During Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s time the tradition of reciting it in the evening was started in Kartarpur by Guru Ji. At that time it was known as “So dar” and later on baanis of other Gurus sere added and it was given the formal name of Rehraas. Now let us start with the first shabad:
This first shabad “So Dar Raag Aasaa Mehala Paihalaa” indicates that it by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and it is raag (musical scale) of Aasaa and it starts with “So dar tera kaehaa, so ghar kaehaa, jit baih sarabh sammalae”. It is like a song of adulation in form of worship or artee. The words in this shabad are same as the twenty-seventh hymn of Japji Sahib but here this hymn (shabad) contains words “tudhhano” which is added after the lines starting with “Gaavan”. During evening congregations the recitation of this shabad started “Rehraas”, and it started with its singing. During the singing, the word “tudhhano” provides the anchor and support to drive the attention from material world to the spiritual world.
It is said that one day at Sultanpur, Guru Nanak dev Ji casting his clothes off on the banks of river Bein, went into the river for a bath. For three days there was no trace of him. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had a vision of Infinite and had a dialogue with Him. God asked Guru Ji as to what he has described to the mankind as God’s door and the house.
What is that door?
What is that house?
How wonderful is the gate, and how wonderful your Abode! O Lord, sitting where You take care of all? Where the sounds of musical melodies, instruments playing, and minstrel singing are joined in the divine harmony. Countless are the musical measures being sung by celestial musicians with their consorts, and countless musicians play.
Gaavan tudhhano pavan paanee baisantar gaavai raaja dharma dhuaarae. Gaavan tudhhano chith gupat likh jaanan likh likh dharam beechaaarae. Gaavan tudhhano eesar bhrama devi sohan taerae sadhaa savaarae. Gaavan tudhhano inder indrasaan baithae dayvathiaa dar naalae.”
Air, water and fire sing Your praises, and at your doorstep Dharamraja (King of Death) sings Your praise. His attendants Chitra and Gupt who record every deed, which Dharamraja reads and adjudicate, sing your praises. There Ishwar (Shiva), Brahma, goddess looking ever beautiful and adorned by You sing your praises. There, Indra seated on his throne with the deities at Your door sing of You.
“Gaavan tudhhano sidhh samaadhee andar gaavan tudhhano saadh beechaarae. Gaavan tudhhano jatee satee santokhee gaavan tudhhano veer karaarae. Gaavan tudhhano pandit parran rakheesur jug jug vedhaa naalae. Gaavan tudhhano mohaneean mun mohan surag mu-chh paeiaalae. Gaavan tudhhano rattan upaa-ae tayray athsath teerath naalae. Gaavan tudhhano jodh mahaabal soora gaavan tudhhano khanee chaarae”.
“Rangee rangee bhaatee, kar kar jinsee, maaya jin uppaaee. Kar kar daykhai keetaa aapana, ji-o tis dee vaddiaaee. Joe tis bhaavai so-ee karsee, fir hukam na karnaa jaa-ee. So paatshah saahaa patsaahib Nanak raihan rajaa-ee.”
Guru Nanak Dev starts this shabad by posing a question about the abode of God and concludes the shabad in his unique way by providing a very unique answer. Guru Ji sees the unfolding of admiration everywhere, and in everything. Guru Ji answers that He is present in every being, every creation and all are admiring Him by abiding in His will. From Guru Ji’s perspective only humans are not abiding in His will. Therefore Guru Ji is asking us to start admiring and develop it to its pinnacle, such that by the process of admiring the admirer (us) becomes one with the admired (God).
“Nanak raihan raja-ee”
It is best to abide by His will.
Just as a drop of water merges in the ocean and becomes a part of Ocean, just as a single musical note combines harmoniously with multitude of notes and becomes part of symphony, Guru Ji wants us to merge with the Creator, as Guru Ji knows that we are part of it. Guru ji has advocated the process of admiration as a technique of getting closer to the Creator. Guru Ji is not talking of admiring simply by use of flowery language but out of genuine sense of appreciation. The genuine appreciation is only possible when something admirable is witnessed, and a genuine appreciation flows out honestly and lovingly. Guru Ji has shared with us that by the process of admiration layers of filth over our minds is washed away.
“gun gwvq qyrI auqris mYlu ]”
“Gun gaawat teri utras mai-il” (SGGS, Pg. No. 289)
By singing praises the layers of filth are washed away.
Thus Guru Ji has defined a unique technique of not just getting closer to God but the technique of uniting with Him and the technique is admiration, done lovingly.
- 2 -
Awsw mhlw 1 ]
“Sun vaddaa aakhai sabh koe. Kaevadd vaddaa ddeethaa hoe. Keemat paae na kaihaa jaae. Kehanai vaalae taerae rehae samaae.”
Hearing of His Greatness, everyone calls Him Great. But just how Great His Greatness is-this is known only to those who have seen Him. His Value cannot be estimated; He cannot be described. Those who describe You, Lord, remain immersed and absorbed in You.
“Sabh surathee mil surat kamaaee. Sabh keemat mil keemat paaee. Gyaanee dhyanee gur gurhaaee. Kehan na jaaee taeree til vaddiaaee.”
All Truth, all austere discipline, all goodness, all the great miraculous spiritual powers of the Siddhas cannot be obtained without You. They are received only by Your Grace. No one can block them or stop their flow.
“Aakhan vaalaa kiaa vaechaaraa. Sifathee bharae thaerae bhandaaraa. Jis too dhaeh tisai kia chaaraa. Nanak sach savaaranehaaraa.”
- 3 -
“Aakaan jeevaan visrai mar jaa-o”
Hearing Guru Ji’s reply his father was very disappointed and implored Guru Ji to forget all that and become a productive citizen and take up some work like joining government service as it will not be very intense. Mehta Ji said without work and income, life cannot move on. Guru Ji became quiet then his mother Mata Tripta interjected; “Please forget Naam for some time, get up from bed and move about, so that other people won’t say that Nanak is sick”. Guru Ji’s reply to this suggestion from his mother was; “Aaakhaan jeevaan, visrai mar jaa-o. Aakhaan aokhaa saachaa naa-o.” Guru Ji said that “If I remember Him then I am alive, if I forget Him then I die. Even after this realization remembrance of Naam is very hard, as it is stupendous and whatever is said is only miniscule. When the hunger for Naam is born then all suffering is consumed in it. Oh my mother! How can He be forgotten? He is True Lord and His Naam is True”.
“Aaakhaan jeevaan, visrai mar jaa-o. Aakhaan aokhaa saachaa naa-o. Saachae naam kee laagai bhookh. Uth bhookhai khaae chaleeahi dhookh. 1.”
it, I live; forgetting it, I die. Yet it is so difficult to chant the
True Name. If someone feels hunger for the True Name, that hunger alone
shall consume all his/her pain (because of life-birth and deaths).
“So kio visrai maeree maa-e. saachaa saahib saachai naa-e. 1.Rahaao.”
How can I forget Him, O my mother? True is the Master, True is His Naam (literal meaning: Name). 1. Pause
“Saachae naam kee til vaddi-aa-ee. Aakh thakae keemat nahee paa-ee. Jae sabh mil kai aakhan paahe. Vaddaa na hovai ghaat na jaae.2.”
to describe even an iota of the Greatness of the True Name, people have
grown weary, but they have not been able to evaluate it. Even if
everyone were to gather together and speak of Him, He would not become
any greater or any lesser.
“Naa ouh marai na hovai sog. Daedaa rahai na chookai bhog. Gun aeho hor naahee koe. Naa ko hoaa naa ko hoe.3.”
Lord never dies; there is no reason to mourn. He continues to give, and
His Provisions never run short. This unique Virtue is His alone, that
there is no other like Him. There never has been before, nor there is
any one now,, and there never will be.
”Jaevadd aap taevadd taeree daat. Jin din kar kai keetee raat. Khasam visaareh tae kamajaat. Nanak naavai baajh sanaath. 4.3”
O Lord! Your Gifts (of Naam) are as great as You Yourself are. The One who created the day also created the night. Those who forget their Lord and Master are Low-Caste (vile and despicable). O Nanak, without the Naam, they are wretched outcasts.
In the previous shabad Guru Ji talked about adoration of the Creator, here Guru Ji describes the qualities of Naam adoringly. Guru Ji says describing even a speck of God’s glories can exhaust us. God does not grow or shrink when all get together and praise in unison. He never dies or is in grief and He gives forever. The greatest wonder is that there never has been anyone like Him or there ever will be in future. His gifts are great and commensurate with His greatness. He created day and night. Those who forget Him become of Low-Caste, because devoid of Lord’s Naam one is truly low-born. Here Guru Ji has also succinctly clarified as to who the low caste is; one who forgets God.
- 4 -
Har kay jan satgur sat purakha
rwgu gUjrI mhlw 4 ]
This shabad is by Guru Ram Das Ji, the forth Nanak. In previous Shabad we were introduced to Naam, now Guru Ram Das Ji is showing us how to make supplication for Naam, and with whom to make it. Guru Ji shows it by doing it and tells us to ask for it from True-Guru. The humility in this supplication flows out when Guru Ji says that we are lowly worms seeking your refuge, have mercy and grant us the light of Naam.
Now let us add the historical event into the background, so that we can feel the humility and the intense yearning that Guru Ram Das Ji has for Naam. At the time of his installation as Guru, he was asked by the Guru Amar Das Ji the third Nanak to choose a gift for himself as per the prevailing customs. It was on this occasion these lines were uttered by Guru Ram Das and it is showing us how to implore for Naam.
Raag Gujaree Mehalaa Chauthaaa
“Har kay jan satgur sat purakhaa, binao karao gur paas. Hum keeray kiram satgur sarnaa-ee, kar da-e-aa naam pargaas.”
O True-Guru! (Who exposes the concept of) God to the devotee of God, Truth’s true embodiment, I make this supplication to the Guru. We are lowly worms, and have come to seek your refuge; have mercy and grant us the light of Lord’s Naam (literal meaning Name).
In the next line the significance of Naam is explained in these words:
“Mayray meet gurdev, mo ko raam naam pargaas. Gurmat Naam mera pran sakhaee, har keerat hamree rehraas. 1. Rahaao.”
Oh my friend, my divine Guru! Illumine my heart with Naam. May the Naam given by Guru become my life’s companion, and praise of Lord be my capital, asset for the life’s journey. 1. Pause.
This last line is also translated as that the praise of Lord may be my daily practice.
“Har jan kae vadd bhaag vaddaerae jin har har saradhhaa har piaas. Har har naam milai tripathaaseh mil sangat gun paragaas. 2.”
Here, Guru Ram Das is being addressed by Bhai Jetha Ji (Name before becoming Guru) and is emphasizing the significance of being devotees of Lord.
“Jin har har har ras naam na paaeiaa tae bhaagheen jam paas. Jo satgur saran sangat nehee aaeae dhhrig jeevae dhhrig jeevaas. 3.”
Those who have not obtained the Sublime nectar of the Naam of the Lord, Har, Har, Har,
are most unfortunate; they are led away by the Messenger of Death.
Those who have not sought the Sanctuary of the True Guru, company of
holy ones-cursed are their lives, and cursed are their hopes of life.
“Jin har jan satgur sangat paaee tin dhur masthak likhe-aa likhaas. Dhan dhan satsangat jit har ras paa-ee-aa mil jan nanak naam paragaas. 4.4.”
By uttering these words Guru Ram Das Ji has shared what is that thing that we need to ask from Guru. Usually our prayers are for worldly things only – children, health, wealth, house, car, job, long life etc. But actually the thing to ask from Guru is Naam only. The prayer has to be in full humility because this rare commodity is priceless, and it cannot be purchased at any cost. But can be obtained for free, when the blessings of Guru Ji are obtained. Blessing can only be obtained when the giver is pleased and showers it mercifully. If we can remember this only it will be a significant step in direction of understanding Guru Ji’s teachings and knowing what the supplication should be about.
Guru Ramdas Ji further adds that they are very fortunate who trust in God and have thirst for God. Those who attained Naam, they are fulfilled and in the company of like minded devotees virtues grow in them. Those who have not attained Naam, Guru Ji calls them unfortunate and they fall in the hands of agents of death. Guru Ji further clarifies that ignominy suffered by those who did not take refuge of the True Guru and the holy congregation, their lives are accursed. Guru Ji concludes by saying that only very fortunate who relish sweetness of Naam in the holy congregation, and the Naam is revealed to them from their within.
It is said that when Guru Ram Das uttered these words he felt Naam within. Ranbir Singh in his book Glimpses of Divine Masters writes about it in these words; “When Naam illumines human vision, all is drenched, enveloped with this Holy-Radiance Divine. It turns the face – from one little self to the Universal-Self.”
Now if we look back at the Rehraas Sahib so far, we will realize that Naam has been praised as a life giver, an elixir of life as the highest of all and only very fortunate ones practice Naam. Those who did not attain Naam are considered as unfortunate and accursed. However, it does not stir up an urge in us to explore it, experience it. Instead, we read these with complete nonchalance as if it has no relevance, connection with our lives or ever wondering if it is an invitation to experience a higher state. If these words ringing in our ears can enthuse us to explore the world of Naam then only our reading or listening to Rehraas had the desired effect, otherwise it was just a recital, it was like taking placebo as medication instead of a genuine, full potency medication.
- 5 -
“Kaahay ray mun, chitvaih udam”
rwgu gUjrI mhlw 5 ]
Here, Guru Arjan Dev Ji is raising a question which normally concerns each one of us. The concern if of sustenance, and Guru asks the question; “Oh my mind! Why this effort of getting makes you worried, when the Divine has provided the sustenance?” Guru Ji is imploring us to take the worrying aspect out, God always provides, but we should make sincere effort to earn a living. In the next line Guru Ji by an example assures us that worrying is not necessary. In the rocks and mountains, He has created living creatures and even their sustenance has been provided for, despite inhospitable environment. These lines were uttered by Guru Arjan Dev Ji to Bhai Gurdas Ji in year 1638 (Sambat); when Bhai Ji came from Agra to visit upon Guru Ji after Guru Arjan Dev Ji was installed as Guru. At that time Guru Ji was facing financial constraints as all the collection was being usurped by Prithi Chand, Guru Ji’s oldest brother. Here we can see that even in that situation Guru Ji is the epitome of full faith and the providing nature of God. Guru Ji is not discouraging us from the honest effort to earn livelihood, but only advising against getting worried about putting food on the table. In fact in the whole of Guru Granth Sahib honest labor has been encouraged and recommended. Guru Ji’s only effort here is to direct our concerns from worrying about livelihood, to concerns about the matter of faith alone. Guru Ji is trying to redirect our energies from concerns of sustenance to sublime. Guru Ji then shares with us the secret of getting worry-free. Guru ji says those who join the holy company are liberated. By Guru’s grace they obtain the supreme state, hearts dry as wood, blossom out as lush green and alive. It is Guru Ji’s way of encouraging us to look for such an environment where not just the stress of struggles in life is relieved but a new lifestyle lived. It is Guru Ji’s way of inspiring us to change the life-style from concerns and stress to a new life-style with a bedrock of faith.
Raag Gujaree Mehalaa Panjavaa
“Kaahae rae mun chitavaih udham jaa aahar har jeeo pariaa. Sai-il pathar maih janth oupaaeae thaa kaa rijak aagai kar dhharia.1.”
Why, O mind, do you plot and plan, when the Dear Lord Himself provides for your care? Even in rocks and stones He has created living beings; and He places their nourishment before them.
Guru Ji is saying that God has guaranteed to provide for our survival needs. But our desires for riches, affluence, being successful are producing worries and causing stress in us.
“Maerae maadho jee satsangat milae so tari-aa. Gur parsaad param padh paa-ee-aa sookae kaasatt hariaa .1.Rahaao.”
O my Dear Madho (who was visiting Guru Ji from Kashmir is being addressed), one who joins the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, is saved. By Guru's Grace, the elite status is obtained, and the dry wood blossoms forth again in lush greenery.
“Janan pitaa lok sut banitaa ko-e na kis kee dhhari-aa. Sir sir rijak sanbaahae thaakur kaahae mun bhao kari-aa.2.”
Mothers, fathers, friends, children and spouses-no one is the support of anyone else. For each and every person, our Lord and Master alone provide sustenance. Why are you so afraid, O mind?
“Oodae ood aavai sai kosaa tis paachhai bacharae chhariaa. Tin kavan khalaavai kavan chugaavai mun mei simran kariaa .3.”
The Siberian Cranes fly hundreds of miles, leaving their offspring behind. Who feeds them, and who teaches them to feed themselves? Their mothers remember their offspring and they are provided.
“Sabh nidhhaan dhas asatt sidhhaan t(h)aakur kar thal dhhar-iaa. Jan Nanak bal bal sadh bal jaa-ee-ai thae-raa anth na paaraavari-aa .4.5.”
All the (nine) treasures, and the eighteen supernatural powers are held by our Lord and Master in the Palm of His Hand. Servant Nanak is devoted, dedicated, forever a sacrifice to You, Lord. Your Expanse has no limit, no boundary.
Guru Ji adds that we think our mother, father, son, spouse, family and friends, can be our support, but none is anyone’s support. God has provided sustenance for all, so there is no need to worry. This thought is very comforting and liberating, as it is capable of freeing us from our worries. Guru Ji has reinforced this with the example of Siberian Crane. The Siberian Crane flies thousands of miles in winter to Indian plains but leave their little ones behind? Who feeds them? Who teaches them to peck? Think who takes care of them during the harsh Siberian Winters. The Siberian Cranes remember their off-springs in their minds and this sustains them.
In the concluding lines Guru Ji is showing us how to ask for shelter, sanctuary of God. Guru Ji says that God holds in His palm all the nine treasures and even the eighteen occult powers. Nanak says that I offer myself, again and again and still Your limits, extents are beyond my comprehension.
In this beautiful shabad Guru Ji has shared a beautiful and unique concept that we need to replace our worries with our faith, for the Creator is kind and considerate of His creation. This shabad is not endorsement of life style of inaction, but invitation to inculcate faith and reliance on God as our anchor.