The word “Sohila” means ‘song of praises’. This bani is a collection of five shabads (hymns), first three shabads are written by Guru Nanak Dev ji, fourth shabad is by Guru Ram Das ji, and the last shabad is written by Guru Arjan Dev ji. All five shabads are from Adi Granth – Guru Granth Saheb ji and are written under the heading “Sohila”. Sometimes, this bani is also referred to as “Kirtan Sohila” or “Aarti Sohila”. This is one of the five banis of Nitnem (daily routine) that all Sikhs are supposed to recite every day. As part of Nitnem, Sohila is recited before going to bed at night. Also, this bani is recited at the time of Sukhasan (closing) of Guru Granth Sahib at night. When a person dies, after the cremation, all the family and friends attending the funeral join in reciting Sohila, and then Ardaas is done to pray for peace to the departed soul.
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.
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DID YOU KNOW
In Sikhism, we have five seats of authority, called TAKHATS. Takhat literally means ‘throne’. The five Seats of Authority (Takhats) are:
1. Akal Takhat
Akal Takhat (the throne of timeless God) is situated in front of the Harmandar Sahib in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab. It was established by Guru Hargobind Ji (the 6th Guru) in 1609. The Guru did not consider it appropriate to discuss the political and military matters inside the Golden Temple itself, which is meant purely for worship of God. So, he established a separate place, within the complex, to discuss those matters. Even today, the political matters and other issues are discussed here by the Sikh leadership and Hukamnamaas (orders for the Sikh masses) are issued by the Jathedaar (head priest) of Akal Takhat.
2. Takhat Sri Patna Saheb
The second seat of authority is called ‘Takhat Sri Patna Saheb’. It is located in the city of Patna in Bihar state in India. Guru Teg Bahdur ji lived here in 1665 and Guru Gobind Singh ji was born here and spent his childhood here. Some of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s relics, including his weapons and proclamations, are preserved here.
3. Takhat Sri Kesgarh Saheb
The third seat of authority is known as Sri Kesgarh Saheb, where Guru Gobind Singh ji created the Khalsa on the Vaisakhi day of 1699. The historic double edged sword, called Khanda, with which the Guru stirred the Amrit (baptism water) that auspicious day, is kept here along with a number of other weapons of Guru Gobind Singh ji. Kesgarh Saheb is located in the township of Anandpur in Punjab. This town was founded by the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur ji in 1665.
4. Takhat Sri Hazur Saheb
The fourth seat of authority is Takhat Sri Hazur Saheb. It is situated in the city of Nader in Maharashtra State in India. It is the place where Guru Gobind Singh ji passed away in 1708 and gave Guruship to Guru Granth Saheb (the Adi Granth). Maharaja Ranjit Singh renovated the temple and provided gold plated dome. Some of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s weapons and other relics are kept here and are put on display for visitors.
5. Takhat Sri Damdama Saheb
The fifth seat of authority is Damdama Saheb. This place owes its importance to the literary work done by Guru Gobind Singh ji during his stay here in 1706. Here, the tenth Guru prepared the authentic edition of the Aadi Granth, to which he gave the Guruship at the time of his passing away. Most of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s own writings were also prepared at this location.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
SOOCHE EH NA AAKHIEH BEHEN JO PINDA DHOE, SOOCHE SEYEE NANKA JIN MAN VASYAA SOE (SGGS-Asa Di Waar)
[(Spiritual) cleanliness does not come by taking a shower, Nanak says, (spiritually) clean are those who remember God with love and devotion. ]