Kirtan Sohila is the fourth Bani entered in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (SGGS).

The caption given to the Bani is Sohila but in most gutkas it is reverently known as Kirtan Sohila.

There are 5 Shabads, the first three by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the fourth by Guru Ramdas Ji, whilst the final Shabad is by Guru Arjun Dev Ji.

It is part of the Nitnem Banis and Sikhs read this Bani just before sleep.

Sikh tradition also holds that Guru Har Rai Ji decreed that Kirtan Sohila should be read after saskaar.

There are about 5,984 Shabads in SGGS Ji.   Guruji in His Divine wisdom choose these 5 Shabads as one of the nitnem Banis.

As one pores deep into this Bani, you notice a special larhi to the Bani.

There are numerous sub themes which run in the 5 Shabads of Kirtan Sohila.

The first theme is of “ghar” literally meaning home.


Guruji starts by saying ” jeh ghar kirat akhiye Karte ka hoye bicharo tit ghar gavho Sohila sivro Sirjanharo”.

ਜੈ ਘਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਆਖੀਐ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਾ ਹੋਇ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ॥

(In that house where the Praises of the Creator are chanted and contemplated)

ਤਿਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਸੋਹਿਲਾ ਸਿਵਰਿਹੁ ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰੋ ॥੧॥

(in that house, sing Songs of Praise; meditate and remember the Creator Lord. ||1||)

Here ghar refers to the house of the Sikh and also the body ghar.

As it is bedtime prayer, the focus is on the body ghar i.e. in your body home sing the Sohila, praises of the Almighty.


In the second Shabad, Guruji says there are said to be six ghar ( six schools/houses of philosophical thought), but there is only One Enlightener. The Guru of all Gurus is indeed One although they may have different forms.

“Gur Gur Eko ves anek”.

ਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਏਕੋ ਵੇਸ ਅਨੇਕ ॥੧॥

(But the Teacher of teachers is the One, who appears in so many forms. ||1||)

Of all these various philosophies what really counts is that ghar where the praises of the True Karta are sung.

“Baba jeh ghar karte kirat hoye so ghar rakh vadayee toye”.

ਬਾਬਾ ਜੈ ਘਰਿ ਕਰਤੇ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥

(O Baba: that system in which the Praises of the Creator are sung)

ਸੋ ਘਰੁ ਰਾਖੁ ਵਡਾਈ ਤੋਇ ॥੧॥

(follow that system; in it rests true greatness)


In the 3rd Shabad Guruji draws our attention to the Cosmos. Turning from the focus on “ghar” in the earlier 2 Shabads, Guruji tells us the entire Cosmos is singing His Praises.

This is His Aarti.

Then Guruji deftly draws our attention inwards and tells us this Aarti is also resounding within ourselves through the anhad Shabads.

“Anhata Shabad vajant bheri”

ਅਨਹਤਾ ਸਬਦ ਵਾਜੰਤ ਭੇਰੀ

(The Unstruck Sound-current of the Shabad is the vibration of the temple drums)

“Bheri” means nagara, a drum i.e. the Anhad Shabads are resounding within. Hark and listen within yourself.

So, the third Shabad too tells us to look deep within our own ghar.

It ends with a plea.

In Your grace, please give me (the ever thirsty Sarang), the Water of Your Naam so I may reside in It.

“Kirpa jal deh Nanak Sarang ko hoye ja te terey naaye vaasa.”

ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਜਲੁ ਦੇਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਰਿੰਗ ਕਉ ਹੋਇ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਤੇਰੈ ਨਾਇ ਵਾਸਾ ॥

(Bestow the Water of Your Mercy upon Nanak, the thirsty song-bird, so that he may come to dwell in Your Name.)

“Vassa” refers to a place to reside, the inner ghar.


In the nature of things, a ghar cannot be in isolation. The 4th Shabad tells the Sikh that his ghar exists in a nagree (body village with various organs), which are full of base passions.

These passions have to be purged from the body village with the grace of the Sadhu.

“Kaam krodh nagar baho bhareya mil Sadhu khandal khanda hey”

ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਨਗਰੁ ਬਹੁ ਭਰਿਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਖੰਡਲ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥

(The body-village is filled to overflowing with anger and sexual desire; these were broken into bits when I met with the Holy Saint)

You must reach out to the Sadhu (Shabad Guruji), in utter humility.

“Kar Sadhu anjolee pun vadda hey : kar dandaut pun vadda hey”.

ਕਰਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਅੰਜੁਲੀ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥

(Greet the Holy Saint with your palms pressed together; this is an act of great merit)

ਕਰਿ ਡੰਡਉਤ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

(Bow down before Him; this is a virtuous action indeed)

Anyone who relies on maya shaktis is a sakat. Guruji reminds the Sikh that to rely on anything besides Naam is due to haumai and such a sakat never gets to enjoy Har rass i.e. the relish of Naam.

So, the 4th Shabad speaks of the body  nagree in which the ghar is housed.


The 5th Shabad is in the form of a loving ardas.

Reference is made to the world.

“Eh sansaar” which is “bikaar”,(corrupt, misguided), and in “sansaa” ( restless, not at peace).

Only the truly enlightened ones sail over this world ocean.

“Tariyo Brahm Gyani”.

ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਬਿਕਾਰੁ ਸੰਸੇ ਮਹਿ ਤਰਿਓ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨੀ ॥

(This world is engrossed in corruption and cynicism. Only those who know God are saved).

We are told to go deep within ourselves to our nijh ghar i.e. our true home.

Our nijh ghar, our true home/dimension/avastha/Sachkhand is His Mahal – His Palace, where the Lord Himself resides.

The amazing imagery of ghar, inner ghar, vasaa, nagree, nijh ghar and finally His Mahal is truly profound and rich beyond words.

I have only traced the ghar aspect of this wonderful Bani.

There are other underlying themes too. The theme of fearlessness.

A.  “Nirbhao ka Sohila”

ਤੁਮ ਗਾਵਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਕਾ ਸੋਹਿਲਾ ॥

(Sing the Songs of Praise of my Fearless Lord).

B.  “Bhav khandnaa teri aarti”

ਭਵ ਖੰਡਨਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਰਤੀ ॥

(O Destroyer of Fear, this is Your Ceremony of Light).

C.  “Dukh janam maran bhav khanda hey”

ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਣੇ ਦੁਖੁ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਭਵ ਖੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥

(The humble servants of the Lord are absorbed in the Name of the Lord, Har, Har. The pain of birth and the fear of death are eradicated).

The theme of time ebbing away, gnawing away at your life in this world.

D.  “Sambat saha likhiya..”

ਸੰਬਤਿ ਸਾਹਾ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਰਿ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਤੇਲੁ ॥

(The day of my wedding is pre-ordained. Come, gather together and pour the oil over the threshold)

E.  ” Sadrey nit pevan”

ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਏਹੋ ਪਾਹੁਚਾ ਸਦੜੇ ਨਿਤ ਪਵੰਨਿ ॥

(Unto each and every home, into each and every heart, this summons is sent out; the call comes each and every day)

F.  “Nanak se deh aavan”

ਸਦਣਹਾਰਾ ਸਿਮਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇ ਦਿਹ ਆਵੰਨਿ ॥੪॥੧॥

(Remember in meditation the One who summons us; O Nanak, that day is drawing near!)

G.  “Visoye chasiya ghariya pehra thithi vari maho hova”

ਵਿਸੁਏ ਚਸਿਆ ਘੜੀਆ ਪਹਰਾ ਥਿਤੀ ਵਾਰੀ ਮਾਹੁ ਹੋਆ ॥

(The seconds, minutes and hours, days, weeks and months)

H.  “Andino mohi aayi pyaasa”

ਹਰਿ ਚਰਣ ਕਵਲ ਮਕਰੰਦ ਲੋਭਿਤ ਮਨੋ ਅਨਦਿਨੋੁ ਮੋਹਿ ਆਹੀ ਪਿਆਸਾ ॥

(My mind is enticed by the honey-sweet Lotus Feet of the Lord. Day and night, I thirst for them).

I.  “Jio jio chale chubhe dukh paave”

ਜਿਉ ਜਿਉ ਚਲਹਿ ਚੁਭੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਜਮਕਾਲੁ ਸਹਹਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੨॥

(The more they walk away, the deeper it pierces them, and the more they suffer in pain, until finally, the Messenger of Death smashes his club against their heads)

J.  “Sant tehal ki bela”

ਕਰਉ ਬੇਨੰਤੀ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤਾ ਸੰਤ ਟਹਲ ਕੀ ਬੇਲਾ ॥

(Listen, my friends, I beg of you: now is the time to serve the Saints!)

K.  “Eiha khaat chalo Har laaha aagey bassan suhela”

ਈਹਾ ਖਾਟਿ ਚਲਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਾਹਾ ਆਗੈ ਬਸਨੁ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ॥੧॥

(In this world, earn the profit of the Lord’s Name, and hereafter, you shall dwell in peace)

L.  “Audh ghatey dinns renarey”

ਅਉਧ ਘਟੈ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਰੈਣਾਰੇ ॥

(This life is diminishing, day and night)

M.  “Ja ko aaye soyee bihajho”

ਜਾ ਕਉ ਆਏ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਹਾਝਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਮਨਹਿ ਬਸੇਰਾ ॥

(Purchase only that for which you have come into the world, and through the Guru, the Lord shall dwell within your mind)

N. “Bahur na hoyego feraa”

ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਪਾਵਹੁ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜੇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਨ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਫੇਰਾ ॥੩॥

(Within the home of your own inner being, you shall obtain the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence with intuitive ease. You shall not be consigned again to the wheel of reincarnation)


Manjeet Singh


March 22nd, 2020