Kirtan Sohila

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Kirtan Sohila is the night prayer said by all Sikhs before sleeping. Its name means 'Song of Praise'. Kirtan Sohila is composed of five hymns or shabad, the first three by Guru Nanak Dev, the fourth by Guru Ram Das and the fifth by Guru Arjan Dev. This hymn is usually recited at the conclusion of evening ceremonies at the Gurdwara and also recited as part of Sikh funeral services.

  • The first shabad visualises the union of the personal self with the Ultimate Reality.
  • The second shabad presents the singularity of the Ultimate despite endless diversity of scriptures, teachers and philosophies.
  • The third shabad rejects all modes of external piety and ritual, and vividly portrays the entire cosmos making harmonious worship. Instead of trays with lamps placed upon them with incense and other offerings, the skies become an integrated platter, the sun and moon the lamps, stars the beads, and all vegetation an offering of flowers. Loud chanting is replaced by the inner unstruck melody playing motionlessly.
  • The fourth shabad explains the importance of the divine Name through which all suffering and transmigration is annulled.
  • The fifth shabad celebrates life here in this world: we must avail ourselves of this wonderful opportunity to serve others and to win divine merit. The unknown Mystery becomes known to the enlightened person who thereafter enjoys the bliss and freedom of immortality.

The Text in Translation[edit]

Gauri Dipaki Measure, Guru Nanak

God is only One, He is obtained by the Grace of the True Guru.

In whatever house (state of mind) meditation on God is practised and His praises are sung,

Sing His praises and meditate upon Him in that house.

You, please, sing the praises of my God, the Fearless.

I am a sacrifice to the Song which gives perpetual peace.

Every day, God looks after and beholds all the beings.

None can assess the price of Your Gifts, so how can the Giver be assessed?

The day and hour of the marriage (departure to the next world) is fixed, so the friends should pour the customary oil on the threshold.

Bless the bride, so that union with the Master, may be obtained.

Such calls and summons to reach the next world are sent to every house, every day.

Nanak reminds: meditate on the One, Who sends calls; that day will come soon.


Asa Measure, Guru Nanak

There are six shastras (books of Hindu thought), their six authors and six methods of teaching;

But One God alone is the Teacher of teachers, though He manifests Himself in many ways.

O God! by that religious books way by which your praises are sung is the best,

Follow that way, which glorifies God.

Just as seconds, minutes, hours, quarters of a day, lunar days, week days, months,

Are created by one sun and so are created many seasons by it,

Similarly God, Who is One has many manifestations, so says Nanak.


Dhanasri Measure, Guru Nanak

The sky is the salver; the sun and the moon the lamps; the stars, with their orbs, are the studied pearls.

The fragrance of sandalwood is the incense, the wind the fan and all vegetation are flowers.

Thus Your Wonderful Worship is performed my God! O, the Destroyer of Fears, this is Your true worship with true lamps.

The Unstruck Melody rings and the Divine Music of the Shabad (Word) is the tender flute.

Your eyes are thousands, yet You have no eye; Your forms are thousands, yet You have no form.

Your pure feet are thousands, yet You have no feet; You are without nose, yet You have a thousand noses; Your plays have, in this way, bewitched me.

The same Light pervades all.

This Light causes the light to shine within all.

Through the Gurus advice the divine Light becomes visible.

That, which pleases Him, constitutes His real worship.

My soul bewitched by the Lotus Feet (Divine Hymns) of God, as sweet as honey, for which I am thirsty day and night.

Nanak says: Give the water of Your Mercy to this pied cuckoo, so that I may merge in Your Name.


Gauri Purbi Measure, Guru Ram Das

Lust and anger completely fill this town body; but these have been smashed to pieces by meeting the Saint (Guru).

I have met the Guru, because of my predestined luck and I have intered the sphere of Gods Love.

Salute the True saint with folded hands, this is a great virtuous act.

Lie prostrate before Him, this is a great virtuous act.

Lovers of mammon do not enjoy the taste of Gods Elixir, as within them there is the thorn of ego.

When they walk forward, that thorn pricks them more and more severely; they suffer greater pain and finally receive on their heads, the blows from deaths staff.

True devotees are absorbed in Gods Name, and fear of the pain of birth and deaths leaves them.

They are united with the Everlasting God and gain great honour in the various regions and universes.

O God! the Greatest of the great, save us, we are poor and humble.

Nanak says: the Name is the Sustainer and support of the mortal, and gives Supreme Joy and peace.


Gauri Purbi Measure, Guru Arjan Dev

My friend, I request you that this is the opportune time to serve the saints.

Earn divine profits in this world and live in peace and comfort in the next one.

Life is shortening day and night.

O mind, meet the Guru and set right your affairs.

This world is engrossed in sins and evils; but Gods Divines will swim across it.

He, who is awakened by God, drinks the Nectar of Name and comes to realise the Ineffable God.

Purchase the commodity, for which you have come in this world, and then God will come to reside in your heart with the Gurus Grace.

You will easily obtain your Real Home and will not suffer transmigration.

O Searcher of hearts and Fulfiller of desires! kindly fulfil my hearts desires.

Nanak says: I, your servant, pray that I may become the dust of the Saints feet join the society of saints.

References[edit]

Kirtan Sohila Link[edit]

Audio Link[edit]