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Sri Sukhmani Sahib

Sukhmani Sahib is the Psalm of Serenity. Sukhmani Sahib is the biggest gift to humanity from the fifth Guru.
The Sukhmani Sahib has structural unity. It has 24 staves (Salokas), one of which begins each canto. There are 24 cantos, each containing 8 stanzas. Each stanza has ten lines, that is five couplets. There is also the unity of theme: the perfection of man mentally. morally and spiritually. The stave of each canto gives the gist of the stanzas that follow. The first canto sums up the benefits of contemplation and meditation. It tells that all physical pain and sorrow may vanish through the sincere remembrance of God's Holy Name and that man becomes physically healthy and morally strong. Such people find the inner strength to devote themselves to the public good and develop the endurance to overcome all worldly obstacles. The second canto tells us that "practising holiness" reduces man's propensity to sin. It also provides an escape from the hardships of life. He comes to inner peace and spiritual joy. In the third canto, the Guru states that any study of holy texts, the performance of austerities and various religious practices as giving away much in charity, cannot compare with the benefits obtainable by reading or listening to the Sacred Word. Meditation and nobility of conduct can provide a passport to the Divine Court. Canto four stresses the need for good behavior, Man is a thinking animal and should think ahead to consequences of his actions. Learning and cleverness can not hide a filthy mind. Keep away form stealing and slander. Give up greed in all its forms and remember that all worldly things come to an end. In canto five, we learn to thank God for all his various gifts and treasures which He gives us. Man should compare himself to the less fortunate. Canto six examples God's gifts to man: a healthy body, delicacies to eat, silks and jewels to wear and pleasant music to hear. Should we not thank the Lord for all His gifts by singing of His glory? Canto seven dwells on the attributes of the saints: their self control, their love and compassion, their solicitude for the welfare of other people. Joining their company brings hope and peace, they never turn any one away empty-handed. Similarly an appreciation of the God-oriented man-the Brahm-giani-is found in canto eight. He is kind, patient, humble and care-free. He offers help and support to all without any inhibition. He is the refuge of the forsaken and the lost whom he accepts and treats like the members of his family. In canto nine, Guru Arjan defines the various types of holy persons like the Pandit, Vaishnav, Bhagwati and touch-me-not, of these the best is the Jivanmuki, the liberated one who has acquired immortality while still alive. Canto ten deals with the various types of people and substances, both good and bad. How the conceited men blindly follow their basic nature, while the seekers and seers who win God's grace, attain the goal of thIs life. Man's powers are limited; the more he knows, the less he knows. In canto eleven the Guru tells us that the meek and the humble win God's love, while the haughty and the vain find no peace or joy. Man's desires are limitless as his cravings are beyond appeasement. It is only when his time comes that he may join the company of the holy and then he gets a glimpse of his light, within. Such a man knows True happiness for such a vision is powerfully blessed. Canto twelve dwells on the lot of the boastful and the arrogant.Self-indulgent money-grabbers waste away their lives in eating and sleeping. If an egoist performs good deeds, he all too often only inflates his conceit. Pride and mental peace never go together. Canto thirteen tells us of the need to associate with saintly people and of avoiding their slander. A slanderer is spiritually insolvent and a corruptor of all. However, if the saint blesses him, he will get peace of mind and benediction. Canto fourteen points out that mortals, by their very nature, are fickle and way-ward; so no reliance can be placed on them. On the other hand, the holy ones are extremely helpful and convey to their disciples a true understanding of life and its goal. Canto fifteen tells us that just as darkness is dispelled by light, and a track in the wilderness is illuminated by a flash of lightning, so the Guru's instruction opens up our inner consciousness and reveals the hidden mysteries of spiritual life. This enables the seeker to throw away the garbage of worldliness and gather specially good merchandise which will bring both profit and honor. In canto sixteen, the Guru refers to God as the Director, Playwright and Actor in His own plays, who assumes any role at any time and at any place. He also assigns parts in His play for individuals to act out. In canto seventeen, the Guru emphasizes the qualities of a true servant of God, namely obedience and humility. A good master is pleased with a person who obeys him and is loyal to him. So a good and sincere disciple will be able to win the grace of God. Canto eighteen stresses the characteristics of a Seeker of Truth. He must give up his ego and surrender his mind to the Guru. The Guru will then enrich his mind with compassion and spirituality. The Guru will remove his tensions and sorrows and give him wisdom and joy. In canto nineteen, Guru Arjan warns of the distractions of life. Why one spends all of one's life amassing wealth, which will ultimately be of no use? Or worldly knowledge and possessions which will be left-here on death. People should think of the things that will be helpful to them in the hereafter. Canto twenty deals with the need of efforts for spiritual progress. Meditation is a progressive step on the road to Divinity. A love of virtue, goodness and a remembrance of the qualities that we associate with God, will make one noble and blissful. In canto twenty-one, the Guru tells of the pre-creation state. Before creation, there was a great void. Then God by His own will manifested Himself in His own creation. So the Universe came into existence, where different peoples play out their various roles. In canto twenty-two, there is a short list of God's attributes.He is the fountain of generosity and goodness. He selects people according to what he wants from them. He gives special protection to some but those who turn away from Him come to harm and grief. Canto twenty-three tells us of the omnipotence of God. He created the fabric of the universe; He controls the stellar bodies. Mankind will be forever unable to understand their complexities, as he gropes for clues to their unravelment. True Seekers stand lost in wonder at God's power and excellence. In canto twenty four, the benefits of the Sukhmani are expounded. The true devotee will be rewarded with health, culture, wisdom, peace and enlightenment through the sincere recitation and understanding of this Psalm of Peace. He will be crowned with glory both in this world and in God's Court. Excerpts taken from: A Book of Sikh Studies: Dr. Gobind Singh Mansukhani 1989
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