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Sukhmani Sahib: Song of peace
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Sukhmani or Sukhmani Sahib is the title given to the Gurbani in raga Gauri Sukhmani in the Guru Granth Sahib which in turn appears in the major musical measure Raga Gauri to which it belongs. It is a lengthy composition, written by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. The sacred prayer spans 35 pages from page 262 to page 296 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
The word Sukhmani is rendered into English as consoler of the mind. The entire poem has been translated into English more than once under the commonly preferred title, "Jewel of peace", Psalm of peace or Song of peace, signifying the soothing effect it has on the mind of the reader. Sukh literally means peace or comfort and mani means mind or heart also jewel ( in Gurmukhi can mean jewel, gem, precious stone).
The couplet, "Sukman suk amri parab nm. Baga jan kai man bisrm. Raho." which translates to "Sukhmani: Peace & pure ambrosial Nectar are in God's Name. The devotees mind abide in bliss and calm peace. ||Pause||" constituting rahau, the only one in the composition, which means pause or rest and which is an equivalent of the Hebrew word selah occurring in the Psalms, sums up the most characteristic feature of this bani. According to this couplet, Sukhmani is the bringer of the bliss of the Lords name; it dwells in the hearts of those who love Him.
The Sukhmani Sahib has structural unity. The composition consists of 24 Astpadis each of which begins with a Salok and is followed by 8 Pauris or stanzas. Each stanza has ten lines, which consist of five couplets. There is also the unity of theme: the perfection of man mentally. morally and spiritually. The Salok at the beginning of each Astpadi (canto) gives the gist of the 8 Pauris (stanzas) that follow this salok.
One of the fundamental texts of the Sikh faith, the Sukhmani presents a complete scheme of the teachings of the Sikh faith. While each astpadi has a fresh vision to impart, a particular aspect of Truth to unfold, the whole text may be regarded as the reiteration of basic themes such as Divine immanence, Divine compassion, abundance of grace, Gods succouring hand, the merit of devotion, of holy company and humility. With such reiteration, the composition as a whole has a remarkable gripping quality reinforced by the striking imagery which in stanza after stanza brings home to the seeker the truths he must own.
This book is not intended as a substitute to the study of the original scripture, which has timeless beauty and relevance.