Sikh Hymns, Prayers, and Blessings for All Occasions

Verses From Sikh Scripture for Every Occasion

Written by spiritual masters, the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib reflect the journey of the soul through life in partnership with the divine. Verses in the shabads or hymns, of Gurbani mirror the emotions experienced by every individual. Sikhs turn to Gurbani Kirtan for inspiration whether going through hardship or expressing joy. All of life's important events are accompanied by the singing sacred verses of kirtan appropriate to the occasion. Many of the most popular hymns can be found in the Amrit Kirtan hymnal. Shabads are also recited as part of protocol during prakash to invoke divine light and sukhasan when the Sikh scripture is placed in repose.

Amrit Kirtan Pothi (Hymnal)
Amrit Kirtan Pothi (Hymnal). Photo © [S Khalsa]

In the Sikh tradition, no ceremony, event, or occasion is complete without the hymns of kirtan being sung. Kirtan is adoration and praise expressed musically in the melodious hue of raag. A Sikh hymnal is a collection of hymns from among the most popular poetic compositions of Guru Granth Sahib. Hymns written in Gurmukhi script are arranged according to spiritual themes.

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Dasam Bani, Vaisakhi Holiday and Khalsa Initiation Hymns

Khalsa Initiates Greet the Sangat
Khalsa Initiates Greet the Sangat. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

This hymn of Fourth Guru Raam Das offers instruction for daily worship, outlining a morning meditation practice to wash the body and mind of impurities. One who wishes to consider them-self to be a Sikh is to rise early bathe and focus lovingly on the divine:

  • - "One Who Calls Them-self a Sikh of The Guru"

Hymns composed by or about Tenth Guru Gobind Singh are known as Dasam Bani. These hymns may be sung to celebrate Amritsanchar, the Sikh initiation ceremony, or during the Vaisakhi Day holiday which commemorates the origins of Khalsa and the first Sikh baptismal initiation ceremony of rebirth.

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Hymns in Praise of Women

Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom. Photo © [Hari]

Hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib praise woman as the mother of all humanity and exalt the wedded woman as an example of a blissful soul bride in union with the divine groom.

  • Bhand Janmeeai - Sikh Hymn In Praise of "Woman"
  • Shabad Ratee Sohaaganee - "Hymn of "The Happy Soul Bride"
The Wedding Rounds
The Wedding Rounds. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

A series of matrimonial hymns are sung during the progression of the Sikh wedding ceremony. Each shabad signifies a particular aspect of the bond between husband and wife as symbolizing a union between the soul bride and divine husband.

  • Keeta Loree-ai Kaam - "Tell Your Wishes to the Lord"
  • Dhan Pir Eh Na Akhee-an - "One Soul Shared by Two Bodies"
  • Pallai Taiddai Laagee - "I Grasp Hold of Your Hem"
  • The Hymns of "Laav" - The Four Wedding Rounds
  • Veeahu Hoa Mere Babula - "My Marriage Has Been Performed"
  • Pooree Asa Jee Mansaa Mere Raam - "My Desires Are Fulfilled"
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Mother and Son Sing Together
Mother and Son Singing Together. Photo © [S Khalsa]

These hymns may be sung, read or recited as a blessing, or to instill hope and dispel worry:

  • When parents are hoping to conceive.
  • To bless an expectant mother.
  • On the occasion of a child's birthday.
  • Following a complete reading of the Guru Granth Sahib

Hymns and prayers may be sung or recited on any occasion to express hopes and blessings for a child of any age.

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Sikhs Offering Support
Sikhs Offering Support. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Sikh hymns encourage, inspire and uplift the soul during difficulties and hard times. Gurbani instructs that pleasure is a disease, and pain the medicine, for it is when experiencing troubles that one turns to God.

  • Angeekaar Keeaa Prabh Apnai - "God Has Made Me His Own"
  • Dukh Santap ​Na Lagi - "Suffering and Sorrow Touch Them Not"
  • Jo Mageh Thakur Apane Te - "What Ever I Ask For I Am Blessed With"
  • Mil Satigur Dhan​​ Pooraa Paaiaa -"Meeting the True Enlightener, Perfect Wealth Is Received"
  • Har Praan Prabhoo Sukhdaatae - "The Lord is My Life's Breath, He is the Masterful Bestower of Peace"
  • Toon Samrath Saran Ko Data Dukh Bhanjan Sukh Ra-e - "You are the Almighty Bestower of Protection, the Defeater of Distress, and King of Joyous Comfort."

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Hymns For Healing Body and Soul

The Yearning Soul Engaged in Simran and Singing
The Yearning Soul Engaged in Simran and Singing. Photo © [S Khalsa]

The illusory sense of separation from the divine is the root of suffering, causing mental anguish and ravishing the body with painful ailments. The sound current of naad imparted by the soothing hymns of Gurbani have the power to heal at the soul level eradicating the effects of egoism, calming the mind and instilling ease of spirit to impart bodily relief.

The Completion of Day
The Completion of Day. Photo © [Nirmal Jot Singh]

Hymns ​that are sung during a Sikh funeral ceremony convey a message of resignation to the natural process. They provide comfort and solace to the bereaved by focusing on departed souls merging with the divine.

  • Jeevan Maran Sukh Ho-e- "In Life and In Death, Peace Resides With Those Who Attain Their Guru"
  • Jot Milee Sang Jot - My Light Merges With the Supreme Light, My Labors Are Over"
  • Sooraj Kiran Milae - The Sunbeam Blends With Sunlight"
  • "Oudhak Samund Salal Kee - Like Droplets of Water In an Ocean Wave I Am Immersed In the Divine"
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Professor Surinder Singh and Raj Academy
Professor Surinder Singh and Raj Academy. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Resources and reviews of recordings by top performers include Gurbani kirtan selections from scripture of Guru Granth and Dasam Granth in a variety of musical styles. Entrance the ears, soothe the body, and heal the soul with sublime strains of classic raag or the exquisite extravaganza of East meets West fusion.

Recording Artists:

  • Gurmat Gian Group - All female singers of classic raag.
  • Professor Surinder Singh - Raj Academy classic raag, naad yoga sound healing, specialist.
  • Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa Pipli Wale - Kirtan fusion extravaganza.
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Learn Gurbani Kirtan DVD and Booklet
Learn Gurbani Kirtan DVD and Booklet. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Learn how to sing and play shabads at home with Learn Gurbani Kirtan booklet, DVD, and CD compiled by kirtan teacher and professional ragi, Bhai Manmohan Singh of California.

Lessons include:

  • Voice tips.
  • Introduction to harmonium, parts, and care.
  • How to read Indian classical music notation.
  • Keyboard diagram and finger positions along with 10 exercises.
  • Instructions for Gur Mantar, Mool Mantar and 10 shabads including two Raags.
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Ancient Guru Granth Sahib
Ancient Guru Granth Sahib. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

The authors of Gurbani scripture address a variety of specific subjects with hymns and verses regarding spiritual merits, or demerits, including:

  • Tattoos and body piercing
  • Gaming and gambling
  • Ritual circumcision
  • Bhang or marijuana
  • Meditative mind
  • Meat eating
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