Kirtan Sohila: English Translation and Transliteration
The Bani, called Kirtan Sohila in Gurmukhi, is read before one goes to sleep at night.
It is also a common practice to recite it at a funeral, when the body is cremated.
Three Sikh Gurus – Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan - contributed five shabads in total to this bani on the pain of separation, and celebrating the bliss of union with God.
The first three shabads were uttered by Guru Nanak, the fourth by Guru Ram Das, and the fifth by Guru Arjan Dev.
The first Shabad (verse) reminds us of the day, when death will eventually come. Those fortunate souls, that succeed in achieving union with God are referred to as happy brides, who attain union with their Husband (Lord) amid songs of joy.
The second Shabad tells us that God is the Supreme Creator of all, including the Sun, which is the cause of time, days, nights, months, seasons etc. Likewise, God Who is One, is the cause of countless manifestations.
Satguru reminds us that the school of thought, which teaches us to sing God's praises and worship Him sincerely, is the only profitable way.
The third Shabad emphasizes that there is no benefit in the empty observance of the ceremony of Arti (worship with small lamps placed on a platter). Nature (Moon, Stars, and Sky) and the entire Universe is constantly performing the Divine and True form of Arti for God. This verse also requests God for His Mercy.
The fourth Shabad describes the deplorable condition of a sinner. His love for ego causes him to suffer pain and grief. Emphasis is laid on achieving union with God, through living a virtuous life and the True Worship of God and His Name; for this is the True object of human life.
The fifth Shabad asserts that man can only obtain union with God only in this life; he will repent in failing to do so. Pray to God to seek from Him the Divine Name and the society of True Saints (Enlightened Beings).