Concentration during Nitnem

Human birth is supreme amongst all life forms as it provides an opportunity for the soul to end its journey of births and deaths and merge in God. For this the humans must realize what they are here for and conduct their life accordingly. This is taught by the scriptures which are Sri Guru Granth Sahib and compositions of the tenth Guru for the Sikhs. The compositions are called Banis.
The Sikh Reht Maryada (Code of Conduct) has laid down Banis to be recited (called doing Paath) in the morning, evening and at bedtime. They have been so chosen as to facilitate a spiritual householder’s life. This means doing our mundane duties but setting aside time to remind ourselves of the purpose of life and inevitability of death. The practice of Nitnem facilitates remembering God; as also en ableing breaking away from activities and thus avoid worldly attachments. This also clarifies the concept of ‘avoiding worldly attachments’ or Moh frequently advocated in Gurbani. Guru Nanak explains the need for doing this:


ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਆਸ ਨਿਰਾਸਾ ॥

ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਬਿਖੁ ਭੂਖ ਪਿਆਸਾ ॥

ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਰਲੇ ਮਿਲਹਿ ਉਦਾਸਾ ॥੮॥ ੧ ੨੨੪
I find every one filled with desires or disappointments:
Every one is in the grip of desires, wrath and craving (for mammon);
Rare ones are those not attached to these (M: 1, p 224).

Gurbani exhorts us to remember God with single minded attention:

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਸੰਤ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਸਾਵਧਾਨ ਏਕਾਗਰ ਚੀਤ ॥ ੫ ੨੯੫



O my holy friends praise God;

Do it with alertness and single minded attention (M: 5, p 295).



Doing Paath to praise God is establishing communication with the Divine. If we can perceive the Lord to be present with us it creates a zeal for communication. The third Guru says:
ਸਦਾ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਪੈ ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਸੇਵੈ ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਧ੍ਰਾਪੈ ॥
ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਚੈ ਓਮਾਹਾ ਹੇ ॥੮॥ ੩ ੧੦੫੫


God’s presence is perceived through the Guru’s word:

One who thus serves the Lord feels satisfied;

He then ever dwells on the Word and is enthused (M: 3, p 1055).



If we understand the Shabad and love it, we are enthused to recite or sing it. Without proper understanding Paath remains mechanical recitation. Guru Nanak explains:



ਜਿਨਿ ਕਹਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਕਹਨੁ ਵਖਾਨਿਆ ॥

ਜਿਨਿ ਬੂਝਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਪਛਾਨਿਆ ॥

ਦੇਖਿ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੬॥ ੧ ੨੨੧



One, who just says, only keeps saying;

he who understands, experiences the Lord easily;

this seeing and experiencing is satisfying for the mind (M: 1, p 221).



However there are impediments to concentration resulting in distractions, yawning or even drowsiness. These

may be due to one or more of the following factors:



  • Insufficient sleep.
  • Rich food.
  • Overeating or being famished.
  • Making effort to concentrate.
  • Physical fatigue.
  • Some strong desire.
  • Thoughts of past events or future plans.
  • Being in a conflict situation.

The remedies for the above are evident. Instead of making effort to concentrate one should relax the mind. It is not easy to control the mind in case of the last two but knowing why we are reciting a Bani and what it means is helpful in keeping distractions at bay. Conflict situations may be helped by the prayer. The tenth Guru prays:
ਨਮੋ ਕਲਹ ਕਰਤਾ ਨਮੋ ਸਾਂਤ ਰੂਪੇ ॥ ਜਾਪ, ੧੮੭
My obeisance to One who creates conflict but is the embodiment of peace (Jaap, 187).

Thinking on these lines motivates one to realize if he/ she himself/ herself is the cause for the conflict, its continuation or exacerbation.
The method of recitation is important as proper recitation not only gives satisfaction, the body and mind participate in the process.
Recitations should be done matching with the breathing rythm. This helps in the speech, body and mind working in unison. This way the reciter neither gets out of breath as in a fast recitation or/ combining sentences (Tuks), or the mind wavering if the reitation is too slow.
A devotee who has achieved success in concentration can probably be in a posture for a long time without feeling the strain. The general prescription however is:
ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜ ਸੇਤੀ ਜਪਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ੫ ੪੪

O my mind remember the Divine virtues naturally and comfortably (M: 5, p 44).
Along with the need for coordinating recitation with the breathing, the meanings of the Tuks need to be kept in mind. For this purpose it is helpful to give a break (Vishram) between Tuks and some times the Tuks should be broken down into two or more parts. The examples below demonstrate this:
Tayra keeta jaato naahi – mainu jog keetoee (Rehras)
Sometimes many breaks may become necessary; they come automatically if the recitation is understood. The reverse is also true; if thus recited the tUk is easily understood. Here are few examples:
Tu Karta sachiaar – mainda saaee;
Jau tau bhaavai – soee theesee – jo tu deh – soee hau paee (Rehras).
Kavav so vela – vakhat kavan – kavan thit – kavan vaar;
Kavan se ruti – maah kavan – jit hoaa aakaar (Japji).
Des aur na bhes jaakar – roop – rekh – na raag;
jatr tatr – dis visa – hoe phaileo – anuraag. 80. (Jaap Sahib).

It is helpful to perceive a vibration going down the body, from the tongue to the lower stomach as we recite.
At times when the situation is more adverse concentration becomes easier if we recite every word deliberately separated from the last. This also helps in undersatnding the recitation.
The one single factor helpful in achieving concentration is deflation of the self (ego) as when making a supplication. In other words Nitnem should be done in humility or Nimrata.
Understanding of the recitation creates interest and one feels motivated. Going a step further, interest is further enhanced if it is understood why a particular Bani is recited at a given time.Understanding the purpose of each individual Bani also helps in being aware of of the recitation. In this regard we may look at the five Nitnem Banis thus:
Japji Sahib.
This is in the form of Updesh or instruction to the mind. So it needs to be recited to the self and not primarily meant for others to hear, which they may do. If this is kept in mind it should be possible to identify ego or any other distraction. Japji Sahib conditions the mind to be receptive.

Jaap Sahib.

This Bani of the tenth Guru is entirely in praise of Akal Purakh either in second or third person. In the former portions, it should be possible to detect whether the reciter is talking to the Master or not. Somtimes evil ideas tend to come to mind during Paath. These pertain to something that has happened or is to be done. If such a thing happens one may tell the self “so this is how you talk to the Lord’? The course may then corrected. Of course this is applicable in respect of all Banis.

These ten Swayyas are the last composition before we take on the mundane activities for the day. They tell us not to get too engrossed in making money, unjust exercise of authority and the like. The ninth Swayya tells us to avoid pretense and act in love (Jin prem keeo tin hi Prabh paaio). Understanding them as such makes them interesting and helps in concentration.
Rehras Sahib
This is recited at sunset after the day’s work is over. One may be tired, elated or not so happy because of what happened during the day. The compositions forming part of Rehras are meant to thank the Lord for enabling us to do our duties that day. It is mostly in second person addressed to God. The day’s distraction and fatigue may make concentration difficult but it helps if the mind is motivated that it is going to talk to the Master. Its beginning lends itself well for the purpose. It starts with “Sodar tayra kihaa –“. Later “Vaday mayaray Saahiba –“, Tu ghat ghat antar –“Tu karta sachiaar maidaa saaee”, “Na hau jatti satti nahi –” all in second person. These are only representative examples. Similarly in the Chaupaee the tenth Guru enables us to talk to Akal Purakh in large part e.g. “Hamri karahu haath day rachhaa”, “Tumhay chaad koee na dhiaaoo”, “Raakh lahu mohay raakhanhaaray” and so on.
Sohila to be recited at bed time is a short Bani reminding us about the end of life both by itself and a metaphor for end of the day. If recited in that spirit, it brings humility and concentration folowed by good sleep.


Posted On
Jun 28, 2014
Posted By
create google plus account

Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a information! present here
at this weblog, thanks admin of this web page.

Posted On
Jun 30, 2014
Posted By

A person essentially help to make seriously posts I might state.
That is the first time I frequented your website page and to this
point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular submit extraordinary.
Great process!

my website; Getjealous.Com

Posted On
Jul 04, 2014
Posted By

Admiring the time and energy you put into
your site and detailed information you offer. It’s great to come
across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date
rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS
feeds to my Google account.

Posted On
Jul 08, 2014
Posted By

Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to
give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading
through your posts. Can you recommend any other
blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
Thanks a lot!

Posted On
Jul 14, 2014
Posted By

Definitely believe that which yyou stated. Your favorite
justificaztion seemed to be on the weeb the simplest thing to be aware of.
I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries
that they plainly don’t knkw about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having
side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back
to get more. Thanks

Posted On
Jul 15, 2014
Posted By
Insect & Pest Control Barrie

Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg
it and personally recommend to my friends.
I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

My homepage … Insect & Pest Control Barrie

Posted On
Jul 20, 2014
Posted By
Facial Mask

I pay a quick visit daily a few web pages and websites to read articles or reviews, but this weblog gives feature based posts.

Here is my homepage – Facial Mask

It’s nearly impossible to find educated people about this
topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

Posted On
Jul 23, 2014
Posted By
Personal Injury Attorneys in Peoria IL

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet
my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this
for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have
some experience with something like this.
Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new

Feel free to visit my weblog: Personal Injury Attorneys in Peoria IL

Posted On
Jul 28, 2014
Posted By
Run Click Software by Walt Bayliss

We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of
your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for.
can you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?

I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write regarding here.
Again, awesome website!

Posted On
Aug 24, 2014
Posted By
Rawel Singh

You are welcome. Kindly give a write up on concentration during meditation.

Posted On
Jul 28, 2014
Posted By
seamless secure review

Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this

Posted On
Aug 01, 2014
Posted By
lawyer dui

I enjoy, lead to I found exactly what I was looking for.
You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

My page :: lawyer dui

Posted On
Aug 02, 2014
Posted By
gyms in henry county ga

Quality content is the crucial to be a focus for the viewers
to visit the website, that’s what this web page is providing.

Posted On
Aug 06, 2014
Posted By

Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more,
thanks for the information!

Posted On
Aug 14, 2014
Posted By
Greenville home birth midwife

I love looking through a post that can make people think.
Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

My website: Greenville home birth midwife

Posted On
Aug 14, 2014
Posted By
performance bond

Good post. I will be going through many of these
issues as well..

My homepage: performance bond

Posted On
Aug 14, 2014
Posted By
salicylic acid

Admiring the dedication you put into your blog and in depth information you present.
It’s nice to come across a blog every once
in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material.
Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS
feeds to my Google account.

Posted On
Aug 15, 2014
Posted By
Redondo Beach dwi lawyer

It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly
donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle
for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.

Chat soon!

Feel free to surf to my site :: Redondo Beach dwi lawyer

Posted On
Aug 28, 2014
Posted By
play online games for money

Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges.
It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
Thanks for sharing!

Posted On
Sep 24, 2014
Posted By
Crossing Borders Franchise

I was pretty pleased to uncover this website. I want to to thank
you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!!
I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you saved to
fav to check out new information on your web site.

Leave a Reply


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home1/sangat/public_html/wp-content/plugins/gantry/core/gantrygzipper.class.php on line 145