ਅਵਲਿ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਦੂਜੀ ਸਾਬੂਰੀ ॥ ਤੀਜੈ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਚਉਥੈ ਖੈਰੀ ॥
ਪੰਜਵੈ ਪੰਜੇ ਇਕਤੁ ਮੁਕਾਮੈ ਏਹਿ ਪੰਜਿ ਵਖਤ ਤੇਰੇ ਅਪਰਪਰਾ ॥੯॥:
Awali sifati doojee saabooree. teejai halemee chauthai khairee.
Panjvai panje ikatu mukaamai ehi panji bakhat tere aaparpraa ||9||:
First, is God’s Praise; second, contentment; third, humility,
and fourth, charity. Fifth is to hold one’s desires in restraint.
These are the five most sublime daily prayers (sggs 1084).

According to Gurbani, what are the most sublime daily prayers - ਅਰਦਾਸ ( Ardas pronounced as Ardaas ; also seen spelt as Aradas or Aradaas etc.) - that will invoke God's Grace and help freeing oneself from the spell of the overpowering delusion or illusion of Maya? For the benefit of the entire mankind, outlined in the Gurbani are the following sublime, daily prayers:

1. God's praise
2. Contentment
3. Humility
4. Charity
5. Restraining of desires

  • ਅਵਲਿ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਦੂਜੀ ਸਾਬੂਰੀ ॥ ਤੀਜੈ ਹਲੇਮੀ ਚਉਥੈ ਖੈਰੀ ॥ ਪੰਜਵੈ ਪੰਜੇ ਇਕਤੁ ਮੁਕਾਮੈ ਏਹਿ ਪੰਜਿ ਵਖਤ ਤੇਰੇ ਅਪਰਪਰਾ ॥੯॥: Awali sifati doojee saabooree. teejai halemee chauthai khairee. Panjvai panje ikatu mukaamai ehi panji bakhat tere aaparpraa ||9||: First, is God’s Praise; second, contentment; third, humility, and fourth, charity. Fifth is to hold one’s desires in restraint. These are the five most sublime daily prayers (sggs 1084).

Although, in the foregoing verse, the Gurbani apparently appears to have a discussion with a Muslim person, but the Teachings are Universal, thus, applicable to everybody. These prayers are of the Aatmic Jeevan (ਆਤਮਿਕ ਜੀਵਨ - Spiritual or Divine Life), which can improve one's Spiritual Life (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ).

As we can see, none of the prayers recommended by the Gur-Shabad includes asking for material favors from God. As the the Gurbani indicates, it is the attachment to "gifts" or material vision that separates one from his Mool (Source, Origin...), thereby, disconnecting him from his True Being (Joti-Svaroopa). On the other hand, attachment to the "Giver" connects him back to the Original Source within, his Mool.

  • ਚਾਰਿ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਲੈ ਜਗਿ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਸਿਵ ਸਕਤੀ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸਾ ਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਏਕੁ ਵਿਸਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਪਿੜ ਹਾਰੇ ਅੰਧੁਲੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਿਸਾਰਾ ਹੇ ॥੬॥: Chaar padaarath lai jag aayaa. Siv sakti ghar vaasaa paayaa. Ek visaare taa pir haare andhulai Naam visaaraa hai ||6||: We enter into the world with an (inborn drive to secure life's) four objectives (i.e., Giaan Padaarath, Mukati Padaarath, Naam Padaarath, and Janam Padaarath). (But after birth) we start dewelling in the home of the delusive Maya (become entnagled with the illusive Maya). Thus, blinded by the Maya's spell, we forsake the One Lord and abandon His Name (Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge...), resulting in defeating of the very purpose of our life ||6|| (sggs 1027).
The purpose of human life is to love and Realize one's Pure Self within (Mool-Source, Origin...). For achieving this Ultimate Goal (Self-realization), the Gurbani teaches us focusing our mind on the Giver rather than His gifts. This is why when a true seeker prays for Divine Communion, he does not hope in the background of his mind for the bestowal of material favors (Maya). But, those who are Pure in Heart (the Gurmukh), all the Giver's gifts are automatically added unto them! They only Reflect on the Name (Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge...).
  • ਧਰਮੁ ਅਰਥੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਾਮੁ ਮੋਖੁ ਹੈ ਜਨ ਪੀਛੈ ਲਗਿ ਫਿਰਥਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਸੋ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਜਿਸੁ ਬਡਭਾਗ ਮਥਈ ॥: Dharma artha sabh kaam mokh hai jan peechhai lag firthayee ||1||Rahaaou||. So har har naam dhiaavai har jan jis badbhaag mathayee: Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha (faith, material success and prosperity, worldly pleasures, and liberation) — all follow the humble servant of the Lord like a shadow. Due to his good fortune, that devotee of the Lord only contemplates on the God's Name (sggs 1320).

Also, as repeatedly indicated in the Gurbani, ritualistic prayers or prayers performed in hypocricy or in hunger for Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁਖ) are useless. Because the aim of the Gurbani is to destroy our hunger for Maya, not to increase it!

  • ਪੜਿ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਸੰਧਿਆ ਬਾਦੰ ॥ ਸਿਲ ਪੂਜਸਿ ਬਗੁਲ ਸਮਾਧੰ ॥ ਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਭੂਖਣ ਸਾਰੰ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈਪਾਲ ਤਿਹਾਲ ਬਿਚਾਰੰ ॥ ਗਲਿ ਮਾਲਾ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਲਿਲਾਟੰ ॥ ਦੁਇ ਧੋਤੀ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਕਪਾਟੰ ॥ ਜੇ ਜਾਣਸਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਫੋਕਟ ਨਿਸਚਉ ਕਰਮੰ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਧਿਆਵੈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਟ ਨ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੧॥: Parri pusatak sandhiaa baadam ...: (Brahmin) reads (religious) books, say his prayers, and then engage in debate (with others); He worships stones and sit like a stork, pretending to be in Samaadhi. With his mouth he utters falsehood, but he presents (that falsehood) like precious ornaments; he recites the three lines of the Gayatri (a Mantra located in the Rig Veda) three times a day. Around his neck is a rosary, and on his forehead is a sacred mark; he keeps two loin cloths, (and at the time of prayer) he (covers) his head with a cloth. If (this Brahmin) knew the nature of God, you would know that all (his) beliefs and rituals are in vain. Says Nanak, meditate with deep faith (only this Way is beneficial); without the Satgur (ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ, Knowledge of Truth...), no one finds (this) Way. ||2|| (sggs 1353).

God's Praise

First in the order among all prayers is God's Praise (Glorification of the Divine Name-Giaan,Divine Knowledge...). This is particularly said to be essential for the mind that is characterized by quarrel, disagreement, cheating, deceit, cynicism, hypocrisy, duplicity, misinformation, etc. Further, we are short-lived, not very intelligent or fortunate, and we are perpetually disturbed and agitated by anxieties. In addition, our mind is ever tossing, flickering, turbulent, swift, restless, obstinate, and so strong that it often overcomes even one's own intelligence. In such unfavorable circumstances and conditions, Reflecting on the Divine Name (Giaan, Divine Knowledge...) is mentioned to be the Elixir. By drinking in it, one becomes free from the disease of ignorance of his Mool (Source, Origin...).

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਉਪਮਾ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਕੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਨ ਅੰਧਿਆਰਾ ॥੩॥: Bin upmaa jagdeees kee binse na andhiaaraa ||3||: Without the Praises of the Lord (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੀ ਸਿਫ਼ਤਿ-ਸਲਾਹ ) of the Universe, the darkness (ignorance of the Mool) is not dispelled ||3|| (sggs 228).

Although God's Praise is on the top of the list, it is followed by four additional sublime prayers as a means for a complete and sustained Spiritual Unfoldment. God's Praises through the Shabad-Vichaar (Aatam-Giaan...) prepare a seeker to embark on and Realize the remaining four essentials prayers.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਲਾਹੀਐ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: Gur kai Sabad salaaheeai antar prem piaar: By praising the Lord through the Shabad, Prema-Bhagti wells up within (sggs 1286).
  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਜਪਉ ਨਾਮ ਗੁਣਤਾਸਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਹਿ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥੪॥੨੩॥੭੪॥: Andin japou Naam guntaas. Nanak kee prabh pahi ardaas ||4||23||74||: Night and day, I engage in the Naam Jap (understanding the Giaan of the Gur-Shabad...), the Treasure of Virtues (ਗੁਣ). This is Nanak’s prayer before the Lord ||4||23||74|| (sggs 389).

True Contentment (Sat Santokh) means not to desire anything for sense gratification. To put it otherwise, contentment is the absence of those material desires that drive the mind run in ten directions. A big part of Spiritual Awakening is contentment — righteous and truthful living. Desires bind us to the material plane. The way it works is that desires draw us to objects of senses, the senses overwhelm the mind, the sense-blind mind enslaves the soul, then the mind goes on creating sinful actions entangling the Jeeva or beings in the web of repeated suffering.

A man of no want (the Gurmukh) has everything! Therefore, the true contentment is gained by eradicating all desires and related fears; worldly as well as celestial. Thus, the true contentment is rejoicing in every situation and adversity. The Gurbani emphasizes that our ਬੇਨਤੀ / ਅਰਦਾਸ / ਜੋਦੜੀ / ਅਰਜੋਈ (prayer) has to be offered with true contentment ("ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ"). In other words, if the prayer is not offered with true contentment ("ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ"), then there can be no abidance with the Lord.

  • ਤੁਧਨੋ ਨਿਵਣੁ ਮੰਨਣੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਸਾਚੁ ਭੇਟ ਬੈਸਣ ਕਉ ਥਾਉ ॥ ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ ਤਾ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਦਿ ਬਹਾਲੇ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਐਸੀ ਦਰਗਹ ਸਾਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Tudhano nivan mannan teraa naau. Saach bhet baisan kaou thaaou. Sat santokh hovai ardaas. Taa sun sad bahaale paas ||1|| Nanak birathaa koi n hoi. Aisee daragah saachaa soi ||1|| Rahaaou ||:  O Lord! Belief (ਮੰਨਣੁ, etc.) in your Name (Giaan, Divine Knowledge...) is obiesance to You (ਸਿਰ ਨਿਵਾਣਾ). (By making the) offering of Truth) one obtains a place to sit by You. If a prayer is offered with true contentment ("ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ"), He hears it, and call him in to sit by Him. ||1|| O Nanak, no one returns empty-handed; such is the Court of the True Lord ||1||Pause||(sggs 879).
  • ਭਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਮੜੀ ਸਦਾ ਸਚੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ Bhikhiaa Naam santokh marree sadaa sach hai naal: (One who has made) the Lord's Name (Naam) the alms (ਭਿਖਿਆ) and contentment the temple; the True God ever abides with him (sggs 1089).


The Gurbani declares that egoism is the most dangerous disease a man can be afflicted with. Humility is the antidote to man's false ego. It puts us in a right relation to God and His creation. It brings good will to all. Therefore, it is God's Will for us to acquire humility. Accordingly, scriptures urge all beings to pursue humility as a duty.

True humility is one of the essential qualifications of a Transcendentally situated person (the Gurmukh). Divine Grace, strength, and forgiveness are promised to the humble. As the foundation for Spiritual Development, humility disposes people to live by Lord's Name (Divine Knowledge, Giaan...).

Absence Haume (egotism) means absence of its menacing Bikaars or faults such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride (alongwith their countless variations).

Humility has extensively been covered in a separate Gurbani article.


From material standpoint, the charity is giving Daan (to offer charitable relief, donations, alms, etc.). There is nothing wrong in giving material charities as long as it does not become an obstacle to Spiritual Progress. In this context, here is the Gurbani's word of caution: "Those who make pilgrimages to sacred shrines, observe ritualistic fasts and make donations to charity while still taking pride in their minds — O Nanak, their actions are useless, like the elephant, who takes a bath, and then rolls in the dust" (sggs 1428).

There is something else, the most sublime donation that can be given in charity — the Divine Name (Giaan, Divine Knowledge...). The Gurbani says that all Happiness is to be found in the love of the True Name. Meditating on the Divine Name within the Heart, Mayaic mentality is erased, and the person becomes the purest of the Pure, blessed with the merits of millions of ritualistic cleansing baths and donations to charity.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਰਚੈ ਮਨ ਭਾਇ ॥ ਭਿਖਿਆ ਸਹਜ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਖਾਇ ॥੨॥: Gur kai Sabad rachai man bhaai. Bheekhiaa sahaj beechaaree khaai ||2||: Through the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar), let (your) mind be absorbed in God’s Love, and (you will) Intuitively (Sahaj) experience the alm of contemplation (Giaan of the Gur-Shabad...). ||2|| (sggs 903).
  • ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਸਾਖੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਬਾਜੈ ਲੋਕੁ ਸੁਣੇ ॥: Surti Sabad saakhee meree singhee baajai lok sunai: Awareness of the Shabad (Shabad-Surtii...) and the Teachings (Giaan or Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani) is my horn; which the people hea (sggs 877).
The way to give the charity of the Divine Name (Giaan or Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani) is through selfless sharing of the Shabad-Vichaar with others. By doing so, we not only help others but strengthen our own Giaan, confidence, convictions and faith as well.
  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਬ੍ਰਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਤਰੰਗ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੩॥: Andin Naam daan bratkaaree. thripath tharang thath beechaaree ||3||: Night and day, the Naam (Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge of the Gurbani...) is my giving in charity (ਇਹ ਨੇਮ ਮੈਂ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਬਾਹ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਾਂ). (With this) contemplation of the Essence ("ਤਤੁ"), the waves (of my love of Maya) subside. ||3|| (sggs 1331).
Restraining Of Desires

The man is accompanied by one dog and two bitches — greed is the dog, material and celestial desires are two bitches. In the morning, they (Maya) wake up with the man and start barking falsehood and deception.

  • ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਾਕੇ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਨ ਆਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਾਲੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥ ਬਿਖੁ ਬਿਹਾਝਹਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਮੋਹ ਪਿਆਸੇ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੭॥: Parri parri thaake saant n aaee. Trisnaa jale sudh n kaaee. Bikh bihaajhahi bikh moh piaase koorr bol bikh khaavaniaa ||7||: By reading and reciting, (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ ਲੋਕ, scholars, etc.) grow weary without obtaining Peace (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ). They are consumed by desires (Maya), they have no understanding (or knowledge of Truth, etc.). They purchase poison (of Maya that brings annihilation of one's spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ ਲਿਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਮਾਇਆ-ਜ਼ਹਰ ) , and they remain thirsty with their fascination for this poison (of the attachment to Maya - ਇਸ ਮਾਇਆ-ਜ਼ਹਰ ਦੇ ਮੋਹ ਦੀ). Telling lies, they eat this poison (as it is their spiritual food - ਆਤਮਕ ਖ਼ੁਰਾਕ) ||7|| (sggs 120).
All desires can be lumped in four types namely Dharma, Artha, Kaam, and Moksha or Mokha. The first three types of desires — Dharma, Artha, and Kaam — relate to the material realm, and are also referred to as "Bhugti" or "Bhukti" in the scriptures. The fourth desire called Moksha, also referred to as "Mukti", relates to the celestial realm. Thus, it amounts to only two types of desires, Bhugti and Mukti. These two desires are also likened to two witches. As long as these two witches (Bhugti and Mukti) reside in one's mind, until then Bhagti will not manifest in him.
  • ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਤਜਿ ਸਹਜ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਏਕੋ ਮੰਨਿ ਵਸਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੧॥: Trisnaa taj sahaj sukh paaiaa eko manni vasaavania ||1||: Shedding desire, and placing the One Lord in the mind, I have obtained the celestial bliss ||1|| (sggs 111).
  • ਪਾਚਹੁ ਮੁਸਿ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਬਿਛਾਵੈ ਤਬ ਤਉ ਦੀਨੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥੩॥: Paachahu mus musalaa bishaavai tab taou deen pashaanai ||3||: Conquering the five (Bikaars: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride), one recognizes the true religion ||3|| (sggs 480).
Since birth, we keep increasing our love for the worldly objects (Maya). Once a desire to enjoy an object springs up in the mind, it becomes agitated. It can not sit still until the desire is fulfilled. Unfortunately, in the process of filling one desire, many more desires spring up! Thus, an agitated mind ends up becoming the locus of unhappiness. Accordingly, the Gurbani puts tremendous importance and emphasis on restraining of all kinds of desires. The ultimate goal is to become desireless — not to desire anything for sense pleasures. Because Desirelessness is Godhood.
  • ਕਰਉ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਮੈ ਮੂਰਖ ਦੇਹੁ ਉਪਦੇਸੋ ਰੇ ॥੩॥: Karayu bentee Satgur apone mai moorakh deh updeso re ||3||: I pray to my Satguru (ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ, Divine Knowledge...); I am so foolish — please, teach me! ||3|| (sggs 612).

— T. Singh

Updated on Monday, February 13, 2012 1:09 PM (PST)

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