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Sakhian About Shudh Ucharan
Bhai Gopala Ji and Japu Ji Sahib
Bhai Gurdas Sahib Ji
Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji

Upon the victory of the Second Hargobindpur battle, Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee had set up a congregation for the sangat and the fallen Shaheeds. After the war Guru Sahib’s state of mind was one of gratitude and calmness. Guru Sahib looked to the sangat and did Benti to all their Sikhs. They asked if there is any Sikh who can recite Sri Japu Ji Sahib Jee correctly with all the characters and full focus.

One of Guru Sahib Jee’s Sikhs, Bhai Gopala Jee obtained shudh santhya from Guru Arjun Dev Sahib Jee themselves. Bhai Sahib gets up and does Benti to Guru Hargobind Sahib Maharaj to give him the strength and blessing to recite Sri Japu Ji Sahib. Pleased, Guru Sahib gave Bhai Gopala Jee a seat at the highest point of the congregation.

Bhai Gopala Ji doing Japji Sahib

Sitting in front of Guru Sahib, Bhai Gopala Jee first contemplated on Sahib Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Jee’s name and then began to recite Sri Japu Ji Sahib Jee. With full focus and concentration he recited Ik Oankaar with the correct pronunciation and characters. Then, he continued in the same manner with Satenaamu.

Upon hearing the beautiful Bani (everywhere else spelled as Bani), Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee bowed down to the Gurshabad Bani. Then Guru Sahib proceeds to clasp their hands and pay reverence to Bhai Gopala Jee.

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji's folded hands
What should be given to award such beautiful recitation of Bani?
Award for reciting Gurbani

Upon hearing the Bani, Guru Sahib was overcome with euphoria. They were so pleased with the way Bhai Gopala Jee was reading Bani that they thought to themselves, what could I possibly give in return for hearing Bani so beautifully? If I make him emperor of the world, that’s temporal. What should be given to award such beautiful recitation of Bani?

With their heart full of love, Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee decided to give him the one kingdom that was eternal: Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Jee’s Throne. Guru Sahib moved one of their knees to get up from their throne and give the Gursikh their seat. At that point, Japu Ji Sahib had reached the final stanza. After seeing Guru Sahib get up, Bhai Gopala Jee’s concentration was disrupted, a thought crossed his mind that Guru Sahib was leaving. Bhai Gopala Jee thought if Guru Sahib did not leave, Guru Ji would give him a royal horse from Guru Sahib’s stable.


Understanding Bhai Sahib’s sudden thought, Guru Sahib gets up at the completion of Japu Ji Sahib and hugs Bhai Gopala Jee. GuruSahib tells him that ‘I was about to give you Guru Nanak Dev Jee’s crown had you not asked for a horse.’

Guru Sahib was so pleased that they gave Bhai Sahib blessings after granting him the royal horse. Bhai Sahib’s life was blessed and he was free from the birth and death cycle. He was liberated from all his sorrow and pains in the physical and afterlife. Guru Sahib goes on further to say that any wishes that you may ever have will come to fruition instantly. The importance of doing Shudh Bani cannot be understated. If Guru Sahib themselves were about to give their throne based on the correct recitation of Bani, imagine how much significance reciting Shudh Bani holds.

Once again, we resort to Bhai Gurdas Ji’s writings as they are venerated as being the key to the treasure of Bani by the Fifth Guru:

ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਕੁੰਜੀ ਬਾਣੀ॥ਜੋ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ ਵਖਾਣੀ॥
The key to understanding Bani resides in the Bani itself - Specifically, the Bani recited by Bhai Gurdas Ji.Bhai Gurdas Ji explains the magnificence contained within the smallest to smallest character found within Gurbani stating:

Bhai Gurdas Ji addressing sangat
ਸਿੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਪੁਰਾਨ ਕੋਟਾਨਿ ਬਖਾਨ ਬਹੁ
ਭਾਗਵਤ ਬੇਦ ਬਿਆਕਰਨ ਗੀਤਾ ।
If all the 31 Simrities, 18 Purans, Bhagvad Geeta, four Vedas and their grammar become millions and speak,
ਸੇਸ ਮਰਜੇਸ ਅਖਲੇਸ ਸੁਰ ਮਹੇਸ ਮੁਨ
ਜਗਤੁ ਅਰ ਭਗਤਿ ਸੁਰ ਨਰ ਅਤੀਤਾ ।
If Shesh Nag of thousands of tongues, Dharamraj, Kuber and other gods, Shiva and hermits and saints of the whole world, noble men get together in millions and speak;
ਗਿਆਨ ਅਰ ਧਿਆਨ ਉਨਮਾਨ ਉਨਮਨ
ਉਕਤਿ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦਿ ਦਿਜ ਸੁਰਮਤਿ ਨੀਤਾ ।
If seekers of many type of knowledge, contemplations and wise men who discuss various subjects, people of higher spiritual state, who can speak about various skills, all the Ragas and their seven notes, knowledgeable scholars, goddess Saraswati and many.
ਅਰਧ ਲਗ ਮਾਤ੍ਰ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦ ਅਖਰ ਮੇਕ
ਅਗਮ ਅਤਿ ਅਗਮ ਅਗਾਧਿ ਮੀਤਾ ॥੫੪੦॥
ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ ਜੀ : ਕਬਿੱਤ ੫੪੦ ਪੰ. ੪
O friend! all the above will fall woefully short of saying the praise of a syllable of the True Guru's blessed Naam Gur Mantar. The significance of Guru's words is beyond the extent of all knowledge. (Bhai Gurdaas Ji, Kabit 540)

As such, by mispronouncing a single word, by skipping even a single character or any ਲਗ, we are devoiding ourselves from an unimaginable amount of merit. Now we leave you with part of a verse from Japu Ji Sahib and ask everyone to scrutinize themselves. For those of us that were aware and have been pronouncing the word ਕਵਣ in the three unique ways it's written, we humbly bow down to your attentiveness to Bani. For those that may not have picked up on the subtleties of this verse, it’s time to bring Shudh Ucharan into our daily lives!

ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਵਖਤੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਕਵਣ ਥਿਤਿ ਕਵਣੁ ਵਾਰੁ ॥
ਕਵਣਿ ਸਿ ਰੁਤੀ ਮਾਹੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਹੋਆ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੪
(SGGS Ji, Ang 4)

The importance of Shudh Ucharan with all the ਲਗਾਂ was heavily favoured by Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Jee. Mahapursh loved everyone who recited Bani with all the ਲਗਾਂ. One time when the Jatha was at Nabhaa Sahib (ਨਾਭਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ), a Singh in the jatha, Bhai Kapoor Singh Jee, argued with Sant Ji on something.

When he left the room, all the Singhs that were sitting beside Mahapursh expressed anger at the tone in which Bhai Sahib spoke. But they were awestruck to see the calmness of Sant Ji. Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Jee smiled at all the Singhs and said "ਮਸਤਾਨਾ ਉਚਾਰਨ ਬੜਾ ਲਗਾਂ ਲਾ ਕੇ ਸ਼ੁੱਧ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ" meaning “That Singh’s recitation of Bani and its characters is very accurate.”

Sant Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji giving bachan to Bhagat Ji
This illustration depicts Bhagat Ji in their 20s receiving this bachan from Vadde Mahapurkh.

Bhagat Ji has also stated on numerous occasions that Sant Gurbachan Singh Ji went as far as saying “ਮੁਹਾਰਨੀ ਭਜਨ ਹੈ” meaning the very recitation of the Gurmukhi alphabet is equivalent to sitting in meditation!