After the first Amrit Ceremony, Guru Gobind Singh gave the Khalsa a code by which to live their lives. A key part of that code includes the recitation of and meditation on certain Banis. Banis are Sacred Teachings Songs given by the Divine to the Sikh Masters.
Bani means vibration or frequency of consciousness. Bani is not just what the words say or what the language conveys in a literal or philosophical sense. Bani is given to those with a totally enlightened mind. It comes as a wholistic understanding, a revelation of Universal and Ultimate Truth. The Sikh Masters received these visions of sound. Then, they took that vibrational revelation and put it into words for the times in which they lived.
Guru Ram Das says . . .
“Baanee guroo guroo hai baanee Vich baanee amrit saaray.
Gur baanee kehai sayvak jan maanaiPartakh guroo nistaaray.”
“Bani is the Guru and Guru is the Bani. In the Bani are contained all the nectars.
If the servant obeys whatever the Guru says,the Guru, in person, saves him.”
– Siri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 982
Everything contained within the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is considered Bani. And Bani, itself, is the Guru. Bani is the Teacher, the Guide who takes us from the darkness of our own ego to the light of our Inner Divinity. How can a song be a Guru? How can sound lead us to liberation? It is actually quite simple.
Power and Effect of the Nitnem Banis (Daily Prayers)
When the tongue chants these Sacred Songs, it stimulates the meridians of the upper palate in a very specific pattern. If you run your tongue across the roof of your mouth, you will see how sensitive that part of your body is – and how it affects your entire nervous system. Gurbani is a Divine Sound Code that re-programs the brain, the glandular system and the nervous system. It re-programs us to see what the Masters saw. To experience what the Masters experienced. And, slowly, over time, as we integrate these visions and experiences, to live as the Masters lived.
“The Sound Current of the Shabad Guru is a perfect permutation to make us Divine. These Banis give us a sense of excellence. They create a permutation and combination between the tongue and the upper palate. This, in turn balances the hypothalamus so we can be great automatically. The hypothalamus controls habitual patterns. Reciting these Banis enables us to reset our patterns to experience Infinity. By reciting the Banis daily, by the Grace of God, we will begin to understand what the Guru is saying and we will begin to understand how it applies to our lives.”
(Adapted from “Living Reality” by Bhai Sahiba Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa, Page 87)
Read more about Bani here