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“KACHI BANI” WHY IS THERE A CONTROVERSY?

There is a lot of confusion nowadays about Kachi Bani. In the past few years, there has been a
lot of controversy regarding the term ‘Kachi Bani.’ Unfortunately, a lot of people do not know
what this term really means, and instead go around and utter this term at times, when it clearly
should not be used.

Due to the large amount of confusion nowadays surrounding Kachi Bani, this is my humble
attempt to clear up various misconceptions regarding its usage.

Majority of Sikhs say that only Shabads from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Bhai Gurdas Ji’s Vaaran,
Compositions of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and select works of Bhai Nand Lal Ji are only those
which can be referred to Pakki Bani.

There should be no confusion at all, because Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji has clearly mentioned what
is kachi Bani and what is pakki Bani. And other Gurus have further clarified this point. So
problem lies with us, if we do not try to completely understand the underlying meaning of
Dargahi Bani.

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji conveys this message in Anand Sahib:

siqgurU ibnw hor kcI hY bwxI ]


Without the True Guru, other songs are false.

bwxI q kcI siqgurU bwJhu hor kcI bwxI ]


The songs are false without the True Guru; all other songs are false.

khdy kcy suxdy kcy kcNØI AwiK vKwxI ]


The speakers are false, and the listeners are false; those who speak and recite are false.

hir hir inq krih rsnw kihAw kCU n jwxI ]


They may continually chant, 'Har, Har' with their tongues, but they do not know what they are saying.

icqu ijn kw ihir lieAw mwieAw bolin pey rvwxI ]


Their consciousness is lured by Maya; they are just reciting mechanically.

khY nwnku siqgurU bwJhu hor kcI bwxI ]24]


Says Nanak, without the True Guru, other songs are false. ||24|| ( ang 920 )

Looking at the Bani from above, some people are shortsighted and immediately declare that
Shabads from Bhai Gurdas Ji or poetry from Bhai Nand Lal Ji are also Kachi Bani. Such
statements could not be more incorrect and further away from the truth.

Their version is that only Gurbani is pakki Bani. All else is kachi Bani. Then what will they say
about Ardaas, which is done every day in every Gurdwara? Clearly, the problem is that those
Sikhs without complete understanding of Gurbani, falsely make announcements that “such
and such Bani is pakki Bani “and “such and such Bani is Kachi Bani.” But who are these
individuals to make such claims, as we are mere students trying to grasp the endless wisdom of
our eternal Gurus and the wisdom passed on to us by such scholars such as Bhai Gurdas Ji and
Bhai Nand Lal Ji.

It has gotten to such a bad state that nowadays, some people do not allow many Raagis to
perform specific Kirtan Shabads at Gurdwaras, and by stating such rules, these individuals are
placing themselves on a pedestal, in which they consider themselves and their experiences to
be greater than those of our Guru Sahibaan.

Let us see, whose Bani is stamped as pakki Bani and kachi Bani by Guru Sahib himself.

Sahib Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says :

AMimRq bcn swD kI bwxI ]


The banis, the Teachings of the Holy Saints, are Ambrosial Nectar. ( ang 744 )

Sri Guru Raam Daas Ji says:

Bgq jnw kI aUqm bwxI gwvih AkQ kQw inq inAwrI ]


The bani of the Bhagats is sublime; they sing continually the wondrous, Unspoken Speech of the Lord.
( ang 507 )

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

Bgq jnw kI aUqm bwxI juig juig rhI smweI ]20]


The Bani, the Word of the Bhagats is the most sublime and exalted; it prevails throughout the ages.
( ang 909 )

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says :

sMq jnw kI aUcI bwnI ]


The bani of the Sants is lofty and exalted.

ismir ismir qry nwnk pRwnI ]


Meditating, meditating in remembrance, O Nanak, mortal beings are carried across and saved.
( ang 1300 )
Sri Guru Raam Daas Ji says :

AMimRq bwxI Bgq jnw kI myrI ijMduVIey min suxIAY hir ilv lwey rwm ]
The bani of the Bhagats is Ambrosial Nectar, O my soul; hearing that with concentration in the mind, we
get loving affection for the Lord. ( ang 538 )

These are some of the verses and there are hundreds more like these, which lay stress
repeatedly that the Bani of the Sants and Bhagats is also pakki Bani and definitely not kachi
Bani.

Further Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

bwbwxIAw khwxIAw puq spuq kryin ]


The stories of one's ancestors are told by wise children. (ang 951 )

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says:

imil kY krh khwxIAw sMmRQ kMq kIAwh ]


Let's join together, and tell stories of our All-powerful Husband Lord. ( ang 17 )

Sri Guru Ram Daas Ji says:

AkQ khwxI pRym kI ko pRIqmu AwKY Awie ]


If only someone would come and tell me the Unspoken story of my Beloved. ( ang 759 )

Sri Guru Ramdaas Ji says:


hir kQw suxwvhu myry gurisKhu myry hir pRB AkQ khwxI
So proclaim the story of the Lord, O my GurSikhs; speak the Unspoken story of my Lord God.
( ang 1317 )

Each of the stories told about our Guru Sahibaan is always worthy of praise. Therefore, with
this logic and common sense in place, it’s clear that anything praising the deeds of our Gurus is
called Pakki Bani by Guru Sahibaan themselves. We only have to look at Sahib Sri Guru Granth
Sahib Ji to see that this is true. Anything related to Guru Sahib’s greatness or lessons should be
considered Pakki Bani.

Those stories are praiseworthy, which are told about Guru Sahib. And that is called pakki Bani
by Guru Sahib and Guru Sahib ask us to listen to those stories.

Sri Guru Ram Daas Ji says:

myry pRIqm kI mY kQw suxweIAY


Recite to me the Sermon of my Beloved. ( ang 95 )
Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

prQwie swKI mhw purK boldy swJI sgl jhwnY ]


Great men speak the teachings by relating them to individual situations, but the whole world shares in
these. ( ang 647 )

But on the other hand, the stories or katha, which take us away from Guru Sahib is called kachi
Bani by Guru Sahib.

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

hir isau icqu n lwienI vwdI Drin ipAwru ]


They do not focus their consciousness on the Lord; they love to engage in arguments.

vwdw kIAw krin khwxIAw kUVu boil krih Awhwru ]


They speak to cause arguments, and earn their living by telling lies.( ang 1091)

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says:

jip rwm nwmu nwnk insqrIAY horu duqIAw ibrQI swKI ]2]
Chanting the Lord's Name, O Nanak, I am emancipated; other teachings of duality are useless. ||2||
(ang 1227)

The words spoken by the holy persons in praise of Guru Sahib are described as pakki Bani by
Guru Sahib, but words spoken without mention of Guru Sahib are useless.

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says:

siq bcn swDU siB khq ]


True are all the words spoken by the Holy. ( ang 294 )

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says:

siq bcn swDU aupdys ]


True are the Teachings, and the Instructions of the Holy. ( ang 284 )

Sri Guru Ram Daas Ji says:

Bgq muKY qy boldy sy vcn hovMdy ]


that whatever the Lord's devotees utter with their mouths, shall come to pass. ( ang 306 )

But on the other hand the incorrect words spoken by a person are kachi Bani.

Bhagat Kabeer Ji says:


ijhvw bcnu suDu nhI inksY qb ry Drm kI Aws krY ]3]
His tongue has not spoken the correct words, but now, he hopes to practice religion! ||3|| ( ang 479 )

Similarly those songs are praiseworthy and pakki Bani, which are sung in praise of Guru Sahib:

Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji says:

nwnk Baujlu pwir prY jau gwvY pRB ky gIq ]


O Nanak, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean, singing the Songs of God. ( ang 536 )

On the other hand the songs sung in unworthy entertainments are determined as kachi Bani:

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says:

kauqk kof qmwisAw iciq n Awvsu nwau ]


In the midst of millions of games and entertainments, the Lord's Name does not come to their minds.

nwnk koVI nrk brwbry aujVu soeI Qwau ]


O Nanak, their home is like a wilderness, in the depths of hell. ( ang 707 )

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says:

rMg qmwsy bhu ibDI cwie lig rihAw ]


you may have enjoyments and entertainments of all sorts and kinds, and continue to enjoy exciting
pleasures

iciq n AwieE pwrbRhmu qw srp kI jUin gieAw ]6]


And yet, if you do not come to remember the Supreme Lord God, you shall be reincarnated as a snake.
( ang 70 )

After going through each of the above verses related to our Guru Sahibaan, we come to know
that the words uttered by Sants, Bhagats, and Sadhus are also Pakki Bani.

It is from this understanding that Guru Sahib asks us to listen to the stories of Gursikhs. It’s in
this same manner that Guru Sahib says that only wise children tell the stories of our Guru
Sahibaan and the greatness. So, with this said, how can anything that glorifies the greatness of
our Guru Sahibaan be considered Kachi Bani?

Guru Sahib has given us the light to guide us through any obstacle. With this said, he has also
amply clarified what should be called Kachi Bani. For example:
Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

siqgurU ibnw hor kcI hY bwxI ]


Without the True Guru, other songs are false.

bwxI q kcI siqgurU bwJhu hor kcI bwxI ]


The songs are false without the True Guru; all other songs are false.

khdy kcy suxdy kcy kcNØI AwiK vKwxI ]


The speakers are false, and the listeners are false; those who speak and recite are false.

hir hir inq krih rsnw kihAw kCU n jwxI ]


They may continually chant, 'Har, Har' with their tongues, but they do not know what they are saying.

icqu ijn kw ihir lieAw mwieAw bolin pey rvwxI ]


Their consciousness is lured by Maya; they are just reciting mechanically.

khY nwnku siqgurU bwJhu hor kcI bwxI ]24]


Says Nanak, without the true Guru other songs are false. ( ang 920 )

Bottomline is according to the guidelines set forth by our Guru Sahibaan, any speech, any
katha, any poetry, any Dhaarna, any dhaadi vaar, which connects our mind to Guru Sahib’s
Charans ( Holy Feet ) is pakki Bani and everything else spoken without the praise of Guru Sahib
( Satguru Bina i.e.with no mention of Guru Sahib ) is kachi Bani.

Guru Sahib has given us the light to guide us through any obstacle. With this said, he has also
amply clarified what should be called Kachi Bani.

For example: Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself listened to the poems of 52 poets, who
recited these in praise of Gurus and they were called from many parts of India. Can we say that
Guru Gobind Singh Ji listened to kachi bani? So it is clear that anything which is said or sung in
praise of Guru Sahib is definitely not kachi bani.

Furthermore, Sahib Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji started the tradition of singing Dhaadi Vaaran,
so this is further evidence that there is nothing wrong with listening to such proclamations of
faith.

An important consideration and learning for all is that Dhaarnas are never claimed to be
Gurbani. Instead, it is a form of Guru-Jas; just like Dhadhis, Kavishers and Kathavachaks, all of
whom plead that the Sangat gets complete control of Guru Sahib’s Charan (holy feet).
So the question of whether it is kachi Bani does not arise.
Any katha or kavishri or dhadi vaar which brings seeker close to Guru Sahib is not kachi bani. It
is just an easier way to understand the meanings of Bani . If katha and dhadhi vaaran are
allowed, what is harm in dhaarna? Instead, it’s just an easier way to understand the meanings
of Bani, which is an endless treasure that takes a lifetime to comprehend.

Anything, which is in agreement with Guru Sahib’s tenets can never be declared as kachi bani.
Therefore, Dhaadi Vaaran can be sung because Satguru Ji himself has allowed us to do so. Kachi
Baani is someone else that makes up Baani which tries to impersonate the Sikh Gurus, or that
which changes words and tries to portray it as the Bani of our Sikh Guru Jis.

Singing about the greatness of Sikhi or about historical events, or anything that awakes people
to Sikhi and Guru Sahib’s Charna is obviously fine, as it is igniting the light of Sikhi and faith
within a person.

Dhadi vaaran, Kaveeshree, Dhaarmik Prasang , Dhaarnas or Geet are all good ways of conveying
a Gurmat message, relating the past to the present through the tool of music. So anything,
which conveys the message of Guru Sahib cannot be described as kachi Bani.
The famous tukh “Satgur binna hor kachee hai banee” clearly conveys this message.
Guru Sahib has clearly mentioned what is Kachi Bani, but if we do not like to understand the
real meaning of what is being conveyed by that Tukh, then as students it is our own short-sights
that have failed us.

Sri Guru Ram Daas Ji clarifies, whose speech or katha is kachi bani:

siqgur kI rIsY hoir kcu ipcu boldy sy kUiVAwr kUVy JiV pVIAY ]
Jealously emulating the True Guru, some others may speak of good and bad, but the false are destroyed
by their falsehood.

En@w AMdir horu muiK horu hY ibKu mwieAw no JiK mrdy kVIAY ]
Deep within them is one thing, and in their mouths is another; they suck in the poison of Maya, and then
they painfully waste away. ( ang 304 )

Guru Sahib says that any person may be he is a sant or katha kar or keertania or dhaadi, whose
sole purpose is to collect money speaks kachi Bani.

Bhagat Sheikh Farid Ji says:

idlhu muhbiq ijMn@ syeI sicAw ]


They alone are true, whose love for God is deep and heart-felt.

ijn@ min horu muiK horu is kWFy kicAw ]


Those who have one thing in their heart, & something else in their mouth, are judged to be false.(488 )
Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

jIAhu inrml bwhrhu inrml ]


Inwardly pure, and outwardly pure.

bwhrhu q inrml jIAhu inrml siqgur qy krxI kmwxI ]


Those who are outwardly pure and also pure within, through the Guru, perform good deeds.
( Anand Sahib )

So it is now clear that one should praise Guru Sahib with a pure heart without any lure of
money.

We now have come to the conclusion that anything, which is said in praise of Guru Sahib is not
kachi Bani, may be it is katha, kahani, song or poem. That is declared by Guru Sahib himself as
is evident by the above mentioned verses. Then how can a Dhaarna, which is sung in praise of
our Guru Sahib be declared as kachi bani? A Dhaarna is also a katha, which is sung musically.

If a raagi says “ Dhan hai Dhan hai Guru Nanak Sahib Ji toon Dhan Hai”
Or “Sir jave tan jave mera sikhi sidak na jave”

Those utterences are acceptable, which exhibit the spirit of Sikhi and which bring us close to
Guru Sahib’s holy feet. The aim is to explain the Shabad in a language that makes it easier for
Sangat to understand. In most cases, after singing the Dhaarna, the Kirtaneea will read out the
actual Shabad. By introducing the concepts in this way they could then go on to understand
Gurbani. This is the route of dhaarna.

So if a raagi or kathavaachak or a Sant asks the sangat ( holy congregation ) to sing a Dhaarna in
a loud voice and that Dhaarna brings us close to Sikhi Spirit or Guru Sahib’s holy feet, then that
Dhaarna definitely is not kachi Bani. Those individuals who make a fuss about such a means of
spirit of spiritual singing are totally ignorant of Guru Sahib’s Bani and are directly showing
disrespect to Guru Sahib as they are preventing songs detailing his lessons and greatness to be
shared with the Sangat.

If the Dhaarna is sung in praise of Guru Sahib, it is not kachi Bani. In the above quoted verses,
Guru Sahib has clarified that all other songs or bachans or stories or katha, which do not praise
Guru Sahib are false or kachi Bani. The aim of a Dhaarna is to explain a Shabad in simple
language, and one which all the Sangat (with different levels of comprehension) can
understand.
By the way, the Tuk from Anand Sahib, which is quoted is Guru Sahib saying that anything
which we say which is falsehood (ie: Manmukhs talking on and on about random stuff ) is kachi
Bani.

But on the other end of this valuable topic, anything which is told about Guru Sahib is
always considered to be Pakki Bani. As how can anything that mentions our eternal fathers be
considered anything but permanent and everlasting.

Kachi bani is that which is trying to pass itself off as true bani, but is not. But if someone sings
dhaarna of Guru Nanak Dev Ji or Guru Gobind Singh Ji, then this is not kachi bani as it is not
passing itself off as true bani, it is just a dhaarna. And it is the passing of a divine message
through the form of a Dhaarna (which is complete in nature.)

Nowadays, ignorance has certain people going around shouting Beadbi, Manmat, and
Anti-Gurmat without fully understanding the implications of these terms. In whole fact, these
people, who shout in such a manner, are ignorant as according to Guru Sahibs lessons and
teachings, anything distasteful and not reflecting the greatness of our Guru Sahibs is indeed
Kachi Bani.

In Gurmat humility is considered a great virtue. Humility is developed by erasing its opposite
i.e. haumai or self-centered pride, or ego. It is this ego which stands in the way of God
realisation. It can be erased by seva, or selfless service, and complete submission to humility.

While Guru Sahib repeatedly stress on this point that songs, poems, stories, dhadi varaan are
allowed in the sangat if these are sung in praise of Guru Sahib, then what authority we have to
disallow these. Dhaarnas are poems or songs played in praise of Guru Sahib and the people,
who due to their ignorance, egotism and arrogance order the raagis, who play the Dhaarnas to
get out of the Gurdwaras, are going against the order of Guru Sahib. This happened in many
Gurdwaras. Do these persons think themselves to be superior to Guru Sahibaan?

Guru Nanak Dev Ji says in Japji Sahib that a person, who understands Guru’s command does
not speak in ego. Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji asks a person to give up slander, egotism and arrogance
and he further explains that Naam and ego can never stay in the same place.

In our daily Ardaas, we ask Guru Sahib to give us “mann neevan and matt uchi” (Humility &
great Wisdom), while we go quite contrary to this. We openly go against the teachings of Guru
Sahib.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says :

nwnk hukmY jy buJY q haumY khY n koie ]

O Nanak, one who understands His Command, does not speak in ego. ( Japji Sahib )

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

myry mn qij inMdw haumY AhMkwru ]

O my mind, give up slander, egotism and arrogance. ( ang 29 )

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

haumY nwvY nwil ivroDu hY duie n vsih iek Twie ]

Ego is opposed to the Name of the Lord; the two do not dwell in the same place.( ang 560 )

Nimrata is a virtue that is vigorously promoted by Gurbani. The literal translation of this Punjabi
word is "Humility", "Benevolence" or "Humbleness." Someone, whose mind is not poisoned by
the thought that he or she is better or more important than others. This is a very important
quality for all humans to nurture and one that is an essential part of a Sikh's mindset and must
accompany the Sikh at all times.

Lacking truth and humility, they shall not be appreciated in the world hereafter. ( SSGGSJ ang
1245 )

Sri Guru Amar Daas Ji says:

mn qUM mq mwxu krih ij hau ikCu jwxdw gurmuiK inmwxw hohu ]


O mind, don't be so proud of yourself, as if you know it all; the Gurmukh is humble and modest.(ang 441)

hohu inmwxw siqgurU AgY mq ikCu Awpu lKwvhy ]


So be humble, and surrender to the True Guru; do not attach your identity to your ego.

AwpxY AhMkwir jgqu jilAw mq qUM Awpxw Awpu gvwvhy ]


The world is consumed by ego and self-identity; see this, lest you lose your own self as well. ( ang 441 )

So Guru Sahibaan ask us to remain humble and shed our ego, then we can understand the real
meaning of Gurbani.

Please excuse me if it might have hurt someone’s feelings.

( Balbir Singh M.A. humble servant of Dhan Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of Nanaksar )