One day, a Singh went up to Baba Attar Singh Ji and said “Baba ji, I don’t understand why Nitnem Baanis are so important. We read the same Baanis everyday and I don’t feel any different.” Baba ji thought for a little bit and then asked the Singh, “What Seva do you do here at Gurughar?” The Singh replied with a smile, “Baba ji, I clean the leaves and any garbage here with a broom.” Baba Attar Singh ji then said “Don’t do this Seva for 1 week. I will not let anyone else do it either. You can come here and do what you want but you cannot do that Seva.” The Singh did as he was told. He came to meet Guru Ji and did his Paath every day but he did not clean.
One week passed by and the Singh went back to Baba Attar Singh Ji and said “Baba Ji, this place looks horrible, the leaves and debris are all over the place!” Baba Ji then replied, “this is your answer Singh Ji.” The Singh asked Baba Ji to continue and explain what he meant. Baba Ji continued, “Singha, a week ago, you asked me what the importance of Nitnem is and here is your answer! You said what is the point of reciting the same Baanis everyday? It does what your broom does for this Gurughar. The Baanis clean the gandh (dirt) in your mind from the panj chor (5 thieves - lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego); just as you broom with the same broom everyday to clean up this gandh (dirt).”
Guru Har Rai Ji on the importance of reciting Baani!
One time someone asked Guru Har Rai a question about this. They asked, “Guru ji, may I ask a question?” Of course the Guru lovingly allowed the question, “We always sing so much Gurbani. Sometimes we don’t understand what we are singing. Is there any use in singing these holy words when we don’t know what they mean?”
Guru ji didn’t answer at that moment, he just smiled and waited till he could teach by showing. Rather than just preaching to us, Guru ji always teaches us through experience.
He waited a few days until everyone was riding somewhere together on their horses. Guru ji had them all stop and asked, “Do you see that pot over there?” “Yes, my Guru, that broken pot on the ground? Yes I see it!” “Go bring a piece of the pot.” One of the Sikhs brought a piece of the clay pot over. The pot used to have butter in it, ghee actually. It had been laying in the sun and the ghee had melted into the sides of the pot. The shiny ghee left a streak down the inside of the piece.
Guru ji explained, “This is what happens when we sing Gurbani.” The Sikhs wondered what he meant by that. He continued, “Even when we don’t understand Gurbani… when we sing it with devotion… it still sticks to our hearts, just as the ghee stuck to this pot.“ They began to understand why he had them bring the greasy piece of pot over, "Someday the sunlight of knowledge will come to our minds and then, just like this ghee, it will melt… and the Gurbani in our hearts will turn to wisdom.”
Guru ji showed them the great benefit of Gurbani, “Even if we don’t understand it, Gurbani is the seed of our liberation.”