Sukhmani, titled Gauri Sukhmani in the Guru Granth Sahib after the musical measure Gauri to which it belongs, is a lengthy composition by Guru Arjan which many include in their daily regimen of prayers. The site, once enclosed by a dense wood, where it was composed around AD 1602-03, is still marked on the bank of the Ramsar pool in the city of Amritsar.The word sukhmani is rendered into English as “consoler of the mind.” The entire poem has been translated into English more than once under the commonly preferred title, “Psalm of Peace” or “Song of Peace,” signifying the soothing effect it has on the nynd of the reader. Sukh literally means peace or comfort and mani mind or heart.

The Sukhmani comprises twenty-four astpadis or cantos, each comprising eight stanzas. They are composed in the metre chaupai. A sloka or couplet precedes each astpadi. The first seven stanzas of the astpadi explore the theme stated in the preceding sloka and the eighth sometimes sums up the astpadi but, more often, becomes a paean of praise placing the theme in the context of an overall vision of Eternal Reality. This structure is maintained throughout and though, from canto to canto, there may not be traceable progression of thought as in a philosophical work, there is a continuing unity of spiritual and ethical tone.

One of the fundamental texts of the Sikh faith, the Sukhmani presents a complete scheme of the teachings of the Sikh faith. While each astpadi has a fresh vision to impart, a particular aspect of Truth to unfold, the whole text may be regarded as the reiteration of basic themes such as Divine immanence, Divine compassion, abundance of grace, God’s succouring hand, the merit of devotion, of holy company and humility. With such reiteration, the composition as a whole has a remarkable gripping quality reinforced by the striking imagery which in stanza after stanza brings home to the seeker the truths he must own.