BEṆĪ, BHAGAT is one of the fifteen saints and sūfīs some of whose compositions have been incorporated in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Very little is known about his personal life except that he spent most of his time in prayer and contemplation. Nābhājī's Bhagatmāl, which includes him in its roster of well-known bhaktas or devotees, narrates a popular anecdote about how Beṇī absorbed in meditation often neglected the household needs and how the Deity himself intervened and physically appeared to help him. Bhāī Gurdās (Vārāṅ, X. 14) has referred to Beṇī's single-pointed meditation in solitude enriched by moments of spiritual edification.

        Beṇī's three hymns in the Gurū Granth Sāhib are marked by an intense spiritual longing. They also indicate the various paths tried by him in his quest, his practical experience of life and his mastery of religious lore of diverse traditions. His five-stanza śabda in Srī Rāga, in terse and elliptical form, traces the gradual spiritual degeneration of man from the time of his birth to the end. It so closely resembles Gurū Nānak's Pahire hymns in the same Rāga that Gurū Arjan, when compiling the Holy Book, recorded the instruction that Beṇī's hymn be sung in the same tune as Pahire. In his hymn in Rāga Rāmkalī, Beṇī, using allegorical expressions of the yogīs, dwells upon the gradual process leading to the highest spiritual knowledge which is also the ultimate bliss. This hymn, too, has close similarity with several of Gurū Nānak's verses in the same measure. It reveals Beṇī's knowledge of the practices and terminology of haṭhayoga as well as his rejection of them in favour of the cultivation of the Divine Name. In the hymn in Rāga Prabhātī, Beṇī censures in the general tone of the Gurūs' baṇī the hypocrisy of the Brāhmaṇ who practises outward piety while harbouring evil in the heart. He adds in conclusion that without the true Gurū's instruction way to liberation will not be found.


  1. Kohli, Surindar Singh, A Critical Study of Adi Granth. Delhi, 1961
  2. Tāran Siṅgh, Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib Jī dā Sāhitik Itihās. Amritsar, n. d.
  3. Sāhib Siṅgh, Saṭik Bhagat-Bāṇī, part I. Amritsar, 1979
  4. Gurdit Siṅgh, Giānī, Itihās Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib (Bhāgat Bāṇī Bhāg) . Delhi, 1990

Tāran Siṅgh