BIR, a term used for a recension or copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, is derived from Skt. verb vid meaning “to make strong or firm, strengthen, fasten, or to be strong, firm or hard.” The Punjabi verb birana which means “to fix, bind or fasten (something) firmly, or to lay (a gun)” is from the same root. Guru Arjan having compiled the Holy Book deputed one of his leading disciples, Bhai Banno, to go and get the volume bound in Lahore, perhaps because facilities for proper binding did not then exist at Amritsar.
Bhai Banno utilized the opportunity to have another copy transcribed and he got both volumes “fastened and bound.” These bound copies came to be called the Adi Bir and Bhai Bannovali Bir. Further copies made from these two recensions were also called bfrs. For birs (recensions) of Sikh Scripture, see SRi GURU GRANTH SAHIB. The word for in Punjabi is also used for reserved forest or village land set aside as common pasture.