That person who adorns his body (with religious symbols, marks, etc.), but
loving devotional worship ("ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ" - Naarad like loving devotion or ਪ੍ਰੇਮਾ ਭਗਤੀ)
does not enter into his heart; he sits and play music, but he sits as a hypocrite (ਪਖੰਡ ਦੀ ਮੂਰਤ);
what can such person obtain from the Lord? (i.e., nothing) ||3|| (sggs 654).

This Reflection is complementary to an another Reflection titled "Kirtan Part 1 ". Yes, the Gurbani has strong words of caution, warning, admonition (whatever we want to call) about the singing of Kirtan. However, we almost never hear Raagees (professional singers of Kirtan) talk about it! It's not a surprise. Because, if they do, it will be like the famous proverbial expression: "kicking on one's own stomach" ("ਅਪਣੇ ਪੇਟ ਪਰ ਲੱਤ ਮਾਰਨੀ"). Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦਿ ॥: Na Bheejai raagee naadee Bedi: (God) is not won over by playing music, singing songs or reading (scriptures such as) the Vedas (etc.) (sggs 1237).

Kirtan is defined in the Gurbani as Viaakhiaa of the Gurbani, of the One... (Viaakhiaa - ਵਿਆਖਿਆ: ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ, commentary, explanation, interpretation, definition, annotation, elucidation...)

  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ ॥: Andinu Keertanu keval bakhyaanu (sggs 281).

As indicated in the SGGS, the main or the ultimate purpose of Kirtan is that it must give rise to a real detachment or "ਬੈਰਾਗੁ" - detachment from the love or hunger of Maya, etc.). To the contrary, if it leads to an increase in one's love of Maya, then it does not constitute Kirtan. Our Haume (false ego-sense) may not admit it, but this is essentially the edict of the Gurbani.

  • ਸੇ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਜਿਨ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਭਾਇ ਸਚੈ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥ sae gaavehi jin masathak bhaag hai bhaaee bhaae sachai bairaag || O brother, they alone sing the Lord's Praises, who have destiny awakened upon their foreheads (ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਮਨੁੱਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਮੱਥੇ ਉਤੇ ਭਾਗ ਜਾਗ ਪੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ); through the Love of the True Lord, detachment, from the love of Maya, etc.) is awakened within them (sggs 639).

What is the perfect or the complete detachment (ਪੂਰਾ ਬੈਰਾਗ)? In other words, who is the person of the perfect or the complete detachment (ਪੂਰਾ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ)? The SGGS provides us with the answer to this question as follows:

  • ਪੂਰਾ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਸਹਜਿ ਸੁਭਾਗੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੰ ॥੮॥੧॥ pooraa bairaagee sehaj subhaagee sach naanak man maanan ||8||1|| (Who is aatuned to the High Spiritual Plane - ਜੋ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਸਦਾ ਉੱਚੇ ਆਤਮਕ ਮੰਡਲ ਵਿਚ ਵੱਸਦਾ ਹੈ - to whose mind the Naam, Shabad, Hukam is pleasing...) O Nanak! (he becomes) perfect renunciate (Bairaagee) and very fortunate; through Sahaj (Natural State of Being, Intuitive Ease, ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, etc., his) mind is pleased with the Truth. ||8||1||(sggs 635).

In nutshell, devoid of the perfect detachment ("ਬੈਰਾਗੁ") and the true love of the Lord ("ਭਾਇ ਸਚੈ"); the external, habitual, dry, or mechanical Kirtan (Naam Japnaa) is unavailing.

For the Kirtan to register, it must be internal. By internal means, one must understand, comprehend and realize the Gur-Shabad and than act upon it. When one begins to hear the Sound of this internal Kirtan and enjoys it, he attains Immortality (Amrit) within. The Gurbani affirms that the mystery of the Gur-Shabad is grasped only through it's true Understanding.

  • ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥: Parhiyai naahee bhed bujhiyai paavnaa: Not by studying scriptures, but through understanding, is the God's Mystery revealed (sggs 148).
  • ਸਮਝੈ ਸੂਝੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚਾ ॥: Samjhai soojhai parh parh boojhai ant nirantar saachaa: If one understands, realizes and comprehends what he reads and studies, in the end he will realize that the True God dwells deep Within his nucleus (sggs 930).
  • ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥: Aklee parh kai bujheeyai aklee keejai daan. Nanak aakhai raah eho hor gallan saitaan: One should read (Bani) with intelligence, and then understand its real essence (i.e., assimilate it). Also, one should use intelligence in giving charity. Says Nanak, this is the True Path; other things lead to Satanic life (sggs 1245).
As we routinely see around us, the Gurbani is being read day and night; daily ritualistic religious routines are being carried out every where; Kirtans are being performed and heard at religious places, homes, radios, televisions, tape-players, cd-players, internet, and so on. In spite of all this, our false ego-sense (Haume), selfishness, falsehood or corruption is on the rampant! There is no Intuitive Peace (Sahaj) or Bliss in our lives. Instead of getting closer to Spiritual Realization, the majority of us are drifting far away from it! Why? Because we are doing all this parade or fanfare under the spell of vanity and spiritual ignorance (duality or Doojaa Bhaav), Pakhand (Spiritual hypocrisy) and selfishness; which is nothing more than a mundane business or Karamkaand (worldly entanglements, the lofe of Maya, etc.). The real thing Shabad Vichaar is totally missing in all of this mental circus of ours. The Gurbani warns:
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਲੋਕੁ ਵਣਾਹੰਬੈ ॥੩॥: Paakhand rataa sabh lok vanaahanbai: The whole world is filled with hypocrisy (sggs 1104).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study (Vichaar, reflecting)? What use is it to listen to the Vedas and Puraans? What use is reading and listening, if Sahaj (Natural state of Being, Poise, Giaan Avasthaa or Divine Knowledge...) is not gained therewith (i.e., Sahaj will come only with practice or implementation of what has been heard, listened and reflected upon) ||1|| (sggs 655).
  • ਕਥਨੈ ਕਹਣਿ ਨ ਛੁਟੀਐ ਨਾ ਪੜਿ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਭਾਰ ॥ ਕਾਇਆ ਸੋਚ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਪਿਆਰ ॥: Kathnai kahan n shutteeai n parh pustak bhaar. Kaaiaa soch n paaeeai bin Har bhagti piaar: (sggs 59).
  • ਅਖਰ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਭੇਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ Akhar parr parr bhuleeai bhekhee bahutu abhimaan: (In spite of) Reading books over and over again, people make mistakes (due the pride of this reading); wearing of religious robes also gives rise to much pride (in the mind). (sggs 61).
  • ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੩ ॥ ਪੜਣਾ ਗੁੜਣਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਹੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਵਿਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਪੜਿ ਥਕੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਪੜਿਆ ਸੋ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬੀਨਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਅੰਦਰੁ ਖੋਜੈ ਤਤੁ ਲਹੈ ਪਾਏ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਹਜਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਾਪਾਰੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਸੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ॥੧॥: Slok M: 3|| Parhnaa gunanaa sansaar kee karr hai andar trisnaa vikaar ...: Slok M: 3. Reading and studying (have become) just worldly pursuits, (but still) greed and corruption remain present within. Reading in egotism, all have grown weary; through the love of duality (Maya), they are ruined. He alone is educated, and he alone is a wise Pandit, who reflects and contemplates the Gur-Shabad (i.e., consider that person Pandit - ਉਸ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਸਮਝੋ). He searches within himself, and finds the True Essence within; he attains the Door of Salvation. He finds God, the Treasure of Excellence, and contemplates with Sahaj (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਟਿਕ ਕੇ, Natural State of Being, etc.). Blessed is the trader (of Naam, the Name), O Nanak, who, as a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being, etc.), takes the Name as his only Support ||1|| (sggs 650).
  • ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਗੁਬਾਰ ॥ ਲੋਭੀ ਅਨ ਕਉ ਸੇਵਦੇ ਪੜਿ ਵੇਦਾ ਕਰੈ ਪੂਕਾਰ ॥ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਨਾ ਉਰਵਾਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Trai gun bikhiaa andh hai Maya moh Gubaar ...: In the corruption of the three qualities of Maya, there is blindness; in attachment to Maya, there is darkness (of ignorance, of the spell of Maya, etc.). The greedy people serve other (i.e., Maya), instead of the Lord, although they loudly announce their reading of Vedas (i.e., scriptures). (In the love of Maya) they are burnt to death (death of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤੇ ਮਰਨਾਂ) by their own corruption; (in the darkness of Maya), they can neither see this shore nor the one beyond ||3|| (sggs 30).
To keep us from sinking into Mayaic efforts more than we already are, we are time and again alerted by the Gurbani, every step of the way. If not alert, than we take the risk of falling into the same dark pit of ignorance like countless so called Raagees, Sants, Baabaas, Giaanees, Gurus, Swamis, Saadhoos, and Kathaakaars; not to mention professional singers who sing the Gurbani in the pretext of making money (ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ, sggs 465)! They memorize the Banee like a parrot, and sing it in attractive melody or Taals; however, it all goes in vain because they do it in greed and selfishness. This is not the Kirtan the Gurbani talks about.
  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: Roteeyaan Kaaran poorahi taal: For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously (sggs 465).
  • ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਭੇਉ ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਨਚਿ ਨਚਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਹੋਈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਧੀਜਈ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਵਧਹਿ ਕੈ ਲੋਅ ਖਪਿ ਮਰੀਜਈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: Pourree || Sachaa alakh abheou hathi n pateejaee ...: Pourree. The True, Unseen, Mysterious (God) is not won over by stubbornness. Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag. Some dance and dance in perfect beat, but this is not the way of worship (either). Some refuse to eat; (tell me) what can be done with these fools? (i.e., how can it be explained to them that the Truth is not realized like this, etc.). By such acts, their thirst (desires) greatly increase; (consequently) nothing (done in stubbornness) can bring them satisfaction. Somany are tied down by rituals; they hassle themselves to death. In this world, the true profit (ਨਾਮ ਹੀ ਖੱਟੀ) comes by drinking in the Amrit Naam, Name of the Lord. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) attains (the Bliss of) Bhagti (devotion) of the Lord ||17|| (sggs 1285).
  • ਗੀਤ ਰਾਗ ਘਨ ਤਾਲ ਸਿ ਕੂਰੇ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਗੁਣ ਉਪਜੈ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਦੂਰੇ ॥ ਦੂਜੀ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦਰਦੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਛੂਟੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਦਾਰੂ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ ॥੩॥: Geet raag ghan taal si koore. Trih Gun upjai binsai doore. Doojee durmati darad na jaai. Shootai gurmukhi daaroo gun gaai ||3||: (Forgetting the Shabad: Vichaar, Giaan, etc., people indulge in) the various songs, Raag and rhythms, but these are false (efforts - ਉੱਦਮ). (Forgetting the Shabad: Vichaar, Giaan, etc., people get) Trapped by the three qualities (i.e., Maya, as a result), they come and go (i.e., repeated suffering...) and remain far form the Lord. Because the disease of duality, (in spite of various songs, Raag and rhythms) the pain of their evil-mindedness does not leave them. The way to become emancipated (from duality, evil-mindedness, ਆਤਮਕ ਰੋਗ...) is, by becoming the Gurmukh (Spiritual Being, etc.), taking the medicine of chanting the Divine Praise ||3|| (sggs 832).
  • ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਜਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Bilaaval tab hee keejeeyai jab mukhi hovai Raam. Raag naad Shabadi sohane jaa laagai sahaji dhiaan...: When the Naam (Naam = Giaan or Divine Knowledge obtained after Understanding the Gurbani...) is in your mouth, then sing the Bilaaval (Raagees define Bilaaval as the name of a Raga. The word "Bilaabal" also means perfect Joy or bliss. accordingly, this verse can also be interpretd as: the perfect bliss can be experienced only if the Lord's Name is in the mouth). The melody and music are beautiful only when, through the (Gur-) Shabad, "Sahaji Dhiaan" is experienced, within (i.e., contemplation, self-communication, Reflection, attention - ਸੁਰਤ, ਬਿਰਤੀ - by means of the Natural State of Being ...). Forsaking the Raag and Naad, serve the Lord (by focusing on the Naam); then the Honor in the Court of the Lord is obtained. (sggs 849).
Kirtan is not a concert or a club activity as we witness at the organized religious places now-a-days. Generally, people go to these places to attend Kirtan once a week or even once a month. Or one may go to somebody's house to attend a Kirtan just for the reason of pleasing the host! In fact, more often many people with their families only show up at the Langar time (i.e., the time of distribution of free food)! Kirtan, Satsang or Bhagti is not a religious recreation. Physically attending of an external Kirtan in this manner will not be of much benefit. Because, so acting ritualistically one can not expect to attain Mool-realization (the Fourth State, Choutha Pad the state of Naam or Shabad-consciousness) — the ultimate goal of human life.
  • ਬਧਾ ਚਟੀ ਜੋ ਭਰੇ ਨਾ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੇਤੀ ਖੁਸੀ ਸਵਾਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Badhaa chattee jo bhare naa gun naa upkaar. Sethee khusee savaareeai Nanak kaaraj saar ||3||: Paying a fine under pressure - doing something under pressure, compulsion, obligation, constraints, helplessness, etc., such as performing for the sake of making money or living, etc.,) does not bring either merit or goodness (to oneself or to others). That alone is a good deed, O Nanak, which is done happily. ||3|| (sggs 787).
  • ਵਾਇਨਿ ਚੇਲੇ ਨਚਨਿ ਗੁਰ ॥ ਪੈਰ ਹਲਾਇਨਿ ਫੇਰਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸਿਰ ॥ ਉਡਿ ਉਡਿ ਰਾਵਾ ਝਾਟੈ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਵੇਖੈ ਲੋਕੁ ਹਸੈ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾੜਹਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥: Vaain chaelae nachani gur. Pair halaain faeran sir. Udi udi raavaa jhaatai paae. Vaekhai lok husai ghar jaae. Rotteeaa kaaran poorahi taal. Aap pashaarrahi dharatee naal: The disciples play the music, and the gurus dance. They move their feet and roll their heads. The dust flies and falls upon their hair. Beholding them, the people laugh, and then go home. For the sake of bread, they perform melodiously. They throw themselves upon the ground (sggs 465)
  • ਚਉਥੇ ਪਦ ਕਉ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੈ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਹੀ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥: Chauthe pad ko jo nar cheenaih tinh hee parmpad paya: The man who realizes the fourth state; he alone obtains the supreme status (sggs 1123).
Singing or listening Kirtan for the sake of pleasing the taste of ears or other senses is worthless; because it only helps in further inciting the senses and inflating the egoism. If one keeps singing and listening Kirtan in this fashion, his mind is bound to become more excited, discontented and restless (impure). The realm of Truth (Sach Khand) is beyond all mental activities. The Gurbani affirms it as follows:
  • ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥: Koyee gaavai raagee naadee bedee bahu bhant kar nahee Har Har bheejai Raam Rajai: Some sing of Lord' glories through musical Ragas, through the Naad (conch, etc.), through the Vedas, and in so many other ways. But the Lord is not pleased by these (sggs 450).
  • ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Raag naad shodi Hari seveeyai taa dargahi paayeeyai maan: Leave behind the melody and music, instead, serve the Lord (by meditating on His Name); then, you will obtain honor in the Court of the Lord (sggs 849).
Thus, as the Gurbani repeatedly reminds us, without the loving practice of the Divine Name (meditation, Jap or Naam-Simran), the inner God will not be pleased. Therefore, the purpose of meditating on the Divine Name is to develop Shabad-Surti or God-consciousness within. But, as oftentimes mentioned in the Gurbani, very rare person intuitively understands and realizes the Shabad-Surti. Rest of us just keep shaking our heads while listening to Raagees and their "Raag and Naad": the play of our desires, fears and selfishness. This is the reason inner enemies — lust, anger, greed, attachment, conceit, enviousness and stubborn mindedness with their countless variations — of all Raagees and their listeners are on the rampant! Consequently, more and more Raagees are coming into being because it has become a very lucrative business. Many who do not fit in the society because of their crooked ways or lack of any skill, simply turn into professional Raagees or Bhais by picking up a little music! Consequently, the so called religious places have almost become the dens of mammon worshippers. According to the Gurbani, this is all Maya's snare and corruption!
  • ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਭ ਕੋ ਸੁਣੈ ਸਬਦ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਮਝੈ ਵਿਰਲੋਈ ।॥: Raag naad sabh ko sunai sabad surti samjahi virloee: Everybody just listen to "Raag and Naad", but a very rare one understands Shabad-Surti (Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 15, Paurree 16).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ ਰਿਦੈ ਨ ਆਈ ਕਾਛਿ ਕੂਛਿ ਤਨੁ ਦੀਨਾ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਡਿੰਭ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਉਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਲੀਨਾ ॥੩॥: Bhagati Naaradee ridai n aaee kaash koosh tanu deenaa. Raag raagnee bhind hoyi bethaa un Har pahi kiyaa leenaa ||3||: That person who adorns his body (with religious symbols, marks, etc.), but loving devotional worship ("ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ" - Naarad like loving devotion or does not enter into his heart; he sits and play music, but he sits as a hypocrite; what can such person obtain from the Lord? (i.e., nothing) ||3|| (sggs 654).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਾਗ ਸੁਆਦ ਅਨ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਾਗੇ ॥: Gurmukhi raag suyaad ann tiyaagai. Gurmukhi ihu manu bhagti jaagai: The Gurmukh renounces other "Raag" and tastes. The mind of the Gurmukh is awakened to Bhagti. (sggs 415).
Selfless Kirtan is the definition of a true Spiritual student (Sikh). Kirtan is meant for mental purification (annihilation of the mind..) only, so that we may link to our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...) and attain Intuitive Poise (Sahaj) necessary for linking with the Endless Divine Pulse within. Singing of Kirtan for making money as we see at organized religious places does not constitute selfless Kirtan. That is a mundane business or "Kanic Kaamini" — the play of lust and greed or passion and desire. The Gurbani warns such Raagees and their listeners as both will be ruined in the end.
  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਤ ਰਹੇ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥: Ik gaavat rahe mann saad na paaye. Haumai vich gaavahi birathaa jaaye: Some sing on and on, but their minds do not find happiness. In egotism, they sing, but it is all wasted uselessly (sggs 158).
  • ਗਾਵਹਿ ਗੀਤੇ ਚੀਤਿ ਅਨੀਤੇ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਸੁਣਾਇ ਕਹਾਵਹਿ ਬੀਤੇ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਝੂਠੁ ਅਨੀਤੇ ॥੧॥: Gaavehi geete cheet aneete. Raag sunaai kahaavahi beete. Bin naavai man jhoot aneete ||1||: (Those who) sing religious songs (for others to listen), but in their consciousness is wickedness. They sing Raag (for others to) lsiten, and call themselves knowlegable (expert, ਗਿਆਨੀ, etc.), but without the Name, their minds are false and wicked. ||1|| (sggs 414).

The true meaning of the Kirtan, thus, has been totally derailed by the bogus Sants, Saadhoos, Baabaas, Raagees, Bhais, Gurus, Giaanees, Parchaaraks, religious leaders, and so on. The nectar of the Divine Name or Shabad-Surti (inner Kirtan) is possible only through the sincere practice of the meditation on Amrit-Name (Shabad-Kamaayee or Naam Japnaa), not by mere mechanical singing or hearing of the Kirtan in a business like manner ("ਬਧਾ ਚਟੀ ਜੋ ਭਰੇ ਨਾ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ", sggs 787). This is the reason hypocrite Raagees and their listeners only remain in body-consiousness, rather than God-consciousness!

  • ਸਗਲ ਧਰਮ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਮ ॥: Sagal dharam Hari ke gun gaam: All the religions are in the singing of the Glorious Praises of God's Name (sggs 392).
  • ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਵਜਹਿ ਦੁਇ ਤਾਲ ॥ ਪੈਰੀ ਵਾਜਾ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਹਾਲ ॥ ਰਾਗੁ ਨਾਦੁ ਨਹੀ ਦੂਜਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਰੰਗਿ ਨਾਚਹੁ ਰਖਿ ਰਖਿ ਪਾਉ ॥੨॥: Satu santokh vajahi dui taal || Pairee vaajaa sadaa nihaal || Raag naad nahee doojaa bhaaou || It rang naachahu rakhi rakhi paaou ||2||: Play the two cymbals of truth and contentment. Let your ankle bells be the lasting Vision of the Divine. Let your harmony and music be the elimination of duality. So dance in this Love, and keep the beat with your feet. ||2|| (sggs 1428).
  • ਕੀਰਤਨ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਰਹਉ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਘਟਿ ਸਾਸੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Kirtan naam simrat raho jab lag ghat saas||1||Rahaaou||: (sggs 818).

So, what is changed between now and the time of Baabaa Nanak? Not much really, with the exception of adornments of the physical body! The mentality is essentially the same as was observed then by Baabaa Nanak at the religious places and gatherings.

  • ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ ਰਿਦੈ ਨ ਆਈ ਕਾਛਿ ਕੂਛਿ ਤਨੁ ਦੀਨਾ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਡਿੰਭ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਉਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਲੀਨਾ ॥੩॥: Bhagati Naaradee ridai n aaee kaash koosh tanu deenaa. Raag raagnee bhind hoyi bethaa un Har pahi kiyaa leenaa ||3||: That person who adorns his body (with religious symbols, marks, etc.), but loving devotional worship ("ਭਗਤਿ ਨਾਰਦੀ" - Naarad like loving devotion or does not enter into his heart; he sits and play music, but he sits as a hypocrite ; what can such person obtain from the Lord? (i.e., nothing) ||3|| (sggs 654).

— T. Singh