In general, Kirtan is sung in greed and heard to gratify ears – ਕੰਨ ਰਸ – (with “rare” exceptions) at religious places, religious ceremonies, homes, radios, televisions, tape-players, CD-players, Internet, and so on. As per the Gurbani, is it the purpose or definition of Kirtan? Not according to the Gurbani!

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).

the Gurbani has strong words of caution, warning, admonition (whatever we want to call it) about Kirtan. However, we almost never hear Raagees (professional singers) 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”). The Gurbani says:

  • ਰੋਟੀਆ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ॥: Roteeyaan Kaaran poorahi taal (sggs 465).
  • ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥: Iki gaavahi raag pareeaa raagi n bheejaee (sggs 1285).

To keep us from sinking into Maya’s illusion, we are time and again alerted by the Gurbani. 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 goes in vain because they do it in greed and selfishness.

  • ਗੀਤ ਰਾਗ ਘਨ ਤਾਲ ਸਿ ਕੂਰੇ ॥: Geet raag ghan taal si koore (sggs 832).
  • ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਅੰਨਾ ਬਾਹਰਹੁ ਅੰਨਾ ਕੂੜੀ ਕੂੜੀ ਗਾਵੈ ॥: Andarahu annaa baharahu annaa koorree koorree gaavai (sggs 960).
  • ਰਾਗ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਡਿੰਭ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਉਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਲੀਨਾ ॥੩॥: Raag raagnee dimbh hoi bethaa uni Hari pahi kiaa leenaa ||3|| (sggs 654).

In nutshell, without understanding the Gurbani (Giaan…) and without living it, just keep singing and listening Gurbani (for sense-gratification) is not the Kirtan as talked by the Gurbani – ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਤ ਰਹੇ ਮਨਿ ਸਾਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Eiki gaavat rahe mani saadu n paai. (sggs 158).

The Real Kirtan as defined in the Gurbani demands we become the Gurmukh (follower of the Truth, whose mind is linked to Antar-Aatmaa or whose Akal – ਅਕਲ – follows Gurbani and restrains the mind instead of following the mind, Sach Santokhee, his state is that of “Ik Mann Ik Chit“, ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ, one established in Viveka-budhi, ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ …). That is, we are urged to immerse in the Naam or Shabad-Surati (Shabad-Consciousness, Aatam-Giaan …) by integrating our divided mind and Chit (Consciousness) into One. Then the Real Kirtan happens in the Home of the Heart within, Naturally (ਰਾਗ ਰਤਨ ਪਰਵਾਰ ਪਰੀਆ ਸਬਦ ਗਾਵਣ ਆਈਆ ॥: Raag ratan paravaaar preeaa sabad gaavan aaeeaa, sggs 917).

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਰਾਗ ਸੁਆਦ ਅਨ ਤਿਆਗੇ ॥: Gurmukhi raag suaad an tiaage (sggs 415).
  • ਕਰ ਕਰਿ ਤਾਲ ਪਖਾਵਜੁ ਨੈਨਹੁ ਮਾਥੈ ਵਜਹਿ ਰਬਾਬਾ ॥ ਕਰਨਹੁ ਮਧੁ ਬਾਸੁਰੀ ਬਾਜੈ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਧੁਨਿ ਆਗਾਜਾ ॥: Kar kari taal pakhaavaju nainahu maathai vajahi rabaabaa (sggs 884).
  • ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥: Raag naad chhodi hari seveeai taa daragah paaeeai maanu (sggs 849).
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11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Harvinder Singh

    I couldn’t agree more!!
    So true,,,Where do we stand today as a sikh for the most part… “Kann Rass”

    • • ਰਾਗੈ ਨਾਦੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਇਨੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝਿਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: (To abide in the Lord – ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ ਦਾ ਮਿਲਾਪ) is beyond Raagas and Naad (ਰਾਗ/ ਨਾਦ ਦੀ ਕੈਦ ਤੋਂ ਪਰੇ); by these Raagas/Naad, Hukam (of the Lord) cannot be understood. (sggs 1423).
      • ਗਾਇ ਹਾਰੇ ਗੰਧ੍ਰਬ ਬਜਾਇ ਹਾਰੇ ਕਿੰਨਰ ਸਭ ਪਚ ਹਾਰੇ ਪੰਡਤ ਤਪੰਤਿ ਹਾਰੇ ਤਾਪਸੀ ॥੨੦॥੯੦॥: Gandharvas (the musicians, singers…) have got tired (of singing…), Kinnars (the players of musical instruments) have got tired (playing musical instruments…), the Pundits (scholars…) have got highly weary and the ascetics observing austerities have also got tired (i.e., none of the above-mentioned people have been able to know the secret of the Supreme Lord). ॥20॥90॥ (Dasam Granth 52).

      • prince

        most revered,
        In dhun atmic samadhi, while concentrating on the sound current, vibrating above the ear, how can dim light be spotted, is this light leading the sound current towards itself and would only expose when reached, that void,,sunn,,god particle,,panch shabad, as light travels faster than sound.

  2. Gurpreet Singh

    Satkar jog Gurmukh T.Singh ji
    Parmesher kare is gurbani-vichar kardeya hoyea tuhada gyan prachand gyan ho jaye te jis naal tuhada DEO(chit,anter-atma,ram-ansh,brahm) jagrit avastha vich aa jeye te oh GURDEO(satgur,puran-brahm) ban ke lotus flower di tarah ban jaye.
    Please write an article on JOT, SURAT , MAT & BUDH

  3. Gurpreet Singh

    Satkar jog Gurmukh T.Singh ji
    Whenever i see the Lotus image in your reflections on gurbani i have the glimpse of your enlightened DEO(jeev,chit,ram-ansh). Tuhada khidya hoya hirdye najar aonda hai because only and only TRUTH resides in your articles.
    jisto thoda ja chanan eh nimana das vi lai laida hia.
    Gurpreet Singh

    • Thank you Gurpreet Singh Ji,
      As a beginner student, I am just learning along with you, Brother.
      As far as the flower icon goes, instead of using a picture of a body-frame (“ਕਾਚੀ ਗਗਰੀ”, “ਰਕਤ ਬੁੰਦ ਕਾ ਗਾਰਾ” …) or instead of using some strange and weird looking Avtar, I decided to use this simple flower icon. That’s all.

  4. Gurpreet Singh

    Sat bachan satkar jog gurmukh T. Singh ji
    G. Singh

    • Thank you Ji.

      • ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਜਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ (sggs 849).
      • ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥ (sggs 450).

      • Gurpreet Singh

        Satkar jog Gurmukh T.Singh ji
        Yes, when the Brahm(jeev,ram-ansh,chit) of a gurmukh becomes puran brahm(puran jot,khalsa) it takes bath(drinks) in NAAM (ram-ras,har-ras, anhad-naad, shabd-dhun, dhur ki bani) then at that time whatever he(gurmukh) speaks are the words (rag) actually spoken to him by NAAM, he just utters those words in the regional language. This is the Bilaval Raag(gurmukh jado bulaya bolda hai).

        Gurpreet Singh

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