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VahegurooJeeKaaKhalsa

VahegurooJeeKeeFateh

Annual Akhand Keertan Smaagam

Bradford

Guru Nanak Gurdwara

Usher Street, off Wakefield Road, Bradford, BD4 7DS

13th - 15th - Laarvaar Akhand Paath

15th - 18th - Keertan Divans

18th - Rensbhai Keertan & Amrith Sanchaar

Workshops will be held throughout Smagam

Amrit Sanchar

The Amrit Sanchaar will be on Saturday 18th December starting at 8pm sharp at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Wakefield Rd, Bradford. Can all ablakhyees contact Bhai Taranjeet Singh (07877888874) to provide their names for the Amrit sanchaar. If you have questions, you can contact Jathedar Raghbir Singh or Bhai Jarnail singh on 01926 771944.

If any persons do not have full kakaars, then Akhand Kirtani Jatha UK will provide them as part of the seva.

Note: It is Highly recommend that all Ablakhyees come to the whole Smagam and take full Laaha. Especially for listening to Sri Akhand Paath Sahib as much as possible (ਵੱਧ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਪਾਠ ਸੁਨਣਾ.).

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ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ|| ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ||

With Guru Sahib's grace, an Akhand Kirtan Smagam, including Akhand Paatt Sahib, Rainsbai & Amrit Sanchaar has been organised by Akhand Kirtani Jatha UK, dedicated to the 4 Sahibzade of Siri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

It will be held from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th December in Bradford.

ACCOMODATION

Accommodation has been arranged for the whole Smagam. Local Sangat have taken time off to look after Sangataa from all over the UK. Singhs will be accommodated in the Gurdwara Sahib (which has a very good standard of showers and sleeping arrangements). Bibian accommodation has been specially arranged in Gursikhs houses. For further details, contact Bibi Rajinder Kaur on 07758 218056.

SMAGAM BREAKDOWN

All programmes except Wed night Kirtan Darbar are at: Gurdwara Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Wakefield Road, Bradford, BD4 7DS

Akhand Paatt Sahib - Monday 13th (6am) to Wednesday 15th (6am)

Asa Di // - Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th - 6am to 10am

Keertan Darbar - Wednesday 15th - 6am - 9pm - Central Gurdwara, 32 Derby Street, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M8 8RY

Keertan Darbar - Thursday 16th & Friday 17th - 6pm to 9:30pm

RAENSBAI KEERTAN & Amrit Sanchar - Saturday 18th - 6pm to 5am GURBANI VEECHAR

Afterrnoon Gurmat vichara will take place with elder Gursikhs

TRANSPORT

Coach transport will be leaving Southall at 5pm and Slough at 5.30pm. To book your place please contact Bhai Satnam Singh on 07956 519256

Coach transport will be leaving West bromwich at 5pm. To book your place please contact Bhai Bhupinder Singh on 07725973836

AMRIT SANCHAAR

The Amrit Sanchaar will be on Saturday 18th December starting at 8pm sharp at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Wakefield Rd, Bradford. Can all Ablakhees contact Bhai Taranjeet Singh Coventry (07877 888874) to provide their names for the Amrit Sanchaar. If you have questions, you can contact Jathedar Raghbir Singh or Bhai Jarnail singh on 01926 771944.

If any persons do not have full kakaars, then they will be provided.

LIVE BROADCAST

The smagam will be broadcasted live on www.akj.org

For more information, please contact Bhai Iminder Singh on 07817 847064 or email sevaa@akj.org

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ|| ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ||

post-138-030216900 1290523235_thumb.jpg

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Baba Sham Singh jee - Kirtan Miracle Incident

Baba Sham Singh jee was one of the greatest Gurmukhs of 19th and 20th centuries. He lived a long life of 125 years covering the whole of 1800s up until 1925. He served for more than 75 years as Hazoori Kirtaniya of Siri Harmandir Sahib – Amritsar Sahib. In this long Gurmukhi life of Baba jee, many miracles and Kautak occurred. Previously covered stories about Baba jee can be found at following links:

Presented below is a Kautak relating to Ardaas and Kirtan, from Baba jee's life.

Rainfall as a result of Baba jee's Kirtan and Ardaas

Around the end of 19th century (1800s), no rainfall occurred starting from Poh (around December) up until Saavan-Bhadon (July-August). When even the month of Saavan, that is famous for monsoon season in India, passed without rainfall, there was an outcry in public. Famine-like conditions were forming in Punjab at that time.

Sensing the dire situation that area of Punjab in general and Siri Amritsar Sahib in particular was facing, some Gursikhs with Shardha (faith) decided to approach Baba Sham Singh jee who was a humble servant of Siri Guru Raamdaas jee, for help. It was decided that 5 Gurmukhs would approach Baba jee to request him to perform an Ardaas for rainfall.

Baba jee received the Gurmukhs with respect and love. He heard their requests and said, "Kirtan Diwaans are done everyday in the Darbar of Sache Paatsha, Sodhi Sultan, Siri Guru Raamdaas Sahib jee. You all are also Gurmukhs. You all come to the Darbar of Srii Guru Raamdaas jee and this Ghulaam (Baba jee always used to call himself Ghulaam) too would accompany you. Let's all humbly do Ardaas before Satguru jee."

Everyday at set time, at Amritvela, Baba jee used to do a Kirtan Chaukee. The next day, the five Gurmukhs and a lot of Sangat arrived at the time of Baba jee's Kirtan. Before beginning Kirtan, Baba jee placed his head on his Saranda (Tantee Saaj used for Kirtan) and did fully-concentrated Benti to Satguru jee, "O Sodhi Sultan, Sache Paatshah, Karo Kirpa."

After completing a short Benti, Baba jee started doing Kirtan in Raag Malhaar. Within moments, clouds arrived on the skies of Siri Amritsar Sahib and rainfall started. For hour and a half, Baba jee did Kirtan and all this time heavy rainfall continued.

ਮੇਘੁ ਵਰਸੈ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਗੂੜੀ ਛਹਬਰ ਲਾਇ ॥

ਮੇਘੈ ਨੋ ਫੁਰਮਾਨੁ ਹੋਆ ਵਰਸਹੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ ॥

It is said that when Baba jee stopped Kirtan, rainfall too stopped.

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Baba Sham Singh jee - Kirtan Miracle Incident

Baba Sham Singh jee was one of the greatest Gurmukhs of 19th and 20th centuries. He lived a long life of 125 years covering the whole of 1800s up until 1925. He served for more than 75 years as Hazoori Kirtaniya of Siri Harmandir Sahib – Amritsar Sahib. In this long Gurmukhi life of Baba jee, many miracles and Kautak occurred. Previously covered stories about Baba jee can be found at following links:

Presented below is a Kautak relating to Ardaas and Kirtan, from Baba jee's life.

Rainfall as a result of Baba jee's Kirtan and Ardaas

Around the end of 19th century (1800s), no rainfall occurred starting from Poh (around December) up until Saavan-Bhadon (July-August). When even the month of Saavan, that is famous for monsoon season in India, passed without rainfall, there was an outcry in public. Famine-like conditions were forming in Punjab at that time.

Sensing the dire situation that area of Punjab in general and Siri Amritsar Sahib in particular was facing, some Gursikhs with Shardha (faith) decided to approach Baba Sham Singh jee who was a humble servant of Siri Guru Raamdaas jee, for help. It was decided that 5 Gurmukhs would approach Baba jee to request him to perform an Ardaas for rainfall.

Baba jee received the Gurmukhs with respect and love. He heard their requests and said, "Kirtan Diwaans are done everyday in the Darbar of Sache Paatsha, Sodhi Sultan, Siri Guru Raamdaas Sahib jee. You all are also Gurmukhs. You all come to the Darbar of Srii Guru Raamdaas jee and this Ghulaam (Baba jee always used to call himself Ghulaam) too would accompany you. Let's all humbly do Ardaas before Satguru jee."

Everyday at set time, at Amritvela, Baba jee used to do a Kirtan Chaukee. The next day, the five Gurmukhs and a lot of Sangat arrived at the time of Baba jee's Kirtan. Before beginning Kirtan, Baba jee placed his head on his Saranda (Tantee Saaj used for Kirtan) and did fully-concentrated Benti to Satguru jee, "O Sodhi Sultan, Sache Paatshah, Karo Kirpa."

After completing a short Benti, Baba jee started doing Kirtan in Raag Malhaar. Within moments, clouds arrived on the skies of Siri Amritsar Sahib and rainfall started. For hour and a half, Baba jee did Kirtan and all this time heavy rainfall continued.

ਮੇਘੁ ਵਰਸੈ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਗੂੜੀ ਛਹਬਰ ਲਾਇ ॥

ਮੇਘੈ ਨੋ ਫੁਰਮਾਨੁ ਹੋਆ ਵਰਸਹੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ ॥

It is said that when Baba jee stopped Kirtan, rainfall too stopped.

Vaaheguroo

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Effect of Meeting a Gursikh: Dr. Surinder Singh jee

By Sd. Preetam Singh in Sooraa, June 1984

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

drjee3.jpg

Dr. Surinder Singh jee must now be in Vahiguru jee’s feet, absorbed in naam and basking in the divine colours but I can never forget the twenty years of love he gave me. He spoke very little. He was always coloured in naam and vairaag and in Gurmat Smaagams, he would always be sitting apart, lost in naam.

My First Meeting

20 years have passed now. It was 10 at night and it was winter. It was very cold and in those days I pulled a rickshaw to support my family. Bhai Sahib (Dr. Sahib) in this bitter cold was dressed only in a simple chola. He was wearing no pyjama and on his feet he had regular shoes. His face was glowing with naam. He was already handsome because of his light complexion and because of the naam his face was reflecting, I was drawn to meet him. Blessed are Guru Gobind Singh jee’s Singhs who do not feel cold even in the dead of winter.

I was returning home but I was drawn to this person. I began to take my rickshaw behind him. I did not have the courage to speak to him but I had a deep desire to serve him by carrying him in my rickshaw and take him to where he was going. After some time, Bhai Sahib’s glance fell on me and Vahiguru jee gave me the strength to utter Vahiguru jee kaa Khalsa, Vahiguru jee kee fateh!

Bhai Sahib, slowly in a sweet voice, answered my Fateh and came to stand by my rickshaw. I humbly requested, Bhai Sahib jee, let me take you on my rickshaw to where you want to go. Where are you going? I feel like doing your seva.

Bhai Sahib did not reply and after silently standing for two minutes, he got on the rickshaw. Bhai Sahib was going from the Jagraon bridge to Bharat Nagar Chownk. After Bhai Sahib had gotten on, I did not have the courage to ask where he was going because Bhai Sahib was lost in the deep colours of naam. I gathered my courage and began to take the rickshaw to Bharat Nagar Chownk. I had just gotten to the Chownk when Bhai Sahib told me to go to a home behind the New Model Town Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sahib. In those days, Bibi Mahinder Kaur used to live in this house.

I arrived in front of the house and then Bhai Sahib motioned for me to come with him inside. I was astonished and began to follow him. There was a water hand-pump beside the door. Bhai Sahib began to pump and had me do a punj-ishnana and with his hands, motioned for me to accompany him in. I put the rickshaw near the hand-pump. Bhai Sahib went straight to the kitchen.

The Divine Milk in Sarbloh

Bhai Sahib spread a mat and asked me to sit down. I sat crossed legged with my hands folded together. For such a long time Bhai Sahib boiled milk in a Sarbloh bata and played in Vahiguru’s divine colours. For over an hour his consciousness was completely absorbed. I was bound by his order to sit but was getting anxious to go home because I was tired from pulling a rickshaw all day.

When a big bata of milk was brought to me, I began to drink and right away I began to be coloured in naam. Some divine colour came over me. My simran began to go automatically. My body began to feel like it was flying. My eyes filled with tears of vairaag and I was losing consciousness. After some time when I regained awareness, Bhai Sahib put a bata of kheer in front of me. As soon as I had eaten this, I completely lost consciousness and had no awareness of where I was.

Bibi Mahinder Kaur’s Pain

When I became conscious again after some time, I found that Bibi Mahinder Kaur, the person who was in the house, was feeling pain in her stomach. She could not bear the pain. Bhai Sahib knew about medicine and he gave her some medicines but none brought her peace.

I had an idea and remembered how Bhai Sahib before giving me the milk and kheer had gazed into the milk for such a long time and as a result, it was also coloured in divine colours. I took some water and after gazing into it while doing sirman, gave it to Bibi jee and she felt better.

Bhai Sahib Asked, Why did you do that??

Bibi jee felt better but the feeling of divine colours left me. Bhai Sahib saw how sad I was and asked, Why did you do that? I felt upset over my mistake and began to cry, which would not stop. Bhai Sahib took my hand and kept doing simran beside me. It was now three in the morning. Again, I was taken by the divine colours and Bhai Sahib told me to accept bhaaNaa (God’s will) in the future.

Bhai Sahib gave me five rupees and a lot of sarbloh utensils. I told him that I could not afford to use desi ghee but he said to use saro(n) da tael instead.

Getting Peshed with My Family

With Bhai Sahib’s encouragement, I gave up pulling a rickshaw and took a job at the post office as a guard. From there I became a packer, then a postman then a clerk and today I have received a promotion to Under-Postmaster. My memories of Bhai Sahib have been refreshed today and so I wrote some lines.

With Dr. Sahib’s support, my wife and children began to wear the Khalsa’s BaaNa and seeing this, Baoo Mul Singh jee was very happy. He blessed us and had us appear before the punj pyaaray and we became tyaar-bar-tyaar. I am forever bowing my head before Gursikhs like Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee, respected Baoo Mul Singh jee, Dr. Surinder Singh and other high Gursikh souls in Sachkhand and beg,

ਦੇਹੁਸਜਣਅਸੀਸੜੀਆਜਿਉਹੋਵੈਸਾਹਿਬਸਿਉਮੇਲੁ ॥੩॥

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Evil Spirits Flee in Terror from Gursikhs: Baraylee Smaagam 1959 & 61

By Prof. Thakur Singh

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

The July and August Smaagams used to take place in Baraylee but in 1959, the Smaagam took place in May. In this Smaagam's amrit sinchaar, a couple from Mainpuree was blessed a lot with spiritual ecstasy. Another amazing incident from this amrit sinchaar is the case of the woman attacked by an evil spirit. This woman was from Baraylee. When she appeared before the Punj Pyaaray, she told Jathedar Sahib, Baoo Mul Singh jee, "An evil spirit has possessed me but she could not enter this place. She remained outside the door." Baoo jee assured the woman that in this place no evil spirit could enter. Wherever naam is repeated then forget evil spirits, even Jamm Doot cannot enter.

"ਜਹਸਾਧੂਗੋਬਿਦਭਜਨੁਕੀਰਤਨੁਨਾਨਕਨੀਤ ॥ ਣਾਹਉਣਾਤੂੰਣਹਛੁਟਹਿਨਿਕਟਿਨਜਾਈਅਹੁਦੂਤ ॥੧॥ "

Dharam Raja tells his Jamm-Doot the above that wherever saintly people are and where there is naam simran or keertan, don't go near that place. Otherwise, "neither I nor you can be saved".

Then Baoo jee told the woman that she should receive amrit and meditate on naam and all spirits would leave. When all the peshees had finished and the Bata was prepared, the aspirants came one at a time to receive amrit. When that woman's turn came, drops of amrit entered her and she was taught naam. As she began to jap naam, she screamed out "That spirit has run away!".

Another even more amazing incident is this: A very scary looking woman, who would cause children to run away just by looking at her, was brought to the Baraylee Smaagam in 1961. This was a very superstitious and irrational woman. She was prepared in order to present her before the Panj Pyaaray. When it came her turn to be Peshed, she stopped in front of the door. She would not go in. When even a number of people together could not drag her in, then the Jathedar of the Punj Pyaaray, Baoo Mul Singh jee came out with his unsheathed sword and told the woman to come in. At this, that horrible, scary, witch-like woman glared with red eyes at Baoo jee and lunged at Baoo jee screaming "I won't leave you either!"

Baoo Jee challenged the spirit possessing this woman and said "Fine, I'm ready. You leave this woman and come into me." The spirit replied "I won't leave her" and she lay down in front of the door.

Sree Maan Baoo jee motioned to some Singhs who then picked up the woman and brought her inside. Upon entering, she quietly sat down. She was held and given amrit. When the Punj Pyaaray were imparting Gur-Mantar, she stubbornly resisted for some time but then she could not resist the sound of Gur-Mantar and began to loudly cry out "Leave me alone! Leave me alone! I'll leave! I'll leave her!" Baoo jee replied "You had said you wouldn't leave this woman…." The spirit then exclaimed, "I was never going to leave her, but what can I do? Now I'm dealing with BrahmGyaanees…" Saying this, the evil spirit left and the woman came to her senses and began to recite Gur-Mantar.

So at Baraylee, because of Baoo jee, such incidents always occurred. In these years a Smaagam took place in Kota Rajasthan where under the Jathedaaree of Baoo Mul Singh jee another similar incident took place.

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Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee's Keertan Style

By Pr. Gurmukh Singh jee

In Soora, July 1996

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

It's my guess that Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh jee stared doing keertan at the start of the 20th century. He was not related to any classical raag gharaanaa in any way. At that time in Punjab, there were only a few keertanees who sang in pure raag and then there were some Sants who did keertan in joTeeaa(n) with chimTay and dholkees.

Bhai Sahib jee would sit for five or six hours straight and do keertan non stop and he himself would become the embodiment of the keertan. At the same time, many in the sangat would also be enchanted with the keertan. Only that person can listen to keertan for hours upon hours who has a connection to the keertan internally.

Today's professional keertanees do their job to make a living. Neither they themselves are lost in the keertan nor do they have much of an effect on the sangat. There is now a custom of having keertan darbaars and there too professional raagees are prominent but there's no real spiritual upliftment at these places.

Mostly, when raagees do keertan, they spend most of the time playing the vaja and little time singing. But those who saw Bhai Sahib do keertan can testify that he never ever tried to save his voice or worried about his throat. Inside him, waves of keertan rose and he would do keertan at the highest of notes (sur) for hours on end. And then, he would sing each line so sweetyly and repeatedly that many souls would be in the state of

" ਰੰਗਿਹਸਹਿਰੰਗਿਰੋਵਹਿਚੁਪਭੀਕਰਿਜਾਹਿ ॥ "

I myself saw so many people with teary eyes. In keertans like this, it was hard for the organisers to show their watches and draw the keertan to a close. There was such nectar from the keertan, that it seemed as if time did not exist. Keertan just kept going.

When I went to the Delhi Smaagam for the first time in 1953 and saw Bhai Sahib and his companions doing keertan in divine colours, this whole scene was a wonder to me. The keertan would start at 4AM at Tilak Nagar and Asa Dee Vaar would end at 5PM. Perhaps because the keertan went on for hours that people began to call Bhai Sahib's keertan style "Akhand Keertan", which is a term from baaNee:

" ਅਖੰਡਕੀਰਤਨੁਤਿਨਿਭੋਜਨੁਚੂਰਾ ॥ ਕਹੁਨਾਨਕਜਿਸੁਸਤਿਗੁਰੁਪੂਰਾ ॥੮॥੨॥ " (p. 236)

Bhai Sahib spent sixteen years in prison during the independence movement. In the dark cells of the prison, Bhai Sahib made his sarbloh kaRas instruments for keertan. He relied upon naam and baaNee and keertan to make his life sentence worthwhile. He remained steadfast in the will of the Satguru. Keertan was not his job, it was the food for his soul. When in the final two years, the doctors discouraged Bhai Sahib from doing keertan, he said the following words to me, "What's the matter with these doctors? They've tried to stop my keertan…."

Until Bhai Sahib's time, women were prohibited form doing keertan at big events and usually they just got together in different houses and after doing Sukhmani Sahib, they would sing shabads with a dholkee and chhaiNey. Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee used to encourage women to sit equally with others at big deevans and do keertan. The result of this is that in the keertans of the Akhand Keertanee Jatha, where Singhs do keertan, women also are given time.

Islam does not give women freedom to go to the mosque [i.e. unless special provisions are made] and Hindu women are considered unsuitable for worship due to sootak and they believe the gods may become upset. Under this Brahmanistic influence, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Sikh women used to also stay back. In the 20th century, Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee encouraged women to come forward. Even to this day in Sree Darbaar Sahib Amritsar, because of the influence of Brahmanism, women are not allowed to do keertan. Why this discrimination in the Guru's darbaar between Singhs and Singhnees? How long will this continue?

Bhai Sahib also started another tradition: the refusal of money for keertan. Wherever the Akhand Keertanee Jatha is, they do not sell keertan. Considering keertan to be food for the soul, they themselves eat and also give it to the sangat.

It is not an exaggeration to say that in Bhai Sahib's and his companions' old shabad tunes, where the shabad is filled with vairaag, the tune too also reflects the vairaag and highlights it. Where the shabad was about happiness and meeting loved ones, the keertanee would use a tune to reflect this as well.

Gupurvasi Col. Piara Singh jee used to say to me that Bhai Sahib could hear divine keertan within himself. Hearing the keertan tunes within, he would then bring them out as well [and do keertan in sangat according to those tunes]. Bhai Sahib used to be very happy and eager to hear keertan from those who had the kirpaa of Satguru jee and were playing in dasam duaar.

The special feature of Bhai Sahib's keertan was that he would sing GurbaaNee very sweetly and enjoy the nectar. The new keertanees of today have not seen Bhai Sahib do keertan nor are there any tapes that they can listen to, and because of this, they remain away form this divine style of keertan. Both shabads of vairaag and happiness are sung to tunes from show-business/movie tunes. Keertan is a divine gift, not an art and not a mastery of the notes and scales.

Neither Bhai Sahib himself nor any of his companions used to do dhunee of gurmantar (doing Vahiguru Vahiguru). Sometimes one could hear the sounds of "guroo guroo" coming from his lips but the keertan remained akhand or unbroken. Today, some 30-35 years after his leaving us, the keertan style he showed, has been totally changed. New keertanees think that the keertan can be akhand/unbroken or not but the abhyaas of Gurmantar in sangat should be akhand. If they are going to do 30 minutes of keertan, at least half that time is spent on "Vahiguru Vahiguru". Because of this, the keertan does not remain akhand keertan nor is it akhand abhyaas. It should be remembered that Bhai Sahib did keertan of gurbaaNee only. The custom of abhyaas in sangat like this only started after 1960. The custom of sangat abhyaas keertan is now even more in vogue today. I fear that in the coming time, the Jatha's name may be changed to the "Sangatee Akhand Abhyaasee Jatha". Abhyaas should be done secretly at amrit vela, in keertans, only pure keertan is suitable.

Leaving Bhai Sahib's style, Bh. Mohinder Singh SDO started a new style. This is the style of theme-keertan. If there was a keertan for someone's death, he would start a shabad and then leaving it, would sing examples out of baaNee on the same theme in different ear-pleasing tunes. And in between he would do dhunee of gurmantar and sometimes a little bit of explanation/katha as well. He would do keertan of Bhai Gurdaas jee's Vaars for hours. Sometimes I'd think whether singing keertan of the vaars was equal to that of singing gurbaaNee. The vaars are to clarify some hidden meanings in baaNee. But this practice continued for quite some time. Even now many brothers copy Bh. Mohinder Singh SDO's style and in such keertan, the intellect remains occupied but the consciousness does not attach itself. Going from theme to theme, without deep study of gurbaaNee there is a big chance of the keertan being without nectar.

If we want to grasp Bhai Sahib's keertan style properly, then we should sing baaNee with a lot of love and with enjoyment. First we should attach ourselves to the Guru's feet. In Sangat there are many that are thirsting for keertan-nectar. We should discourage ourselves from doing keertan for the intelligence and to show smartness. The foundation of this keertan gathering is loving-devotion/prema-bhagtee. Those who came to this gathering to show their knowledge left empty-handed. Only singing praises with love and enjoyment is of any use.

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Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee's Keertan Style

By Pr. Gurmukh Singh jee

In Soora, July 1996

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

It's my guess that Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh jee stared doing keertan at the start of the 20th century. He was not related to any classical raag gharaanaa in any way. At that time in Punjab, there were only a few keertanees who sang in pure raag and then there were some Sants who did keertan in joTeeaa(n) with chimTay and dholkees.

Bhai Sahib jee would sit for five or six hours straight and do keertan non stop and he himself would become the embodiment of the keertan. At the same time, many in the sangat would also be enchanted with the keertan. Only that person can listen to keertan for hours upon hours who has a connection to the keertan internally.

Today's professional keertanees do their job to make a living. Neither they themselves are lost in the keertan nor do they have much of an effect on the sangat. There is now a custom of having keertan darbaars and there too professional raagees are prominent but there's no real spiritual upliftment at these places.

Mostly, when raagees do keertan, they spend most of the time playing the vaja and little time singing. But those who saw Bhai Sahib do keertan can testify that he never ever tried to save his voice or worried about his throat. Inside him, waves of keertan rose and he would do keertan at the highest of notes (sur) for hours on end. And then, he would sing each line so sweetyly and repeatedly that many souls would be in the state of

" ਰੰਗਿਹਸਹਿਰੰਗਿਰੋਵਹਿਚੁਪਭੀਕਰਿਜਾਹਿ ॥ "

I myself saw so many people with teary eyes. In keertans like this, it was hard for the organisers to show their watches and draw the keertan to a close. There was such nectar from the keertan, that it seemed as if time did not exist. Keertan just kept going.

When I went to the Delhi Smaagam for the first time in 1953 and saw Bhai Sahib and his companions doing keertan in divine colours, this whole scene was a wonder to me. The keertan would start at 4AM at Tilak Nagar and Asa Dee Vaar would end at 5PM. Perhaps because the keertan went on for hours that people began to call Bhai Sahib's keertan style "Akhand Keertan", which is a term from baaNee:

" ਅਖੰਡਕੀਰਤਨੁਤਿਨਿਭੋਜਨੁਚੂਰਾ ॥ ਕਹੁਨਾਨਕਜਿਸੁਸਤਿਗੁਰੁਪੂਰਾ ॥੮॥੨॥ " (p. 236)

Bhai Sahib spent sixteen years in prison during the independence movement. In the dark cells of the prison, Bhai Sahib made his sarbloh kaRas instruments for keertan. He relied upon naam and baaNee and keertan to make his life sentence worthwhile. He remained steadfast in the will of the Satguru. Keertan was not his job, it was the food for his soul. When in the final two years, the doctors discouraged Bhai Sahib from doing keertan, he said the following words to me, "What's the matter with these doctors? They've tried to stop my keertan…."

Until Bhai Sahib's time, women were prohibited form doing keertan at big events and usually they just got together in different houses and after doing Sukhmani Sahib, they would sing shabads with a dholkee and chhaiNey. Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee used to encourage women to sit equally with others at big deevans and do keertan. The result of this is that in the keertans of the Akhand Keertanee Jatha, where Singhs do keertan, women also are given time.

Islam does not give women freedom to go to the mosque [i.e. unless special provisions are made] and Hindu women are considered unsuitable for worship due to sootak and they believe the gods may become upset. Under this Brahmanistic influence, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Sikh women used to also stay back. In the 20th century, Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee encouraged women to come forward. Even to this day in Sree Darbaar Sahib Amritsar, because of the influence of Brahmanism, women are not allowed to do keertan. Why this discrimination in the Guru's darbaar between Singhs and Singhnees? How long will this continue?

Bhai Sahib also started another tradition: the refusal of money for keertan. Wherever the Akhand Keertanee Jatha is, they do not sell keertan. Considering keertan to be food for the soul, they themselves eat and also give it to the sangat.

It is not an exaggeration to say that in Bhai Sahib's and his companions' old shabad tunes, where the shabad is filled with vairaag, the tune too also reflects the vairaag and highlights it. Where the shabad was about happiness and meeting loved ones, the keertanee would use a tune to reflect this as well.

Gupurvasi Col. Piara Singh jee used to say to me that Bhai Sahib could hear divine keertan within himself. Hearing the keertan tunes within, he would then bring them out as well [and do keertan in sangat according to those tunes]. Bhai Sahib used to be very happy and eager to hear keertan from those who had the kirpaa of Satguru jee and were playing in dasam duaar.

The special feature of Bhai Sahib's keertan was that he would sing GurbaaNee very sweetly and enjoy the nectar. The new keertanees of today have not seen Bhai Sahib do keertan nor are there any tapes that they can listen to, and because of this, they remain away form this divine style of keertan. Both shabads of vairaag and happiness are sung to tunes from show-business/movie tunes. Keertan is a divine gift, not an art and not a mastery of the notes and scales.

Neither Bhai Sahib himself nor any of his companions used to do dhunee of gurmantar (doing Vahiguru Vahiguru). Sometimes one could hear the sounds of "guroo guroo" coming from his lips but the keertan remained akhand or unbroken. Today, some 30-35 years after his leaving us, the keertan style he showed, has been totally changed. New keertanees think that the keertan can be akhand/unbroken or not but the abhyaas of Gurmantar in sangat should be akhand. If they are going to do 30 minutes of keertan, at least half that time is spent on "Vahiguru Vahiguru". Because of this, the keertan does not remain akhand keertan nor is it akhand abhyaas. It should be remembered that Bhai Sahib did keertan of gurbaaNee only. The custom of abhyaas in sangat like this only started after 1960. The custom of sangat abhyaas keertan is now even more in vogue today. I fear that in the coming time, the Jatha's name may be changed to the "Sangatee Akhand Abhyaasee Jatha". Abhyaas should be done secretly at amrit vela, in keertans, only pure keertan is suitable.

Leaving Bhai Sahib's style, Bh. Mohinder Singh SDO started a new style. This is the style of theme-keertan. If there was a keertan for someone's death, he would start a shabad and then leaving it, would sing examples out of baaNee on the same theme in different ear-pleasing tunes. And in between he would do dhunee of gurmantar and sometimes a little bit of explanation/katha as well. He would do keertan of Bhai Gurdaas jee's Vaars for hours. Sometimes I'd think whether singing keertan of the vaars was equal to that of singing gurbaaNee. The vaars are to clarify some hidden meanings in baaNee. But this practice continued for quite some time. Even now many brothers copy Bh. Mohinder Singh SDO's style and in such keertan, the intellect remains occupied but the consciousness does not attach itself. Going from theme to theme, without deep study of gurbaaNee there is a big chance of the keertan being without nectar.

If we want to grasp Bhai Sahib's keertan style properly, then we should sing baaNee with a lot of love and with enjoyment. First we should attach ourselves to the Guru's feet. In Sangat there are many that are thirsting for keertan-nectar. We should discourage ourselves from doing keertan for the intelligence and to show smartness. The foundation of this keertan gathering is loving-devotion/prema-bhagtee. Those who came to this gathering to show their knowledge left empty-handed. Only singing praises with love and enjoyment is of any use.

quick question did bhai sahib do raag as well?

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^Yes I believe so^

Subedar Harbachan Singh jee

By Principal Gurmukh Singh jee, Soora Jan 1992

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

Once Bhai Harbachan Singh jee had come to Col. Piara Singh jee's home. When returning, he was going to take the night train. All preparations had been made, but that evening some Singhs came to meet him. They requested him to stay some more days but Bhai Sahib didn't agree. One Singh took Col Sahib aside and asked him to request Bhai Sahib to stay one more day. Col Sahib replied "I'll tell you the method, whatever happens then is up to the Guru."

The time for Sodar came and everyone did the paath together. There was still quite a bit of time before the train was to leave so according to Col. Sahib's suggestion, one Singh lovingly said to Bhai Harbachan Singh jee "Well, you're leaving, but before you leave, can you recite one shabad for us?" Bhai Sahib could not refuse. The paath had been done in the presence of Sree Guru Granth Saahib jee and right there the instruments were also opened up. Bhai Sahib took the shabad

" ਸਾਜਨਾਸੰਤਆਉਮੇਰੈ ॥ ੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਆਨਦਾਗੁਨਗਾਇਮੰਗਲਕਸਮਲਾਮਿਟਿਜਾਹਿਪਰੇਰੈ ॥ ੧॥"

When Bhai Sahib sang the next line,

" ਸੰਤਚਰਨਧਰਉਮਾਥੈਚਾਂਦਨਾਗ੍ਰਿਹਿਹੋਇਅੰਧੇਰੈ ॥ ੨॥",

then his consciousness was so lost in this line that he spent the rest of the night in the sangat doing abhyaas. Bhai Sahib remained silent in his deep meditation and his hands remained resting on the vaja. At around 5AM at amrit vela, Bhai Sahib again began the shabad from the same line and finished around 6AM. In this way, the Singhs enjoyed the bliss of a lot of sangat with Bhai Sahib (where he was before not going to stay).

Bhai Sahib has been mentioned in Bh. Sahib Randheer Singh jee's Ranglay Sajjan. Veer Dr Surinder Singh jee (Bhai Harbachan Singh jee's son) told us of many amazing stories from his father's life. All of Veer jee's brothers and siters would die at a very young age and their Mata jee asked Bhai Harbachan Singh jee why they died so young. Bhai Sahib replied "This is all the amazing work of Sachay Paatshaah. By his will, only those souls are born into our home who have come just to receive amrit. After receiving amrit at young ages, they leave for Dargah (divine court) and are accepted there."

Bhai Sahib Harbachan Singh jee's Singhnee then did not take her newest baby daughter to receive amrit for this very fear. When she became of marriageable age, she went to receive amrit and died a little while after that.

Once, during the first World War, Bhai Harbachan Singh was stationed in a military camp on the banks of a river in France. At amrit vela, Bhai Sahib was immersed in naam abhyaas when the river began to flood. The army began to flee and in moments, they emptied the camp and went far away. Bhai Saahib stayed stationary in deep smaadhee. The water began to go over him as well. When roll call was taken for the unit, Bhai Saahib was listed as missing due to "having drowned". But after two or four days, when the water receded from the camp, the soldiers who came to survey the damage found Bhai Saahib covered in deep mud. They picked him up and after cleaning him, Bhai Sahib's smaadhee finally opened. Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee used to say that the British forces won the war because naam abhyaasees like this were in the ranks of their army.

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VaheguroojeekakhalsaaVaheguroojeekiFatheh!

Please note that the Southall coach with be now be leaving Havelock Road at 3.30pm and Khalsa Primary School Slough at 4pm. Please contact Bhai Satnam Singh on 07956 519256 for more information.

VaheguroojeekakhalsaaVaheguroojeekiFatheh!

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Neither Bhai Sahib himself nor any of his companions used to do dhunee of gurmantar (doing Vahiguru Vahiguru). Sometimes one could hear the sounds of "guroo guroo" coming from his lips but the keertan remained akhand or unbroken. Today, some 30-35 years after his leaving us, the keertan style he showed, has been totally changed. New keertanees think that the keertan can be akhand/unbroken or not but the abhyaas of Gurmantar in sangat should be akhand. If they are going to do 30 minutes of keertan, at least half that time is spent on "Vahiguru Vahiguru". Because of this, the keertan does not remain akhand keertan nor is it akhand abhyaas. It should be remembered that Bhai Sahib did keertan of gurbaaNee only. The custom of abhyaas in sangat like this only started after 1960. The custom of sangat abhyaas keertan is now even more in vogue today. I fear that in the coming time, the Jatha's name may be changed to the "Sangatee Akhand Abhyaasee Jatha". Abhyaas should be done secretly at amrit vela, in keertans, only pure keertan is suitable.

Vaheguroo, sorry dass does not understand, is this paragraph saying that we should recite GurManter whilst doing Keertan or we shouldnt recite GurManter?

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