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Kirtan Is More Important Than Katha


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Sri Harmandir Sahib Maryada is continuous reading of sri guru granth sahib jee and kirtan during day time and this been going on since our guru jees time. Maybe there is a reason for that.. I am not sure but i think kirtan should be given more important place than katha.

Kirtan is the method of conveying message of our 10 guru sahiban. There is no mix, no opinions added and therefore nobody can do kinto pirunto on message dhur ki bani.

Katha is highly mixture of gurbani with kathavachaak's personal opinion. Due of lack of gurbani knowledge in sikh masses, i think it is easy for rouge kathavachak's to mislead scores of ppl. Hence i think katha should not be given important place in our sikh culture.

I think katha should be limited to kids or strictly used during training programs. DamDami Taksal is the only sikh school having history of more than 100 years+. I think katha culture should only be preserved and run in such institutions where scores of sikh kids go to learn more about sikhi. (please do not bring politics about current situation).

I think people like me can be easily misled to other direction because of lack of knowledge on gurbani (kirtan). When that happens then it takes years to come to right path. Also, looking at all recent events from darsho to dhunda; we have seen them misleading sangat either by doing katha in between kirtan or holding kahta stages around the world.

I also think that ppl listening to katha of their fav. Kathavaachak becomes hard-core fan of them and start following them rather than focusing on follow sri guru granth sahib jee..

I respect all mahan kathavachaks and some of them have great knowledge about sikhi but i think it is important to note that katha culture is important in our life but kirtan should be the main appetite of every human.

Sorry if i offend anyone.. just random thoughts going thru my head...

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Sri Harmandir Sahib Maryada is continuous reading of sri guru granth sahib jee and kirtan during day time and this been going on since our guru jees time. Maybe there is a reason for that.. I am not s

If you listen to the katha of Guru Nanak Dev Ji from sooraj parkash (or read it alone if that makes you happier) you will find sakhi after sakhi where maharajah visits places and does updesh I.e teach

A tough one but I feel uncomfortable prioritising one over the other. If katha is being pushed into the background because of a fear of being distorted by devious parties, that's not a reflection on t

I agree but I feel Katha is important too. Even in Gurbani, Katha is mentioned on numerous occasions. Infact (maybe I am reading into this too much) but when Gurbani mentions Katha and Kirtan, Katha appears before Kirtan. I don't know if that has any significance, but it reminds me of the way the five vices are ordered... Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Hunkaar. Someone once said that this is written in this order because it begins with the most hardest to master to the more easier ones.

ਕਥਾ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਆਨੰਦ ਮੰਗਲ ਧੁਨਿ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹੀ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਅਰੁ ਰਾਤਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ

The Lord's Sermon, the Kirtan of His Praises and the songs of bliss perfectly resonate, day and night. ||1||Pause||

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A tough one but I feel uncomfortable prioritising one over the other. If katha is being pushed into the background because of a fear of being distorted by devious parties, that's not a reflection on the art of katha but more to do with those who utilise it for nefarious purposes.

Personally I've learnt more from katha by Giani Sant Singh Maskeen than anything else. Gurbani soothes the soul but in most cases I've had to go away and look up translations in order to ascertain the meaning of what exactly was being sung.

To deny a good kathavachak the opportunity to educate and illuminate because of a few bad apples is a shame in my opinion.

I also think that ppl listening to katha of their fav. Kathavaachak becomes hard-core fan of them and start following them rather than focusing on follow sri guru granth sahib jee..

This is absoutely correct and I completely agree. Most Sikhs these days have a habit of idolising the man rather than heeding the message he is giving. No wonder men become babeh and so-called sants when people are constantly telling them they are "great" and God-like.

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Sri Harmandir Sahib Maryada is continuous reading of sri guru granth sahib jee and kirtan during day time and this been going on since our guru jees time. Maybe there is a reason for that.. I am not sure but i think kirtan should be given more important place than katha.

Kirtan is the method of conveying message of our 10 guru sahiban. There is no mix, no opinions added and therefore nobody can do kinto pirunto on message dhur ki bani.

Katha is highly mixture of gurbani with kathavachaak's personal opinion. Due of lack of gurbani knowledge in sikh masses, i think it is easy for rouge kathavachak's to mislead scores of ppl. Hence i think katha should not be given important place in our sikh culture.

I think katha should be limited to kids or strictly used during training programs. DamDami Taksal is the only sikh school having history of more than 100 years+. I think katha culture should only be preserved and run in such institutions where scores of sikh kids go to learn more about sikhi. (please do not bring politics about current situation).

I think people like me can be easily misled to other direction because of lack of knowledge on gurbani (kirtan). When that happens then it takes years to come to right path. Also, looking at all recent events from darsho to dhunda; we have seen them misleading sangat either by doing katha in between kirtan or holding kahta stages around the world.

I also think that ppl listening to katha of their fav. Kathavaachak becomes hard-core fan of them and start following them rather than focusing on follow sri guru granth sahib jee..

I respect all mahan kathavachaks and some of them have great knowledge about sikhi but i think it is important to note that katha culture is important in our life but kirtan should be the main appetite of every human.

Sorry if i offend anyone.. just random thoughts going thru my head...

Vaheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa Vaheguroo Jee Kee Fateh

I would like to reply by stating that Guroo Arjan Dev Jee Say that Keertan and Katha are both necessary for understanding the principles of the Sikh faith.

Katha is like the mother, while Keertan is her son. - Many Gursikhs recite Gurbanee but do not understand it. For them (all of us) Katha is essential; as the teachings of Gurbanee may be absorbed into our minds - KathaVaachaks explain the meanings, the Saakhees etc behind the teachings by referring to Siree Granth Saroops prepared by (GurPrsaad) MahaPurkhs/Vidvaans e.g. Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth Jee. Katha is one of the Maha 'tools' to attain BhramGiaan.

Guroo Saab explains that Keertan is one of the Maha 'tools' to attune the mind and enjoy the Maha Rass of Anand'may Keertan.

However, due to various controversial individuals that consider themselves to be 'Kathavaachaks' - that tend to preach anti-Gurmat things - I fully believe that they are to blame - Katha and Keertan are highly blessed and beautiful articles of our Jeevan - its the individuals that are unforuntately harm their reputation. Though I believe we should not give in that easy - we need to monitor/attain official references of those who we allow to come and do Katha/Keertan in Guroo Ghars - not just sponser any 'Pind da Pathee' to come and sit on stage.

So to conclude, I like to think that Katha and Keertan are equally important, essential and beneficial in order to live and take pleasure in a Shudh Gurmukh and progressive Jeevan, we should have policies in place to almost 'recruit' / 'interview' Kathavaachaks/Keertanees before they enter Gurdvarae.

Though I 100% agree with you that people tend to start 'worshipping' the Kathavaachak/Keertanee - again we can't 'blame' Katha/Keertan for this - 'blame' the people that do it.

I agree with 'Kaljugi' - Katha is increasingly being pushed into the backgroud - which is a shame - we may end up just being Gursikhs that listen to Gurbanee/Keertan etc but have no knowledge of our Ithaas and BhramGiaan/Giaan.

Bhul Chuk Maaf.

Vaheguroo Jee Ka Khalsa Vaheguroo Jee Kee Fateh

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I LOVE Kathas, but I am astute enough to not follow the Kirtani.

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Sri Harmandir Sahib Maryada is continuous reading of sri guru granth sahib jee and kirtan during day time and this been going on since our guru jees time. Maybe there is a reason for that..

Singh Jee, I kind of understand where you're coming from, but the maryada of Sri Darbar Sahib and the Takhts are different from gurdwaras, so is the comparison really fair?

Moving onto katha , nowhere in Gurbani is it said that Kirtan or Katha have priority over the other, but they are both praised as most worthy in Gurbani. The thing you have mentioned with katha is true, that katha vaachiks can mislead people, but you also have to accept the same of Dhadis and Kaveesharis. But talking about misleading, the biggest and most re-occuring act of misleading these days, is the type of kirtan being done in Guruji's name on Guruji's stage. People look at the style of kirtan being done in Guru Ji's housem, and think that must be the correct way, otherwise why else would they do it. in the same way that a sikh listens to katha and even though it is misleading,he/she feels it must be true, otherwise why did he say it.

Just as some kathavaachiks have built up a following with their particular style of katha, some kirtanees have also built up a following with a particular type of kirtan. Both are misleading and not the true reflection of these great acts from our Guru's time. However way more kirtan is done in a gurdwara than katha is. So we really need to make a start on bringing Gurmat Sangeet back to Guru Ji's stage, as well as reducing the effect of foolish kathavaachiks who mislead people.

If you want to (rightly) ban or counter the mislead of the katha vaachiks you have mentioned then you should be prepared to counter the misleading kirtanis.

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Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Hunkaar. Someone once said that this is written in this order because it begins with the most hardest to master to the more easier ones.

hmmm... That doesnt seem right to me, I think ahankaar is the hardest, because if it wasnt for that, then there would be no 'ME', therefore that would mean there would be no kaam, krodh, lobh or moh... So as ahankaar is the reason for the other 4 vices' existence, ego has got to be the hardest, no?

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hmmm... That doesnt seem right to me, I think ahankaar is the hardest, because if it wasnt for that, then there would be no 'ME', therefore that would mean there would be no kaam, krodh, lobh or moh... So as ahankaar is the reason for the other 4 vices' existence, ego has got to be the hardest, no?

Off-topic: Ahankaar is tough. Sometimes it emerges without you really meaning it to. Krodh, moh and lobh can be tamed with determination. Kaam appears to be unconquerable but it can be done even though it does seem impossible when young. Mental and physical maturity helps.

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There is a vaar by Bhai Gurdaas Jee where he states and kirtan is like heavy pouring rain, it washes all dirt from one's mind. He goes on to say that katha is like a light drizzle, it does not wash away the dirt, but it seeps deeps inside one's mind.

There is a reason why kirtan is done first and katha is done after.

I can not remember which vaar or pauri this is stated in however.

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I could not agree more with the original post, actually no where in Gurbani does the word 'katha' ever mean the lecture by one individual, based on their own thoughts that is carried out today(I have pasted an article below to clarify this). That is not to say we should not look into the meanings of Gurbani, but this should be in a format of equal sangat doing vichar on the same platform, one person should not be given authority over the meanings of Gurbani.

I'd like to share an article by Bhai Kulbir Singh which also contains an extract of the writings of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji on this topic, which explains the different meanings of the word 'Katha' when it appears in Gurbani, depending on the context:

Bhai Sahib's views on Katha

Bhai Sahib’s views on Katha are very much misunderstood. In his book “Katha Kirtan” he has explained the term “Katha” as it appears in Gurbani. In Gurbani, the meaning of Katha is one of the 9 meanings listed and explained later in this article.

Secondly, what Bhai Sahib has written is that doing katha of Gurbani is not kalyankaari i.e. this karma in its capacity cannot lead one to salvation as chanting of Naam and recitation of Gurbani does. It helps one to solidify one’s position on the spiritual path, provided it’s done by a person who is well-versed in meanings of Gurbani but just by listening to Katha one cannot get Paramgat (salvation).

On the other hand, the Akath Katha (description of the unexplainable i.e. Gurbani) of Naam and Naami Vaheguru that our Guru Sahibaan have done is such that just by listening to it and by uttering it, one gets paramgat. Similarly the Har Har Katha i.e. Naam is such that just by listening to this Har Har Katha (Naam) and by chanting it, one gets Paramgat (salvation).

Bhai Sahib has not said that one should not do meanings of Gurbani for personal understanding. Bhai Sahib was not against katha of Sooraj Prakash and other historical granths but he was of the opinion that the katha of Gurbani was not done at Gurdwara Sahibaan. He himself witnessed that in olden days the katha of Gurbani was not done at Gurdwara Sahibaan. Only Kirtan was sung or Katha of history was done.

Some people use the pankit below and preach that Katha is greatest Karma of all but they fail to understand that in Gurbani the word “Katha” is never used in the meanings of doing lectures, translating Gurbani, or doing katha of history. In Gurbani the word Katha is used in one of the 9 meanings listed later in this article.

"Sabh te utam Har kee Katha|| Naam Sunat Dard Dukh Latha||"

The next pankiti proves that "Har kee Katha" is referred to Naam here and not katha by some gyani. Dard (pain), dukh (sorrow) will go away listening to Naam roopi Katha and not katha by some gyani. How can the katha of a certified gyani be "Sabh tey uttam" i.e. greatest of all. Greatest Katha is Gurbani itself. What is Gurbani? Guru Sahibaan have done katha of Vaheguru and his Naam and his bhagats, in form of Gurbani. Gurbani is the Akath Katha of Naami Vaheguru. Then Har Har Katha i.e. Naam japna is the katha of Vaheguru that Gurmukhs do with every swaas.

To equate the katha of a mortal being with Gurbani is nothing short of blasphemy.

Bhai Sahib’s last book was Katha Kirtan and this book inspires one to do more paath and Naam abhyaas. This book explains the importance and greatness of Gurbani and Naam. It rejuvenates and kindles one’s faith in Gurbani and Naam.This book is about the word "katha" as it appears in Gurbani. Bhai Sahib has written that the word "Katha" appears in Gurbani in many meanings but never in the following two meanings:

1) History Katha e.g. Suraj Parkash Granth Katha etc.

2) Gurbani katha i.e. translation of Gurbani.

Following are some of the meanings of the word "Katha" in Gurbani:

1) Akath Katha (of Naami Vaheguru) through Gurbani. Akath means that which cannot be explained or expressed. Akath means Vaheguru. Akath Katha means the explanation or description of the unexplainable and indescribable Vaheguru.

2) Gur-deekhiya roop Katha i.e. Gurmantr roop Katha that we get at the time of initiation or Amrit Sinchaar Samagam.

3) Har Har Katha i.e. Katha of Vaheguru through Naam Abhyaas. In other words to Japp Naam is doing Katha of Vaheguru.

4) Katha of Vaheguru through Ajappa Jaap. When the Jaap of Vaheguru goes on all by itself, and does not stop ever, it is referred to as Ajappa Jaap. Doing Ajappa Jaap is doing Katha of Vaheguru.

5) Amrit Katha - Again this is Katha of Vaheguru through Gurbani or Naam. When one sings Gurbani, one is doing Amrit Katha of Vaheguru and his qualities.

6) Sehaj Katha: This is a mystical state where katha of Vaheguru is done by the jeev aatma, through Naam or is listened by the jeev atma when it reaches the high spiritual states.

7) Guhaj Anand Binodi Katha.

8) Akath Katha through kirtan.

9) Sadh Jana kee Acharaj Katha (7 ashtpadi of Siri Sukhmani Sahib). It means praising Guru Sahibaan through Gurbani is referred to as Sadh Jana kee Acharaj Katha.

Following is an extract from Bhai Sahib's book Katha Kirtan. It's impossible to do correct and accurate translation of Bhai Sahib's writing. Guru Sahib baksh lain.

***************Translation begins*************

ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪੜੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗੁਣੀਐ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮ ਕਥਾ ਨਿਤ ਸੁਣੀਐ ॥

ਮਿਲਿ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਏ ਜਗੁ ਭਉਜਲੁ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਜੀਉ ॥1॥

In this gurvaak, reading Hargunn (qualities of Vaheguru, Gurbani) and singing Hargunn (gurbani) has been determined as Katha of Harnaam. To sing the qualities of God’s Naam is doing Gurmat Katha of Har Naam. This Love Katha is sung in Satsangat while being absorbed in Naam.

Some stubborn people who are supporters of doing Katha of Gurbani claim that in the first pankiti “ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਪੜੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗੁਣੀਐ ॥” , both doing paath of Gurbani and kirtan of Gurbani has been clearly mentioned. The second pankiti therefore clearly refers to doing Katha of Gurbani, just as traditionally the katha of Gurbani has been done at samagams after Gurbani kirtan.

In response to the above claim, we have mentioned this many times that this (the above paragraph) is a false statement and this maryada of doing katha after kirtan just got started out of imitation. What Katha can some Kathakaar do of Naam? The words “Har Har” appear two times before “Naam” which clearly means that saying Naam again and again is doing Tatt Katha and this is not something you are supposed to do only daily (once a day) but with every breath. The Kathakaars who do katha at Gurdwaras don’t do katha of Naam but they do katha of Gurbani Shabad. (therefore they cannot use the second pankiti of the above shabad in their favour).

For some years now, the katha of amritvela hukamnama of Siri Darbar Sahib Siri Amritsar has been started at Gurdwara Manji Sahib but this maryada was not there in the past. Before, there used to be katha of only Suraj Parkash or some other historical scripture (not of Gurbani). And what Shabad Katha do they do there? They just express the false beliefs of their mind there. Many times this katha is done in form of a lecture. Famous scholars of Chief Khalsa Diwan do the katha of Gurbani standing and in lecture form. We ourselves have heard them doing so. To call this lecture, a katha, is a wrong thing to say. It is purely an entertainment of mind and nothing spiritual. No one does katha of Naam Shabad rather the real essence of Gurbani Shabad is lost during these katha samagams. They tell tales with the cleverness of their mind. Just because they call it Gurshabad Katha does not mean that it becomes Gurshabad Katha.

*************Translation Ends******************

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Katha and kirtan are both as important, however as stated kirtan is of niroal gurbani whereas katha is interpretation of gurbani and also of ithaas.

Its sad to say but in todays age both can be changed and edited to suit an individual, kirtan can be sund of half shabads giving half interpretations, different tuks can be read becoming confusing and possibly meaning different things. Leaving the individual unable to understand what guru ji is saying. Likewise in todays society and especially some of the newer jathas- the katha vachiks have different motives and sometimes do anarth rathet than arth. Therefore confusing an individual further.

At darbar sahib katha does occur in the complex of manji sahib divaan hall, which is part of darbar sahib. And throughout gurithaas guru sahib has done katha or also told wise gursikhs and those of other religions to do katha to the sangat for knowledge. I personally feel, in todays society everything is a distraction from god, even at times the things that are meant to take you closer due to kaljug turn into arguments and disagreements, a kathavachik doing anarth, a kirtani not following raags, doing kirtan to fast to understand, reading gurbani incorrectly etc are all distractions.

Satguru sahib ji mehar karan.

Just to add, whats more important is your surat concentration whilst listening to both.

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Bhai Sahib has not said that one should not do meanings of Gurbani for personal understanding. Bhai Sahib was not against katha of Sooraj Prakash and other historical granths but he was of the opinion that the katha of Gurbani was not done at Gurdwara Sahibaan. He himself witnessed that in olden days the katha of Gurbani was not done at Gurdwara Sahibaan. Only Kirtan was sung or Katha of history was done.

In another post you have posted something about how katha vaachiks build up their personal folllowing to suit themselves. its looks like the same thing has happened to you. Bhai Randhir Singh has no authority to dismiss tha katha of Gurbani. Even worse than that are people using that example, to avoid learning arths of Gurbani. Just because he didn't want to know what Guru Ji is teaching us, why should we have to lose out?

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The Panth Has given the status "Bhai Sahib" to Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh. Your post sounds very disrespectful chatanga.

Just because he didn't want to know what Guru Ji is teaching us, why should we have to lose out?

Actually your both wrong. Do you research first before you say anything. Bhai Sahib has written about 25 books more telling us what Guru jee is teaching us. Any single pangti written in his books were all done off by heart without any pothiaa or gutkeh. It shows the knowledge and pyaar for Gurbanee to have memorised so much. For someone to spend 16 years in Jail and keep the most strictest Rehat and do great Bhagti under such hardship we couldn't bear. I'm Balhaar to anyone who does.

Anybody who has done Naam Kamai should be respected regardless of Samparda. Your posts are always negative. Cheer up singh! Lifes too short... Great Mahapurakh Sant Gurbachan Singh jee BhindraWala & Sant Kartar Singh Jee have praised Bhai Sahib via books and KATHA!

Another Note how did this topic get to this...?????????

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that is one of the silliest things i've ever read.

So if Bhai Randhir Singh didn't see it with his own eyes, it never happened?

In another post you have posted something about how katha vaachiks build up their personal folllowing to suit themselves. its looks like the same thing has happened to you. Bhai Randhir Singh has no authority to dismiss tha katha of Gurbani. Even worse than that are people using that example, to avoid learning arths of Gurbani. Just because he didn't want to know what Guru Ji is teaching us, why should we have to lose out?

Like I said, there is a difference between this modern 'katha' where one individual sits on stage dictating to everyone, and an open vichar format. Coincidentally just right now I am listening to the shabad,

ਕਬੀਰ ਏਕ ਘੜੀ ਆਧੀ ਘਰੀ ਆਧੀ ਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਆਧ ॥

Kabeer, whether is is for an hour, half an hour, or half of that,

ਭਗਤਨ ਸੇਤੀ ਗੋਸਟੇ ਜੋ ਕੀਨੇ ਸੋ ਲਾਭ ॥੨੩੨॥

Whatever it is, it is worthwhile to speak with the Holy. ||232|| (ang 1377)

Notice, that its 'bhagtan', i.e. plural, i.e. sangat not an individual and its 'goshte' which is more akin to vichara or conversation rather than a lecture format. So yes of course we should look at the meanings of bani but my personal view based on Gurbani is that this should be in an equal vichar format. And as s50 has mentioned, there are also other avenues for exploration of Gurbani such as gurmat books, there are also steeks, etc. In these you do not sit someone above the entire sangat (figuratively speaking) and you also leave a choice open to compare, contrast and pick between all other meanings/ideas.There is mention of doing vichara of gursikhs in gurbani, but personally I do not see 'katha' in Gurbani ever meaning a lecture by an individual.

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