Kirtan: Singing God’s Praise

KirtanIn the religious traditions of India the term kirtan refers to singing the praises of God in communal worship. means “singing the praises of GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality..” In Glen Rock, New Jersey, as in gurdwarasThe gurdwara, “the gateway of the Guru,” is the place for community gathering and worship in the Sikh tradition. The Guru is the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of the Sikh tradition. Each center will include a chamber where the Adi Granth is kept, a... throughout the world, there is no more important component of the life of the gathered community than kirtan. Men and women, young and old, learn to sing the Divine word, individually and congregationally. Usually, they sing to the accompaniment of an accordion-style harmonium. Most of the hymns, called shabads, are from the Guru Granth SahibAdi Granth means literally the “First Book.” For Sikhs, the three thousand hymns (shabads) contained within its pages are the Word of God. Before the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, he invested the Guruship not in a human successor, but in the scr.... They are gurbaniIn the Sikh tradition, shabad, literally “word,” refers to the divinely-inspired Word of God, especially as it was first sung by the ten Gurus and subsequently recorded in the Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture. There are gurbani, or ..., the hymns of the Gurus, or bhagatbaniIn the Sikh tradition, shabad, literally “word,” refers to the divinely-inspired Word of God, especially as it was first sung by the ten Gurus and subsequently recorded in the Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture. There are gurbani, or ..., the hymns of the saintsSaints are human beings whose lives have displayed extraordinary holiness and devotion. As such they become examples for others. Indeed some of the faithful may understand them to be intermediaries and seek their help in time of need. Roman Catholics and .... There are also famous and beloved hymns composed by the SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... savants Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Nand Lal, always favorites in the singing of kirtan.

The Guru Granth Sahib is poetry, and its poetry is sung. The full spirit and power of the word is in the singing of it. All of the shabads contained in the Guru Granth Sahib are set to particular traditional musical scales called ragas, each meant to be played at a particular time of day or to evoke a particular mood. When Guru Arjan arranged the Adi GranthAdi Granth means literally the “First Book.” For Sikhs, the three thousand hymns (shabads) contained within its pages are the Word of God. Before the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, he invested the Guruship not in a human successor, but in the scr..., he ordered its thirty-one sections according to musical raga. The ragas are noted before each shabad.

The poetry of the Guru Granth Sahib is, for the most part, in Punjabi. For this reason, all SikhsSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob..., even in the United States, make an effort to teach their children Punjabi so that they may sing the hymns, feel their resonance and beauty, and most important, understand their meaning. Transcending the music, Sikhs aspire to hear the anahad shabad, or the “unstruck melodyThe central musical manifestation of Hasidic life. Often, niggunim are sung using syllables such as “Ah,” “Oy,” “Hey,” “Bam,” instead of words.,” which is beyond the range of ear and mind, but is produced by GodThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities. and heard by the soulThe soul is the inner spirit, the life-essence of a person, regarded in many religious traditions as Divine. In the Hindu tradition, the atman or pure consciousness within is understood to be one with Brahman, the ultimate reality that pervades the entire....

During the gurdwaraThe gurdwara, “the gateway of the Guru,” is the place for community gathering and worship in the Sikh tradition. The Guru is the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of the Sikh tradition. Each center will include a chamber where the Adi Granth is kept, a... program, the appointed reader of the Guru Granth Sahib, called the granthiThe granthi is the custodian of the book (granth). In the Sikh tradition, the granthi cares for the Adi Granth by maintaining the gurdwara and seeing to the daily observances in the special room where the sacred book is housed. He may also lead the chanti..., may sing the hymns, as will the ragis, or trained Sikh musicians. In addition, many members of the congregation (sangatSangat is a Punjabi term for “community” and refers particularly to the religious community.), including children, will also lead the shabad. The visitor to the gurdwara will see Sikhs of all ages, women and men, leading the recitation, hour after hour.

Hearing, remembering, and singing the praises of God are central to Sikh life. Through the hymns, Sikhs carry the name of God within, remembering the Divine Name throughout the week, at work and at home. But congregationalThe congregational form of Protestant Christianity has traditionally affirmed the autonomy and authority of the local congregation in calling and ordaining its ministers and organizing its affairs. In the 17th century, the English Puritans introduced cong... singing provides a community of praise that both sustains and inspires.


X
- Enter Your Location -
- or -