People often object to Gurmat Sangeet particularly if it is taught by an academy that employees Namdharhis. But please tell me how many kirtanis you know of who do Kirtan? I mean Kirtan as in proper Gurmat sangeet, such as Raag?
Now tell me how many people can teach this in the UK (London)?
Raj Academy is one of the only Gurmat Sangeet Academy’s in the world. Yes they employee Namdharhis, but until we have GurSikhs who capable of learning and actually doing Gurmat Sangeet, it is very difficult to teach over 400 students singhle handly variety of instruments, such as Saranda to Pakwaj. Prof Surinder Singh head of Raj Academy has always stated that he would replace the namdharhi if someone would provide him Gursikhs who are able to do Gurmat Sangeet.
But for those who suggest that Sikhs should not learn Gurmat Sangeet, I ask them is it better if I put on a bollywood music CD and string Gurbani words to it? That is what nowadays “famous kirtanis” are doing. They even have the cheek to go to the Darbar Sahib and play some Kaami tuni singing Gurbani to the Sangat. One even stated he had to sit through a film so he could get the tune of a song for a Sahbad.
The Vaaja (Harmonium) is not a instrument that was invented by the Sikhs. It is in fact an import from the British, when they had control over India. At the time there was much uproar in the Sikh community that this instrument should not be adopted into the community, however, due to the stupidity of the Sikh community at the time, we could not resist. The vaaja is an instrument which can be learnt within months if not days of practice, and it is very limited compared to instruments invented and given to us by our Guru Sahibs. Sikhi is the only dharm to have an authentic granth which was given and directed by our Guru Sahibs. At the same time they gave us Gurmat Sangeet, with certain instruments that allows us, Sikhs, to sing Gurabani.
It saddens me that we have pushed certain rehits out, such as Surbloh Bebik rehit, which was given by Mahraj to stop us, Sikhs, from becoming lazy. However, we always look for the easy way out. Bebik rehit advises that we Sikhs we live a active lifestyle, rather than a lazy lifestyle. Gurmat Sangeet takes years to master, thus, rather than simply listening to bollywood tunes to string on to Sahbads, Gurmat Sangeet actually allows you to learn very intensively the true meaning of Gurbani. As a result, years of dedication, similar to Bebik Rehit, this should be follow and thus, it will have an effect on our spirituality. We fell into a trap during the British Raaj, were educated Sikhs slipped down to low levels of education. For that reason, people lost faith, which gave room for the Christian preachers to move in and convert the Sikhs into Christian. At that time, respected parcharic, looked at Kachi bani and the Vaaja to bring people back in to Sikhi. But that was then, this is now, we are educated, and therefore we should revive this tradition and rehit of our Guru Sahibs. Whethers those Gursikhs where right at the time or not I am not one to judge but I will I can say Guru Sahib Ji titled shabads in in raag in Guru Granth Sahib from day one who are we to change that? Have we now beyond the Guru? Are we today any better then Namdharhis ourselves as we have started singing kachi bani and bollywood tunes.
Slowly we have pushed aside Gurmat Sangeet and non-title raag kirtan, infavor of the vaja and lustful bollywood tunes are more prevalent in our Gurdwaras. I ask you, which is better, Kaami (lustful) Bollywood tunes on a vaja, or Gurmat Sangeet sung on instruments made and or blessed by pur Guru Sahibs?
Gurmat Sangeet takes dedication and time to learn. Why does it seem that our com does not want to learn, or even open up facilities that teach Gurmat Sangeet.
We today have many issues with granthis, gyanis, and kirtani’s who have set times and hourly rates to do kirtan, I must say this they are not far of Satta and Balwand sorry to say. I would even suggest that they are probably worse. Our so called gyani’s are being accused of unbelievable practices and we are not far of from the scandals which are today being uncovered in church’s in England and USA. Our gyanis have no gyan. They have no idea of raag, the majority of them have learnt SRGM of vaja nothing beyond and as long as they say hanjee to the committee they are hired. I can give you plenty of examples in London Gurdwaras alone and I have my doubts if they are even amritdharhi. When a Kirtan smagam is advertised for sangat the first thing you will see are names of Kirtanis. These kirtanis are paid vast amount of cash and have set rates. So, these well known kirtanis have a lot of money and wealth to survive yet when attending programs in UK they make sure to notify organizers of there fees before hand.
Gurmat Sangeet takes years to master and its effect is such that is can change ones jeevan. We today are loosing our belief in mystics and spirituality. Today, I want you to believe this, when raaj, and gurbani come together and are sungh with pyar and nimrita, you will not even need Sikhi to the Max translations to have an effect on you.
It is the duty of each and every amritdharhi to be a granthi and gyani. Our guru Sahib’s eradicated the position of pandits/priests but instead I would say made it the duties of each and every Gursikh to have gyan of Gurbani.
I truly believe a Gursikh should have some knowledge of certain key areas, such as, Shaster Vidya (gatka), Gurmat Sangeet, Vidya of Gurbani and many more. A Sikhs is then able to look after them physically, spiritually and worldly.
One thing I would like to state is, great Sikh scholars have to learn from cults such as nirmalai but they have gone on to become panthic heerai. I don’t see why Amritdharhi Gursikhs can not learn from namdharhis and then go on to teach other Sikhs.
Not defending namdharhis but would you rather learn other types of sangeet from Hindu pandits or muslim ustads who use tobacco openly and tell there students to go and fetch them a fresh pack tobacco or other intoxicants, or would you rather learn from a namdharhi. At least they have some kind of moral standing. Also they will teach Gurmat Sangeet not shastery or any other dance sangeet. We need to firstly learn raags which are contained in Guru Granth Sahib ji before we learn so called classical Indian raags which are actually used for kanjar puna.
Why shouldn’t Gursikhs learn from namdharhis and exceed them. Imagine the effect we can have within our generation, we will have no need for namdharhis and therefore they will have no use. At this moment in time they claim the upper hand on Kirtan (Gurmat sangeet) without this, they have nothing.
So I say stop being lazy and follow Guru Sahibs rehit of Gurmat Sangeet.