Tu Jaanat Maen Kichh Nahi

Sung By Bhai Gagandeep Singh Amritsar

gurbani kirtan

Gurbani Kirtan Maryada(Tradition)

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The tradition of kirtan developed over the period of the ten Gurus is as follows:

  • Hymns from the following compositions only are permitted in kirtan: Adi Granth, Dasam Granth, vaars and kabits of Bhai Gurdas, Bhai Nandlal’s poems.
  • The kirtan-group is generally seated on the right side of the seat (palki) of the Guru Granth Sahib. No special seats or cushions are provided for the singers though in big assemblies (diwan) the use of a platform or dais is allowed provided it is lower than the seat of Guru Granth Sahib.

  • In the morning, kirtan of entire Asa-di-var (24 chants, salokas and pauris) is completed. The singing of Asa-di-var is not to be interrupted by katha (exposition of a random hymn read from the Scripture) or lecture.
  • Appropriate compositions of Gurbani are sung at certain functions. For example at the time of Anand Karaj (Sikh Wedding) Lavan, Anand and suitable shabads ar sung. At the funeral of a Sikh, appropriate shabads relating to death are sung. Kirtan Sohila is recited before cremating the dead body.
  • Every hymn should be sung in the indicated raga. However, the musician must not forget the appropriate ethos, mood and spirit (rasa) of the hymn.
  • Vars should be sung as indicated in the Scripture. For example Gauri var should be sung in Gauri raga, Ramkali var in Ramkali raga, with appropriate dhuni if indicated.
  • Display of musical skill and excess of alap (free improvisation) and tan are not permitted as they tend to make the minds of singers and listeners mercurial and unstable.
  • Correct pronunciation and intonation of Gurbani is essential so that the audience may understand the wording and the meaning of the hymn. The singer is not supposed to introduce any words of her/his own or make interpolations in Gurbani [1]. The use of extra words like ha, ji, wahwah, piyara, etc., is against the spirit of Gurmat.

  • The raga-technique and the sounds of instruments are subordinated to the singing of the hymn. What is brought out prominently by the musician is the Gurbani and its rasa, and not the musical expertise. Parallel quotations (parmans) to illustrate the theme are permitted during the kirtan.
  • Any hymn that has been commenced should be completed. Lack of time is no reason for stopping the singing of a hymn.
  • No kirtan is permitted during Akhand Path (continuous reading of the Scripture).

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