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How To Follow Shabad Kirtan - For Beginners

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Sat Nam, newcomers to Sikhism. I am starting this thread to give background on a subject that baffled me for some time until I was able to find the key to following a kirtan performance of a Shabad from Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

    The challenge for me, and probably for you too, comes from our not having been hearing, listening, singing kirtan at home and at gurdwara, from our earliest years. If we had been born in to a Punjabi Sikh family, or even a White Sikh family, we would have been at gurdwara from infancy. Maybe we would have taken music lessons as part of the gurdwara program for children. Most likely our family would have had kirtan sung at home or the home of friends on weekends and special times during the year. The shabads would be by now ingrained in memory. And the pattern for singing a shabad would also be second nature to us.

    That is not where we stand. We realize we love kirtan. We love Shabad Guru. We get to the point where we can find the words to a shabad using a gurbani search engine. But we still can't figure out what the raagis are singing. We get lost. They don't seem to be following the shabad line by line in a sequence. We can't really follow too well by ear because we might not know enough Punjabi to do that. And all we need are some tips to make the process a little easier.

    So with the patience of those forum members who are old hands at this and who may wonder why I am making such a big deal of this -- please be patient. It took me 3 years to figure it out. Maybe other newcomers have the same questions.

    So to start, I am going to post a video of Shabad Guru performed by a jatha (Punjabi for "band" or "musical group" or musical suite. Then what I want to do is point out some things that will make following the kirtan easier.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    This video I have copied from the blog of my friend, and SPN forum member, Kaur-1 -- who has no equal when it comes to teaching Sikhism to people like me and others who are really new to the faith.

    Here is the link to her blog Kaurkhalsaraj's Blog

    Kaur ji, without realizing, has picked an excellent kirtan for the purposes of this thread. The jatha has a very clear style of presentation. And the shabad is not hard to follow.

    Please listen to it a few time just to get used to the words and the rhythm. Don't try to do anything at first as far as trying to understand.

    Here it is!

    YouTube - Bhai Satinderpal Saingh ji(Akhand Kirtani Jatha)
     
  4. spnadmin

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    The next step for you is to read the shabad. I promise you that when you try to match the shabad to the lyrics that you hear, it will not be easy at first to follow. Because the raagis are not singing the words to the shabad line by line.

    So just read the shabad a few times. And do one more thing. Pick out a few words -- maybe one word in each line -- and try to remember it. A good example would be the word "soee" or the word "maaieea." I will explain why in the next post.

    Here are the words to the shabd. Concentrate on the second line of each verse. The second line in each verse is the transliteration line where the Gurmukhi has been translated into the phonetic equivalent for the non-Punjabi speaker.

    For example,

    ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕੀ ਸੋਭਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਪਰਾਤੇ ॥੧॥
    thinh kee sobhaa sabhanee thhaaee jinh prabh kaeaathae ||1|| charan par
    Those who fall at the Feet of God are respected everywhere. ||1||

    Concentrate on thinh kee sobhaa sabhaneeaaee jinh prabh kae charan paraathae thh ||1||. Try to focus on one or two words even if you don't know what they mean. Your goal is to create an auditory memory trace for each line. Or in plain English, an auditory cue, to make it easier later to follow the kirtan.

    OK Here are the words. Read it
    it a few times. CONCENTRATE on the transliteration line. Pick out words that will be your cues later on.


    ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ
    soohee mehalaa 5 ||
    Soohee, Fifth Mehla:

    ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਸੋਈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਾਨਹਿ ਓਇ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੇ
    jo kishh karai soee prabh maanehi oue raam naam ra(n)g raathae ||
    Whatever God causes to happen is accepted, by those who are attuned to the Love of the Lord’s Name.

    ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕੀ ਸੋਭਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਪਰਾਤੇ ॥੧॥
    thinh kee sobhaa sabhanee thhaaee jinh prabh kae charan paraathae ||1||
    Those who fall at the Feet of God are respected everywhere. ||1||

    ਮੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਾ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਕੋਈ
    maerae raam har sa(n)thaa jaevadd n koee ||
    O my Lord, no one is as great as the Lord’s Saints.

    ਭਗਤਾ ਬਣਿ ਆਈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਸਿਉ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
    bhagathaa ban aaee prabh apanae sio jal thhal meheeal soee ||1|| rehaao ||
    The devotees are in harmony with their God; He is in the water, the land, and the sky. ||1||Pause||

    ਕੋਟਿ ਅਪ੍ਰਾਧੀ ਸੰਤਸੰਗਿ ਉਧਰੈ ਜਮੁ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਨੇੜਿ ਆਵੈ
    kott apraadhhee sa(n)thasa(n)g oudhharai jam thaa kai naerr n aavai ||
    Millions of sinners have been saved in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; the Messenger of Death does not even approach them.

    ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕਾ ਬਿਛੁੜਿਆ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਆਣਿ ਮਿਲਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
    janam janam kaa bishhurriaa hovai thinh har sio aan milaavai ||2||
    Those who have been separated from the Lord, for countless incarnations, are reunited with the Lord again. ||2||

    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮੁ ਭਉ ਕਾਟੈ ਸੰਤ ਸਰਣਿ ਜੋ ਆਵੈ
    maaeiaa moh bharam bho kaattai sa(n)th saran jo aavai ||
    Attachment to Maya, doubt and fear are eradicated, when one enters the Sanctuary of the Saints.

    ਜੇਹਾ ਮਨੋਰਥੁ ਕਰਿ ਆਰਾਧੇ ਸੋ ਸੰਤਨ ਤੇ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੩॥
    jaehaa manorathh kar aaraadhhae so sa(n)than thae paavai ||3||
    Whatever wishes one harbors, are obtained from the Saints. ||3||

    ਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਕੇਤਕ ਬਰਨਉ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਭਾਣੇ
    jan kee mehimaa kaethak barano jo prabh apanae bhaanae ||
    How can I describe the glory of the Lord’s humble servants? They are pleasing to their God.

    ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟਿਆ ਸੇ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਭਏ ਨਿਕਾਣੇ ॥੪॥੪॥੫੧॥
    kahu naanak jin sathigur bhaettiaa sae sabh thae bheae nikaanae ||4||4||51||
    Says Nanak, those who meet the True Guru, become independent of all obligations. ||4||4||51||
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    Now I am going to ask you to listen to the shabad on the video and read along with the ragis. Pay close attention.

    Listen for the auditory cue words as you listen to the entire kirtan.
    See if you can find the first line of the kirtan. It will not be the first line of the shabad.

    Stop the video as many times as you need if you find you are loosing your place and need to go back to an earlier spot, or you need to catch up.

    After you do this one or two times, go to the next post in this series and see if you can answer some reflection questions.

    The video

    YouTube- Bhai Satinderpal Saingh ji(Akhand Kirtani Jatha)

    The shabad


    ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਰੈ ਸੋਈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮਾਨਹਿ ਓਇ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤੇ
    jo kishh karai soee prabh maanehi oue raam naam ra(n)g raathae ||
    Whatever God causes to happen is accepted, by those who are attuned to the Love of the Lord’s Name.

    ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਕੀ ਸੋਭਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਚਰਣ ਪਰਾਤੇ ॥੧॥
    thinh kee sobhaa sabhanee thhaaee jinh prabh kae charan paraathae ||1||
    Those who fall at the Feet of God are respected everywhere. ||1||

    ਮੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਾ ਜੇਵਡੁ ਕੋਈ
    maerae raam har sa(n)thaa jaevadd n koee ||
    O my Lord, no one is as great as the Lord’s Saints.

    ਭਗਤਾ ਬਣਿ ਆਈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਸਿਉ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
    bhagathaa ban aaee prabh apanae sio jal thhal meheeal soee ||1|| rehaao ||
    The devotees are in harmony with their God; He is in the water, the land, and the sky. ||1||Pause||

    ਕੋਟਿ ਅਪ੍ਰਾਧੀ ਸੰਤਸੰਗਿ ਉਧਰੈ ਜਮੁ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਨੇੜਿ ਆਵੈ
    kott apraadhhee sa(n)thasa(n)g oudhharai jam thaa kai naerr n aavai ||
    Millions of sinners have been saved in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; the Messenger of Death does not even approach them.

    ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕਾ ਬਿਛੁੜਿਆ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਆਣਿ ਮਿਲਾਵੈ ॥੨॥
    janam janam kaa bishhurriaa hovai thinh har sio aan milaavai ||2||
    Those who have been separated from the Lord, for countless incarnations, are reunited with the Lord again. ||2||

    ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮੁ ਭਉ ਕਾਟੈ ਸੰਤ ਸਰਣਿ ਜੋ ਆਵੈ
    maaeiaa moh bharam bho kaattai sa(n)th saran jo aavai ||
    Attachment to Maya, doubt and fear are eradicated, when one enters the Sanctuary of the Saints.

    ਜੇਹਾ ਮਨੋਰਥੁ ਕਰਿ ਆਰਾਧੇ ਸੋ ਸੰਤਨ ਤੇ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੩॥
    jaehaa manorathh kar aaraadhhae so sa(n)than thae paavai ||3||
    Whatever wishes one harbors, are obtained from the Saints. ||3||

    ਜਨ ਕੀ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਕੇਤਕ ਬਰਨਉ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਪਨੇ ਭਾਣੇ
    jan kee mehimaa kaethak barano jo prabh apanae bhaanae ||
    How can I describe the glory of the Lord’s humble servants? They are pleasing to their God.

    ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟਿਆ ਸੇ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਭਏ ਨਿਕਾਣੇ ॥੪॥੪॥੫੧॥
    kahu naanak jin sathigur bhaettiaa sae sabh thae bheae nikaanae ||4||4||51||
    Says Nanak, those who meet the True Guru, become independent of all obligations. ||4||4||51||


    Try to follow the raagis to the best of your ability. If you get mixed up, just try it again until you have figured out what they are doing. Practice listening.
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Now the reflection questions.

    I may have to add some later when new ones occur to me. This will do for now.


    • Did you notice that the first line of the kirtan was actually the 3rd line of the shabad?

    maerae raam har sa(n)thaa jaevadd n koee ||?


    • Did you notice that this line is repeated many times?
    • Did you notice that the raagis begin by singing part of this line -for example, maerae raam - over and over - before they would continue on with the rest of the line?
    • Did you notice that the raagis also repeated the next few words from the rest of the line more than once?
    • Did you notice that they repeat segments until they have sung the entire line?
    • Did you notice that they would at certain points sing the entire line, once they had repeated parts of it?

    Now the part that is really hard for nonPunjabi speakers:


    • Did you notice that the raagis begin with the title line, break it down, repeat the parts, sing the entire line.....BUT then they loop back to the first line of the shabad?
    maerae raam har sa(n)thaa jaevadd n koee ||


    • And what did they do next? They broke that line down, sang part of it, repeated the first part, moved on the other parts, repeated them, sang the entire line.
    • And next? Did you notice that they always returned to the title line
    maerae raam har sa(n)thaa jaevadd n koee ||
    • Again they sing it in parts, then repeated each part, then sang the entire line several times?
    • And then? Did you notice that they looped back to the next line, the second line?

    Then they repeat that process. It starts all over again, until they get to the end of the shabad.

    Listening to kirtan with a prepared mind ear and eye helps build your listening Punjabi vocabulary too if you sing along, repeating the words with the raagis. It helps build your reading vocabulary too.


    • One last question. Did having the trace words help you to follow the pattern and keep your place in the shabad when your were listening?

    Other forum members should contribute tips for beginners. :wah:


     
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  7. spnadmin

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    Kaur-1 uses the SikhiToTheMax search engine when she published shabad. As a rule, I do not as I like the searchgurbani search engine at Gurbani Search @ SearchGurbani.Com

    But Kaur-1 has made the better selection when a person is trying to follow kirtan for this reason. The transliterations on SikhiToTheMax have some syllables in bold, and others are not in bold font. This makes it much easier to zoom in on the words that will be stressed in the kirtan when it is sung. That in turn makes it easier to follow along. :ice:

    The SkhiToTheMax Search engine is at this site http://www.sikhitothemax.com/search.asp

    Let me know if this was of help. Contribute your own advice so that more people can learn.
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    I forgot one thing. Forgive me.

    You probably noticed that the shabad began with these words:

    ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ
    soohee mehalaa 5 ||
    Soohee, Fifth Mehla:

    These words give the name of the raag or family of raags. In this shabad it is raag Soohee. The shabad also tells you which Guru wrote the Shabad. You see Fith Mehla, or mehala 5 above. This means the the 5th Guru wrote the shabad and that is Guru Arjan Dev.

    Before a jatha starts in with the meat of the shabad, they will harmonize for a minute or so, and then will singh the name of the raag, and the number of the mehla. Then they start with the performance of the shabad kirtan.

    _________________________

    For your information: Mehla or mehelaa means house. So literally the 5th mehela is the 5th house of Guru Nanak, or Guru Arjan Dev. When you are reading shabads, the key may help you.

    Mehla 1 Guru Nanak Dev ji
    Mehla 2 Guru Angad Dev ji
    Mehla 3 Guru Amar Das Dev ji
    Mehla 4 Guru Ram Das Dev ji
    Mehla 5 Guru Arjan Dev ji
    Mehla 9 Guru Tej Bahadur

    When other banee from Sants and Bhats and Bhagats are sung, you will not see the notation of a mehla, but instead you will see the name of the sant or Bhagat. For example, "in the words of Sant Ravidas." So don't get confused.

     
  9. spnadmin

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    Let's try another one. This time the Title for the Video is given in English. So your task is to find the Title line in Punjabi. It will be some few lines from the first line of the Shabad. The translation in English will help you.

    Read the shabad first a few times. Look for words that will make good acoustic cues. Follow all the other steps.

    Here is the Shabad, and notice there is no Mehla because the Shabad is by Sant Naam Dev ji.

    ਆਸਾ
    aasaa ||
    Aasaa:

    ਮਨੁ ਮੇਰੋ ਗਜੁ ਜਿਹਬਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਕਾਤੀ
    man maero gaj jihabaa maeree kaathee ||
    My mind is the yardstick, and my tongue is the scissors.

    ਮਪਿ ਮਪਿ ਕਾਟਉ ਜਮ ਕੀ ਫਾਸੀ ॥੧॥
    map map kaatto jam kee faasee ||1||
    I measure it out and cut off the noose of death. ||1||

    ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਜਾਤੀ ਕਹ ਕਰਉ ਪਾਤੀ
    kehaa karo jaathee keh karo paathee ||
    What do I have to do with social status? What do I have to with ancestry?

    ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਉ ਦਿਨ ਰਾਤੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
    raam ko naam japo dhin raathee ||1|| rehaao ||
    I meditate on the Name of the Lord, day and night. ||1||Pause||

    ਰਾਂਗਨਿ ਰਾਂਗਉ ਸੀਵਨਿ ਸੀਵਉ
    raa(n)gan raa(n)go seevan seevo ||
    I dye myself in the color of the Lord, and sew what has to be sewn.

    ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਘਰੀਅ ਜੀਵਉ ॥੨॥
    raam naam bin ghareea n jeevo ||2||
    Without the Lord’s Name, I cannot live, even for a moment. ||2||

    ਭਗਤਿ ਕਰਉ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਉ
    bhagath karo har kae gun gaavo ||
    I perform devotional worship, and sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.

    ਆਠ ਪਹਰ ਅਪਨਾ ਖਸਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਉ ॥੩॥
    aat(h) pehar apanaa khasam dhhiaavo ||3||
    Twenty-four hours a day, I meditate on my Lord and Master. ||3||

    ਸੁਇਨੇ ਕੀ ਸੂਈ ਰੁਪੇ ਕਾ ਧਾਗਾ
    sueinae kee sooee rupae kaa dhhaagaa ||
    My needle is gold, and my thread is silver.

    ਨਾਮੇ ਕਾ ਚਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਉ ਲਾਗਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
    naamae kaa chith har so laagaa ||4||3||
    Naam Dayv’s mind is attached to the Lord. ||4||3||
     
  10. spnadmin

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  11. Admin Singh

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    Aad ji what is that font in Gurumukhi? I cant seem to read them... as i have most of the Gurumukhi fonts installed on my laptop, it must a new one.
     
  12. spnadmin

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    SikhiToTheMax uses the GurbaniAkharThick font
     
  13. spnadmin

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    Aman ji

    It is WebAkhar Thick which is used on the SikhiToTheMax Site -- but maybe I should redo them in a Lipi font so everyone can read them.

    OK - changes are made.
     
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