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Sikhism: Basic Terms And Concepts


ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Jul 14, 2007

O my mind, perform only such Kirtan, which will
be of use to you here and hereafter (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 236).
Some sing of the Lord, through musical Ragas and the sound
current of theNaad,
through the Vedas,
and in so many other
ways. But the Lord, is not pleased by these (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 450).

Literally, Kirtan means devotional singing or chanting of God's glories. In essence, it is meditation (Japu or Naam-Simran). Devotion (Bhagti) means intense longing and love for God. Heart-felt inner Kirtan is the expression of that longing. In the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji), Baabaa Nanak narrates a unique scene from the Stage of the Pure Awareness as follows:
  • Vaaje naad anek asankha kete vaavanhaare...: Innumerable musical instruments of different kind are played there by many singers. Many minstrels sing praises of God in various measures and their consorts. Water, wind, fire and the god of justice, sing the praises of God at His door. Chitra-Gupta also sing God's praises, upon whose writing, the Righteous Judge makes judgment. Shiva, Brahma and the goddesses, adorned by God, sing His songs. Indira, sitting on his throne with deities, sings the praises of God at His door. Persons, claiming to have miraculous powers, sing His praises in their meditation, and saints in their contemplation sing as well. Continents, true and calm saints, and the fearless warriors, sing God's praises. Scholars, readers of Vedas of all ages, and the supreme sages, sing the praises of God. Fascinating she-seraphs who captivate hearts in paradise and the neither regions sing His praises. Invaluable objects created by God as well as sixty-eight places of pilgrimage, sing His praises. Great mighty warriors, spiritual heroes, and all the beings of the four sources of creation (Andaj or egg-born, Jeraj or placenta-born, Svetaj or sweat-born, Utbhuj or earth-born), sing God's praises. The earths, galaxies, and solar systems, established by God, sing his praises. God's saints steeped in His love and who are pleasing to Him, sing His glories. Many more, whom I can not recollect in my mind, sing God's glories. Nanak says, how can I have an estimate of them all? (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 5).
This Infinite Cosmic Kirtan or the Transcendental Vibratory Sound — Cosmic Vibration, Cosmic Music, Cosmic Sound, Cosmic Orchestra, etc. — is the movement of the entire creation, preservation and dissolution. It is God's Endless Impulse or Unstruck Sound-current (Anhata Shabad, Panch-Shabad or Dhuni) which is taking place within each of us; and within every atom of the universe, "here" and "now". Hence we are all singing with this Divine Orchestra at this very moment and the Divine is within us; but we do not know about it.
  • Keetaa pasaao eko kavaao: You created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word — Sound, Bang, Resonance, Oder, etc. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 3).
Due to the intervention of our false ego-sense, however, we have lost our connection with this Cosmic Vibratory Sound, from which the entire Creation is born. The external Kirtan is the extension of God's Endless Cosmic Vibration. The purpose of the external Kirtan is to eliminate the mind's ego consciousness (delusion or the ceaseless flow of thought currents) by quieting it, so that we can link back to the Endless Divine Pulse within — Pure Awareness; our Essential Nature.
  • Naam lait anhad poore naad: Chanting the Divine Naam, the Unstruck Sound-current of the Naad resounds (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji1144).
  • Akhand mandall nirankaar mahi anahd ben bajaavougo. Bairaagee raamahi gaavougo. Sabad ateet anaahad raataa aakul kai ghar jaaougo: In the imperishable realm of the Formless Being, I play the flute of the unstruck sound current. Becoming detached, I sing the Divine Praises. Imbued with the unattached, unstruck Word of the Shabad (Divine Name), I will establish in God's Home within, who is All-pervading (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 973).
As indicated in the Gurbani, the entire Creation is thus continually engaged in meditating on the Divine Name, whether we know it or not! Consequently, the Kirtan of the Divine Name is said to be the true "Eternal Faith" in the Gurbani. In other words, selfless Kirtan is the symptom of a true devotee — the selfless Kirtan performed with the complete involvement of the body, mind, and soul. Simply put: a true Spiritual student (Sikh) is he who has made Inner Kirtan his only Support. He lives only by taking this Spiritual food. As the Gurbani says:
  • Nanak hari kirtan kar attal ih dharam: Sing God's kirtan, this alone is the eternal faith, O Nanak (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 299)
  • Prema bhakati jiske man laagee. Gun Gavai andin nit jaagee: He, whose mind is attached with God's affectionate meditation, night and day sings His praises and ever remains wakeful (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 109).
  • Bhagat base kirtan aadharai: The devotees dwell there, and singing of God's kirtan is their only sustenance (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 237).
  • Keval bhagat kirtan sang raachai: A true devotee is solely devoted to God's meditation and kirtan (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 274).
  • Jakai heeai pragat prabh hoa andin kirtan rasan rameri: He, within whose mind the Lord revealed, night and day sings Kirtan with his tongue (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 208).
  • Akhand kirtan tini bhojan choora. Kahu Nanak jis stgur poora: Says Nanak, they who have the perfect True Guru as their guide, enjoy the incessant lauding of Kirtan as their food and dainty (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 236).
  • Katha kirtan raga naad dhuni ih baniyo suao: To utter God's discourse and Kirtan, and to hear the resounding of His melodious music, is the aim of life (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 818).
  • Gaavau gun kirtan nit suaami kar kirpa Nanak deejai daan: O God, mercifully bless Nanak with this gift that he may ever sing your excellences and praises (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 827).
  • So asthaan bataawo meeta. Jaakai har har kirtan neeka: O friend, show me that place where perpetual Kirtan takes place (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 385).
  • Har kirtan aadhaar nihchal ih dhano: God's Kirtan is mainstay and ever enduring is this wealth (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 398).


Jan 10, 2008
Re: Sikhis: Basic terms and concepts

Naamjap Ji,

Such a wonderful writting, Is this your own?

I truly want to thank the writer Ji.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: Sikhis: Basic terms and concepts

Naamjap Ji,

Such a wonderful writting, Is this your own?

I truly want to thank the writer Ji.
The link for the first post is

I have added it to the text.

in a previous version of our forum software, links were added in a unique window, and then appeared with a post. When we migrated to our current version, many links disappeared. As we find these cases, we will add the needed links. Thanks

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

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