Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Raag Study.

This weekend was a life transformational weekend for me. We had a three day course in Raag with Professor Paramjeet Singh. When GuruGanesha and I were traveling in Canada this past summer we met the Professor, who is teaching Indian Classical music as it applies to the hymns of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. He is seen above with GuruGanesha and I, my husband is sitting behind us along with the Professor's friend.

For those of you who don't know, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is our living Guru for Sikhs. It is a treasury of hymns written by the Sikh Gurus and saints of other faiths. As Sikhs we don't bow to any human being as our Guru, we bow to this sacred text. For me on a personal level I have always looked to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib for guidance. In times of hardship and celebration the Guru is with me. Here in Espanola and in many Sikh communities we have a weekly Akhand Paath which is a continuous reading of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. I have found that whenever an Akhand Paath happens there is a radiation of love and peace that I seem to feel in my own heart and that seems to even radiate out for miles around. In the time of our Gurus, which was roughly between the 14th and 17th centuries in India, what we call Classical Indian music was an essential tool of communication. Classical Indian music has roots back thousands of years in India. Raags and Thaals were developed. A Raag is a collection of notes, or a particular scale that induces a feeling, or allows you to express a feeling through music. There are Raags for each time of time of day ,and these Raags are a very powerful tool for communicating from the soul to the Creator. (ok... that line is my opinion... in any case...here we go.) A Thaal is a rhythm, and between the interweaving of rhythm and music.... the result is pure ecstacy. Each of the hymns in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib was assigned a Raag. This was done by our Guru, to give us a clear tool to experience the ecstacy of the poetry. So, yes, I knew about all of this... but I didn't really know. This weekend was an eye opener.

I spent three full days completely emmersed in the study and practise of Raag. There were times in the voice excersizes where we were singing so low that I didn't sound much better then a frog, and times when we were singing so high that I couldn't even believe it. It was scary, and humbling all at the same time. But, all of those voice excersizes really opened my voice up and I feel really strengthened by them. I think its really going to help me have stamina while on tour. But the real joy was when I experienced a Raag for the first time, really experienced it. One of the most memorable times this weekend was when we sang Siri Raag. This Raag is an evening Raag, and as we sang it the dusk was turning to night. It was a beautiful, complete, deep, completely strong warrior, yet open heart experience. I felt taken over by the joy and the sound.

I knew that Raag was something special when I heard the Chardi Kalaa Jatha for the first time. (Please see: www.ckjatha.com for more information.) When I heard them sing I felt completely taken into the Raag, taken on a journey of devotion. There was no question about the destination, it was straight to God. Their voices were so powerful I couldn't even believe it. I was sitting behind them, and although the microphones were in front of their mouths as they sang, they seemed to have amplification coming out of their bodies; pure power. I always was so amazed by them, and longed for that same kind of inner strength and experience of Raag. I am happy to say that I have begun the long awaited journey into Raag and I look forward to sharing with you my experiences along the way.

May Peace Prevail On Earth.

Over and Out

I bought your CD, Mothers blessings, it was exceptionally beautiful and I was able to deeply connect with the shabad since it was entirely sung in Gurmuki ( the way Guruji meant it to be)

And the music was exceptionally very uplifting and very relaxing.

It would be a great gift for us if you can come up another CD just like mothers blessings.

God has blessed you with a beautiful voice, mind and soul.

Respected Satnam ji,
You are really doing a noble job.God bless you.
Studying raag is a beautiful journey. I've been on this journey (at least peripherally) for a few years. My first ustaad was the late Bhai Avtar Singh Ji and his son Bhai Kultar Singh Ji who are amazing! Then I began to learn some with Professor Surinder Singh Ji from Raj Academy. I sat for one lesson with Ustad Narinder Singh Ji, the teacher of the Chardi Kala Jetha.
Now I mostly practice with GuruDas Singh Ji and Kudrat Kaur Ji, at their house on Wednesday nights. They are still well connected with Professor Surinder Singh Ji and Surjit Singh Ji (a master sarangi player based in London). I've been learning the dilruba which is an adaptation of the Taus, which was invented by Guru Gobind Singh. Our weekly practices are really awesome and very straight forward. The raags are very clearly explained.
waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh

satnam ji,
I could experience peace in my whole body when i heard ur shabad-GURU RAM DAS RAKHO SARNAEE.
u are too good.

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh
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