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Bhangra or simran??!


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Sat Sri Akal Jee...

I recently went to a sikhi outing where we went paintballing which was really fun and excellent!

However, my question relates to something that was happening on the coach whilst we were travelling to our destination and when we were returning.

A couple of people brought a vaja and tabla with them so they could do kirtan on the coach. However, when they started to doing 'simran', they started to do wierd things... it was almost as if they were doing bhangra! I was shocked! I was slightly disturbed by this. They were making noises such as 'RRrroooooo' and they kept on doing this. Every so often they would say Waheguru but then they kept speeding up and up until you could not make out what they were saying and it sounded like a zoo!! (no offence) They also were shouting really loud like they were angry with someone.

Another thing they kept on doing was they kept on hitting the tabla really hard! They wasnt really playing it but they were hitting it hard like a kid would do when he/she is really hyper!

They also kept on shaking their heads all around the place! Which was really wierd! Like I said before, they could have mistaken for doing Bhangra!

Do you have any idea on what is going on and how I/we can advise them that this is not simran and may also even offend some people as they seem to be taking the mick out of sikhi! I was under the inpression that we are meant to love God and not shout at God?

Are we allowed to mix bhangra and dance to bhangra ans sing shabads at the same time?

Thanks for your time,

Sat Sri Akal Jee

MODERATOR NOTE: We have brought this back online for anyone who wishes to seriously discuss the issues raised in the original thread, namely:-

-style of simran

-combining simran/kirtan with folk/bhangra tunes

-dancing/expressing 'mast' whilst in meditation or listening to kirtan

-appropraiteness of 'heavy/loud' simran/kirtan

These areas are not limited to any one particular jatha or movement as such we ask that the discussion remain focused on this, any repetition of the previous 'jatha-bashing' and immature opinions will simply result in this thread being permanently removed.

Thanking you all.

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  • 2 months later...
Is combining simran/kirtan with folk/bhangra tunes allowed?
In sikhi when you say is something ''allowed'' that is always going to cause a fight. Personally I dont think Shabads should be mixed with songs of any type, as all Sikhi Shabads are from the Guru Granth Sahib, and the words From the Guru Granth Sahib are to be respected and to be treated with a lot of respect. That is my view....
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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

One has to be careful when addressing 'folk' tunes and 'raag' and also 'bhangra'.

Too many people consider folk and bhangra to be the same and too many people, Sikhs of today in particular, feel that raag equals as many posters on this and other Sikh forums have said before, 'aaaa-eeeee-oooo'.

Raag is a mood, an emotion, atmosphere, love. This can be expressed in a myriad of styles from Dhrupad,which many believe to be the authentic and original format of kirtan, to Khyal, to Paartaals (used mainly by Guru Arjan Dev Ji) to Tarana (use mainly by Guru Gobind Singh) and also folk vars and bhajans.

The important think to remember is whatever the style, the raag structure is obeyed and where Guru Sahib has outlined further details such as Paartaals, or Ghars (timecycles) and meters, these too are adhered to.

Bhangra very rarely is based on raag of any sort nor are modern bollywood tunes (if one listens to older classics, one can see composers of the 40s and 50s DID infact derive their melodies from raags).

What is classified as 'kirtan' today is 99% never in raag nor derived from it and one will hear 1001 desperate excuses as to why this doesn't in fact matter, because 'at least' we are singing gurbani...such talk never fails to amaze me, especially when it comes from those who argue for other supposed 'tat gurmat maryada' which they seek to find supporting sources from outside "Sikh" literature (such as British accounts, Bhat-Vahees and the actions of a few modern era Sikh figures), yet the hukam which is clearly stipulated in the Sri Guru is difficult for them to digest.

At the same time, these are the very people who have a hard time allowing others on the path of Sikhi being accepted as Sikhs if they don't adorn particular maryadas concerning restrictive cooking processes, dietary habits, wearing of white hazoorias...the fact these 'sikhs' maybe reciting 'shudh' bani with pyar or doing a lot of seva or cherish 'pyar for maharaj' or even be established raag kirtanias doesn't seem to matter...

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  • 4 weeks later...

dear sardar moderator singh ji,

can you not put all people who don't do kirtan in raag in the same category...

the people you've described and are referring to are most likely the tapoban guys....

i just wanna let you know that they aren't the only people that don't do kirtan in raag...i personally don't do kirtan in raag...and i along with others i know do not fit the bill you've laid out for people who don't do kirtan in raag....

i don't care what colour hazooria someone wears, if they wear it at all...

i don't care what rehit maryada someone else follows...

i don't care about having a set cooking practice..

i think all these things are of no consequence...

so please don't put us all in the same basket...i will admit that yes...our shabads in gurbani are written in raag...and we're probably meant to do them in raag...but i also know a lot of gurmukhs and mahapurshes who didn't do kirtan in raag...and i've grown up doing kirtan in simple tunes...and if guru ji has a problem with it...he has every right to smack the crap out of me...and set me straight.....

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Dear Japman Singh,

I am aware that from your Dodra background of the style of kirtan you would undertake, but I ask that you kindly see my post for what it is and not an attack on anyone. It is simply an objective statement.

The points raised are not addressed to judge anyone (only Maharaj has that right), they are simply stating that Raag can be considered a hukam from Guru Maharaj and it is ironic that many times Groups who feel the need to 'judge' others or to claim 'their' way of practice as the authentic version of Sikhi (and no this does not apply to the Tapoban Singhs in isolation) overlook this hukam themselves, whilst justifying a whole host of other practices as TAT Gurmat Maryada and belittling all those who don’t adhere to ‘their’ way of practice.

In addition to this, I have indicated the misconception that people have in thinking that “simple tunes” or “folk tunes” cannot be in raag and consider raag to imply heavy dhrupad and khyal styles of singing.

As far as this part is concerned, it will also apply to what you have suggested concerning simple tunes on the basis that many ‘Mahapursh’ and ‘Sants’ used them:

Raag is a mood, an emotion, atmosphere, love. This can be expressed in a myriad of styles from Dhrupad,which many believe to be the authentic and original format of kirtan, to Khyal, to Paartaals (used mainly by Guru Arjan Dev Ji) to Tarana (use mainly by Guru Gobind Singh) and also folk vars and bhajans.

I hope that this clarifies the raised points.

Veer Jee, if you wish to discuss Dodra, then by all means let's open a separate thread to do so, as it is apparent from some of the posts discussing this Sangat online that many misconceptions occur with to its true origins and purpose of this Sangat.

Lakhwinder Singh (Sikhnet) has claimed Dodra to be an anti-gurmat cult and others from the AKJ take issue with the Dodra Sangat’s relaxation of what they (AKJ) consider to be Tat Gurmat Maryada in terms of allowing all (i.e. Amritdharis and non-Amritdharis to join in with the kirtan) and the Taksali Singhs with some of the Bibis wearing colourful suits and make-up. Perhaps, as you have been part of this sangat for over 21 years, you can offer some first hand guidance on it under such a thread.

Finally since the matter of Dodra has been raised and also the issue raised in my post concerning Sikhs getting caught up in their own Jathabandis and overlooking their own imperfection -I must say it is most ironic and saddening to note that the late Rena Kaur, who passed away at a very tender age, is only receiving respect from many of the non-Dodra sangat online now that she is with us no more –those who did know her are very aware of the harassment she experienced from the same people who know eulogise her, simply because of her participation in the Dodra Sangat.

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you know what no one cares how complex or how simple it is, the underlying fact is that if it has truth in it and u can relate to that truth and hence feel and see beauty then vah :) its kirtan..

Im sure many people strict in their ways would disagree but I feel the song by AS KANG kao peyo aish karo is in a way a form of dharmic geet, and some raags may sound amazing but just bore you away from the beauty of the shabad leaving u with nothing but ear ache,

Then again in the raag scene you got people like balbir singh who had an element of controlled chaos, and in the so called modern kirtan scene you got people looking for funkier and faster tunes that they also lose the essence of shabad..

Lol bhangra simran kirtan shabads geet whatever spice girls. its all the same. Its a drug like degh, it elevate a person to a state but doesnt keep them in that state only while the music kirtan whatever lasts. When it is over there may be a coming down period where u still feel high or spiritually elevated compared to the normal state but sooner or later it disappears.

So isnt kirtan simran bhangra music tunes notes sound another nasha ? another drug which provides a short cut illusion to higher state of mind. ??

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I always thought it sounded more like slo-mode jungle or trance music because the rhythm is repetitive, and only use a few notes. Bhangra at least has melody, and a tune to it...

Then again, you also have the new-age form of "Kirtan" which induces the "Hippie" inside all of us to start waving his/her arms in the air.

No need to reach for the Bong...

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sardar moderator singh,

sorry...i guess i jumped the gun there...my bad...i guess when i saw that part about people not using raag are the ones that judge others...i jumped to conclusions and thought we were all being clumped together....

oh one thing...this isn't japman veer..his id is jsb....i did not mean to turn this into a thread about dodra...i am aware of all the misconceptions out there and am frankly tired of explaining to people who have already made up their minds...(not directed to you...just in general)... People like Lakhwinder singh from sikhnet who KNOW that what they are saying is wrong will not change their minds simply because they are SET to do nindiya of mahapursh and gursikhs....the only thing i can say to the online sangat...most of us reside in either Canada, US, UK or india....the dodra sangat has samagams ALL year long in both Canada and the US in various cities...and in INDIA the samagams take place in almost all ithaasic gurdwaras under Akal Takt management and even those in the Hazur Sahib area....so if anyone wants to SEE for themselves what goes on, if anyone wants to immerse themselves in a weekend of loving devotion to guru ji, simran, seva, and sangat...they can check out these samagams...

i am also aware of this so-called "eulogizing" of rena bhen....it also frankly annoys the crap out of me...also...i hope you guys don't think we don't show our respect for our dear sister....i think for a lot of us...this loss is much more personal...and it's not the easiest thing for us to go posting on the net... it's done in a much more quiet fashion.....

getting back to the raag part...i can totally see the raag being the mood...and simple tunes being able to be raag....i know that for myself when given kirtan seva....the tunes i use try to reflect the mood of the shabad....according to the meaning i derive from the shabad...i'm not sure if that is what you were referring to..cuz i really have no knowledge of raag vidiya as such....

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In essence if you play a shabad without the Raag Guru Ji wrote it in, you are ignoring the first two words of the shabad. For example, "Raag Asa Mahala Paihla". Its not right to ignore what Guru Ji has said.

Do you think Guru Ji spent time organising and writing Shabads in Raags for no reason? It obviously was done as Guru Ji felt it was important, and playing the Shabad in raag develops the mood and feeling which Guru Ji thought was best for the shabad.

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i am also aware of this so-called "eulogizing" of rena bhen....it also frankly annoys the crap out of me...also...i hope you guys don't think we don't show our respect for our dear sister....i think for a lot of us...this loss is much more personal...and it's not the easiest thing for us to go posting on the net... it's done in a much more quiet fashion.....

yeup...

what's the point in doing Kirtan in raag if you don't understand the meaning behind it?

and for those people who don't understand or appreciate raag Kirtan, does that mean that they need to endure through raag Kirtan because it's "the only way" to do Kirtan?

i was always under the impression that people should listen to Kirtan and enjoy it, whether it be in raag, simple tunes, or even hippie (if tha's your thing).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sat Sri Akal Jee...

Do you have any idea on what is going on and how I/we can advise them that this is not simran and may also even offend some people as they seem to be taking the mick out of sikhi! I was under the inpression that we are meant to love God and not shout at God?

Are we allowed to mix bhangra and dance to bhangra ans sing shabads at the same time?

Thanks for your time,

This to me sounds like Akhand Kirtanee Jatha (AKJ) style simran. They are taught 'saas giraas' simran by the Panj Piyare, which involves saying 'Wahe' during inspiration and 'Guru' during expiration. The resulting sound when saying simran fast is a grrrrrrr type noise. AKJ youth in particular become hyper when doing saas giraas and move thier bodies and shake their heads during raensbhais (all night kirtan).

However, the definition of saas = breathing and giraas = morsel of food. So I am not entirely sure why they give this name to a technique of simran. Also I agree with you that Simran should not be done in a manner where the listners cannot make out what is being said. Is there really a need to say gods name with such a high frequency when it sounds terrible? Whatever happened to simran where your soul achieves a state of bliss and shanti?

Some of their kirtanees regularly use tunes from hindi films and well known bhangra tunes when singing kirtan. If you attend any of their functions you will see that these tuny kirtanees are far more popular with the youth.

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