Heartbeat VI: Serenading Our Beloved

Heartbeat VI: Serenading Our Beloved
Serenade: to sing or play music for our Beloved

We often see lovers singing love songs to Their Beloveds in order to win them over. In their songs, they admit their own shortcomings then confess how much The Beloved means to them.

Keertan is serenading our Beloved through the Divine Love Songs of Shabad. Keertan is a means to confess our Love, admit our losses with the vices, and progress on this Path to the Divine Beloved. If you serenade The Beloved– wholeheartedly –  you will experience Their Love. Keertan is an anti-dote to suffering.

Pictured here is magical keertani: Bhai Hira Singh Raagi

Bhai Hira Singh had such a beautiful voice that it directed many into a state of Divine Devotion. People of other faiths used to keep their children at home to prevent them from listening to the melodious Amrit coming from Their Heavenly Lips. Bhai Hira Singh spent a lot of time singing to Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Darbar by themselves. When someone asked them: "Who are you singing to?". They said: "I am singing to the One who is the Giver of Keertan". The majority of people – who do not know this Secret of Keertan – see it as part of a religious schedule & sung to the Sangat as per traditions. However, when you come to understand This Secret of Love, Keertan is uncovered to be an Invaluable Diamond.

ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਨਿਰਮੋਲਕ ਹੀਰਾ ॥
Keerthan[u] nirmolak Heeraa
Keertan is a Priceless Diamond!
ਆਨੰਦ ਗੁਣੀ ਗਹੀਰਾ ॥
Aana[n]dh GuNee Gaheeraa
It is the form of Spiritual Bliss and the Ocean of Good Qualities
ਅਨਹਦ ਬਾਣੀ ਪੂੰਜੀ ॥
Anhadh BaaNee Poo[n]jee
The Currency of Limitless Gurbani
ਸੰਤਨ ਹਥਿ ਰਾਖੀ ਕੂੰਜੀ ॥੨॥
Sa[n]than Hathh[i] Raakhee Koo[n]jee
This Key is in the Hands of the Saints
(Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj in Raag Raamkalee, Ang 893)

This perspective on Keertan only encourages us to dive deeper. Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj are visible to us in the form of Divine Poetry set in Ancient Musical Melodies known as Raags.

According to Sangeet Saar, Raag is defined as that which gives birth to love within our minds upon listening to (referred to in Mahaan Kosh). This is the power of music and poetry. Dhan Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj have 31 main Raags which produce love within us: Sri Raag, Maajh, Gaurree, Aasaa, Goojaree, Dhaevgandhhaaree, Bihaagarraa, Vad-hans, Soratt[i], Dhhanaasaree, Jaithsaree, Todee, Bairaarree, Thilang, Soohee, Bilaaval, Gaund, Raamkalee, Nat, Maaleegaurraa, Maaroo, Thukhaaree, Kaedhaaraa, Bhairou, Basant, Saarag, Malaar, Kaanarraa, Kaliaan, Prabhaathee, and Jaijaawanthee.

ਹਰਿ ਹਮਾਰੋ ਮੀਤੁ ਸਖਾਈ ਹਮ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਲਾਗੀ ॥
Har[i] Humaaro Meeth[u] Sakhaaee Hum Har[i] Sio[u] Preeth[i] Laagee
Vaheguru is my Real Friend, I have fallen in Love with Vaheguru
ਹਰਿ ਹਮ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਮ ਬੋਲਹਿ ਅਉਰੁ ਦੁਤੀਆ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹਮ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥੧॥
Har[i] Hum Gaavah[i] Har[i] Hum Bolah[i] Aour[u] Dhutheeaa Preeth[i] Hum Thiaagee
I sing of Vaheguru, I speak of Vaheguru, I have let go of love for anything else
(Dhan Dhan Guru Ramdaas Sahib Ji in Raag Malaar, Ang 1265)

Music has the ability to sway our minds through our emotions. So let us be careful what music we listen to. It can bring us closer to our Beloved or further away.

Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj designed the Dilruba instrument which literally means: Stealer of the Heart. 

This Entire Universe is the One(Uni)-Song(Verse) sung by our Beloved. Oang is the Song and is our existence. When this song of existence is over then only the Beloved will remain. So why sing of anyone else?

We often hear and see Bhai Mardana Ji portrayed with a Rabab but do we know how he received it?

Bhai Mardana Ji is known as the famous Rabab-playing Lover of Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj but where did Bhai Mardana Ji get his Rabab from? Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj had sent Bhai Mardana Ji to find a Beautiful Rabab but he could not find it. Guru Sahib sent Bhai Mardana Ji to a village amidst a forest. There he was to find someone named Firandhaa and tell Firandhaa that Guru Nanak Dev Ji has sent him. Firandhaa gives him a Rabab from out of nowhere and tells him it's not from this world. The Rabab is specially made to be played for Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj. Firandhaa accompanies Bhai Mardana Ji to Guru Sahib. Maharaj reveals to Bhai Mardana Ji that Firandhaa is a Gandharv. Gandharv are celestial singers for angels within heavenly realms. Firandhaa had a desire to serve Paramaatmaa Themself and came to offer their instrument. Upon playing this Rabab, Maharaj sung Tuhi Nirankaaraa... Nirankaaraa Karthaaraa! (You are the One who does not come into creation, the One who does not come into creation yet the Doer of all) All of the animals and birds surrounded Guru Sahib. The trees started to let out sap. Maharaj had their eyes closed for two days and the Rabab kept playing! (Source Sri Nanak Prakash, Adhiyaye 35)

Bhai Mardana Ji plays the Rabab at 30:30

'So Dhar' from Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj reveals to us who sing of our Beloved. Are you on this list?
ਵਾਜੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਦ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਸੰਖਾ ਕੇਤੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਵਾਵਣਹਾਰੇ ॥
Vaajae Therae naadh Anaek Asa[n]khaa Kaethae Thaerae VaavaNhaarae
[At Your Door] countless various instruments are played...
[such as trumpets, conches, clarinets]

and there are so many musicians playing them...
ਕੇਤੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀ ਸਿਉ ਕਹੀਅਹਿ ਕੇਤੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਗਾਵਣਹਾਰੇ ॥
Kaethae Thaerae Raag Paree Sio[u] Kaheeah[i] Kaethae Thaerae GaavaNhaarae
There are so many Raags, Sub-Raags, and other melodies...
There are so many who sing of You!
ਸੇਈ ਤੁਧਨੋ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵਨਿ ਰਤੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਭਗਤ ਰਸਾਲੇ ॥
Sae-ee Thudhhno Gaavan[i] Jo Thudhh[u] Bhaavan[i] Rathae Thaerae Bhagath Rasaalae
Whomever pleases You will sing of You...
They are the Bhagats who are coloured in Your Love and contain all enjoyment

ਹੋਰਿ ਕੇਤੇ ਤੁਧਨੋ ਗਾਵਨਿ ਸੇ ਮੈ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵਨਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਿਆ ਬੀਚਾਰੇ ॥
Hor[i] Kaethae Thudhhno Gaavan[i] Sae Mai Chith[i] n Aavan[i] Nanak Kiaa Beechaarae
Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj: There are many others that sing of You but they do not come to mind, how I can describe them all?
(Rehras Sahib Version)

Let the strings of the DIlruba pull your heartstrings into calling for the Beloved! Let the Dilruba take over your Heart!

Serenade the Beloved until He appears from the Balcony. Sing songs of separation then sing songs of Union!
ਤੁਝ ਬਿਨੁ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਕੋ ਮੇਰੀ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਖੋਲਿ੍ ਕਿਵਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Thujh Bin[u] Surath[i] Karai Ko Maeree
Apart from You who else takes care of me?
so please give me Your Sight & open the Door.
(Bhagat Kabeer Ji in Raag Bilaaval, Ang 856)

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