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Importance of Kirtan in Sikhism

Kirtan in Sikhism is described as chanting of Gurbani (The hymns from Guru Granth Sahib) alongside music being played with the help of Musical instruments like Harmonium, Sitar, Flute, sarangi, Tabla, etc. Sikhism gives great importance to Music and Kirtan in gaining spirituality, it is said that Sikh Gurus asked the people to recite Gurbani in form of Kirtan, which can help one achieve salvation in harsh times of kalyuga. It becomes a duty of a Sikh to recite Bani (hymns) in form of kirtan and encourage others to do the same. Music is considered to be a meditative activity, that helps us gain a peaceful state of mind and destress ourselves from worldly issues. Kirtan is simply, music incorporated with Gurbani to help humans recite it while being in a peaceful state of mind, that is a reason that there is a huge Importance of Kirtan in Sikhism.


First Sikh Guru, “Guru Nanak Dev Ji” used to influence people and preach them Bani (The teachings coming from the supreme lord), while traveling the world alongside Bhai Mardana Ji( A follower), got to know that his follower can play Rabab,(a traditional musical instrument with strings), Guruji asked Him to play rabab, while guru Ji recited the Bani. This was the first time when Bani was being recited alongside music. This helped guruji to influence people while taking their minds out of worldly worries and issues.

The Sikh Gurus also developed various instruments like the sarangi, the Rabab, the Dilruba, the Esraj, and the Pakhawaj. All these instruments have a great place in Sikh music. Kirtan not only helped Sikhs to recite Gurbani in a musical way but also encouraged them to practice music in their daily lifestyle.

The Dilruba is considered to be developed by the Tenth Guru of Sikhs “Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji” for Doing Kirtan. At the times, when Sikhs were being guided by Gurus in human form, it was advised for everybody to learn Music and martial arts alongside each other, as one activity teaches us to gain physical stability and the other help at the mental and spiritual level.

Shabad-Kirtan (communal singing of hymns from Sri Guru Granth Sahib), has great importance in Sikhism. It becomes important for a Sikh to chant Gurbani alongside the Raagi jatha (religious singers), or do it by himself, as it is the way to move a step closer to salvation.


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Raags are improvised musical forms or melodies which follow a specific structure or formula to create a sense of being in a pleasant state of mind. Ragas have great importance in Indian Classical Music, and so in Sikh music as well. It helps a singer to create a beautiful environment for the audience and be lost in the essence of music.

Different Ragas are considered to be played at different times in a day, as its complex melody formation works specifically to a particular time in a whole day. For example, Raga Bhairav is usually played in the morning or Sikh terms, it is played at the time of crack of Dawn i.e, Amritwela. Similarly, every raga has its own particular time and melody structure.

Meditation, Spirituality, and Kirtan:

Sikhs practice Sikhism by Following “Rehat Maryada” which enriches their life-style with positivity. The optimistic and spiritual life approach can be only be realized with the help of Meditation and concentration.

Listening to melody is also considered a type of meditation because while listening to music our mind reaches a state of mind where we are calm and experience internal peace. Similarly, Kirtan is chanting of Gurbani with the melody which not only helps us to meditate and focus but also teaches us the great lessons from Guru Granth sahib.

Kirtan is the practice of singing hymns and focusing upon the essence of Gurbani with the whole heart and soul. A different way to practice religion, achieve salvation and merge with god.

It becomes necessary for today’s generation to assimilate religious practices into their daily lives and stay in touch with spirituality. This could only be attained via integrating normal education with Divinity, which will result in a stronger foundation of religion for the future generation.

It is the responsibility of every Sikh to spread the word of the Lord and let others also benefit from it. To reach this goal of teaching young and old about the ways Sikh practice Sikhism, the importance of Kirtan, and the necessity to study the history of Sikhism, the management decides to give free education to a deprived part of the Sikh community.

This is done by operating religious-educational institutes, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vidya Kender, sangeet academies, and other small divinity education complexes. These places help the Sikh community to learn and dive deep into the essence of Sikhism, the way Divinity helps us to learn more about the religion. We get to learn more about the Importance of Kirtan, in Sikhism and the life of a Sikh as well.

There are different ways for a Sikh to stay affixed with Sikhism and lead a life of honesty in accordance with Gurbani and the teachings of Gurus. As we move forward and enhance ourselves, we become more conscious, focused, spiritual, and better versions of ourselves, all this by practicing Sikhism and walking on the right path to attain salvation.