Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

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Subha
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Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Subha »

SSA,
Recently I've started to learn/practice Sikhi, in order to become closer to Waheguru. I've been listening to Gurbani Kirtan via Sikhnet's Gurbani Media Center, and the thought has occurred to me multiple times- why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi? I think English language Gurbani Kirtan would be very beneficial (as a native English speaker) - translated Gurbani is amazing to read, I can't even imagine how it would be sung. So, why no English Gurbani Kirtan? Is it not allowed, or am I just not looking in the right places?

Many thanks,
Subha
Gursingh
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Gursingh »

Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Jee Ki Fateh

Interesting point, i have never heard of english kirtan but i'm not sure gurbani should be sung in english. It is good for translations, but the spirit of gurbani and guru jees message (guru jee himself) can not be translated, only the meanings (and not even 100%). The same goes for kirtan, there is specific reason why gurbani in sung in original form...no other way is as perfect. In fact, english would sound quite awkward i think, its best in original for sure. Just listen and read translations or roman translations if you can't read gurmuhki (which i highly recommend learning, trust me its not hard). Hopefully more learned gursikhs can comment, but this is my understanding. Forgive me for mistakes friend...

baanee guroo guroo hai baanee vich baanee a(n)mrith saarae ||
The Word, the Bani is Guru, and Guru is the Bani. Within the Bani, the Ambrosial Nectar is contained.

Amrit is in gurbani from guru jee, i don't think as true for translations.

Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Jee Ki Fateh
donovalhernandez
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by donovalhernandez »

It is Very good thread . I don't no anything about this before. but now I have some knowledge about it from this thread. so it's very important for me.
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swarn bains
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by swarn bains »

gurbani is written in classical tunes in punjabi. so to sing it in punjabi is very easy. one does not have to balance it to bring it to the singing mode. but if it is translated in english. first thing is that gurbani is very difficult to translate. even if it is done then it will be very difficult bring it to poetry or songs and further it will be just as difficult to to balance it in order to sing. it is not mic jagers way of singing. it has to be serisous singers as well. most significant thing is that almost all the listeners are punjabi speaking. there is hardly anyone english speaking who listens to it. there is no body in the world who has the capability to translate the gurbani in english to a singable level. there never will be one!
gurmail
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by gurmail »

It would be lovely and often thought about it. I have tried singing Gurbani (in Punjabi), isolated lines only, in western music style, both classical & sort of rock & Gospel styles. I am hopeless as a singer but I believe it is possible and the effect could be fantastic. Now English translation wouldn't exactly be Gurbani because translation looses a lot. Even so, singing the translation would be something.
iksikh0
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by iksikh0 »

Dear Subha,

Gurbani (also Guru's Bani, Shabad, or the Word) literally means what Guru ji spoke. Gurbani, the way it sounds, comes directly from God ("Dhur ki Bani") is spiritually charged and simply by linking your mind to it you can reach transcendental spiritual heights. Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji says: "ਸਬਦਿ ਰਪੈ ਘਰੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ਪਦੁ ਨੀਤਿ ॥੪॥ Attuned to the Shabad, we enter our home, and obtain the Eternal State of Nirvaanaa. ||4||"

Translations while helpful in understanding the Shabad (Gurbani), are by no means the equivalent of the Shabad itself. God bless the translators, but translations are the usually the work of ordinary humans, and are subject to errors because translators may not be at a similar level of spiritual understanding as Guru ji. So the meaning can be lost in all the translations and interpretations. But even if the meaning were to remain the same, the words would not have the charge or the power (eg. magnetic force to attract iron) spiritually lift someone.

To give you an example of the Bani/Word of a Guru or a God-Realised Soul can make a difference, I will quote this anecdote from 'The Spiritual Revolution Explained' by Sant Kirpal Singh ji:

"Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came in Bengal. His chant was Hari bole, "Say Hari" [the Lord]. He had realized Hari or God within; his whole body gave out radiation of Hari; and on his lips was the chant, Hari bole, uttered from the abundance of a heart overflowing with the love of Hari. He went to a dhobi ghat [washerman's place] and said to a dhobi [washerman], "Hari bole." The dhobi kept silent. Again he said, "Hari bole." The dhobi thought he must be a mendicant asking for alms, and he remained silent. Chaitanya repeated his chant: "Hari bole." The dhobi said, "I will not say it." "You will have to say it!" said Chaitanya. The dhobi thought, this fellow will not leave me alone, so he said it: "Hari bole." Now, when Chaitanya uttered the words "Hari bole" they were charged with the power of realization; so the dhobi left his work and took up the unending chant, "Hari bole, Hari bole, Hari bole". His companions asked him, "What has happened to you, brother?" "Hari bole, Hari bole," the continuous chant went on, hearing which the other dhobis also started chanting, "Hari bole, Hari bole, Hari bole...""

This is the power and charge of Guru's Bani (Word), the reason why it's important to sing our Guru's Bani 'as it was uttered'.

The whole essence of faith, the real deal then, is linking our minds to Shabad one-pointedly to merge with our Father-Guru's Lotus Feet. This is why Saints ask us to remain engaged in chanting/remembrance of Shabad/Gurbani, whether it is just the Waheguru mantra or the complete reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

"ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ In this world, the practice of the Shabad is the most excellent occupation."

Thank you for reading. Hope it helps :)
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Guest »

you said :
..translated Gurbani is amazing to read..
your question has the answer in itself! if the translation is "amazing to read", imagine how much wonderful it would be reading in it's original form?

and on more point, gurbani has it's technology of Naad[sound], which a translation dosen't - that's why even if you don't understand a word of gurbani (in it's orignal form) you still feel the bliss - that's the real power
Amrit.S
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Amrit.S »

Paapii wrote:you said :
..translated Gurbani is amazing to read..
your question has the answer in itself! if the translation is "amazing to read", imagine how much wonderful it would be reading in it's original form?

and on more point, gurbani has it's technology of Naad[sound], which a translation dosen't - that's why even if you don't understand a word of gurbani (in it's orignal form) you still feel the bliss - that's the real power
The bliss of just mere "external naad" is useless according to Guru Granth Sahib ji, if you're not contemplating on the Lord.

ਕੋਈ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਗੀ ਨਾਦੀ ਬੇਦੀ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਭੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਜੇ ॥
Koee Gaavai Raagee Naadhee Baedhee Bahu Bhaath Kar Nehee Har Har Bheejai Raam Raajae ||
Some sing of the Lord, through musical Ragas and the sound current of the Naad, through the Vedas, and in so many ways. But the Lord, Har, Har, is not pleased by these, O Lord King. (SGGS, 450)

However, if one is attuned to the Lord himself, to Naam (Divine Knowledge obtained from Gurbani) then it's complete bliss for a Gurmukh.

ਮਃ ੩ ॥
Ma 3 ||
Third Mehl:

ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥
Bilaaval Thab Hee Keejeeai Jab Mukh Hovai Naam ||
Be happy and sing in Bilaaval, when the Naam, the Name of the Lord, is in your mouth.

ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਜਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥
Raag Naadh Sabadh Sohanae Jaa Laagai Sehaj Dhhiaan ||
The melody and music, and the Word of the Shabad are beautiful, when one focuses his meditation on the celestial Lord.

ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥
Raag Naadh Shhodd Har Saeveeai Thaa Dharageh Paaeeai Maan ||
So leave behind the melody and music, and serve the Lord; then, you shall obtain honor in the Court of the Lord.

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਚੂਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥੨॥
Naanak Guramukh Breham Beechaareeai Chookai Man Abhimaan ||2||
O Nanak, as Gurmukh, contemplate God, and rid your mind of egotistical pride. ||2||

Gurbani encourages to be intuned to the unstruck sound current of within. How does one do this? When one understands, comprehends and realizes the Shabad and than act upon it. You may read, hear and sing Gurbani all day you want, but if you do not understand the message of the Shabad, then it's of no use.

ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥
Parriai Naahee Bhaedh Bujhiai Paavanaa ||
Not by studying, but through understanding, is the Lord's Mystery revealed. (SGGS, 148)

ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥
Akalee Parrih Kai Bujheeai Akalee Keechai Dhaan ||
Wisdom does not come by reading textbooks; wisdom inspires us to give in charity.

ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥
Naanak Aakhai Raahu Eaehu Hor Galaan Saithaan ||1||
Says Nanak, this is the Path; other things lead to Satan. ||1|| (SGGS, 1245)

In other words, Gurbani should not be merely read but also understood. Without understanding Gurbani, you're wasting your time.
Amrit.S
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Amrit.S »

I summarized what was said by T Singh: http://www.gurbani.org/articles/webart319.html
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Re: Why is Gurbani always sung in Punjabi?

Post by Guest »

Of course gurbani can be sung in any language- it is already sung to an extent in songs that speak of a true and pure love..
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